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!