Snapshots of God's grace in 2019

We trust you have had a wonderful Christmas season celebrating the incarnation of the Savior!

This year has been quite an adventure for our family! In January we visited Antioch Bible Church in Johannesburg for the first time, and today we are deeply involved in the ministries and life of the church. Here are five of the highlights of the months in between, and what that's looked like for each of us.
Family Photo 2019

1. A Decade of Relationships

As the news spread that we were leaving Malawi, we were humbled by the many friends who took the time to encourage us with ways God had used us in their lives over the years. It's interesting to see what people remember about you!

Some people showed us a home they built with the savings plans we developed for them. There are children who were named for or by us as babies, some of whom are now school age. But most meaningful was to hear of specific ways people had grown in Christlikeness because of something we taught them from the Word of God and tried to model with our lives.

2. Malawi "Lasts"

The first half of 2019 was marked by the last time to do some of our favorite Malawi things: our last church camp, our last dinner at Kortasia, our last small group, our last trip to Lake Malawi. For years we've chatted with our friends the Hirotos about "someday" taking our families up Mt. Mulanje together, so we finally did it!

3. Moving Countries

Do we take the washing machine? How about the schoolroom shelves? What will our new house have? Which things can we replace cheaply? We took our best guess at questions like this, then sold or gave away a bunch of stuff. The rest we shipped off to South Africa. (In hindsight, we should have left the shelves, but we're thankful to have an American-sized washer!)

4. USA

We spent June in California, enjoying the Legacy Conference at Grace Community Church and being encouraged by God's faithfulness to fellow laborers around the globe. We also received our visa - thanks to all of you who were praying with us! 

5. South Africa "Firsts"

The second half of 2019 was settling into Johannesburg! We were warmly welcomed by the church and got involved right away (more below). We found immediate friends in the Russells, who graciously hosted us while we searched for a house and waited for our container. The Lord has provided us with a lovely townhouse to rent, which has already given us opportunities for counseling and hospitality. After Malawi, we all felt culture shock around the big malls and exotic cars! But we've also found enough potholes, bugs, and other creatures to assure ourselves that we are, in fact, still in Africa.



When we first moved to Malawi, our new ministry partner Brian left the country three days later. Seemingly keeping with that tradition, our ministry partner Tim took a sabbatical a month after we arrived, while Robin was already on sick leave. (Maybe it's me??)

I was privileged to take over the Antioch Counseling Training (ACT) program right away. It was such a joy to help equip nearly 30 laypeople to counsel people who are struggling with the Word of God. Our students attended 200 hours of class, did 3500 pages of reading, and learned over 200 verses - I'm so grateful for their hard work! Also, because nearly everyone is a member of our church, we've been able to make their training very practical. It's been exciting to connect people who need counseling with our ACT graduates, and see the body of Christ at work!
I'm also giving leadership to the children's ministry, small groups, the Ironmen group, and a new leadership training program. I'll continue overseeing counseling ministries too, including exploring ways to help other local churches teach their members how to do biblical counseling. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon!


As soon as our container of books arrived, Rachel started homeschooling the girls again. She also began boldly exploring Johannesburg and learning how to live in a big city. Like Matt, Rachel is involved in counseling several times a week. During the ACT intensive week, she got to pretend to be a counselee so our students could practice what they've learned (Rachel later reported that it's exhausting having to cry that many times in one day!) She has enjoyed being part of the church, building relationships with people at Antioch, and has been asked to help lead the seminary wives Bible study. 

Abigail (9)

Abigail is enjoying fourth grade and has made new friends quickly. The church groundskeeper, Japhet, has recruited Abi to help rescue all the birds that get stuck in the church. That's also how we came to have a bunny named Charcoal living in our back yard. Abi has enjoyed piano lessons, and during the Christmas break has been trying to play every piece of music she can find!

Naomi (6)

Naomi is our kindergarten math whiz, and loves tennis lessons! This year she has learned how to snap, dust the furniture, and ice skate (yes, they have that here!) She is excellent at observing people and will immediately notice if someone has done their hair differently. She's growing up, but isn't too big to give snuggles!


Do We Have Your Address?

Finally, we're working on some new prayer cards, and would love to send you one. If you're not sure if we have your current address, please hit reply and send it to us!
While there's much to keep our attention here, we often think of those of you on the other side of the world. We thank God for your love, prayers, and support. 

Special thanks to everyone who sent us a Christmas card or letter...we love hearing about specific ways we can pray for you!

Because of His mercy,
Matt & Rachel
Abigail & Naomi

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Matt & Rachel Floreen • 13248 Roscoe Blvd. • Sun Valley, CA 91352

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