Thursday, May 31, 2007

I respond to words...

Words can make or break my day. Gary Chapman wrote a book a long time ago about Love Languages. Basically, an attempt to help people communicate love to each other more effectively. For me, I am a Words of Affirmation girl all the way. So much so that one word of praise can keep me going...but...I am learning that the opposite...a lack of words...or even worse...worse of disapproval bring me crashing down.

Perhaps this is why the arrows of words can pierce me so deeply. When I hear the words "you can't really do that." or "you must be crazy" or "you don't have what it takes" they pierce straight to my heart, and often times, immobilize me, even if just for a second.

PRAISE GOD for his Word. And how in His Word he manages to affirm and lift us up. Yes He corrects in His word, but most often it seems like His Word builds me up, encourages me to be who He made me to be. I don't know what I would do without His words.

Rumblings

annie's back. ugh.

Pam the trendsetter.


I think once this gets out, girls will be wearing gumboots to their Prom!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Some flaming arrow solutions:

Let's have some interactive fun on the blog today and play a game! I have had many emails and comments about the arrows, it seems I am not the only one who has arrows flaming at her! So I thought, lets put the arrow squashers out there. I've started by listing a few! What are yours? Post a comment and share with readers...dont' worry... if you don't have an account or don't want people to know who is writing...you can post annonymously!

Ephesians 2:10
For you are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for you to do.

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Deuteronomy 16:15 (did I ever tell you this is one of my favorite books of the bible! is that allowed??)
For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands and your joy will be complete.

Colossians 1:13-14
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:9-10
For in Him all the fullness of diety dwells in bodily form and in Him you have been made complete and he is head over all rule and authority.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. he annointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Philippians 1:6
...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

News of note...

I occasionally force myself to get online and read the news so I am not absolutely clueless about what is going on in the world. The following article caught my attention:

Malaysia rejects Christian Appeal

Worth reading. I also suggest some prayin' too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Now showing!

The news of the town this week is the opening of the movie theater in Arusha! That's right folks, the long anticipated, long awaited...really LONG awaited, movie theater is opening!! This weekend! Literally, the movie theater has been in the works longer than I have been preparing to come here...we're talkin' years people!

So it is opening. And I have to ask. If you were the owner and your Grand Opening was this weekend...what flick would you pick?

NEVER in my wildest dreams...did I think MR BEAN II would be the starting show! No Joke! HA! Confession: I liked the first Mr Bean, but to have the second one be the opening show for the new theater??? Surely there could have been a few other choices? Regardless, it is the plan for the weekend...to go to the movies and have a kebab and see if the power stays on long enough to watch the whole movie!


I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes! Seeing as somehow I am watching this movie this weekend, although it isn't set to release until August 2007. Odd. This town always surprises me!

Flaming Arrows


Hmmm. Arrows are sharp, cause pain, and can cause significant damage. But FLAMING arrows! Now that is intense! Think about it. Flaming arrows don't just cause pain to you, but can cause pain to anything around you. Satan is smart.


Ephesians 6:16

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.


Satan is smart. God is smarter. and I am so weak without him.


This random message, is a result of my forgeting my shield of faith lately. And man have those flaming arrows been coming! Here are a few:


Pam, why in the world did you do that?

How could you forget to do that?

You can't really do this task.

You don't have what it takes to minister here.

A man could do your job better.

You really need a husband to be able to earn credibility here.

You don't really think you can transform a community do you?

You didn't go to bible college, therefore, you really don't know what you are doing.

You can't tell your teammates or supporters you have these doubts...a good missionary wouldn't have them.

You can't cut it here.

You are too picky.

You are lazy.

You failed before you will fail again?

Righteous? Like you could attain that!


WOW! WOW! WOW! How these flaming arrows take hold! You see I know they are flaming arrows, cause they are contrary to everything God has told me concerning this project, the vision and my being here! But for some reason, I forgot my shield of faith lately, and forgot those promises, and reminders of who God is and who I am. WOW. How I can so easily get derailed.


And this is what happens when the flaming arrows take root:

I start to believe them. I start to doubt myself and God. I start to mistrust my teammates. My attitude is contagious. (the flames start spreading to other potential targets.) I focus on my failures as opposed to the promises and vision laid before me over the last couple years. I stop trying to clothe myself in righteousness. I stop talking to God (cause really, i can't talk to him when I feel this way cause if I feel this way about myself I really have no right to approach him.) you see the sick twisted and sneaky way satan gets in there! UGH! It just makes me SO angry!


The answer:


Ephesians 6:11-18

Put on the FULL armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the FULL armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand yoru ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand Firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around yoru waist, with the breastplace of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness tha comes from the gospel of peace. In addtion to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can EXTINGUISH ALL THE FLAMING ARROWS of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


How great God is that he not only is our defender, but equips us to defend ourselves with His power and Spirit.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Mud and Cheetos

So what is mud made of anyhow? Dirt and water?

Lets see. In Unga, there isn't a santation system. So, probably there is more than just dirt. Probably raw sewage, trash of course, cow waste, food waste...really any kind of waste you can think of. These are the things I had to keep reminding myself as I wore my green gum boots and made a terrible fashion statement. I know, interested readers want pictures of these shortcomings...but the camera isn't here yet...but it should be tuesday night!!!!! I can't tell you how excited I am!


Prayer walking is getting more exciting by the experience. Today I think people thought we were the craziest white girls in town as we walked down their passageways. It was cold, misty, seemed as if it could pour anytime, none of them were out unless they had to be!

We stopped and talked to several people on the way and when they asked what we were doing they looked at us funny when we informed them we were walking, visiting and praying. On a wrong turn we somehow ended up at a school that we had never seen before, actually about 100 yards from a school and out of nowhere about 25 kids pounced on us. We talked for a bit and they begged us to come to their class, but I could see the displeasure on their teachers face, we apologized, said we had to go but promised to come back in the future. I am becoming more and more familiar with the area and the ladies who sell stuff are starting to recognize us and share more about their lives. Maybe this is why we needed to wait, we needed to know more of them and they needed to know more of us!



After praying and walking through waste-mud this morning I went to town with Tami. Their car was broken down so we ran errands together. We went to one of our favorite little grocery stores (it is the size of a normal quick stop at a gas station in the US.) and we scored! Folks, these people must know Americans like their food. Somehow they managed to get cake mix, the real kind, like Betty Crocker Yellow cake mix!!! And brownie mix, and pancake mix...and...yep, you guessed it...Cheetos!



As a missionary you learn to hoard. You never know when you will see a yellow cake mix on a shelf again, or chocolate or lemon for that matter...so yes, a shelf in my pantry is now dedicated to cake mixes! It will come in useful for the parties! And yes, I did buy a bag of Cheetos Puffs and yes I did open them the instant I got home and yes I did do a dance in my kitchen and praise God when they weren't stale! (we sometimes find things like doritos and pringles are a common find, but they are alway stale!)



So, yes again, my blog entry is about mud and food. I really should spice up my life a bit!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gum Boots and more waiting.

Today Katie and I continued our prayer walking in Unga. We are at a standstill with CHE. The pastor I met with a few weeks ago (yes, when I had that really strong gut feeling that was SO off!) asked that we wait until another missionary working in the area returns before we go forward. He wants to make sure CHE won't interfere with anything already being done. So we wait. (I am not good at waiting :) ) They return in July. So until then Katie and Iwill continue praying and walking and getting to know Unga better.

Today we did. And I learned a lesson, and if I had a camera I would have taken pictures of my lesson learning experience to post here. But I don't. It comes next week though! Beware, there might be an outpouring of pictures in the coming weeks!

I learned that gum boots are essential. I have never worn a pair until today. I should have invested in them sooner. You see, it rained in Unga last night. So the road was a mess. And to be honest, I know I was walking through more than just mud, in my flipflops. What a fool I am. But I just can't bring myself to wear tennis shoes and a skirt...I just CAN'T do it! So we walked and prayed and laughed at the mud on our feet, and tried not to think about what else is on our feet and we realize, everyone else around us, is smart they are wearing gum boots. So guess what I did after our prayer walk...I went to the market and for $6 got a pair of gum boots. I had hoped to find something crazy and cool like the blue pair pictured, but mine are rather plain. They only come in two colors (I was really hoping for red or orange) but got green. Now I just need to get over wearing gum boots and a skirt. When did I start caring so much about fashion?

Wait.

It isn't my favorite word. Wait. I am a child from the generation of immediate gratification. I hate to wait. Ask any of my friends. There are some things I have waited a LONG time for, a husband and family for example, and I say to them once in a while..."why do I have to WAIT?"

This morning I got an offer that has had me thinking all day. No it wasn't a marriage proposal, although Katie got one when were in Unga this morning, but that is another blog entry! Someone offered to buy me a ticket home to visit family for a few weeks!

At first I hesitated. Knowing that 95% of missionaries who come home in the first 2 years don't stay on the field I thought I might be setting myself up for disaster. Then I switched gears and thought of everything I could do! Here's a few:

I could drive on smooth roads!
I could have a real milkshake (like and Arby's chocolate shake...might as well throw in the curly fries as well!)
I could give my mom a hug.
I could see my dad and hang with him for a bit.
I wouldn't be able to see my brother, he leaves to head to Iraq at the end of the week, but maybe I could see his wife!
I could spend time with grandma. I miss grandma.
If I could get there by Labor Day weekend we could invite all the family from Michigan down for a family reunion of sorts and I could see EVERYONE!
I could see all of you!
I could go to Oregon for a weekend and visit everyone there.
I could go to North Carolina and visit everyone there.
I could go to my church and worship with everyone.
I could go shopping, I have already made a mental shopping list:
  • taco seasoning (I have one packet left)
  • ziplock bags (used the last one yesterday)
  • heath bars (a nice addition to any brownie recipe)
  • clothes that fit (losing weight presents a challenge in Africa)
  • galoshes. (read the post on my walk in Unga for more explaination.)
  • towels (I miss big fluffy towels)
  • socks (I hardly wear them, but in the cold months they are nice to have around)
  • shoes (I stocked up on flip flops before coming, failing to bring dress shoes for cold)
  • books (there are so many I haven't read yet)
  • dvds (need I say more)
  • tupperware (there never seems to be enough. especially now with the rat.)

The list goes on. and on. and on. and I seem to be able to add to it by the minute. STOP the madness!

I then thought of how fun it would be to sit on the porch and have a chat with mom. To get beans, rice and tortillas at La Hacienda with Lisa, to get Cheer King Chinese with Rachel and her soon to be husband. It is odd to me that most of this post revolves around food. To take a walk with grandma. To go to the beach with dad.

I also thought of freedom. How nice it would be to look out a window and not see bars. How nice it would be to take a walk and not have everyone staring at you as if you are some weird freak.

I thought of peace. In the US we have managed to co-exist and live among each other without always being in each others business...rather, you can do whatever you want in your lawn, within reason, and the whole neighborhood isn't watching you. I can't leave my gate without kids gathering to check out the white girl.

I thought of smooth roads. Sitting in traffic on 465 didn't seem to bad.

I thought of hiking. How fun would it be to go to Golden, see Aunt Gayle, Uncle Lyle, Darcy, Chris and the kids, and maybe go hiking in those great Rocky Mountains. Lets not forget the Columbia River Gorge or Eagle Creek park.

Literally. The list of things I could do, people I could see, and food I could eat and things I could replenish.

But then my heart changed. A voice kept speaking to me throughout this entire talk between God and I today. It kept saying wait. As I thought of all the fun things I could do, there were things here that would need to be done. There are things in me that need to be taken care of. I am not ready to come home yet. There is that statistic, and the fact that I am coming home in 16 months anyhow. Wait pam. Wait. Save the list Pam. Instead of using it for September 2007. Save it for September 2008. I don't like waiting. But I trust that God knows what he is doing when he says wait.

Think of all the things I can do here in the waiting process!

Minister to the Poor. Give widows hope. Love the orphans. Teach the community about Life. Teach them about the Living Water.

I could grow some more. I can learn more about myself. I could more about cooking from scratch so I wouldn't be dependent on seasonings from the US. I could continue to grow more comfortable and familiar with this place that I am realizing is gonna be my home for more than four years. I can learn more about the great Love of God. I could learn more about how He sings over me. I could sit at His feet. I could learn more about trusting and about being in the purest place...His place...the Best place for me to be. Wait Pam. Wait with Me Pam.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Vocabulary

I was thinking today, that you can tell alot about a persons week when you look at the new vocabulary they have learned:

banduki: gun
mawe: large rocks
mawe madogo: small rocks
udongo: mud
mchanga: sand
cementi: cement (I admit, that was cheating, but I got it right the first time!)
panya: rat
ufunkika: lid
sumu: poison
balozi: cell leader of 10 (in my case, my representative in my community)
shanga: surprise
kasirika: anger
maono: vision
ukahaba: prostitution
yatima: orphan
mashumari: candles
upweke: alone
ndoa za mikataba: divorce
mvumulivu: patience
kuvumalivu: to be patient
mwongo: liar
garden of eden: bustani ya eden

Thats just a few. gives light into the last few weeks. Yep I have rats. Yep I am getting myself into a construction project and yep, I have spent some time in the slum. All in all a good week.

He made my day.


Sometimes there are things that happen in a day that bring you so much joy you fight the tears. I just had about 25 minutes of such joy. My big brother called me and made my day!

I was thrilled to hear his "hey kiddo, how's it going?" and to just talk about life and all those everyday things that get lost in the shuffle.

Thanks Matt. For making my day! I love you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Scarecrows and clarification

Stefano is working again tonight, and as I was going through the hassle of unlocking the door he was rehashing the chaos of the other night and was telling me how he was ready tonight. He said, tonight there are four of me. I of course didn't use my poker face to conceal the confusion so he elaborated.

He took the chairs that were sitting on my front porch, and brought extra clothes with him tonight. He put the chairs on each side of the house. And put a scarecrow in each one! He cracks me up! Anyhow, the scarecrows may or may not work, if anything they are keeping the dogs entertained as they are quite confused!

Which leads to further clarification. The other night was a RARE thing. Some were concerned about my safety, but honestly, I have lived here over a year and it was the first time I felt nervous concerning safety in my own home. The bars are just typical, the guards are mostly to keep people out who may just want to do petty theft or such, and a creative ploy to provide jobs. So, for those who are worried, don't, just make it a habit to pray for the safety of anyone working in a foreign country!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Behind Bars


Isaiah 58:8 The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

I once knew a missionary who said, some things are best unshared with supporters, and I once met another, who said, be real, be honest, share it all!

I think i tend to align myself with the latter.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my living situation. I am used to living in a house, on a street, without a fence, without the need for security (aside for a few months when at Rachel's place in Indy.) Here I sometimes get tired of the 8 foot privacy fence that surrounds my yard, that I have guards on my property 24-7, that in addition to a fence, and a huge iron gate and padlocks and guards, and bars on my windows I am still vulnerable enough that I pay $90 a month for a security button in my house so that in an emergency I can call for help. I sometimes equate my lovely home to a prison, cause really, when you are constantly locking and dealing with bars, it starts to feel that way. This morning i jokingly said to Katie (who is spending the weekend with me) that I really look forward to going to America and not having a handful of keys to lock the front door. My current key chain has 4 keys for the front door alone. CRAZY!

But, as frustating as this is, it all came in handy this weekend. I arrived home from Nairobi Kenya friday night after a very long and obnoxious bus ride (it was 1 1/2 hours longer than it should have been!) and Katie and I were eating dinner on the couch when it started. We heard a "pop" "pop" "pop"and I looked at Katie and she looked at me in shock. I said, "was that a gun? " she said, "i think so." So I pick up the phone and called the guard on duty, he tells me in swahili, "don't worry Pamela, I have killed a leapord before, I will protect you." I said, "Stefano, that's great and all ,but where are the shots coming from?" Outside the fence. That's what I thought. Then a few more. In all Katie and I decided there were easily 10 shots in that 3 minutes, most likely more like 15.

But this is where the system worked. The guard did his job. I pushed the security button and the security company showed up in record time, less than 3 minutes after I pushed the button. I spoke with the guys and they reassured me that the guy was not shooting at my house, but that they found out on their way up the hill that there was a domestic dispute in the village on my road and that the man was just running around shooting a gun in the air. (that didn't really make me feel any safer...) but they also reassured me that they were patroling the entire area and that they would get him.

Tedi had made some chocolate chip cookies, and I thought, it would be in my best interest to make friends with these guys, so I gave them a few on their way out of the gate, and thought to myself, "for once, things happened as they should." And I was thankful, that God kept Katie and I safe, and took care of the situation. The reality is, that it isn't the fence, the guards, the gates, the locks, the metal bars or the security button that keep us safe, but it is really the Creator of the Universe, the one who passionately loves each of us, that keeps me safe here.

So, let this be a reminder, that the safest place for each of us, is where God has us. Let's also use this as a reminder to pray for the people living in Arusha, both the Tanzanians and us foreigners, for our safety, and our protection, as even though there isn't a physical war out there, there is a spiritual one, and the enemy doesn't like losing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I think we look alike!


A few months back I wrote about meeting Pamela. Well, here she is, my little sister Pamela. Here she is, in all her beauty, with me and her parents Asifiwe and Lorivi!

A conversation with Sayori

Sayori is one of my guards. That sounds weird, but I have them none the less. He works on the weekends.

Anyhow, I was outside loving on the dogs trying to teach them yet again the benefits of sitting, not jumping, and not biting (they get a treat, that is a pretty good benefit I figure, and I am much more appreciative of them that way too! another benefit.) Back to the conversation:

Sayori: Mama Pamela, how was your day? (notice the "mama")
Me: Great. How was yours?
Sayori: Good.
Me: How is your family?
Sayori: Good. Everyone is well.
Me: How was your week?
Sayori: Good.

(brief explaination...you must chew the cud, shoot the breeze etc before you get anywhere in the conversation...as for the phrase "mama" no I do not have children, but you typically greet someone with either mama or dada. Mama gives great respect and really should only be used when I have kids, I assumed up until this conversation that Sayori had been using it to be respectful.)

Sayori: Mama Pamela (notice the mama again.) how are your kids?
Me: Come again? (I thought I had mistranslated)
Sayori: How are your kids? How many do you have?
Me: Sayori, I don't have any kids. I am waiting for God to bring me a husband first.
Sayori: Dada, you don't have kids? (with an expression of extreme shock!) But you are not young, you should have kids. And I think I can find you a husband, do you want me to bring you one?
Me: Oh thank you Sayori, but I think my mom will be happier if I marry someone from America.
Sayori: Why? Doesn't she like Africans?
Me: Well she loves Africans, it is just that if I married an African she thinks I will never come home. If I marry an American than I will surely come back to America now and then.
Sayori: Pauses for a moment... Well dada Pamela, how are you going to get a husband from America if you are living in Africa?
Me: I don't know Sayori, I don't know. God knows. We will just have to be surprised by him.
Sayori: But dada pamela, you will be old when you have children, I think you should go to America and find him and come back. You don't want to be old when you have kids.

There are SO many things that stuck out in this converation. First, I must say, this guy has worked for me for a few months, if I was married and had kids, where does he think my family is? He knows I have been here over a year..does he really think I would live here for a year and not see them??? Certainly not, I figure if I get married my husband and I will live in the same country. Apparently that wasn't odd for him to consider, it came quite naturally.

Second. Did you notice the shift from Mama to Dada (which means sister by the way)? In not having kids, I lost a status point with my worker. I am now just a lowly single old woman...which is the third point...since when is 29 too old to be single??? Since I moved to Africa, cause really, many of them are married before the average westerner graduates high school.

Four. I never realized Africans thought about age when it came to bearing children. Sure the thought has occured to me, I am not getting any younger, but he literally figured out how old I would be if my kids lived with me the expected time frame.

What fun. Life in Arusha is never boring.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Let all that is within me...

At team prayer yesterday Annelle read from Psalm 103. It is a familiar Psalm to most of us, but it caught me off guard and has kept me thinking ever since.

vs 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Ok, so I didn't get very far. But that word "ALL" is getting me. When I was in college, our psychology professors said to never use the words "all" "always" and "never" cause they were too fininte and you could never really use them truthfully. That being said my brain has been warped a little bit. I starting thinking about the All in that verse. Let ALL that is within me bless His holy name.

Sad to say, not everything within me is good (I know you are all shocked!) I get angry and frustrated and anxious and impatient. I know, I know, I know those aren't fruit of the spirit or of God's working in my life, but they are there.... So does that mean I am supposed to able to bless God with these things??? This is a far stretch but the question in my mind is, "can I bless God with my frustration? Can I bless his name with my anger? Can I bless his name when I become impatient???? Or should the question be, I need to allow the Holy Spirit to continue transforming me and stop being angry, frustrated and impatient and then ALL that is within me can really bless His name? Something to chew on.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Big Event! Pray!

So the last year, has been all about Swahili, learning the culture, doing my on field training coursework, preparing to implement a project and adjusting to life here. It has all been to work up to starting a new Urban CHE program in Arusha, and eventually others in Northern Tanzania...

Well, according to Tanzanians, I have become Mswahili (basically as Tanzanian as I can get, they won't tell me I am Tanzanian, but since I am speaking swahili I am pretty close.) One of them told me I didn't need to study anymore (no worries, I am VERY well aware that there is A LOT more to learn!) I have learned a lot about culture, of course I learn more each day, I finished my course work, and have been researching and praying about Unga Limited (a slum of Arusha).

In that research we have met many people, pastors, government officials, key leaders in the community etc. We have submitted surveys, walked and prayed, and so much more. All in hopes that we would one day start a CHE program here.

Sidenote: An important aspect of CHE is that the community initiates its implementation. ie. I tell them all about it and hope they come back to us and say they want to use it as a tool to change their lives and the lives of those in their community. So in honesty, we have done a lot of work in hopes that one day it would be returned by a Tanzanian from Unga coming to us and saying,"My friends and I want to do CHE, what do we do next?"

This past week I think we reached a new point of relationship. A pastor and his wife asked for more info. We met and described our relationship with other ministries and what CMF does here. I saw them at church on sunday and they asked us to come back saturday (tomorrow) for more. I have a feeling, a very strong gut feeling I might say, and usually my gut is pretty good at these things, that they plan to ask us to help them do CHE in their community!!!! (This is where the whole crowd roars, sings praises, rejoices, and then falls on their knees in prayer for this program, for this project and the people in Unga!)

Meeting is set for 1o AM my time tomorrow!

A chiller.

As I write this, I am wearing fleece pants (thanks dad), fleece shirt, fuzzy socks, slippers, and except when typing I have my hands wrapped around a cup of hot water (the brittish have had an effect) which conveniently also steams up to warm my cold nose. I am FREEZING! I thought I would take a pic and post it for you, but I can't for obvious reasons. Thankfully a new camera should arrive with a team at the end of the month. I digress...

So I was curious, how cold is it really, so I went to the kitchen to check my little window thermometer. Drum roll... it stated the current temperature is 16.7 degrees...Celsius! (about 62 degrees Fahrenheit!) Yikes. Apparently I have acclimated in more than one way!

Which leads to concern. When I return for a short furlough in September 2008, I am going to freeze! How in the world will I endure Indiana, Michigan or Oregon if I can't endure a day that is 62 degrees in Tanzania! Don't worry I haven't forgotten about those of you in North Carolina or Florida (I just figure I can handle your weather!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Songs.

Today I was attempting to play guitar with one I borrowed until mine gets here. Attempting is an accurate word, Iam so rusty. Anyhow, a song that I was trying to play is screaming my hearts intent these days. Thanks Jared Anderson for putting into words the desires of my heart.

Ready Now
Come like you promised you would
I want to surrender for good
I know that I need you
and I don't
want to keep living life alone.

So take my heart
and make it new
and make it true
and make it like you
Take my hands
I life them high
they're yours not mine to do
Do what you will. Do what you will. Do what you will.

I feel like a blind man in your sight
I know that I'm wicked in your eyes
so wash me and make me shine like your Son
I want to tell everyone that You're the only one.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Camera Sadness

We (the team and I) have come to the conclusion that my camera has been stolen, most likely in the move. Why you ask?

Cause I know exactly where it was the day of the move, and everything that was with it has been located, except the camera itself. All boxes, baskets, bags have been unpacked and no camera. Also I have an obsessive memory and can remember the exact placement of the camera in the basket with other items I am certain it was with. Since all other items were in their place as I remember them and the camera isn't I assume it walked away. So sad. Cameras are important. I like to take pictures and I like to share them with you.

Thankfully I have some moolah saved, and a team is coming in a few weeks and can bring it to me. So, don't worry, more pictures soon. I think the hardest part is knowing that someone would take it. Vulnerability. It stinks.

In the muck...

Tonight I arrived home, with my feet covered with muck after an afternoon walking and praying in Unga Limited. We have been doing this for several weeks as part of our spiritual mapping. Walking and talking and praying through the neighborhood helps us to see, experience and learn about what is present in the neighborhood.

In recent weeks we have been noticing many hardships in Unga. We have seen women who are begging on the pathways, children playing in the dirt barely clothed and showing signs of starvation, alcoholism, evidence of drug use, and "movie huts" aka "pornography rooms."

Todays prayerwalk had a new twist. After hours of pouring rain last night the streets in Unga were, well anything but streets. They were muddy and messy. As I walked through, my flipflops got stuck in the muck, and I got grossed out as I started to think what the muck could potentially be made of...grossed out enough to not want to walk any further, but due to necessity we kept walking. As I walked, I starting thinking about how "muck" keeps us from moving forward. Whether it is physical muck like that in the streets of Unga or figurative muck like our pasts.

Today I learned more about that muck. In asking our guide about the neighborhood we talked about the muck in their lives. We talked about how there is an abundance of orphans and widows and how many of them are so due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We talked about generation upon generation being stuck in alcoholism, and about poor education and so much more. No wonder these people are stuck. All they see is muck around them. In the literal muck I had hard enough time putting one foot in front of another for fear of stepping in things better left unsaid or fear of slipping and falling, but I kept moving, out of necessity and because I knew it would get better.

We have a necessity, to show the residents of Unga, that it can be better. That the God who loves us loves them the same, and that he is a God who not only loves, but gets us out of the muck. Look at what His word has to say about His miracles and the muck...amazing how it relates to the poor...

Psalm 40
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods. [a]
5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced [b] , [c] ;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.
7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll. [d]
8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."
9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.
14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"
17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Violence

It is never a good thing. Especially when it is in your stomach/intestinal area. Lets just suffice it to say that I think Annie might be back...or maybe a new one...who knows...do we ever really know????

violently yours,
Pam

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Its been decided.

We have been living in Africa too long.

A few weeks ago, some of the girls spent the night and I made pancakes for breakfast. I also made syrup (we don't buy it buy the bottle here, instead we make it from scratch.) Anyhow, in the 4-5 minutes the syrup was cooling, it somehow became infested with ants, although we didn't notice until the 3rd person had finished pouring the syrup on her pancakes. So what did we do? Well, we ate the pancakes with the syrup of course!

Tonight, Katie and I made some rice to go along with our dinner. After it boiled I looked at it and said, "Katie, there are bugs on the top of the rice!" We both laughed and recalled how at the old place I had an infestation of bugs because I didn't freeze my flour when i brought it home. Anyhow, these bugs were quite similar so we assumed that when Tedi cleaned the cabinet she didn't throw out the rice as I had asked her to. So what did we do...we scraped off the top and ate the rice...and probably a few bugs as well by default.

So there are two ways to look at this. The first, we could assume that being in Africa for this long has taught us that bugs won't kill you and they really have no flavor at all so you might as well just eat what is in front of you. Or the second, and probably more likely deduction, we are lazy, and don't want to go through the hassle of making things a second time, especially when you still might have some bugs when it is all said and done.

Happy bug eating!

The Armor Bearer

So this morning I was reading and I started thinking about the armor bearer. It is amazing to me how they give up their life for the one they serve. How they lay down everything and follow their every command...to the point of death.

Somehow, in my random thinking I started to consider the passage in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God. And I must say, I am puzzled and challenged by the idea that perhaps, my job is to put on the armor of God on a daily basis...to the extent that the armor bearer did...to the point of death. Now now, I must say, rather admit, that this is just Pam's random thinking. But I personally feel the challenge to:

wear truth, strive for righteousness, bring peace, carry faith, and live salvation to the point of death. Kinda weird. Kinda scary. something to think about.

Friday, May 04, 2007

DYN-A-MITE!

Yes. It was a dynamite evening around here...a napoleon dynamite evening that is! Sometimes life in Arusha can get a little boring, and we have to get a little creative to spice it up a bit. So, we had a Napoleon Dynomite Party/Surprise Birthday party for Katie.

Preparations started around noon, as everything has to be made from scratch. A Reese's Peanut butter cake for Katie...and it was GOOD! I got lucky as it was a new recipe for me and it turned out good the first time! Made a pot of Chili, some tortilla chips and quesadillas as well!

Of course, everyone was required to dress the part in the best 80's gear they could find, girls put on way too much make-up and there were shades of blue/purple eyeshadow that I didn't even know existed! Side ponytails, rolled up pants, cut off sweatshirts... all were present as were the big earrings and bangel bracelets! What a riot!

Tons of fun, tons of laughs, all in all a pretty good night. Except I realized I couldn't find my camera and I haven't seen it since I moved in, which leads me to believe that I must have a box or a bag somewhere that still needs unpacking...ugh.

Someone else did take some pictures...i will have to post them at a later date!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On Silence.

No worries, I am still alive. And I am doing rather well. Many have emailed asking for an update, wondering what is going on, and wondering why I haven't updated the blog in over two weeks...so unlike me...the only excuse for my silence, is my desperate need for it lately.

No offense folks, I think I am in a new phase of adjusting to life here, and fighting the battle of letting the "busyness" of everything get in the way of my hanging with God and getting the necessary alone and quiet time for this introverted gal.

Its been a busy few weeks. April was a blur.

It started in Tanzania. Then I was in Nairobi for 4 days. Then I was in Mombassa for 7 days for a spiritual retreat with my team and our annual team meeting. I returned to a house that needed packing, moved a week later, and then four days after moving returned to Kenya to say goodbye to Amy as she headed back to Indianapolis. Helen came back with me and we had a blast of a weekend. In actuality, I spent more days in Kenya than in Tanzania this month. I don't have any other road trips planned...oh wait, there is one more in May...but the infrequency of travel plans is exciting me.

The move went wonderfully. Of course there were a few bumps in the road. A leak in the brand new roof...honestly...i haven't lived in a house where there wasn't a leak in the roof... a power surge that caused sparkes and scorched the tree outside, thankfully it had been raining so the tree and the house didn't burn down...but I still can't seem to get the electric company to come and take care of it. They said they would come today, and that is what they said yesterday...and the day before... maybe tomorrow! Since that spark, the hot water heater now trips the breaker...so I am boiling water for baths, and can proudly say I have mastered the recipe for a decently warm bath. 5 gallons of boiling water poured into a tub filled with about 2 inches of cold water works great...just in case you ever need to know.

But all in all, I don't regret the move one bit. This house has so many blessings, it is nearer to the main road (everyone who has driven up my road breathes a sigh of relief), it has more space and my room allows space so that when I have roomies I can get away and not feel like the walls are caving in. The landlord took effort to plan flower gardens in the yard...I know...most of you might wonder why that is important, but I love flowers, and to sit on the porch and enjoy the yard is quiet restful! The kitchen is larger which is great for my cooking craze. I actually have a counter top in this one so I can actually prepare a few things at the same time! And...the washing machine is in the house...not across the yard...but I really should just be thankful for a washing machine...

After all this chaos, it is no wonder why I need this time alone. It has been a bit nuts for the last several months. I will be honest enough to say that my relationship with God suffered because of all my travels and moves and chaos. I feel like this month of living alone will be good for me. (interns arrive June 6 or 7) I can get back into my routine, I am starved of a routine in my life. Lack of routine leads to lack of time with God. Lack of time with God leads to a lot of other things lacking in my life.

Thanks God for a time of rest.

Oh the fingertips!

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on playing air guitar, and I must say, that I am floored by the generosity of the body of Christ.

About a week ago Peter Russell offered me the use of his guitar while he was on furlough until July/August. Honestly it was hard to take, as I know it means a lot to him and well, accidents happen in this country and I wasn't sure if I could take the risk. In a father/big brother way he challenged me to accept this offer, and play my heart out. So I brought the guitar home, changed the strings and nearly wept when I plucked those strings....not because of the sheer joy of the strumming...but because it was a realization of how much you can forget in 6 years! It is like I am starting all over again...

Also about a week ago I got an email from a supporter who I am pretty sure would like to remain nameless. Anyhow, she had read my blog and emailed me to say that she and her husband, who is also a guitar player, had decided they were gonna buy me a guitar (WOW!) and send it in June with the interns...if I would accept. WOW. Again WOW! I literally stared at the screen for a bit, not knowing how to respond, to receive such a gift, I was incredibly humbled. I accepted the offer, and come the first week of June, I should be able to set aside Peter's guitar in a safe place awaiting his arrival and strum my own.

Which leads to the finger tips, those who play, know what I am talking about, they are sore, they are out of shape, and it is so worth it. Even though I am incredibly rusty, and the strum pattern is off, and the fingers don't move as quickly along the neck, my heart is still somehow able to enter into a place of worship as I play and replay and relearn those old worship songs. Praise God that he meets me there regardless of the sound.

And, for those of you wondering... I have not given up my air guitar routine!