Sunday, July 29, 2012

the whole story

It is Sunday morning, again. The best time to write. I am regretting yesterday’s message as it makes me sound confused and schizophrenic. But it took an hour to write and all day to post online so I am leaving it. The power is off and I am writing this under the lamp light of my little battery powered book light. I am reading a juicy novel. I spent yesterday tidying up the house. I need to clear all the junk off the front porch. I also need to attempt to defrost that refrigerator. I have never understood how fridge has a “d” but refrigerator doesn’t. So maybe I need to go put all the perishables in the freezer and shut the door quickly and open the door of the fridge and put a towel in it, like Granny McCarley used to do. I used to scrape the ice from the side of the freezer and eat it. Right before I grabbed an ice cream sandwich. She used to always keep them there. But not anymore. Now she just sits there and worries in that little brick house and watches my grandfather die. I know she worries about what will happen when he does. I wish I could scoop her up and bring her here to live with me. She rarely leaves Abbeville County, Mozambique would rock her world. I think she is one of the reasons I do what I do. I didn’t want a life like hers. I didn’t want every day to be the same. She always goes to the grocery store on Wednesday. She usually buys the same things. She has never had sushi or quinoa pancakes. She’s never swam in the Indian Ocean, seen Victoria Falls or the Eiffel Tower. I thought that was sad so I set out to live my life differently. She is ninety pounds dripping wet and mows her own lawn at 82. I think she used to be taller than me, but she is not anymore. She reads the Bible every day. KJV. She always gives me money on my birthday. The exact same amount since the day I was born. 
My new roommate arrives today. A German pediatrician. Female, of course. Another reason I should stop what I am doing and get that towel and rearrange the fridge. I know nothing about her but I will soon find out everything as I learn to cohabit.  
I bought Muesli at the new gas station. $17 for a kilo. But it is so good and nice for a quick breakfast. So good with coffee. I juiced carrots with ginger, a cucumber and a tangerine right before the power went off. Funny how you can almost feel that it about to happen. I often can feel when there is no water. It just feels dry. Like in your bones. I always wondered how those people could find water with the Y shaped stick. Whatever that is called.  I remember asking Dad about that when I was little. I would find a stick and walk around in the back yard waiting for the stick to dip down. He just laughed and never gave me an answer or if he did I wasn’t listening. I had probably dropped the stick and started doing cartwheels instead. I guess it is one of those things, like how Granny McCarley can tell it is going to rain in her arthritic joints. 
You can also smell, taste, feel fear. So I guess this brings me to the point where I just may as well tell you. I have a confession and guess I should reveal the other source for yesterday’s ramblings. I was robbed. Last weekend. On the beach. I really don’t want to talk about it. I haven’t really told anyone. I am fine. Just a little shaken. I will be okay. I saw the man approach me from the side, I saw him circle me, but there was little I could do. I also cannot assume that every man who approaches me is going to grab my bag. But now I react that way. Essentially he came at me and grabbed my bag and ran. I instinctively ran after him. We jumped over rocks and down along the beach with me chasing him, knowing full well there was no way I could catch up with him but determined to give it my best shot. I screamed and commanded him to drop my bag. He did, but had taken my valuables. The women and children along the beach collecting mussels and small fish for sustenance heard my screams, as did the guards of the residences along the beach. My violent pleas aroused the locals and within minutes the culprit was captured. A whole lot happened during all of this ordeal. The man was returned to me for identification, beaten badly and without my things. I was shocked to see him being beaten and yelled at the village men to stop beating him. I have never seen someone being beaten before. I have not even seen someone in a fight except for maybe in the courtyard during break at Hart County High School circa 1993. Oh wait. No, there was that bar fight during Sine Die after the last night of the legislative session. That guy is still there. A lobbyist, an attorney now I think, making $250,000 a year. But this guy is a bloody mess and I am in total shock. I am trying to think rationally, speak in a different language and pray. I do all this and somehow, miraculously, am able to convey that I simply want to find my things and the robber slowly takes us in the direction he ran. The police are here at this point, another miracle. They tell me to sit on a rock and wait. I don’t like being told what to do. I stand and wait. But then a guard tells me that the police in Mozambique are bad. So glad he didn’t use the word, “corrupt”, or “not trustworthy” but simply, “no good” or else I would have been lost. So I take him at his word and we follow the police who are following the robber, and no one can trust anybody and I just want my stuff back. I am getting sunburned by this point and really just want to go home and redo this entire day. We find the police in the corner of a field, one of them holding my things, an overpriced iPhone and an unattractive cloth tie-dyed wallet that I use for my various documents and licenses required here. They have me identify it all and I soon realize that if I had not shown up the police would be casting lots for my phone. All of a sudden the adrenaline wears off and my knees are knocking and the fear that should have stopped me from going after the robber overcomes me. The villagers follow us for a few minutes but then slowly taper off as we walk for miles to the police station. They finally flag down a truck full of sand and the prisoner, the police and I crawl inside and get a lift for the last mile. The prisoner is crying. He is bleeding and covered in spit and snot and sand and I don’t want to look at him but I can’t stop cutting my eyes over to him. I realize that he is really just a boy. I never wanted for him to be beaten, I never wanted him to go to jail, I never wanted to be robbed, none of this should have happened. The whole ordeal was horrible and I am just glad it is over. It was not as bad for me as it was for the poor boy. I guess I am only telling you this so that you can see a little bit more what it is like. I can’t sugarcoat things. I am telling you this to say that I love what I do. I am honored to be here. I love, love, love creating something new. I love working in this area of development with those in need. I love this life and how it requires faith, big and small. Sometimes mine is small, other days, gigantic. It is the greatest. I know I am supposed to be here. It seems like everything I put my hands to comes to fruition and it shows me that I am here for a purpose. But this is also hard. It kinda helps to write it down and look at it. It helps immensely to know that you pray for me. I am at a loss for what else to say. I didn’t even mean to say all that. It just came out.
A visitor is coming tomorrow to help with the English courses. Another answer to prayer and someone coming along at the perfect time to help. She just emailed randomly and told me she was coming in a few days and asked what I needed. She is an expert in the area of English language training and asked what else she could bring. She is also bringing supplies for the sewing school. 
I am going to go back to my novel and escape to life in New York as a television writer who shops at Barney’s. Then I am off to defrost the fridge and Monday morning back to my life of unplugging it and changing a culture for the better.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

mitt who?

I wrote you last weekend and the computer froze and I lost it. That never happens on my Mac so I am only assuming you didn't need to read it. I have no idea what it said. Probably more of the same. No electricity. Plans for the week. I made quinoa pancakes. 
Last week was full and hectic as are most weeks. I am just now checking emails and messages are a week old. 
I have my passport in my possession and will take it again in about 3 weeks for stamping. The current process seems to be working and it is much cheaper than having to leave the country. Thank you for your prayers in that area. 
This week two people approached me about coming to work with the school. They both want to help teach English. And by work I mean volunteer. This is a huge answer to prayer. Together, we are forming a curriculum that works within this culture and want to offer formal certification courses in the evenings for the professionals in this area in Portuguese and English. We could potentially charge for the evening courses that we would offer to local businesses and therefore, the school in the day could be self-sufficient! I love that word. We are looking for local English text books that are culturally relevant.  We are in desperate need of a formal curriculum and more teachers. It is just impossible to do without proper texts and just two people. I also met with the new director of our Iris primary school. We have 2,500 students there. He is also looking for ways to help me and wants to partner with the work that we are doing.
We are still making big plans for the gift shop and continuing to train girls in the community in sewing. I love being out of the classroom a little and in a creative environment. I get to learn so much more about them and their personalities. The long range plan would be to have the girls creating housewares for the gift shop, giving them jobs, and a safe space to come and learn. 
We’ve been dreaming about creating this illusive curriculum but I think it is slowly coming to us. It is coming in the form of creating a gift shop, that needs supplies, that need a sewing school, that need our girls. But it is the original plan fully, to create social businesses that give jobs and vocational training to the poor. We are raising awareness and others are joining us. I hope to be able to share more details with you soon. I have yet to meet with the contractor but hoping that happens this week. I am excited to see what else can happen once this space is created, as we raise up seamstresses, create a line of products, create an online shop and have some of you come and teach what you know! I already have a seamstress, cobbler, and potter in mind! Seriously! I know 3 beautiful women who are each talented in these areas and would love to come and teach here. Can you imagine what bringing these skills to this community would do? Yes, there are skilled artisans here, but they lack infrastructure, supplies, resources, and a market to which to sell. And it is not as much about the product that we make and how we sell it as it is about encouraging these children that they are valued. I loved watching these girls sew a simple hem and beam with pride and giggle at the finished product. It is such a beautiful thing to see. 
I was once told that working here is like putting a coffee pot in the refrigerator. The coffee would quickly grow cold in the environment and could not warm up the refrigerator. But if the coffee pot could be plugged into a source and the fridge unplugged, the coffee pot could make a difference. It is a little far reaching analogy but I get it. If I can stay plugged in to the truth and unplug them from the lies, I can make a difference. We can make a difference. The truth is who God is. The Way, the Truth, the Life. The lies are what the enemy wants this nation to believe, they are poor, enslaved, not worthy, not valued, not important. Giving someone skills and cheering them on while doing it obliterates the lie. It tells them they are valued, they are unique, created for a purpose. They are not slaves anymore. Twyfa used to not make eye contact and now she bear hugs. And all we did was thread a needle together. This is such a beautiful thing to see -this transformation. 
As I attempted to thaw out the refrigerator today I wondered if this was a prophetic act. I literally open the door and put the hot kettle inside. As I do this I recall this analogy. Because the power goes out, the fridge melts and then freezes over again and it leaks and there are huge chunks of ice around the vegetable bins. I kept trying to whack at them with a knife and then poured hot water on them. The ice was really thick and the knife, nor the hot water was an instant fix. The real fix is, unplugging the fridge, but that requires taking everything out and spoiled milk and melted butter. But I completely got the analogy and realize that it is going to take time and patience. Changing a culture and thus readapting an environment cannot happen overnight. 
Meanwhile, I also live out the day to day. Some say this life is easy. We do live quite well here considering. I live better than 99% of the people here. My wallet literally won’t close after I make a withdrawal from the one ATM I have found that lets you withdraw a maximum amount of $300USD or 10,000METS. I live in a proper house with indoor plumbing. Yet for me this life is still hard. I am away from you. I live apart from my own reality. Sometimes I feel like the world is passing me by. I have to think hard to remember what month it is. I rarely read the news or get online. Everything here to me is hard, especially language and transportation and a huge range of cultural differences. It is my life and I am growing accustom to it and I love it, but it is so drastically different from the life I knew for 34 years. Laura mentioned yesterday that she is ready for me to come home where I belong. But then she broke out into “We are the World” and we just laughed rather than cried. Christine called to let 19 month old Axel talk to me over the phone. He has a Southern accent. I do long to be back where I can be a part of their lives, and yours. But I am so fully focused here and there is so much work to be done. A lifetime really. I could never be finished here. But I know the day will come. Just no time soon. A sweet friend wants to set me up with a guy who lives in Anderson. God bless Anderson, but how can one ever dream of living in Anderson after being here? As I go about my routines here and the longer I live here, the more complicated going back gets. It is impossible to explain, but how can one go from life here to life there? I don’t dream anymore about making a lot of money and getting a prestigious job. I don’t even think I could pick out Mitt Romney in a line up and I had to think hard about that name. Having the prettiest lawn in the neighborhood is not a priority. What do you talk about at backdoor BBQ’s? But then I am bemoaning rural South Carolina? I miss Atlanta.  If I am coming back, I want to come back to Atlanta and my life of museums and restaurants and parks and concerts and shopping and coffee shops. And how do you go back to your life of opulence while Twyfa is still here struggling in hers? These are the questions I ask myself because you aren’t here to talk to me about them. All the other missionaries are no help because they are in the same boat and the conversation never ends. I do see how very, very different I am and how I will never fit in. It was a good lesson to learn. I am not Mozambican. I am American. I am a minority. It’s been good for me. This week I have missed men who open the door for you and tomato sandwiches. 
I am going to turn 35 this week and maybe that’s another reason for all this pontificating. But if I were home eating tomato sandwiches and not having to open doors I would be longing to be here. I am happy. I am excited to see what 35 brings.
Thank you all for giving. The dream is happening!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sewing school

Mom says she can tell she learned from me because she is sticking out her tongue.
Amelca, Augusta, and Felesmina and a really loud, really old sewing machine.
She is our best student!
They are fast learners.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This week in pictures

Lynne's photo of a Georgia tomato sandwich!! I can almost taste it...
Boys who sat patiently outside our school party on Friday.
Hospitality 101- Setting a Table
A text conversation with Carson. I profess my love,  he says,  "ok".
We are growing!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


a day on the beach
riding into town. 
teaching girls in the community to sew!
Twyfa sewing with Julia.
Making hair accessories and baby shoes!
Watching a motivational video on a laptop. 


The power went off as I began to write this. I can hear the pastors from our pastor’s school singing. I hear them in the distance most every morning, men’s voices deep and loud in worship. An unmixed variety of fruit and vegetables waits on the counter to be blended for breakfast, pending electricity, in my favorite appliance, the Nurtiblend. (Gloria Bussard you inspired me). I made Laura Steen’s vegan breakfast bars last night and am having those for now instead with the Starbuck’s espresso blend Helen Inga brought me at Christmas.

It has actually gotten “cold” here at night and I got out my sleeping bag last night. But it smells like it is mildewed and chances are it is ridden with it. Veronica will wash it for me and having it smelling like Omo detergent instead. Now that 3 out of the 3 things I had intended to do are impossible because of lack of electricity, I can stay here for a few minutes longer to write.
I need to do this more often. I need to do so many things more often, sit on the beach, go for a long walk, read, cook, have people over for dinner. But my day rarely involves any of this nor does it involve most things I originally set out to do. It always changes due to some other need that always seem to usurp my hour of solitude by the sea.

Today we have a team visiting from Indonesia (or maybe it’s Singapore). They have come to teach our teachers in the Primary school how to teach English in the mornings and are working with our students in the afternoon. They taught yesterday too and brought large circular fluorescent stickers for name tags and M&M’s. Twyfa was wearing a tank top, spaghetti strap, camisole thingy with little room for a name tag so she just stuck her name tag right on her 85% bare breast. I had to giggle. I actually gawked for a second, then giggled. Culture and it’s contrasts. I don’t think I am being culturally insensitive by telling you this part. I don’t intend to be. One day I will mature into a proper missionary and I will blush at the fact that I even wrote about this and name tags on bare breasts won’t be funny anymore. And it wasn’t really, “Ha Ha” funny but more like, “Wow, she has a name tag on her bosom” funny. I am constantly made aware of the culture differences and flash back to my own culture. This culture is incredibly more resourceful and practical. How I wish you could see this one, Twyfa. She wears her hair in braids that stick up all over. She has a scar from a poorly stitched cut on her forehead. She came to class very shy. She brings two friends. They used to look at the floor when they talked to me. Now they wait in line for me to hug them. Little me. They now wear makeup and flowers in their hair. Anyway, this group did interactive games practicing colors and words and gave out balloons and candy. Their methods are genius and they had the students thinking outside the box in their games. I loved watching them think hard and problem solve together. They are only here for a day and it reminds me, once again, of the need to have teams come to do small workshops with our students.

Meanwhile we have two small businesses we may be starting very soon that both involve a lot of work. We will also be involved with the Alpha course that begins next Saturday. Our students are out of school next week so we are meeting only in the mornings, but they are all showing up and the morning sessions have been really good. We are getting to know them more and more and feeling like we finally have relationship with many of them.

Last week we got a new student. He has to be older than me but here it is so hard to tell. He speaks English very well, has a very deep voice and talk loud. He doesn’t look you in the eyes when he talks to you. I can tell he is very smart. He is quick to answer questions and answers them correctly. Last week I ran into him on his way to go study Hebrew with a mission school student who is teaching a short course in the afternoons. He looked familiar to me but I didn’t know how until Rodrigo told me his story.

My neighbor Ruth has a street ministry here. It is a small barraca mixed in with all the other bamboo bars. By bars I mean drinking bars. I have told you about them before. They are little bamboo huts that have one light bulb and serve warm beer and gin. They play loud music. Ruth set it up to sell cooked goat and cold Cokes at a cheap price and invite the prostitutes in to sit. Yes, prostitutes. Young girls who walk the streets on the weekends and sale themselves. Now she invites them in for chocolate and to have their feet washed and nails painted. It is a beautiful thing to see. The girls know it is a safe space and love the attention and safe, pure affection. They are so young. I went to the opening of this for a cold Coke and to support Ruth. I also knew I needed to see the reality of where I am living. I have been back a few times. So I vaguely remember this man arguing and debating Rodrigo and his friend in the dark in front of the barraca. He was intoxicated. He was arguing emphatically and out of his mind and making no sense. He was clearly deranged and tormented. He had multiple personalities. They prayed for him. Now he is calm and coherent and in my class. He apparently used to be a translator for Iris. He translated in class the other day when Rodrigo stepped out. He used to travel with Heidi on outreach and pray for the deaf and the blind and saw them healed by Jesus. He wanted more power himself and went to the witch doctor to ask for it. The result was what we had seen that night out in front of the darkness of the barraca. The darkness has left him and he is a different man.

I don’t even know how to process this. I lost myself at “demonized” in the retelling of his testimony. Everything here is spiritual. The unseen is more real than what is seen. What is seen is temporary, what is unseen is forever. I never knew this would be my reality. Every day I take something from this culture that changes me. Every day is a new lesson in one thing or another, deep spiritual things, awakenings to social concerns, how to survive. I can only hope I am giving back a portion of all that I am learning. I am being changed.

It is becoming more and more like home here. I used to think of home every 5-10 minutes. I woke up thinking of home. The minute my eyes opened I would awaken surprised not to be in my big bed in my little house on Newnan Street. I would lament as I cooked breakfast, bathed, dressed as I recalled how everything had changed and I missed the familiarity and conveniences of home. I still miss many of them but they no longer consume my thoughts. This is becoming home and my way of life. I no longer feel like I am at camp or on a very long vacation or living someone else’s life. I have big moments of realization that this is my home. The other day as I sat on the porch at the home of a friend and the sun started to set, that moment came rushing in and surrounded me. I didn’t feel so foreign. It felt normal to sit and talk with my neighbor and peek over at the Indian Ocean. Normal to gather my bag and keys and start up the scooter and follow the pot hole filled road along the sea to my little house. Normal to use my flashlight to check for snakes. Normal to take the laundry off the line and come inside and bleach my vegetables. Normal to boil water for a bucket bath. Normal to mutter broken Portuguese to Veronica and ask her about her day. Normal to understand a little more than half of what she said. Normal to walk down to the barraca to buy eggs. Normal to look under my pillow and under the covers before crawling into bed.

Of course I miss my family and friends. I miss you deeply. I have told you before how I really mourned leaving many of you. I sobbed my guts out for months before coming here. I felt like I spent entire weeks of constantly crying over my nieces and nephews, family and closest friends. With Catherine, Gracie, Carson and Nathaniel, I involuntarily dedicated solid weeks to individually poring over pictures of their beautiful faces and crying over the pain of leaving them. A day never goes by without them being in my thoughts. But I don’t cry anymore over missing Target and Publix and J.Crew and an endless list of restaurants. I guess I am finally growing up a little and coming into my own.

I find that I am rarely alone and struggle to find solitude and peace and quiet. Yet, it is lonely. I would not trade this life for any other. There are a lot of unknowns. Every day is different and everything is constantly changing. I like it this way. After ten years of fairly the exact same routine, I welcome the variety. Of course with the variety comes uncertainty. But not fear. Looking at these words, “uncertain” and “lonely”, they don’t sound very good, but they are. The uncertainty is wonderful because it keeps me from limiting myself. And the loneliness is only for a season and just draws me closer to God. It is needed and welcomed as I am growing in the process.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


It is Sunday and I am sitting in the dark. All my electronics have dead batteries except the laptop and I only have an hour or so left on it. I knew we would most likely not have power and I knew I needed to plug everything in but sheer exhaustion prevented me from getting up out of bed last night to do so. We have been hosting an Alpha Conference for the past few days. The early mornings, long days and week or so of preparation have wiped me out.
Maggie Courtney-Hedrich told me about Alpha course over breakfast one morning. She pulled Nicky Gumbel’s book from the shelf and told me all about it. She told me about the impact the course had had on her life and about her church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton. I had met her friend Jessica who strongly suggested I visit The Warehouse in Cape Town, SA. Jess came to Atlanta for a wedding and the three of us spent an unforgettable weekend together in the Fall of 2010. Our conversations often went back to Alpha, HTB, Christ Church in London and in Cape Town. They had mutual friends they wanted me to meet and had connections in Africa who they knew could help me with my vision. Just a few months after Jess told me about the warehouse during a Skype conversation at Maggie’s house, I was there. In Cape Town, at the Warehouse. It happened so quickly. It turned out that the couple I have been working alongside here at Iris, also know about The Warehouse and the two connections gave me a little favor and they took me in and showed me around. While at Iris, I also met another couple who have close friends with The Warehouse as well, so the connections were endless. The Warehouse is a ministry in Cape Town who work with the poor in areas of development and plug in the church community to help do so. 
 I fell in love with Cape Town and met all sorts of amazing people, who all seemed to be loosely connected in one way or another. During all of this I was continuing to exchange emails with leaders in Iris about Alpha Course. I had been looking for a basic discipleship course that we could use to train our kids in conjunction with our hands on vocational training. Alpha is a 10 week course in Christianity 101. I wanted our kids to know who Jesus is and why He did and get their questions answered as they come to faith. About a month ago I found our that Alpha was coming here to Iris. They were sending a team of leaders from Cape Town to come and do a three day course on how to teach Alpha to our Mozambican leaders. I offered to help. I knew it to be a life-changing course and wanted to be involved. 

I offered our building as that seemed to be the biggest need and it, of course, is not even my building in the first place. It didn’t know that I would not be simply turning over my set of keys. I am learning. Our kids essentially were granted the opportunity to host the event. With Alpha leaders coming from Brazil and South AFrica, and all of our leaders gathering, we could not simply open the doors. We had no chairs, no food, no cups, no plates, no nothing. All last week we changed all of this after 3 days of shopping. Everything here closes during the most productive hours of the day and there are only so many stores. We had to pay exorbitant prices for cups and plates of cheap quality. We were given a budget which means a big paper thin envelop with a huge wad of cash in it. We rode up and down pot hole filled streets in a flat bed truck with a baby in a car seat! We jumped out at every stop and designated someone to sit with the baby and someone to go inside and get what was needed. 75 of everything. There were no “selections” or real ability to shop around and price items. You have to just get what you see and hope they have enough. But it still resulted in a dozen different stops and shops. Here is the only time and place that I abhor shopping. Shopping is usually therapeutic and recreational, not here. It is hard work. It is sweaty and my hair gets tangled when I ride in the back. Nick, the British missionary with the baby in the car seat and friends at The Warehouse, did most of the work. But I still had to be there and it made me miss IKEA. We could have knocked it out in an hour and spent a fourth of our budget. We could have been at Starbuck’s having latte’s...
I decided our students needed uniforms. I had bought a few pieces of caplana fabric a week or so ago and just pulled from that and had our students measured. I was so proud of myself for taking it to the Natete market on the scooter and negotiating with a “tailor” in the heart of a very typical African village market. His “shop” is simply a treadle sewing machine outside a mud hut. I gave him the fabric and measurements and went round and round and round in Portuguese. I drew the design of the tunics I wanted and gave him the measurements. I was crushed but not one bit surprised to collect them a few days later to discover he didn’t add any centimeters to the measurements, but did them exactly according the sizes of each child. “You Nincompoop”, I wanted to say. But I am a good missionary so I just rolled my eyes from underneath my motorcycle helmet the whole way home and thought long and hard about what I was going to do. I took the tiny shirts to the kids and we laughed hysterically when I made them all try them on anyway. All of a sudden I just knew what to do. I gave the girls the largest of the boys shirts and took the tiny short waisted shirts up to Julia in the mission school compound and left word for her to make me seven bow ties, stat. Miraculously, my sweet little boys who only own a few articles of clothing all promised me they had white dress shirts. They showed up the next morning ready for the job and Julia pinned capalana bow ties on them as they beamed. Every student jumped to attention and performed with excellence. They served tea and coffee and made bread rolls with peanut butter and jam and made long treks to the kitchen and back. They served up plates for lunch and washed and rewashed and washed again all the dishes. They carried crates of sodas back and forth and served our 80 plus guests, breakfast, snacks and lunch. They arrived at 6am and stayed until 4pm and they did this without pay for three days. I could not be more proud of them. 
After the first day, I arrived to give them their morning pep talk and told them about the difference between obeying and serving. A slave obeys his master, a president serves his country. They are all princes and princesses in my eyes and in God’s. I love seeing them serve, from their hearts, with a desire to please, in love. I want them to know they are royalty. I want to serve them with the same diligence I saw them serve with this weekend. I am so incredibly proud of them. 
And it turns out that I knew a few of the Alpha leaders from Cape Town and quickly made friends with the others. It was fun to make new friends. We decided that we must run a complete Alpha course with our newly trained leaders and that will start next weekend. And I will be involved. Our kids will have another opportunity to be involved too, no longer as servers but participants and I am excited about this opportunity for them to get to sit under our local leadership and learn. 
I am still waiting to hear back from the hotel about our internships and will go and check in with him this week. We have a visitor here who has come to help us create a video of our school to share the vision globally! Also, a member of the Alpha team is putting me in touch with a local investor who is very interested in our vocational program and is in need of workers and property managers. We may soon be getting a proper loo in our school and I won’t have to use the latrines any more! And as far as I know the gift shop is still planning to be built in the near future. 

I send my passport to the Embassy this week. Pray for favor there. All is well here. The weather remains stunning and I don’t feel too sorry for those in the heat wave in the States. I experienced severe heat from October until March with little to no air-conditioning and lots of discomforts in between. I am so happy to be here instead. But as always I just wish you were here!

Friday, July 6, 2012


We finally had our first real experience serving. It has felt like the old days of working two jobs and eating standing up. This whole week deserves a proper blog and I only have 27 minutes of internet left and that is not near enough time to read the news, check email and write. But wanted to post the pictures of our handsome boys. The tailor royally messed up the uniforms, so at the very last minute, I decided bow ties were much better. They were a big hit. I am so incredibly proud of our students. They are simply amazing and it is daily an honor to get to know them and serve. More soon!