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Sara in Uganda: “…so much of our day would be impossible without her!”

Quick update on…

Sara. The team made it safely to Entebbe, Uganda with no issues or delays (unheard of!). I have only talked to her twice and quite briefly, but we do get daily email updates from different members of the team which are then posted to our church’s website. My favorite quotes about her and the experience so far:

  • “Sara stopp[ed] to talk to one child, then two and three, then twenty gather.  Then she breaks into “Head and shoulders, knees and toes.” And fifty Ugandans no more than six or seven years old crowd her politely, singing soft, sweet words.”
  • “The day when our mini-team went to our first school (just Mr. B, Sara, Woz, and myself), Sara took control by winging together a speech about the word “unconditional.” I was amazed how she just got up there, without notes, and strung together a talk about her family that made sense and was concise!  She’s been a wonderful and majestic Ellie the Eagle every day in Bible Clubs; so much of our day would be impossible without her!” (this one made me cry)
  • “The school is filled with almost 600 children and only 4 teachers. There are few supplies, no school books and hand made notebooks. Some of the children do not even have shoes. Even though to an American, they may seem poor, they are so rich in spirit.”

The home front. The kids and I good. I am stretched with managing Kumveka while taking care of the kiddos (yes, I feed them every day – sometimes even 3 times!), but Week 1 is done with one to go. Exciting days for our ministry around the world! The kids I have enjoyed our time together but everyone is ready for mama-bear to come home…

Pictures below: Several from our adventures at home, Sara with the kids as she departed, and with her team.

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Best Oreo Challenge Ever!

This is just a great clip from last weekend’s Oreo Challenge – best seen versus explained… This is one of the many things we picked up in China. ah, memories!

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Sneak Peek: Meeting of the Waters

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Sneak peek of the ‘Good to Great’ of global missions book – here

– Dan

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One dad’s Christmas tradition

So ever since my kids were in utero (or at least adoption papers ‘in transition’), I’ve given each of them a book for Christmas. I really enjoy the process of thinking through the likes and interests of each kid, spending hours looking through bookstores (yes, with java) and writing a personal note in each one. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a very special library of these books (see below). We managed to find a good number of these books considering the number of moves they’ve undergone – most of these made it back and forth across the Pacific Ocean!

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Recently I put a short request on Facebook asking for advice for this year’s gifts. I got an amazing response! So with a long list of recommendations in hand, I just finished this year’s shopping. I committed to sharing this year’s picks:

  • For Zachary (age 10): Cool Stuff Exploded: Get Inside Modern Technology (non-fiction science book)
  • For Noah (8): Warriors: Into The Wild (fiction about wild cats that go on adventures)
  • For Mia (7): Meghan Rose: All Dressed Up (early reader book that reinforces true beauty in God’s eyes is on the inside)
  • For Hannah (6): Adventures of Biscuit: Five Stories About Everyone’s Favorite Puppy (Hannah is just starting to sound out words – this book has 140 pages and perhaps 50 words! I wanted her to feel like the big kids during ‘reading time’)

So that’s my Christmas tradition with my kids. One I hope to continue for many, many years to come. Merry Christmas,

– Dan

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Greetings from the Middle East!

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I am in the UAE helping set-up the WellSpring School (more on that later) – for pictures from my first days click here.

Dan

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Life back in the USA

Our physical transition to life in America is nearly complete. We are settling into our little home in Richmond, Virginia. A few photos from the last several weeks (click on any for a larger view):

From upper left:  1)  The morning of the move, us a top our 17 suitcases, 2) Our dear friends awaiting to bid farewell (in the rain!), 3) Noah was re-united with his Other Half, Schafer Bailey, 4) a gathering of friends in GR, 5) Loading of The Truck in GR, 6) our dear friend Keith who went above and beyond to help us, 7) Noah snuggling up to sweet Jenevieve in Akron, 8 ) I finally got to meet my namesake Daniel De Jong, 9) longer story but all the retail in the US is freaking us out, 10) Truckers Dan & Noah, 11) Mia & Hannah playing together in our backyard, 12) Sara delighted beyond belief, 13) Sara with her mom and Hannah in our future garden, 14) a special place – Maymont Park in Richmond, 15) the kids in the gazebo where Sara and I were engaged, 16) Sara and I at Maymont in front of greens and blues like we have never seen (or appreciated!) before.

For a plethora of pictures you can follow these links:
Last Day in Tianjin

First Days in the USA

Exploring Maymont Park in Richmond

— Dan

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Good-byes Have Begun…

Living overseas really helps you understand ‘bitter-sweet’.  We have begun our ‘healthy good-byes’.  More pictures here (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=79505&id=652393818&l=34e50cf31a). Today we got to reconnect with our dear friend Neo who now lives in Guangzhou.  More to come…

– Dan

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Meet our Chinese God-daughter, Xuan Xuan!

There are few privileges granted to a person greater than being asked to be their child’s God parent. We met Wei Wei and her husband Jia Bo shortly after arriving in China 3 years ago, even before they were married. We were honored to attend their wedding (another first for us – the Chinese go big on weddings!). And now, we are entrusted with lifting up their absolutely beautiful daughter Xuan Xuan to our Father throughout her life.

– Dan

Top to bottom:  Wei Wei, Xuan Xuan & Jia Bo // Noah, Xuan Xuan & Sara // Xuan Xuan & Me

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Watato was here!


What do you get when Ugandan children, visit China and sing to kids from Korea, Japan, Holland, Australia, Japan, America, England, and France (just to name a few)?

Watato Children’s Choir at Tianjin International School!  For just a taste, you can view this slideshow or watch this video:  Watato @ TIS.  It was truly incredible!

– Dan


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An Amazing Weekend in Tianjin

It was just perfect.

The weather was crazy nice so decided to make an adventure out of hopping on a double-decker public bus and riding into the city center to get lunch and do some shopping.  What a joy it was to enjoy the gift He has given us in our little family.

Click this link to come with us on a photo slide show of One Day in March…

Dan

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