The last few weeks!

last dinner out

My mom's

& Dad's

Lunch with Jared and Mrs. Bennett

Mom with the kids

my beautiful children

Handing out the treats that YOU sponsored for the kids (i'll write a whole blog on it shortly!)

skipping ropes that they got from Canada

Monde with his cricket Canadian ball

part of the school that I took my parents to visit

Most of the children here at this creche are HIV positive and very sick.. this was what my parents experience on their last day

the children LOVED my Dad!

babies babies:)

this picture makes me heart melt. This little boy cried so much but the moment my Dad picked him up he stopped. 

Handing out some booties to the kids when it starts to get cold

*photo cred: Mom

Where to even begin?

I sit writing this to you in the prison (where I work- my NGO is in an old prison) feeling cold! I am actually going to go grab a sweater..

there- much better. It's about 22 degress and I'm grabbing a sweater! wahoo... it's been SO hot here these past two months that cold showers is the norm and sweating doesn't even phase me.... any ways to more important news...

These past 2 weeks have been spent with my parents. It's really been a trip of a lifetime and I am so blessed that they got to come over and see my life- and also see some animals and be a tourist. They embraced my life with open arms and did everything I asked of them. From going to rural villages to hanging out with my crazy kids for hours on end. It was an absolute blast! I LOVE my parents and I'm so happy they got to see life. We spent 3 nights in St. Lucia which included a hippo/croc tour, world renown beaches and went to two games reserves! Than Durban was spent being a tourist and seeing the largest port in Africa and walking along the Indian Ocean. It really was an amazing trip but it makes me so sad to reminiscence about it because I wish my parents were here to chat. Although I wasn't a mess at the airport when they left I am dealing with a serious case of homesicknesses now. It's almost cruel that we had to say goodbye to each other for a second time knowing that 5 months separates us. Getting out of bed was hard to do this morning but I need to take one day at a time. 5 months will go by quickly!

A theme in my journal lately has been thankfulness. Remembering to be thankful at all times and giving all the glory back to Jesus. Every Monday I try to write 10 things (simple) that I can reflect on the week to give me an extra boost of strength when I so desperately need it. So I decided to continue this trend here on my blog! So here are 10 things I'm thankful for write now- blog version:)

1) The children's giggles- gosh they just make my heart melt every time
2) Hunger Games books (an excellent distraction from life when I need it)
3) My parents who I have come to love and respect so much more since being away
4) Sitting on the floor well my girls play with my hair, talking about what my new hairstyle should be
5) Hugs that break my personal bubble.. they are just a little to long and a little to tight from the children most times but now I would hate if they were any different
6) Waking up at 5am so I get be alone with the Lord before a very busy day starts
7) Skype- I honestly don't know how I would survive without skype
8) Ecclesiastes 3:11
9) Working at a Christian NGO- they are supporting me to become courageous about my faith and I'm forever thankful for their mentor-ship in my life
10) YOU - I am so thrilled reading my blog and supporting me on this journey in my life. I would have been on a plane home a long time ago without you!

Speaking of plane rides - last week I got my flight iternary home! Can you believe my flights are already book'd! Eeeshh... so get ready for this.. write it down somewhere too- I fly home JULY 24th!
Here's some more details:
- I say good-bye to everyone here in South Africa the last weekend of June. My last work day in Maritzburg is June 29.
- The next 2.5 weeks are spent travelling around South Africa and seeing another country- Swaziland. I am excited for this time but I know it will be so hard trying to live out of a suitcase for those weeks and being on the road visiting when I just want to be home
-I fly out of Jo Burg on Wednesday July 18 via London so I'm hoping to get a glimpse of the Olympic atmosphere only being a week away and than I will be in Akron PA late Thursday night.
- My re entry in the states runs from July 20-23 and like stated above I fly into Toronto on the 24th.

Caelen ( my best friend) has already started a countdown which freaked me out a little bit but now that I have my flight book'd home you can all start your countdowns!

I just have to remember to be present and take it one day at a time. I still have two trips to keep me busy- Zambia in two weeks and Capetown early May.

Tonight I am going to a Jesus Culture concert in Durban which I'm super stoked about.. been listening to their songs all day at work and am thrilled to worship with them tonight. Here is one amazing song to listen too.


  1. aw Maddie, that was such an inspiring post! It must be hard saying goodbye to your parents a second time but I just love your positivity! It's soooo contagious, even when you're far away :) I can't believe your flight is booked either! It's getting close, but I bet when you're back home you'll be missing your life over there SO much. It's so inspiring that you're trying to fix your eyes on the present, even though it's gotta be hard.
    I love you my sister in Christ! I'm sending a huge hug your way!! Oh and by the way, the day you come back is the day I go to see Coldplay in concert!!! That day is gonna be super fantastically amazing!! :D
    Love you and take care! <3
    All my love,

    Laura, your roomie :)

  2. Hello Maddie
    I have been following your blog since you went and have prayed for you many times as I have read your blog. It is awesome that your pareants could come see you, I actually saw them last night. It's exciting to hear of all the ways God is shaping and molding you through this experience. It's nice to know your home coming date, but I agree with you staying present in heart and mind till the end is so important. You have so many more stories to experience and write about. May our Jesus hold you very tight,love you abundantly, strengthen you supernaturally and may you never been the same because of it. Blessings In Him Teresa Foell


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