“I can’t believe it is almost Christmas again!” How often do we hear people say that? For me, and probably most of you as well, this past year has been an especially difficult year, with emotions sky rocketing from anger, to hurt, to fear, to sadness, to ……, to ……. A year of real challenges.

At CoLAB it’s been a year of huge changes. We had to say goodbye to Dave Liebenberg, Bradley, Antoinette, Izak, Ferdie and Dave vd Westhuizen, just to have Bradley and Dave contracted back to us again. We were fortunate to have had Morné, Lizelle and Siphiwe join us. Difficult decisions had to be made, costs had to be cut, hurts had to heal, trust had to be rebuild, workloads had to be spread, new teams had to be build, products had to be repackaged, and so we can carry on and on. Change is never easy!

On the South African front we’ve had to deal with a few political issues: from the whole Nene/Van Rooyen debacle last December, having our hearts sag, just to be elated again when Gordhan was made Minister of Finance, to the exposure of more and more incidents of corruption, the Guptas, pre-election protests, good election results to President Zuma having his knife in for Gordhan just two weeks later, the “fees must fall” campaigns, “Zuma must fall” campaigns, our President seemingly being out of control, and more. On top of this we’ve had to deal with extreme droughts leaving some towns without water and recently floods in which people have died.

On the international front it’s been war with people dying in the middle east, Russia and the USA growling at each other, ISIS playing havoc in Europe, the BREXIT decision and the US presidential election. Together with earthquakes and floods destroying cities and taking lives. What a mess!

For Barend and I this has been a year in which we had to learn to stand firm, to keep our eyes on the Lord and not our problems and the chaos around us, and realising the importance of being in a place of rest. Our friend Brett Johnson once said “Exhaustion makes cowards out of all of us”.

In the midst of all this we know that we are blessed! As favourites of our Lord we find our peace in Him, we can know that we are loved and are able to Love, and we find our joy in the smallest of things.

I want to thank each one of you for your love, support, grace and trust in this past year. We as CoLAB and the management of CoLAB are in a good place. We have survived difficult circumstances, were able to pull together as a team and are all stronger than what we were at the beginning of the year. I am amazed and excited in the growth that I’ve seen in our people, the way they dealt with the difficulties and how they’ve stepped up into leadership. I am expectant and excited to see what God has for us next year.

I wish you a joy-filled Christmas, full of Love and God’s amazing Peace. May it be a time for each of you to re-connect with family and friends (old and new) and of rest. Travel safe! Let’s start our New Year well rested and excited for the changes and the blessings that God has for us.

All my love, Susan.

JOHN 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.