Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kenya...and Tanzania...

Sadly, the situation in Kenya is not improving. I am told that the violence in Kenya escalated in the last 24-48 hours, and that the level of risk of being in Kenya has increased...this grieves my heart, and the hearts of many here.

But, even though things have escalated in Kenya, life goes on as normal here in Tanzania. Honestly it is so normal that had we not read the news or heard reports from the USA we would hardly know there was a problem.

So, rest yourselves assured, we are OK here in Tanzania, but we too are monitoring the situation closely from here. We don't anticipate any problems, as the problems in Kenya are primarily tribal and involve tribes we don't have here. We are a different country, with a different government, and different community. We are OK.

But pray for Kenya, pray for the tribes to lay down their weapons, and for peace. Pray also for the many nationals and expatriates that are evacuating. Pray for their hearts, and pray for their spirits, as leaving a country you love in this manner is very hard on the soul.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Valuable Words

The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 Samuel 3:19

Yea, um...I can't really comment other than this verse, stopped me in my tracks, and I wonder what my life would be like if I didn't let His words fall...I would probably be more secure in my knowledge of Whose I am and who I am. I probably wouldn't worry or fret nearly as much, and I probably would have the faith that truly moves mountains.

What do you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Africa...

Dala Dala's are the public transport in Tanzania. Most of them have crazy things written on them or funny pictures. This by far was the funniest one I have seen in two years....

"pimp my ride...go to church"




Even funnier was an advert of ice cube right below the phrase...and an add for some running shoes.

And just in case you needed new dishes...keep an eye out for the van selling them on the side of the street...who needs Walmart?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Everything

I have a question.

What does it look like for God to be "my Everything?"

I have been pondering this idea today, and I am curious of what it means to you? Comment below.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Words that touched my heart this morning.

Isaiah 41:8-10
But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, "you are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 42:6-9
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name! I will not give my Glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."

Psalm 20
May the Lor answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you, May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers them from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
O Lord, save the king! Answer us when we call!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

30 hours.

That's not too bad actually, when I traveled in December I was traveling for 40 hours!

I am exhausted, after all I checked in for my first flight 30 hours ago, but I am in my apartment in Arusha and the quietness of my place is quite welcoming.

The Halfway point

Welcome to Amsterdam! I checked in for my flight to Tanzania about 13 hours ago. I am about halfway back to Tanzania, and yes, I am still smiling. The smile is for many reasons...

1. Ella and Louis are belting out "the nearness of you" on the ipod.
2. I am not on a plane (currently) and that is a good thing.
3. I am certain my destination will be warmer than any place I have been in the last 5 weeks.
4. I am looking forward to seeing all of my friends in Tanzania.
5. I have been allowed to live my dream for the last 2 years.
6. I had some awesome and encouraging emails in my inbox. Man God has given me great friends!
7. Jesus loved me.
8. Jesus loves me.
9. Jesus will always love me.
10. My favorite pillow is on my bed in Arusha waiting for me.


There are many others...but give a girl a break, its hard to make them flow into type when you have been awake almost 24 hours.

Next stop Kilimanjaro International Airport, then a 1 hour bus ride to Arusha, then a 15 minute car ride to my fourth floor apartment, with a very small walk to my bed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One flight down...

I am in Minneapolis, and for some reason, I was thinking people might want to know travels are smooth so far. It's cold here, really cold. Inside the airport my feet are ice.

I leave in about an hour, travel to Amsterdam where I have a lovely 4 hour layover, and then on to Arusha. I will arrive in Arusha around 2pm Eastern Time on Wednesday.

Thanks for praying. Thanks for journeying with me.

Wonder if this will affect Hillary's Campaign

travel joys...

I just booked some plane tickets.  Apparently I am moving up in the world and have reached the "elite" status on NWA thanks to my around the world travels.  My "elite" status allows me to choose some special seats on certain flights.  I feel special.  Its not first class, but there must be something good about those seats cause they keep them set aside for us "elite" folks...  I will let you know when I actually try out that special seat!  

And I have to say I am not a true mac follower in that I didn't make a single comment about the new macbook air...but probably because I am so delightfully happy with my current macbook...

I will however make it known to the world that I am thrilled about itunes' new option to "rent" movies!  SWEET!  I think tomorrow's flight just got a little bit more bearable...what to rent?  what to rent?  Its only 26 hours of travel...what to rent?


Monday, January 21, 2008

13 hours...

I take off for Tanzania at noon eastern time tomorrow. This is going to be quite the journey for many reasons. I am facing the transition of life back in Tanzania, life away from family, friends, and my amazing support system in the USA. I don't know how much blogging will take place in the next few weeks, but when I can write, and write fully, without having to screen what I want to say, I promise I will. Thanks for taking this journey with me. You rock.


And no, I did not cut my mom out of the picture posted here, it just happened to be taken that way. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The words of my heart this morning

These are the words, that echo my heart, and my cry to Jesus today.

Could I: Kim Mcmechan

Could I just sit here a whileknow that there's nothing that I need to say
safe in the knowledge that you know my ways
love me, completely no need to hide a thing
could I just stay here a while letting you melt away all of my fears
I feel your comfort when you are so near
I hide myself in the shelter you made for me
could I just kneel here a while
doing what I was created to do bowing in reverence
I long to adore you
willingly giving all that I can surrender
could I just rest here a while
letting you whisper my burdens away
and all of my journeys there is no other place
where I find refuge strength for my weary heart
could I just sit here a while
know that there's nothing that I need to say
safe in the knowledge that you know my ways
love me completely no need to hide a thing

Oh Great God: Nichole Nordeman
Oh great God be small enough to hear me now
there were times when I was crying from the dark of Daniel's den
and I have asked you once or twice if you would part the sea again
but tonight I do not need a fiery pillar in the sky
Just want to know that you're gonna hold me if I start to cry
oh great god be small enough to hear me now
Oh great God be close enough to feel you now
There have been moments when I could not face Goliath on my own
and how could I forget we've marched around our share of Jerichos
but I will not be setting out a fleece for you tonight
just want to know that everything will be alright
oh great God be close enough to feel you now
All praise and all the honor to the God of ancient mysteries
whose every sign and wonder turned the pages of our history
but tonight my heart is heavy and I cannot keep from whispering this prayer
Are you there?
And I know you could leave the writing on the wall thats just for me
or send wisdom while I'm sleeping like in Soloman's sweet dreams
I don't need the strength of Samson
or a chariot in the end just want to know that you know how many hairs are on my head
oh great God be small enough to hear me now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The roads I traveled

I have had many emails, many phone calls of people wanting to know how my trip to the USA has gone...

I arrived in Indy on December 9th, and had a warm welcome with mom, Brad and grandma at the airport! We went straight for dinner where Eric and Lisa met us for some AMAZING pizza at a new pizza place in Irvington. WOW! I have to say, it was an amazing night, but I was incredibly overwhelmed. I had been awake for about 40 hours and it was so much to soak in, but I tried to soak as much as I could because I wanted to treasure every bit of it. I had a great 10 days with the family, celebrating a mini Christmas a few weeks early. My favorite parts of this leg was spending time with mom, even though we were busy and had some shopping to do, it was fun to just share space with her, we don't get enough time together...and I have to say I loved my late night chats with grandma on the couch. Apparently we were quite busy, as I didn't take one picture during that leg of the journey...thankfully I have a few more days!

Then off to Fort Lauderdale, where, I can just say, I think I had the best visit ever with my dad. God has given me a great dad, and it was fun to spend a day with him at work, to meet his co-workers, and to spend some time with their friends who have been hearing stories of David's brave and sometimes nutty daughter who lives in Tanzania. A few of my favorite parts of this leg of the journey was seeing my little (but he's not so little anymore) cousin Nick, sitting on the back porch with dad, walking on the beach with Kay and definately the many laughs with Ted and Phyllis, and the late night tradition of reflecting with my big brother while lying under the Christmas tree...which due to technical difficulties took place at 1am, over the phone, while I stared up under the tree at dad's.

Then a snowy arrival in Denver, and a week of rest. Man was it fun and it was crazy restful. I enjoyed the normalcy of life, cooking in the kitchen and not eating out, walking the dogs, going for hikes, getting to know Alex at whole foods and encouraging him in his passion for food, the dog park, board games in the evening, visiting with Shireen and Rowe, enjoying the view of life from there, and getting to worship. It was a joy to turn off the computer and step back from the blog. It was even more thrilling to have conversation together without a phone or computer. It was a joy to get to experience the whole person and not just bits and pieces of him. Of course some of my favorite time in CO was sharing space with Chris, but I also had a blast spending a day with Katie (who spent so many hours, days, weeks and months walking with me in Unga!)

Then...on to humid Texas. I hadn't seen my brother for two years. It was Christmas of 2005 when I said goodbye to him. A LOT has happened in the last two years...I have learned a lot about life in Africa and he has been all over the world as well courtesy of the US Navy. I fought the tears as he found me in baggage claim, and had to go back for a second hug. I only had a few days in Texas, and they were clouded with questions about how I would return to Tanzania since I had a flight into Kenya and they were rioting...but I can say I enjoyed the big brother talk I got on the beach, doing home improvements in their new home, dreaming with him about us not ever going this long without seeing each other, laughing with pure joy that he is gonna be a daddy in July and remarking about his incredible wife..man he married up! The best part though, was the time. I can't express how awesome my brother is, and how wonderful it was to stay up late chatting on the couch about life and playing with photobooth (you don't really think we look like that do you?), or how fun it was to be teased about this boy in CO and the look I apparently get on my face when I talk about him, or dreaming about me being Aunt Pam and his kids knowing me better than my brother and I knew our aunts and uncles.

Its been a good visit. In 8 days I head back to TZ, and yes I have already started packing, but that is because I have company coming to Indy for the long weekend and I fly out the day after he leaves. Time is going to fly. I need to somehow work up the gumption to get those last minute gifts and requests...anyone want to escort a broken girl to target, walmart or meijer?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

broken

The more I go out, the more I realize I have changed.

I feel a little broken.

I find it very difficult to make decisions. I find it incredibly difficult to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. My culture hasn't changed much, but I have, and I can't quite remember how to function here. Don't get me wrong, I like the freedom, but I am still not quite sure what do to with it. I don't know how to behave in public, I don't know how to live in a house that doesn't have bars on the windows and a 10 foot cement wall around it.

I can't even buy fabric softener without freaking out.

Will I ever be fixed? I don't necessarily want to be who I was when I left America 2 years ago, but I do want to know how to do things in this country, without it taking so much thought and effort.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Mission

I was on the phone and was asked, "Pam, what is your mission? Why is it that God has you here? What did God create you to be? to do?" Disclaimer: that really isn't a direct quote as the quotations indicate, but a very poor paraphrase.

So here is is. My Mission:

To walk with the broken, the hurting, and lost as they discover healing, hope and a future through relationships bathed in the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

Those words...right above this line...even me thinking them, writing them out, speaking them aloud gives me energy...no...they excite me...no...they are the words that COMPEL me to do silly things like walk the streets of Indianapolis in the middle of the night looking for homeless youth, or move to East Africa and walk through the slums or search under bridges and overpasses for people the rest of the world might rather forget. This is me. I love to love the unloved and the broken. I love to walk with them when they take two steps forward and then three steps back. I love getting excited with them when they achieve goals and I do treasure those moments of sitting with them and being a comfort to them whey they suffer a setback.

This is me. It touches the core of who I am.

Who are you? What's your mission?

Friday, January 11, 2008

The lyrics..

I have a letter to write, which necessitated that I look up the Lyrics to "Be thou my vision." I have sung this song many times, but most often my own version of what I thought the verses said, and man, the song is SO much better than what I was singing. Look at this beautiful prayer from the heart:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Go ahead, read it a second time, and share it with Jesus. I know He would like to hear these words from me more often.



Travel plans made!

I fly out Jan 22nd and arrive in Arusha on Jan 23. As for those friends and family members who are watching the news closely for me, I won't be traveling through Kenya on this trip. I will land directly in Tanzania.

Near to hyperventilation...

I went to Meijer today. I thought maybe it would be less traumatic. I was wrong. Not five minutes into the door I realized my heart was racing, and I was short of breath. What has happened to me?

Choosing a fabric softener was way too much work. As was choosing printer paper, and apples...how many different kinds of apples can there be?

Seriously???

I stumbled across these yesterday and I have to say I didn't even know such a product existed. GROSS!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 22nd

We are still in the process of making travel arrangements to return to Tanzania. This looks like the magic date. I will let you know when I have actually bought a ticket.

I will be in Indy until that day. I do have some free time, but I don't have a vehicle. Email me if you want to hang out, or if you want to lend me your car for a few weeks.

This extra time was unplanned, but I can say even though it wasn't in my plan to be here I am enjoying the extra time with family.

Wanted

"A local family grocery store where they have few options, and you can walk through the door and see all four walls from where you are standing. Must have kind, patient people, a good produce department, and not a lot to choose from. "

Even after 4 weeks in the USA, Walmart, Marsh, Kroger, Target, all of those mega stores still overwhelm me. After about 20 minutes I am exhausted and needing to go home, and most often take a nap.

I still am not sure how to behave in this country.

I still am struggling with making a decisions....I mean, who would have thought that there were SO many types of apples...or SO many types of turkey in the deli aisle? And don't get me started on crackers.

Or hot cocoa.
Or tea.
Or toothpaste.
Or clothing.
Or soup.
Or baby carrots.

Or, if we leave the grocery store, take a look outside. WHOA! There are signs, lights, sounds, and adverts everywhere. It is quite difficult to take in.

Do me a favor, be patient with me when you offer me a choice and I just can't choose right now. Making decisions is hard when there is so much to choose from.

Trust

My word for 2008 is trust. Towards the end of 2007 I was praying about what the word might be, and I had two come to mind. Trust or Truth. Of course they are closely related, but they are very different.

As I thought about it, Trust would be the more difficult word to focus on, it would challenge me at my core, and it would stretch me. I recognize that sometimes my lack of trust in other people, and my lack of trust in God (yes I struggle with that now and then...SHOCK!) prevents me from going where I want to go in relationships, it also prevents me from pursuing dreams, and from not dreaming big dreams in the first place. The lack of trust has the ability to affect me in every area of my life.

So I chose Trust. And I will dissect it, listen, act, learn and grow with this word for the next year. And man, God must really want me to learn a lot this year about trust. It is only Jan. 10, and each day of the year so far has had some intense moments of trust, of waiting, of slight moments of freaking out followed with the reminders that God has everything under control.

Trust. It's hard. And one of the things I am finding out is so difficult for me when it comes to trusting is that it involves me relinquishing control.

The Silent Blog

Yes, it is true that I haven't written.

But can I tell you I REALLY want to. Because really, this blog is really for me. It has become the safe place (the irony, in that its such a public place too) for me to process what I am thinking, feeling and experiencing. I process well through writing, and somehow I got into this blogging thing and it became my tool for processing all that is going on around me.

And I can say, there is a lot to process these days, and most of it I can't process publicly yet, and even as my fingers hit the little keys I am fighting every urge to just spill out the depths of my heart on this little computer screen.

In due time. In due time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Persistence Pays Off...

My first phone call to American Airlines regarding my travel into Nairobi got me no where. Just a very non-empathetic call center employee telling me that my only option was to cancel and get nothing for my ticket, or delay but I would have to still travel into Nairobi and I would also have to pick a date before I could delay my flight....um...that requires me to know when the riots in Nairobi would calm down, and last friday when I talked to American Airlines there was no way I could predict.

Saturday. Different Person. Same Story.

Monday I got a new story, and I don't know how to reach him specifically, but Henry is my new favorite person at American Airlines!

He understood the situation, and went to work for me. So, after 45 minutes he was able to allow me to cancel my flight, and although he couldn't refund the balance of the ticket he was able to give me a credit to put towards travel anywhere in the world...however it must be used by March 8 and travel must originate in Indy.

And so the latest. I am still in Indy. I am aware things were calming down in Nairobi but I am not too sure about landing there and then taking the bus to Arusha. We are looking into travel options leaving Jan 22nd and flying directly into Tanzania.

Thanks for praying and I will keep you posted.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Traveling...a hitch in my giddy up...

Apparently I am terrible at blogging when I am traveling in the US. I dropped off the planet there. But I have an excuse. I have been busy, spending quality time with family and friends. My time here has exceeded my expectations. I have enjoyed the time with family, and I had a blast traveling around to see them all. And yes, for those curious folks who are dying to know, I had a blast in Colorado as well.

But I have hit a glitch in my travels...my travels over the next week aren't going to go as planned...which is somewhat unnerving because I really like it when things go as I had planned them to go. And I must admit, that I have flown all across the country the last 4 weeks and not had one hitch, so I really shouldn't complain. Not one weather delay, or holiday line. It has been rather smooth.

Until Kenya started to fall apart. Ashamedly I was unaware. I spent last week in Colorado and intentionally did not turn on the computer or watch the news so I was clueless when my dad called me and asked if I had changed my travel plans.

And so, as it stands, it is unsafe for me to continue on in my originally planned journey. I was supposed to fly to Kenya on Tuesday, and then take the bus from Kenya to Tanzania. With the riots and violence, it is unsafe for me to go this route. There are a few options, and so many other factors playing into this situation that I still don't know when or how I will get to Tanzania, I just know it won't be as I planned and I won't be boarding a plane bound for Kenya on Tuesday.

I meet with CMF Monday morning to make a new plan. Pray for us, as we try to look at all of the factors, all of those details, and make a decision that is best for me, for CMF, for ministry and for the future. Prayer for Kenya is also appreciated.