Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A new chapter.

So with the closing of my chapter in Namibia, the Lord is already starting to script out this next new chapter. 

I would love for y'all to continue following along with me in this life. 

You can find my new blog at the address below! Read on, share, and comment. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A thank you.

Most days, more often than not, its hard to even believe the last year of my life even happened. Looking back a year ago, I was quitting a good job, to follow a calling I felt to serve in Africa. Wow. Now a year later, I am back home, earlier than expected, and blown away by the experience I had. 

Before I go any further, I want to share with you all an email I sent out soon after finding out for sure, I was going to have to leave earlier than I planned. 


"Friends and Family

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Sometimes His sovereign goodness is displayed in a manner in which we didn’t expect to see his good. That sometime happened to me just yesterday.

As most of you know, yesterday was border-crossing day for me. My passport stamp expires on the 24th of the month, so it was important to cross a few days in advance just to be on the safe side. With an early morning start and an amazing Game drive safari in Botswana, we made our way back towards the Ngoma border crossing back into Namibia.

I can’t even begin to explain to you the nerves I felt with each passing mile. All I could do was pray.

As we reached the border, and stood in the long line of people trying to get in the country, I’m sure I was pale in the face. My nerves had gotten the best of me. Sure it is easy for me, every step of the way leading up to this moment to give it over to God, to trust Him with everything that is within me. But in that moment standing in line, my heart dropped deeper into my stomach with every loud thud of that immigration officer’s stamp.

When my time finally arrived, I kindly handed over my passport, smiled my biggest smile and tried to make small talk with the officer behind the glass. Apparently the heat and the long lines had gotten to him, because he was in no mood for conversation. After several remarks, threats, and questions, he finally stamped my passport and handed it to me without a word.

I walked out of the building and opened my passport to see that I was not given any sort of extension. My date remained the same. September 24th. Tears immediately filled my eyes until my vision was blurred. My first thought, “I have to say goodbye, and how do I even begin that process.”

After a car ride of tears, that saying came to my mind. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Even now, in my sadness, shock, and confusion of emotions in coming home, my God is good.

I want each and every one of you to know how important you have been along this 9-month journey. I am so thankful to have people such as you in my life to love and support me.

As I begin the process of saying goodbye, and the long journey home, please remain in prayer for me. Intercede on my behalf requesting that the Lord will bring peace and comfort that washes over all of my sadness."


So now with the recap of what happened just over a month ago, I want to share with you all a thank you. 

Please watch the video, and pass it along. 

Thank you again for it all. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A whirlwind of a month!!!

Well it has again been to long since I have updated on this blog! YIKES! I am so bad at this! I hope you all will forgive me!

Well since the last week of August things have not slowed down one beat around here!

The Curry’s (our directors) left the end of August for the first 3 month Furlough. We were sad to see them leave, but we know how excited they are to see family and friends!

Before they left, a few of the Aunties and I decided to surprise them with a going away party! It was tons of fun! There was SO much food that it was almost insane! The children performed some dancing and singing, and I made a video with all the children giving them a little message! It was a fun afternoon, but followed by swimming in the Zambezi River! Now that was fun! The water was freezing, but it was definitely worth it!

With the Curry’s leaving, The Mission Society sent a wonderful couple from the States. Ed and Linda Baker. They are very seasoned missionaries and it is great having them here! Also, Carl Otter, a member of the Children Of Zion board in Maryland came the same time! Today we said goodbye to Carl as he makes his way back home. But it was great to have him here to help!

Once they left, things of course swept right back into crazy-busy-never-a-normal-day mode! Considering it was school break, most of our Out-schooler kids were home for the 2-week break! There were lots of kids and lots of playing over those 2 weeks!

Now that school is back in session things have slowly started to get back to normal…. Well as normal as things are around here! We have had our fair share of vehicle problems, late night drives to pick up kids, and several long days in hospital queues!

But there has been fun too….

This past Sunday, the Bakers, Carl and I took the boat out on the Zambezi doing a little “animal hunting!!” We were so excited to see Crocodiles, Hippos, and otters! It was a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon!

I’m sure the weeks will continue to have their unique craziness, but I am glad to be here learning, growing, and changing. I know that the Lord is stretching me in ways that before I thought would have surely made me break!

Here are a few pics! 

Me cutting the cakes at the party!

Travis, Lorna, and I

Crazy haired little girls!

The kids washing the car!


Linda and I on the boat!

More hippos!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Then there are these moments...

You know the kind, a brief almost seemingly insignificant moment in time, maybe it is a few words said in passing, or a look given from across a crowded room. Whatever the scenario, no matter the place, it moves you, provokes you to act, drawing on the human instinct to follow your heart. Or in cases like my moment last night, it moves you to your core awakening your every pore to the unmistakable weight in the room.

Last night was one of those moments.

With tears brimming my eyes ready to tumble downwards, I watched as a group of our kids performed a dance to the song “City on its knees.” I’ve seen them act it out a million times before. But tonight, in this room, something was different. Something was there with us. I looked around the room at these children feeling more love than I ever thought possible. So much more than I thought I could ever love a once stranger. All around me I saw Jesus. I saw Him in the concentration of those dancing. I saw him in the little ones running around with their hands held up to be swooped off the ground. His face was illuminated in a gentle teenagers smile as she sat next to me. His presence was thick, almost suffocating in the atmosphere. In that moment I had to stop, breath, and count my every blessing.

Jesus called me here to Children of Zion Village for a specific reason and even if I never know or see that reason, I was brought here to feel, see, and taste Jesus in the way I did on that cold Thursday night in August.

As I sat there overwhelmed with love, emotion, Jesus, sweet Mona came and sat with me engaging in simple conversation. When the teams impending departure and a question of any other volunteers in the near future coming to join us, I simply answered with a smirk and a “sorry, its just me” sarcastic answer. She had her hands lightly playing with my hair, combing every piece into place; sweetly she said words that permeated every ounce of my being.

“Auntie, you just belong here. You are like one of us.”

A moment in time, a simple phrase said in the easiest of moments with simple words from a sweet teenage girl will forever be branded on my heart and memories of my time here. I can’t even begin to express the welling up of joy, love, and raw emotion that consumed me.

I am simply where God wants me and He made that evidently clear.

I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me in the future, what path He has planned for me, but I know for certain that if that is what it feels like to be right in the midst of His will and Holy presence, then I would blindly follow Him anywhere.

So today I am thankful for this place, because sometimes out of the blue, something clicks and you know then, that there are these little moments that define it all. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I get knocked down....

You know the lyrics… everyone does. “I get knocked down, but I get up again, your never gonna keep me down…” and so on and so on. Feel free to add the ever-popular head bob in as well.

Well this seems to be Satan’s tactic in my life. But like they lyrics say, He has no capability of keeping me down.

As you might or might not know, since the time I left the states, sickness has been the one thing that has plagued my time here.  This time around I really thought this sickness was going to be the one! I can’t tell you how terrible I felt. Lets add to it the added exhaustion of jet lag and it equals an awful 10 days of sickness.

But I can’t help but be drawn closer to the Lord every time I get sick. It makes me laugh because I know that the evil one is using this to break me and wear me down, but inevitably it brings me closer to my savior every time.

Since I was cooped up in the house so much, I spent so much time in the word, and pleading with the lord in prayer.

Although I wish I could skip out on the being sick part, I have to say I am grateful for the ways the ultimate physician has provided healing in His way and His time.

So this week, I am thankful for sickness, and even more thankful for a Lord who can and will heal me in His time! 

Travel Woes and Sweet Hellos

Traveling halfway around the world is certain to raise problems, right? Well I guess that last two times I got lucky. This time, the travel was not so pleasant!

To start off the terrible three days, my British airways flight from Dallas to London was cancelled. There was a fuel leak in the plane and so we couldn’t take off. So they had us standing in lines trying to fix our reservations for what seemed like hours!  When I finally got up there, they told me they had one more seat on an American Airlines flight to London that was leaving at 9:30pm that night, and at the time it was like 8:45. So I took that seat rushed to AA checked my luggage and headed to the gate. I looked at my boarding pass and it said “FIRST” and yes that means FIRST CLASS. I was seriously SO excited! And let me tell you that first class cabin is seriously awesome. My seat turned into a bed. They served me dinner on real china, offered me pajamas, and hot towels! So fancy!

Well I got to London around 12:30 local time, and I rushed to lock up my carry on items and head into London. The train took about an hour to get to Trafalgar Square. That is where my tour bus left. The tour was great, and such an easy way to get to see things. Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay on the whole time! But that’s okay! Because of the Olympics the trains were SO slow and it took forever to get back to the airport! Of course as in the fashion my travel has been playing out, that flight didn’t even end up taking off until 2 hours later, because the pilot was late!

I got to Johannesburg Wednesday morning at about 8am. I headed through customs to go get my luggage. I waited and waited and waited. Finally nothing else was coming. Commence freak out mode. So I headed over to claims and the lady tells me that my luggage was left in LONDON. I almost lost it! I was so mad! After what seemed like forever I believe I finally conveyed how important it was that those bags made it to Kasane, Botswana on the next flight. They promised me there would be no issues! 

I left Johannesburg about 11:30 and got to kasane at almost 2. Travis and Lorna were there waiting for me it was great to see them!!

Unfortunately during all my travel I developed some sort of awful cough, and even still today I have it! But when I landed that first day, I had absolutely no voice! What a fun way to start things out!

We spent a little bit in kasane and had lunch at a restaurant and did some shopping in town. On our drive to the border my nerves kept getting higher and higher about possibly not being allowed into the country! But the awesome animals helped distract me! We watched an elephant knock over a tree right in front of us! It was awesome! We also saw monkeys, zebras, kudu and sable!

So we finally get to the border and I could hardly breathe I was so nervous! Since I have been gone, the border became computerized. Which means they scan your passport and can see your travel history, and all your information. The problem with that is that know they really know how long I have been in the country. I hand the lady my passport, she reads my form, scans my passport, and then stamps it. I had asked for 3 months, and when we got outside I looked at it and she only gave me 2 months (September 24th) which I guess is better than nothing. All this means that we are searching out options on how to get enough time to stay in the country longer!

But I have to honest. I can’t tell you how at peace I am with all this craziness. It is so funny; old me would have just about had a panic attack in the unknown. But I do have peace, I have an understanding that God is in control and He will keep me here as long as He wants me here! I just have no clue what that looks like or how it will play out right now! But that’s okay!

We finally got to ZION. When I walked up to the children’s home, someone saw me and yelled “AUNTIE MAKINSEYS HERE” and literally ALL the children ran out and gave me hugs and asking millions of questions. Seriously made me the happiest I have been in a long time!!! Then little Liseli comes running out, she kind of looked at me funny, and all the kids were asking her if she remembered me, and she just wasn’t to sure. But then about 10min later she was running at me with her hands held up for me to pick her up! Nsala remembered me right away! She came running yelling my name! SO sweet!

The twins are HUGE. Its so precious! I’ll have to have a baby photo shoot soon and upload pictures!!

I hung out with the kids for awhile that evening and then headed to my house to shower and head to bed. It is weird being here all by myself. Its so quiet in my house, kind of creepy! I went to sleep at like 9:30 and slept almost the whole night! It was great!

Over the last several days, I have just been trying to get back into the swing of things. As I mentioned earlier, I am under the weather. For some reason I just can’t kick this cough and flu like symptoms. Besides that, this past weekend was an outschoolers weekend, so Friday we loaded up the cars and headed to pick up all the kids! I drove the quantum there and I have to say did pretty darn good, for being gone for a month! We had a great weekend having all the kids home!

Zion was also busy with a different kind of adventure! A local church hosted their kids camp here on our property. They camped out all weekend and they were so excited! We could hear them singing all throughout the day! They got to go on a boat ride and an adventure walk around the island! Some of the men who were involved in the helping are the same men who sang at the church service I went to before heading back to the states. They have voices that are so amazing! We enjoyed their singing so much, they even came to our church service on Sunday!

Sunday afternoon we drove all the kids back to their schools. This time I went with Travis to a different school. While we were waiting on some of the kids, we heard that they were cleaning game from the festival they had over the weekend. So we pulled the car over and the first thing we saw…. A hippo head just laying on the ground! We saw parts of elephants, Cape buffalo, hippo, and wildebeest. Talk about a crazy sight.

Over all this first week back has been great! I can’t wait to see how God chooses to move and use me in these months here! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lessons From Home

Being away for 5 months doesn’t seem to really be all that long, that is until you are home again.

As some of you know, I spent the last month back at home, celebrating the marriage of two friends, visiting family members, and spending quality time with the ones I love. But it was in my visit home that I learned a few things.

The first being that, in all things, no matter the time, things change, people change. That change is one that I was not particularly naïve to, but unfortunately it snuck up on me faster than I imagined. Those 5 months I was gone, were a normal 5 months for the rest of the world, daily routines, jobs, and life happenings.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I saw was not how I had imagined it. Deep down I understand the process of change,  I understand that natural evolution of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

The second thing I learned was that relationships take effort. If both parties are not willing to put up an effort to make time for the other in essence the relationship will fail. I don’t know if I can generalize it in every situation, but if you don’t make the time, there will be nothing left of what was once there. I hate that this process is true, but it has proven its pain in my life, and some of my closest relationships. All I can say about this lesson is that I hope with everything that a second time around the will to fight for the relationship is there.

Home all together was very refreshing. I can’t even tell you how much fun I had catching up, relaxing, and just being around loved ones.  Most days were spent with my best friend Melissa Davis. Wow, I am thankful for that girl. Not only did she genuinely care to hear about my experience in Namibia, she also knew when I was tired of talking about it!

The first Sunday I was back, I had the chance to gather most of my supporters together for dinner and the chance to share stories and pictures. I had a wonderful video I worked on for weeks, and of course the day of, my computer crashes. OUCH. That brought on a whole new set of issues!

I also had the chance to travel to see family members. It brought my heart so much comfort and peace seeing that everything is okay, and I got to have conversation and important moments with loved ones.

Although home was great and the time I spent with everyone was great, it was also very exhausting. It’s hard to readjust to such a different way of life. I think culture shock goes both ways. Now, I didn’t have it too strong in my visit home, but it was just SO different. It gives me a whole new set of eyes on how I live, how I consume, and all that I am missing out on.

I am so thankful for my time at home and I feel so refreshed and renewed because of the visit.

And now, I am back at Zion! So look for the next blog about my first few days back!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

High above the ground

Up here, high above the ground, my heart is flooded. Flooded with awe, wonder and amazement. My god, He made all this. He created an earth that has cycles and works in harmony with its surroundings and it's inhabitants. I look down as we fly over the country of Botswana, staring across vast plains and wonder of the life below me. Not just wildlife, but human life. Real hearts with real heartbeats that the Lord created. People, of a different walk of life who were still created in the very image of their heavenly father. And I can't help but wonder, do they know?Do they know the love that the creator of this universe holds for them. Do they know the freedom that is found in the truth of the gospel? I have to say, high up here, above it all, I can't help but wonder, cant help but hope. What does this wondering mean in my life. It brings to life the reality of Jesus words in Matthew 28. To go and preach the world to ALL nations and ALL people. These people below me, and people nowhere near this plane but residents of this earth, deserve to know. Deserve the chance to know the truth and hold the same hope I rest my life on.

I just wanted to share a bit of airplane theology with yall.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There's Nothing He Can't Do

My feet pounding against the packed sand beat in time to the words blaring in my headphones…

“With you all things are possible
Its true that you are unstoppable
Your love will never fade
Your promises remain unchanged
You will reign”

My breathing drowned out by the words and the praises associated with my heart. Who knew, running, thinking, and praising can all co-exist.

A tired emotionally exhausted me took to the road this morning not even wanting to go for a run, but for what I got out of this particular run, on this particular morning, I am so glad I did.

You see yesterday was Zion’s Prayer centered spiritual retreat for the entire staff. We all have been working hard and creating things for this event for at least the last 2 weeks. I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this event. Its hard to feel spiritually filled or fed here in this place where I am so far withdrawn for the “typical” ways of being fed. I was excited to spend a day being challenged in my prayer life and leave uplifted, renewed, and spiritually full. But as we all know, things most always go not according to plan. I ended up being held captive by the demands of the “baby room,” regardless of their cuteness, 10 hours with 4 un-potty trained two year olds and under is a bit exhausting. Not quite the spiritual experience I had in mind for my Wednesday.

Walking into my house last night, a flood of exhaustion, both physically and spiritually caught up with me and brought me to tears and a posture of hitting my knees before the Lord.

“What are you trying to teach me here, Lord” I cried out. “I just need to feel close to you, I need more of you”.

One thing I have learned is that the Lord does not turn his ear to the cries of his Children.

Which brings me back to my run this morning. I have found that running here in this place is my church. I put in my headphones, throw my phone in my pocket and just go. I sing, I dance, I raise my hands and completely become “even more undignified than this…” (2 Samuel 6:22). And this morning was beginning to be no different. I made it off the property and down to the main road, where I usually start my run. But this morning there was a pack of dogs (okay maybe just like 3 dogs, but still!!), and one thing I have learned, most dogs here aren’t the cute and cuddly kind we are used to in the states. So I leisurely made my way to the first turn off escaping the sight of the dogs. I made my way down to the infamously named “mountain,” (Side note: the kids call it a mountain, in reality it’s a big pile of sand.) I circled back around towards the main road in hopes of making my distance a bit better today. I was in conversation with my Lord when I took off down the main road again. Over and over I was simply saying and begging for the same thing.

“Not my will, but yours. Not my strength, but yours. Not my passion, but yours. Lord, give me a holy fire for the desires of your heart.” Again and again I was repeating these words for no other reason than the fact that they were on my heart, and frankly my tired legs didn’t want to run this morning. As I ran, I had a place in mind I wanted to make it to. On the side of the road is a little “market” that our kids love to play at when we go on walks. “Lord, help me reach this place. Give me your strength and your endurance.” And so I went, running, singing, and watching for this place. I’m going and going, and I realize 2 things either a.) this spot is way farther than I thought, or B.) somehow it no longer exists. So I decided to turn and start running back in the opposite direction. About a mile back toward the way I had just come, I see it, that silly little “market.” How had I passed it and not even noticed?

“With you all things are possible
It’s true that you are unstoppable
Your love will never fade
Your promises remain unchanged
You will reign

There is none so able
To mend broken hearts
Heal every sickness

There is none so able
To waken the dead
Light up the darkness”

These words broke through my ears and permeated my heart. Duh. I had been praying for what exactly, for God to be confined to my abilities and my strengths, NO! I had been praying for HIS ways, HIS strength, HIS will to be greater than mine. How much more tangible of a way could I ask for a sign. He had heard me loud and clear and He was answering my every cry out to Him!

A dear friend emailed me this simple encouragement from James 1:27,

 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

A perfect and gentle reminder that His ways of filling me are much greater than anything I could get from any one person in a retreat style setting. I cry out to be more like Christ, to find ways to draw closer to Him and he lays it out for me. In only the most loving, and accepting way our sweet savior can.

Makinsey, you are becoming like me. Change this stinky diaper. Makinsey, you are drawing me in closer, go and pull that out of her mouth. Makinsey, you are being fed, rock that sweet baby to sleep.”

(Song lyrics: You will Reign – Kristian Stanfill)

This 2 year old is getting good at the "serious" look! 

And this one just doesn't like to look at the camera! 

Liseli with her baby in a shetangi on her back! 

These sweet boys are getting so big! Almost 5 months old! 


The "Market" I was looking for on the side of the road! 

The road I run on!