|Hammonds - December 2011|
What a privilege it is to catch up with one another at the end of each year. We enjoy reading updates from family and friends far and wide. When you read someone else's story, your own is always put in a fresh perspective!
Each of our family members has had 'new chapters' in their lives this year, and as we reflect upon the last year,
Andrea will tell her own story separately, but from my side, what a blessing it has been to have her on South African soil for the last 6 months! She and I have spent precious times walking together early morning every day, and she has even joined me in my Dragon Boat Paddling twice a week. The Breast Cancer Survivor Team, I paddle with, have adopted her on to our Boat, and have kept up to date on all the details leading up to the wedding.
My dear mother celebrated her 80th Birthday this year. I was able to fly to Arizona (on Dad's frequent flyer miles) to visit Mom and Dad. It was a special time for a number of reasons, especially as it was the first time I had seen my parents since the Kidney transplant and since my Cancer operation and the Chemotherapy. There was so much to catch up on, on so many levels. Tammy Combs – my soon to be in-laws – hosted a beautiful Birthday Tea for Mom, with the able help of Jan Gilbert and Susan Parks. It was a reunion as well, in that we were able to fellowship and celebrate with friends we have not seen in many years. During my visit of course I had a chance to get to know Hunter, and spent many hours in good fellowship with Andrea. President George Bush was the speaker for the 50th anniversary of Arizona Christian University and Andrea sang in the combined choir for this occasion. So we enjoyed not only witnessing Andrea sing, but also relished hearing the President speak.
In the course of my visit I managed to link up with the newly formed Breast Cancer Survivor Team and participated in a Dragon Boat Festival. This was a momentous occasion in that there were over 50 Teams participating, 7 of which were all made up of BC survivors. What an experience that was! My stay with Mom and Dad this year will linger in my memory for a very long time. Our fellowship was rich and our many walks down memory lane were precious. God has blessed me indeed with wonderful parents. Mom and Dad celebrate 60 years of marriage and ministry this year. Peter of course held the Fort here, and very ably took care of sports, school, meals and the multitude of other things happening… in addition to his own responsibilities of course! Peter's sister Vanessa came down to Cape Town to help out around the home while I was in Arizona.
All of our children have been involved in several aspects of our ministry again this year. It was lovely to have Andrea participate in our camps, courses and outreaches, travel with Peter, the Women's Day outreaches and the Life Chain in October. She has also been involved with our radio ministry and her involvement at the Mission has been very helpful to Peter. Her portfolio grows more impressive each year! For our Thanksgiving celebrations with our Mission Staff, each of our children gave thanks for the privilege of being involved with our ministry and it blessed Peter and I to hear our children's love for the Lord expressed so eloquently.
My own health has been good this year. I am still in remission and am on a five year course of Tamoxiphen. My chemotherapy ended in January, and it was made that much easier for me because I had my dear sister Debbie visiting for Christmas. She held my hand during my infusions and made sure my family had fabulous meals during her stay. Christopher frequently asks when Aunty Debbie is coming to cook for us again! I do not have the stamina I used to, but try to maintain my health by exercise and good supplements.
Peter continues to be the solid rock and glue of our family, and keeps us all focused when emotions run high. Our home is a hive of activity at any given time of the day, but we try never to sacrifice our time together over the dinner table. We were blessed by a v
The new chapter for our family in general of course is the fact that we have added a fiancé/son-in-law in Hunter Combs to our family! What a blessing it has been to have him here in the Southern Hemisphere involved in ministry with us. While Andrea and Hunter are young, we are certain that the time is right for them to be joined in marriage. They plan to both return to the US, so that Andrea can finish her degree in Journalism as she is still on a full scholarship there. Their intention is to return to Africa in full-time Missions, which will make Andrea a third generation Missionary.
May our Heavenly Father be your source of joy and strength as well, as you wind down your year. May He be your focus as you celebrate His Incarnation at this time. Thank you for standing with us in so many ways, but most importantly for your consistent prayers and fellowship.