Sorry I was not able to post frequently during my time in Swaziland. I did not have access to internet a whole lot which was fine. I decided I would try to still give you a recap from day to day of what all we did while my sisters and I were in Africa. So, bear with me, as it may be a longer blog :). At the very bottom of the blog is a link to some pictures that I took during the trip. I kept a written journal while in Swaziland so I am going to take bits and pieces from the journal and type it out below:
Day #1 – August 1st – Wednesday
I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and showered to get ready for the long hours of travel ahead. My sisters were coming off working consecutive nights, so they came home and showered. Dad fixed us an awesome breakfast for us, which was GREAT!! We had sausage, egg and potato burritos. Juliana came over to say bye to my sisters and I. It was fun to hang with her for a few minutes before we headed out.
We left the house around 9:00 a.m. We got gas in the car and then hit the road. The drive to D.C. went great. We met up with Zeb and Amy at their house. Amy finished her physical therapy school, so she was home in the afternoon. We went out for lunch to Baja. I got a fish taco as well as a shrimp taco and some nachos – yummy!!
In the afternoon I chilled with Amy and watched some of the Olympics while Molly and Moriah relaxed and took a nap. My brother got home from school around 4:30 p.m., so we were able to hang out with him for a little bit before heading to the airport at 6:00 p.m. It was so nice to be able to spend time with my brother and sister in law. I don’t get to see them as much as I would like, but I am always thankful when I get to :). We got to the airport without any problems, which was nice. I wasn’t sure if we were going to run into traffic, but we didn’t. We took a shuttle to the airport after we parked, and then got all checked in. For supper we got some sushi for a snack/dinner. You always gotta love overseas flights, because you get fed about an hour into the flight, so you need to make sure you save some room for the scrumptious airplane food ;). To top off the dinner we had some ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s.
10:00 p.m. – Writing from the plane: Well, we are ready to get rolling soon! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only for me personally, but also for my sisters. I know it is going to be a lot of FUN getting to spend some quality time with them. I am so ready to see God work. Help me Lord to be a living vessel for you. I want to be your hands and your feet.
Day #2 – August 2nd – Thursday
2:00 a.m. – The flight has kind of drug by. It can be hard at times for me to get comfortable on a plane. I started out doing some writing, and then I have been watching a movie intermittently and trying to get some sleep. About an hour into the flight they fed us dinner. I have to say the food hit the spot. I just finished watching “The Lorax” movie a little bit ago. A quote that stuck out to me: “It is not about what it is, but it is about what it will become”. I thought the quote was so cool. If you think about the Christian life, this quote fits well. Each and every day we have an opportunity to become better. We have a chance to strive to honor and serve the living God of the Universe. WOW!!! Another thing that struck me from the movie was the word “unless”. The movie hinged on a boy who was trying to save his town. He stepped out and took a risk. His desire was to plant a tree, but his town did not have any. He was forced to go outside of the town in order to have a chance of getting one. The town would never have a living tree again, “unless” someone was willing to go and get one. The same thing is true about us on this earth. “UNLESS” we ask Jesus into our heart and life, we don’t have a chance to be called the children of God. It can be easy to make excuses, but what about the word “unless”. It is a simple word, but it has a lot of meaning. Well, time for me to try to get some more shut eye. Right now it is crazy to think it is 8:00 a.m. in Paris. We should get there around 11:00 a.m. which is 5:00 a.m. in the States. Our next flight is not until 11:00 p.m., so we have about a 12 hour layover in Paris. We are thinking about leaving the airport in Paris to check out the Eiffel tower.
11:00 p.m. – Paris, France
We made it safely to Paris around 11:30 a.m. For the most part of the flight, it went smooth. The flight was a little long, but we are getting ready to have a 10 ½ hour flight from Paris to Johannesburg, so I can’t complain at all. When we arrived in Paris we went through the border patrol to get cleared to be in France. The border patrol took about an hour, but we had a lot of time to kill before our next flight, so we decided to go check out the Eiffel Tower. The taxi driver ripped us off when he took us to the Tower by charging us a lot of Euro, but coming back we were smarter in choosing someone, and so it all worked out :). In fact, we were able to strike up a great conversation with the taxi driver who took us back to the airport. I actually misunderstood the taxi driver at the airport the first time around. I wasn’t aware that he told me the taxi would cost 80 Euro. I thought he said it would cost 18 Euro. Seeing the tower was an awesome experience. It was really neat to see the architecture and the vastness of the structure. We got back to the airport around 3:00 p.m. and by the time we got through security and checked in, it was around 4:00 p.m. I spent the next 6 hours posting some pictures on facebook, reading, writing a blog, sleeping, listening to a message, and touching base with my family and friends. We just boarded the plane a little bit ago, so I thought it would be a great time to catch up a little bit in my journal. We are in for a long flight ahead, but Lord willing my sisters and I will be able to sleep some. As I was listening to a message by Loui Giglio, I was struck by the verses in 1 John 4 that says, “Perfect love casts out FEAR”. Honestly, I am praying that I would be able to show the love of Jesus to the people I come in contact with in what I say and what I do. The title of the message was called “Wide Awake”. I thought it to be a very timely message because right now I am pretty exhausted, but at the same time so excited and “wide awake” for the opportunity to serve alongside some awesome people. Well I will write more later, going to do some reading :).
Day #3 – August 3rd – Friday
9:15 a.m. – We are closing in on landing in South Africa. I was able to sleep a fair amount on the flight, which was so nice. We have been traveling for almost 48 hours by the time we finally make it to Swaziland. I just finished the book, “A Place Called Blessing”. WOW! What an amazing story. The flight was pretty smooth. On a side note, the older guy sitting near my on the flight has been super nice. He was trying to carry on a conversation even though he knew no English. It was funny though, for the most part I was able to understand him even though he was talking in French. My sisters and I are ready to get off of the plane. Sometimes we can start to feel sorry for ourselves about not having leg room or whatever, but then I am reminded that I should be thankful that I have the opportunity to even fly over to Africa. The game plan is to land in Johannesburg in about 45 minutes and go through customs, change into our skirts, and get ready to board the bus at noon for Swaziland/Manzini. We have been told it will be about a 4 hour drive.
Day #4 – August 4th – Saturday
12:15 a.m. - We made it safe and sound to Swaziland. We landed in Jburg and we were able to grab a sandwich, and get through customs, while also changing into our skirts. Here we go – ready to rock out the skirts for the next 10 days. We ended up having to wait on the bus for an hour because one of the passengers did not show up. The trip to Swaziland went well. We had to go through border control at the South African border and then we had to repeat the process again once we were in Swaziland. The Vanderwal’s (the family that runs The Luke Commission) were there to pick us up at a nearby hospital in Manzini. We spent the evening catching up on years gone by. It was a blast. We had tomato soup, meat loaf, asparagus and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had some ice cream :) - yummy!! Also the triplet boys and their brother made some rice krispie treats, and with some of them they made a basketball out of them…very clever :). It was the best tasting basketball I have ever had ;). I had a great time chatting with Echo (the mom) most of the night. She was giving me some awesome advice and it was just a great time of catching up. We arrived at where we are staying and got all settled in. It was so nice to get a shower and get clean. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store. I am going to sign off for now. Tomorrow it is a “fun day” at an orphanage that is sponsored by the church that the Vanderwal’s go to. I am not sure what all that includes, but I will be sure to fill you in. Praying for my sisters and I, that we would keep our hearts and minds open to what the Lord would have us learn. Until next time…Wake up time is 8:30 a.m.
9:00 a.m. - Psalm 4:7-8 “You have given me greater JOY than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” – These are some verses that stuck out to me from my quiet time this morning with the Lord. I am looking forward to today! We are headed to “fun day” here in a few minutes. This morning I made some tea and had some cornflakes. It is interesting, because whenever I go overseas, I always seem to drink a lot of hot tea, but in the States, I will just drink it on the occasion. I am feeling a little tired, but ready and excited to get the day going. God will sustain my sisters and me. I hope to take a lot of pictures today!
Proverbs 4:23 – “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:25 – “Look straight ahead, and FIX YOUR EYES ON WHAT LIES BEFORE YOU.”
10:35 p.m. – What a day! WOW!! We went to an orphanage and participated in “fun day”. Harry and Echo’s church (The Potter’s Wheel) put on the event. It was awesome to take a bunch of pictures. We did a lot of different types of races. Prior to the day, people were divided into teams, and we happened to be on “The Pink Ladies” team. We did a very interesting and fun dance at the end of the day. Each team was responsible for coming up with a routine. We had an absolute blast. A crazy thing happened, as we were getting ready to head home. We came out and saw that the vehicle had a flat tire. So of course, the next plan of action was to change it. They did not have the typical tools they would normally have when traveling to the bush clinics, so some improvising was being done. While they were jacking up the van, the wheel shifted on the axle, and while this happened there was a guy under the vehicle trying to work on it. The van came down on top of the guy. A bunch of people rushed over and lifted the van up on one side to slide the guy out. Miraculously the man was okay. He was complaining of pain on his right side, but it was determined that his ribs were not broken, just severely bruised. To God be the glory!! I immediately started praying when it happened. I was holding Hosanna (the little girl), so I was not physically able to assist much. I had some great chats with Zeb and Luke (2 of the triplet boys) on the way home from the orphanage. When we got back to the Vanderwal’s house, we hung around there for a while. I played some Frisbee with the boys, and then just tossed some balls around with them. I am having an absolute blast being able to with them and hang out .
In the evening we ate leftovers from the previous night, and then Beka, Moraih, Ashley, and Mel all chipped in and made some awesome Thai soup that had chicken, garlic, ginger, green beans, etc. It was awesome!! We relaxed most of the evening and just chilled. We watched some of the swimming portion of the Olympics, which was fun. Well, I am going to call it a night here. We came home around 9:30 p.m. and showered and got clean. It is so nice to be able to rinse the dirt away. Tomorrow we go to church at “The Potter’s Wheel”. We leave at 7:45 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Day #5 – August 5th – Sunday
11:30 p.m. – Today was a busy day! We woke up at 7:00 a.m. and ate breakfast. Then we got picked up for church. Church was great. The pastor talked about persevering and using our gifts that the Lord has blessed us with for His glory. After church was over we took a walk and hung out to kill some time while Bev (on staff with the Vanderwal’s) went to the airport to pick up some people that were coming in. Harry and Echo were leading worship on Sunday, so they stayed for the second service to lead that as well. Today we welcomed Trudy, Neil, Amy, and Pam to the team. For lunch, we all ate at a really nice restaurant. For lunch I got fish and chips that was delicious. While waiting for everyone to arrive at the restaurant we played some soccer, hide and seek, hang man, and tic tac toe with the boys.
After we finished lunch we went to Harry and Echo’s to play with the boys and Hosanna while Harry and Echo rested. It was nice to get some quality time with them. I was also able to get on the internet briefly and connect with some people back home which was awesome!!!! J It was so nice to be able to do that. I have to admit that I love staying in touch with people, so it has been a little bit of an adjustment not having access to internet or my phone all the time, but it has also been a learning opportunity. One thing the Lord has shown me and reminded me is that I can go to Him at any time without needing technology – so cool!!!!! :)
In the evening, my sisters and I helped the boys build a blanket fort in their room. We also went outside and played some dodge ball, which was a blast. The rest of the team came over for dinner around 7:00 p.m. after resting some. For dinner we had some tomato soup, chicken tortilla soup, and salad for dinner. After dinner we had orientation time until about 11:00 p.m. We went over different policies and cultural norms that we should be aware of while in Swaziland. One interesting thing is that you greet people with your right hand. And in a matter of respect you put your left hand on your right arm when introducing yourself or receiving a gift. There are a lot of interesting things I have learned so far….it has been very busy! It is going on midnight here, and so it is bed time. We are up at 4:45 a.m. in the morning for the clinic.
Day #6 – August 6th – Monday
CLINIC Day #1
11:36 p.m. – We just got back from the clinic. This morning we woke up at 4:45 a.m. to head out by 5:30 a.m. We have gotten into a morning routine of making tea and oatmeal for breakfast. It gets the job done for sure :).
We arrived at the Vanderwal’s around 5:45 a.m. to start the day, but the bus we got on was not starting, so we were delayed a little bit. We started the morning off with prayer as a group in a circle, and then the Swazi staff sand a song called “I am a Winner” – so good!!! The road trip to the clinic was very interesting. It was about a 2 ½ hour bus ride which wasn’t too bad, but the roads were extremely bumpy. I think we ended up getting a massage fro the ride ;). I had never been on a dirt road quite like it before that is for sure. It was really nice to be able to see the varying scenery in Swaziland – beautiful!!
When we got to the clinic I helped unload a few things, but before things got rolling, I was able to listen to the whole school sing a few songs for us – WOW what a neat experience. It is amazing how happy the kids are. It was so cool to see the boys and girls singing about the Lord. Christianity is taught in a lot of schools actually, along with English. I even did some singing and dancing with them. By the time Harry and Echo arrived with the second group, the clinic was up and running. Bekah (one of the long term volunteers) took my sisters and I around to a couple of the rooms to show us the ins and out of what needed to be done. The newest addition to the clinic is the male circumcision department. I was able to watch a few circumcisions and wow what an amazing things. They say that if a boy is circumcised there is a 60% less chance of contracting HIV or transmitting it. It really is amazing what the Luke Commission does. They have different rooms:
Room #1 – Check in the patients
Room #2 – Triage – includes doing HIV testing, blood sugar, and blood pressure
Room #3 – The gospel message is shared and Harry sees patients
Room #4 - Counseling and Mobile X-Ray
Room #5 - Eye glass clinic
Room #6 - Pharmacy
Room #7 – “Passion of the Christ” video shown
*I may not have some of the rooms matched up with the proper number, but it is close.
We shut down the clinic around 8:30 p.m. and by the time we packed up, we were out of there by 9:15 p.m. or so. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store the next few clinics. We got back around 11:30 p.m. from the clinic. Tomorrow we get to sleep in and then we will be working stocking up supplies for the next clinic on Wednesday. Today I mainly watched and observed the medical staff. It was very interesting. I watched the boys some, hung out with them, and then took care of Hosanna quite a bit. For lunch and supper we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with chips snacks, fruit, and carrots. So far the experience hasn’t been extremely eye opening, but I know part of that is because I have overseas the past few years of my life. I love experiencing a new culture though. I also know that sometimes it takes a little bit of time for an experience to really take effect in a person’s life.
One thing that was pretty neat to see, was seeing my sisters in action doing medical missions. A guy came into the clinic that had a bad pressure ulcer on his backside from sitting in a wheel chair. My sisters were able to pack it, dress it, and clean it up. After they packed the wound, Harry came in and told him he would be getting a new wheel chair. It was awesome to see the big smile on the guys face as he was given the new chair and transferred onto it. Turning handles that cause the chair to move forward propelled the chair. AWESOME!!
I am praying for friends and family back home. I am missing not being able to communicate as much as I normally do, but I know God is in control. Hello in Siswati is “sabona” (sawbona). Until next time…
Day #7 – August 7th – Tuesday
9:15 a.m. – Good morning! It is crazy to think that this time next week we will be leaving. This morning we got to sleep in until about 8:15 a.m. It was so nice to be able to get some solid hours of sleep.
Psalm 7:10 – “God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right.”
Thank you Lord for being my shield. I am struck once again how good you are and how blessed I am to even have running water, electricity, and a roof over my head. WOW! When you come to third world countries, you are reminded of how much a person can take for granted. There are people that will walk for miles to get to the clinic. They will stay all day and then walk back home in the dark for a couple of hours. In America, we simply hop in our car or on our bike and we simply go wherever we need to go. These people don’t have easy access to grocery stores or electricity. I remember when I was without power for 4 days earlier this summer, and I realized then like I do now how much I take for granted. I am so thankful for the opportunity the Lord has allowed me to be in Africa for such a time as this. There are many people I realize that would love to be able to be here serving the Lord. It is important in any aspect of life to go with the flow, maintain a great attitude, and have some FUN!!
9:00 p.m. – Today was a busy day. We got picked up around 10 a.m. and headed to the Vanderwal’s to start working on cleaning the medicine carts off from the dust at the clinic. We took out each container and emptied it, wiped everything down, restocked it, and then put it back on the cart. I then helped with tearing out documentation from each patient that came in. I had to separate the HIV positive vs. the HIV negative patients. I found out we provided medical care to 205 patients on Monday. Nine people were circumcised also which was great!! For lunch we had egg salad sandwiches along with leftover meat loaf , salad, and soup. I have to say that the food has been great J. In the afternoon my sisters and I played with the boys some and then we went and checked out the land that Harry and Echo will be building the future site of THE LUKE COMMISSION. They were given 28 acres of some beautiful land.
I forgot to mention that this afternoon we also debriefed and talked about things that the Lord has been teaching us or showing us, or simply things that stuck out to us from the clinic. I have to say what stuck out to me the most was seeing the kids that were extremely happy, but has essentially absolutely nothing in materialistic terms.
It is my prayer that the Lord would all me to grasp every opportunity possible to share His name with those around me. It has been an absolute joy getting to know the other people on our team. Pam is a spunky lady from Idaho. She brings with her an awesome personality. Neil, Trudy, and Amy (father, mother, and daughter) are great as well. They have all been awesome to be able to talk to and get to know them. Also, Ashley has been great. She has maintained a great attitude through anything that is thrown at her. You can tell they all have hearts for the Lord and His service. It really does take a special person to come over here and serve in a culture that has a stigma and stereotype of having HIV people. It was amazing to me to see how so many people on the medical charting would write that they are “polygamists”. I am so thankful for the awesome foundation that my parents laid for me. They did an awesome job training me up in the way that I should go.
This evening we chilled around the house. The boys always want to play which is fine :). For dinner we had some bangin chicken with squash, soup, salad, and mashed potatoes. YUMMO! Mor and I did 2 loads of laundry tonight, so we had to walk up to Bekah’s to check on that a few times. For dessert we had a bread pudding type dessert along with some ice cream. One thing is for sure, we eat awesome here.
It has been pretty cold here today. I had my jacket on and had cold hands all day, but hey God is so good. I am so excited for tomorrow. It is clinic day #2 tomorrow. I am not sure where we are going, but I do know that my sisters and I are in the second group leaving, so we will be waking up at 7:15 a.m. and most likely leaving around 8 a.m. I am going to sign out for now. Going to read for a little bit and then bed time! :)
Day #8 – August 8th – Wednesday
CLINC Day #2
8:00 a.m. – This morning I woke up at 7:15 a.m. I slept really well last night. The night kind of went by slow, but it was nice to be able to get some great sleep!
Psalm 8:1 – “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.”
Proverbs 8:32, 35 – “And so my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are JOYFUL. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.”
JOY – a word that everyone wants to have in their own personal life, but sadly is not found in a lot of hearts today. As I was doing my quiet time this morning, I was struck with the FACT and thankful that I can have true God-given joy from above. Joy is unspeakable! You can see it come out on a person’s face whether it is in a smile or seeing a person’s eyes light up! I have seen several smiles since coming over here to Africa. It is amazing to see the “pearly whites” on the people’s faces. I am excited for another day today!
I woke up and fixed oatmeal and tea for breakfast. It has been an oatmeal and yogurt kind of mornings here in Africa. Right now we are waiting to get picked up for the clinic. Well I am going to do some reading until we get picked up. I am reading “Getting Through The Tough Stuff” by Charles R. Swindoll. A quote that stuck out to me today from the reading was “His grace is greater than our shame”. Another one is “We worry when we subtract His timing from our plans”. Okay gotta go…
Day #9 – August 9th – Thursday
3:15 a.m. – We just rolled in from the clinic. Today was a super busy day! We left the apartment around 10 a.m. and go to the clinic around 12:00 p.m. We stopped along the way at a school to recruit boys for circumcision. All in all, 32 boys were circumcised last night – about 27 of them were from the school that we recruited at. Echo said that they had been at that school earlier in the year and had done several circumcisions. Everyone was happy with their results, therefore there were more boys that wanted to get circumcised.
Today I was thrust in to doing a lot of different things that I have never done before. I started doing the triage unit today, which basically means that you take a person’s blood pressure, check their blood sugar if they are over the age of 50, and do HIV testing. The HIV testing involves pricking a person’s finger and then sucking the blood up in a syringe and placing it on a test strip. I pricked several people’s fingers today. It was interesting how the whole process worked. I had never had to poke a person’s finger before.
I didn’t eat lunch until 4:00 p.m. I was busy with patients coming in and out. For lunch it was sandwiches and chips again. I went back and worked “triage” for a while and then I was called to help in the pharmacy to stuff bags with a book that they put in each patients prescription bag. I finished off the night helping in the male circumcision part of the clinic. I basically helped with prep and clean up of the beds. It was interesting to see first hand the whole process from start to finish. To round out the night, I held Hosanna while the clinic was finishing up. We ended up pulling out of the clinic around 1:00 a.m.
Tomorrow we are supposed to be ready to roll at 9:00 a.m. It is crazy we are down to 5 full days left here in Africa. I plan on enjoying that as best as I can. Tomorrow is restock day at the Vanderwal’s. Oh and I forgot to add that I also helped distribute Bible’s tonight as well. I handed the Bible to each person and said “Jesus loves you” in their language. It was awesome to see the huge smiles on the people’s faces as they received the Bibles. Well, it is bed for me. At this rate I will get about 5 hours of sleep :). Praying for my parents, bro and his wife, and friends back home. Missing all of them, but I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to come over here and be apart of this. God is so good! Gnight.
8:45 a.m. – I woke up at 8:15 a.m. this morning after going to bed at 3:30 a.m. The kids next to our building were singing some awesome songs. One of the songs that stuck out to me that they were singing is, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it”.
10:30 p.m. – Today we went and helped the Vanderwal’s at their house with restocking. We sat around for a little bit talking in the morning, which was nice. I was in charge of helping tear out the sheets again for record purposes. I got that done pretty quickly and then I helped finish wiping down stuff.
After that we all loaded up to go to a local hospital in Manzini. I have to say that going to the hospital was one of the most fun things I have ever done. It was eye opening to see mothers who have just had their babies and women who had just lost their babies all in the same room. I got to thinking how sad the mothers must be who have lost their babies, yet at the same time how comforting it is to know that we serve an all-knowing God. His ways are so much higher than our ways.
We also got to go into the preemie ward of the hospital. I got to hold a little 2-pound baby who was breathing and functioning fully on its own. I knew that in the States, this baby would be hooked up to all kinds of monitors. The miracle of life is mind-blowing. It was amazing to see how perfect the baby was at 2 lbs, and in fact the mother even said that too. From the preemie ward, we went to the pediatric ward. With the babies and the sick kids, we gave them each one piece of clothing along with a tract. It was awesome once again to see the kids reactions as they were given a clothing item or a stuffed animal.
When we got back from the hospital we debriefed over what we had seen and then we ate lunch. We had soup, salad, and this mashed corn stuff called “pap” which is a traditional Swazi style dish. I played some with the boys in the afternoon and then sat and counted pills for a while. In the later afternoon we watched a movie called “Dear Francis” I was falling asleep during some of the movie, but it was pretty good. It was giving different statistics about HIV.
For dinner we had this meatloaf stuff, salad, potatoes, and a cauliflower cheese dish. For dessert it was a brownie with some vanilla ice cream. I was also able to check my email after dinner for a few minutes, which was nice. I emailed my brother, parents, Caleb, and a few other friends. I’m still adjusting to this whole “not communicating a whole lot” thing, but God is so faithful.
I want to give a shout out to my friend Juliana for finishing her first semester of physical therapy – whoop whoop!!
When we got back to the place we are staying, we had tea and visited with some of the other people on our team for awhile. Tomorrow we go to the game park aka on a safari. Pick up is at 9 a.m. It is bed for me soon...going on 11 p.m. here. GNIGHT!!
Day #10 – August 10th – Friday
Happy Birthday to my wonderful brother Zeb – LOVE YOU!!
8:45 a.m. – I woke up at 8:15 a.m. today.
Psalm 10:17-18 – “Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can longer terrify them.”
Proverbs 10:11 – “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.”
This morning I had oatmeal with yogurt along with a granola bar and some tea. Right now we are hanging out waiting to get picked up for the safari. Once again, I want to take time and say how awesome the other people have been on our team while my sister’s and I are over here. Everyone is so laid back which is great!! The Lord has taught me the importance of that over the past 3 years of my life while living overseas. It is interesting to me how it has not been hard to get adjusted or acclimated to the culture. I am so thankful I can rest in the palm of my Savior’s hand. He truly is all that I need and for that I am so thankful. I am excited to see what the safari will be like later today :).
10:45 p.m. – Today was a fun day. We went on a safari. I got to see some elephants, impalas, wild a beasts, hippopotamus’s, and a lion. It was a great experience! For lunch we ate at the game park and I had an impala/wild a beast burger that was awesome along with fries and coleslaw. This afternoon we counted pills for awhile when we got back from the safari. I then helped with making pizza for supper. Cheese is kind of expensive over here, so they combine the sauce and cheese taste by making their own alfredo type sauce and then putting toppings on top of the sauce. While the pizza was baking we watched a movie called “Beat The Drum”. It was once again about the prevalence of HIV in Africa in general. After dinner we chilled for a while. Beka made some chocolate chip cookies that were awesome!! We got back to the house around 10:30 p.m. I have been waiting for hot water, so I decided I would write in my journal :). I was able to send a quick text and email to my brother today wishing him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Day #11 – August 11th – Saturday
8:45 a.m. – This morning I woke up at 8:30 a.m. We are not sure what is on the schedule today. We do know we are celebrating the boys’ birthdays from earlier in the summer. They are renting a blow up thing for the boys to play on.
Psalm 11:1a – “I trust in the Lord for protection.”
Proverbs 11:25 – The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
It is breakfast time for me now!
It has been kind of nice to relax this morning. It is crazy we are only here for 3 more full days. This trip has been different for me than any other of my experiences overseas. I have kind of gotten a taste of what it would be like when people could not communicate via technology, but rather hat to by letter or phone. God is still faithful through it all :). I have to take a moment and say how awesome Amy and her parents have been. It has been a blast getting to know them. Everyone has such a great attitude!! Pam has been awesome too!
Day #12 – August 12th – Sunday
Recap from yesterday:
Yesterday was a pretty relaxed day. We go to sleep in and then we went to the Vanderwal’s at 11:00 a.m. We helped count some pills and then we went to the market. The market was a fun experience. My sisters and I go to barter some, which was fun. We got some really cool stuff. After the market, we came back to the house and counted some more pills. Water balloon toss and a water balloon fight were on schedule for the afternoon, and what a blast that was!! For supper we had a Mexican meal with beans, meat, rice, salad, and guacamole.
We had birthday cake after dinner for the boys. There was a chocolate cake with caramel icing and then a funfetti cake. We chit chatted for a few hours and then my sisters and I along with Amy did an ab workout which was good :). It has been weird not working out this past week. We left around 9:30 p.m. to come back to where we are staying. I took a shower and then we all ended up in the kitchen talking for a while. Pam then came into my room and talked to us until midnight. There have been a few things come up from time to time with different things, but God is good in the good times and the bad.
Now onto Sunday…
I woke up at 7:15 a.m. for church. I got ready, ate my normal breakfast, and then talked to some of the other team members.
Psalm 12:6-8 “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.”
The message today was awesome! Below are the notes:
Pastor Randy Freeman
The Potter’s Wheel Church
When Life Hurts
Our circumstances don’t change who God is.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
· Thorn in the flesh…my GRACE is sufficient for you!
· It is not abut us…it is ALL about Him.
God wants to show us His power through our weakness.
Paul describes a life worth being boastful about. He describes a life that doesn’t take away the weakness, but help you master it!
Psalm 47:2 – “For the Lord Most High is AWESOME!”
The source of Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a messenger from Satan.
FOUR particular weaknesses Paul embraces:
God is at work through the “thorns of the flesh”!
Maintain JOY despite circumstance!
1. Satan desires to harass you and to cause you pain.
2. God’s purpose through Satan’s harassment is our humility.
3. God’s design is to make you a showcase for Jesus’ power.
Our greatest boast should be when we are harasses and life hurts, because it is then we are the strongest.
Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
· We are not commended for results, we are commended for our FAITH.
As residents of an eternal kingdom – don’t measure your life through temporal standards or results. God perfects you, so He can sow His glory through you.
10:15 p.m. – The message today was awesome! It was so neat to see someone give honor and glory to the Lord despite going through a present trial. The pastor speaking has had headaches for the past 8 months due to complications from a tick biting him.
After church we drove to another game park and ate lunch there. I saw some hippos, zebra, monkeys, impala, crocodiles, etc. It was a lot of fun. For lunch I had fish and chips. Their fish here is amazing! In the afternoon everyone took naps, and the three of us went with the Vanderwal’s and hung out with the boys while the parents slept. We watched the USA Women’s Basketball team compete and then watched the Men’s Basketball team play – both teams came away with gold medals.
For supper we had leftover’s, which was Mexican and then for dessert we had ice cream and leftover cake. We watched a couple short videos. One video was of the Vanderwal’s speaking at the Cedarville chapel and the other one was a video project that is later going to be made into an actual video. We sat around and talked for a little bit and then we went home.
We came home to no power, so that was fun :). We did a washing of our feet and that was it. Since it is winter here, it is pretty chilly at night. Tomorrow if we still don’t have power, we will be taking cold showers but it’s okay because it could be worse. We are going in the later group to the clinic tomorrow.
On a side note, I learned you have to put any wood products in the freezer for 24 hours that you buy such as souvenirs or whatever, so it doesn’t carry worms back in it. The freezer evidently kills them. I think I have done enough writing by flashlight. My eyes have been burning off and on all day from the smoke that is in the air. It has been a pretty windy and smoky day today. In the winter they burn a lot of land to clear it off for the summer.
Day #13 – August 13th – Monday
CLINIC Day #3
8:45 a.m. – Woke up at 7:15 a.m. for the last clinic of the day. We had cornflakes and milk for breakfast because our power is still out. My sisters and I then packed up for tomorrow. We leave at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning to drive to Jburg (Johannesburg) to fly out.
I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us today. Every day is an opportunity to serve Him. God is so good and He is faithful. That is one thing you recognize in times of discomfort, struggle, etc. He gives us more than enough.
Day #14 – August 14th – Tuesday
Recap of yesterday:
9:00 a.m. Yesterday we recruited at a school to try to get some boys to be circumcised before we headed to the actual clinic. While Echo and some of the translators were doing their thing, we ended up doing the hokey pokey along with some relay races to entertain the school kids. It was a lot of fun :). We got to the clinic around 1:30 p.m. I ate a quick lunch and then dived right into “triage” in room #2. It was back to poking fingers, doing blood pressure, HIV testing, and glucose testing. It was another busy day. We saw 390 patients and then 29 boys were circumcised.
It got really cold last night. I didn’t have my jacket for most of the evening during the clinic, because somehow one of our hoodies got lost. I am so thankful again for the people on this team – WOW!! I have enjoyed getting to meet some awesome people. Last night on the way back from the clinic I talked to Amy the whole way back, which was about 2 hours; always neat to get into good conversation with other people.
On a side note, Mols got a really bad headache in the early evening and ended up having to rest on the bus from about 6:00 p.m. on. On the way home she ended up throwing up. She felt a lot better after she threw up for which I was thankful.
When we got home we came to electricity – YIPPEE!! It was nice to be able to get some hot water, although since it was my turn to go last in the shower I didn’t get any hot water. We said our goodbyes to Harry, Echo, and the boys as well as Rebekah and Melody before we left the clinic. We got home around 2 a.m. We all took showers and then stayed up for about an hour talking with Neil, Trudy, and Amy. Neil popped some popcorn for all of us, and that hit the spot for sure. My sisters and I have an early wake up call tomorrow morning so it is bed for me because it is already 3:15 a.m.
Today - 9:45 a.m.
We woke up at 5:45 a.m. because we were supposed to get picked up at 6:30 a.m. The bus driver did not show up until about 7:30 a.m., but we weren’t in a rush so it was okay. One thing I have learned overseas, is that usually if they tell you they are going to pick you up at a certain time, it ends up being 30 or so minutes later. I was excited to be able to wear pants and shorts again :). It has actually been cold here in the morning and at night. This morning it was chilly, but with pants on and a jacket it wasn’t a problem.
It was so cute this morning,…Jake called us a little bit after 6:00 a.m. to thank us for coming and he was also checking in on us. He is so awesome :). He will wake up super early before his brothers and get all of his schoolwork done for the day, and then he will go in and wake up his brothers. Today he said he woke up at 4 a.m.
So far the trip is going well. I am feeling a little tired. I only got 3 hours of sleep, but it’s okay. I am going HOME J!! It is pretty neat to meet so many different people. On our 4 hours bus ride to Jburg it is the 3 of us, a mother and daughter, along with a guy who is going to Cuba to study health and physical education, along with Spanish, and he is attending a basketball academy. I watched him as he said by to his fiancé. He said they have been dating since 2006 – high school sweethearts. He has been in school for 4 years and has 2 more years left. He is leaving for 10 months and then will be home for about 2 months. It was interesting to see how he and his fiancé interacted. Most Swazis don’t show a lot of affection, but you could tell they are great for one another.
This trip has been eye opening for me in different areas, and then other times I can see how the Lord has groomed me to allow me to handle this trip. We should get into J-Burg around noon or so and then our flight to Paris leaves at 7:30 p.m. tonight, which is 1:20 p.m. EST. I will write more on the trip home at times, for now it is time to get some shut-eye and rest a little bit. Everyone else in the van is resting, so I thing am going to join them.
Day #15 – August 15th – Wednesday
9:07 a.m. - Update from yesterday:
Everything went smooth once we got to J-Burg. We got some lunch at KFC, and then we walked around the airport for a little bit. We had about 6 hours to kill before boarding for our 7:20 p.m. flight, so Mols and Mor rested while I worked some on Mor’s computer editing the pictures that I had taken throughout the trip. I also started working on typing out this whole blog that you see above. It has taken me quiet a few hours to type out, but it has been good. I was thankful I had brought a journal that I could hand write stuff down. We kept all of our valuables and computers at the Vanderwal’s so they would be safe.
Speaking of people you meet when traveling, Moriah and I met a group of people traveling back to Texas from spending about a week in J-Burg ministering at squatter camps. They said they had an awesome time. They found it fascinating that Moriah and I were so tall and looked alike. They ended up asking if they could take a picture with us ha. You could totally see the joy of the Lord in them. Always encouraging to see people stepping out on faith to serve the Lord.
The flight over to Paris went without a hitch. I watched a movie, rested, continued to work on typing up my blog, and then before I knew it, it was time to get off of the plane. The flight was 10 ½ hours, so it was a good length of time.
Right now my sisters and I are hanging in the Paris airport. We flew in at 6:00 a.m. and so we have had about 4 hours to chill in the airport before we fly out at 6:30 a.m. This airport is very modern and super nice. We got some Starbucks – whoop whoop :) Thank you Lord for some chai tea!!! We also each got a muffin from the café part of it as well. I got a chocolate hazelnut one, Mols got a white chocolate cranberry muffin, and Mor got a chocolate chip one. I got on the internet and posted pictures that I had taken while in Africa which was great. It has been nice I can check email and catch up on some things during the down time that we have between flights. I will be sure to post the link of where you can see the pictures below.
We fly out of Pair around 10:30 a.m., which is 4:20 a.m. EST. We are slated to get into DC around 1:00 p.m. EST. I am excited to get back on American soil for a little bit. The plan is to go hang out with Zeb and Amy for a little bit before heading home. We are going to take showers at their place, grab some dinner with them, and then make the 4-hour drive back home.
I will write more later. I know that I will probably continue to have certain things hit me from the trip from time to time, and I will do my best to share them with you :). It is 9:30 a.m. here…time to board the plane :)!!
Thursday – 10-16-12 - TODAY :)
First off I want to fill you in on what happened while in route home from Paris. The flight went great. We were about to land in Washington D.C. when all of a sudden the captain came over the intercom and said that we were going to have to do an emergency landing in New York, because of a flight attendant who was ill on the plane. So, we ended up rerouting to New York and landing there at 12:30 p.m. They dropped the flight attendant off to get medical help, but because the JFK airport is so busy and we had to refuel we ended up sitting on the plane for 3 hours before we took off again. All that to say, we finally landed in DC at 4:30 p.m. By the time we went through passport control and got our bags, it was 5:30 p.m. before we headed out from the airport. We decided to stop in and see Zeb and Amy and grab dinner with them before heading home. It was so nice to spend some time with them, and while we did, my sisters and I took showers, which was awesome!! I think I took the longest shower of my life last night ha but it was so great to get clean for real!!
We took off from DC around 9:00 p.m. and got home around 1:00 a.m. Something that I thought was awesome was that as my sisters and I were literally two minutes from our house the song "Live Like That" came on. That has been one of my favorite songs for the past few months and I thought it was so fitting that literally the first time I had heard it stateside was when I was pulling into my driveway after being in Africa for about 2 weeks. God's timing is awesome!! The song is below:
I am off to go workout :)!!! Super excited to get moving again after not really running much or lifting the past 2 weeks. Hope you all have enjoyed reading about my adventures in Africa. The Lord moved in mighty ways, and His hand was felt throughout the whole trip.
Oh and last but not least, here is the link to some pictures that I took while in Africa: ENJOY!