Tag Archives: Life on the Outside

Drugs, Alcohol, Dagga, and Cigarettes

If that doesn’t grab you attention, I don’t know what will.  For the past 2 weeks, these topics have been my focal point.  You might be wondering, why… and I don’t judge you if you do.  While I am here at Thrive Africa, I’ve been helping out with Leadership Summit, a program their mission uses to reach thousands of kids in South Africa.  (please go to their website if you would like more information)

I am helping to write a new curriculum, which will bring awareness to the many issues these kids are facing on a daily basis.  My topic?  Drugs, Alcohol, Dagga (marijuana) and cigarettes.  We wanted to get insight into what they actually know about these topics, so I went to the schools and sat down to talk with them.  It was an eye-opening experience.  Many of these teens (ages 14-17) are taught absolutely nothing about drugs or the effects they can have.  These teens were literally begging us to give them more information. They are hungry to know, as their knowledge is limited to what they learn from other kids.  

As we sat down with them, they shared stories about themselves, their families, their friends, and other teens they know.  They opened up about the struggles they are facing, and not knowing how to overcome them.  They talked about teen pregnancy, rape, AIDS, and drugs.  Stories that would bring you to tears… 

After my day at the schools, I have finished writing the curriculum book, and now we will be working toward the editing process. It’s been awesome being able to contribute to the progress Leadership Summit is making in these teenagers lives’ (even in a small way).

Here are some pics of us talking with the teens: 


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Easter Conference

I was trying to put my thoughts together in writing about this past weekend, but sooo much happened that I’m finding it a difficult process…..so here goes.There are 3 vehicles driving up to Popa Falls, Namibia for the weekend: myself pulling the mission trailer, Micheal pulling his trailer, and the truck with the 50 youth.  Since we are camping, we have LOTS of equipment to take….tents, cooking supplies, sleeping gear etc.  It’s going to be an adventure! 

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Friday:  

5:30 am….our meeting time.  We all load up and like typical African style, we end up leaving at 8:00am.  At least we are leaving!  The truck is completely overloaded and some of the kids have to stand the whole way there.  It begins :)

 9:00 am…I receive a phone call from Micheal saying that his vehicle broke down; the radiator cracked.  He now has to begin driving back to exchange cars….yikes!  This means we have to take all the tents he is carrying in his trailer and put them on mine (which is overloaded as well).  

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4:00 pm….We finally arrive at our destination!  Time to set up camp and begin the festivities.

 7:00 pm….Our first session.  What I love about having services out in the bush is the simplicity of it all.  Imagine having service outside under a huge tree, looking up at the night sky with the light of only the moon and thousands of brilliant stars shining.  It is the most amazing atmosphere!  We sang songs with the Namibians who joined us, and Gary gave a welcoming greeting to the youth.  Looking around me, I felt so blessed to be a small part of God’s commission. 

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Saturday:

7:00 am…Wake up time.  The youth are already making noise so I guess that’s our cue.  Breakfast is at 8:00 and the morning session begins at 9:00, where we will be preparing the youth for hut-to-hut ministry.  They are split into groups of 5 with each having a translator.  Then we send them out into the village to go to the huts and visit with the families, sharing the gospel.  The kids are extremely nervous, most of them have never done anything like this before.  As they set out, we (the leaders) go with them, roaming from group to group, checking on their progress.  

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12:00 noon…We all meet back at camp to share how it went.  The kids were all so pumped from the time they had out in the village.  Many have amazing stories of what happened when they visited the families.  One group led 13 people to Christ in one setting.  It was pretty great!!!

2:00pm…We decide to take the kids into “town” for a treat.  There is only one small grocery store, but they don’t care.  They stocked up on sodas and chips and were super happy when they returned.  I think the store was pleased as well.  It was probably more business than they make in a couple of months :)

7:00pm…We showed the film, Passion of the Christ.   We had brought up our dvd player, projector, and screen to show the film.  I would say we had over 300 people there from the area, and not a single dry eye after it was all said and done.  Even though the film is not even in their language, the power of the message was displayed through the movie.  It was a powerful night.

Sunday:

9:00 am…We have our Easter Sunday service with everyone together; adults, children and youth.  There was literally 3 hours of singing….Micheal didn’t begin preaching until 12:15.  Then he gave the message for another hour and a half, and by 1:30 we were all completely exhausted and hungry!  It was pretty awesome though, to see all the different village churches coming together and bringing worship from their churches.

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3:00…Our last session (which was mine).  The theme for our youth was The Great Commission, and my part was tying Obedience into it.  I had prepared a “digital scavenger hunt” for them to participate in.  Each clue was an act of obedience in the Bible.  The groups had to read the story, answer questions, and re-create the act of obedience required in each.  They then took a picture of the scene, and the task was completed.  There were 10 assignments in all, and they had a great time doing it.  My personal favorite was Abraham sacrificing Isaac….they really went all out for that one :)

7:00 pm…Our last night together.  We had a worship night with our youth, and it was amazing!  Even though we were all completely exhausted, all of a sudden we were all singing, dancing, jumping around.  It was so great.  Some of the youth gave testimonies of how this camp impacted their lives and we all truly bonded as a group.  

9:00 pm…We packed up all but the tents, as we were leaving at 6:00am the next morning.

Monday:

5:00 am…Wake up and dismantle all the tents.  

6:00 am…We leave for our game drive.  We didn’t see many animals on the drive, but we were all so ready to get home that I don’t think anyone really minded.

8:30 am…Border crossing 

9:00 am…Breakfast back in Botswana and ready to return home!!!

11:00 am….Our first setback.  A tire on the truck busted so we must pull over and put on the spare :(

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11:45 am…Back on track

12:00…We get a call from Micheal.  Judah (his middle son) has left his passport on the truck (He rode back with his family).  We decide to send the truck ahead and I drive back to the border for the passport exchange.  

1:00…We arrive at the border to find that Micheal’s van will not start.  He is stuck on the Namibia side and we are on the Botswana side.  He has to walk over, get the passport, and try to figure out how to fix the van.  We head back on the road.  It is now 7 hours later and we are back where we started from.

3:00 pm… We get a call from the truck: 2nd tire has blown!  Here is our dilemna…we only had 1 spare tire.  They are only about 70k’s from Maun, so they decide to re-arrange the tires and drive slowly.

5:00 pm…We catch up to the truck at the Foot and Mouth Disease stop.  This is where everyone must exit the car and step on a patch of cloth in some special liquid (which I am convinced is only water).  It’s a painfully long excursion, but we make it through.  It is getting dark, and the trailer I am pulling has no lights on it….I’m getting a little concerned.

7:45 pm….We finally arrive in Maun.  After 3 stops of dropping off kids at different locations, we arrive back on the plot at 8:30pm.

9:00 pm…I am finally home!!!!! I take a long awaited shower and fall into bed.  It has been 13 hours of driving and I am exhausted!  The trip was long, grueling, and tiring….but completely worth it :)

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Updates

I have blogged about a few issues and people have been inquiring about them… so I thought I would give a few updates.

 1.  I am feeling much better.  I finished my week of medication and it seemed to do the trick!

2.  My permit is still up in the air.  They needed more paperwork, so we are working on getting all they need and re-applying.  In the meantime, I have until the 30th of March to apply.

3.  This weekend is our Easter Conference up in Popa Falls, Namibia.  We are taking 50 youth with us and camping up there.  We leave early Friday morning (6am) and return Monday evening.  Please be praying for travel safety and our conference.  This is the first “mission trip” for most of our youth, so they are excited and nervous all at the same time.

4. Lastly, my sister and nephew are coming to visit the beginning of April!  I am extremely excited to see them and have them here with me.  Remember them in your prayers as well :)

 


The continuing virus saga…

If you have been keeping up with my stories, you will know that a common thread has been my physical state of well-being.  I have been sick on and off now with some stomach virus for some time.  Just when I am starting to feel like its completely gone, it peeps up again.  Two weekends ago I was knocked out for the entire weekend, but then Monday came and I was feeling better. Then once again, this past Friday I started feeling it.  I was speaking at our youth meeting that night, so I knew that I had to at least make it for those couple of hours.

I went home early from work to rest that day, in preparation for the evening.  I was feeling weak and tired, and my stomach was killing me.  It was all I could do to get through the night.   I can say it was only by the grace of God that I was able to get up there in front of those kids and preach for an hour!  I even had strength to walk around give some witty examples. :) But wouldn’t you know, that immediately after I was finished, I about passed out.  I went home, got sick, and went to bed!   Saturday and Sunday were days of rest for me, and even though I didn’t quite re-cooperate,  I used the time to read some amazing books my Grandma had sent me by Brother Andrew from Open Door Ministries. 

So here is Monday… I decided I must go to the doctor and take care of this once and for all.  I got up early, went to my Doctor, only to find out that he was sick!  (TIA)  I was referred to the Private Hospital, which needless to say, I was NOT very thrilled about.  They don’t have a great track record, and it seems the Doc’s there aren’t always “in the know” about what to do.  But, knowing that I must get help, I went…. After a brief visit with a Doctor there, and pretty much me telling him what I need and want, he prescribed 5 different medications…thats right 5!  He said I probably have a stomach virus, which is going around here because of all the rains, but if I don’t get better then I can come back and we would try something else.  When Doctors use the word, probably, its not so reassuring.  But as I am a bit desperate, I took the meds and now I am on the road to recovery….(this is my statement of faith).  I did go back and look each one up on the internet to see exactly what they were and used for.  The main drug that I am taking is used for Dysentery and Typhoid, which was what I thought I had a month ago, but they didn’t treat me for.   

I am telling you…it’s a good thing that God watches over His people, because the Doctors here in Botswana sure aren’t helping Him out much!!! 


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Writers block….

Yesterday I sat down to write my lesson for Sunday and nothing came.  I sat and sat and sat, but still nothing. So, I decided to pick up a book and go in a new direction.  I had gotten this book in Cape Town called, Is There Anybody Out There?, so I decided to give it a try.  It is written by Mez McConnell, a missionary in Brazil working with street kids in Belem.  He grew up in England, and the book is his story….going from a child on the streets to a man trying to do something about it.  His story was amazing!  I couldn’t put it down.  He talks about his memories of being abandoned by his parents, physically abused, living on the streets, doing every type of drug, being in prison, and finally getting saved and called to missions.  His story is very real; he doesn’t sugarcoat anything….even with his feelings of Christianity and the church.

 I was overcome by emotion and passion as he shared from his heart, the struggle he still faces today.  As I finished the book (yes, I had to read the whole book in one sitting) I was reminded of that passion inside of me that sometimes gets tucked away with all the administrative aspects involved with my position.  The real reason why we are called to missions: the hurting people.  I realized that I can get so caught up with my own issues of hurt and pain, that others become the side-dish of my day.  It caused a great stirring inside of me, not only for my time here in Botswana, but for my future endeavors, wherever they lie.  If anyone is feeling like I was, and needs a little rejuvenation…find this book and read it.  I promise you, it will re-kindle any passion you ever felt in your life. It’s short and easy to read, and difficult to put down!  

So…..where am I on my writers block?  Today I sat down at my computer and cranked out my lesson for Sunday! Painlessly and effortlessly.     


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Pool

Our mission was unbelievably blessed with a donation to build an olympic-sized pool on the plot.  It will be used for the students at the school, missionaries, and also for community members on the weekend.  Construction actually started a while ago last year, but due to all the rain we have been getting it has taken much longer than anticipated. Pastor Jerry asked me to go take pictures of the progress for the donors yesterday, so I thought I would post it as well.  I am looking forward to getting it done, and actually being able to use it!  Who would have ever thought that in the middle of a desert we would have such an amazing oasis!   (Pool)(Pool: side view)


Last newsletter of 2007

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This is my end of year newsletter….I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!!! See you in 2008!!!


LBBI Graduation

Friday night was our Bible School graduation. It was so touching. As a teacher, I wore a cap and gown, and participated in the ceremony. It was such a great night. These students have come through amazing feats to participate in the Bible School, and some have even been shunned by their families for leaving the “traditional religion” practices of Africans to become Christians. We had 16 students graduate this year. To be a part of something this special…the investment of African lives and future generations through these students is something I will hold dear to me forever. I have been blessed to be a small part of their training, and I am looking forward to next year when I will be teaching a missions course during the first semester.

Here are pictures of me with some of my favorite students (Patience, Angela, and Msiba) and Michael and Heather.
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The Egypt Plague

I would never had thought I would have first hand knowledge of what the Egyptians actually experienced during God’s plagues on their land during the Moses epic. Ok, so I am exaggerating a bit here, but honestly, we have seriously felt a bit of the wrath here.

For the past couple of days we have been infested with the most disgusting insects EVER! I am talking HUGE locusts and moths!!!! It freaks me out to see them flying all around and attacking…and at night its worse.

It actually reminded me of a movie I saw when I was younger called Lucas, with Corey Haim as a child. This was Corey Haim…pre-Corey Haim/Corey Feldman days. Anyways, he plays this little dorky kid who has a crush on a cheerleader. One part of the movie is all about the locusts…and how is he fascinated by them, and how they were all over, making that nasty noise they make up in the trees. So, it reminded me of that movie, when I hear that loud, horrible noise in the trees now.

I seriously hate these bugs, and seeing them larger than they should be freaks me out! I am only glad that I wasn’t a part of the cast who experienced God’s plagues on Egypt. I don’t think I could have handled it!


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My new pet….Zebra!

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The most pecular things happen in Africa, I must say. A couple of nights ago we get this call from Animal Control saying that they had found a baby zebra almost dead by the side of the road. Apparently the mother was killed or such, but they were unable to take care of him….so they called us. (By us, I mean my landlord who has a animal shelter on our property.)

She immediately said to bring him over, and we would do what we could. So, he arrived…ambilical cord and everything…and now we have a baby zebra living at our house.

He is soooooo adorable and soft. I’ve already grown quite attached to him. Becuase zebras are used to living in herds and being around others all the time, this little guy needs lots of attention. When he came to us, he was barely living and looked so heartbroken. You could just see it in his eyes. He wasn’t eating, so he had to be fed via a tube. Now, he is standing up and walking around, after only 2 days!!!

The cutest thing happened yesterday. I had left my sliding door open and all of a sudden, in he walks! I mean…here I am having a baby zebra walking into my house!!! What are the odds!

Not too many people can say they have had a pet zebra, but chalk this one up to experience. Now I just need a good name…but I’m still working on that one.

I’ll keep you posted!

(The photo at the top is right outside my door, and the one on the bottom is when we got him, and he could barely stand up :(

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