Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the spot...

So...I went to the Lord's Mission Church this past weekend because they were having a Youth Celebration. My friend MS invited me because he was a canidate for Youth of the Year. I don't understand how it all works, but I wanted to support him and the other kids so I decided to go.

It started at 1:30 pm. I had to leave my house at 11:30 to make sure I had enough time to get transport and maneuver through town. I headed up the hill to the first stop to catch a pudapuda to town. I arrived at the top and caught one immediately, which was a blessing. It wasn't going to exactly where I was wanting, but I've made this transfer before and am fairly familiar with the route (mind you, I did say fairly familiar!).

Made the first drop without too much problem. Started walking towards the next stop but decided to take a different cut-through. Headed down another street and throught it was a direct wasn't. After a few twists and turns and asking for directions, I was on my way. By this time, it had started raining so I was getting soaked and trying to press on. Usually better to keep moving, rather than stop. SO...thankfully...there was another pudapuda that came by fairly quickly so I hopped on. Because of the rain, I was already soggy and dripping with water. There were 18 others (at least) on the pudapuda and all the windows closed. I was sizzling and therefore, beads of sweat were also appearing everywhere on my arms, face, etc. Unfortunately, the little girl sitting next to me looked a little nervous because I was white...and then the added drippings...she was terrified I think. She accidentally touched me arm at one point...the look on her face was priceless. Disgust and horror all at the same time. Thankfully, she didn't cry!

Made it to the orphanage by 12:40. To my surprise...the celebration had already started so I was hurried in and ushered to the front row next to my friend Timothy. MS, my friend, was announcing chairpeople to sort of MC the event. To my surprise again...he shouted my name which meant I sat on the stage and had to help announce the different things going on. Now, for those of you who know me, being in front of a crowd is not my favorite thing...let alone being the only white person in an African church. I was just laughing thinking how much of a sense of humor God has.

SO...when people take the microphone, they shout something like "Praise the Lord" and the congregation all respond, "Hallelujah". I get up for my first announcement and say, "Praise the Lord," and hear only one hallelujah. I knew then it was going to be a little rough :). Got more nervous after that first time.

The celebration continued past 1:30, past 2:30, past 3:30 and by that time I was getting a little anxious. I still had to get transport home and be there before dark. The day before it had taken 2 hours to make it home. I was beginning to fidgit in my chair and figure out some way that I could slip out without offending everyone. Unfortunately, we were only about half way through the program after 3 hours...didn't think I could make it to the end. God worked it out because after talking to the other chairperson, I was freed to go. I snuck out and was on my way. Unfortunately, I still don't know if MS won or not.

What a day! It was quite an adventure as every trip across town is. It was such a blessing to be there and supporting MS and the rest of the kids who were singing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun...

One might ask, What does Thanksgiving look like in Africa? Well...pretty similar to home. I'm not one much for working in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. I prefer to wash up afterwards. Morgen and I decided to stay home this Thanksgiving to help Jitske with all the preparations. It was such a fun day. Started with stuffing the turkeys (yes, we found turkey's here). Then moved on to preparing the green bean casserole and a salad. There were 28 people coming so lots of food was being prepared. Helen and Jitske had already made the pumpkin pies and apple cake.

After all the food was ready for the oven, we headed outside to decorate. Made the center pieces, made the cutlery look pretty, etc. I was mostly just an assistant but it was a great day. Had some down time in the afternoon. Of course, the last hour or so was a bit hectic. There were 28 people coming, so planning the timing was a little tricky. It all came together! We had most of the traditional stuff - turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumkin pie, etc. DELICIOUS!!! I definitely missed my family but this was a great way to spend the day. The American's were outnumbered which was definitely a first :).

We finished dinner and dessert with a great time of worship and a short teaching/discussion. What a great Thanksgiving. If I had to be away from home, there was not other place I'd rather be. Praise the Lord.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


When I sit down to think about all the things I'm thankful for this year, I'm blown away by how much God has blessed me. I'm in Africa - a dream of over 4 years - serving God and the people here. I've met so many amazing people and have experienced so many incredible things. I'm thankful that I'm here, for the people He's brought into my path, the patient's I've seen, the kids at the orphanage, the church He's provided, the community of friends, His provision through the good and bad moments, the communication He's allowed with those back home, and SO many other things. That's just what's here...there's so much to be thankful for at home too! My family, friends, church, car, 24 hours of power, air conditioning, mexican food, Dr. Pepper, ease of getting places, etc.

We have so much to be thankful for...SO much. God is so incredible. His love is so extravagant. Truly, He has given us eternal life. He sent His son to die for our sins, so we could have relationship with God. He provided a way. Think about that for just a moment. He calls us His friend. He pursues us and loves us. He's Unconditional, He's Able, He NEVER changes, He is better than anything we could ever imagine. Praise God. Thank God.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Staff Retreat

All the Mercy Ships Sierra Leone staff had a retreat on November 21st. It was an excellent day filled with worship, discussions, and teaching. God really spoke to everyone as we were taught on endurance and drifting. It was so fun to see everyone dressed up. It was a great day for all the staff to come together and be apart of Mercy Ships as a whole.