One of the real highlights of living far from friends and family is when they come to visit! We have recently enjoyed a bit of whirlwind visit from good friends John and Tricia who hail from one of our partner churches in the UK. Joel was particularly excited to be seeing them as he well remembered their house in Cheadle as being the one where the airplanes fly over every 30 seconds!
One of the perks of their particular stage of life for John and Tricia is that Tricia gets to be the ship doctor on various cruise liners a couple of times a year and March 2010 just so happened to be cruising on the Balmoral out of Cape Town - how thrilled were we! So, they arranged to arrive in CT one week early to visit us and some family in Durban before sailing out and back home to the UK.
It was a real treat and privilege for us to introduce them to our good friends in Chris Nissen Park and to newer friends in Macassar. Although they were only here a short time, it was lovely to see how much John and Tricia gave themselves to people and loved sharing their lives with our friends. It was particularly helpful to Paula and the HOPE ladies to have a GP first hand as they visited patients that Friday morning - something that some of them have never had the benefit of!! John enjoyed a good old chat with Michael and looked around his house and they were even given a tour of the sights of Macassar by one of our elders! One of the highlights for us all was that they were able to slightly change their plans to be able to join us at a Macassar church family wedding on the Saturday. This was such a blessing all round as they got to meet so many friends and were also able to help us out with keeping an eye on the boys whilst Dean performed his role as official photographer and Paula as chauffeur to the bride and bridesmaids!!
Of course, we also found time to go wine tasting, to the beach to see the penguins and generally to enjoy the beauty of the Western Cape in summertime! Topped off with a particularly stunning meal at our favourite restaurant one evening. Dean and I also found this visit such a useful time to talk, share thoughts, feelings and ideas and to make decisions. We often find that times with old friends are so good for this. We are also thrilled to know that they will go back with a far greater understanding of what we do, who our friends are etc. and will be much better able to pray, which is great!
The visit was topped of with a real surprise for the boys. We had told them that we were going to drop John and Tricia at the ship and wave them goodbye. What they didn't know was that prior arrangements had been made to enable us to have lunch on board the Balmoral. Joel's eyes nearly jumped out of his head when he found out! It was a truly perfect end to a fantastic visit. Thank you John and Tricia so much and we can't wait to see you again in January!
See more photos here