Saturday, September 29, 2007

Not so random thoughts.

God grieved.
Jesus grieved.
Jesus told us we would grieve.

I find great comfort in those thoughts.

Jesus also told us, that we would find peace in Him when we encounter troubles. I do. I find great comfort in that truth as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Healing and Comforting Words

These are the passages of Scripture that have spoken to me over the last week, and I know some might consider it heresy, but below I put in italics what I felt God was saying to me through them. I believe He does speak to His children and I do believe that His Word can do wonders to restore a soul, I believe because His Word is doing wonders in mine. An insight per say...to this healing process...

1 Peter 5:6-10
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplishes by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Pam, God's hand is mighty, and God cares for you, so place yourself and all of your anxieties in His hand. Know that the devil would like to devour you, but resist him because of who you know God is, know that other people are suffering as well and as you suffer a little while, know the God of all grace who calls you His own will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.


Isaiah 58:11-12

And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a well watered garden, and like a spring whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will rise up the age old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Pam, this verse is part the passage I used to call you here, don't miss it, the Lord will continually guide you, He will satisfy your desires in the sun scorched land and will give strength to you bones. You will be like a well watered garden, and like a spring whose waters do not fail. When you are strengthened, and you become like that refreshing well watered Garden those from around you will rebuild that ancient ruins, your ruins, you will rise up the age old foundations that Christ has set within you, and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.


Isaiah 59:20-21

A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares the Lord. "As for Me, this is My covenant with then," says the Lord, "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the Lord, "from now and forever."

Pam, Your redeemer is coming, turn from sin and this will be my covenant with you, My Spirit, the Counselor, which is upon you and the words I have put in your mouth shall not depart from you, nor your children or your grandchildren, forever.


Isaiah 60:1-3

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Get up! Be Radiant! Your light has come and the glory of God has become a part of you. Know this, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the Lord, he will fill you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to the light of Jesus in you, and their leaders to the glory of Christ in you.



Isaiah 40:1-2

"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

Pam, be comforted, again be comforted, I am calling out to you, your battle has ended, your sin removed, and the Lord, he will give you double for all of your sin.


Isaiah 40:10-11

"Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him and His recompense before Him. Like a Shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm he will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

Pam, God has a mighty arm, it rules and has great might, but like a shepherd, he tends his flock, the flock that you are a part of and he will gather his lambs near to his heart, he gathers you near to his heart and he gently leads you.


Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Pam, when you are weary, God gives strength to you, when you are weak he gives you power. Though you grow weary and tired, and though men fail, if you wait upon the Lord you will gain a new strength, you will mount up with wings like eagles, you will run and not grow tired, you will walk and not become weary.


Isaiah 35:3-10

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, "take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Ara bah. The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of the jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the highway of holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; these will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Be encouraged, be strengthened. Take courage and do not fear. Your God will come with a vengeance, He will save you. The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will hear. The lame with jump and the tongue of the mute will shout with praise. The land will be made new, and there will be a new road, the road of holiness, as you travel on it, you will be safe, secure, no vicious beasts or lions will be found there. You will walk that road with joyful shouting, with everlasting joy. You will find gladness and joy, sorrow and sighing will be gone.


Psalm 84

How lovely are your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising you. How blessed is the man whose strength is in You. In whose heart are the highways to Zion! Passing through the valley of Ba ca they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength. Everyone of them appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Behold our shield, O God, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You.

How beautiful it is to dwell with the God most High. My soul has longed, yearned for you my Lord. My heart and my flesh were crushed in my seeking of you, but I will sing for joy to the living God who is good. Even the birds have found rest in you. I am blessed as I dwell in your presence as I focus my eyes upon eternity. As I pass through the valley of weeping, you make it a a valley of hope, where I can go from strength to strength. Lord you are my shield, I am your child, and I know a day with you is far better than any other thing. How blessed am I as I trust in you.


Psalm 73:23-28
Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

Lord, I know you are always near, even when I can't see you, you are holding my hand and you guide me with your counsel. Who do I have that is mightier and lovelier than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God you are my strength and portion forever. The nearness of you is my good, I have made you my refuge, that I can tell everyone of all that you do.

Jeremiah 31:3-4
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying; "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with an everlasting love; I have drawn your with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt O virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.

Pam, I have drawn you with everlasting love and kindness, I will restore you, and you will be renewed. Once again you will dance and rejoice with the joyful.



Lamentations 3:22-26

Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, I say to myself, "the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him, it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.


Pam, because of my great love for you, you will not be consumed by this, my compassions do not fail, they are new every morning, my faithfulness is great. Allow me to be your portion, wait for me. I, the Lord, am good to those whose hope is in me, to the one who seeks me, it is good to wait upon me.


Isaiah 62:1-4
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blowing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her), and your land Beulah (married) for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.


I will not be silent, I will not be quiet until your righteousness shines out like the dawn, your salvation like a blowing torch. The nations will see your righteousness and the kings your glory. You will be called by a new name that the Lord will give you, you will be a crown of splendor in His hand, a royal diadem. You will no longer be deserted or desolate, but you will be my delight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I love the slums.


So I am not working these days, but I can still manage to get into the slums.

Most people go there, but can't wait to get out. Those living there are always looking for ways to move on. People go there and become overwhelmed by the smell, the dirt, the icky stuff in the roads, the flying toilets, the despair, the poverty, the lostness and I could go on and on.

But I am strange. I love the slums. I get excited there, and I see it differently than most. When I walk through, I am energized, I am fueled and motivated by what I see around me... the possibility for radical transformation through the Gospel. I don't see the delapidated shacks, I see the beginnings of lives that are just waiting to be restored. And today, wasn't any different.

As I walked through Kibera with the group from Crosspointe yesterday morning I oddly felt at home. I have missed Unga in the last week, and no it isn't an insane symptom of a work-a-holic, rather, it is just where my heart is energized and where my passion for ministry resides. Kibera is huge, huge isn't descriptive enough of a word, and I can say, that is is overwhelming, but walking through there, I looked into the eyes of the kiddos and I had hope. I know the God of the universe, who has a plan for them, and this, living in this state, isn't His plan. I know the depths of His love for them, and that He has come to redeem them and give them life, and that my friends, makes the slums some of the most beautiful places on earth. It doesn't have to be a place of despair and darkness, it can be seen as a place of hope. A place of redemption in the making, a place that has such a huge future that God is gonna blow us away.

I love the slums.

How am I?

Now that I am connected to the world again I have found my inbox flooded with questions... particularly one... "Pam, how are you?"

And again I am failing to find words to describe the last six weeks, in particular the last week. Maybe some things are meant to be stored up in my heart and not to be shared at the moment.

In short, I am doing much better. After a few weeks of walking around seemingly under a raincloud and often confused by the intense feelings of grief, and not being able to see God, or hear Him or really just connect to Him, I am finding that I am learning a ton, and learning, isn't always fun, but it is necessary. I am learning new things about the God I serve, particular about His heart, and that He is actually closer than I think.

I have learned a lot about God's grieving heart, and how His heart is so closely intertwined with mine that He grieves my pain as well. I have learned that even Christians, and yes, even those missionaries who somehow get put on a spiritual pedastal we never asked for can struggle with depression, and yes, I have learned that it is ok to say such things. You see, I think part of the problem, was that I was ashamed for what I was feeling, I had somehow become convinced in my thinking that Christians should never be down, not for so many days in a row, and particularly, to the extent that I was, and so I somehow believed I couldn't share these thoughts, these feelings, this pain with anyone, and thus, my pain grew, and grew, and grew, I tried to carry the burden on my own.

I have learned a lot about the snare of depression. More than I ever learned about a textbook when pursuing my psych degree at IUPUI. I have learned a bit about the spiritual despair that goes along with it and contributes to the depths of it. I have also learned that the Word of God can bring Life in a way I never experienced. Yea, we all talk about the Word, its life giving ablity, how it brings freedom, but I have never experienced it in such a way as I have in the last 4 days. I can say with great confidence, that although I know these counseling sessions are helpful and important, I have found more freedom and hope and healing in the moments that I sit on the lounge chair, pour out my pain to the Lord and then read through His Word. His word is washing over me and healing my heart, my spirit, the dark depths of my soul, and I am being renewed.

My words are failing me to truly describe the last four days, even those already written don't express what my heart feels at the moment. Basically, I am doing better. I am still in Nairobi, I have another counseling appointment today (I had one on friday afternoon last week) and another scheduled for Thurday morning. I hope to return to Arusha Thursday afternoon or friday morning, and then to make shorter trips to Nairobi to continue on with the counseling.

Thanks for praying. I couldn't express how the support of the body of Christ is helping me to endure these difficult times.

Writing on a Mac in Nairobi

I know that often times I can be quite wordy. Too wordy. But right now I am failing miserably to find the words that can express the gratitude and blessing of the gift I received from Crosspointe Church during their visit here in Kenya. I am currently, sitting in the gardens of the Mennonite Guesthouse able to update the blog, return emails, and listen to recent podcasts because they brought me a macbook.

Words cannot express the blessing. To be able to freely update everyone on life without carrying around two external hard drives, to be able to have more than one program running at a time, and well, just to be connected with the folks back home is a gift that is beyond measure...

So, I lack the words, Thank you hardly seems adequate, but thanks Crosspointe, I am humbled by your generosity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Encouraged and Discouraged

I woke up refreshed this morning. It was the first time in weeks. Aside from the two nights in Dar, wow did I sleep good in Dar.

After 10 hours of sleep I woke up and heard an encouraging message. I love podcasts. I then got myself up to head to bible study. A group of ladies recently started Beth Moore's Believing God and I joined them. Before leaving I got an email from Brian, an elder at Crosspointe, with some very encouraging words. He also reminded me of one of my favorite songs and so I put it on repeat as I drove to bible study. So this sounds boring to you right? Well let me put it in perspective, I havent' had a morning like this in weeks. As of late it is a struggle to get up, I haven't readily gone to the Word because to be honest it is difficult to pay attention so I kinda figured "what's the point?." Although I have maintained my normal activities, it has been a battle.

Anyhow, lets just say, I was encouraged. I shared my hurt with my bible study and the confusion of it all, because although I haven't been formally diagnosed, I think it is safe to say I am depressed, crisis can do that to you, and thankfully it isn't the end of the world, it is just a season that has to be worked through. I was encouraged as these ladies loved me and heard my heart, and blessed me, man did they bless me.

So I leave bible study, and I am enjoying the spring time sun and thanking God for what seems to be a fresh start, a new outlook, a corner turned.

I notice a man riding a bicycle up ahead. Nothing abnormal, there are usually bikes, chickens, carts, other cars and so much more on the side of the road. I take note that he is there and that he is in the bike path. I continue driving, only to notice as I get closer to him, that he has a huge load on the back of his bike, and yep, he is wobbling a bit, so I slow down and get as far to the edge of my lane as possible without moving into on coming traffic and yep, here you have it folks, the guy comes into my lane, I can't move into the other lane and yep, I hit him.

Let that soak in.

So I again pull off to the side of the road. Again the tears start, the shaking, the nerves, the shortness of breath and the fear, the fear of what in the world is gonna happen, what have I done and is it ever gonna stop? Thankfully a safari car was following me, and stopped to help. And thankfully another American I know saw the whole thing and stopped. The good news...bicycle man is ok. He only had a scratch. I however, am not fine. My already bruised spirit is wounded yet again. I am fighting lies like you wouldn't believe it and yep, I am crushed. I just wonder, when will all of it end. I love this place, and I love my job and my ministry here, however, I am tired of the struggle.

Pray. I hurt. I know God can restore me to my usual glass half-full or even full self, just right now, I don't quite know how he is gonna do it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ramadan

It started this week. Go to this website for ideas of how to pray specifically for Muslims during this month of prayer and fasting. You can even sign up for a daily email prayer suggestion. I highly recommend it, mostly cause I am becoming more and more aware of how much a difference prayer makes, as well as I am living in a community of Muslims, people who don't know Jesus as he truly is.

CHE Explained...somewhat.

In response to many requests to know more about CHE, I have written a summary of CHE on the Unga Limited Blog.

Keep the questions coming, and thanks for praying!

Joy and Roses

So I listened this to a podcast this morning from Crosspointe Church. It was from their current sermon series Above Ground, and the message I listened to today was aptly titled Joy, and I HIGHLY recommend it. It challenged me in how I am viewing the world these days.

On a sidenote, as I reflected on Joy and was putting my living room back together I opened the curtain to see ROSES! I am much more a tulip, daisy, and daffodil gal, but, I must boast, that I have some gorgeous roses springing up all over my yard. And yes, I am thanking God for the little things today. I think I might pick a few to put on the dining room table.

18 months

It is hard to believe it has been 18 months. 18 months since I tearfully said goodbye to my mom and dear friends at the Indianapolis Airport. 18 months since I had a minor freak out on the plane asking myself what in the world have I gotten myself into. 18 months since I have eaten Chik-fil-a, had a diet coke from McD's (thanks to the Detroit airport), lived in a society where everyone spoke my native tongue, and could pick up my phone at any moment to call a friend or family member and not have to think how much it would cost me in Tanzanian Shillings. Its been 18 months.

Its been 18 months since I got my first glimpse at the dream and vision I had on my heart for so many years. 18 months since I first encountered the insane speed bumps throughout Tanzania. 18 months since I met my teammates who have now become family. 18 months since I saw the bright eyes of the kids in the neighborhood, noticing that their eyes still had hope. 18 months since my dream became a reality and 18 months since I started to fall in love with this place.

You would think, that after 18 months, I would no longer experience culture shock or if I was, at least that it wouldn't affect me to such a degree. But research, and more research, and yet more research speaks loud and clear that culture shock, is a process, and it seems to be never ending. As long as I live here, I will experience the stress of living in a country that is not my own, that is not my home, and does not function the way my home does. A lot of what I have read, says that many living in a culture other than their home culture will have waves, they will have periods of set back or just plain frustration, and oddly, it seems to be on a cycle of every three months.

So why all this culture shock explanation? So that you will know that I am ok and normal as you read the rest of this post. And instead of worrying about me and if I am depressed or losing it, you can pray with me through this process.

The last 3 weeks have been the hardest three weeks since arriving in Tanzania, and quite honestly, probably in my life. Can I just put it all out there? I have been a constant grump. I have been in a state of constant annoyance, of frustration, of grief. I have been in mourning and in grieving so much to the extent that when a friend Jonathan Bow sent me an email asking me to dream I just couldn't. I couldn't dream folks. Now that is pretty pathetic.

I am not sure why it is harder this time around. Usually I can pick myself up quite easily and do what is necessary to endure and continue loving, but this time, my insides hurt, literal physical pain in my heart as I walk this valley with Jesus. And honestly, I think because in the last month, I have had the differences of my home culture and my new culture so blantantly written in my daily life. I know, it was just a car accident, but honestly, I am realizing it affected me in ways I didn't think possible. I felt those feelings of insecurity, of threat, of "you are a guest in this country and I can rule over you" of, you are so clueless about how things are really to function, feelings of abandonment, of hurt, of grief, of anger, oh I was so angry, and alone. I was walking that journey, that no one I had met had walked here, and yes Jesus was with me, and an advocate, and my team, and CMF however I felt so very alone in the process. I was alone in my head as I tried to process all of those feelings. And they all came to the surface in the expression of grumpy, annoyed, sadness, and grief. Add to the accident, the court appearance that shook my foundation and then my constant struggle with fear and an increase in crime in Arusha, which led to increasing our measures of safety as single women here, lets just say I let myself get consumed with the frustration of living in this place.

But there is a paradox, because I LOVE this place. I LOVE my Jesus and I LOVE my job, and the life I live here. I grieve thinking about leaving it, yet I am constantly trying to back my bags for a road trip just to get away from it all. Somebody send some bath salts will ya?

Are you getting me yet? I am stressed. I am tired. I am tired of being stressed and being tired makes me feel more stressed. And somehow in the midst of it all, I got so focused on the differences, the stresses, the annoyances, and how I am not from here, that I missed the point. I missed the joy. I missed the Giver of Joy.

This morning I woke up in that familiar place of the last three weeks...with a desire to not face the world and crawl back in bed. (I really like my fuzzy blanket on my bed :))A desire to board a plane and post on the blog and facebook that I was coming back to America... a desire to run from the stresses of this place. But as with every other day I took myself back to the King, to the Father God and laid myself down and said Jesus help me. Help my grieving heart. Help my heart that hurts as I meet men and women and children who are dying, help my heart that hurts as it encounters a grandmother who is raising her 3 year old grandson who has TB and AIDS who is also taking care of herself who also has both of these dreadful diseases. Lord, help my heart that longs to understand this place and be a blessing, and help my heart that hurts because I still don't feel fully at home here. Lord, I hurt! I need you. I need you to remind me of Joy. I don't like feeling this way and I know this is not what you have for me. I need you. I need more of you.

Life here is hard. It takes getting used to, and I don't know where I got the idea that it would be a quick and easy transition, or that it would one day end, but the reality is, that no matter how much I try to adjust, there will still be parts of me that are American, parts of me that get confused, and misunderstands, and hurt and frustrated. There will be parts of me that long for home. And I also know, that when I go home, there will be parts of me that long for this place.

So remember, this is normal, and I am OK! In fact I am better than OK because I have the Protector, the Provider, the King of Kings, and my Father to walk this journey with me. I have everything I need. But you can keep praying.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am learning to let other people do immigration stuff for you.

Wow. less than 24 hours folks. Thats how long it took to get my Kenyan Multi-entry visa! Maybe that is what happens when I step out of the picture! Yep, I sent someone to do my dirty work, while I sat on the beach in DAR. But they are pros, and they got my visa much faster than I ever would have I am sure! And it only cost me an extra $20.

So I am back in Arusha, after having some serious fun with the Borden kiddos catching the coolest looking starfish I have ever seen, playing with hermit crabs, building sand castles, mourning the fact that there was so much trash on the beach and yes, taking my long beach walk... something about walking on the beach just relaxes me... and reminds me of dad. I didn't walk often enough on the beach in Hollywood, Florida, I was too busy sitting on my backside reading a book!

Oh yeah, and we had some excitement too! The earthquake in Indonesia spurred a Tsunami warning for East Africa, and yes, of course I was staying with some friends of Jenelles who happen to live across the road from the beach! It drove Jenelle crazy that I just said we should trust Jesus and go to bed. Thankfully a Tsunami didn't hit, I slept through it all, quite peacefully I might add. I figured Jenelle, who was staying awake in case anything happened would wake me if action needed to occur!

We are all safe, but there are many affected by the quake. Remember to pray for them, and their families as they rebuild life.

Back to Unga tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Writing on a mac in Dar

Greetings from Dar es Salaam Tanzania! This week is not going as planned, but I am NOT complaining! I have somehow found myself at the Young Life Retreat Center in Dar, and well lets just say that after just a few short hours I already feel re-energized, a welcome treat after the last few weeks of the car accident and my first court appearance and conviction. Rest is good for the soul.

So why am I here? My multientry visa for Kenya expired a few weeks ago, and I go so often it doesn't make sense for me to not renew it, and I have a trip planned for the end of the month to see the crew from Crosspointe Church at Cary, NC so I really needed to get it done.

AND the Bordens were already making the drive, and they had room for one more, so I somehow managed to get myself not only a driver (sweet!) but some fun traveling companions in order to get my visa for Kenya renewed! SWEET!

So I am in Dar for a few days, limited access to email and limited access to blogging.

On a different note, I am using Jenelle (the amazing guest of the Borden's) Mac. WOW! I am not one who usually gets excited over objects, but lately I have had the opportunity to use the mac of several different friends and my computer has become so unreliable and unpredictable and well, lets just say it might as well be a desktop cause I am afraid to travel with it, that as I type I am quite fond of pearl (Jenelle's Mac) and regretting my decision to go with the cheaper Dell version I acquired a few years ago. I have long thought of switching to the other side, and well, lets just say it might be on the list of things to do when money and life allow!

Back to real life though. Hopefully, my visa will be ready tomorrow and I will be back home thursday night! Pray as I rest and wait for my visa tomorrow, and for safe travel home on thursday!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pictures really do say a lot...

The lack of a picture says even more!

I had intentions of putting a picture right here...a picture of water in buckets on my kitchen floor. It should have spoken loud and clear that yes, I am again having water problems. But, the Internet is too weak, so I can't post a picture either! I have plenty of water in my outside storage tank, however, something is wrong between the tank and the house as it isn't coming into the house. I shouldn't complain, others have it far worse.

The last several days, really all of this week, there has been a common theme in my time with God. It all revolves around the P word...Perseverance. I am encouraged by what I read, as I am seeing that those who persevere receive the reward but I don't like the word because it implies standing firm, standing strong, pushing through, not giving up yada yada yada and thus implies the potential for a long standing, not a short one.

What I am not sure about is, where it applies. Does it apply in the area of persevering with the nuances (like water issues) of living in Africa? Does it imply that things in Unga are gonna get more crazy before they get better? Does it imply there will be difficulty in my ministry relationships? team relationships? personal relationships? Changes to come that weren't planned by me? Difficult times? Does it apply to persevering as I miss my family while I am here, cause this week, I am really missing Grandma, how I would love to hear her voice! Does it apply to all of the above?

Or is it different, is it a promise of a testing of my faith, that is endured and conquered through perseverance, and then will allow for character development?

I really don't know the answer, I just know, to be honest, that I am not looking forward to it. Perseverance is kinda ominous. I always enjoy coming through a trial and looking back to see how I have grown and what I have learned, mostly about the God I serve and the depths of his love for me, but I don't like standing on this end, knowing that there is a possibility (cause face it, there is regardless of the messages from the week) of difficulty ahead. Don't get me wrong, I am a glass is half-full kinda gal, but I am also a realist. We haven't reached heaven yet. Life in this world will allow for trouble.

Or maybe, then again, it is all about the water. God only knows. I kinda like it that way, cause if I knew, I would already be planning another route, or a self-identified solution...I would rather be caught by surprise, and let God come up with a better solution.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Unga

It was a good week in Unga! Check it out!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wednesday Morning Sabbath

I started a new thing this week. Wednesday morning sabbath. Some of you might find it strange, as you would consider sunday a sabbath, but I work quite often on a sunday, in some capacity. And Saturdays, well those end up having work in them too. The rest of the week as normal includes work.

Then it dawned on me, that on wednesdays, my house is empty, and wednesdays happen to be my lightest working days. So I decided from now on, that I will take wednesday mornings off from work, from chores, from duties that "must get done" and just rest with God.

Today was my first day, it is was a little strange at first. What am I supposed to do with this time anyhow? I read. I talked frankly with God. I also listened to a rockin message called "Who's your daddy?" from Lookout Mountain Community Church. I rested with God, and I feel better than I have in weeks. No wonder he tells us to rest. Why am I such a slow learner?

I read Hebrews 11 today. I have been going through Hebrews the last several days. I was awestruck by a few things.

We all know the passage, it lists name after name after name of people who lived by faith. I am always encouraged by these short stories, but a few got to me today.

In verse 4, "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke wll of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."

WHOA! How cool is that? I hope that my life still speaks long after I am dead.

And then I noticed a theme, aside from the faith theme, that they had their eyes on another goal. Their goal was seeing the city with foundations, whose architect was God. (vs. 10) They weren't thinking of where they had been or what had been, but they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. (vs. 16) They believed in things that God had spoken of but they had not yet seen. He was their goal. What He had for them was their motivation. They were motivated by their daddy.

And I must remark, if I lived that way, I would have much more faith. Duh! But really, if I had enough faith to always take what God says, for what he says it to be, instead of doubt or get annoyed or frustrated or just write it off as me dreaming, my entire life would be different.

I wouldn't get caught up with things not going my way. I wouldn't try and have all the answers right now, but I would abide in the King, and trust that he has it all worked out and will tell me what I must do when. I would worship more freely, and trust more deeply, and yep, I am pretty sure I would love more deeply.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Forms are in our hands

Things seem to be moving quickly now that court is over. I got an sms today from our secretary letting me know she had the forms we were trying to get from the police station for the insurance company. YEAH! Now we wait on the insurance company, but experience tells me they don't waste time.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Normal

Labor day was anything but a normal "labor day" in my world as I still worked, it wasn't a recognized holiday for us. But, it was the beginning of a week of returning back to my normal routine, with a few changes I plan to throw in.

It started with team prayer. Each monday our team gathers for a time or prayer where we share what is before us, and what is going on in life. The rest of the day pretty much went as my normal monday goes. It was refreshing.

I like normal. I like not having the stress and chaos of the culture and such in such a firestorm like it had been in the last week. We are still waiting for forms for the insurance, but I have removed myself from the process, and handed it off to Scollar, our secretary who does so much more than secretarial services. It will be much easier for her to get the forms than me. My whiteness would surely slow things down.

The rest of the accident details are behind me, literally, and figuratively. There isn't much more to do, than heal. My back is still sore, I really should let go of things and not get so stressed out. I am still sore in my chest area, which I thought was because of the stress, but it dawned on Kendra today that I could have bruised myself in the impact, as the pain is right where the seatbelt crosses. Regardless, it is getting better, hurting less and less, and for that I am thankful.

I made plans today also to go back to Unga this week. I like normal.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Returning to Normalcy

Not really much to report at this point, but I know a lot of you are wanting to know what is new and how things are going. Since friday I have been super busy, too busy to really think about or process the last week, which brought relief, but also didn't help with the exhaustion. Friday night I hung out with the Carter family, saturday we had the youth from church over during the afternoon and saturday night I went to a birthday party.

Today, I took the day off. Kendra and I both came home from the birthday party this morning as it has become unsafe to drive at night again in Arusha. We came home in our pajamas, and took a sabbath. I was almost successful in not doing any work at all during the day, but did sit down and write the e-newsletter I have been putting off. When I take days like this I wonder why I don't take them more often.

So those are the facts for the weekend. The heart of the matter, is that it is still sore, but I am doing better with each day. Right now the emotions range from extreme anger at the system and the men who were taking advantage of their job-given authority to extreme pity for the Tanzanians who have to put up with this on a daily basis.

Physically, I am good, and I will be really good when I stop carrying stress and emotion in my back, neck and shoulders!

Thanks for praying. I hope to get more back to normal this week and get back into Unga and back into my routine. I want normal again.