Thursday, September 30, 2010

Journal Entry 9/15

Wednesday 9/15 Zimbabwe!
Today was another LONG day! We started out at 5:00 a.m from Johannesburg and didn't get to Neshuro until 8:00 p.m.

Riding in Big Blue for 15 hours was an experience to say the least! However, most of the trip we were busy looking at the sights of Africa, so it didn't seem too bad until it got dark.

In South Africa we saw lots of impala and even two giraffes while driving. So cool! The other thing that we saw EVERYWHERE were baboons! Oh my gosh they are adorable!

We arrived in the dark and set up camp in the dark. All was okay except for a minor cut on my finger that bled a lot. Tab and I are sharing a tent even though we could have our own - we're attached.

I also read Joshua 1 before bed. I love this reminder of why Joel and I are here doing what we do!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Journal Entries # 2

Tuesday 9/14

Wow! A very long flight this has been! Never before have I been on a plane for hours upon hours... I have slept on and off, worked on a devotional to share in Zim, watched a few movies, read some. I have an aisle seat with the middle seat empty and a lady on the other aisle. She is going to Swaziland to do some HIV relief work - so strange to imagine coming over year after year to work with AIDS victims but so awesome as well!

I just got up to stretch for awhile and FINALLY people are opening windows and the main cabin lights are on. It is 3:41 p.m. Africa time and I saw my first glimpse from the air of AFRICA! Holy cow...I am literally in another country! Okay, well from the sky it looks alot like flying over New Mexico but I am sure there will be plenty of differences once I am on the ground. We are over Nambia right now, almost to Botswana. Very fun to see the map - I know Tyler would love that part! However, I can't IMAGINE keeping Tyler still or occupied on a plane for 15 HOURS! LOL.

Speaking of kids, I am really missing them and Joel today. I know that is mostly due to boredom and having time to think about it but it's hard. I have left for a week before but I think there is something about being in a foreign country that is literally around the world that makes it harder! Can't imagine how restless I will be on the flight home to see them, but then again , I will be exhausted too I am sure!

We are now a little over an hour away from landing. I am really excited but also nervous about all the customs/border crossing/security issues. I am thankful for Judy on this trip as she has been here several times and will help with the process. She told me yesterday to just walk through and act clueless - well I can tell you, that won't be an act! I AM clueless over here!

Well, I will hopefully have time to journal tonight before I go to bed and write about our first hours in Africa!

Tuesday 9/14 PM

We are in AFRICA! Our plane landed about 20 min early. After getting through the passport check, we got our baggage. Praise the Lord! Every piece of luggage was there! The next step was their version of customs. Tobey said to stay near him and let him talk as they may search bags. Immediately, I prayed "Lord, let them just wave us on through" With 9 people pushing 9 carts full of bags and crates, the security guards just smiled and waved us by! No questions, No searches, Nothing! Praises!!!

Johannesberg South Africa is VERY modernized. The city reminds me of Downtown Denver. So, not a lot of "culture" shock yet. We are staying at the Baptist House which is a ministry for missionaries and pastors. It is really nice actually. Just like a hotel room - Tab and I are sharing a room but we each have our own bed! Yippee!!! Good night's sleep...

Tomorrow we will load up on "Big Blue", the overland truck and head to Zimbabwe. Our guides, Taps and Edden, tell us it will take any where from 12-15 hours depending on the border crossing. We are praying for a smooth crossing. We have to get up at 4:00 AM and leave by 5:00 so good night!

Journal Entries from Zimbabwe!

Good morning! First of all THANK YOU for all your prayers, support, and help while I prepared for and went on my mission trip to Zimbabwe. Our family has been genuinely overwhelmed by all that has been done for us. I am hoping to type my day by day journal entries on here within the next week or so that you will all be able to share in my experiences. Keep in mind, that there are 15 days of journal entries and some are more lengthy than others - so I will get them typed as I have time, however I SO want to share my experiences, thoughts, feelings and what the Lord taught me through this with each of you so I will get them up.

Sunday 9/12
Started the morning early at home with all those last minute things that come with any trip: toiletries, checking bags for weight, music on the mp3 player, etc.

Saying good bye to the kids was a little harder than I thought it would be. I have never left them for more than a week beofre and certainly not out of the country! However, we made it through and went to church.

Church was simply AMAZING! Although not perfect by any means - our church family at Bayfield is truly wonderful and supportive. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging, although I am not sure they knew what to think of Joel keeping the kids by himself for two weeks!!! I know that Joel will do GREAT and have no problems but they weren't so sure. Pastor Randy concluded the service with a prayer/commissioning for Tab and I. Once again I was overwhelmed by the love and support of our church. The prayers were heartfelt and sincere. I almost made it through without crying but when Dani prayed - my heart was broken. I know that she so wanted to go on this trip and yet I also know that God needed her at home for her kids and the baby on the way.

I must say, a HUGE part of me wanted her here too! I had envisioned this amazing experience with her, Tab and I but God is revealing more and more to me that HE is all I need and with Him , the life I experience is truly awesome! I am leaning on Him 100% this trip and that is how it should be!

After church, Tab and I said all our final goodbyes and loaded up in the car with Joel. We made incredible time, reaching Grand Junction at 4;00. Joel and I have never had real emotional goodbyes or anything but it was still a little hard not to have him coming with me.

At the airport, we met up with Tobey (Dani's Dad), Cynthia (16) and Katie (14). After checking in, we headed for security. I have flown plenty but going through security still gives me chills. Fortunately, with the exception of losing a ring (I dropped it) peanut butter and sunscreen being confiscated (Cynthia's and Tab's) - we all made it through fine!

The flight to Salt Lake was short and sweet. No real issues. However, it was during this flight that I experienced my first panic attack of sorts. I had learned that the reason I hadn't found the recommended medicine I needed was that I had accidently been told the wrong name. I also had the realization that this was REAL - I was going to another continent. Immediately, my mind reeled with all the worst case scenerios - illnesses, injuries, kids getting hurt, etc. Yet, as quick as these thoughts hit me - I heard almost immediately the still small voice of my Father "I am here and you are fine." The panic eased!

Salt Lake was certainly an experience - I have never had a 6 hr layover in an airport! We had fun though and made the best of it. We definitely got to know each other and the memories began being made. Dinner was a riot! Tab asking the waiter if the fries were "fresh" and Katie mixing up onions and mushrooms when talking to the waiter. After dinner, we met up with Judy (pastor's wife from Norwood), Dorothy (Tobey's secretary at church), and Dave (Dorothy's husband). Other things that we did included cards and wheel chair racing (me falling on my face)! LOL.

Monday 9/13
At last, 12:00 a.m. we began the boarding process for our flight to Atlanta. Although physically exhausted I was unable to sleep on this 3 hr flight. Tab and I talked some but pretty uneventful.

Uneventful that is until we landed! All of us had to gate check our carry-ons due to space issues. We had to pick them up at baggage claim. Everyone's was there except for Cynthia's. Talk about panic! Her medicine, money, contact solution, etc was in that bag. After waiting almost 2 hours we went to the hotel. I had already began the prayer chain by calling Joel and we prayed the bag would arrive.

At the hotel, we all got some MUCH needed rest. It was strange going to bed at 9:00 in the morning but my body was ready!

One thing that I woke up SO excited about was meeting and encouraging the pastor's wives. I am just so anxious to hug them and encourage them!

After sleeping and taking a HOT shower - it was back to the airport. Praises!!! Cynthia's bag was there waiting!

We again checked in and went through security with minimum issues. In Atlanta, we met up with Tim (worship leader friend of Tobey) who completed our team of 9!

Excitement was my biggest emotion as I waited to board the plane to South Africa! There was still some fear of illness but mostly an overwhelming excitement to be there and begin the work!

Now, I am on the plane for the long 15 hour flight and taking time to journal. Joshua 1:9 is our ministry verse and my verse for this trip - Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Journey to Zim 2010

As I type this, I am just amazed and awed that the King of Kings and Father of all Creation has hand picked ME in spite of my failures and weaknesses to come on this journey across the World and serve among other brothers and sisters! Seriously, I do not view myself as the picture of a missionary going to Africa and yet HE has called me and set me apart for such a time as this! THAT is define mercy and grace!

Right now, we are in Atlanta GA. We left Bayfield at around noon yesterday and drove the 4 hrs to Grand Junction where we met up with part of our team. In Grand Junction, we met with Tobey (my friend's dad), Cynthia (teen), and Katie(teen). Tab and I joined them and we flew the short one hour flight to Salt Lake City Utah. Once in Salt Lake, we joined with Judy (pastor's wife), Dorothy (Tobey's secretary) and Dave (Dorothy's husband). We had a LONG 6 hours in the Salt Lake airport. Yet, as you can imagine, I found things to do! Things like, wheel chair races and falling on my face, skipping on the moving sidewalk, and just laughing and getting to know our team! Finally at almost 1:00 am, we boarded our flight to Atlanta! The flight was VERY booked and very uncomfortable. We had to gate check our carry on bags for space and none slept very well. 6:00 this morning, we landed in Atlanta and went to gather our checked carry ons. Delay #1 - Cynthia's did not make it! We have no idea how since it was a gate checked bag, but it didn't. They couldn't track it as the tag was hand written (their system not ours). After waiting almost 2 hours, we left the airport to come to the hotel and get food and MUCH needed sleep!

So, now I have rested and showered and feel like I am ready to continue on the next part of the journey to Zim! We will hang out here until about 4:30 and then head back to the airport in preparation for a 7:30 flight to AFRICA! That flight will be harder as it is 15 hours!!!! I am sure we will keep busy though playing cards, reading, journaling, etc.

To say what I am thinking and feeling is a little hard. Yesterday I had several "panic" moments. Like when I saw my oldest cry at church and when I realized I didn't have the exact medicine they recommended and when it dawned on me that when I return to Colorado the leaves will have changed. However - I heard the still small voice of my Savior on our first flight. I was in a seat next to someone I didn't know and he was asleep. As I prayed, I heard "I'm here and you are fine." Probably the most clearest I have ever sensed HIM! It was as though, He took His hand and placed it on my shoulder whispering His presence. The fears and anxieties faded in the light of HIS presence!

Today, I am just ready to be there and meet the people. In a conversation last night, I discovered that many of the wives there are new to ministry and have moments of discouragement. I can't WAIT to get there and hug their necks and tell them that I KNOW how they feel, I have walked that path, I know how discouraging it can be and yet I know that it is worth the blessing and so much more! I had originally thought that I would be most excited about the children and teens but I can tell you that is NOT the case any more! I am excited to meet pastor's wives and let them how much I love them and encourage them. I want to share my story with them and how Jesus has blessed over the 15 years in ministry and how I have grown through those times when I shouted "Why God?" This is the passion that burns in my heart! However, I won't mind loving on a few babies either!!!!

Well, I have no idea if I will actually blog again until we return stateside. Once I get back, my intention is to type my journal entries day by day and share them with you all so you will see my heart each day! Thank you for your prayers and support. They mean so much! Joel will be checking my e-mail, updating you all and all of that. Love you all and I am off to Africa!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Night before thoughts

Well, I am officially less than 24 hours away from leaving for my trip to Zimbabwe. I have been thinking all day about what to blog and how I feel. Honestly, there are so many different emotions running through me right now.

I am so excited simply because I KNOW that the Lord has brought me to this point and has led me to go on this trip. His hand has been in it from day one and even up to the past two days! Joel and I have been really tight on money lately and although we had my money for the trip set aside, it was tough because so many other things needed to be paid, kids need shoes, groceries need bought etc. Thursday, my Dad was paid for an appraisal and I got my commission (totally unexpected!), then Thursday night I was given $180 for my spending money on the trip from a donor, and then yesterday Joel received some of his excess student loan money on his account! All of our needs were paid for AND I had money for the trip! God is so good....

Eagerly, I await what the Lord has in store for me in Zim. I can't wait to see how He will mold me and use me throughout this trip. I read an article that talked about missions and how we often think of ourselves as "bringing God to a place" when in reality God is already there, we just need to look for how we can join Him! This is where my heart is about this trip - I don't have an agenda or a plan but eagerly await to see what the Lord is doing in Zimbabwe Africa and how He would have me join in!

Yet, I would be lying if there I said there isn't a part of me that is nervous, anxious and scared. I have never left my kids longer than a week and I have never left Joel longer than 5 days. I have been on the verge of tears all night just thinking about not being here to take them to school or to go to Hannah's volleyball games or to help them with homework or all the other little things in their daily lives. I am nervous about allowing my emotions of missing them to interfere with what God has for me to do in Zim. However - I know that HE IS ABLE and He will care for them and me while we are apart and that in reality, 2 weeks is not that long.

Tonight was a hard. My parents and in-laws came over for dinner, prayer time and goodbyes. I love both my parents and my in-laws deeply and do not take forgranted the fact that I live close to both. Yet, the hardest part of tonight was hearing my Dad pray and knowing that in his heart of hearts he is a Daddy still and I, his baby, am going clear across the world. As long as I can remember, my Dad's prayers have stirred me to tears. He is so open and honest with the Lord. In his prayers, you can feel the closeness and oneness he has with his Father. Dad has gone through so much - loss of both parents, loss of a daughter, financial issues, deaths of close friends, etc and yet he is a pillar of faith! My heart's desire is to be like my Dad is with Jesus - so close that others can just know the powerful relationship you have with Jesus through a simple prayer! Tonight, in his prayer I know he was laying it down at the feet of his Father - his excitement, his joy, his concern.

Basically, all this to say, the emotions are blended tonight but my heart is so full of joy and anticipation!

When I return, my plan is to blog what I write in my journal so that I can share with others each and every experience that I have. I truly long to be open and honest about my life so others may be encouraged.

That's all for tonight, I may try to blog from Atlanta if there is a computer at the airport but we will see. If not, I will for sure blog when I return!!!