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 Its hard to feel spiritually filled or fed here in this place where I am so far withdrawn for the “typical” ways of being fed.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! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To My Mom

I wanted to take time out today and express my gratitude and love for my wonderful mother today on Mothers Day.

My mom is a woman who I admire more than I think she has ever known.

Her gentle spirit and loving nature draw anyone and everyone to her. No wonder I consider myself so lucky to call her mom.

She is quirky, jumpy, and easy to make laugh.

She is strong, brave, and will always fight for her family. No one messes with her babies, no matter how big they have grown.

My Mom is a hard worker and often goes without the recognition she deserves and without the ‘thanks’ she is due.

Her gentle touch soothes any kind of pain whether physical, like after a surgery or the emotional pain of a broken heart after a bad break up.

My mom has always stood beside me and supported the decisions I have made.

When I have made mistakes my Mom is right there to hold my hand and help me find my way again.

She trusts my instincts and believes in my passions and the desires of my heart.

My mom, she has shown me how to become a woman who has meaning and knows what is important in life. God and family, everything else will fall into place after that.

I hope and pray that one day I am half the woman and the mom that mine is.

She is laughter, hugs, and gentle back rubs. She is strong, wise, and brave. My mom is beautiful, graceful, and dignified. My mom is important, loved, and cherished.

I love you Mommy. Even though I am thousands of miles away know that my arms are stretching across the ocean to give you the biggest hug possible!

Conquering The Beast

This past week, our directors and chief matron were off to Windhoek for a nationwide conference. With their absence, more and different responsibilities fell into the hands of myself and the other volunteer. Some of those included pantry duties, making sure everything is ready for the kitchen staff at each meal. Other small tasks like organizing, preparing, and other things were also on our plate.

My plate that week had a nice helping of overcoming a massive fear of mine. Driving.

Yeap, with the directors gone, there would be no one who was able or licensed to drive. Leaving me with the key to the “beast” or “Quinton the Quantum.”

Now prior to this weeks driving, as you may recall, I had a driving lesson back in February. Well, news flash, it is MAY, and I have driven in those 3 months maybe 3 times. Most of which fell in the month of February.

So to say I was apprehensive is an understatement. Even in my dreams I was driving or attempting to drive that big bad boy.

But duty called and things had to be done. There was bread pick up Monday morning, town shopping, running Annia back and forth to her school, and other small errands. Driving was unavoidable.

So Monday morning, amidst constant conversation with Jesus, I took the wheel of that vehicle. After a few first attempts, I got it started and going without it dying. Of course its not just a small load of us going to town that morning, it is an entire car full. I believe it was 14 people to be exact. No pressure right?

So we take to the road ever so slowly, but hey we were making it. Once the dirt road ended and we hit the tar road I was able to breath a bit better. That is until I remembered I was going into town. Now, Katima is quite the bustling little city. I swear there are people everywhere, and even more cars. Sure it’s no Dallas or heck even Amarillo. Hey, under the circumstances, and for dramatic effect, this traffic is insane.

So I make the first left turn, remember I’m on the other side of the vehicle driving on the right side of the road. We pull into the market drop off area, and people all pile out and I take another breath. Ah, but quickly again I remember that a few feet ahead of me is a stop sign, in which I’m already nervous I am going stall out. So we take off….whew, made it through the stop sign and through town to get all our errands done.

That beast had no control over me. I was showing it who was boss. Remember, you don’t mess with Texas.

So I survived day one, only stalling out in the middle of the road a few times (and let me tell you, people here love to honk their horns). The rest of the week consisted of a few trips to Annia’s school and back. Not to many issues there, thank the Lord.

Today, I write to you all one proud girl. I conquered that beast. I conquered the other side of the road, and to add to it I even conquered my fears.

But lets not get to far ahead of our selves. It sill completely freaks me out!

Although I have a feeling I will have plenty of time to acquire more driving stories, and have n

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part Two... Adventure across Namibia!

When people say they took “trains, planes, and automobiles” to get somewhere, I would have to say that I now have that beat, just add boat, bus, and foot!!

Once school ended, Laura (another volunteer) and I decided we wanted to take some time to get away from Katima and maybe see more of Namibia. So we of course went straight to google. And after some research, we found that to travel to the coast wouldn’t be as hard as we thought! So we booked our little adventure on Friday, and headed out on Sunday afternoon! Talk about a short turn around!

So the adventure begins. Our intercape bus was scheduled to leave Katima around 3:30pm. So we arrived about 45 minutes early just to be sure everything was in order! To our surprise, the bus didn’t even show up at the station until 5pm!!! Everything and I mean everything here runs on “Africa” time. So once we loaded on and were ready to go, we pulled out onto the road to Windhoek. Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia, and about a 16 hour bus ride from Katima. Yikes!

But obviously, as I am writing this, I am glad to say that we survived that trip! We arrived in Windhoek around 8am Monday morning! But you see our adventure had two legs of travel. The second is a train ride from Windhoek to Swakopomund, a coastal town. The train was not scheduled to leave until about 7pm on Monday, so we had an entire day to wander through the capital. We definitely got our walking in. Hoofing it all around the city and through all the fun craft shops and touristy things to see. We also ended up taking a bus tour around Windhoek. That was really great because we got to learn about a lot of history, and we got to see a lot of the city we would have never gotten to see. The guide took us to several townships around the area and gave us the history and the events that took place in those areas when Namibia was trying to gain independence from South Africa. It was really fascinating.

We got to the train station and prepared to board the train. We splurged… (Which isn’t really splurging when you consider the exchange rate, our tickets were dirt cheap) and bought first class tickets. So as we board the train we were at first really impressed, tons of legroom, nice big seats, and even a TV in the train car. But our minds were quickly changed once the train got to moving. Talk about an adventure. Our train ride was another overnight trip, totaling another 11 hours in travel time! To our surprise it was freezing on the train, which we were not at all prepared for. Luckily, most of the time we just found ourselves laughing at our ridiculous situation!!

We arrived in Swakopmund around 7am local time on Tuesday. You could smell the sea air the second you stepped off the train. We then made our way through town to the hostel we had made reservations at. Walking into that room and seeing a nice plush bed made all the travel worth it! We didn’t hang out long at the lodge too long though; we were quickly on our way to finding the beach!

Such a beautiful sight we walked up on. To our left, the rolling sand dunes of the Namib dessert, and straight in front of us the roaring waves of the Atlantic ocean. Wow. God really did some great work when He made this place.

We spent the day touring the city by foot and explored all of the local shops, of course! We watched the beautiful sunset from atop of a restaurant at the end of the pier. Talk about breathtaking. Down below we had dinner, and lets just say, I saw steak on the menu so I just had to get it. What I seemingly forgot was that I don’t really understand the metric system, so when it said 800g of meat, I thought nothing of it. That steak was bigger than my head! It was huge, but oh so delicious!

The next day, Wednesday, we scheduled a seal and dolphin cruise in Walvis Bay. Talk about an adventure! Although the day was terribly cold and foggy (keep in mind we are in the southern hemisphere so its almost winter here), the 4-hour tour was totally worth it! We saw everything, including wild seals that jumped aboard the boat with us! I even met a man from Dallas Texas! Talk about a small world! We had such fun seeing the seals, the dolphins, and just being on the water! The rest of the day Wednesday was quite the relaxing one. Considering we needed time to thaw out, we spend the afternoon just enjoying having nothing to do!

Thursday was our last day in Swakopmund, we would be boarding the train that night to start our journey back to Katima. We enjoyed the day shopping some, and napping on the warm sand by the water! Although I was sad to leave that beautiful place, I knew I was ready to be back to what has become the new normal! But I could have done without all the traveling!! As our train was pulling into Windhoek Friday morning we were greeted with giraffes (tons of them), kudu, wild dogs, and other animals! It was a fun sight to wake up to!

Friday was another day in Windhoek spent trying to fill the hours until our bus was scheduled to leave.

We finally made it back to Katima around 8am Saturday morning, and I can say I was never so excited to see small little Katima.

Our adventure was fantastic, and I feel so blessed that I am able to experience so many different cultures, and see such a different part of the world. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure that I am actually here!

Of course I have added some visual aids to go along with this story!


Starting our adventure on the bus to Windhoek

City view of Windhoek

A beautiful church near the parliament building! 

We thought we were excited about riding on the train.... haha. 

Me in front of the Atlantic Ocean! 

Amazing Waves. 

The sand dunes of the namib dessert. these are just small ones... some are HUGE. 

My awesome flip flop tan line! 

Unbelievable sunset! 

My amazing steak dinner! 

the start of our cold foggy boat ride! 

The seal!! On our boat!

Showing off a little! 

there are over 60,000 seals in this area alone! 


Massive Pelicans! 

Me, the crazy American trekking through the streets in Africa!

The beautiful Giraffe we saw from the train! Thats for you Melissa Davis!