Thursday, July 22, 2010

I will bring praise.

Hello :) I really love blogging... as if it isn't already evident, it serves as a great release for me. I am excited to go to my favorite place tomorrow and have been anxiously awaiting it all week! Before I go, I just wanted to leave an update as to where I'm at.

1. I have found my new favorite way to spend Thursday nights! It's at Sun Valley and it starts at 7. I've officially joined the prayer team at Sun Valley and look forward to praying alongside dear church family every week. Um, prayer is kind of my favorite.

2. I start school in a month! Freak out (only not really). I'm so looking forward to getting back into a regular routine and I am especially excited to see my second (school) family!

3. I feel old. I scored a job this summer as a Nurse Extern at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and I LOVE IT! I have a wonderful preceptor, work alongside awesome staff, and get to care for moms and play with babies all day. It's wonderful. On Wednesday, I taught a woman how to breastfeed her new baby and found that to be quite ironic! Here I am, 19, never even been in a relationship - let alone had a baby, and I'm teaching HER how to breastfeed :) It was comical, but after a few mins, the baby was feeding like a champ!

4. I don't know how I'm going to pay for school. This could *potentially* be a stressor, but I'm in faith that God will provide. Maybe through student loans? Maybe through other means? I'm not really sure yet, but I've been doing my homework and will need to make a decision before August 10th!

5. I swam a half mile today without stopping! This was a monumental occasion for me and made me smile! My goggles were full of water for the last 3 laps and I ended up swimming the last 1.5 laps with my eyes closed, but I didn't stop! Woo hoo. Then Kevin came into the pool area (he was lifting weights) and teased me about my kick off of the walls. He said that I looked silly, and I'm pretty sure he's right! I've never taken swim lessons before, so everything I've learned (which isn't much) has been from watching other people swim at the pool! haha that's our little secret, mmk?

6. I just love people.

(Partners in crime much? I think so... watch out log, here we come!)

7. I don't think that I suffer enough in life. Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him... and as of late, I'm feeling like I don't have anything to carry! The last thing I want is to live a complacent life, so I've began to pray for suffering. Yes, that's a loaded prayer, but I'm starting to think that living a comfortable-American-dream-life isn't really Christ like. He didn't settle for financial security, acclimation of possessions or high societal status. In fact, He was quite the opposite... he was poor and died naked after society had voted for His demise. I want to be desperate. I want to find Jesus in desperation. Join me in this prayer?

8. This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain. There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, so refine me Lord through the flame: I will bring praise, I will bring praise, no weapon formed against me shall remain. I will rejoice, I will declare, God is my victory and He is here. This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow. I know I'm filled to be emptied again, the seed I've received I will sow.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Morning and Evening.

Man, I must say that I've loved writing short blogs! I left this morning at 6:32am (I was 2 mins late... shocker) not to return until 7:59pm. Yeah, my morning and a good part of my evening was consumed with mom and baby assessments, peri care, watching my first circumcision (sooo glad I'm not a boy), comforting the cutest baby everrr and really, just caring for people. I love it. I really felt like a nurse today!

All that to say, I am determined not to give up on my commitment to be in the Word daily, and even though my body (and brain) would really love sleep right now, I'm grappling with the book of Matthew. What, you might ask, does this have to do with Morning and Evening? I pulled up my bible software just now, and Spurgeon's Morning and Evening popped up. I read it intently and smiled. How great is our God? This was a word spoken in season for me, so naturally, I'm posting it for you! Good night.

(I mainly just love this picture, taken in the winter, because my brother love looks like a CREEPER ;)

"Let not one of them escape." {1 Kings 18:40}

When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, "Let not one of them escape." He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins—they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lessons I learned today...

1) Weeds. While they may seem like a nuisance, once picked, they leave fertile soil behind.

2) While studying the book of Matthew (I'm going through the New Testament in an awesome daily bible study!), I learned that the 3 wisemen, the 3 Kings (which there's no proof that they were from Orient) were actually gentiles. That was why they caused such a ruckus when going into Jerusalem. How beautiful is that? God drew the gentile kings to worship the born King of the Jews. Indeed, his reconciliation business started there.

3) I have the best dad. No really, if we were to argue about this, you'd lose. To prove my point, read this

4) One man's obedience really can change the course of history. Take Joesph, who's character is described as righteous. If Joseph hadn't depended on God and taken Mary to be his wife, she would have been stoned. Killed, while with child -- with Jesus. If Joseph hadn't acted after hearing from God and fled to Egypt, Jesus, again would have been killed, only this time by Herod. And again, if Joseph hadn't obeyed God's prompt for returning to Jerusalem, Jesus likely would never have fulfilled the prophecy that was spoken of Him... being raised in and coming from Nazareth. I've learned that much... in just two chapters too! When just one man depends on God, the world really can be changed.

How great is our God?

(I just came across this picture today and it made me smile BIG. It was from a few months ago, when I met up with Miley Moo. When it came time for our goodbye picture, it went down like this: 1-2-3 KISS! I adore her.)

P.S. I work the next 3 days! 3-12 hour shifts in a row... here I comeeeee! ha I think I'll resemble a noodle on Tuesday.

P.S.S. Only 3 more days until Kevin returns from ridiculous London (and Ireland). I miss his face!

(It was only fair that she got a taste of her own medicine ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Picture Blog :)

Hii! I'm currently at home with nothing to do for the next 4 mins (I'm waiting for a phone date with Kathryn!)... so I figured that I'd post a picture blog :)Nevermind. I just realized that Kevin has my camera, therefore he has all of my pictures from the end of May on!

How about I list a few of my favorite things from the past week?

Favorite Boy:

Favorite song, quite possibly ever:

(click here)

Favorite prayer of the week:

"May I run, may I race, may I sprint. May the chains of lukewarmness and earthly compliance be broken and may I run, race, to the cross. After I am made fully aware of its weight and of its suffering, may I crawl. Crawl, broken, to the empty tomb where the body of my beloved no longer lies and may I worship. Worship, with my blood, with my sweat and tears until I meet my Savior again in the flesh."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goodbye my friend.

Life is ironic I tell you. Yesterday morning was the start of my final day of orientation at the hospital. At the end of the 8 hours, my hands were anointed with oil and prayed over. According to the precious tradition of the hospital, of which I am now employed, they like to bless the hands of each employee to do the healing work of Jesus.

Yesterday night, I received a phone call from the lady I had given my horses to. She told me that my gelding (boy horse) was not doing well, and that I could come and say goodbye if I wanted to. I left church with cheeks plagued with tears and drove to see him. I was in my new favorite dress when I said goodbye. I laid my newly anointed hands on his body and his head and kissed him goodbye for the last time. This was one life with which my hands could not heal. But I think I'm okay with that. I'm not good at saying goodbye.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

{Africa. Final Days.}

It's all about a wedding to come. It's all about a God who's a lover. I love it when quality songs get stuck in my head. Ah, and I JUST finished skyping with Kevin love who's in London. On Thursday (of this past week) he decided that he wanted to go somewhere. Next thing you know, I'm driving him to the airport early Friday morning and he arrived in London around 11pm our time! Crazy kid :) Moving on...

May 28th and 29th -- Saying our Goodbyes and Homeward Bound.

Friday morning was a sad one! Our team (6 of us at least) had to say our goodbyes to all of the staff at Somebody Cares. :( Several hugs later, we hopped in the van and headed for the market. We spent 20 mins doing some last minute bargaining and everyone left with wonderful things! I scored 2 handmade drums (kind of like bongos) for $16, before finally heading for the airport!

(The lovely staff! Front row, L-R: Kathryn, Steve and Fatimayta. Mid Row: Ramsay, Mary, Chipi, Keta. Back: Edward, Khama and Julianne)

Once there, we all bid farewell (again) except, of course, for Kelsey, who was privileged enough to stay behind. Saying goodbye to her was especially hard! Oh how I love her. She was absolutely hilarious, and her honesty rivaled that of my dear friend Jasmine! Ah.

(JP tried on Chris' new favorite purchase!)

Moving on, we then boarded the flight to South Africa (side note: I heard back from SIM and am praying about spending a few months with them next summer in SA!!) which was rather eventful. I was convinced that the man sitting next to me had some shady plans. At first, Kelly just thought I was overreacting (being myself) and then by the end of the flight she was like "OMG Kel, he's freaking out!" If you want to know the whole story, just ask me in person! It's a funny one :) Let's just say that the skills I learned during my Psych rotation DEFINITELY came in handy!

(Blurry picture, but this was our team's final supper)

Once in Johannesburg, we had a lovely team dinner, sampled the major sponsoring liquor of the World Cup (it was just like Costco samples!) and had a push up contest (of which I could only complete one... I've been working on it though! woo hoo). The flight from Johannesburg to London Heathrow was completely uneventful and full of wonderful sleep. We then chilled in London for quite a few hours (of which I slept on a bench and walked almost the entire time... oh, and I sampled some really yummy perfume too!) before boarding the eventful flight home.

(Kel and I just before boarding the flight to London... we shared a row and managed to stack our bodies in every human way possible to try and get some horizontal sleep!)

Let's just say that upon boarding, the ac was out on the entire plane (which made it smoldering hot -- luckily they were able to fix it), the entertainment system crashed shortly after take off (which meant no movies, tv or music for 11 hours -- which wasn't that big of a deal), and lastly, the emergency system came on with an announcement (somewhere over New York) that summoned us to our seats, asked us to buckle up and warned us that the oxygen masks were deploying. They then went through the instructions of how to put them on... and THEN the pilot came on and said that in all of his 23 years of experience, he'd never had that blooper happen before. The emergency announcement played 3 more times before we landed in Phoenix. I can honestly say that I was thrilled to be on solid ground.

(Kel just before landing in London -- she'd been upset if she knew I posted this pic ;)

What a trip.

(World Traveler?? I don't think so... more like a Continent Hopper :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

{Africa. Day Thirteen.}

Of this I am convinced: I am incapable of writing a SHORT blogpost. Today's won't be the exception (sorry!)... but I'm going to be writing about one of my absolute FAVORITE days in the village so it will be worth the long post. After this, I've only got 1 more post on the return trip and life since Africa. Then, blogging freedom!

Thursday May 27th ~ Gardening and Going Away Celebration in Chikudzulire.

Thursday morning started out the same as all other mornings ~ up at 5:45, got ready for the day, packed a lunch and ate some breakfast. There were 2 odd breakfast foods on the menu, and ever since the first morning I had really wanted to try them! But, being the practical person that I am (ha) I mapped this out... Say that I ate these two foods and got sick, would I want to get sick early on in the trip, or more towards the end? Also, would it be better to have the runs on the airplane? Or in the village? I opted for the village and towards the end of the trip; thus, this morning was my morning for trying Green Mealie Pie and sadly, I decided not to try the Chakalaka.

(View from the truck-bed)

After being picked up at the lodge, we attended morning devotions at the Somebody Cares Headquarters, before leaving for our final day in Chikudzulire. Even though we had only been there 2 weeks, it felt like we had been there for months! Driving down to the village for the last time was sad. Knowing that your work here was quickly coming to a close and that you would have to say your final goodbyes was sad too. But the villiagers made a celebration out of it!

(Us white girls trying our hardest!)

We pulled into the village and were greeted by the Welcoming Committee. We sang and we danced (for a long time) and all were merry. Shortly after we had finished, out team piled onto a flatbed truck, as did 25+ village people. We piled in and drove a few miles down the road to a little brick house. We parked next to the road and everyone carried supplies 1/4 mile down a path, towards the river. After dodging banana trees (the branches were so low we could have done the limbo!), and crawling through bushes and other vegetation, we finally made it! Where you might ask? To a piece of land the size of (I can't quite think of something to compare it to...) our side-yard. If you don't know how big that is, well then you should just come over, now! :)

(Here she comes -- note the baby! She was the HARDEST worker ever! She put us to shame)

(Example of a berm with 3 rows on top)

Once there, us ladies picked up the hoes and began plowing up the portion of land. It was hard work! And on top of that, we were definitely using barbaric looking tools! After a while of doing this, and having a village woman (WITH a baby on her back) smoke me out of the water -- she was SO good at plowing! -- I retired my tool and passed it onto a fellow. Ha! Before we knew it, the garden was taking shape! After plowing up all of the large pieces of dirt, they began to form berms, and on top of every (1) berm, there would be 3 rows (hopefully the picture will make more sense). The funny thing was that the final project looked so straight, that any American would have thought that there was 21st Century equipment involved! Moving on, In every row (on top of the berm), they would make a little pocket, place in a seed or two, cover it in manure and then water it. Before long, the pails of manure ran out and more manure was needed. A handful of ladies from the village invited Kelly, Kelsey and I to join them in collecting more. This was a great honor (for them to include us) and so the fun began...

(Note the brick house...)

(Note the puddle...)

While walking up the path towards the truck, I was mentally preparing myself for having to touch cow waste. I was grossed out by the thought AND I was nervous because I knew that they don't have soap in the village, so rinsing our hands with water before we ate wasn't going to be good... As this is all running through my mind, and as I am carrying this empty pail, we walk past the truck and -to my surprise- past the field of cows. As we keep walking, I realize (UH OH!) that we're walking towards the back of the brick building. A few blogposts back, I mention that grass huts = pee and brick huts = poo. Pull that information forward! We were heading for the remnants of human manure and I was FREAKING out. All of us girls quickly started spouting off our concerns (just with each other), and when we arrived to the building, we all realized why we were told to avoid the produce... It's grown with HUMAN FECES! Inside the holes, in the brick structure, there are small pipes that drain the juice from the solids. This juice then runs onto the other side of the wall and comes out in a puddle on the other side (I hope the pictures make more sense for you!). The ladies began scooping dirt into this juice, mix it around and then scooping this sludge-like-substance into the pails that us girls were carrying. I quickly got over it, and realized that this was all a part of the experience!

Let's just say I laughed ALL the way back (over a 1/4 mile now) to the plot of land, while carrying 30lbs of human manure on my head! Oh I will likely NEVER forget that experience :) After the planting was finished in the garden (it was beautiful when it was done!), we all piled back into the van and it was time for lunch! The Chief's sister invited us to her hut for lunch this day, and was so gracious to host us all! We dined on nsima, stinky fish (I was struggling through this!) and greens. She also provided Fanta, which comes in more than 50 flavors in Malawi! We laughed and reminisced from the morning, we (Kelsey and I) also watched as Kelly chose a seat RIGHT below a massive spider. The spider had been still almost the entire meal, when all of a sudden, it decided that it wanted to go onto Kelly's headpiece! Kels and I freaked out and then urged that Kelly should move. She didn't understand why, but then quickly turned around and saw the spider that wanted to eat her! ha!

(Stinky fish close up!)

(Massive spider threatening Kelly's existence!)

After lunch was the celebration. What a special time! We were seated beneath the shady structure, and we were honored. Choirs (yes, multiple!) came and sang for us, the zone leader spoke of his gratitude (to both our team, and Mother Theresea), Ramsy from the Somebody Cares staff spoke of his appreciation for Mother Theresea and our staff, and the singing and dancing continued. Finally, the head chief (of 70+ villages within Chikudzulire) stood and thanked us. She then welcomed the gifts. People from the village began pouring out their peanuts, bananas, corn, pumpkins, maize, and even a goat! I got a picture of half of the gifts we were given, but in total, the gifts that these villagers offered up to us was the equivalent of being given a new car in the US! It was amazing and so, so generous! We then were given some time to say our goodbyes (which was sad), but it was great. I sought out Margaret, a lady I had bonded with earlier in the week. Her son was VERY ill with Malaria and she allowed me to pray over his body (petition for healing). As I was saying goodbye to her, she told me that her son was better, healed, not a portion of disease remained in him! What a sweet way to end our time with the people of Chikudzulire!

(Mr. Makina joining in on the celebration :)

(The first gifts we were given... no, the little girl was not for us to keep :( I would have too! She liked to dance :)

(This was about 2/3 of the total gifts they gave to us! So generous I tell you!)

On the hour drive back to the lodge, we sang the songs we learned (my 2 favorites too!) and I couldn't help but reminisce of God's goodness in my life. Once we made it back to the lodge, we all quickly showered and went right back out to Theresea's house. She had prepared a special meal for the Somebody Cares staff, and our team. It was our final supper and it was special. From dancing with Kathryn (my favorite lady!) to discussing my passion for prayer with Fatimayta, a mighty prayer warrior, the evening was beautiful. It was the sweetest way to end our stay and the bonds that were made surely cannot be broken. Packing that night was bittersweet. We were sad to pack up all of our memories, but excited to unpack them and share them with our families! Sleep was difficult.