Thursday, February 28, 2008

My toes are happy!

Today I walked barefoot in the park. It was lovely.

When I am sick...

I get whiny. Yep. I am a strong, independent and stubborn girl...until I get sick...then I am all whines and want my mommy...and if she isn't available to take care of me someone needs to be near by!

Rumor has it, this "cold" that has taken over my body, resembles a cold/flu that has swept the nation and left some people down for a solid week...A WEEK! I don't have a week. I am speaking somewhere or have a meal or some type of support related presentation every night between now and sunday...and I really don't want to fly home feeling like this on wednesday. I have flown congested before and it was MISERABLE!

But. no more whining. I am taking back my Joy, and here are a few things I am Joyful about:

1. getting to share with a large group this evening all that God has done in the last 2 years in Tanzania.
2. Getting to pray with an amazing godly woman tonight whose husband is going to have a life threatening operation tomorrow.
3. peppermint fluffer and wrestling with Brett over the final pieces. I like having little brothers in any town I visit.
4. I pet a horse today. that is pretty cool since they scare me.
5. I am breathing. Yes I am thankful for the pain in my chest cause that means I am breathing.
6. Warm socks. I am thankful for warm socks I got for my birthday.
7. Emails from friends in Tanzania. I love hearing from old friends.
8. I am going to be an aunt.
9. Warm beds. Even with all the places I have gone, I have had a warm bed to fall into, and for that I am thankful.
10. Jesus...he knows my every need, and fills them.
11. This may sound cheesy, but I say with all of my heart, I am so thankful for a God who loves me, even when I am whiny and a God who would go to all lengths to save me from hell. I am thankful for that.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lazy blogger

First, I direct you to the blogpost of Shaun Groves called Home wrecked. He has some good insight, and well just magnify it with the idea of living 2 years in East Africa and you will know how I am doing :)

Honestly I am doing well. I am tired, but who wouldn't be when you take a look at my life the last 2 months. Then my friend Lisa pointed out a few other things yesterday. She kindly pointed out that I have been moving since I moved to Oregon for a 6 month internship in June 2005. 2 and a half years folks. 2 and a half years of moving.

Which of course makes it easy to understand that right now the biggest craving in my being has nothing to do with food...I crave home. I crave a place that is permanent, and desire with my entire being to put away the suitcase, and long fully to be a part of a community where I can invest without having the "I'm here temporarily" idea filling the back of my mind. I am so ready to engage in a church, to be a part of a community of people who love God and love each other, to serve and to walk along side people without trying to remember what time my flight takes off next week...or tomorrow.

That being said, read Shaun's post, and pray.

My current difficulties (aside from craving "home"):
1. I have a nasty cold, which finds me spending a lot of time in bed between sharing with small groups!
2. I still have a hard time making decisions...the simple ones seem the most difficult...(what kind of soda do I want???)
3. I am still not sure who "I am" as I try and live in America. I know who I am, I just don't know how to be that here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

19

11 weeks
19 planes
6 of which were transcontinental

No wonder I am tired.

Its not over yet. At least 4 more to go, and possibly a few more added to the frequent flier plan.

16000 Square Feet

So first I must say I am NOT judging, but sincerely asking a question.

I saw a sign today...advertising new homes... and this is what I saw:

beautiful new homes...10,000 to 16,000 square feet

Who needs a 16,000 square foot home?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hello Oregon!

Yep. I traveled from one coast to the other yesterday. And oddly, the weather is not any different here than it was in North Carolina...so either Oregon is warm or North Carolina was cool. Regardless I am still not wearing any flip-flops or skirts!

I am often amazed by the warmth that finds me wherever I go. When I land in Indy I am greeted by awesome friends, when I land in North Carolina again AWESOME friends...and we continue with the trend here in Newberg. God has really blessed me with some incredible journeyers.

Will be in Oregon until March 5.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Flip Flops and Skirts

Many days people ask me what I am missing most about Tanzania. Most often my answer is the people, I miss the people, and I really miss Unga. But today, I miss flip flops and wearing a skirt.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Saturday.

Today I had a luxury day. Not like any other I have had in a long time, and man was it beautiful.

I started a little later, around 8:30am. Came downstairs to a couple little boys watching cartoons...remember when life was about Saturday morning cartoons???

Then we played dodge ball, and playground darts, and a few other games...on the Wii (some serious technology was developed while I was gone!)

Then lunch.

Then some quiet time.

Then some board games...go fish, blokus, Veggie Tales Seek and Match, Uno...

Dinner.

More games. Sorry and Battleship.

And did I mention it is now 8pm and I am still in my pj's? Yes, it was a glorious day. I feel refreshed, and ready to tackle the world. Some would call it lazy...I call it a sabbath...and I think it was beautiful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My travel pillow.

it has a tag on it:

Warning: Do not use for sleeping. For decorative purposes only.

I personally thought the purpose for the u-shaped travel pillow was to increase your chances of sleeping during your travels.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I should be in bed...

after all I am getting up at 5am to catch a plane to Detroit and then to Raleigh-Durham...on to Cary, NC. Over the last 2 years God has really developed an indescribable community for me there. I lovingly say Crosspointe is not a "normal" church, and as I have tread water through the last several weeks I am looking forward to landing someplace where I already feel a part of what is going on. I really look forward to chillin' with them and sharing life, sharing dreams, stories, visions and well, loving Jesus and others together.

Then off to Newberg Christian Church in Newberg, OR, another amazing community that God has brought into my life. I am really looking forward to seeing old friends and again, sharing time, sharing space, dreams, stories and visions, with them as well. I am looking forward to the familiar...and the unfamiliar.

It has been odd to be here in the USA, and I will say it is odd to feel so unfamiliar everywhere I go. It is a challenge to hear God in the "busyness" and there is competition for that "still quiet whisper" our God uses. All I can say, is that I am thankful I know the Whisperer. He knows my heart, and I know His voice, and thankfully I am reminded to stop and listen to it now and then.

Pray with me as I heal, and adjust to being an American in America again, and pray as I seek out where to plant some roots and minister again. Pray with me as I enter into communities and seek out where God might have me be, to be loved, and to love Him and others. It isn't a decision I am taking lightly.

Testing 1...2...3

Sometimes adventures require a little testing after you return. I don't know what is worse, that I am sharing this with you or that when I was handed the items below I thought to myself almost instantly, "man, I have GOT to blog about this!"

I then talked myself out of it, then talked to my friend Angie and she strongly encouraged it! Thanks Ang! So the question remains....just what do I get to do with this little kit of goodies??

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A little bit of embarrassment for you!

So I made a quick trip to the store on my way home from dinner with my mom tonight. I go in, get my stuff and come out to the parking lot. I open the car door, get in, place bags on the seat next to me, put the key in the ignition and try and turn the key. It wouldn't turn. I thought about it for a minute, wiggled the key, tried again and still it wouldn't turn. "Why?" you might ask?

Because it wasn't my mom's car!

Nope. It was someone else's car, parked in the parking spot next to where I had parked my mom's car, and yes, it was a different make, model and color (although it was dark outside). The car resembled nothing like my mothers.

I felt rather stupid, but then felt a little more embarrassed when I noticed there was a person sitting in the car in the spot in front of me, watching me as I got out, closed the car door, and walk to the next car and get in.

Arriving.

I arrived safely in the USA last night. I arrived exhausted, sore, and feeling every bit of 30 and although I was sad to leave my friends back in Arusha, it is good to be home.

I might be quiet on the blog front the next few days...I need a break.

In the next two months I will be traveling a bit too! You can be praying for those trips.

Travel Dates and Locations:
Colorado Springs, CO Feb 8-11
Cary, North Carolina Feb 13-20
Newberg, Oregon Feb 20-March 5
Colorado Springs March 12-? (Grad School interview and training at MTI, not sure when I am coming back to Indy.)

And thanks for all the facebook, blog and email birthday wishes! They all cracked me up! I definitely felt the lovin'.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Free shower and icky lunch.

I just scored a free shower! How cool is that! I really don't know how, or why, they are supposed to be about $25. I talked to the guy, walked in to the women's shower area, showered, and walked out, asking him about paying. He said in his broken english "You no pay."

I said thanks.

Lunch. Well I was desperate and I thought I was in a hurry. So I caved, and I got McDonald's. And my stomach is not happy, neither were my taste buds. I would have been better off with a fruit salad from the place I stumbled upon on my way to my gate. That's what I get for rushing.

I am about to board my flight to Memphis, my first stop in the USA. I am beat and really hoping that the flight is as empty as it appears to be. There is hardly anyone in the boarding area, and we supposedly board in ten minutes.

Happy Birthday to me...

Some people have a friend throw a party, or go out for a nice dinner, or someone they love cooks them dinner....

Me...I choose world travel. It seems appropriate.

For my 30th...I get to fly over the following countries:
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Holland, and many more.

Happy Birthday to me.

Finding Favor...

So the last few weeks, God has really provided. I am not shocked really, but I guess I will say I am impressed, by the extent to which he has provided.

First, my bags. Thank you to all of you readers who expressed concern and willingness to help! God provided a free passage for my bags later this month! SWEET! Of course that means I wait until March to get my things, but I have what I need until then!

Second. Residence Permits are vital if you want to be a resident of a country. Mine technically expired the day I arrived in Tanzania 2 weeks ago, but when I landed they didn't say a thing so neither did I. I wasn't interested in spending the $100 for just two weeks. But, I did know they might give me a hard time upon departure, and make me pay then. So I prayed. Everyone I know said to take the $100 bill with me, and that most likely I will have to pay to leave since I didn't pay when I entered. Well, I don't know if it was my beauty, or my swahili, or just the fact that the immigration guy was a really nice guy...but...I got through...and didn't have to pay the $100 for the tourist visa that I should have gotten when my residence permit expired!

Third. The guitar. I didn't want to put that responsibility on the team bringing my stuff back at the end of February. If I had someones guitar I would stress over it and if something happened to it I would feel so bad, even if it wasn't my fault. So I decided I would try to "carry-on" the guitar. I assumed that when I checked it they would make me check it with checked baggage and then charge me 150 Euros because it would have been an extra bag, but I thought anything was worth the try. And I am shocked, as were the friends who happen to be on the same flight as me, that I was allowed to "carry-on" my guitar, and no joke, it was put in the overhead compartment! So, I got my guitar for free, and it is safe, and I am probably being talked about by many as the girl who took up the overhead compartment!

Fourth. I have friends traveling all the way to the USA on the same flights as me! How cool is that! At first I thought I would want to be alone, that I would just need the space, but it is really cool to have some extra company, especially since the Amsterdam layover is 6 hours!

Amsterdam again...

So today (or yesterday depending on how you choose to look at things) was the big day.

I realized as I sat down to one last dinner in Tanzania that I my language will be changing. We talked about funny english words we all use because of all of the British influence, like "Lovely", "loo" or "toilet," and so many more that I can't think of right now...I have been up for nearly 24 hours, aside from a 20 minute nap on the 11 and 1/2 hour flight from Arusha to Amsterdam...

But there is more change going on here. I realized as I sat waiting for dinner, that I am again a resident of the United States of America. I live there now. And that, that seems very strange. My passport may (and I sincerely hope not) get put in a drawer and not get used for several months... My life, will be in America. It is such a weird thought. My job, whenever I get one and wherever it is, will be in America. My residence, is the USA.

Don't get me wrong, the USA is not a bad place, and I rather like the freedom I have in living there, but it still seems so strange and difficult to fathom to me.

So here I come USA. I sure hope you are ready, cause I am not sure I am.

Monday, February 04, 2008

life change...

Worry has been sparked...by my latest blog posts.

But unnecessarily so. I am in major life transition, without a fully identified location of where I am transitioning to.

I am leaving a place I love.
I am going to a new place that I am sure to love.
I am entitled to a few tears in the process.
I am ok. This is normal. God gave me a heart of flesh, not one of stone, therefore I feel, both joy and sorrow.

Thanks for joining me on the journey. You rock.

Frustration leads to tears again...

I almost always use online check-in. It took over an hour and a half tonight, and this is the end result...
I have never encountered this before. I am checked in, as far as Amsterdam. Why? I haven't a clue. And can I get a customer service representative? nope. Ugh.

This is really a minor detail, I am sure that when I get to the airport tomorrow there will be an explanation, but really because I am spent emotionally and exhausted spiritually, and tired physically, crying in the middle of this hurdle seemed appropriate. Yes I turn 30 in two days, and yes I am crying over being able to select my preferred seat and print my boarding passes at home.

Oh to have some good rest.

Breakdowns...

I had one today. It was quite childish. I was embarrassed, which is interesting because I was alone in my apartment so I shouldn't have been embarrassed. It all just became too much. And well, I have to say, I did a good job of letting it all out.

It started with me frustrated at the old PC trying to backup pictures before I left town.

It ended with me in tears on my bathroom floor because the water was too hot because I never turned off the water heater yesterday and well, it heats and heats and never stops heating (unless the power goes off.)

It seems, that the chaos of this transition has tried to get the best of me. Thankfully it didn't fully, and Jesus was very present and listened while I cried.

It's been many weeks without a good nights sleep. Any many days without some really connecting time with Jesus, and well, that is never a good combination. Throw in trying to reconcile all emotions and say goodbye to a place and many people you love...and you are nearly doomed.... but only nearly because Jesus knows. And Jesus gets me through.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

the tears are flowing...

I am sitting at my dining room table, trying to remember all of the things I learned at MTI two years ago about the importance of saying healthy goodbyes...and yes I am weeping. Full on, nose is running, tears are soaking the front of my shirt, and it is a good thing I am alone because it does not sound pretty weeping.

I love this place. And I love the people. It is a strange thing to think about not seeing Msuya again, or Tedi, or Mama Jackson, or Mama Diwani. It is not a strange thing, it is a heartbreaking thing.

I have loved this place, and the ways it has loved me are countless.
I have taught in this place, and there isn't a book that could hold all it has taught me.
I have given in this place, but my oh my how much I have received.
I have welcomed this place into my heart, but not nearly in the way it has welcomed me.
I have tried to share Jesus in this place, but Jesus has even more so revealed himself to me.
I have left some footprints in the dust, but this place has left its mark on me.

On Thankfulness...

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

This transition is a difficult one. I never expected to be leaving Tanzania so soon. I will admit that I don't think I am done with Africa, that I truly am holding to the belief that I will be on this lovely but struggling continent someday...maybe that is denial. I know for now, for this season I am called home, and that too is a struggle, because what I hear is that I am going home, but I still don't have a job, or a permanent living environment, or well...or really anything...but when I think about I am thankful, because even though the world would look at my bank account and my possessions and say I have very, I know that I have much.

I am thankful that I have a God who loves me.
I am thankful that I have a God who knows what is best for me.
I am thankful that I have a God who has never let me down.
I am thankful that when I weep, God is very aware of my struggle.
I am thankful that God can bring joy in such a season of saying goodbye. That a room of my closest friends can sit and worship and pray and celebrate what He is doing.
I am thankful that He is my defender.
I am thankful that He is my provider.
I am thankful that even when I don't feel like being thankful I am still loved.
I am thankful that God has given me a heart of flesh, one that feels hurt and feels joy, that grieves and mourns but also celebrates and rejoices.
I am thankful for the sadness that comes in leaving, it is a reminder of the home God gave me here.
I am thankful for the excitement of the future, it is a reminder of how God does far more than I can dream or imagine.
I am thankful that saying goodbye to those I love here isn't a permanent goodbye, because as cheesy as it sounds, I do believe that we will see each other at the celebration banquet!
I am thankful for the promise of rest, as I know I am in great need of rest.
I am thankful that I am not the necessary piece to God transforming Unga, but at the same time I am so very thankful that I was allowed to be a part of it.
I am thankful for 24 hour plane rides, it gives me a great opportunity to process, to breathe, and to prepare before landing in busy and loud America.
I am thankful for seasons of difficulty, as they do increase my faith.
I am thankful for tears, they remind me of that heart of flesh that is such a gift.
I am thankful for music, as it helps me to be still and know, and rest, and cry and rejoice.
I am thankful, that the God we serve, is not a distance God, that He is very involved, and cares about all these little things I am thankful for....

I am thankful, for the last two years, for all that He has done, and all that He has allowed me to be a part of. The last two years, have truly been far more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined.

I am thankful...and I rejoice...but still my heart grieves. I Africa.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Euros vs. Pounds...an important detail.

So when you pay for an extra bag when boarding a flight in the USA you pay $150 extra for a 50 lb bag. I assumed that when I return to the states next week with all of my personal belongings that I would be charged the same price. I was SO wrong.

When departing on KLM from Tanzania, I will be charged 150 Euros per 50 lb bag. (about $220) CMF has allocated about $450 for me to bring back extra bags...with my guitar and personal stuff, I currently have 6 extra bags.

I inquired as to what I should do. I found out that I can ship all of my bags via cargo through KLM, and I will be charged $800 (which is cheaper than paying extra baggage) but they will only make it as far as Chicago. I don't live in Chicago, and I don't think I know anyone who does.

What is a girl to do? I think tonight I will find myself re-packing and trying to slim down the list of items that I think are important enough to pay to get back.

Today a letter is being mailed....

Many of you already know of the details of the following letter, but there are many blog readers who don't receive my newsletter or that I have been able to talk to personally. Please pray with me as I continue in this transition.


Pam McKerring
Missionary to Tanzania
January 22, 2008

Dear

Over the last 2 years, God has moved us (you and me) to a foreign land, taught us a new culture, language and way of life. He has led us to a ministry location and before we could believe it imaginable He helped us to start a new ministry among the urban poor. I am excited about what God has done and where He is leading. I have grown to love this community and this place that, although has been difficult at times, has become my home. I have also been part of a wonderful team of co-laborers in the Gospel.

About 4 months ago I began sensing God leading me back to work with the poor in the USA. Honestly, my heart grieved the idea. I was torn for many reasons, but mostly because it meant letting go of what I thought my future would be. As I continued to seek and pray I realized that with the grace of God and His mighty power, we had accomplished what we set out to do.

I am writing today to share the news of my resignation of ministry with CMF International. The Community Health Evangelism program in Arusha is capable of moving forward under Lorivi, an amazing God-fearing, Tanzanian man. Lorivi works with the CMF missionaries, is fully trained and has such gifting to carry on the teaching of the CHE lessons. In fact, because he is Tanzanian, grew up speaking Swahili and has full awareness of the culture, he will be very effective in teaching the men and women in Unga who want to transform their community.

In my final weeks in Arusha, I will be sharing time with my teammates, and spending time with the many men and women who have changed my life, and will also assist in the transition of the Urban CHE ministry. Upon my return to the States in February, I will begin a three-month time of transition, that with your continued support, will allow me the time to report back to all churches and supporters the amazing things God has done in the last two years.

For the immediate future, my contact information will be:
5810 Boy Scout Road
Indianapolis, IN 46226
317-519-7481

I would appreciate your prayers as I pursue possibilities for this next step.

It is a joy serving with you,


Pamela McKerring