Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another Race

I just realized that the deadline for the discount on the ING race is August 31st as well. You can go here to register...but let's not all do it at once.

Last year, everyone bailed, all but Ernie, but you posers know who you are.  It's fun! I got a whole bunch of coupons for free almond milk at the Expo the day before the race, that more than paid for my registration and was drinking free almond milk for 6 months! You know you want to do this! You have 206 days to get ready. Get moving.

Mieze Medical Outreach and ME!

Natty says "Hu-ey"

In efforts to find video information for you on Mieze, I found this silly little video of Nathaniel I took in July. He says, "Hu-ey" in this adorable little Southern accent. Despite looking like a 3 year old, this child is only 15 mos. here, so it is funny coming from him. Well, at least I think so.

Mieze Medical Outreach

Paulina and Manuel

Antoinette and Tanya

These girls are simply amazing. I was honored to be called their friend.

Afternoon with Olga!


The Birthday Girl

Catherine turned 12 on August 20th. I was not there for the event, but left a present in the hall closet before I left for her to open. The party was on Sunday, the day I got back. I was exhausted and only able to stay awake thanks to the constant drip of caffeine in my veins. Catherine refused to show her braces. Carson loved his present from Africa. Nathaniel was sleepy. Gracie refused to have her picture made. Carla prepared a Sunday Dinner feast of ham and macaroni and cheese and green beans and rolls and pineapple casserole and chocolate cake and brownies and banana pudding. Delicious. I become a weepy mess when I think about this girl being born and how it was the most exciting day of my life, hands down. I flew 90 miles an hour to Gainesville when I found out Carla was being induced. But I got there in plenty of time and poor Carla was in labor for soooooo many hours and it was just awful. But then she arrived and had the most stunning face of any human I had ever laid eyes on. Even the nurses agreed. Her lips were so full and rosy and she looked just like my sister and at that moment I knew there was a God and how life is such an absolute miracle. For 12 years now I have been speeding over to my sisters to get shugar (check out Natty's earlobes and neck, my new favorite) and she keeps having babies so there is always someone to snuggle and I am so blessed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Upcoming Races!

Now that I am back into my little life, I am excited to get back into my running routine. The Serenbe 15K is coming up in November, followed by the Thanksgiving Day Half-Marathon. I did both of these last year and loved them! Especially the Serenbe race. This year they are adding a 5K, so no one has an excuse not to come and join the fun. They really do the race in style and it is the perfect weekend long run before the half-marathon. Last year they had homemade cookies and muffins! All the shops were open and offered discounts to runners. If you sign up before AUGUST 31st you get discounts on both races, the Thanksgiving Race is $45 and the Serenbe Race is only $25. Go to to register. For details on the Serenbe race go to

Here is some additional info on the Thanksgiving Day race: Event Description:
The Atlanta Marathon, held on Thanksgiving Day, is the oldest marathon in the Southeast and one of the ten oldest in the country. It is also the only U.S. marathon run on an Olympic course—approximately 90% of the course is the same as that run by the world’s best at the Atlanta Games in 1996.

The Atlanta Half Marathon is among the largest half marathons in the US, and while slightly less demanding than the Atlanta Marathon, it is still guaranteed to work up runners' appetites. The Atlanta Half Marathon has become a holiday tradition for thounsands of runners and volunteers alike.

Children ages 7 -12 can take part in the Atlanta Track Club's Kilometer Kids' Fun Run (1 mile) on Thanksgiving morning. The one mile fun run starts in the Blue Lot at Turner Field and takes the kids across the same finish line as The Atlanta Marathon and Half Marathon where they will be greeted by cheers from the crowd and awarded a cool commemorative finisher's medal.

Finish: All races finish outside of Turner Field.

a little more on Mieze

Monday, August 24, 2009


I feel like I have been gone for a year. I feel quite silly making such a big to do over food and all the things I didn't have, but I am enjoying hot water, delicious tasting foods in all varieties and enjoying these meals without the lizards, ants, and roaches watching me. I still have so much to process and pray about as I consider what the future may bring in taking me back to Africa. Right now I am dealing with the whirlwind of "re-entry" and getting back into my life I left behind. My time in Johannesburg with Cathi was beautiful. We had a fun time staying up late and going shopping the next day. Cathi is such a kind soul and I love being around people who love God and are simply laid down lovers, laying down their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Her heart is Africa and raising up disciples. She lives each day under His provision and is walking, talking proof of His kindness toward those who serve Him.

My flight home was pretty uneventful. I had been looking forward to the hours of endless television, but even that was not very entertaining. All the movies were horrible, all about infidelity and such sick twisted and very emotional television, that my little heart could not handle. I needed something light and entertaining and the only thing I could stand to watch the whole way through was an episode of "Frasier". All I could really see were faces of those I was leaving behind. The poor, severely handicapped orphan girl named Juliana in that village I visited on Thursday. Part of me was elated to be coming home and the other part consumed with finding ways to bring about a solution to the problem of vast poverty and sickness. I see a lot of problems and it has fueled a desire for me to research and look into ways to bring about aide and development and love to these villages. So I pretty much sat there and thought, reclined my seat all 3 degrees, snuggled under my thin blue polyfiber Delta blanket, closed my eyes and thought. I thought about all the discomforts and things that just drive me nuts about life there. I thought about all these children and their culture and their parents and their lack of education. I wondered if simply teaching them to read would help. I tried to list of all their real needs and wondered if there is an all inclusive model out there. Clearly they all need clean water, de-worming, food, ways to plant their own food, medications, education, and so much more. I thought about how distant parents seemed toward their children and just the way the culture is so different than ours. They often cast aside children once they are about 5 or so and the negative impact of all these rejected children has on the subsequent adults and parents that they then become. I thought about the lack of creativity and ambition and love. How can we teach them how to parent? How can we teach work ethic? How can we teach love, compassion or affection? I thought about all that I learned from them, generosity, desperation, survival. I though about coming back home and entering this world and living here, yet seeing their faces and not "doing" anything about it all. I don't want to turn a deaf ear just because the problem seems too overwhelming and just become so involved in my busy life of good food, reality TV and discount designer clothing stores.

Then suddenly, I found myself in Nancy's car and I am on an interstate that I recognize so well and suddenly we are going to a house, that when I close my eyes I have trouble even remembering what it all looks like and it seems like we are going to visit someone, but we are going to my house and it feels odd and I don't want to go there. I walk into what seems like the most sterile, clean, pristine, colorful, most beautiful place I have ever seen. And it is simply my kitchen. But it is glowing and everything is spotless and all the lighting is shining off all the stainless steel and the dining room is glowing and the floors don't even have a speck of dirt on them and I shed my shoes and they are clean beneath my feet. I crawl up on the kitchen counter and sit Indian style and Sherri hands me a tower of pancakes with strawberries and they are tart and burn my tongue with their sharp sweet flavor and I have never tasted food this good before in my whole life and my stomach is getting full and it feels so good. I put on a pot of coffee and slurp the drug that will keep me going for the rest of the day. I talk nonstop from the minute I walk in the door. I finally bathe but quickly turn off the water so I can listen to Sherri and Yvette's conversation going on in the dining room as I don't want to miss a thing. It feels good to be home and back with my sisters. I didn't want to wash my hair because it would take too long and I was due at Catherine's birthday party. So Sherri braided my hair for me and it felt so good to be touched my another human being.

Yvette made me take a video camera and document the events for a documentary she is doing called Missionary Diaries. (She interviewed me before I left and will again soon and I will try to post information on the progress and final product here). We watched a few of the installments and they laughed so hard at me and my goofy self and all my obvious expressions and candidness and I laughed too. I have no idea how it will all turn out and there are some rough moments on there that may not be very flattering, but I reckon I am willing to pay the price of embarrassment for the authenticity of my "diary".

I rushed up to Carla's and could not believe how amazing my car smelled and for the first time ever I loved that car. It has been a thorn in my side and I hated her for being so expensive and the whole way in which I had to get that dumb ole car and was mad my other TWO broke down and just looked at her with frustration and how I got ripped off by stupid NALLEY VOLVO (DON'T GO THERE). But yesterday, I put back the sunroof and gunned it. And took the wheel with so much genuine gratitude. I am the most blessed human being on the face of the earth. I really, really, really am.

I loved, loved seeing those babies. Catherine was glowing. My precious birthday girl. I got all the kisses that they would allow and had a big plate of macaroni and cheese and green beans and a biscuit and really ate so much I was almost miserable. Christine came too!! But the house was so full of guests and relatives that no one could really get a word in edgewise, except for Carla's husband's sister's husband who is loud and can talk above all the rest.

I kept waiting on my full tummy to make room for chocolate cake and about 5 o'clock it did and I chased it with milk and it was good.

The kids all went up to the pool and Carla and I were able to sit and talk a little, but how do you put three and a half weeks into 30 minutes? But I tried. I gave her the journal I kept and I plan on having many more conversations with her in the months to come about all that I am processing and all that I witnessed and all that I have and continue to dream about. She was there with me in spirit and I could tell she had been thinking about it all too. She was happy to have me back home and I was just so happy to be with her. It is not like we ever really get to talk much, and certainly go weeks without really talking heart to heart, but there was something about being half way around the world that makes the heart grow fonder. Plus, I wanted her there with me. She has a real gift of teaching and such a Mother heart and could be so invaluable there. I can see her now, teaching in a little village, making all those little children line up and obey, wiping all their snotty noses.

I gave the kids their little presents and everyone seemed satisfied. Catherine got a tie-dyed dress from the market and my copy of Hinds' Feet in High Places, Gracie got a Capalana, and Carson, an overpriced book about the African Bushveld from the airport that Carla says he has studied all day and said it was "just what he always wanted". And his new favorite animal is the pangolin. Poor Natty didn't get a thing, don't tell him.

I woke up this morning to my blackberry going off and wondered just who I was and whose bed I was in and it took me a moment to figure it all out. But I woke up smiling. There was milk in the fridge and soon hot coffee in my favorite cup. Suddenly Matt Lauer is in my living room. Michael Jackson is STILL making headlines! And the next thing I know I am looking back at myself, dressed in pink strappy sandals, Banana Republic plain front khakis with wide cuffs, starched blouse with capped sleeves and my pink seer sucker blazer with diamond stud earrings and a spritz of my new Mandarin orange perfume and I am happy. I walk right out the door, leaving my blackberry by the bed and purse on the counter and lunch in the freezer, but at least I remembered the car keys. I made it to work on time and cranked up the radio loud and sang along and didn't even notice the traffic.

I am confused as ever as to what all happened or what I will do in the future, but I am one grateful woman. I am blessed beyond measure. I am counting my blessings with every sweet smelling neck I get to hug (everyone is so CLEAN here?). I am undone by what all God is teaching me and showing me as I walk out this life. I have none of the answers, but I am walking in a new found freedom and gratitude. My heart is still the same, I want to bring nations from darkness into light. And I guess in stepping out into this dream, He is just showing me more of His goodness. He can be trusted. You can give Him your heart. You can give Him your ambition. You can give Him your career. You can give Him your past, your present and your future. We can get so overwhelmed and it is so easy to envy others and look at what we don't have. A quick trip to Mozambique will change all of that in an instant.

It may take a few days, but I do have photos and actual proof that I was really there and not faking emails from a flat in Paris. I really did go and didn't jump ship like I almost did the last time!

It is nice to be home. Thank you for your prayers. I hope this helps, for you to see the poor. To truly see the need of all of those around you, those poor in the natural and those poor in spirit. There is hunger and desperation all around us. The cup is both bitter and sweet, it is painful, but full of joy. This is a life with God, drinking of the cup of suffering, but knowing with it, you experience deeper joy than you could ever know otherwise. Sure, I have a million questions and the injustice hurts and only creates more questions. But my soul trusts in His sovereignty and I have no Plan B. I have seen His kindness and I trust Him. I love the way He has changed the affections of my heart and all I can do is place my hands over the once bitter, angry, jealous, envious, wounded heart of mine, close my eyes and fall back into His arms and trust that He will catch me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Johannesburg, South Africa

I am in J'burg and just like the last time I was here am spending the whole day at the mall. Cathi and I stayed up late talking and solving all the problems of the world, but drifted off to sleep around 1am. We woke up to freezing cold weather here this morning and our little place has no heat. Most buildings here do not. They are not insulated either, which makes for cooler buildings in the hot summer, but cold toes during the cooler months. We walked to a nearby mall around 9 and stayed there until after lunch. We ate at one of those middle eastern chain restaurants that serve falafal and chased it with Ginger Beer! It was all fairly Western to some extent, but far from Phipps or Lenox. I love getting candy and cookies and such from different countries that are just different than what we have, so I love the markets the most. I got an assortment of all kinds of brightly packaged candies and sweets and things for the kids, ahem. In a few hours I will take a taxi from Angel's Rest in Alberton to the airport. It is about a 45 minute drive. I am actually looking forward to the quiet, peaceful flight and endless selection of movies. My brain needs mindless entertainment and I am not ashamed to admit it. I will hit the ground running once home and cannot wait to celebrate Catherine's 12th birthday with the whole family tomorrow afternoon. For this moment, there is certainly no place on earth I would rather be.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jesus loves me!

I left this afternoon and it was so sad to say goodbye. I really felt like I was JUST beginning to get settled in and then had to go. So I am sad. But I have BIG plans and will be going back again next year to fine tune all of this. I will share much more soon. I landed in J'burg around 6:30 and sweet sweet sweet Cathi Crooks came and picked me up at the airport!!!!! So much better to hug a neck of someone you know than scarry guy with your name on a sign. So now I have already had a HOT SHOWER!!!!!! and am squeaky clean and feel so so so so so so so amazing. She is cooking now and it smells amazing so I am going to go downstairs for dinner. I am staying in the most amazing, cozy, sweet, little missionary housing and once again, being taken in by missionaries, remember Amsterdam?? Now in South Africa. I am undone by His goodness. Much more soon, with more details and photos and video too!
Thank you for your prayers and sweet support and investments in little ole me. Much love, Me

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I don't want to go home!!! I am just starting to have fun! What an amazing crazy day. Antoinette, Tonya and I left at 7 and drove to a village to interview the orphans. We were expecting 24 and left with 30. It was all crazy chaos and no one knew what quite was going on, but we got photos of them all and heard their stories. They will all break your heart. So many, the father left long ago and the mother died but often they don't know what of. They just say her stomach hurt. The kids "interests" are gathering wood and hauling water. Oh my. All I could do was see Carson trying to haul water on his head instead of playing with his dinosaurs and jungle animals. I could write volumes on how all this makes me feel and the injustice of it all and it just makes me want to see answer and solutions to their problems. So Tonya got to push in a boys hernia or something or another and they gave us live chickens for coming and these girls didn't even blink, they just grabbed them by their feet and said thank you! On the way home I witnessed a man get hit by a car, then attempt to get up and walk away but only fall down again and then a huge crowd of people gathered around him and he was taken to the hospital. Crazy day! But I only have the computer for a moment, so I am rushing this and just wanted to report on the day. These girls and I have something in common and we all connected and had a wonderful farewell dinner tonight and I feel like we could take the nation with all our ambition and bright ideas and dreaming with God. So I am already planning my trip back...
More soon.
Leaving tomorrow at noon for J'burg. Staying the night. Home by 7am on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mieze Info


Mieze and the Child Sponsorship Program

Today I am going back out to Mieze. This is a children's center that Iris oversees and now uses as a model for other children's centers. We don't like to call them orphanages, as no child is an orphan. The center has goats and chickens and is a beautiful model of a somewhat self-sustainable center. Today I am going with the Medical team and just going to help out. They do basic wound care and all sorts of stuff. I assume you never know what you are going to get.I pray it is nothing too gross, then again pulling a tooth is gross to me. Tonight I have a farewell dinner with the Mozley's. Tomorrow I am leaving at 7am and we are driving to a village about an hour away. Iris has churches all over the place, something like 7,000. In the Iris churches all pastors take in children, most having about 10 kids that they care for. Iris feeds these children, any parentless children where there are no other relatives to care for them, the Iris churches take these kids in and Iris provides food for them. We are going to a village where the church supports 24 kids. We want to make sure the pastor is only taking care of 10, otherwise that is illegal and would cause problems with the government. We want to make sure the other kids are dispersed among the church members. The pastor picked up the months supply of food a few days ago. But we are going to evaluate things and interview each child to find out their names, ages, interests and stories and take pictures of them. Iris is setting up a child sponsorship program. So now we will have detailed information on the children that Iris feeds for those interested to support each month. I will have a translator, speaking Makua and he will translate to English and I will simply write out the information on each child. We hope to really bless them and take candy and just let them know they are loved. This will be a full day and I am looking forward to the adventure. I will be leaving the following day at noon. I will arrive in Johannesburg that evening and am being picked up by a friend!! We are going to stay in a little place called Angel's Rest. I am not sure what we have planned for Saturday, but I have an evening flight out, arriving in Atlanta on Sunday morning at 7:00am. I will post photos and more stories when I get home!

Monday, August 17, 2009

a boa noite for sure

Last night two of the long term missionaries came over for dinner! I made omelettes with feta and green peppers and onion. Tonya made hashbrowns that were way better than Waffle House and Antoinette made pancakes with frozen bananas, dipped in condensed milk and rolled in coconut. And then we had papaya and banana smoothies! We were sooo full. Little Paulina came over too and helped cook. It was fun watching her attempt to clean her plate with such a full tummy. Oh, how I love that little girl. I honestly cannot even let my mind go that horrible place of reality that screams, "she has no parents, she has no parents, she has no parents". All I know to do is hug her tight and pray hard. Last night was to me, what I enjoy the most about this mission life, the community part of sharing what you have and having true relationship with one another...the sisterhood of mission life. We sat around and talked about our concerns and shared our dreams and visions and suddenly what had once seemed like a dying flame gets a wind upon it and it is soaring high again. Their faith and excitement and callings in life united with my little flame and suddenly we are all dreaming with God and planning a village and seeing what the future could look like and it is not bleak. It is a future of healthy villages, with clean water and gardens with vegetables and men and women who can read and write and study the Word and teach each other and disciple one another. It can be done. These two girls are AMAZING and make my little credentials seem so small. One lived in Hong Kong for three years. She just up and went and joined a ministry that worked with heroine addicts because God told her to go work with the poor. She learned to speak Chinese and watched men detox day after day after day. The other girl built a base in the middle of nowhere and lived there for three years with no water or electricity. The power went out for all of five minutes last night after dinner and I lit a candle and she was excited as it reminded her of her family time back on the base she built, in Lichinga. I was already wondering when the lights would come back on and was praying that it would and wondered what the heck I would do when the girls left and I was alone in the pitch black with my tiny little candle. These girls are so strong and resilient and simply amazing. It is an honor to be called their friend.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a shadow or a voice?

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of someone elses life with perfection"- Bhagavad Gita

No, I have not taken up some whacky Eastern religion, but this struck me with great truth. It has been one of the themes this week. How often do we find ourselves trying to imitate or be someone else? I have pretty much always marched to the beat of my own drum, but certainly admit to want to "be like" someone at times. I really feel like God is saying, BE YOU! I don't know what my destiny looks like yet, but I do want to spend my life being me and not always shadowing someone else and wanting what they have. I am seeing here that being me is good and that I do have things to bring to the table and I do have giftings and talents that are all my own and will do me well in life. We all do...

So this is becoming one of the themes of the trip, not stomach ailments, but the fact that we are all called to be a voice, not a shadow or an imitation, or anyone else, but ourselves. I just keep hearing this over and over. I keep seeing in certain ways how I am called uniquely for certain purpose. We all are. We are all given unique abilities and giftings that no one else on the planet can fulfill quite like we can. We can see it in each other. No one else listens quite like Betty Conner, no one else makes me giggle quite like Laura, no one else has more stamina and determination and can cook and make me laugh like Christine. No one else can hug like Mama Joyce. We are all walking talking amazing powerful wonderful human beings. Yes, we all have some junk and that is innate. But we were created to be US and no one else. I am finding that I have a little following of kids here. I assume most all the missionaries do, but I suddenly have my two. If you see me in Publix with two dark black faces in my race car grocery cart, you will know I smuggled them home with me. I didn't ask for them to follow me or like me or play with me, we just kinda stumbled upon each other. I listen, attempted conversation, hugged, smiled, laughed, played nonverable games, danced like a white girl to make them giggle and now we are all the best of friends. Last night I was asking God why I was even here. And he said that no one else can love them like me. Yes, many are sent to love them, but we don't all love, listen, or hug the same. I have no other choice but to see them through God's eyes, see their potential, how much He loves them and know that He created them. It seems unfair that these little beings just happened to be born into poverty and then even more tragedy strikes and they are now orphaned. So do I sit back and get mad at God on their behalf and point a finger and blame Him? To be honest, part of me wants to. It just is not fair. There is so much sickness, poverty, sin and horrific things in this world. And these kids are examples of that, beaten, starving, molested, abused. I wonder how God can release such blessings and favor over some and seemingly neglect these broken ones. But that is what faith is all about. He is my only answer. He is all I have. I can choose to believe or not believe and in choosing to believe over the past 30 something years, I have seen Him faithful in much in my life, but I have to walk it out daily, trusting in Him, and that He is good. Otherwise I will go nuts and I have no backup plan. So I am choosing to trust Him and I am loving these kids the best way I know how, spending time with them, laughing, coloring, cooking, singing. And just praying that they see goodness and kindness in me and He leaks out of me, despite my weakness, sickness and (at times) waivering faith. These people teach me all about it. If God doesn't show up, they will die. Literally. So, if they, in all their poverty with every reason to hold a grudge, trust Him and know Him to be good, then certainly so can I.

So tonight I am cooking spaghetti with the help of my little friends. We have been cutting and preparing earlier today. My stomach is an absolute mess (not sure why? say a prayer, it could be worse, counting my blessings) so I personally am not very psyched about the spaghetti, but the companionship is Heaven sent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Feeding the Hungry!

Someone once said, God doesn't close a door without opening a box of Girl Scout Cookies. And today He opened some thin mints for me. Ahh thin mints...I am drooling as my diet consists of eggs, bread, eggs, tomatoes that are not any good, and cucumbers, almonds and raisins and instant oatmeal that I brought from home and repeat. And despite this fairly safe diet my poor tummy is a wreck. Anyway, the thin mints have me completely distracted. But my point is to say that earlier today I was feeling that I had no purpose here and maybe I misheard things or was misled or just didn't know what I was doing and was wasting time and was frustrated with the whole situation. Then out of the blue this girl comes up and asks me what I am doing here and I repeat myself as I have so many times over the past two weeks, prepared for the blank stare. She practically starts jumping up and down and was soooooo excited and said she had been praying for someone to come and help her do this very stuff! Sustainable village models and research and all that. We talked briefly about models we had seen and ideas that might work. Of course there is sooooo much more that needs to be done but just to be around someone who shares my heart and vision was exciting! She is taking a months supply of food to a village next week and has invited me to come along for the two day trip. I am excited about being to go out with other girls to do this. Most of the trips I have been on are with nationals and the language barrier prevents me from asking true questions. With these girls I will really be able to have good productive conversations about what needs they see and what we can do to help. It is a tiny tiny endeavor, but it is a start! Yipee.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

internet withdrawals

I am having pretty much No time on the internet and have no computer so it limits the blog. But I am handwriting a journal! I can barely read my own handwriting but I am trying. I hope to add a few entries, with photos of course, when I get home. So for now entries may be non-existent or quite sporadic and rather short.
But all is well. I am about to cook lunch and soooo blessed to be able to do so. It is the same thing over and over,eggs, salad, eggs, salad, oatmeal, eggs, salad, but good and healthy and I have an ocean view.

Paradigm Shift

I was not able to go on outreach, as I am fairly confident no one is coming back in time for me to catch my flight out. I kept hearing different answers and never knew for certain, but I am still here and didn't go. I spent the evening with a little girl named Olga who has big fat dimples in her cheeks and I see in her the reason why I love it here. This nation needs to feel the love of a mother. I love loving on her but I don't want to come here and take love from her and the millions like her, but give. One of the main things I am learning here is how horribly spoiled rotten we are. When you are stripped of entertainment, good food, internet, telephone, family, friends, shopping, makeup, hair dryers, 1000 threadcount sheets, TJ Maxx, the list could go on and on, you come to look into the mirror of yourself and who you truly are. We are terribly weak human beings who rely on other things and people to entertain us. I am becoming quite aware of my Westerness and being brought up in the culture of having what I want when I want it and relying on "things" and food and such to entertain me. I am realizing just how weak I am as a human once all this has been stripped away. Where is the true source of my joy? Does it come from a bottle of 1997 Russian River Valley Pinot? On the front of a Neiman's catalogue? Behind a fragrant glass counter in a department store? In front of a plate of goat cheese something or another? Or is it sooo deep it could never run dry and it completely rests in relationship with my Creator? I am realizing that I don't like to be hot, hungry, uncomfortable, smushed, stinky bathrooms, bodily functions of strangers, dirty kids with elbows and hatred. I realize that I need His love to love myself, to love others, to be so full of a love that is not of this world, that saves me from myself and allows me to become a new wineskin, full of His new revelation, His mercy and His heart. That is the only thing I could want it life. Even for those who it is quite easy to love? How much better to love them with His eyes and His wisdom and to pour that out instead? So I am quite being stripped of some of my selfishness and certainly seeking Him in a humble desperation. Here, you are stripped of every creature comfort and you just get to look at yourself, whether you like it or not, and see how shallow we can be. I feel soooo small minded, closed minded and so unaware of the big picture of life. All these cultures that exist outside of mine and all that we are up against and better yet, all that we have for us! I don't want to live in my little bubble, but a life of abandonment to all things that Christ has for me. He has promised us the nations as our inheritance, and I cannot take them, if I cannot see them the way He does. So I am constantly dying to my will and actually, earnestly hungering to be hungry and thirsting to be thirsty so that I can be full and fully quinched by Him and Him alone.

Monday, August 10, 2009


There is not a whole lot going on today. The mission school students are slowly departing. Deane, I saw Candace today. I hope to get together with her soon. She is busy signing out students and all of that. I went into town today and got bananas, cucumber, eggs and feta. We have our very own papayas here in the yard and I have been making smoothies for breakfast and having salad for lunch and or dinner, then repeat. I am still uncertain on the Zimbezia outreach. The doctor, with whom I would be catching a ride back, had to leave to go assist another missionary who was very sick and is not here. So all of that is very up in the air. I thought about flying to Biera to visit the Dondo base but flights are too expensive. Like $1000 too expensive. So I am here. The banditos are in full force as they know all the white people are leaving and they are desperate. They have weapons, dirty, rusty knives and I don't want to leave here with any wounds so I am staying on the compound for the most part. So I am playing with kids some, reading a lot and just spending time in prayer and supplication. If you see a blue-eyed Fallin child, hug him/her for me. It is funny how I carry those little punkins wherever I go and miss their faces the most, whether one day or twenty one. I hope to post more really soon. I am hoping to set up some type of regular time each day to post, but for now the message is mostly the same. All is well, grateful to be here. Love, Me

the water song

this is from hinds' feet on high places by hannah hurnard

Come, oh come! let us away-
Lower, lower every day.
Oh, what joy it is to race
Down to find the lowest place.
This the dearest law we know-
"It is happy to go low."
Sweetest urge and sweetest will.
"Let us go down lower still."
Hear the summons night and day
Calling us to come away.
From the heights we leap and flow
To the valleys down below.
Always answering to the call,
To the lowest place of all.
Sweetest urge and sweetest pain,
To go low and rise again.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

brief update

A lot has happened in the past week. My internet time is very limited and even now I am very rushed to get this all out. Basically I got to go on outreach with Heidi and talk with her a little bit about my desires. She suggested I try to go to Zimbezia, another province in Mozambique where missionaries are needed. The school is taking a group to go on Wednesday for 10 days and they will be camping in tents each night, spending 2 days at a time in different villages. I am going to try to jump onboard this trip and check out the area. It takes two days to get there. A lot will have to line up for me to go, so I am patiently waiting to see what will happen. Today is Heidi’s birthday and we are all going out to Marranganha to the beach to have a little party for her. The beach is stunning and reminds me of Wuthering Heights. If I don’t go to Zimbezia, I don’t know what I will do around here, but will be in search of a project to keep me busy. They seem to find me though. I went out to Mieze yesterday. This is a children’s center that has been set up to be somewhat self-sustaining and they have goats and chickens. They are also discipling the children and seem to have a beautifully ran program. I got to go out the the beach at Merreube and it is stunning. So pristine and breathtaking. I have been processing this whole trip and am constantly asking myself if I could do this for a long time and if this is where God wants me. I am honestly driving myself nuts. So I am going to try to just relax the next few days and enjoy my time here. I know the doors will open at just the right time. The thoughts of remote Africa all alone frighten me, no water, limited food, rice and beans, malaria….scare me to death to be honest. But His grace is sufficient and He will reveal it all to me and show me where to go. I am anxious to attempt to research some poverty relief and development. Heidi says she has been to the Poverty Lab at MIT and still found no answers. But God is smarter than MIT and I want to seek for wisdom in areas of development for the villages here. And I can that from the comfort of my DSL! At home. Sorry the update is sooo brief. I literally braved the banditos to be here at this little computer place and it is terrible slow and my money has ran out. I hope to write more soon. Blessings like rain.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

brace yourself

so i don't have much time to write so i will get to the true meat of what is going on here. i will save details of what i am eating and doing and details of the ocean view for later. this morning i went to a prison. just a small group of about 8 of us. in one of the poorest countries in the world, a prison. where poor poor men are sent for years of captivity. we were greeted by men lined up down a narrow hallway, clapping and singing and worshipping Jesus. Jesus. Jesus Christ. i immediately felt the joy and peace that only the supernatural power of God can create. i was undone by their worship and more so by their faith. in the Western world we doubt God, make fun of Jesus, and claim we have all the answers ourselves. been these men have accepted him recklessly. they have grabbed hold of the one thing that can bring them out of their bondage and set them free and for most of them it is real. the removal of our sinful nature and becoming full of the love that only Jesus can bring is truly the only thing that can change them, this nation, our nation, the world. after Georgian preached they decided that instead of us praying for them that they would pray for us. it is my prayer that their faith rubbed off on me. this encounter is very difficult to describe. it requires me to expose my cycle of belief and unbelief and how i, at times, doubt God. they didn't grow up in a culture like mine, their churches are not full of hypocrisy, and empty dead religion. they have the real thing and i want what they have. a blind faith and a desperation for the real true Savior.

following this trip to a prison in Africa, i went up to the prayer hut for one of Heidi's teachings. my attitude was, at first, that i had heard heidi speak a million times and that i would be rather bored to be honest. i have watched every video she's ever made, read every book, attended all her messages while in school, have the tivo set for if she ever speaks on TV, watched all her online sermons and listen to her podcasts. so i know all the stories and can recite them. but the minute i stepped into the prayer hut i felt something. the minute i got here, i was a bit shocked, afraid, confused and honestly, ready to go back home. i missed my sister. my punkins. my target. my sheets. there are roaches in my bathroom, ants all over the place in all my stuff and we have no water. but as i listened to heidi it all came back to me, why i was here. she began to talk about the need. the hungry, the dying and the boy with the little lunch of bread and fish that fed 5000. instantly, i knew that i was not back here, under this hut by happenstance. hearing this exact same message that wrecked me two years ago. i knew what she was about to say. "will you see the poor"? and i knew that the last time she preached this message i became a puddle on the floor and all that God was speaking to me came and sank deeper and showed me that this was my purpose in life and a call i could not refuse. she gave personal examples of desperate situations, even in her own life with her husband who has suffered terribly over the past two years. he has been sick with so many different diagnosed illness but basically was suffering memory loss and was diagnosed with PTSD from all the horrific things witnessed on the mission field. he is a brilliant man, and known for his great intellect and over the past few years he could not remember names and people and was completely helpless. and she talked about the moments when she herself wondered, "is there really always enough". this is her main message that there is always enough but she questions it too. there are moments when it doesn't seem so. but God shows up and Rolland is better and there is not enough money for food on the base, but God shows up, and your situation seems helpless but God shows up. and i feel the call all over again and i know why i am here. i cannot be afraid, i cannot let money be my excuse. i have no choice but to serve Him. i have no choice but to bring life to the living dead. i have no choice but to bring water and food to a hungry nation, in that natural and in the spiritual. i have given Him my life and i have no other choice. i have no idea what that looks like or even what else to say, other than He is more than enough. He is greater than my fear and His bank account is bigger than mine. The life I live is not my own. i see even more the need for sustainable village models to be implemented all over this nation and i want to do it! i don't know how, or when. but i am simply wrecked and undone and in love. it's only been five days. there is so much more to say and to explain, but limited computer time has me all rushed and flustered. thank you all for sending me. in five little days i am already changed and will never be the same. i wish i could put it all in a bottle and bring it back for you to drink. it is bitter, but oh so sweet. kinda like ginger beer, but better. much love.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Today thus far

I had breakfast on the front porch of my little house and was soon joined by two little Mozambican boys. I could not help but stare at their calloused feet, dry rotted shoes that were much too little and smell the stench of Africa on them. I too smell this way now, except with a touch of Mandarin orange thanks to the birthday present Carla sent along in my bags. Thank you! I love it! I got out the crayons Betty sent and Bernardo and Manuel and I colored, while I sat with my tiny Portuguese dictionary in my lap and attempted communication. It is so obvious how spending time with these boys is crucial to their learning about love and how to love. They have to see it lived out. When I came back into my house Pam was standing at the sink with two small boys rolling out tortillas. It was so fun to see these small boys standing over the counter with a rolling pin. We all need to be touched, loved, hugged, encouraged, cared for, relationship, friendship and all of that. One boy was living alone in a nearby village and just recently came to Iris. Pam said at first he was standoffish- having just arrived two weeks ago. How beautiful to see him standing in the kitchen, participating in lunch preparation, with a new brother, friend and mother. I know this is one of the keys of transformation this nation. I feel like a hippie every time I say it is all about love, but that is pretty much the answer to all life's problems and certainly what this nation needs. The rejection, oppression, slavery and abuse has torn this nation to shreds. It takes all the opposite of that to set it free and release it into the fullness thereof. I do want to be apart of that. I admit that just stepping off the plane and out of my tidy little home, trips to Target and a refrigerator full of fresh food, into this nation rocks me still. I spent yesterday perplexed and in shock of the contrast. I have been here before, but nothing prepares you for the difference. I am meeting in 30 minutes with a couple who are attending the mission school here and have similar goals as mine, to go beyond relief efforts and find creative ways to make villages self sustaining and train nationals. I was feeling rather overwhelmed all day yesterday, but my morning with the boys and already having taken a flat bed truck (camiao) ride down the dusty road in front of the world's most beautiful beach shows me why I love it here so much. I was born to be here. Whether it is a few weeks each year, two years, or a lifetime, there is so much work that needs to be done. It just makes anything I do back home seem less important as I look at the great need here. I know there are answers. I know there are best practices and ways out there to bring food to the hungry and share the love of Jesus that can transform them and change this nation and I will dedicate my life to play a part in making it happen.

I don't know how often I will be able to write, but hope it is often. Carla, I still have not yet opened my other present, but Manuel opened the card you sent! I love it. (It has Wonder Woman on the front) :) I will try to put it up here in my room. Hugs and kisses to the punks. Catherine and Gracie, you would love it here! So many children to play with and an ocean across the street. Next time, you are coming with me.

I think Mark and Jen are taking me to dinner for my birthday and then are having friends over to their house to play Wii. So this is me suffering in Africa. Did I mention there is no water and now there are two roaches in my bathroom. And that this computer doesn't have a question mark.


Okay, so not much has happened since I wrote last night but I only have 39 more minutes with a computer so I wanted to make the most of it. I took an OTC sleeping pill to make certain that I was able to rest. There is nothing worse than being exhausted beyond belief but not being able to sleep. So I was OUT, but I did keep hearing music all night long, screaming and singing and just this crazy music. I don't know if it was the Witch Doctors or what. I may ask. It kinda sounded like worship and I guess I coulda been dreaming. But I coulda sworn it sounded like hundreds of people singing loudly like in a concert outside my window. The roach is still in the shower. I love my little room and little house. I have my own little sofa! This was frustrating last time, not having a place to SIT DOWN! and having the top bunk...So my own little sofa and one story bed is a very big deal! As is the own bathroom, AND! I have a microwave oven! So I am living in the lap of luxury here.

Carla sent a card and a gift wrapped in purple paper. I cannot wait to open it!! Yipee for presents from home when you are in Africa where nobody knows your name or that it's your birthday. And Yipee for three weeks outside of posh Western living so I can make a very good list of what I want when I get back! Christine, I am thinking Bruster's...

I wish you could hear the noises outside my window. Kids everywhere. There is an ocean across the street and I must get in it. So many things to do and people to meet. I am well rested now and feel so much better and ready to get out there!