Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Youth Camp

We had the pleasure of hosting a youth camp with Pastor Sthembiso on our campus the week before Christmas. There were over 80 teens/young adults here. It was amazing! John, Rae & I all had the opportunity to speak.

John spoke on Ephesians 5 to the young men in the camp. He talked about the role of husbands & what that means. God's word transcends cultures. Women are to respect their husbands. And husbands are to love their wives like Jesus loves the church. The role of men in any society is crucial. And for most of the young men in SA, there isn't a role model. So many of them have grown up without a father figure. But God has specific instructions on how to do this. It was a very open discussion with John challenging them with God's truth. Once you know the truth, you are responsible for it. Of course, mentoring is the key. John, Pastor Sthembiso & Stanley are meeting weekly with the young men to discuss what is going on in their lives & what God's word says.

Rae spoke on "A Generation of Change". God put this on her heart a year or so ago. It doesn't matter what your age is, you can make a difference. She spoke to the young women about making a change in their communities & in the world. She then asked them to write down ways that they could make a difference. Afterwards, they shared. One young lady shared that if they were always holding on to the past, they couldn't grasp hold of the future. Rae did a wonderful job & God used her in a special way.

I taught on the Motivational gifts. We talked a lot about what ministry is & isn't. It's not about what you do on Sunday mornings or only at church. It's about life & everyone you come in contact with. Then we talked about the different kinds of gifts, looked at the motivational gifts & did a survey to see what each persons gifts were. I asked the group to please be interactive & ask lots of questions. And they did! It was an awesome experience. There is nothing like God using you in a way that brings change & transformation to others!

I think the camp was a great experience not only for the youth, but for our family as well. We are so blessed to have this amazing relationship with Pastor Sthembiso. And to be able to live this life that God has called us to. Thank you to all of you who make that happen!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


This is my friend, Katiwhe. She is one of the amazing young women who serves the children in the community of Kabokweni. When I first met her back in March, she was not doing so well. She was depressed & had talked of taking her own life & her 2 childrens as well. Her life seemed hopeless & sad. She is 20 years old, has a 6 yr old & 18 month old. She lived with her father & step-mother. Her step-mother would withhold food from her & accuse her of stealing food if she ate. She was nursing her baby, looke liked she was nothing but skin & bones & had no way out. This amazing young lady volunteers 5 days a week to cook & serve over 100 kids who have even less.

Recently, she was able to get a "home" of her own. Her father worked out a deal with a neighbor & fixed up this tiny shack for her. It is tiny. One room, no window, dirt floor. It has a bed, a light bulb & extension cord & a little shelve on cinder blocks for her hot plate & tea kettle. Yet, when she told me about it, her face lit up! She walked me to her place & with pride, showed me her new home. The change in her has been amazing! She is happy & has dreams for the future. Some day, she would like to have her own little cafe. She dreams of being able to provide for her girls. Although Ten Thousand Homes did not provide her home, it just goes to show what a difference a home brings to those who don't have one. It brings a place of security & hope.


So, for the first time EVER, we weren't with family & friends at Christmas. We decided to just take it easy, hang out at the pool, throw some cream-cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos on the grill and relax...Not too bad! Then we spent the evening Skyping the kids, grandkids & parents, watched a few episodes of "The Office" and relaxed some more. Overall, not bad at all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ticket from South Africa to Texas: Expensive
Walking your daughter down the aisle & dancing at her wedding: Priceless!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good works vs God's work

One of the things God has been speaking to me about lately is doing God's work vs good work. Being a missionary, there is plenty of good work to do. God wasn't telling me to stop doing what I was doing, but to make sure that I'm doing His work. So, after meditating & praying about it, what I really got out of all this is that it is up to me to make sure I am doing what God wants me to do. That didn't mean in my case to sit & pray about every activity that I'm doing, but to see God in all that is going on. Let's face it, it's easy to get into the task mode. You know which one I mean. Oh, it's Monday...that means we go to Kabokweni, feed kids, play with them, maybe help do the dishes, etc., etc. Task mode! Good work! But God was saying, "Are your eyes open to me being there?" So, instead, it's a heart attitude. God, can I show your love to a child today by holding him? Does my eyes meet those of the little girl I hand a plate to to show her value in your eyes? Am I speaking encouraging words & life into the ladies who are volunteering? Does anyone see you through me today?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I detest...

Doing dishes!

I know, almost everyone does. Not on the favorite list of anyone I know. But I have to say, it's even more of a pain living in South Africa. First, there is no automatic dishwasher! Oh no! I haven't seen one since we've been here. I'm pretty sure they have them in this country somewhere, but I can't say I've looked. I'm too afraid I would find one & want it really bad! But I regress! So hand washing it is! Added to that, we have one small (and I do mean small!) sink in our kitchen. With no hot water. And there is no Dawn Ultra dish soap here either! So, here are the steps to washing dishes.

First, make sure everything is scraped & dumped out. Then, plug the sink with the plug that doesn't quite fit by using the scrubby pad under the plug. Then, 2 empty water jugs from the bathtub faucet with hot water. Use 1 jug to fill the sink while pouring in a quarter bottle of dish soap. Then, start with glasses & cups. Use one of the cups to pour rinse water into from the 2nd jug. Rinse each glass & cup with the rinse water, pouring the rinse water back into the first cup as you go. Next, it's on to plates & bowls. Repeat the process of rinsing. Usually, it's time to change the water after this. So, back to the bathtub! Next it's time for the pots & pans. No non-stick here! No siree! Well, one non-stick, very small frying pan, but other than that, nope! So, scrub away! Rinse & repeat. Last, time for silverware. Wash a hand full, stick it in the glass, pour water over & put in the drying rack. Finally! Dishes done. Whew!

And yes, I do realize that I have a 15 yr. old. Unfortunately, she inherited her uncle's gag reflex in regards to washing dishes. But I make up for that with her having bathroom duty! I'm so mean, but hey!

So, I dream. Not of an automatic dishwasher. Oh no. I dream of a nice, big, double sink with hot running water! Sometimes, you have to dream for attainable goals, not necessarily the big dreams!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home is more than a house...

It's times like now that bring this inot focus. Many of you may have read about the home that the Orlando team built last month. If not, go to www.tenthousand.blogspot.com The home was built for a single mom with 2 children. Often, the neice is there as well when her mother is not doing well with her illness.

Last night, we recieved the news that the mom had passed away. Now, the 15 yr. old boy will be the head of the household, with a young sister to take care of. The immeadiate needs seem overwhelming enough. Money to release the body to the funeral home, cost of a funeral, paying to keep the electricity on, no food in the house. And then to thnk of the long term needs; well, it seems a little daunting to me, I can only imagine how a 15 yr. old boy feels.

Last night, Ryan asked if there was anyone to stay with the children until the grandfather arrived. When we found out there wasn't, Ryan & Mongolisa packed a bag, grabbed some food & headed out. Two selfless guys, doing what neede to be done.

Our job now is to make sure these children don't fall through the cracks. How can we help make sure they are taken care of & not taken advantage of? How do we ensure that their needs are met so the boy doesn't have to quit school & get a job to support his sister? How do we help make sure the sister isn't raped or abused? Thankfully,we are working with a wonderful pastor in the community. Pastor Stembiso & his wife have the heart of God & the faith of Abraham. Our prayer is we can come along side of them & see the children grow up taken care of & knowing the love of the Father.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's about...

Sometimes, it seems all about the task. You know, potatoes to be peeled, food to be served, homes to be built, etc. There is so much that needs to be done.

But ultimately, it's about this. The children.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hope for a community

For the last 2 weeks, we have had the privilege to host a short term team from the YWAM Orlando base. This group of 6 men & 6 women raised the money to build a home and dedicated 2 weeks here to accomplish that task. We are blessed to be working with an amazing pastor in the community & he found a family that had a great need. The family lived in this small shack. The mother, who is on her death bed, had 2 children & an aunt had come to live with them with her child to help out.

Pastor organized a group of young adults to help in any way they could. Before the team arrived, they began gathering water in any container they could find & hauling it to the construction site. Throughout the entire 2 weeks, these young people were there to do whatever needed done, for nothing more than the reward of helping someone in need. If there was mortar to be mixed, they mixed it; if there were blocks to be unloaded, the jumped in; if there was a need for scaffolding, they made it. All with a joyful heart.

The Orlando team was determined to finish the home in the short time span they were here. After 10 days of working their tails off, the home is 99% finished with only a few small things to be done. The amazing thing to me in all this tho was every time I was out there, I saw this team engaging relationally with the kids from the home, the young adults that helped & anyone from the community that came by. The Orlando team not only accomplished the task that theyhad set out for, they also engaged people from this community in relationships. Everyone in the community & here at Ten Thousand homes will be sad to see them leave. They not only brought hope to this family, they brought Hope to a community.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And so what do you do?

Today when I went to Kabokweni, Elizabeth asked me to go with her to check on some children. She was told about them from the home based care workers & wanted to see for herself. After driving half way up the mountain on what were called roads, we finally parked the truck & hiked the rest of the way. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad. When we first got to the house, my initial thought was that it wasn't too bad. The house was small, but looked like a nice little log-cabin type. When we went inside tho, it was quite obvious how hard things were. The home was maybe 10 x10, with a small area partitioned off. The floors were dirt & the only thing inside was a small shelf with oil & salt on it and a very thin mattress. The walls were covered in blue plastic. You could see 2 inch gaps all throughout the house.

The lady who lived there had a 6 yr. old, 2 yr. old & a 2 month old. The baby had recently been in the hospital. The mother told us that the husband had left while she was pregnant & she had delivered the baby in the home by herself. There was no food in the house or any blankets.

I have to say, it was pretty heart-wrenching to see this. And to not be able to do anything, well, it makes you feel so helpless. At the very least, I know the two older children will be able to eat at least 3 times a week. But for the rest of the time? And the mother with the newborn? And how will they stay warm on these nights when the temp is dropping into the 30's? How will I sleep tonight knowing they are struggling with no hope?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Yes, I'm a morning person. I routinely wake up between 5 to 5:30, even without the alarm. Some people think this is insane, but I love it. There's nothing like the quiet of the morning. It's still dark and things are still & peaceful. Slowly, the last few stars begin to fade. The birds start to rouse, chirping & flying about. It seems like if you sit still and listen, you can hear God's soft whisper. Right before your eyes, the horizon turns the most beautiful shade of indigo, slowly softening to a soft pink. A new day has arrived.

What is in store for this day? What does God want for me today? God, how can I show your face to others today? Or better yet your heart? Can I give someone an encouraging word? Will my arms wrap around a child who has no parents? What if I just help peel potatoes & chop onions? Will someone feel your love from that?

All I know is that if I first seek my God in the still quiet of the mornings, I'm better equipped to show His love the rest of the day. When I see His beauty as the day breaks, I'm better able to reflect His beauty the rest of the day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

There but by the grace of God...

As they drove farther into the bush, Lauren explained to the team that the floods that had hit Mozambique the year before had really hurt the people here. There was very little food, no medical care & jobs were scarce. Lauren works for Youth For Christ and had taken the group into the village she helps in. Instead of the normal pap, she serves the chilfdren a much thinner porridge style mealie meal. That way it goes farther. Still, the children are hungry. Lauren often uses her meager funds to supplement the porridge with veggies. It's all she can do.

When the team arrived, the children all came around. The team had brought bubbles and balloons for the children. Their eyes got big as they blew bubbles. They didn't even careabout blowing up the balloons, as long as they could hold them.

There were many little girls, around 5-8 yrs. old, who cared younger siblings tied to there backs. This children would take care of their baby brother or sister all day. One girl, about 5 yrs. old, wore her little pink chiffon dress. It was ripped, had missing buttons and not veryclean. But she was so proud of her little dress. Another boy, about 8,came in his little 3 peice suit. He wanted to make a good impression on the visitors.

As pooras this community was, these children had one thing that was amazing. Their smiles. They were such a happy group of kids. The joy and happiness was beyond understanding. But it was there. And so was God.

As related by John after his trip to Mozambique

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


When the team from my home church was here about a month ago, they went to the village of Kabokweni. Elizabeth is the lady there who started a drop-in feeding program after seeing so many children in her area going hungry. She now feeds about 150 children 5 days a week. The team was able to spend a few days at her center, helping with the feeding program & doing a short VBS for the kids. The children loved it!

The last day the team spent with Elizabeth, she took them to the home of one child who needed help. Since his mother died, he had been living with his grandparents. The house was on the side of the mountain & 2 huge boulders had crashed through the 2 rooms. They were using what ever they could find to keep the rain & cold out, but it wasn't helping much. They told Elizabeth that they had no food & he hadn't eaten in a few days. The grandparents asked Elizabeth to take him in. Elizabeth told them she would pray & talk to her husband. The team was able to donate some food for the family to at least hold them over.

Bandula is still living with his grandparents, but spends every day with Elizabeth. He is able to have 3 meals a day there & take some of the burden off his grandparents. As I spent the day at Elizabeth's on Monday, he was attached to me & wouldn't let me out of his sight. Every chance he got, he would drag me to a chair & tell me, "Sit down". Then he would proceed to climb in my lap & just hold me. There were many kisses & he would turn my head if he wanted me to look at something.

It struck me how much this child just needs attention & love. His need for food is being taken care of, but what about the love of a mother? Can you imagine your child, at 5 years old, having no one to hold him or kiss him or tuck him in at night? I can't solve many problems, but I can hold a child. I can love on him & show him what God's love is like, even if we don't speak the same language. It somehow makes it all worth while.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My"Master" is back!

Over the last 2 weeks, several of the workers here on the property have been asking, "When will your master be back". Well, I wanted to tell them that I wasn't really sure when Jesus was coming again, but was looking forward to that day! I was pretty sure that that wasn't what they were asking though. In the African culture, my husband is called my master. Hhhmmm, takes a little getting used to!

Of course, on the other side, I am called Madam or Madam Carla quite a bit, so that is nice. I'm just wondering if they would ask John where his "Madam" is. Well, guess that sounds like the woman who runs a cat house! Oh well! When in Rome....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It cost how much?

Before John left for outreach on Monday, he went to the mall to pick up a few things he needed to take with him. (Side note - yes, they have malls in South Africa!) I asked him to pick me up a silverware holder while he was there. You know, the little plastic tray thingy that you put your forks, spoons & knives in to keep your drawer organized. So, he comes back with this plastic one & says, "That thing cost
R99! That's outrageous!" So, that's about $10. Of course, being female, I would have found something else that was cheaper but would have served the same purpose. But, good hubby that he is, wife told him to get a silverware holder, and he got a silverware holder!

Later that afternoon, he decided to take the truck to the mechanic before he left because it was making a noise & he wanted to make sure it was ok while he was gone. The guys drives it around the parking lot & then pulls it into the bay. He starts taking the wheel off, fiddles with something, puts the wheel back on & drives it out. He tells John the brakes were fine, it was just a little peice of metal that was bent the wrong way. He's good to go & no charge. John tries to give him a little money to go buy a pint, but the guy says no, just come back when you need work. As John starts up the truck, the guy tells him to wait; he hears something. So, he climbs under the truck & then tells John there is a couple of holes in the exhaust pipe. They don't fix that there, but sends him 3 doors down to have it taken care of.

John drives down to the next shop & the guy waves him onto the ramp & proceeds to raise the truck, with him in it, up about 6 ft. in the air! He puts a metal sleeve over the holes & welds them on. After lowering John & the truck, he tells John it will be 50 bucks. John ask if that's American or Rand. Well, rand of course! So about $5 to have the truck fixed.

So, he spends $10 for a plastic silverware holder & $5 to have 2 things fixed on the truck. Makes lots of sense, huh? Good thing theyused metal to fix the exhaust instead of plastic. If it was plastic, we wouldn't have been able to afford it!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Oh the joy!

The team from our home church, New Hope, in Wylie, Texas was here for the past 10 days. It was so good to see them, including my best friend! What a blessing they were. They were able to spend sometime in the communities we work in & also to bless the staff here at Ten Thousand Homes. We had lots of late nights, hanging out on the patio talking & just catching up. It was so much fun, but over so fast.

When they got here, it was like Christmas! They brought us all kinds of goodies that friends & family had sent. We got plastic bowls, Starbucks coffee, candy, magazines, razors, Tylenol, taco seasoning, Pace picante sauce, pinto beans, etc. And my daughter sent me a digital key chain with pictures of her & the grandkids! There was so much stuff, I still haven't found a place for everything!

That was all a huge blessing & couldn't have asked for more. But, the day they left, one of our staff came out with an envelope with our name on it. Inside was a receipt that said "to be delivered". No description of what it was. Well, John & Rae went to the store the next day to see. When they showed the lady the slip, she said, "You don't know what you bought?" After John explained how someone else bought it for us before returning to the states, she said,"Oh, a surprise! Then I can not tell you. But the truck will follow you. You can go home now." So, they followed John home & much to our surprise, there was a brand new fridge! We were so excited & blessed!

They went above and beyond blessing us this past week & the fridge was even more than we could have imagined. So, to our New Hope family, thank you for all the blessings. Each one is very special to us!

No wolverine sighting yet, but...

Every time I talk to my grandson, he ask me if I've seen a wolverine yet. Not quite sure why he thinks I will see one, but then again, he's 6. The first 2 months of being in South Africa, I had really seen very little wild life. Some really cool birds, lots of lizards and that was about it. Until this past week. So, first I saw a mongoose. Mongooses (mongeese?) are great to have around as they kill snakes. Supposedly there are quite a few on the property, but I had never seen one until last week. Cute, curious little things. A lot like ferrets. My thought though is, if there are lots of mongoose, does that mean there are lots of snakes? Or are the snakes gone because there are a lot of mongoose? Hhhmmm....

Then, yesterday morning, I was out walking Gracie right around sunrise. As we stood staring out into the newly cleared field behind our house, I saw what looked like a big deer. I'm guessing it was an impala, although I thought impalas were smaller than that. It saw us & hopped off between the rocks.

So, the wildlife is really starting to show itself. I could have done without the next thing. I was standing at the patio door talking to Rae & suddenly saw a HUGE snake slither from the side of our house to the rocks beside our patio. It looked to be about 3-4 feet long & was a blackish silver color. I went to get some help. Stanley, one of our African DTS students, came over with a jug of gasoline & a lighter. I showed him where the snake went in the crack & he threw the gas in & lit it on fire. By that time, there was quite a crowd. Trust me, I was standing as far away as I could! I was thinking, hmmm,roasted snake! But NO! The snake comes slithering out & goes down a little farther to the big rock pile. Well, I had to leave after that, but apparently they kept trying to kill it since there is a lot of burned rocks! So far I haven't seen it again & will be just fine if I don't!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day at the AIDS Hospice

When I first walked in the room, all I could see was a bald head & huge eyes. His covers were wrapped up to far, I couldn't see anything else. Come to find out, there wasn't a whole lot more to see. He stood about 6 ft., but was nothing but skin & bones. I've seen pictures of holocaust survivors, but never had I seen anything like this in person.

His name is Vincent. I'm assuming he has HIV/AIDS since I was at the AIDS hospice. He spoke very little, but would get up & walk outside about every 2 hours. After sitting for a while, he would make his way back to his bed. Once there, he would huddle under the covers, like he was freezing.

To my surprise, that afternoon his parents came to pick him up. His mom & dad looked about 40-45 yrs. old. I was shocked when the nurse introduced them as his parents. You see, I thought he was about 50-60 yrs. old, or older. I was also shocked they were taking him home. But it seems like he had improved & with his medicines, he could go home. At least for now. If he started on ARV's soon enough, there's a good chance he can live for many years to come. It could be that he had a bad case of TB and the meds will help clear that up & he can gain weight & strength again.

But I don't know his story. I only know that I will be praying for him.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Who knew?

I got a care package from a friend the other day. The first one since we have been in South Africa. She had asked me recently what it was that I wanted/needed. I told her how expensive just about anything plastic is here. So, she sent me some ziplock bags (all sizes!) and some Gladware bowls! Wow, who knew plastics could make me so happy!

She also put in some candy (yes!) and a People magazine. Awesomeness!

Ok, don't tell my husband how easy it is to make me that happy; we have an anniversay coming up & I'm hoping for a little more than Ziplock bags from him!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Culture Shock?

Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.

Phases of culture shock

Honeymoon Phase - During this period the differences between the old and new culture are seen in a romantic light, wonderful and new. For example, in moving to a new country, an individual might love the new foods, the pace of the life, the people's habits, the buildings and so on.

Negotiation Phase - After some time (usually weeks), differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. One may long for food the way it is prepared in one's native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow, may find the people's habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. Depression is not uncommon.

Adjustment Phase - Again, after some time (usually 6 - 12 months), one grows accustomed to the new culture and develops routines. One knows what to expect in most situations and the host country no longer feels all that new. One becomes concerned with basic living again, and things become more "normal".

Hmmm,so I found it interesting that it not only says a new culture, but also a social environment. After almost 4 weeks here, I find myself struggling. Miss my grandkids, can't get my schedule down, miss Mexican food, feeling overwhelmed, not feeling like I'm doing a good job at anything, etc., etc.

I wasn't thinking it was culture shock, but thought I would look up the definition anyways. I'm enjoying the culturehere for the most part, although we do spend a great majority of our time around other Americans. The food is ok & I will get used to that; although I don't think I will ever get used to noMexican food! It just seems like I haven't found my comfortable place yet. You know, the place where you can just go & be you. To me, that doesn't have anything to do with anyone else. Just a private thing, but seems it's a little lost right now.

Ok, ready for the Adjustment Phase!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh the wonders of technology!

Last night I was able to talk to my 6 yr. old grandson for the first time since we moved to South Africa. Thanks to the wonderful modern invention of Skype, we were able to call for 2 cents a minute! Doesn't get much better than that! I wish they had Skype so we could do video, but for now, it was awesome!

Trying to explain to a 6 yr. old where Africa is, that it's summer here, that no, Mimi has not seen a wolverine, all that, was so fun! He was wound up & a little silly, but oh how wonderful it was! Unfortunately, Elaena can't really talk much yet at 15 months, but we did get to hear her babble some.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to wrap them in my arms long distance and give them Mimi kisses, I'd be doing great!

Water is Life!

Being a missionary can mean learning many different things. One of the things we have learned is the importance of water. For the last 3 weeks, we have had water for maybe a total of 5 days. I think it's resolved, for now, but it really makes you think of the many places in the world that don't have the luxury of running water. I mean, yes, we had one faucet with water (although not drinkable) and were able to buy drinking water in town. We were able to dip water from the pool to flush the toilets and make do, but I wonder about the places that don't have that.

How many babies & children's deaths are related to contaminated drinking water? How many lives could be saved if there was only a clean, reliable water source available? It breaks my heart to think of being a mother & having to watch your child waste away from lack of water. How sad is that?

To us, it was just an inconvenience to go without water. To many, it's a matter of life or death.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living La Vida Loco (otherwise known as living the crazy mission life)!

Learning to live the missionary life can be challenging. You kinda know going in the there are cost, sacrifices, adventures, new cultures & languages to learn, etc. You learn how nice it is to have a shower & clean drinking water, how hard it is to not have a car, how gut wrenching it is to miss your family, how sad it is when someone dies & your not there to comfort your friend. And you learn to rely on God. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

I have been really struggling lately with some things. One of the things we had to do to move to SA was give up my dog, Jeter. It was hard, really, really hard. We were unable to find a home for him & ended up taking him to the Doberman Rescue of North Texas. It is a wonderful organization & the people there are great. But it was like ripping a piece of my heart out. One of the hardest things I've done.

Last week, I sent an email to the lady there asking how he was doing. She emailed back that he had just now started to eat & was really, really having a hard time. It was so heart-breaking. I can't hardly type this without crying. We knew this was part of our cost to follow where God had called us. But man.

Anyways, I got mad at God. I mean, come on. I paid the price He asked of me. Why wasn't He making this right? Not like He can't. He is God. So I struggled with that a while. I finally had to ask God's forgiveness. He does know what He's doing, even if I don't. The next morning during worship, I felt a sweetness. Just that knowing that even if God didn't love him like I do, He loves me enough to make sure Jeter is taken care of. I still don't know how it will work out, just like most things in my life, but I do know that God is in control & that He loves me enough to want only the good for me. And my dog.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Things I've learned in South Africa

1. Ants are just a fact of life here. There's no getting around it!

2. There are whites who are Afrikaan & there are whites who are English, who were actually born here & may even go back several generations, but they still consider theirselves English.

3. AIDS does not have to be a death sentence now. With ARV's and treatment of opportune infections, it is possible to live up to 60 years with the virus.

4. Summer is the rainy season.

5. The grass seems to grow about 2 inches a day here in the summer.

6. There are tons of games you can play with kids that require nothing!

7. Sleeping without the tv on is possible!

8. The white kids think Texas is filled with cowboys.

9. My tongue just won't roll to pronounce some of the Afrikaan words.

10. You need to buy your jeans a size smaller if you hang them to dry becaue they don't shrink up & then you walk around all day hitching them up!

More to come later...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kids are Kids

On Thursday, our team went to Kbakweni to work in the community. We help out with the feeding program & then play with the kids. We also wash their school uniforms, but with all the rain, we didn't this week. The kids there were a little shy at first, but then they opened up & started playing games with us. We had a great time & to see their smiling faces is a joy.

This weekend, we are serving at a retreat for the SALT church. SALT is an Afrikaan church that some of the team attends. We were asked to run the kids program at the retreat for about 13 kids. They too were a little shy, but openend up & we played games & did crafts. It has been fun! They wanted to know about the cowboys in Texas, not the team, but real cowboys! They tried to teach me the name of one of their schools, but I just can't roll my "r's" like that! In their very british, clipped accent, they asked me if we don't have "r's" in the states? Well, yes, but I've tried to roll my r's all my life & still can't!

It really struck me that there are definitely differences in the kids, yet, they are still just kids. They want to laugh, learn, pleay & be loved. That's what they all want & need. Our job is to help them do that & know they are loved, not just by us, but by their Father in heaven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Endings = Beginnings

So for the last 2 years, the goal has been to get to Africa. Good goal. Long, hard road. I'm all about goals. Love them. Love deadlines. The thing that is maybe a little different with this is that we realize that this isn't the end, it's the beginning. We look at it as an accomplishment, which it is, but really, it's just another step. Not like we get to sit back and enjoy what we have accomplished. Nope, right into the new phase of our lives! Not a bad thing, just saying.

So, it's really just a matter of wrapping our minds around the fact that this isn't the end, it's the beginning! Maybe I'll find some new goals!

Monday, January 5, 2009

More Changes...

So of course, changes can hurt, but there are also blessings in the change.

First, we will have the awesome privelge of serving God full-time by working with HIV/AIDS orphans & vulnerable children. To b able to show God's love by holding a child, playing games with them & speak encouragement to teens.

Second, the new family/community we will be in. We already have many friends in the community we will be serving in and are looking forward to meeting the rest. One girl reached out to me on facebook already & I am looking forward to meeting her & having a wonderful friendship.

And,on top of all that, we get to live in a wonderful country with beautiful scenery & animals all around us!

So, change isn't all bad!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The message this morning at church was about change. One of the things Keith said was change can hurt. Well, yeah!

I looked around, and the thought hit me right between the eyes that I only have 3 more Sundays at New Hope. Man. This has been our 1 and only church home. Our family. The place we have learned to follow God. The people who have loved us & helped us walk out this crazy new life as christians. Ok, the crazy people who are supporting us in this wild adventure! But 3 more Sundays?

Yeah,change hurts. But theother point is, if you aren't going through change, your not really following God. So, off we go to follow God!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Farewell 2008...Hello 2009

Every year has it's great days, ordinary days & the rough days. But through it all, it's life as we know it. The rough days make you appreciate the good & all God does & the good days make life a little sweeter. "In all things, give thanks."

So much to be thankful for. The outstretched arms of a granddaughter, the hug of a child, the words of encouragement from a parent. All this and more.

So much to turn over to God. The news of a tumor growing, the death of a grandparent.

And then, just life. Having coffee with your best friend, crying on someones shoulder or having them cry on yours, cuddling with your dog, starting homeschooling with your youngest.

Life is good. Even when it's rough. I wouldn't trade these days for anything.
May you enjoy each of your days this new year!