Looking Back at 2018… Forward at 2019…

It’s 5 days into 2019! Wow! It’s not too late to look back at 2018 and share some thoughts and memories, right?

Here’s our annual Christmas letter from 2018:

HiHi

How are you? Hope this finds you and your family well and enjoying the festive season together, remembering that the reason for Christmas is CHRIST.

2018 has been a fairly emotionally intense year for us. We said a number of sad farewells to family and friends who are now with our Lord in Heaven.

At the end of March, on Good Friday, we received news that Walter’s mother passed away in the early hours of the morning. While we knew that she had been ill, in and out of hospital and this was not unexpected, it was the suddenness of the news which shook us. Walter was up in the air, in a plane, on the way back from a work trip when Sandra got the call in the middle of the night. We made hasty arrangements; got permission from Tobias’ school and, thank God, managed to get flights for the next day. It was a sad time but also a good time of closure and seeing the family pull together. We thank everyone who send their condolences and gave their support. It meant a lot.

In July, we said farewell to a church friend who suffered a second stroke. We were unable to say goodbye in person. Another friend, with whom we had lost touch, also passed away from cancer. We were grateful to have been able to visit with her and be there for her a little bit before she went to be with the Lord in August.

Our final farewell was to our beloved gerbil, Jules, who lived to a ripe old age of 3 years and 3 months; she joined her sisters in gerbil heaven in November.

But the year has not been all sad, there have been happy and great times too.

We welcomed a new family member in September, our little (now not so little) Schnauzer puppy, Lexi! It has been a time of adjustment, having a puppy is a whole new ballgame for all of us. Sandra has had dogs before but never a puppy; a puppy calls for patience which, at times, we didn’t think we had. Then she had a really bad ear infection and then an eye infection. But she is now well and settled in and we are learning to enjoy each other.

Tobias loves having Lexi and works to manage his time between his school work, his gaming time and time for Lexi. He is now in 8th class (Secondary 2 in Singapore) and is very self-motivated to do well at school. He cut back on his outside activities to be able to have time for dog school so he has dropped HipHop and now only plays the violin in an ensemble and he plays squash. He continues to enjoy being part of the teen class at church.

Walter had so many work trips to South Africa this year we have lost count. He traveled almost every week from the end of February to the end of November. It was hard work and difficult to have him away so much. But we managed and are very grateful that he has some respite now. Walter continues to serve on the worship team and as an elder in church.

Sandra scaled back her activities this year; she no longer teaches Chinese class and does not have an English Playgroup this school year. While the latter was not planned, it has been good to have that extra time to adjust to life with a puppy. She continues to teach Sunday School and serves as missions coordinator at church. She has also been working on her writing and hopes to find an agent to represent her in the new year.

In a bid to get more and better writing done, Sandra went to a weekend Spring Retreat organised by the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in April in the lovely Interlaken region. It was very inspiring and productive.

In May, we also enjoyed a wonderful time with our church family, when for the first time in many years, the church organised a church-wide retreat. It was great to get to know more people in an informal and beautiful setting (the Swiss mountains are always amazing to behold). We got to celebrate Tobias’ birthday while at the retreat.

Of course, we enjoyed our annual trip to Singapore in July/August. It is always great to catch up with family and friends and eat all the yummy foods we missed.

So all in all, it has been a pretty full year, once again. And it has been a year which we would not have gotten through without our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and our beloved family and friends who have been so supportive and wonderful. Thank you all.

Wishing you a most blessed Christmas and a fulfilling 2019!

Do stay in touch and let us know what has been happening for you.

With love,

walter, sandra and tobias, and lexi

And here’s our little Christmas/New Year Greeting (i had meant to post this at Christmas but never got round to it):

christmas_greeting2018.png

Wishing everyone a blessed and fulfilling 2019! Let’s go out there and make the world (or at least our little part of it) a better place!

syc

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014…

Today is the last day of 2013! Thank you for reading and being with us in spirit through 2013.

So here’s our annual summary of the year for us (our Christmas letter)… click on the links to see specific posts about specific events!

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HiHi

How are you? We hope this finds you well and enjoying this Christmas season with family and friends, remembering that it is the Christ who has made celebrating Christmas possible.

 2013 has been a year of stepping up to changes.

 Sandra is into her second year of advocating and fundraising for special needs orphans. Many of you who are FB friends with her or read our blog would already have heard much about this ministry. Well, the Lord has given her a more focussed area to pray for and work with; Asia. She has been helping to highlight families who are adopting from Asia as well as Asian special needs orphans. This year also saw the first 2 orphans she prayed and advocated for home with forever families and it truly warms the heart and spurs her on to continue, even though there are times when it seems her efforts has made little difference but the Lord knows and the Lord works in His time and in His ways.

 She is no longer involved with Day Association for Women as a team member because the Bern team closed this Spring. But she stayed on as a web content update person for the association in general. The weekly BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) in Bern has also closed this June.

 Both of which has opened the door and freed up time to pursue yet another orphan related project. Sandra is setting up a social enterprise, selling handmade crafts where 50% of the sale price would go to special needs orphans. The hope is to have the online shop open in early 2014. So stay tune for that news!

 Tobias is in the 3rd grade this school year. He has more time in school now, 5 mornings and 3 afternoons. It also means that the work has become more challenging but he still enjoys school and looks forward to going each day.

 He continues going for Judo trainings on Mondays with his best friend. And recently took part in his 2nd internal competition. This year there were much tougher opponents, although fewer of them. He still managed a 3rd place and we are very proud of him.

 His passion for playing the violin has grown and this year he has been motivated to try songs he has heard, either on the radio or on YouTube. So Sandra spends a fair amount of time searching for scores to certain songs for him to play. They both played in a Christmas recital recently and their teacher has a few more concerts planned in the next few months.

 Walter has had to travel quite a lot this year and mostly to different parts in Africa. He came back in November and fell really sick. We thank God that he made a fairly quick recovery after a week of being ill. Just in time to make the trip back to Singapore in the first week of December to help his parents move into a smaller flat. And of course, when he is here, he continues to lead worship at church.

Travels for us this year consist of the usual; our trip to Singapore to see family and friends and enjoy food we miss so much, and our ski trips – this year we did 2 trips instead of 1 week-long one. Which was great as we got to see / experience a new place – Saanenmoser and enjoy an old favourite, Wengen.

We did not do a farmstay this year but did a number of day trips instead during the Autumn school holidays (Week01, Week02, Week03), this enabled Walter to join us on at least one occasion which is great!

 Last year we related the sad news that we lost one of our Gerbils, Nox and this year Puddles passed away (likely of old age issues) early November. We were much sadden and had considered for a while whether or not we would have more pets.

 We very recently decided, after much persuasion by Tobias, that we would but because of some strict rules here, we found out that actually the cage we have was a bit small for Gerbils and so took a recommendation to adopt some little mice instead. So we welcome Patch, Patches, Ruby and Sam into our home.

Us having fun at the Singapore Discovery Center in July 2013.
Us having fun at the Singapore Discovery Center in July 2013.

Well, that wraps up 2013 for us.

How was the year for you? Do write and let us know.

 Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and a Fulfilling 2014,

 With love,

walter, sandra and tobias

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As i look forward to 2014, i’m excited to see how the hopes planted in 2013 will come to fruition in 2014.

Hoping that 2014 will be a year filled with much hope and fulfillment!

syc

Ending 2012…

Today is the last day of 2012 and 2013 is just a few hours away now… what better way to look back on 2012 than a quick summary which is our annual Christmas letter… (i have put in links to different blog posts for more details if you wish to read more about a certain event/happening.)

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HiHi

How are you? Hoping this finds you and your loved ones well and enjoying the Christmas season. It looks like we will be having a green Christmas over here this year; temps have been above 10 degrees Celsius over the last few days. All the snow we had has already melted. But Christmas doesn’t depend on snow, we have Christmas because of Christ.

2012 has been a year of unexpected and pleasant happenings for us.

Last year Sandra closed her book business and faced the frustrating issue of not having her driver’s license recognised. This year, on 6th November, she passed her Swiss Driver’s test. So it is official and legal, she can now drive in Switzerland.

If you have followed us/Sandra on Facebook, you would have seen some postings from our new blog (trippingdifferently.com) and you have also seen postings about the advocate ministry Sandra is now involved in; advocating, building awareness and fundraising for special needs orphans in Eastern Europe, Latin American and Asia. Thank you all who have been such wonderful support for this ministry. If you would like to find out more, please contact Sandra on Facebook or email.

She is also still involved with the Day Away Association for Women and attends the weekly BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). Her German lesson are also a regular weekly feature. She hopes to be able to take her B1 Level German exam in March and be done with German classes after that.

Tobias is in 2nd Grade and still loving school lots. He is doing well at school. At our last contact with his teacher, she said, “If you don’t hear from me, then all is well.” He has finished with swim classes, having gotten his 7th and final badge just before the summer holidays.

He continues with his Judo training and most recently took the yellow-belt test and passed. He is so happy about it. He also entered his first Judo competition in November, an internal one for his Dojo and came in 3rd in his category. We are very proud.

Music-wise, Tobias has started the violin and is very excited about it. Sandra joined him in classes and she is loving it too. The violin teacher is very pleased with their progress since August. They performed in a recital together, just before the end of the school term. So playing the guitar has taken a backseat for now.

Walter still travels a fair bit for work. This year’s travels featured a lot of Africa. Thankfully there are low periods too. The recent Oct/Nov months was a busy time and he was gone most of those months. But he managed to squeeze in a 5-day trip to Singapore to help oversee some stuff at his parents’ place. He still plays as much as he can for worship at church.

Our family travels this year, of course, included our annual trip back to Singapore, where we enjoyed fabulous food and the company of family and friends. In February, we did our ski week in Wengen and had some friends come over for a day, another friend joined us for 2 days and another one was with us the whole time. It was great.

For this year’s farmstay, Tobias wanted his best friend to come along. So it was Sandra, Tobias and Sebi helping out on a farm, not far from the city of Bern, for 3 days, 2 nights. We stayed with a lovely Christian family who also had boys about the same ages. The boys had a blast. So much so, Tobias is wanting to go back for 4 nights next time!

We do have one sad news. One of our Gerbils (they came to live with us September 2011) passed away. We will miss our beloved Nox. But we still have Puddles and hope she will be with us at least another couple of years.

Daddy, Son, Mummy... i love...
Daddy, Son, Mummy… i love…

That’s pretty much covers 2012 for us. How was your year? Do drop us an email/letter and let us know.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful 2013.

With love,

walter, sandra & tobias.

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Looking back, it has been a year of learning and i look forward to putting all that knowledge and new skills into good use in 2013.

Hoping that 2013 would be an amazing year of dreams come true for you and your loved ones.

God Bless You All.

syc