Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your Love Never Fails

Your love never fails by Jesus Culture

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But you have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that you love me.

Your love never fails.

This week, I am basking in the lyrics of this song. My human heart and mind grow weary and faint, but his love never fails despite my shortcomings. This idea is something I have really been battling and struggling with. Failure. What if I fail, what if I screw this all I up and have all sorts of regret? Thankfully, although those are legitimate fears, I don’t have to be afraid because I know that He loves me, and that kind of love never fails. Human emotion and thoughts are ever changing, always fleeting, but my savior, his love and understanding of me is always the same and always right.  I know that he makes all things work together for His good. He doesn’t need me, but he chooses to use me and you make all things work together for my good.

The promises written in Jeremiah 29:11 give us the gift of knowing we are given hope for a prosperous life and a future that is full of hope and no harm. Our Jesus wants us to be given life. Life that is far past this earthly body we now hold. Sure trouble will come our way, we are guaranteed of that in John 16:33. The Lord himself assures us that trouble will come, but in him, and only Him we have solid peace because He has already overcome the world.

What joy and peace that should bring us, in the hard times, in the times of doubt, failure, and confusion. My Father has already overcome the world and has a life promised for me full of hope and a future.  As long as I am seeking his face first and coming to Him with all things He will not let me down. My mistakes and failures will not determine the course of my life. He can use ALL things to work together for HIS good.

What rest and peace I find in that this week.

As most of you know this week held the border crossing. God had his hand on us obviously on that Friday. He answered prayers and was bigger than any immigration officer or any border law. Thank you Jesus for choosing to work right in front of my eyes.

It was sad to say goodbye to a fellow volunteer Jessie that day. Its never easy seeing people who you have gotten close to head off back to the states! Especially when she brought up the idea of air conditioning! Haha! I am so glad we had these last 3 months together and I know she will do great things for the kingdom of God throughout her life!

This week I also acquired 5 additional kids into my already cram packed classroom! The first grade teacher had to travel to Zambia for training, and so her kids have joined my class for the last two weeks of school! Talk about a crazy learning environment! It has been fun and crazy and I know that this upcoming last week of school will be the same! We had lots of fun learning about the postal system. In fact, some of you should be on the look out for letters from my sweet kids! :)

The water in the Zambezi river is rising fast and it is rising all around us. You see, were we are becomes like an island because water surrounds on both sides. It is rising right here on the rivers edge, but also it is coming from the south and will eventually cut us off from the road to town all together. We are hoping the water holds off enough that we can transport all the children to their villages this coming Saturday! Who knows, maybe by my next blog we will be using the boat as transportation!

We haven’t had to many animal encounters lately, well minus the PYTHON sighting the guards made last Sunday night. YES. Python. As we sat at dinner Sunday night we heard a gun shot and knew it was very close. The next morning Uncle Samushi, told us that last night as he was walking home he looked in front of him and saw what he thought was a large tree limb… and then it moved. He said it had to have been 5 meters long and very, very fat. He yelled for the guards to come over and kill it. They shot at it, hence the shot we heard, but missed and the big sucker got away. Lets just say my walks back home at night have become much swifter.

This week is the start of our last week of school for this term! Friday we will begin transporting children back to their villages. And there will be just a few children here for the next month. It will definitely be a weird feeling not having them all around, but it will also be a welcomed break!

*** Internet connection has been terrible lately... so i will try and upload picture later this week!***

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trust and Talents

This past week was one full of so many different things; it is hard to sit down and chose what it is I should tell you all about.

So I will start with the title, Trust and talents. Two non-similar things, but this week, they were the stars of the show.

As most of you know, or read, I am soon to be faced with trying to get my passport re-stamped for another 3 months. So, here in the country of Namibia they have a law that says you are not allowed to “visit” for more than 3 months in a year. Well, come May 6th my 3 months are up. Knowing this law, I have filled out the applications necessary to obtain a work visa and permit. Those two documents give me up to 2 years inside the country, no problem. The only issue there, is that the documents required is quite extensive, and if you submit and there is one thing wrong they will deny you and you have to start the process all over again. So I sit here, still waiting on a few documents from the states. Just submitting the paperwork unfortunately doesn’t solidify anything either. The directors here at COZV submitted their paperwork in October and still have heard nothing. It is a lengthy process going through a government not like our own.

So, that leads me to what will take place this Friday the 20th. A fellow volunteer is flying home on that day and so we have to drive her into Botswana to get her to the airport. When we do that, we are going to be facing the obstacle of getting back into the country/getting approval for more time within the country. This whole process is really all out of our hands. We have no control in the situation. I am really being challenged in my trust. Do I really trust the Lords provision? Do I trust that His plan is better in this situation, even though I do not know what the outcome will be?

The main thing that stole the spotlight this week was the children’s talent show. Last night, the children put on a wonderful show showing off all of their talents. We had a blast this week getting everything ready, from costumes, to music, and all sorts of dances. It is hard not to have fun with something when the children are beside themselves with excitement to perform for everyone. So last night the whole place was bursting with energy! The kids were all so full of excitement and bouncing off every wall!! We started the night with the little girls ballet routine. Talk about adorable. And there were two perfectly sized outfits for Liseli and Nsala. The room was exploding with cuteness!!! We had an upside down chin choir, multiple dance routines, a dramatic poem, and singing! It was such a fun night!

I know that this week was so full of so many other things; I just know that I couldn’t possibly begin to write about them all!

Please be in prayer for our border crossing. Pray that I can trust that God’s plan, whatever is, is way better than anything I could have imagined for myself.

Of Course, here are so pictures from last night!

My girl Liseli and Me!

Marsella and Inoge

The adorable Ballet Girls!

Marsella and Nsala doing the Allelujah song!

Efa and I!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday

**** This was written yesterday, but thanks to terrible internet was posted today!! ****

I am overwhelmed by the goodness of my Savior today. I am flooded with unbelievable gratitude. So my post today will be short and sweet. Just reflecting on the beauty of this past week and that it entailed.

First I want to start by talking about Passion Week. This week, my heart and mind has been drawn, so many times, to the moments and days leading up to the death and resurrection of my Lord. I found myself often times just thinking, what it must have felt like to know that in a few short days all those around you would be belittling you to nothing more than an imposter. I can’t imagine that I would handle that very well. Thank goodness I wasn’t the one doing the sacrificing. But in my human mind, I cannot wrap my thoughts around the feeling that would be associated with looking these people in the eye and telling them the most amazing truth, only to have them completely forget it a few short days later. I have especially felt this with Peter. I can only imagine how hard it is, to look at this man whom you love and trust, and know that he will deny he ever knew you. I don’t think I could stand it.

The magnitude of that sacrifice that Friday afternoon on top of that hill will forever blow me away. So much sadness in the death of the Lord and Savior, but then the beautiful part is that so much happiness came from it. That Sunday, my Lord defeated the grave and conquered death to ascend to heaven and forever reign as the rightful King that He is.

I am so thankful for that sacrifice, so thankful for that death. My life has meaning and purpose because of the actions that took place that day. How can I keep silent about something that holds so much promise? No matter where you are in life, no matter how far gone you may think you are, My Jesus has already been there. My Jesus has already carried that burden or felt that shame you carry around with you. What a beautiful promise, what a beautiful savior.

This week here at Zion was a week like any other. We welcomed the nice school break on Friday and this coming Monday. So thankful to have a few days off from school to relax, re-coop, and re-energize! Because of the long weekend, a few of our children who have families locally, headed to their villages for the break. Laura and I went on the drop off trip. It was so different to see how people live inside the actual villages surrounding town. It gave me a deeper looker into the culture and the background of most of these children.

Easter Sunday, our kids put on a wonderful play about the resurrection. They did so wonderful and worked so hard for it! We were reminded in the message of the beautiful story and meaning of Easter.

After church we had a traditional braai. The food was wonderful. We had chicken, cabbage, soup, and paap. We pulled all of the dining tables out to sit in the shade by the water. It was a really wonderful meal.

I am so thankful to spend this special holiday with these kids at this place. I pray that today, and everyday, the Lord opens hearts to accept Him, and that eyes are opened to the beauty of our Savior. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter wherever you may be.

To my family, I miss you all, and wish I were there with yall!  

All of us girls in our Easter Pink!! :)

Liseli was scratching my face!! This girl cracks me up! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A year ago today

A year ago today, April 2nd, I sat in a crowded auditorium with thousands and thousands of other college students at Passion Ft. Worth. The Holy Spirit moved me that day as I listened to the story of Hannah, and was drawn in by the passion that Louie spoke with. Jesus was tugging on my heartstrings that afternoon, and because of that moment my life is not the same.

Simply one year and my life is totally different. So different in fact, that I am actually writing this reflection from Africa. I am writing this reflection as I sit in my kindergarten classroom at the Children of Zion Village children’s home where I know the Lord has called me to.

I can’t even tell you how crazy that feels! It makes the awesomeness of my GOD seem even more awesome. Look at what he can do in a years time!! If you had asked me yesterday a year ago if I would ever give up my life to go and live in Africa and teach school, I would look at you like you were crazy. But God, He loves crazy, He lives for the crazy. I am so blessed to be one of the crazy ones!!!

I know that the 10 months that still lay ahead of me will be full of challenges and joys, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But would I really want to be anywhere else than right in the middle or Gods plan for my life? I would unwaveringly have to answer no.

I am so thankful for that day at Passion. I am thankful that the Lord is moving and working in such amazing ways through such a fantastic organization.

In fact, a song that was played at Passion inspired the whole theme of my year here. “Carry Your Name,” So its only fitting to leave you with some of the lyrics.

How Merciful the cross
How powerful the blood
How beautiful your arms, opened for us, opened for us

No greater love
God’s only Son
Jesus, Jesus

No other name
Mighty to save
Jesus, Jesus

By your wounds we are healed
You have conquered the grave
In your rising we will rise

To carry your name
Above every name

No greater love
God’s only Son
Jesus, Jesus

No other name
Mighty to save
Jesus, Jesus

I will carry your name
Carry your name
Jesus your name, forever

For all of my days
In all of my ways
Jesus your name, forever

Give me Jesus

Give Me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus…

(Give Me Jesus, by Jeremy Camp)

This song is one that grabs my heart. It holds so much truth in such simple words.

It is easy to find myself frustrated. It’s easy to be frustrated with the horrible Internet connection when all you want is to talk to friends and family back home. You can be easily frustrated with the children when you or they are having an off day. Frustrations come so easily here as they do at home.

Just because I am in Africa, life is still life. Things get busy and hectic and even become routine, and I still find myself having to force enough time for the Lord. Don’t be fooled that even though I am a world away, “serving” finding that time for Jesus is just as hard. If not harder.

But in the midst of my frustration the words of this song will get stuck in my head. I simply need Jesus. He is all I want. When my frustrations seem so much bigger than my faith, give me Jesus. When my body and mind ache with exhaustion, give me Jesus. My patience is gone and its only Monday, give me Jesus. I know this to be true; He is the lifeblood that will sustain me. I know that He is the only medicine that can cure my homesickness. He is the only one who can bring peace in the midst of all the frustrations. I just need Jesus.

So my prayer life is beginning to shift. Sometimes they are simply just those 3 little words. “Give me Jesus.”

I felt it especially strong yesterday with it being Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of the week that ended my Saviors’ life. That is the day that symbolizes the start of the Holy week, and a day that in the bible exalts Jesus as a King. (John 12:12-20; Luke 19:28-40; Mark 11:1-12; Matthew 21:1-12). I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be with Jesus on this day, so many praising and worshiping God as he rode by them. I wish I could have been in that crowd.  I wish I could have been one to shout, “Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

But what blows my mind is a mere 4 days later, on the day of Passover, Jesus would be arrested and handed over to Pilate. And there before the crowd of Jews gathered there, they all denied that He was a rightful King. 4 days. 4 days and they went from one extreme to another.

So this week, especially, my prayer is simply “give me Jesus.” I am so humbled by the events that unfold 2 thousands years ago that have so much affect on my life today. My God willingly allowed such a horrible act to happen to his Son, so that I may have salvation and life everlasting. My Jesus, perfect and blameless died the death of a sinner and a criminal so I can be called worthy in the kingdom of Heaven.

Thank you Jesus.

Give me Jesus.

I want to tell you all about what happened this past week here at Zion, regardless of how small it all seems compared to the weight of the words written above.

This past week was one full of school, children’s laughter, and unfortunately pleading prayers for healing and recovery.

School this week absolutely flew by! I can’t believe how quickly a day can go! I love my Kindergarten class! They are so full of energy and say the most hilarious things! Also they are starting to understand and learn more and more which is so fun to watch!

Thankfully this week I have been sickness free. Thank you Jesus for healing me! And thank you to everyone who prayed prayers of healing over me! They were felt a world away. It was so nice to be back with the children! I missed them so much! I spent a lot of time with the little girls this week, and it gave me so much joy to just play with them! They love to sing our Daniel and the Lions den song. It is the most precious thing ever!

Sadly, this week has been full of hospital visits. Monday our sweet but ferocious Liselli went in to get treated for sickness, and thankfully she has made such a recovery and is on the road to being her normal self. But our sweet twin baby boys have both been in the hospital. As I wrote last week, they were both admitted on Saturday for severe dehydration, diarrhea and vomiting. Over the weekend and first part of the week, Mafenyeho showed major signs of improvement, while Manyando continued to get sicker. On Tuesday, Mafenyeho got to come home, which was a huge praise. He is still home and doing much better, and getting much bigger I must add! Manyando had us all scared while he was in the hospital. On his head, his soft spot showed drastically that he was dehydrated by how deep it was sunken in. It took a bad turn though when his head began to “split” which, as I understand it, he skull and tiny little brain were literally beginning to pull apart. His head was completely sunken in like a ravine down the middle of it. The hospital called in a traditional healer to offer help in the healing of his head. Luckily his head went back to normal and he was showing major signs of improvement. Manyando came home on Friday, which was a huge praise. That night, as Jessie sat there and held him to feed him, she removed his hat to see that his poor head was beginning to split again. Now to see that first hand I must say made me sick to my stomach. I can’t even imagine how painful it must be. That night his diarrhea came back and was very bad so they ended up taking him back to the hospital. This morning the report is that he is doing much better and will hopefully be home tomorrow. But please join us in praying for his health and recovery. Pray that Jesus heals his little body so he can continue to grow.

This wasn’t the only area of praying for divine healing. As some of you know, my Nana, my dads mom, has been suffering with heart problems the last few weeks. Hearing reports of this and being so far away has made it very hard. So time here at Zion this last week, from staff devotions, to our directors, to my pleading in my bedroom late at night, there have been countless prayers for healing prayed for her. And I have to say, from the latest word from family, it sounds as if the Lord has heard our pleading and offered healing and restoration of health. I continue to pray for her and her health, and I ask that you all pray with me.

My God is quick to hear our requests and quick to open the door when we knock. I praise Him for being a God who answers the prayers and pleading of His people!

Now of course this week didn’t skimp out on its share of fun, laughter, and fair share of frustrations and exhaustion! Luckily the weather has been on our side, and it has been cool and cloudy lately. Wednesday especially I was COLD. I can’t believe it. Saturday morning it was so gorgeous, so Laura and I threw the little girls in our shetangis and took them for a walk. It was fantastic. That afternoon the girls and I took a little time to head into town and have some time on our own. I was able to Skype my family and sweet Chelsea! It was great to see all of them! And we had pizza at our favorite pizza place! It was nice! And a little side note, we watched the movie “The Young Black Stallion” last night and little known fact is that it was made right here in Namibia and parts of Southern Africa! It was pretty awesome!!!

Well I can’t wait for this week and I know it will be special with Easter coming up and just the beauty that this week promises us as believers.

Continue to write emails and pray. Loving hearing from you all!

The girls on our Saturday Morning walk!

Goodness I love this picture!

Josiah, Salima and I on our Sunday Walk.

The river is so full, and gorgeous!