Monday, March 26, 2012

A Faith Like Potatoes...

A potato is vegetable that grows underneath the soil. From the moment it is planted until the very moment it is time to harvest, you will have no clue what lies under foot. Once the potato is planted you can’t be digging up areas, always checking to see if something is growing. You have to trust and have faith that the potatoes took to the earth. You have to have Faith Like Potatoes.

Because I was under the weather, as most of you know, this past week, I had the chance to watch a few movies. One movie I watched was titled, Faith Like Potatoes. This movie is a must see. I highly recommend it! But I think especially at this time in my life, and where I am in the world it fits perfectly. The movie is based on the true story of a South African farmer turned preacher, Angus Buchan. To say this film and this story is moving is an understatement. The way God worked through this man and his ordinary life is truly extraordinary.

This movie spoke right to my soul. It is so easy for me to struggle with my purpose for being here. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up and let things feel normal. It’s easy to be blinded and feel like I don’t really have a purpose. But I have to believe it is like the potato. Although I can’t see it now, at some point the harvest will take place and then the Lord will reveal that which lies underneath. It might be within this year that I am here or it might not be for years to come, but whatever I think it is such a beautiful picture of God’s timing. I could chose to be the impatient me that I am and dig up a little section just to check that everything is on track to work out. But in that doubt, yes, doubt of Gods provision, I am going to miss out on that glorious reward of taking the shovel to that ready land at just the right time. In doubting and jumping the gun, I take away a little big of Gods glory. He just wants us to have faith. Have faith in His timing, faith in His crop and faith in His provision.

I want to wait. I want to lie in watch over this field called life the Lord has given me, knowing at just the right time He will reveal to me the beauty that lies underneath!!

I wait with a Holy Anticipation for that reveal whenever it might be and whatever might lie underneath it all.

Lord, give me a faith like potatoes!!

So as most of you know, being sick has kept me cooped up in this house all week! YUCK! But I still have some highlights I would like to share with you all!!

Although this sounds tiny and not that important, Laura and I spent Monday evening watching over the babies in between shifts for the staff! So of course we took the opportunity to take some fun pictures! So I’ve included a fun picture from our shoot! The boys are growing and getting healthier… but unfortunately they have come down with a bug and both babies were actually admitted to the hospital on Saturday night. But I’ll get to that later.

Wednesday was Namibia’s independence day. Sadly that morning I awoke to just about the worst pain ever. So while everyone else enjoyed the day’s festivities I was cooped up in the house sleeping! They had a Bry (like a cookout) and ate pap, chicken, and soup. Pap is a food staple here. It is made from mealie meal, which is ground up corn, and is mixed with water and stirred over the fire. I was so looking forward to making this because; as everyone says it is incredibly hard!! So I can’t wait until I actually get to make it!

Friday, Laura and I went to town in the afternoon with Uncle Travis. It was so nice because we stopped in Hungry Lion, the local fast food stop, and enjoyed some lovely ice cream! It was so nice to sit there and eat some yummy ice cream!

Saturday, we went to town with some of the children, and Laura and I decided to go and sit in the bistro and order lunch. I brought my computer with me, because the Internet connection in town is so much better. So as I sat in this bistro and ate lunch, I got to video Skype my family for the first time! In almost 50 days it was SO nice to see them and hear their voices, and I got to see my sweet puppies!!! I just wish my sister had been home too! The unfortunate part is the fact that there is a 7-hour time difference. So we had to Skype at 4:30am Texas time!! Oh well, I’m sure they didn’t mind too much! I am just so glad to know that I can Skype and catch up! Soooo if the opportunity arises, I would love to Skype more of you…. Of course we can set up a time that works a bit better!! Once we got back from town, Laura and I walked down to Auntie Jenny’s house to watch/help (as much as we could) Uncle Samushi pounding the corn. So it’s a process where you grind corn kernels down, and then you place them in the huge wooden bowl and you pound away until it is very fine. Once it is fine, you sift the corn through to get only the finest particles. Let me tell you it takes a ton of energy to pound that corn! It is so much harder than it looks! So although we tried, Laura and I weren’t that much help at all!!

Saturday evening once bible study was over, Lorna, Laura and I ended up at the hospital with Manyando. Mafenyeho had already been taken and admitted early. Both boys have some sort of bug that has caused them to be super dehydrated and just as sick as can be. So both the boys are in the hospital now and will probably stay until Monday. So your prayers for their health and recovery would be great! We didn’t get home from the hospital until about 9 o’clock! So after we had a very late dinner and were headed to bed, I hear Laura shriek from her room! I walk in to find that a scorpion had decided to make her pillow its home for the night. So the next few minutes followed with screaming, freaking out, and of course taking pictures. Hahaha. She trapped it under a jar and we carried it outside so we could doom it! Talk about an adventure. Talk about not being able to sleep last night! YUCK!

Today in church a local pastor named Francis visited us. He spoke to us about prayer and challenged all of us to pray focused prayers, and see what can happen over the next year. I too am excited to see if the children will stick with this idea of praying with purpose. Before he ended he spoke the acronym for P.U.S.H, to pray until something happens. I challenge you to that too. Pray until something happens. Take your requests expectantly to the father. Commune with him daily and be bold and courageous in your prayers.

I am sure that this week will be an adventure nonetheless. Hopefully adventures that involve staying healthy and participating in life here at Zion!

Thank you all for your response to my prayer request email, and thank you more importantly for the prayers for healing. I feel incredibly blessed and overwhelmed by all your love and support. Know that your prayers were felt a world away.

Me and sweet Liselli!

Too stinkin cute!!!

Gorgeous Sunset!
Here I am pounding the corn!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

So...There Was A Talking Donkey

One of the wildest miracles in the bible, a talking donkey.  No, it isn’t an excerpt from Dr. Doolittle. It is truth, head over to the book of Numbers chapter 22. The prophet Balaam was headed to see King Balaak who was demanding that Balaam speak badly of Gods chosen people. As he was traveling, his donkey not once but three times saved his life. You see, that donkey saw something that Balaam did not. He saw an angel violently swinging a sword, and had the donkey not turned off the path, Balaam surely would have been killed. And every time that donkey saw the angel and veered off, Balaam would beat his donkey trying to get him to head back in the direction they were set to go. It wasn’t until the final beating that God allowed something amazing to happen. He allowed in that moment the donkey to talk.

“What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” said the donkey. Now, I can only imagine what Balaam must have thought in that moment. I mean come on; his donkey was talking to him. If it had been me I’m sure my reaction would have been quite over the top. Not Balaam, his response was a threat to kill the donkey that has made a fool of him. Yes, this is the same donkey that saved his life 3 times. I really think that if I had a talking donkey I’d be way more amazed than upset. I mean come on!!

You are probably wondering what this crazy story from the bible has to do with this past week. It has tons. Let me explain.

The PACEs that the children work in comes with a bible story we read every week. Each week it is different, and each week it somehow relates to the other work they will do in their paces. Our letter this week happens to be “M,” our animal, “Milton the Mule.” So this story is quite fitting. The crazy thing is, as I am sitting before my class of kindergarten students I am being blown away by this story. In my 23 years of life I had NEVER heard this one. That just seems absurd to me! It is a CRAZY story!! But that is not where the talking donkey stops…

I am reading through a bible plan to finish the bible in the year that I am here. This weeks Old Testament reading included Numbers 22. So now I’ve had this story in two different and yet distinct ways.  But we aren’t done with the crazy donkey miracle….

I recently finished the book “The Circle Maker” in chapter 11, Mark Batterson spends quite a bit of time talking about the miracle that happened that day when the donkey spoke. I mean come on. But I really like where the author takes this story.  The donkey was creating a detour. A detour that would save Balaam’s life, but that detour was interrupting the path and the direction Balaam thought he was supposed to be going. Isn’t that how we all are? The slightest change to our plans, our path, or our ideas is the biggest hindrance. What if it is a divine detour? What if it is God interceding and trying to wake us up somehow?

So what do I think about the talking donkey miracle being right in front of my face this week. Maybe that is God trying to wake me up to a detour He is preparing me for. Maybe God is trying to tell me that my plans, my ideas aren’t lining up with what He has in mind and He wants me to open my eyes to what lies in front of me. To say I think having this story brought to my attention for the first time in 3 different ways is just a coincidence, would be slapping the Holy Spirit in the face. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore, I know that the spirit is moving and working, so why wouldn’t I trust that this is what is happening now.

So my question is, what is the talking donkey in your life trying to detour you around? What path are you traveling that might bring you more harm than good? Listen to the spirit promptings; He will never lead you astray.

But let me give you some highlights from this week!

Its easy to get excited about simple things like peanut butter when you have gone without the holy grail of all flavors for a whole month. But this past Monday, the holy grail of Yum Yum was in our grasp! As all Mondays go, it was a typical shopping day. Our house was barren, except for maybe the most random foods ever! We always wait in anticipation for the food for the week to arrive! But this delivery was the most exciting ever. As our food was being unloaded from the car, Lorna summoned us all together, because she had a special announcement for us. As she handed us a clear Pik-n-Pay shopping bag we saw it. There in front of our eyes were 6 jars of Chocolate Chip Yum Yum. We all shrieked in excitement. Now to you all who have never tasted this wonderful creation, this all could seem a bit wacky (and honestly it is) but let me tell you, it is the best thing ever created. If peanut butter wasn’t so great on its own imagine throwing in chocolate chips that are intricately mixed in to create a wonderful mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. Wow. It is fantastic.

On Wednesday, Laura and I traveled to town with Lorna to take the babies to the clinic for their two-month check up! When we got to town we dropped Laura off at the post office because she was going to mail our letters! So, be on the look out family and friends! There is some mail on its way from Africa! At the clinic we learned that the date was written wrong and the boys weren’t supposed to come until this coming Tuesday, but we still asked the nurse to weigh the boys. They now weigh in at 3.98 for Manyando and 4.2 for Mafenyeho! So in 3 weeks the have each gained weight! YAY! They are looking much healthier and eat like crazy! Praise God for keeping the boys healthy!!

On Saturday we had an exciting visit from the Omega cultural dancers, from the Omega village. This group of children dressed in traditional tribal dress and performed traditional songs and dances for us. It was amazing! It was super great to see a real glimpse of the culture these children come from. After their performance, many of our kids, and the staff got up and joined in the dances! It was too much fun to watch! I really think that our kids enjoyed having them, and it was a nice break to our typical routine!

Of course this week was scattered with random shenanigans and all sorts of hoopla! Including saving a baby chick from a dogs mouth, being struck with my first sickness (which is so not fun and still not feeling well), and of course my adorable kindergarten class! The things that these children say in class crack me up! I will have to set up a video camera in my room just so you all can have a glimpse!! The river is rising much quicker. I swear, everyday I walk by and see the same body of water, but every day it looks different. Continue to pray for the flood, continue to pray that the waters hold off as long as possible. Pray for the children here. Pray for their lives and the decisions they make always. Also pray for my health and healing from this sickness! I can’t believe its already the third week of March! Time is flying by here!

Also for all of you who know, and those who don’t, I will be home June 26th and be at home until July 8th! I am very excited to come home for my very best friends wedding, and have the opportunity to see family, friends, and all of you!

Love to you all from Africa!!

Here is my sweet class with their Mule puppets!

On the left... The traditonal dancers. On the right... Our growing twins!!

Everyone loved dancing after!!

A view of the river!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thirsty for more of you...

My prayer lately has been the verses of the song “We are hungry.”

“Lord I want more of you
Living water rain down on me.
Lord I need more of you.
Living breath of life, come and fill me up.”

In my emptiness, in my weakness the Lord has time and time again intervened and filled me up. He has given more and more to me in the last month than I could ever have imagined. He has revealed so much of Himself, His greatness, His beauty, and His creation to me that I can’t imagine having more of Him. But then at every turn and every corner, I am yearning for more of him. I need more of him. I am so thankful to serve a God who does not put a limit on my love quota for a month or a lifetime.

“We are hungry
We are hungry
We are hungry for more of you.
We are thirsty, Oh Jesus
We are thirsty for more of you.”

Daily, I feel like these words ring more and more true. I am so hungry for Him. Hungry for a food, a satisfaction that only He can provide. No earthly food or meal can ever fill and sustain me like that given to me from the Lord. I thirst for His word. I thirst for the promises those pages hold. My day is not complete unless I am satisfied and quenched by His overwhelming goodness.

“We lift our holy hands up, We want to touch you.
We lift our voices higher and higher and higher to you.”

So in these moments, I find myself closing my eyes. Breathing in this fresh African air. Feeling the breeze on my face and desiring to be closer to him. I can raise my hands and my voice only so loud and so high, and at some point He just takes over me. I relish in these moments. They are precious and I am so filled with the spirit after those times with Him. I am thankful for this time. I am thankful for this purpose in which He has brought me here, if not for anything else, but to see Him more.

Say goodbye to week 5 and hello to number 6! I cannot believe how quickly time flies. But it certainly means I am having a great time.

As I wrote last time, this past week I took over the preschool classroom! WOW! What a whirlwind! I had the most fun acting the most silly with some of the most precious children! It is so fun to teach, but teach in a Christian curriculum and setting where I can pray with my kids and talk about God’s wonderful creation.  Everyday we read a story from the bible and they stand and recite the story in their own words, and day after day I am blown away by their intrigue in the word and the Old Testament! I can’t wait to continue this journey with them and love them and teach them with the love of Christ.  I will post pictures next week of my sweet little class! You all will just swoon!

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to one the volunteers today! Auntie Heidi spent two months here and today she headed back home to Maryland! I am seriously going to miss this girl! She is a gem! So much fun to be around and laugh with! Also, she is one of the best cooks ever! We will SO miss her food! Hopefully her sweet smile will be greeting us again soon back here at Zion!!!

This weeks highlights….

Definitely I must talk about playing with the sweet babies! I just love love love those babies! The twins are getting SO much bigger! Its unbelievable! Thank you God for keeping them healthy!

Tuesday evening, Lorna and I and some of the boys helped put out a grass fire that was threatening our transform and garden! It was crazy being so close! The smoke was blowing and the fire was cracking SO loud! Luckily we got it out quickly and there was no damage!

Thursday night the Currys and us girls went out to dinner at our favorite pizza place! It was so much fun to get out! I think they all think I’m nuts. My laughing all the time has continued here in Africa don’t yall worry!

Saturday morning, we took the kids on a walk to the “Mountain,” We took the little girls so it was fun to throw them on our backs in the shetangis! I am sure I am leaving out so many highlights of the week, but its just so face paced!!! Saturday afternoon we played Bible jeopardy, which was great fun! Saturday night for movie night we watched THE LION KING! So you know I was singing along with all the kids! So fun! This morning was church, and then saying goodbye to sweet Heidi! Afterwards we took the kids on a walk. Now, normally our walks are about an hour long, but today we took a “long” walk and it was ridiculous! We tried to take a short cut back home and the kids got us lost!!! Hahahaha! It was crazy and SO HOT! We were so thankful when we finally made it to the road! I spent my afternoon moving bedrooms! Since Heidi left I moved into her room so this way us girls all have our own rooms and bathrooms! Talk about exhausting! But it feels nice to be all moved in now! I am excited for this week ahead and all the craziness it will bring!

Love you all! And I miss you guys like crazy! I am very excited for my trip home in June and especially for my Best Friends wedding! (MISS YOU LINDSEY AND DUSTY!!!) Continue praying for me. Continuing praying adopt over me. Pray for the river. It is rising quickly and moving very fast these days.

Email me!!! I love hearing from yall!

The sweet babies!

The fire out behind the transition home!

Carrying the girls in our Shetangi's

Nsala on my back!

After church today! Saying goodbye to Heidi!

Monday, March 5, 2012

You Make Beautiful Things

You Make Beautiful Things

Creation, the very beginning of the world. Life created out of nothing. Light and darkness separated. Sky placed in between waters. Animals of every kind made to walk upon this new land. Human beings made in the image of God.
            Saturday, in our bible study we taught on creation. We took the kids on a walk to find and identify all that the Lord had created. Something as simple as the story of creation, one I’ve heard my whole life took on new meaning as I walked through the Bush of this African land. Suddenly the vastness of our Lord and the shear power it takes to create blew my mind. Sure, there are trees, well some, in Amarillo. And there is water, at the right time of the year. Animals are all around us. But realizing that the word is SO much bigger than I ever imagined. There is a whole planet, and then millions and millions of galaxies, how great is our God? I have said these words before, but looking with new eyes at new forms of creation has made these words even truer!!
            Thank you Father for creation. Thank you for perfectly and intently creating each and every thing. Thank you for including me in that creation. Thank you for allowing me to view your creation and see your hand in it all.

            Well, another week here at Zion down. I can’t believe how quickly time seems to go. But when you are as busy as we are most days it easy to see how. This week our principal here at Zion came back from training in South Africa. One of the first things he did was hand over the preschool classroom to me. Considering I have never formally taught anything in my life I was nervous but very excited at the same time! I immediately received all the curriculum manuals and started observing in the classroom. The current teacher, Auntie Mercy, has done a wonderful job in the class. Most of the children know their numbers, shapes, alphabet, and can participate in class work. Here at Zion the school is run on the “PACE” system. It is very different than anything I’ve ever seen. These paces packets basically do the teaching. Children sit in their “offices” and do the work quietly by themselves. In the preschool classroom they still do PACE work, but it is done under much more relaxed terms. So although I still have to teach according to the PACEs it will be nice having some freedom to have fun in the classroom. So tomorrow, for the first time, I take on my very own preschool class! I am very excited for the adventure and I know I will have many a story about their funny antics.  

            This week has been measurably warmer than the first three I was here. I think I was spoiled by the cooling thunderstorm we would get every afternoon. But, as this last week has shown me, it gets very hot here. And to think its close to winter and it gets this warm, I am in for a surprise come summer. Apparently there are “Big Rains” headed our way this week so we will see what that holds. But the good news is that in the lack of rain the river is showing more and more signs of not flooding as much as it has in the past! Which is incredible news. That will make things so much easier!! We saw on the news in town yesterday that there is a typhoon type storm supposedly hitting the north-eastern cost of South Africa soon, and we aren’t too sure what kind of affects that will have on us. So we will be anxiously and prayerfully waiting to see what this brings.

This Sunday in church we talked about the attitude of Jeremiah. At first when God speaks to Jeremiah letting him know He has big things for him, Jeremiahs reaction is an immediate “NO, I can’t.” But, the Lord already had a beautiful and perfectly ordained plan for Jeremiahs life that came with a beautiful promise. The Lord would be walking with Jeremiah the whole way protecting him and delivering him in his moments of fear and doubt. I think this is such a beautiful picture of the Lords provision. He already has set out for us a path and a dream. He has a dream for us that is meant to do great things, and to prosper us and never harm us. This passage and promise has brought me so much peace. Peace in knowing that the Lord has called me to carry His name regardless of my feelings. Regardless of my fears and doubts He has set me apart to make His name great. So in my homesickness, sadness, and confusion here at this time in my life, I know that I can rely on this promise. I am called and because of that He is doing something great. I am so blessed to know what it is I am called to. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do it.

Well we have two volunteers who got here yesterday. They are working on a global art project. They are traveling all over the globe working with children in different countries! Today they are here working with our children! I’m excited to see what the kids come up with!

Love to you all!
Josiah one of my preschool students! Precious!

Caroline the croc is in the background!

Liselli and I! love this baby girl!