Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 5: Fire as well as whispers.

September 20, 2012

            We woke up, had class, and then ate breakfast. After breakfast we loaded up and headed to the Macha hospital. It only took a couple of hours to get there! The ride was really good. I listened to music the whole time, people-watched, and just observed everything outside. So much creation to take in. It really is beautiful to just look at all God has done with His hands. I LOVE the trees. I think they look so cool with their jagged branches and kinks all over. Definitely Africa. “Oh Great Love of God” by DCB came on and it really uplifted me. Not that I was feeling down, but it just really, really encouraged me. Just hearing truths spoken helps me so much.
            We got to Choma and I was looking at all of the stores and there was one called “Builder’s Barn” and it was in the same colors and font as Home Depot. HILARIOUS. It made me smile. We finally got to the hospital and split into 2 groups to tour around the actual hospital and the lab. My group started with the hospital. It was really quite impressive and not what I thought it was going to be at all. We saw the men’s ward, the women’s ward, and the children’s ward. The director of the hospital, a missionary, told us a lot of the time when the power goes out they must put their oxygen-dependent patients on oxygen tanks. However, like with anything else, eventually the oxygen runs out. And when it does, there is nothing they can do. That was hard to hear. Then we toured their lab. In one section of the lab they do blood work and in the other parts they test and culture mosquitos with malaria. There was a whole room devoted to growing mosquitos, seeing if they have the virus, and pretty much just studying how they grow, react, and reproduce with the disease. They said they just venture out into rural parts of Zambia, capture mosquitos, and do tests with them. It was super neat as well as HUMID in there. It was really interesting though. After that we drove to another building close by and listened to Mr. Thurman (the director) give a presentation on malaria in Zambia and tell us how it works and what the trends have been in the past. He is a really cool man. He makes all of this science seen really interesting and I can tell he is so passionate about it. He told us the hospital used to make their own IV fluid since it wasn’t sold in Zambia. I thought that was SUPER cool. We had lunch (which was delicious) and then we left.
            Once we got back we had dinner and then girls’ devo! Tonight Hope talked about the woman’s role in the Bible and how sometimes we can get discouraged if we focus on what our roles aren’t, but there is so much to be gained if we look at what our roles are. God didn’t call His creation of Adam good until He created Eve. There is something special about the woman and by focusing on what we don’t get to do, we miss out on so much opportunity in doing what men can’t. There were a lot of Scriptural examples that really showed that although we can feel discouraged at how disposable women seem to be, really we have played a big part in God’s story as well. After that I came back to my room and packed for our adventure to LIVINGSTONE tomorrow! I am so excited!
God, thank You for this day. Thank You for what You’re doing in Macha. It’s so comforting to see people faithful to You all over the world. God, I love You. Please keep talking to me. I pray for Aaron and Joel’s lives. You can do anything. Thank You for loving me.
Use me God.

September 21, 2012

            Today was SUCH a cool day. Most definitely top 5 favorite days of my life. We woke up and got ready to leave by 5:15AM. Parker, Petra, Aubrey, Meghan, Meagan, River, Molly, Greg, Luke, Ba Lou, Katie, and Jeremy all squished into the Land Cruiser for our journey to Livingstone. The whole way we played Catch Phrase, Mafia, and some game where you are given a letter and everyone has to come up with and shout out something starting with that letter, and the last person to say something before the buzzer sounds gets a point! It was lots of fun and passed the time. Whenever we’re with Meagan, even the smallest things are so much fun.
            We got to Livingstone and the place we pulled up to was the central spot of our activities at Livingstone. It is so nice! We all paid for the activities we wanted. I chose riding elephants, swimming in Devil’s Pool, and the adventure day. A group of us girls, Sarah, Kailey, Lauren, Hope, Bridget, Aubrey, Petra, and I decided to do elephants first so we went to town to kill some time until it was time to go. We went to town, got a drink, and just walked around through some stores and then got picked up to go.
            We drove to the place where the elephants were, and met a girl that was joining us for the rides named Sarah. She was from Australia and was a younger woman who works as a tour guide in Australia and travels for fun. She was telling us about all the different places she’s been and she’s been to a TON! Her job almost seemed too cool to be true. She was super, super sweet. So we pulled up to the place which was out in the bush, and we were welcomed by a man telling us about the elephants and their history. All of their elephants are orphans that they’ve rescued. He told us elephants usually live up to 65-70 years. Our elephant weighed 3-3 ½  tons, but the biggest ones there were 5-6 tons. It takes the people there 3 years to train each elephant. It was SO cool being there. We walked over to the place where we would be getting onto the elephants and it was so surreal! We got on and it was crazy realizing, “I am on the back of an elephant! Africa!” We started our trek and got to a part where the elephant goes really deep into water and ours started veering from the direction our guide was wanting it to go, going into super deep water. Our guide that was on there with Petra and I was whacking its head and yelling all of these commands at it in another language. We were in water up to our knees (meaning nearly the whole elephant was swimming under water at this point) and the whole time I was thinking, “Well. We’re about to go underwater. And there’s nothing I can do about it.” But finally the guide got it to turn left so the only part of us that got wet was up to our knees. But still! Knee deep while on top of the elephant! That’s deep! We rode out of the river, kept walking, and saw these wild elephants a little further into the bushes. We’re looking at them and then all of a sudden, one starts charging at us! Our guide turned around to me and Petra and goes, “Just hold on.”  The head guide that was walking on the ground alongside all of the elephants ran towards the elephant and shot a couple of shots with his gun into the air to startle the wild elephant. And luckily, it did. It turned away and Petra and I were dying at this point. So after all of the commotion, and some super sore tail bones, we got back to where we started and got off the elephants. The whole ride lasted almost a couple hours.
            We were given the chance to feed the elephants which was WEIRD! You could either throw the feed straight into their mouth, or pour it in their trunk and then they would blow it from their trunk into their mouth. After feeding them, they saluted us, which was basically them raising one of their knees. So cute.
            We walked to this pavilion type thing and watched a DVD of our day. All of us girls pulled money together and bought one to share. We left there and came back to the Waterfront Hotel (the head place for activities I was talking about) and had lunch. It was YUMMY. We were a little late for getting to our bus for Devil’s Pool, and we really thought we were going to miss it, but we didn’t thankfully!
            It was the same group of us Harding girls, a girl from Australia, a girl from England, one from Germany, a guy from Tennessee, and an older son and mom from Delaware. The guy from Tennessee had a really cool story. He lives in Rwanda but is from Nashville. He digs wells and is a mechanical engineer. He was in Zambia for a meeting and had the weekend off. He works for a company called Living Water. It was really neat hearing his story. The small part of it that I heard, anyway!
            After walking on lots of rocks and through lots of water, we finally got a to our spot at the Devil’s Pool. The Devil’s Pool is like an infinite pool. It looks like we would fall right over the edge of the Falls, but it was about 6 feet deep where we were, with a rock wall that would block us from going over. It was exactly like a pool. It was BEAUTIFUL. The most beautiful thing I’ve yet to see. The mist over it was incredible. We got there, put our stuff down on a little spot of land, and swam to the edge. The guide took pictures for us which ended up being really good! They held our feet and we were able to shimmy on our tummies onto the rock wall with our upper bodies hanging off the edge to where we could se straight down the Falls. BEAUTIFUL. More than beautiful. It was a crazy feeling looking down the Falls.
            We walked back to the bus with the sun setting to our backs, shopped for a little while, but left after a few minutes because the people were haggling us and going crazy. So we came back to the Waterfront, and ate dinner. Petra and I are rooming together so we got our assigned tent and put our stuff inside and went to the talent show a bunch of people were in. Seth had the idea to have one, so we planned it for tonight. It was SO funny. Our group is weird, let me tell you. But that’s what makes us so great.
            After the talent show, Meagan, Lou, Kaitie, Aubrey, Bridget, Luke, Parker, Chris, and I all stood around, goofing off big time until curfew. We were a little tired I think from the long, but INCREDIBLE day.
God, thank You for this day. This amazing day that was full of adventure and wonder. I am just in awe. Of Victoria Falls. Of how cool You made some animals to be. Everything. Thank You for this blessing of opportunity. I feel over-privileged  to be able to have done all of these things. Thank You for felings like today. That speechless wonder. Thank You. Your creation is so beautiful and creative. I love You, God. Please use me everywhere, even while we’re here as tourists. I love You, God.

September 22, 2012

            Today. Wow. This weekend, without a doubt, makes it into the Top 5 best experinces of my life. We woke up at about 8-ish, feeling SO rested, and went to breakfast. Today’s activity: adventure day! We headed out to leave after breakfast and in our car we met a woman named Di. She is from Portugal and was SO sweet. She was visiting Zambia to see some friends that are living here temporarily so that they can adopt a little boy. We talked with her on our way there and when we got there we broke into 2 groups and got straight to it!
            My group went to the Flying Fox first. The Flying Fox is where they have about a 10-yard running track that drops off into the gorge. So, we’re all harnessed in and once you get up there and they clip you to the wires, you just take off running and then throw your arms out and fly. It. Was. Awesome. I loved it. You just zip line on your back like Superman and go into the gorge in the air. It was so beautiful. They crank you back in and you get to run again if you if you want. I definitely did. After all of our group went, we walked to the gorge swing. This, I most definitely did not do. It’s not too much of a drop compared to other extreme things, but it was way too far for me. It’s ~63 meter drop and once you’ve dropped, you just swing over the tops of the trees. You could choose to go either frontwards or backwards. Frontwards, when the guy counts to three, you just step straight off and free fall. Backwards, you stand with your back to the gorge, toes on the edge, bend your knees, hold in your head, and then lift your toes. If someone decided to go with a partner they had to go off this way. It looked like a lot of fun, but it looked really painful at the same time. And a lot of people that went said it was kind of painful. I don’t regret not going at all. But I did love watching everyone :) It was like I was getting the thrill just watching, without doing it myself!
            After about an hour I went back to the flying fox to do it again…twice. I loved that thing. Then, a couple of girls from our group walked to the rappelling part. There were two options here. You could either repel the normal way (having your booty face the ground, and just jumping bit by bit down), or you could do something called rap jumping. Rap jumping is where you are harnessed in and basically rappel face down, almost like a walk/run down face-down the side of the gorge. I did that one, of course. And it was super, SUPER fun! I was spinning in circles at one point since I would jump too far out and it was so fun! After that a few of us girls had to hike all the way back up the gorge to get back to the top. It was TERRIBLE. It was so tough and such a long walk! It was all just steps. Sarah and I both started having near asthma attacks, but we made it! I was super light-headed just from all the rush of going face first and then having to hike the gorge straight up was ROUGH!
            We made it to the top finally and by that time we had been there about 3 hours, so we left and came back to the place we were staying. Some people had signed up to do something else in the afternoon, but Sarah and I just stayed at the pool where we’re staying. We changed into swimsuits and just sat with our feet in the pool, talking. We got to know each other so much better and I am so glad for that. After that we were really hungry since we hadn’t eaten lunch, so we got a salad and talked with Mrs. Bingham for a few minutes until the rest of the group got back. Some of us decided to swim and it ended up being Parker, Zach, Sarah, and I just sitting in the pool talking. We talked until it was time to change for dinner and then a group of us headed to Olga’s for dinner. It was so yummy, just as good as the last time! After about 2.5 hours of all the talking and eating, we left and came back to where we’re staying. My eyes were drooping I was so tired. So now the day is finally done, but it was SO SO fun. Oh my goodness, this weekend will be one that I never forget.
God, thank You for the restful and peaceful weekend. I needed it. Thank You for all our safety today and for keeping us in Your hands of protection. Thank You for the conversations like Sarah and I had today. I pray all of us grow closer and closer, building our relationships in things that can’t falter. I pray for the babies at the Havens. I pray for Aaron and Joel. I love You. Thank You for Christ and His creation. I love, love, love You. Keep using me, Jesus.

September 23, 2012

            What a day. We got up and a small group of us went to Olga’s for breakfast and then went to church at Livingstone Central Church of Christ. The preacher talked about Hebrews 11 and went through the people in that chapter. I really don’t remember too much because I was so, so tired. We got up and sang some Tonga songs for them by their request. After singing, we sat back down and the church took prayer requests. 3 women came forward. One said she just recently found Jesus and wanted to be baptized. Another said she had fallen away and had had a child as a result and that she was ready to come back and be held accountable. The last woman said that she was barren and that she needed prayer that the spirits that are keeping her form having a baby would leave. It was really interesting.
            Once the service was over we had a greeting line. After that they started filling up this concrete, in-the-ground, square hole with water for a baptism! We were going to stay, but after about 10 minutes the water level hadn’t moved an inch with them filling it up, so we left.
            A group of us went to lunch at a place called the Pub. We ordered and ended up waiting 2 hours for our food. It was pretty crazy. Even for Africa standards. For a while we decided to look at it and remind ourselves that we’re on Zambian time, but after 2 hours had passed, we decided it was bad service. Everyone but 3 of us left and went somewhere else. I ate (my food was the last to come out) and we all just left and rode back to Namwianga.
            We got back and the power was out. Welcome home to us :) SO I put my stuff in my room and then worked on my blog post and answered e-mails until time to go to Sunday night church. We walked into the auditorium full of people, with lit candles and singing. It was so beautiful. Petra and I sat for a while and then went outside to sit and listen since it was so hot. We came back to the Hamby early and just sat and talked to some of the leaders until the rest of the group got back. We ate dinner and the power was still out. It was my night to get peer-reviewed on my blog post, so Luke, Hope, and Bridget read a post that I wrote for class and corrected it.   After that I came back to my house and the power came back on! Which was SO nice because I thought I wasn’t going to get to shower, which would not have been good with how gross I felt! But now I do! I still have to read an article for class tomorrow, which is going to take a while, but at least we have power!
God, thank You for this day. Thank You for being with us this weekend and protecting us. As time goes on I pray that You protect our minds and emotions as people will start feeling more and more homesick. Let my attitude be like Your Son. Keep showing me things God, when I least expect it. Thank You for everything, God. Keep using me, Lord.

September 24, 2012

            Today makes another Monday on Zambia! Some of us were thinking about the days we’ve spent here vs. how many we have left, and we’re about ½ way through our time here. We have a 10-day trip to Mumena in a couple of weeks, leaving just over 5 weeks here at Namwianga. That’s nuts.
            So today I woke up SUPER tired and went to class. Humanities today was different and interesting. We had 3 guest speakers. One man talked about he radio station here on the Mission, the second talked about his life on the streets, and the third about Christian education here. I thought the second speaker was the most interesting. Wezi, the young man who spoke, talked about how both of his parents passed away and one day he was approached by a man who claimed to know his father. The man told Wezi that he could go to Livingstone with him. He said that the man had to run some errands and told Wezi to meet him at the car after a few hours. When Wezi went back to the spot where the car was, the man was nowhere to be found. He waited for over a day and the man never showed. Finally a young man approached Wezi and told him he could come with him and give him food and a place to stay, which is what began his life as a street kid. He talked about some of his experiences and how he met a man took him in a helped him into an orphanage. I knew this kind of things existed but to actually have someone who has gone through it talk in front of me made it more real to me.
             After class we had chapel and then Petra, Morgan, and I went to the Havens. I started in Haven 3, but Joel was asleep so I ended up holding Helen, Jason, and Owen. I left there and went to Haven 1. It felt SO good to have Aaron in my arms again after being separated this weekend. I promise he grew at least 3 inches. He’s huge! I just kissed and kissed him and eventually fell asleep with him the rest of the day. We woke up just in time to leave for lunch.
            We got back, had lunch, and then I finished reading some articles for class, and got some pictures and videos from Sarah and Meryl from this weekend. We had class and then dinner. After dinner I talked to some of my friends through Facebook, finally! Then it was time for Family Meeting. We sang some, shared some funny cultural mistakes we’ve made, and then did a prayer together. Jeremy started and then we all just jumped in praying for things on our minds. Laments or concerns. I couldn’t get Wezi and his story off of my mind, so I prayed for the kids on the streets. After Family Meeting we all went back to the Hamby for Tea Time and watched a video some of the girls made. I was so tired I just came back home and journaled some.
            I counted my mosquito bites today because I have SO many. I counted 98. Yes. Just two under 100. I guess we’ll see if any of those were malaria mosquitos in about a week! I am so so exhausted. I need some good sleep!
Thank You God for the goodness of this day. Thank You for the blessing of being able to love on Aaron today. I pray for our group, God. Keep us open and honest with each other, loving and forgiving each other. I pray for the people still at Harding. Reveal things to them like You are to me here. Steady my heart, mind, and emotions, God. I love You.

September 25, 2012

            WHAT. A. DAY.
            First things first, Aaron is 3 months old today! SO proud of him!
            So today was one of those days where your eyes are literally drooping by the end of the day. I woke up, went to class, and then chapel. In chapel we sang “Farther Along”. I feel that song beginning to mean more and more to me. After chapel I went straight to the Havens. No progress with Joel today. I held and fed him, but as far as talking or standing there wasn’t much. It was still so good spending time with him. There’s something so special about that little boy. When I walked into the big boys room to put Joel back into his bed, Leo, Lincoln, and some of the other boys were butt naked. They had just gotten out of the bath and were running around their room with an auntie trying to put clothes on them one at a time. Hilarious. I left after over an hour and went to Haven 1. I played with and fed Aaron. He was SO talkative today! He is so perfect. After being with Aaron about an hour, we walked back for lunch and then class.
            I worked on answering e-mails until sports. We were going to play Ultimate Frisbee but ended up playing volleyball. It was SO much fun! It made me remember just how much I love it. It was so competitive and I loved playing with the Zambians.        We left there, had dinner, and then Jeremy told us that we needed to meet for an emergency Family Meeting. We were so confused. We thought something had probably happened in the States. After dinner we went to the meeting and found out that one of our students, Meghan, was going home. She’s had some health issues the past few years and it had gotten to the point where she couldn’t carry on abroad without seriously risking her health. We were shocked. It did, however, bring things to reality for me. It made me see how I need to be taking advantage of every second possible here. She talked to our group and individually thanked every person in the group and told each of us the things about ourselves that have touched her in some way. It was so so sweet. After the meeting we all hugged and prayed for her.
            Afterwards, a group of us went on top of the containers, despite the fact that it was cloudy. We just sat up there and talked, laughed, and LAUGHED. A lot. Then it was time for Tea Time, which tonight was a little different than normal. We had Sherri Sears come and talk to us about her life. Sherri is a woman that has lived here on the Mission for over 30 years. She had such a unique story. She said she had always felt like God had something for her, but she didn’t know what. Her friend told her about a teaching position in Zambia (at the secondary school here) that she had heard about in a letter. She took the job and has been here since. She said it’s hard working under Zambian administration at times because of the differences, but she’s learned how to work with it. She’s in her 50s, not married, and took in 2 girls, Lois and Sarah, as her daughters. She said by moving here, choosing to stay here, and raising the girls here, confirmed the fact that she wouldn’t ever get married. But she said she’s found being single does have all the perks that the Bible says it does. She’s able to do what she wants without really having to consider another person. However, there have been times she said that she struggled with loneliness. I asked her what confirmed her decision to stay here. Because, of course, it was hard at the beginning and the middle and even now, but I asked what confirmed it to her that she was meant to stay here vs. doing the same thing in the States. She said her confirmation was how needed she is here. She took a 3-year leave and went back to the States due to some health complications of her daughter. She taught while in the States and just did not feel like she was using her talents to the fullest of their ability like she was in Zambia. She said all the one-on-one time she has with people here, who come to her for advice, shows her that she’s needed. And she considers that a part of the ministry. I thought that was so true and such a great way to know. Bridget asked her how she’s learned to deal with things like death, and she told us a quote she’s heard that says, “In acceptance lies peace.” She said she just has to accept that she doesn’t know why, but that it’s just reality. And it doesn’t make it easy, but trust in God is what you have to have. I loved that. Finding peace in acceptance.
            Afterward, Bridget, Petra, Aubrey, and I went to the cabana table just to talk about how we’re all feeling about everything so far. I can’t believe we’re already at the halfway point of being at Namwianga. Day to day, time seems to be so long, but looking at the experience as a whole, it’s flying.
God, we need You now more than ever. I pray that You charge into Meghan’s life. Give her a new mind. Give her a new spirit. Please rid her of the things Satan has given her. I pray for the mental health of our group as time keeps moving and we are all beginning to be changed. Don’t stop the change, Lord. Just keep us healthy. I love You. Thank You for all that You are showing me. I love You Lord. Thank You. 
Use me Jesus. Despite the hardships and the confusion. Keep shining.

September 26, 2012

            This morning we woke up for class, had breakfast, and then went to chapel. After chapel we all came back to the Hamby since Meghan left for her flight today. A lot of us sat in the Hamby and read for class and did a little bit of work. At about 11 we all went behind the boys’ bunkhouse in the shady yard. We all stood together and prayed over Meghan. After praying we sang a little bit and then went back into the Hamby to hang out until time for her to leave. Around 12 we all hugged one last time and she got in the car to leave.
            After she left, we had lunch, Mission Anthropology, and then signed up for all the different activities going on this weekend. Thursday night some of the girls are going to stay the night in the village with an Auntie in her home. Friday night some people are spending the night in the Havens. Saturday, some of us are going to a village outreach where they’re having a preaching marathon and then spending the night there. The way that works is they rotate singing and preaching all day, sing until they fall asleep, wake up to people singing, and then the preaching and singing continues the next day. And that happens the whole weekend. Then, Sunday morning some girls are having church at the Havens with the Aunties and Sunday afternoon/night some are going and staying the night with an Auntie in her village. So, a BUSY weekend ahead! All I’m doing is the Saturday night marathon/outreach. I’m excited!
            After class a group of us went to the Havens to see our babies. I went to see Joel first and he did well today! I helped the Aunties fold clothes and Joel kept reaching out to touch my mouth and nose. So even though there was no progress, the fact that he seems interested and engaged with me made me feel awesome. I went to Haven 1 after awhile and when I got there Auntie Beatrice was brushing Aaron’s hair and he was crying, but when she finished, she gave him to me. As soon as I got him he SMILED the biggest smile in the world. It. Was. The. Best. And the rest of the day he was smiling and smiling and talking so much! I love that boy so much.     We stayed until dinnertime and then walked back. After dinner, Parker, Bridget, River, and I went onto the containers and talked about the things we like about this experience and just the reflections we’ve been having. At about 7 it was time for singing at Meag and Lou’s. It was a great time of worshipping. I love how much fun we have together. After that, some girls came back to my house and we all sat around the table by candlelight (the power’s been out since this afternoon) telling scary stories. We all got so scared so we decided to stop and go to the Hamby House to play some cards. I became super tired so I went back to my house and read a little before bed. Since the power’s out I read by candlelight, which was so so cool. Reading the Bible that way was super calming and beautiful. It gave me such peace. I am so tired and ready to feel rejuvenated!
God, thank You for this day. Thank You for blessing me with Joel and Aaron. I pray that You open Joel’s mind to learn and that You keep opening mine so that I can learn from him. I pray for all of my team. For our fears, doubts, uncertainties, hurts, everything. I pray that we are healed and that answers come Lord, however that may be. God, I pray for Meghan. Renew her completely. Keep teaching me, Lord. I want to be used by You all my life.

September 27, 2012
            Today was one of the best days yet. I woke up and went to class, and today for Humanities Ba Moonga taught us African history. His voice is like a story-telling voice, which I love. It does tend to make me sleepy :)
            After class we had breakfast and then our own chapel behind the guys’ bunkhouse. Phil talked about how we should read and interact with the Bible instead of doing what it says with an empty and monotonous heart. After chapel we had Mission Anthropology and I e-mailed and wrote some notes to some of the girls until lunch.
            After lunch, a group of girls went o the Havens. And THIS is where it gets good. I went and visited Aaron first and he was so happy and talkative today! It made me so joyful. I left there and went to Haven 3. I went straight away to get Joel and then held him in the chair that’s in the big boys room.  Aubrey and her baby, Maya, came in there with me for a few minutes but then we had to go to get back in time for sports. So Aubrey went to put Maya down and I was sitting there with Joel and thought to myself, “What if I had faith and really believed that God would let me witness Joel smiling? Right now. If I believed that He would let me see that right now.” So I thought, “God, You’re going to do this.” And I started bending him down and kissing his neck and I noticed that his mouth started to loosen up a lot. So I kept doing it and HE SMILED.

Joel smiled.

And I almost started crying. So I kept doing it and he LAUGHED.


His mouth WIDE open with a deep gutted laugh.  Showing his teeth with his eyes and brow and nose crinkled. I felt like it wasn’t even happening.


Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You Jesus.

            After that when I was walking back I felt like I was on cloud 9. Nothing was wrong in life after witnessing that. I got back and changed to go to sports. A small group of us threw the Frisbee for a few minutes until more of our group showed up. A group form another Zambian school pulled up and started putting on soccer jerseys. They were going to play Namwianga’s secondary school. They asked us what we were playing and we told them Frisbee. They had never seen it before! So we threw it around a little with them for like 10 minutes before they had to leave. After they left, we played volleyball for only like 15-20 minutes and then we had to leave for dinner. We got back and ate and then it was time for our girls’ devo!
             Tonight Meagan talked which I was so excited about. She spoke on 1 Kings 18 and 19 and talked about how God showed up in a big way when Elijah needed Him in a big way and then in chapter 19 He showed up in a whisper when Elijah needed Him in a whisper. I thought that was so cool how God knew what Elijah needed and appeared to him in that way at that time. Meagan said she struggles with trying to find a mesh between what she sees in the world and what she knows about God. She has a difficult time making those two meet which is exactly what I’m experiencing more and more as each day passes as well. God shows Himself to be good when He burned up the alter, but the very next day Elijah ran out of fear from the queen. It’s just like really? Right after God jus did that you’re running away from the queen? You don’t think God can help you with that too? But then I realized, how much like Elijah I am. So much! I see God’s goodness and then so soon forget and allow my fears to take over again. So Meagan gave us some sticky notes and asked us to write down Ebenezers, or things that help us remember things God has done in the past. She explained to us that Ebenezers are stones people used to put up to remember a particular happening or event, almost like a memorial. And she wanted us to write down things that have happened in our lives for when we become sad or feel alone or just plain worn out, we can remember that God IS good.
            After devo I went with Petra, Sarah, and Meryl back to Sarah and Meryl’s house to talk to Webster. We talked for a few minutes about snakes and he was joking around with us and laughing at us for being so scared. I went inside the house for a minute to use some fingernail polish and found Brette and Kaitlin Plachy in Brette’s room. I ended up staying there and talking to them until curfew. We talked about our biggest struggles while we’ve been here. Mine is putting complete trust in God and completely handing over full control of my future. That has been something so hard. Just being still and letting God be God. It’s so hard, but I know that’s the journey. The faith that’s built in these kinds of moments of my life is the purpose of waiting. I need the faith that this circumstance is building in me. So I have to wait until the Lord knows I am ready. No control. Just trust.  This is HARD.
God, I know You can hear me. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for today. For blessing me with today as a day of progress. I LOVE that smile and laugh so much. Please keep being with Meghan as she’s getting closer to being home. I pray that You be with Meagan Hawley. Giver her the companionship she needs Lord. Speak to her, Father. Thank You for Brette and Kaitlin. I pray that You give us all answers and faith, God. I love You so much. I’m willing to go, God, just tell me where and when. Give me answers Jesus so that I can serve You the best way I am able to. I love You.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Week 4: Lweendo.

September 13, 2012

            WHAT A DAY.
            Today I went to class, had breakfast, and then went to the clinic! Today all the people who aren’t medical majors got to go if they wanted to! I wanted to see what it was like so I went and shadowed Mrs. Bingham. It really is quite amazing what she does. She is so good with kids and just people in general. It amazed me how she was able to ask only a handful of questions and then was able to prescribe them something. I loved watching her in action.
            We stayed there until lunch and then came back, ate, had class, and then it was time for a group of us to leave to go to the Kalomo Hospital. We got there and walked into the first room. I was immediately surprised. Clearly, I didn’t think it would be like a hospital in America, but we walked into a concrete room with as many beds as they could fit, one patient after another. One woman was lying on the bed with her child that had burns and bandages all over its little face and body. Another woman was sprawled out asleep. It was obvious they each had something different, but they were all in the same room. It seemed so inefficient in terms of keeping diseases from spreading from one person to the next. But we went from room to room, singing, praying, and sharing a word of encouragement. One room we went into, the Women’s Ward, had older women and younger ones, all will different ailments. There was a mentally ill young woman that looked to be in her 20s. We were about to pray and she kept shouting, “No! No!” And once Jeremy started the prayer she kept saying, “In the name of Jesus get out!” and once Jeremy said, “Amen.” She looked at us and said, “Help me.” I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. She asked if we would pray again except this time for her specifically. The Zambian man that was translating for us, Ba Nomuswa, told her that a pastor would come back another day and pray with her. It was definitely an experience. It makes me wonder if it really is a mental illness or possibly possession? How do we know, really? Who knows.
            We left that room to go visit the Mother’s Ward. The ward consisted of a concrete slab room with 30+ women packed into it just lying around. Flies EVERYWHERE. I have never been around or even seen so many flies in one place. We encouraged them through song and in a small devotional thought. They sang us a song as thank you for coming. I loved it. After we had a greeting line with them we came back for dinner.
            Then it was time to meet our Tonga tutors! FINALLY! They were almost an hour late (of course) but finally arrived. I met my tutor, Munalula Musa. She’s 24 years old and was so sweet! We talked about everything possible when meeting someone. Family, friends, majors, hobbies, cooking, sports, boys, any and everything. She told me her name in Tonga means, “Someone who was loved before she was born.” I loved that. We’ve planned to hang out and watch movies, paint nails, and things like that so I am so excited. We talked for about an hour or so and then it was time for her curfew.
            They left and Petra, Parker, and I decided to go talk to Webster at the Estes House. He told us some snake stories, which were hilarious. But then it was time for curfew so we had to tell him goodbye. It has been such a full, but great day.

God, thank You for the blessing of days like today.  For the miracle of medicine , the gift of friendship, and the precious moments in everything. There is something special about this place. God, I pray You continue to change me without holding back. No matter what, just do it. As long as I have Your peace I will do whatever You want me to do. I pray for Munalula. Thank you for sending her to me finally! I pray this relationship is beautiful. I ask that you be with the orphans and widows. Let them feel Your love. Give me a forgiving spirit. I love You.
 Use me Jesus Christ. In whatever way. Whatever way.

September 14, 2012

            Another day in Zambia! Full and fulfilling.
            Today we had class, and then instead of Humanities we had independent study. Field Work along with one of the nursing classes meets at that time and since I’m not in either, Aubrey and I went to her house. She was making posters of Scripture to put up around her house and asked me what some of my favorite verses were. It was really encouraging going through some of my favorite ones and being reminded of how cool God is. We talked about hers too and we both shared some of the people we miss most from home.
            After about an hour we went to breakfast and then waited about 30-45 minutes to go to the George Benson Graduation! It was supposed to start 9:00 but it didn’t begin until after 10:00. We are starting to get the hang of this “being late for everything” (which is really being on time) so we didn’t  show up until about 9:30. We got there and the ceremony was set up outside under a bunch of tarps tied to a thicker sticks that made a little canopy for everyone to sit under. It was so nice with the breeze. We waited around and sat and talked for about an hour and then finally it started and the college choir danced in. It was so fun to watch! I love how even serious events like graduation turn into a party! When they danced in and sat down, the graduates followed with music and dancing as well. And then the teachers came in. There was music, but no dancing :) Everyone had gotten there and then a man they called “The Guest of Honor” came in. The program focused more on the Guest of Honor than the students graduating. Even the student that spoke at the end for his whole class (like a valedictorian’s speech) addressed his speech toward the Guest of Honor. Apparently the person considered the Guest of Honor changes every year and I didn’t catch who the man this year was. I think he was high up on the education ladder in Zambia, but I couldn’t make out what exactly he did. They presented lots of awards. When a student’s name was called out, they danced up to the front to receive it and the parents danced out of the crowd to the front for a picture with their child. It was hilarious. After 3.5 hours it was finally over. It seemed so so long. Once they announced that the ceremony was “diminished” the smiles and hugs that were passed around surprised me! Everyone had huge smiles on their faces and parents were standing up clapping for their children. It made me realize how special and big of a deal it is to be a college graduate here.
            Afterwards our group walked back, had lunch, and then Morgan and I went to the Havens. I went straight to Haven 1. Aaron is HUGE! Well, compared to what he was when I got here! Meagan told me that she has weighed him and he’s gained a bunch! Which makes me SO happy because weight gain usually means healthy baby! Meagan assigned me another baby today too! Chilala, 3 weeks old, is having lots of diarrhea and just needs some extra holding is what Meagan told me. She was crying so I picked her up and then a doctor along with some interns came in. The doctor came to check on all of the babies that Meagan was concerned about. She looked at Chilala along with a couple others. I went to Haven 3 to see JoJo and talked with one of the interns for a little bit while massaging Joel and feeding him. But we had to leave shortly after for dinner.
            So Morgan and I came back, ate, and then a group of us went to the Merritt’s to sing! Love. It. So. Much. I met 3 boys that are good friends with the Merritt’s: David, Lee, and Crae. They were so nice! I just have such positive feelings about people that I meet here and the place in general. We left after a few minutes of talking. Once we got back, River, Molly, Petra, Bridget, Kaitie, and I all decided to go star tripping. It was SO great. And hilarious. We laughed and laughed. And laughed. Whenever we fell to the ground we would become covered in stickers, but we were laughing so hard I didn’t even care. Speaking of stars, the stars here are incredible. You can SEE the Milky Way. It is breath taking. After star tripping we all talked for a couple minutes and then came home for curfew.

God, thank You for the blessing of today. Thank You for the laughter that today brought. I love that we love laughing together. I ask You that we grow closer as a unit, and are as effective as we can possibly be. I’m sorry for the moments I failed You today. I pray for the Zambians that are hurting. Be their Comforter and Peace. I pray for the struggles among our group. Life is hard and I pray for the ones among us to continue being strong and seeing You in ways we never have before. I love You Jesus.
 Here I am God. Use me.

September 15, 2012

            Today was such a needed day of rest. I woke up and went to breakfast and then a woman named Mrs. Daka came and talked to us about marriage and other things from the perspective of Zambians. Mrs. Daka’s role in the community is one of a mentor. She teaches the daughters of the community what to expect when married. Once a girl is “ready to be seen as a woman” in the community or is about to be married, she takes them in and teaches them what they need to know to be a good wife. A lot of things were super surprising to me. When a daughter has her period for the first time she is taken into a hut of her parents and is kept there for three months away from society. The bride price still happens here. If the husband beats the wife, the wife doesn’t tell anyone so that respect for the home can stay in the community. There were many many more things that are so different from our culture. It’s so interesting.
            After her talk, a group of us walked to town. It’s 7 kilometers and took almost an hour and a half to walk. It made me realize how far some women walk on a daily basis whether it be for work or town or water. It was hard for us, but these women do it with babies on their backs and then add a huge jug of water on their heads on the return trip.
            We finally got to town, had lunch at El Pantano, and then walked around looking at things. I got 2 jerseys and just walked around with the rest of the group while they were looking for some zitenge. We were out in the sun ALL day and I felt so drained. We rested at the bakery for a while and after about 4 hours of being in town we left.
            We came back to the Mission, changed clothes, and went to play ultimate Frisbee until dinner. It was so much fun! We had dinner and then Petra, Parker, and I played cards. Then half of our group came outside and we played a MONSTER game of Nerts. It was nuts. Starting to feel the effects of the sun and the day’s journey I went to bed. It was so nice to have a down day after such intensive work all week.

God, thank You for the day we had today. Thank You for the blessing of friends here. Please keep talking to me about the future. Give me peace of mind that You will let me know what You want. And that whatever I feel You’ve said, is true. Please don’t let me fail You God. Keep us all close. I love You.
 Don’t let my life be lived unused by You. Use me up.

September 16, 2012

            Such a great day! Today I woke up, had breakfast, and went to church in the Johnson Auditorium. Some people traveled to a village church about an hour away, but I just wasn’t up for it today so I went with a group to the Johnson. It was so nice understanding everything going on and being able to participate in the singing. And I didn’t have to ride in a bus to get there! It was only a 5 minute walk! Such a nice break.
            We got back and I worked on some homework until lunch. Katie Daggett fixed us a homemade Italian meal of pasta, salad, and homemade bread. It was so good. After that I went to the Havens until it was time for church. I went to Haven 1 and Aaron was sleeping so I decided to start at Haven 3 with Joel. We sat for a long time with a toy xylophone with colored plates. I would use the plastic mallet and make noise on the xylophone. He would take the mallet from me and hold it, look at me, and then look back at the toy. And finally after minutes and minutes and minutes of just sitting there tapping the xylophone, handing him the mallet, having him stare at me, and then hand it back, he FINALLY hit the xylophone with the mallet! It made me feel so good! I tried working on standing up, but he wanted nothing to do with it today. But that was totally fine! He responded to me with the xylophone, so I’m just going to take it one step at a time. I went back to Haven 1 and Aaron was still asleep, so I changed some babies, played with some others, and then went and picked up Aaron. He. Is. Growing. I love it but I hate it. He woke up when I picked him up and had a HUGE smile on his face. I love that little man. We had such a good day bouncing and dancing and singing and smiling. I also held Chilala today. She is such a little thing.
            We left the Havens and came back to the Hamby and I did a little more homework. It was time for us to leave to go to Sunday night church. After the message a few groups got up and sang some songs. Prince and Lee (the friend we met from Eric’s House) went up with some other guys and sang and did amazing. They’re so great. After the service I met a couple of girls from the secondary school. We talked for a few minutes and they gave Petra and I Tonga names! Mine is “Lweendo” which means path. I asked her why path, and she said, “You know, like you’re on the path to Heaven!” I thought that was really sweet. We came back home, had a super late dinner, and now are headed off to bed!

God, thank You for today. It’s starting to become more and more difficult. Not the being here part, but the being away part. I need You more and more everyday. You are with me Lord. Just keep reminding me of that.

September 17, 2012

            Today was such a long, busy day. But! I got to Skype with Alex last night which was SUCH a blessing. We didn’t get to see each other since the connection slowed way down when our video was on, but we did get to talk! Which was great. It makes me miss him so much!
            I got to class this morning, SO tired, and listened to Ba Siaziyu teach Tonga and Humanities. We had breakfast and then a group of us went to the primary school. We pulled up and were greeted by the principal who told us that she was going to split us up into all the classrooms and that we in charge of class. We were all just looking at each other like, “Uhhh..” What we thought was going to be a day of observation quickly turned into a day of us Makuas being in charge. Addie, Morgan, and I went into the classroom filled with the Grade 7 students. The teacher, Ba Loveness, handed us some books and directed us to the pages she wanted us to teach and walked out. We taught about entrepreneurship, initiation ceremonies (as in when a boy/girl becomes a man/woman and how society here acknowledges that), and all the different types of farming. It was SO awkward at first because we literally had nothing prepared. But we did it! The kids were dead silent most of the time, but I know they understood us since their teacher was talking to them in English while we walked in. I think they were just scared of us! Which, I mean, I don’t blame them! Towards the end, especially when we were talking about farming, they opened up and answered a lot of questions. However, it was time to go and as we were leaving a lot of the students had come outside for their lunch break. As we were pulling away all you see is this whole stoop covered in dark faces, white teeth, and waving hands. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen yet.
            We came back and had lunch, and then a group of girls went to the Havens. We went until dinner. Aaron was wonderful. We danced and sang a lot today! Joel was also great. He interacted with me lots today. He was so cuddly too! He would just lay his head against my chest. He did such a great job interacting. We left, had dinner, and then had Mission Anthropology.
            Then it was time for Family Meeting and we talked about everything from this past week. After the meeting, Katie Daggett asked Petra, Kaitie, and I if we wanted to go see Ginsen at Meagan’s house since we went with Meagan to take Ginsen to her doctor’s appointment last week. We got there and Ginsen’s little eyes were glazed and her mouth was hanging wide open. She looked so sick. Meagan and Louisa took out Ginsen’s IV because she is declining so rapidly. It was an eye-opening moment because it meant that there was literally nothing that us as humans could do anymore. We all just sat there at the feet of Meagan as she was holding her, listening to Ginsen breathe. There were a few times that her breaths skipped and it made us all nervous that she was about to go. After an hour of sitting there I was just praying in my head that God would just take her. Her breaths turned into short wheezes and we were all just waiting.  Meagan told us that at this point it’s just a matter of trying to make her as comfortable and as peaceful as possible. Petra, Kaitie, and I had to leave because of curfew and when we said goodbye we knew it was our last goodbye to Ginsen. Her little body just can’t take it much longer. It’s so hard to comprehend because everything in me thinks we could be doing more, but I know there isn’t anything left but prayer.

God, I DON’T understand the ways of this world. I don’t know why these things happen to these tiny babies. Well, I know its sin, but God it’s so real here. The reality of sin. Looking at Ginsen’s eyes, watching her little chest rise and fall with her wheezy breaths. The reality of sin, my sin, in this world is like a slap in the face. My sin does this. It robs people of life. It reveals Satan for just what he is: a thief that really does only come to take, murder, and devastate. And to have a dying 5-week-old baby’s face to look at while realizing this...God, we need You. I love You God and I believe You are good. God if Ginsen passes tonight, I know I’ll need You tomorrow. Keep holding her. Keep holding me.
 Use me through it all, Lord. I love You.

September 18, 2012

            Today was SUCH a great day.
            This morning I woke up, went to class, and then before breakfast Petra and I went to Meagan’s house to see what went on with Ginsen in the night. We got there and she was still awake! We were in shock. Everyone was. We sat there with her for about 30 minutes and then went to breakfast. After breakfast we headed over to chapel and after that Petra and I came back to Meagan’s. We sat with her for about 2 hours talking about everything. About the way life is here, relationships, and things that go through her head. I asked her what goes on in her head when babies pass away. She said she used to be really angry at herself and feel a lot of guilt because her job is to catch sicknesses before they get out of control. So when she has a child in her arms about to die she has a hard time feeling like she could have done something else or if she could have only caught something sooner. She said she’s not numb to death, but it’s just stopped surprising her. I also asked her how she knew here is where she needed to be indefinitely and she said she just felt like there was nowhere else she could be, and do what she felt like was necessary. She felt like the lifestyle the Bible says we’re to live isn’t seen often. It’s so rare. And she feels like caring for orphans and widows is something that is written about all through the Bible and that everyone should be doing something about. That isn’t a specific or individual calling. It’s something everyone should be working on and helping with. She wants to do something meaningful and she feels like this is it for her. Of course she feels lonely. Of course she feels like she’s missing out sometimes. But she said a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says something to the effect of, “For every missed thing there is something gained.” I thought that was such a great thought. I know she’s missing out at home, but what she’s gaining in its place is so worth it. It was such a beautiful thing seeing her talk with that baby in her arms. Speaking words of hope and truth in a situation that seems so drear and full of despair. She said that here in Africa she finds it hard to deal with sickness sometimes because our reaction is to help, help, help. But sometimes, like now with Ginsen, there’s nothing left for her to do and all you can do is just sit alongside people and suffer and cry with them.
            I hope that one day I can find myself here with her. For some amount of time at least. It is such a beautiful life here. But not the kind of beauty that people use to describe perfection. It’s full of pain and hurt, but the kind where good comes out of the ashes. The kind that hurts, but heals. That paradox kind of beauty. That is what is found here. And that is what I’m in love with. In this culture you find what matters. That’s what I’ve been looking for.
            Meagan told us she was going to get some sleep since she’d been up all night with Ginsen, so Petra and I left and came across Memory. Memory is 19 and she helps the cooks with food and cleaning. She is precious. I love talking to her. She’s so down to earth and I feel like we’re people that would be friends in the States. She’s so gentle ad such a quiet spirit. We talked to her about culture here and how the West is starting to move in and change things. I couldn’t help but sit there and feel super embarrassed about it. I hated being from the West in that moment. To know that my kind of people is what’s changing Africa and removing them from their traditional ways. In some ways like medicine and hygiene that’s good. But in ways like dress and respect, it is so so sad.
            After we talked with her for about an hour and helped her with the salad, we had lunch and then class. After class I answered some e-mails and then realized it was already time for dinner! E-mails take such a long time to answer and give details and just say everything I want to say.
            After dinner and a few minutes of journaling, Parker, Petra, Bridget, Aubrey, and I went on top of the containers too look at the stars since the power was out. The stars were like something I have NEVER seen before. You can see the Milky Way brighter than ever. I wish there were a word other than beautiful to describe it, but that’s all I know. It is so beautiful. We brought out blankets and watched a movie. Right after the movie was over it was curfew so I came home and jumped in bed! Such a great feeling.

God, thank You for this day. I’m just in awe that Ginsen has hung on not only through the night, but all day. Let Your will be done. I love You Jesus. I pray for my friends back home. That You reveal Yourself to them just as much as You are revealing to me here.
 Use me Jesus. Have Your way.

September 19, 2012

            What a day! I woke up, went to class this morning feeling super tired. The past three mornings it’s been such a struggle to get out of the bed! But I went to class and after our Humanities class we had breakfast and then chapel. After chapel we had Mission Anthropology and then I worked on my blog post for Mission Anthropology until lunch. Before we started eating lunch Jeremy told us that Ginsen passed away in the night between 1-2 AM. It saddened me but more relief came over me than sadness. I knew she needed to go.
            We had lunch and then a lot of us went to the Havens until dinner! Joel was his normal self! He certainly does hug more, but there wasn’t any major breakthrough today. I would say a little is definitely better than none. Aaron was actually sort of cranky today! But he without a doubt just keeps getting cuter and cuter. We left there and ran into Meagan behind Haven 3 on our way out. She told us she wants some of us to repaint some of the names on the headstones in the Haven graveyard. I think I would like to help her with that.
            We got back to the Hamby, had dinner, and then Bridget and Aubrey and I went to the cabana table to talk. We came back after a few minutes to find Petra and Prince sitting with Chris. We sat down and talked, sang and played cards! Chris showed us this crazy magic trick that we STILL don’t know how in the world it happens, but it is so weird! And real looking! Then, we decided to do something called the Cinnamon Challenge. It’s where you take a tablespoon of cinnamon and try to swallow it. Sarah, Petra, Bridget, and I did it and not even 20 seconds later we were all spitting it out and Bridget and I threw up! I threw up three times! It was THE weirdest feeling ever and I will never do it again! It was miserable. Oh my word. The rest of the night until curfew I could feel the cinnamon in my throat and nose. After our turn Parker and Prince did it and were STONE faced the whole time. And they both swallowed it! I could not believe it! Prince’s face didn’t budge at all. It was like nothing was happening at all. It was super impressive. After laughing lots and trying to spit all the cinnamon out of my mouth every 5 seconds it was time for us all to disperse and go back to our houses for curfew.

God, thank You for today. For all the laughs and even got the news of baby Ginsen. Thank You that she’s in Your arms now. I pray You keep me focused and in tune with Your leading. I need it Lord. I love You.
 I pray that you use me wherever, whenever. At the Havens, among our group, whatever You wish.