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A letter from Frank and Nancy Dimmock in Lesotho

Christmas 2011

Nathan and Leah are married!
Nathan and Leah get the front page of our Christmas newsletter again. They were married in Hampton, Va., on September 4, 2011, which also happened to be Frank’s birthday! Their siblings were their attendants, which worked out to be five boys and five girls. Jackson was their ring bearer, and oh so proud of the responsibility. Granddad, Dave Miller, officiated and “tied the knot” well!

We are on furlough this year and living in Decatur, Georgia. So we rented a 15-seater van and made the trek to Virginia over Labor Day weekend. The long drive with extra friends of the family, meeting Leah’s family, an afternoon of play at the beach, the rehearsal (great speech by the best man, which had us all choked up), and the wedding itself were all great fun and very special.

Nathan and Leah are living in an apartment in Hampton and are adjusting with joy (for the most part!) to real life as a married couple. Leah continues to work as a receptionist/youth and women’s ministry leader at a large Baptist church, and Nathan is working as a welder in one of the shipyards. They would like to get their school loans paid off and get “on their feet” before applying to serve on the mission field somewhere. We know that God is accomplishing His wonderful plan for their lives now and has much in store for their future.

They will be coming down to North Carolina where we will ALL be gathering for Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2011 from the Dimmocks!
In our family devotions the other night we read about clues to God’s great mystery. From the time Adam and Eve sinned, God promised he would send a Savior who would free people from their sin. All through the Old Testament, God reminded the people of His promise and His writers wrote clues so people would recognize the Savior when he came. The Old Testament contains more than 400 clues and every single one came true, and every single one came true in Jesus Christ!

They said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and be a descendant of David (Isaiah 16:5). All of these things, plus many more, came true. Because of Bible clues, we can know for sure that Jesus is the Savior. Our whole family found that to be really cool and really good news!

We are so thankful to God for the gift of faith, and for pointing us to the Savior.

Jesse in Georgia — and a few other places
In February Jesse drove to Atlanta from western North Carolina to attend Sechaba’s baptism. Sechaba was one of our foster kids from Lesotho, who was adopted by a family in our home church in Georgia! (He is doing wonderfully well.) Sechaba’s new dad asked Jesse to help him implement his vision for helping young people gain life skills and perspective by reaching “beyond themselves.” She was finishing her year as an intern in the Center for Youth and Young Adult Ministry in Montreat, N.C., in April, so she started work on Beyond Self in May (check it out online at www.beyondself.org). She was able to help get it established as an official nonprofit, with logo, website, official status, and many contacts, but found her own youthfulness to be a detriment to getting actual programs up and running. She resigned in November and has plans to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta next year, taking their one-year program in photojournalism. Her hope is to use these new skills to help a mission-sending organization (PC(USA)? SIM?) interpret what God is doing through them, from their fields of service. Have camera, will travel!

Jackson—big 7-year-old
Jackson JUST turned 7 on December 12, with a party at Chuck E Cheese. He continues to delight us with his “Jack-isms” spoken so articulately. 

“You know what I’m REALLY looking forward to tomorrow?” “No, what?”

“Waking up in the morning and getting dressed for school!”

He was a dragon for Halloween, and on his walk around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and receiving candy, he kept saying, “This is the best night EVER!”

Life is great for Jack—full of learning and reading and playing with next-door-neighbor, age-mate twins, John and Joseph McGill.

Katie loves to worship God
Katie was with us in Lesotho for the first half of 2011, taking another break from college and working again as assistant P.E. teacher in the kids’ international primary school. She also worked with the youth at the international church. She grew in her love of worship music, and in June led a worship service/concert at the orphanage from which she came. What a blessing for everyone involved!

She helped us pack up, and we came back to the U.S. together in mid-July. She is enrolled in college once again, trying to complete her associate degree online while living with us at Mission Haven in Decatur—where we are on furlough until mid-2012. We are blessed to have this time with her.

Isaac and American football
Isaac turned 9 at the end of October also with a party at Chuck E Cheese. His new friends are into American football, so he is embracing the game with the fervor of a fanatic. Not only does he play every afternoon, but he has learned the names and stats of most college and professional players too!

Alifa
Alifa had a tough year at the secondary school in Lesotho. She found the environment harsh and really struggled academically and socially. She is actually liking school in the U.S., finding genuine, loyal friends and teachers who care and do not use shame as a motivator. She is in the 7th grade at the public middle school here in Decatur.  She has grown into a beautiful young lady, who is sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. She is talkative and full of fun. Also messy and creative! We have to take a shovel to her bedroom on a regular basis! :)

Moses is back!
Moses got back from Northern Ireland in August. He would say that his year as a Young Adult Volunteer was both enriching and challenging. He especially enjoyed his interactions with the kids at the 174 Trust and misses his friends and colleagues there. He has joined the multitude of other unemployed college graduates in the U.S. job market. It has been frustrating, but he continues to keep sending his resume out far and wide, and we are hopeful that he will find something “just right” in the right time. Meanwhile, he did take a three-week temporary job with Samaritan’s Purse, which he thoroughly enjoyed. They were packing containers with Christmas child shoeboxes and sending them off with much prayer. He very much appreciated the devotional environment and feeling like he was a part of something big. He is living with us in December and has been such a help with his younger siblings, helping to maintain the household when Mom and Dad have both been away speaking in churches around the country.

Andrew—Skaterboy
Andrew continues to grow and grow and grow. He’s 14 now and at 5’10” has passed Moses and is catching up fast to his Dad. His new passion here in the U.S. is skateboarding. He’s developed a whole new vocabulary and, out of self-defense, so have we! We are learning about bone bearings and thunder trucks and various decks and shoes! He spends his spare time on YouTube learning the moves and then practicing them in our driveway. He is a natural.

School continues to be something to endure, but he is figuring out the system here in the U.S. and is doing better.

Daddy Frank
Frank visited South Africa, Ethiopia, D.R. Congo, and Malawi during the first half of 2011, anticipating that it would be a while before he could get back to these places to encourage folks and visit projects. He has returned to Africa this fall for meetings with PC(USA) Africa regional staff and again to facilitate a meeting of the Board of African Christian Health Associations.

He and Nancy are sharing a very busy itineration schedule and enjoy meeting folks throughout the U.S. who are interested in mission. He has also attended training sessions on trauma healing and on the growing phenomenon of children accused of witchcraft. Family time, emails, and reading occupy the remainder of his schedule. He will be working with a group to update the Africa’s Children publication that he worked on during our last home assignment in 2006.

Thanksgiving was a time to spend together with many of the Dimmock extended family in Montreat. We are so thankful for family. We are also very thankful for the prayers and support of so many throughout the U.S. You make it possible for us to work with African partners in health and with children’s ministries.

In January Frank will visit two early childhood development projects in western Ethiopia. He has been excited about the potential of giving young preschool children a "head start." We are praying for peace in the DRC following contested elections and for good governance and a resolution to the economic challenges in Malawi. Frank is concerned with the implications of conflict, displacement and food insecurity for the most vulnerable groups—children and women. PC(USA) World Mission has identified three critical global issues to strategically direct mission work. These include: addressing the root causes of poverty (especially as they affect women and children), sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and engaging in reconciliation amidst cultures of violence. Please pray for and support the World Mission program of the PC(USA).

Mama Nancy
In January 2011 three more children were brought to Ministry of Hope Lesotho for rehab and preparation for adoption. And my dear colleague Mamonyane began her breast-feeding support program with a mother of twins! Then four more children, not scheduled for adoption, were brought in May for nutritional support. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to leave my friend "in the lurch" with the full burden of the ministry on her shoulders. I was grieving during our final weeks of packing up in June. However, the pastor of our church in his Sunday sermon before we left said, "often God separates us from the people we love in order for both sides to grow up." So that must be what we are doing during this year of separation—we are growing up in the different ways that we need to grow!

The highlights of 2011 for me have been the wonderful times of family gatherings. Katie was with us for the first six months of the year in Lesotho. Nathan and Leah were able to come for two weeks in late June. (We may have overwhelmed Leah with our "Africa orientation," but she seemed to enjoy it and take it all in stride!) We were able to travel through Northern Ireland on our way back to the States in July and saw Moses and met some of the people that meant a lot to him during the year. And we reconnected with our Northern Irish/Malawi missionary "family," which was special.

Good times with my mom and dad (who remain in good health), experiencing the "Fun Factory" with my younger brother and his family, and brief visits with big brother, David, and his family, have been great. Both were able to come to the wedding, as were all of Frank’s family! We also had a special Dimmock gathering over Thanksgiving, at which time we heard news that three new cousins are on the way—all to be born in the spring.

Here in Decatur there are eight of us living in the biggest house available at Mission Haven, with Jesse just a five-minute drive away. The "big kids" help with the "little kids" while Frank and I travel, and we have shared lots of meals and activities together. We miss being near Nathan and Leah, but are SO looking forward to time with them over Christmas.

We wish you all the joys of this season of amazing Good News—"for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord!"

Frank and Nancy Dimmock and family

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 111

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