Sunday, October 31, 2010

A lesson in trust and provision

This weekend has been a little rough to say the least! I have been reminded again and again that Jesus promised to provide exactly what we need at the time we need it. I have also been reminded that stress and worry DO NOT come from above - they are from the enemy and he will attempt to use them to distract us from our focus of rejoicing in the Lord always. Notice that I said "attempt", you see he cannot MAKE us be distracted or discouraged - those are things that WE allow to happen.

Since early Friday morning we have discovered that our Expedition needs a tire replaced, our Taurus is not working at all (more than likely a thermostat or water pump issue) and our son's hearing aid was chewed up by the dog. Any one of these alone would be enough to make me stress and freak out - having them all hit on one day, that was almost more than this mom could take! At first, I was mad and angry that the Lord would allow this to come right now. However, as the day progressed, I realized that I was not seeking my Lord at all - in fact I was having a pity party! So I made a concious decision to rejoice in my Lord and NOT be discouraged by circumstances and setbacks.

Obviously, this has not made any of these situations go away or disappear. In fact, none of them have been taken care of yet. What has happened is that my fear and discouragement has been replaced with confidence in my Savior's provision and rejoicing in the knowledge that I belong to the King of Kings!

I am continuing to pray and trust God to provide for each of these - He has already blessed us with a gift from some dear friends in ministry. I know that he will continue to take care of the rest because I know in whom I have believed and He is able!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just a mini-family update

With all my posts about Africa and the lessons God has been teaching me - I thought it time to do a quick update about the family and let you know what is going on with them.

Hannah is well into her last year of Jr. High. She has finished a great volleyball season where we saw her grow and improve immensely! She is now on to basketball which she says she enjoys more than volleyball even though she likes both. She made the B team in Basketball and is excited about that. Their first game is Thursday against Pagosa - she can't wait to beat them and rub it in with her mom! HA HA. She made the honor roll this first quarter with a 3.85 GPA - we continue to be so proud of her and how well she does academically.

Malachi is enjoying his first year of Jr. High and has just been "taking it all in". He has just started basketball through the Parks and Rec program and says he likes it. He has many friends at school and just likes hanging with whomever. He also made the honor roll this first quarter with a 3.5. We are VERY proud of how hard he is working now that he is in Jr. High.

Kestra is in 5th grade and continues to be our little social butterfly! She is always looking for a party to go to or a party to plan. She loves her teacher and pretty much everyone is her friend! Joel recently said he has gone from "Mr. A" to "Kestra's Dad". So funny! She is everything girl but loves sports as well - especially soccer!

Tyler is in 3rd grade and keeps us laughing and on our toes. He always has something witty to say. He is doing great in school as well - he continues to spend a good portion of the day with his Special Education Teacher Ms. King who he really likes and relates well to. We are so proud of his progress. Tyler also has a servant's heart - he loves to help anyone do anything. What a blessing to have in a son!

Joel is keeping busy not only at the church but also as a substitute bus driver for the school district. He enjoys the interaction with both students and staff. Joel is also continuing to work on his Bachelor's degree through Liberty University. If all goes as planned, he will graduate in Dec. 2011.

I am keeping busy helping Joel, working for my Dad, subbing in schools, and keeping the homefront. It has been an awesome and wonderful time.

Our church was able to move into our new sanctuary the first part of August and have been so blessed by this facility! We are looking forward to seeing how God continues to work and move through the use of this new building!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boudaries and Space

It is so funny to me that as children, we wanted to push the boundaries as far as we could. Just a little bit more here and just a little more there - maybe mom and dad won't notice! Then as teens we not only wanted to test the boundaries - we wanted more space to ourselves. We longed for our parents to back off and give us room.

I am realizing that as an adult - things really haven't changed all that much. We still push the boundaries that God has placed on us and we still long for space. Boundaries are a good thing in every aspect of life and in every relationship I think and yet like anything, they can work for our good or for our harm. If we place appropriate boundaries then we are protecting ourselves from things that may harm us; yet if we place too many boundaries then we may miss out on the blessings that lay beyond.

As for space, yes we all need space at times. We need others to just back off and give us some room and not smother us and yet again, if we don't allow others close to us at times we miss the blessing of close relationships. What a hard balance this is!

Today, I find myself longing for some space and needing to find a way to set some healthy boundaries on some relationships in my life. Yet, I am fearful of puhing those away that I truly do need close to me. I need and desire to find that healthy balance of what is appropriate and good for all involved. Thankfully, I have a Heavenly Father who totally understands.

When I look at Jesus' life here on Earth I have to just stand in awe at how well he managed this balance of boundaries and space. Here was a person who was almost constantly surrounded by people that both loved and hated him. Everywhere he went - people followed and yet he was SO good to get away for time to himself at the feet of his Father. He was also great at limiting those that were with him at the hard times in his life. This is the balance that I am praying to find - time for those closest to me and yet time for myself.

This coming week - this is my goal: to carve out not only time for my Lord but to also look and make sure that I am setting appropriate and good boundaries and giving myself space while at the same time not neglecting relationships and people. The hard part about this will be that I may have to tell people no and I may have to stand firm! However - "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength." Phil 4:13.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I truly enjoy fall in Colorado. The leaves changing, the weather getting cooler, warm chilli, fire in the fireplace, etc. What a beautiful and fun time of year...

Fall reminds me of the changes that Christ has made in our spiritual lives as well. He comes in and makes us new and changes the colors in our hearts! Sometimes, the changes are painful but in the end they make us better and stronger.

Lately, I have had this sense of change coming in my life and although it makes me nervous in a way I am excited to see what exactly this change is! I have no clear idea or direction - I am just trusting that the Lord knows and it will be for our good. It is so refreshing to know that I can rest in the arms of my Heavenly Father and know He wants only things for my good!

This is sort of a random post but thought I would just toss it out there!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just a Thought: Storyline: Jochebed

Just a Thought: Storyline: Jochebed: "By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of t..."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Last Journal Entry 9/27

Monday Sept 27

I can hardly believe that I am on the way home! In some ways, my life in Bayfield seems like a total other life time and in some ways Africa seems like a dream.

The flight from Joberg to Atlanta was LONG - 16 hrs! We left in the dark and arrived in Atlanta while it was still dark. I had planned on sleeping this flight but was just unable to.

We landed in Atlanta at 6:30 a.m. Getting through customs, security, and re-checking our bags was time consuming but went smoothly.

A DEFINITE highlight today was being able to talk to Joel and all 4 kids before they went to school. I didn't realize how much I missed sending them on their way each day! I am so ready to hug and kiss each one of my 4 kids!

I had thought our team was through illness - not the case. Cynthia and Judy both had a bit of an upset stomach on the Joberg-Atlanta flight. Cynthia could hardly function but made it until we were able to find a gate and camp out for the day. Judy wasn't near that bad but didn't feel great either!

This was another long layover - Almost 8 hrs as our flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake was delayed. It was SO hard just sitting around ready to be on the next leg of our journey home. However, after some down time and phone calls in the morning - we all began to perk up some!

I have to say - phone calls from both my sister and my sister-in-law as well as Facebook posts made me feel so loved and appreciated! I am so blessed to have so many who love, care, and pray for me. I do not take that forgranted at all.

Flight # 2 boarded late at 2:30 Atlanta time. Compared to the 16 hr flight from Joberg - this flight should be short. I am very tired after two long days with very little sleep and certainly no quality sleep but am working hard to stay awake so I can get my body re-trained to Colorado time. I am not sure how those who travel abroad all the time manage!

Cynthia is feeling much better - I am praying that continues. Judy wasn't feeling great so praying she will feel better soon!

I know there will be memories, thoughts, and lessons to post from Africa in the future and I will write them here in my journal. However, in all honesty, today my mind is one tracked - seeing the one whom my Father created to be the love of my life - Joel! I simply am so anxious to see him - I am praying he has a safe and uneventful drive to Grand Junction this afternoon!

We made it to Salt Lake a little late which worked out ok for us since we had a long layover. The 48 straight hours of traveling is catching up with everyone - some are quiet and reserved, others are just talkative, and others are giddy, giggly, and goofy (this would be me)! We have laughed so hard at the silliest things: sleeping in the deet, taking shirts off, going in the elevator, etc. However, I am thankful for this as the alternative would be to break down in tears over the anxiousness to see Joel!

We are finally on the LAST flight home! In just an hour I will be with Joel after 15 LONG days! I have a renewed admiration for those with spouses in military or jobs where they travel - I am not sure I would handle that well at all! I love my man and love seeing him everyday!

This is the last day of our journey but I will continue to journal as things come to mind. I am so thankful for this opportunity and experience. I know I have grown and been stretched in ways I never could imagine. Most of all, I am changed because of the work the Lord did in me this past two weeks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Journal Entry 9/26

Tim said to tell Joel hi today...can't wait! Woke up this morning a little sick to my stomach. I am thinking it was the water at the resort so I switched to my filtered water bottle. After breakfast and some medicine I felt some better.

Today we start home! It has been such a wonderful time and experience but I am ready to be home with my man and kids!

I laid down on the bus on the way to the market and all I could think about was Joel and hugging him! They say absence makes the heart grow fonder - I can't agree more! I know this time has strengthened my love for Joel in ways I could never imagine!

The market was on interesting experience. They are very pushy and hard to bargain with but I feel I got ok deals on everything. It really made me anxious to get home to the kids after I bought their gifts. However, I am really glad that Joel and I are staying in Grand Junction tomorrow night. It will be nice to share my experiences with him before the chaos begins at home!

As I write, we are on the bus to the airport - it is hard to write but I wanted to do some journaling. I am so anxious to be on the plane to the US - the time here has changed me but my heart remains in doing ministry alongside my husband in Bayfield.

We are pulling ino Johannsburg South Africa and I have to say I am very sad to be leaving Taps and Edden. It feels like they are just a part of the team and they should be going to Atlanta with us! I am really going to miss those two!

We arrived at the airport AFTER going back to the Baptist house. Tim had left his pillow there the first night and he was quite comical about getting it back! He had had the pillow for 30 years and had to get used to traveling without it!

Once we were at the airport we checked in and had to go through customs and get our passports stamped and all. Leaving Taps and Edden was hard - most of us were either crying or had tears in our eyes. It is amazing how quickly you become close to people. I do not know if I will see them on this Earth but I KNOW we will worship together in Heaven!!!

Journal Entry 9/25

Woke up early this morning praying that we see a lion making getting up at 5:00 a.m. worth it.

I really really miss my family today. I can't wait to see Joel and the kids. I am so excited to watch Hannah play volleyball, brush Kestra's hair, tell Tyler "I love your heart" and hug my Malachi. It is amazing that it is the simple, little things in life that I miss the most. I miss helping with homework ad AWANA verses, I miss holding my husband's hand and talking about our day. The two weeks with people who truly don't know you is beginning to wear on me a bit. Don't get me wrong, we have a GREAT team and I have come to love each of them dearly. However, I am ready to be HOME!

The game drive this morning was so fun! We saw a lot of rhinos and impalas, wildabeasts, giraffes fighting and LIONS! Granted, the lions were bedded down for the day, but I was still able to get some great shots.

Tonight we are having a debriefing session to talk about our experiences, thoughts, etc. I am trying to piece together everything and my mind is overwhelmed. So, I am just going to write out what comes to mind and then go from there.

The biggest challenge that comes to mind for me is just being away from Joel this long and literally not talking to him for the better part of two weeks. I knew going into the trip it would be tough but I didn't realize the magnitude of it and what it would teach me. I have learned that there is NOTHING like total and absolute reliance on my Father. In reality, He is the only one with me no matter where I go or what I do. This trip has strengthened my dependence upon Him and I have a better understanding of the relationship that He longs to have with me.

Along with that, I have a clearer picture of how divine and perfect my God is. He knows us in a way like no other because He created us. Because God knows me, He knows the perfect mate for me. He molded and crafted Joel uniquely for me to be the one who would love and cherish me! Spending 2 weeks with other men on this trip has defined this clearer for me. There have been so many things that have caused me to think "Joel wouldn't do or say that." Joel is so amazing and tenderhearted. I love that he is who he is whether in public, at home, at church, etc. He is a man full of integrity, compassion and kindness. The Lord in all His knowledge, knew thatI would never do well with someone who barked out orders or was full of sarcasim. He knew that I don't do well with grumpy attitudes that question my decisions or comments. That I don't tolerate complaining etc. I know that there are thse out there who thrive with type A personalities but I do not, I love Joel's laid back personality and tender-heart!

Second thing that God showed me was his infinite love for all man-kind. I have learned this not only through the Shona people but through myself! God has showed me his love in that despite my weaknesses and failures, despite my lack of gratitude and lack of contentment - He hand chose me to serve Him - the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Third, I now have proof for what I have felt for some time. America is spoiled, whiny, ungrateful, prideful, arrogant, haughty and full of themselves! We really are! We think that we are so much better than "third world countries" but we are so much less. We complain about the price of milk or gas and are not grateful that we live in a house that is insulated, bug free and not made of mud. These people know what it is to want, they know starvation and illness and yet they have joy and happiness. They live under a dictator who doesn't have to leave power until he wants to, they live under the constant threat of war and they have seen their entire economy collapse - yet they are smiling. They don't complain, they just live life praising their Savior! Because, of this trip, I am not sure I will ever be able to complain about how I live again - if I do, it is my prayer that God will bring me back to this journal and remind me. I think of Habakkuk - though I have nothing I will praise the Lord!

This trip has also taught me about true evangelism. In America, we come up with a million reasons not to share the Good News. Here, we go out without hesitation. I am truly brokenhearted that I can be so bold here and yet there are those at home who are going to hell and I do not tell them of Jesus, I do not tell them about their need for a Savior. I am a fool if I say I care about and love them but don't tell them about the need for Jesus. My desire is to go home and to be bold in proclaiming Jesus. To let people know about the One true God who loves them so much his son died for them.

Fifth, I have seen and learned true worship! I am not talking about expresions of worship - I have been taught about raising hands as you feel led or dancing. No, here I have experienced worship of the heart. Worshipping no matter the circumstances or environment. The people here who are believers worship with all their being! They worship 24/7. I have learned that I need to worship and to truly worship my King in EVERYTHING I do!

The sixth thing I have learned is simply that I can do mission trips like this. I guess in the back of my mind I have always wondered or doubted that I was able. This trip has shown me that not only can I do thi - but I can do it with a group of people that I virtually do not know. I can reach beyond my comfort level and go beyond my experience to share my Lord!

The rest and down time this afternoon has been tremendous and much needed! I have had much time to myself and didn't realize how much I truly needed this until now. I am a people person but being with the same 8 people pretty much constantly for the past two weeks has gotten old and I was ready for a break! So glad that tomorrow we begin the journey HOME!

Tonight we had a debriefing session. It was great to hear what the Lord did for each of us and how we grew. The most meaningful part of tonight was that Edden and Taps shared. It doesn't seem like they are just our guides - they have truly been a part of our team!

After dinner, us girls just had down time in our room. We did hair, massages, and just visited - this is our last night together besides the flight home. I do miss my family but I know I will miss these girls as well!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Journal Entries 9/22 ;9/23; 9/24

Wednesday Sept 22, 2010

Ok - I am SO SICK of bugs! They are annoying, pesky, and UGH! As much as I have loved being here among the people, I am really glad tonight is our last night camping in a tent. Tomorrow we will head to Pilansburg Game Park. I will get a BED,SHOWER, NO BUGS!

I hope some day to come here with Joel and Dani. I do not feel called here on a permanent basis but I do hope to return for short term trips. However, that is in the Lord's hands!

Today's task for the ladies was to share with each class at the secondary school about the Gospel and abstinence. It was so wonderful! Katie, Tab, Cynthia and Sara shared testimonies and the plan of salvation through the evanga-scarf. Judy gave them the opportunity to accept Christ and then I shared about God's plan for sex and marriage. I must say after being out of my comfort zone so much - it was refreshing to be back in my element!

The kids had some great questions and it was so great to share with them and encourage them to make good choices that will change them personally and their country. I will pray for their committments!

So today was the first time I was really irritated at part of our team. I know it was mostly due to being tired and the end of the trip but GRR!!! I am thankful for Judy on this trip. She has helped me keep things in perspective but even she was upset!

Tonight was another great night with the Jesus film. I am ready to go home but it would also be exciting to be at the service on Sunday.

Thursday Sept 23, 2010

Today we head to Pilansburg! The formal part of our ministry is done and we get to relax a few days! Yeah - except we have to drive 10 hrs in Big Blue!

Long day....we drove and drove and drove some more. Instead of 10 hours it was actually 14 hours before we made it to Pilansburg.

At first the trip was okay but as we went on, we all got more and more tired and therefore more and more irritable. Tab got sick today - nothing major and I think it was mostly exhaustion but could have been something else. She took some medicine on the bus which made her feel better.

We pulled into the resort at about 7:00 p.m. It was confusion but eventually we all met up at dinner. Tab then got sick again - Judy and I had to help her to the challet and to bed.

I really wanted to talk to Joel tonight and Judy really wanted to talk to Joe, her husband. However the phones wouldn't take our credit cards so we will have to wait until tomorrow!

SHOWER! A shower has never felt so good! I could not believe how dirty I was! This was the first REAL shower since Atlanta. I had showered once in camp and done sponge baths every night - it is so nice to be really clean!!!

Friday Sept 24, 2010

I'm really not gonna lie - a good night's sleep in a real bed was AMAZING! I have loved the time here but I was also ready for civilization, shower, bed, etc.

The plan today is to be low key and as much as I want to go home I am glad! We walked around the resort, took naps, visited and just relaxed. A game drive is on the agenda for tonight.

The game drive was fun for the first hour but then it grew dark and it was harder to see. We did see giraffes, wart hogs, impala, wildabeasts, rhinos, and elephants. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat was wonderful. It was a reminder of how marvelous and creative our God is!

After the game drive we had dinner and then it was off to bed. We are going on our own unguided drive tomorrow morning. Our hope is to see lions!!!

Journal Entry 9/21

Tuesday Sept 21, 2010

This was our first morning at our new camp. The morning began with Dorothy having a tick on her - EW! That is my one paranoia - getting sick from ticks or mosquitos.

After breakfast, we walked over to the school. The plan was to divide into teams and go out hut to hut inviting people to the Jesus film and sharing the Gospel.

Tab and I were paired with 3 guys and 1 girl from the churches in the area. I can't pronounce much less spell 3 of their names but our main translator was George. We had to walk quite a ways before reaching the first hut that had people. The whole formality of visiting people is very different than in the states. First, you call out a greeting at the gate to the yard, once invited in you then shake hands and greet everyone. Following that, the family will find chairs for the men and if there are extras they will then offer the women chairs but most times the women will just sit on a scarf or blanket on the ground.

At the first hut, we decided I would share the Gospel first. I was nervous at first but eventually I got so excited about it! After using the evanga-scarf to share, I asked them if they wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts. As it turned out, they were believers so we prayed with them and encouraged them in their walk.

At the second hut, we were excited and surprised to find that the Dad spoke English. Again, I was asked to share. However this experience was different because he knew about Jesus but he didn't know for sure what he believed. I spent some time explaining to him that we only ask Jesus into our hearts once and he is there forever. At this time, the man didn't make a decision but said he would bring his family tonight.

The next hut, Tab shared. It was an amazing experience! She shared the Gospel and the whole family became believers. They are so open and so receptive. Unlike in America - their yes is yes! When they say it, they mean it! What a blessing.

At the final hut for the morning I shared again. This was another amazing experience. I am not sure I can put it into words but I will try. This family was made up of a man with a couple wives and some teens as well as a toddler. After the formal introductions, I asked if they knew about Jesus. I was expecting that they would say they had heard of him like the other families had. However this family was different - they had not heard of Jesus. I can't explain my excitement but it was incredible! I have led many to the Lord but I have NEVER shared with someone who hadn't at least heard of Jesus. I was thrilled to start with creation, set the stage for the need for a Savior and then talk of Jesus! This family decided to ask Jesus in as well! Words can't describe this experience as I process it more, I will write more.

After this, it was time to come back for lunch. Although I wanted to share more it was REALLY hot and physically I was drained. On the way back to camp, we ran into Dorothy and Dave's group. They had an amazing morning as well. One lady they met was deaf and they told her I could sign tonight for her - YIKES!

However, as I sit here writing during our down time - I am getting very excited! I have a heart for those hard of hearing because I can relate to them! So, I am praying for guidance. I don't know formal sign language but I can make things up enough to communicate!

Well tonight was incredible! The deaf lady either didn't come or they didn't let us know but either way I didn't sign to her. Perhaps she will come tomorrow night.

The thing that absolutely made my night was Elliot came! Elliot was the man from the second hut we visited that had not made a decision. Immediately he came up to me and told me he had things right. After we had left his hut, he went and found a friend who was a deputy marshall and also a Christian. The friend told him more about Jesus and Elliot decided to lead his family in following Jesus. As I looked into his face I KNEW that his familywould forever be changed! After the movie, Tim gave an incredible message of the Gospel. Elliott was the first to stand and proclaim he had asked Jesus into his heart!

There were approximately 350 at the Jesus film tonight. I have no idea how many made professions but it was A LOT! The cool thing is, these people will be the first members of a brand new church here this coming Sunday - what an amazing thing!

When we returned to camp, I could not wind down! I was just so incredibly excited about all that Jesus had done today! Holy Cow - what an experience. In America, we have a hard time driving to church and yet these people WALK miles to hear the Word of God - oh where are OUR priorities?

Journal Entry 9/20

Monday Sept 20, 2010

This is our last day here by the orphanage. We will be moving about an hour down the road to the high school we were at on Friday.

Apparently, that is a lost and unreached area. It is not where we were originally going but is where there is a field ripe for the harvest. Many important officials were at the ceremony on Friday and are planning on coming to the Jesus film tonight. I am anxious to see God work and move there.

I didn't sleep well at all last night because my back was hurting. I am SO glad only 3 more nights in a tent - not going to lie about that! However, God has been so good and my energy has been up so far. I will have lots to say about the benefits of MAX when I get back - Dad will love it!

Today has been frusterating. Tim and Tobey left to get water with some pastors and Taps. They planned on being gone 2 and half hours but were gone 5! The rest of us were left sitting at camp - very restless and bored!

Finally, after lunch we loaded up and drove to Neshuro - very eye opening! We got out and looked at the shops - there are a lot of supplies but there is no money to buy them. The economy and state of this nation are so sad and depressing it is no wonder that they see the need for a Savior. We in America have a hard time with the need issue.

One picture I took today has special meaning - A picture of footprints in the sand. This will forever remind me of the wealth I have - I and my kids have shoes, clean clothes, we are blessed! Those precious feet that made those prints need the hope of a Savior!

The enemy was out in force today. Tim and Tobey were almost in a car accident, the rest of us were grumpy and bored. When we reached camp it was dark so once again, it was setting up camp in the dark. The sound equipment was having issues, tempers were short. However, over adn over I was reminded to "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS".

The night ended in much laughter with Tab and I. The Lord knew it was exactly what I needed!

Journal Entry 9/19

Sunday Sept 19, 2010

The mornings in Zimbabwe are sunny and noisy! We woke up this morning to dogs barking, roosters crowing, and music blaring. There is definitely nothing quiet about these people - my family would fit right in!

After breakfast, us ladies went over to join their ladies for a service. We thought they had a speaker but as it turned out - they wanted Judy to speak. She did great at improv! She spoke on Psalm 121 and how big our God is!

There was a short break between that and the regular service. Tab, Cynthia, and I had some of the ladies teach us to dance - I think they got a great comedy show! After dancing many times we were all tired so we showed the kids how to brush our hair - THEY LOVED IT! So precious!

The Sunday worship service was by far the best yet! After removing the enemy spirit from the night before - there was a new found freedom in the Shongon people. They sang and danced with absolute praise! I joined them some until my attention and heart was captured by "Moses".

Moses is my name for this boy. He was about 3 yrs old and bow legged. He was dancing right beside me and the bigger kids kept knocking into him. I kneeled down and picked him up. At first he was stiff and hesitant but then, he relaxed. I danced with him for quite awhile both holding him and putting him down. I began to notice him rubbing his eyes - so I picked him up and showed him how to lay his head on my shoulder. It didn't take long before he was sound asleep snuggled with me and my heart was gone! As he slept and I held him, I said a very specific prayer for him. I prayed that he would be one who would lead his people to the promised land of eternity in Heaven - thus my name for him - MOSES.

The services here are 3 hrs minimum and most of that is on a long hard bench. There were so many here that it was VERY hot and crowded. By the time the service was over I just knew I needed space so I slipped out and came back to camp - most of our team did the same!

The afternoon was AWESOME! We just relaxed and had down time all afternoon. A few of the pastors came and said goodbye and one even brought hand made things for us to buy. I bought a lepord and a preacher. It was so nice for all of us to let loose and joke around with one another. I was especially glad to see Tobey relaxed - this was a first of the trip so far.

I decided to go to my tent right after dinner for some "me" time. I love the team I am with but there are some I am struggling with and can only take so much of. I am praying about that thoug.

Things I have learned this first week:
1.) Unconditional love: These people love despite circumstances.

2.) True joy and happiness: They are always happy. They live in a land of hardship, famine, poverty, and yet they smile!

3.) Reliance on my God: I have a great relationship with God but I have also had Joel, my parents, my sister, and my friends to rely on on. Here, I am trusting God for everything - even companionship!

4.) Peace: God has given me peace here despite how much I miss my family.

5.) That I know more scripture than I think I do. I have been amazed at how verses just come to mind at exactly the times I need them.

6.) America is SPOILED! We are spoiled materially, physically, and even spiritually. We have no idea how to love and trust God for EVERYTHING!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Journal Entry 9/18

Saturday Sept 18, 2010

Woke up to the sounds of Taps cooking. This morning, I am not quite a 100% but not terrible either. My leg is very sore from Katie sitting on it in the car yesterday and I have quite a bit of drainage which is making me nauseous but will be fine I think.

I must say that today I am beginning to miss American comforts. A hot shower and Dr. Pepper would be AMAZING. There is no doubt in my mind, the next few days will be the hardest. We are settled in camp, have experienced the culture and the newness is beginning to wear off - however, I am still excited as I haven't really had the chance to share with the people yet. Judy and I hope to meet with the Pastors wives today and teach some evangelism.

My prayers this morning are for physical strength, energy and discernment. So far none are sick to our stomache and I am praying that continues. Dorothy hurt her back yesterday and I know Dave has struggled on and off and not feeling great - so praying today is better for them.

After breakfast and an amazing devotional about worship; Judy, Tab, Cynthia and I decided to take a hike up the mountain by the camp. Such a fun time and the view was BEAUTIFUL. We serve an amazing and creative God!

We returned to camp and after a break; Tim, Tab, Judy, Katie, Cynthia and I went to see the boar hole and the river. At the boar hole, we some kids doing laundry - HARD work!

The river was a sobering. Very recently, a girl from the orphanage was killed by a crocodile at the river. As I sat there I prayed for her friends and the workers at the orphanage.

Another great and wonderful thing happened on the walk to the river was a conversation between Katie and I. Katie has been a hard to connect with. She is very closed minded and naive. On the way, the verse in Deutoronomy about speaking of God on the road. So I began to talk to her about her why of coming. This led into a conversation about the blessing of obedience to God. I truly believe that this conversation was my divine appointment for today! My goal this next week is to reach out to her more and more.

This afternoon, was another service and convention reports. The thing that struck me during this service was the report on youth ministry. It was so cool to see their desire to reach young people. One need they have are Bibles for teens. I plan on talking to Joel about our youth working on sponsoring some Bibles for them.

After a break for another wonderful dinner prepared by Taps - we went back for another worship service.

This service was held outside. There are no words to describe the feeling of truly worshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ who speak an entirely different language than you. The ability to understand that we are worshipping ONE God is just awesome!

Shortly before Tobey was to give the sermon - a lady began shouting out. At first, I thought she was praying or speaking praise. Quickly we realized that wasn't the case. I was sitting next to Tobey and he leaned over and said, "Get ready and PRAY!" That was all I needed to hear. I prayed and praised Jesus with all my heart. As I continued to speak the name of Jesus many came from their seats and surrounded her. They also began praying and laid hands on her. Finally, they were able to move her away from the service and Tobey stood up. I continued to pray. I also prayed that the people would hear and understand Tobey's message despite distraction. They were using a VERY old sound system with people who didn't know how to use it. So I prayed that God would speak to hearts.

This experience revealed a few things to me. First of all, PRAYER WORKS! Obviously I know the importance of prayer but to see it first hand overcome true spiritual warfare was awesome! I also was reminded of who I serve. I serve the God of the Universe who is ABLE. The Great I AM. Our God is stronger, our God is Greater! If He is for us, who can be against us?

I am not totally sure how the rest of the team took the service. I know Tab wanted to go pray with the woman but Tobey asked us to stay where we were and to let the people handle it. Even in this, I learned an important lesson. Yes, there are times God calls us to lay hands and pray over someone BUT we are not limited to that. The power of Christians praying can withstand any distance. I prayed from where I was and I saw the Mighty Force of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords move.

We left the service early and came back to camp. I am sort of glad we did - they worshipped ALL NIGHT!

Journal Entry 9/17

After a wonderful breakfastof raisin oatmeal prepared by Taps, we walked over to the orphanage to meet up with Choigoi and others.

Funny thing, Tobey got on a motorcycle that was WAY small for him and rode through the camp! LOL.

Then, all 9 of us piled in a forerunner to head to a secondary school that the government was handing over to Pastor Choigoi. Tobey decided to drive - SCARY! I was in the back with Cynthia and Tab and Katie was laying across us - sitting mostly on my lap! Had I known that we were a good 45 min from the school, I would have positioned myself differently, but as it was my leg became VERY sore!

Arriving at the school, you would have thought we were royalty! They had students assigned as ushers to show us around and tell us about the school and life. The three girls and I had Josephine as our guide. She is 17 and in Form 4 (our Senior). Her goal is to be an airline stewardess. At the school, they had a beautiful garden. Talking with one of the teachers, he explained they are hoping to teach the kids how to grow a garden to feed their families.

Following the tour, was a LONG 3 hr ceremony presenting the school. It was in Shona but basically the government recognizes that Pastor Choigoi can run and provide for the school better so they placed it in his care and supervision. He will be free to witness and teach about God there.

After the ceremony, LUNCH! This was our first experience with traditional food. We were served a meal of beef liver, rice with sauce, and cabbage salad. YUCK! I did manage a small piece of liver and the rice but didn't eat the salad not knowing how the produce was washed. They do not use silverware there but use their hands - the rice wasn't too bad.

After lunch, which was actually at 2:00 we came back to camp. However, this time Judy, Cynthia and I rode with 3 pastors and another lady. The pastor that drove was very nice . He said since we were very important people he was driving slow - welcome change after Tobey's driving!

Back at camp, we had a little down time. I decided to try a shower. Taps and Edden have set up a tarp area for a shower with a bucket hanging from a tree - you pull a lever to get water. It was cool but I did wash my hair so it was refreshing! Not sure I will use the actual shower again as the wind shook it a lot and well - that was SCARY!

We have figured out how to wash our hair in buckets - MUCH easier!

There was another church service this evening, This was the opening of the Zimbabwe Southern Baptist Convention. Again - very moving. One thing that hit me during this service was how in Heaven, we will worship together, people of all Nations and speak one language! It was hard to stay awake as it had been a long day but so fun to worship!

Journal Entry 9/16

Thursday September 16, 2010

Woke up this morning to the sounds of birds singing and a breeze - then it hit me that I was sleeping in the African wilderness! How awesome! After getting dressed, using our foldable toilet, and washing my face we had a group devotion.

This morning, Dave shared John 3:16-18. What a great reminder of why we are here. We are here because of God's love for us! Following the devotional was a breakfast of eggs, sausage, and bread. Decided to take Brynn's suggestion and take a pepto every morning as a pre-caution. So far, physically I am feeling GREAT - praying to stay that way!

After breakfast, we walked to the orphanage. The orphanage has 78 kids in ages from about 6-16. the dorms are clean and yet simple. They are made of brick and concrete. The kids only have a bed and hooks on the wall for clothes. We were there after the kids had left for school so mostly we saw the workers. They were all very friendly but most do not speak English so conversations are limited.

The next stop was the high school here by the orphanage. Students are between the ages of 13-17. We went to each class where we introduced ourselves and Tim led a Q & A time. Most of the kids wanted to know what we ate, how long it took us to get here, and what grades the girls were in.

However, one class stood out. One of the boys was intriqued by Tim being a pastor. He wanted to know how to get a Bible. Following that, the kids asked us to sing a song. Tim led us in Amazing Grace. As I was singing, I was struck anew that it is ONLY by God's Grace that I am alive, here and able to serve Jesus as a vocation! I was literally crying at how beautiful God's Grace is!

Seeing the high schoolers, I was so excited about being here with them...whether in America or Africa - I have a heart, passion, and love for teens and youth! They are so amazing. I am praying for a chance to sit with girls and share with them how precious they are to God, how beautiful and valuable.

After a short break, we gathered the parachutes and balls and headed to the elementary school. WOW - is all I can say! As soon as we sat down, kids came from all directions. We sat on chairs and benches. Then, Tim again led in a Q & A time. Popular questions were is wrestling real, what we ate, where we go to church, and why did we come to Zimbabwe. We were able to sing songs and play with the kids.

I was so touched by their smiling faces and their desire to touch us and hold our hands. It was so wonderful to just love them!

Following the school was a wonderful lunch prepared by Taps & Edden! So nice to rest in the shade after dancing and singing!

Once school let out a few of the kids came near our camp and we played with them - such a wonderful time!

During our down time, we shared our testimonies with each other. This was a fantastic way to get to know our fellow team mates and just connect.

The heat is making us a little tired, but so far we are all in good spirits and physically doing great!

Tonight will be our first church service - looking forward to sharing in worship!

The church service was so fun! It is refreshing to see people worship with abandon. They are not hindered by expectations or traditions - they just WORSHIP!