Monday, December 28, 2009

Tete part 1

How can you possibly sum up 3 weeks in Mozambique Africa that forever alters the course of your life? How do you put to words days that mark the worst and the best at the same time? How do you explain love and heartbreak, when you are unable to speak the same language? I will do my best for your sake and for mine to tell the Tete story. But I know that I will fail to do it justice.
Tuesday December 8th, 2009
5:30am the alarm goes off and I know there is no ignoring it today. I crawl out of bed and begin the final stages of packing. By 6:30 my bags were packed and it was merely time to wait. By 9:30 it came to the point were it actually looked as if we were going to leave. I said the last of my good-byes, and gave the last of my hugs. We piled 8 girls into the back of the Land Rover and David, Pastor Carlos and Willie, made up the driving team. I pressed my face against the back window, watching Lisa and Jess walk behind and the Land Rover exited the gates of Iris Ministries Pemba. I knew that even when we return 3 weeks later the base will never look the same again. The first day of driving ended in a quiet peaceful village. We were all tucked snugly in our tents safe from the “mother spiders” by just after midnight.
Wednesday December 9th, 2009
Rain gently tapped my tent to say good morning. We all quickly loaded the truck and drove away within the hour. In desire to keep the party moving we have not really stopped for food the last couple of days and so by lunch we actually got out and had a meal. Trying to estimate time is near impossible because of road conditions. In looking through the window I feel like I am watching a arcade driving game. “Drive a Land Rover on roads in Africa trying to avoid children who run in front of the car, tire-popping pot holes, and vehicles driving on your side of the road.” It was again midnight as we were nearing our destination for the night and in all honesty I was not excited about the 2 hours it takes to get the bags and set up camp. But then we experienced a miracle. We pulled into the Dondo base to find out that they had beds made for us and food on the table. I was so shocked all I could do was walk around with my mouth open trying to take it all in.
Thursday December 10th, 2009
This morning I took a shower! It was so glorious I didn’t even care that I shared it with 2 cockroach things each bigger than my thumb. I truly have stopped caring about the extremely large insects. I walked out of my room, feeling cleaner emphasis on the “er,” and another amazing surprise walked into the visitors’ center, Ron and Jan Brunk! This is a couple I met before coming to Africa that went to the school 2 years ago and own the bike store in my tiny town of Whitefish, Montana. Out of a town of maybe 6,000 full time residents we met up in Dondo, Mozambique by surprise. Now because Ron would come into the coffee shop that I worked at almost every day and so him and Jan then had me to their house for a cup of real coffee. French pressed, and served black in a real ceramic mug. We left one of our Mozambiquan girls, Fatima here in Dondo for holiday with her family and the rest of us didn’t make it on the road till around 2pm due to some Land Rover issues. Today’s road I no longer felt that I was watching a video game I felt as if I was in a movie. Truly it was surreal. I begin to write the story in my head to entertain myself for the next 12 hours. Midnight had come and gone and construction roads stretched an unknown length. The African bush was dark and encircled all around us. The air smelled of cigars and clouds of dust would choke your breathing with every passing semi. David, 25 years old, 6’5” wearing a Patagonia plaid button up with the neon driver’s vest was the only one talking and it was never more than the few phrases of, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” or “ Oh, come on!” Pastor Carlos the Mozambiquan guide sat next to him interpreting the road signs for David, with his little son Willie almost 3 years of age asleep on his lap. The road was littered with reflecting road signs but it was a mystery to all of us what any of them meant. It looked as if they had just put every sign they had on the road to say “yes this is the main road and not some abandoned bush bush trail.” In the back the seven girls sat in silence. Amy with long blond hair braided into a million tiny braids and a big Canon camera around her neck at all times was the official photographer. Debora, 6’2” could be mistaken as a New Zealand super model over the inquisitive student that she is always has a huge smile on her face and always excited to take in all the new experiences. Ruth Ann, with long brown hair always pulled back into a braid has been put in charge of food. She is wonderful for the job considering her Amish background. Tuweni, also known as “queweni” is from Malawi. With no fear of speaking her mind and her desires she is a valuable asset to the team considering she speaks the local language. I can be summed up as the young inexperienced nurse, and Natalia is from Tete and we are transporting her back to her family. Merari a firery Porto Rican co-leads with David and Pastor Carlos and serves as the Portuguese translator. The Land Rover jumped and shook after every pot hole and everyone did their best to find a handle to hold onto during the ride. As we came to a bridge again littered with construction signs one man stood in the center with a red light saber waving back and forth.
Now if you take this team and exaggerate all of our personalities, gifting, and backgrounds this would be a crazy good film. We made it to Tete around 2am yet again and Maria Jose and Roberto greeted us with open arms and a hot meal. Our Tete home has a weird familiarity to it. It honestly feels as if I’m staying with my Brazilian Aunt and Uncle, and my siblings and I just did 3 day road trip to get here. The house has 4 empty bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen the size of the bathroom. There are 2 chairs and a bench in the living room along with a few African nick-nacks. But there is not much else in house. Mi and Pi don’t even have a bed. And yet we are so grateful to be living in such luxury, because in Africa this is housing of only the rich. I believe many Americans would break down in tears if they had to live in such poverty conditions. After unloading the luggage from on top of the Land Rover we placed our air matrices close together on the cement floor and slept as best we could in the suffering Tete heat.
Friday, December 11th, 2009- Monday, December 14th, 2009
The first few days spent in Tete concussed of just spending time with “family.” Each day we went to the small one room concrete church. There is a brothel right next to the church that we are trying to purchase to turn into a children’s center. However, it is currently still in business. We have walked all around the surrounding village in prayer and Saturday night when we showed the Jesus film at the church many of the prostitutes came over and came up to turn they’re lives around. Many of them were at church the next day as well. The Tete church is amazing and these people truly love the Lord. They are far more mature spiritually than most of the churches here in Mozambique and that is all thanks to Mi and Pi (Maria Jose and Roberto). I have gravitated toward two little girls in particular here at the church. They must be about 5 years old. One of them is the Pastor’s daughter named Ida and the other I never was able to get her name. They are best friends and are always scene together. Each time we show up they run over and are attached to each side of me the entire time I’m there. They remind me of my best friend Nicole and I when we were that age.
Tuesday December 15th, 2009 - Thursday December 16th, 2009
Bush bush visit- Singorah: The camion full of our missionary team and a group of Mozambiquans from the Tete church arrived to the sound of singing and dancing. One by one we jumped down from the back of the truck and joined the celebration. Singorah is the most beautiful village in Africa. Ok, well as far as I’ve scene. Green grass covers the ground as goats, cows, chickens, and donkeys roam. Ducks and Hogs enjoy the watering hole shaded by a large mango tree. Even in the little church the women have hung dried flowers from the roof. Everything is clean and beautiful including the people. They are all so inviting. One women walked us to the market and tried to buy us sodas. We managed to buy the drinks and so she bought us a pack of cookies.
When we visit the bush bush, during the day Mi and Pi split up the Mi’s and Pi’s and talk about AIDS, sexual purity, and relationships while the rest of us take the kids. Typically the we paint the girls fingernails while the boys play soccer. We sing songs, and dance, play games, and tell a Bible story. Tuewni is so good with the kids and we are lucky to have her. She has a billion songs up her sleeve all in their language. We visited another visit on Wednesday as well and did the same thing with them. Except Maria Jose and Roberto kept the Mi’s and Pi’s together and talked about relationships. They had the pastor and his wife give each other a hug in front of everyone and even the children turned around to witness the most awkward hug. They simply do not hug. We have enjoyed bringing the concept of the hug to the people. Even with the children, it takes them a little while before they melt and embrace the embrace.
When we got home to Tete Thursday evening upon entering the bathroom we found the bathtub was completely covered in cockroaches. This discouraged the excitement of showers mildly, but not much. We killed them, removed them and got the shower line moving. 12 people sharing one bathroom means that it takes a while for everyone to get a turn. After everyone got their shower, we went to town to buy supplies for the next bush bush visit. I got some time on the internet, which was a wonderful surprise and after collecting a small donation we sent our leaders out to dinner.
Friday, December 18th, 2009 - Saturday December 19th, 2009
Back to the bush again. These two days were openly some of the worst days I’ve had in Africa and at the same time two of the most amazing. At the first village it had to be 50 degrees Celsius. Upon arriving to the first village I got serious stomach cramps. We set up our tents and I went to bed almost immediately. Sleep was not an option however. This was indescribable heat. The ground is mainly coal and therefore it was radiating heat all night. I was drowning in pools of my own sweat. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life and I will be honest in saying I don’t desire to ever experience that again.
Once Saturday rolled around, and I gave up the idea of sleeping at all. I’m sure no one slept at all Friday night. We played with the kids again while Mi and Pi took the adults. At one point I looked over to find a little boy of maybe 3 laying in the dirt crying. I went over brushed him off and took him in my arms. He stopped crying and calmed down as I gently rocked him. He had a necklace placed on him from the witch doctor, which meant there was something wrong with his health. I began to sing blessing over him, and canceled all curses placed on this boy in the form of the bondage around his neck. I sat down and cradled him in my arms and Roberto and the local pastor came over and noticed the witchcraft symbol as well. The pastor begin explaining to this boys mother that the witchdoctor doesn’t have any power to bring healing and blessing. Witchcraft only brings curses and destruction. The Holy Spirit is the real healing power and there is no required fees, or negative consequences. In the end the mother couldn’t care less, but the little boy changed. He was held and loved for an hour. He experience the peace that comes only from Heaven and the enemy could not touch him while he was in my arms. I don’t mean to sound mellow-dramatic but the spiritual world is a reality here.
We left Saturday afternoon and went to another village. Again we were greeted with singing and dancing and Deborah and I joined in on the party. My eyes focused on the amazing dancers and my hands clapped along to the beat and too quickly for me to understand what was happening my capulana fell off! Grabbed it faster than I knew I could move and Doca, my sister from the Tete church, and I had a good laugh. Yep, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I flashed the whole church! The local pastor took a small group of us on a little tour after the welcome party, and we ended up hiking up a mountain in capulanas in the heat of the day. Not something I would recommend. It was beautiful though. He then took us to the chief’s house to introduce us. This is probably the farthest into the bush that we have been yet. There is no electricity, no roads, no cars, nothing remotely close that gives hint of the modern world. However as we neared the chief’s house Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” drifted from the radio. It simply didn’t fit the scenery of hippo skulls, and mud huts.
We came back to camp to find that lunch was ready. Deb and I helped Fatima and Doca with the dishes. We had a blast washing the dishes African style, using the dirt as a scrubby sponge, and brown muddy water from the river to rinse. When we were all finished Doca and Fatima took off our sandals and began washing our feet. Not long after this beautiful moment, Deb and I decided to join the dance party. We learned the Tete dance to the best of our ability, which resulted in a lot of laughter by all. That night after the rain, the film, the prayer, and salvations we jumped back into the camion to head back to Tete. No one really packed the gear for the drive home and Deb and I were sitting at the base of the pile and it was not long before DVD players begin crashing onto our heads. We did our best to hold everything in and with sweat pouring down my face and my body getting tossed worse than some crazy earthquake it became mandatory that I make it to the end of the camion. After falling onto Mozambiquan laps, and worrying about my capulana falling off again, I made it to the end just in time to hurl over the side. Yep, again the worst and the best wrapped into one.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last days in Pemba

Saturday, December 5th, 2009
Happy Birthday Meadow!!! I love you sister! This morning I woke up barely past 6am to a text message from my good friend Jenna back in Whitefish. This is the first time I’ve talked to anyone besides my parents on the phone and a few tears were shed from pure joy. I know I was an emotional wreck in the beginning of the school and now at the end of school I am the same wreck, but really I promise I wasn’t this way in the middle. Anyway Jenna was watching 5 out of 6 of the nieces and nephews and the phone got passed around to all of them. It was wonderful. This afternoon we I said good bye to Henk. He has been one of my favorites from this school and we had our reentry meeting where some really good things were said. Then Jess, the dutch, James, Esther and I all went to the Nautilus for lunch. I had rice and beans at home and just used the internet for a bit but sat and enjoyed the convo with the rest of the table. Then us girls ran into the water then sat on the pier in silence while the boys stayed chatting and drinking cappuccinos, Ha a little reverse roll hey? Us girls laughed about it. Once back on base I showered and changed into clean clothes, borrowed some bobby pins and pinned up my hair, and even get this… put on makeup. Yeah I went all out tonight baby! Anyway then Mandy, Alice, Sherri Lynn, Spencer, Chris, James, Eric, Tiago, Martha, Rallo, John, and I went to the Navel for dinner. Later Jerome and the other Eric joined us and then Esther, Desi, Lisa, and Dan joined our table as well. I had some great convo with Spencer tonight which is fun because he is one I didn’t ever get that close with while being here. Well, in all honesty I didn’t get close with any guys. To a certain level yeah, but I still feel like I am at week 2 with all of them. Alice and I also got some good heart to heart tonight. Oh a noteworthy tragedy today was after I woke Carrie up to inform her that our medical meeting got bumped up to right as I woke her. Carrie and I came back to the house and it was about 9:30 at this point. Carrie had 2 Starbucks instant coffees left and had water boiling with her cup of coffee sitting right next to the stove. Krista who just got back from the chicken shack with a soda that she just purchased came in the door and added a few ice cubes to a cup and then started pouring her soda in the cup. Then she freaks out and says, “Uhh… why can’t people learn to do the dishes!!!” Her soda was a nasty brown and I realized what she had just done. I then said gently, “Krista you just poured your soda into Carrie’s coffee” All Carrie could say was “its ok, its ok” at that point I knew our house had then reached a new level of “oh gosh!” and I said see you later.

Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Happy Birthday Jillian!!! My oldest niece is 13 today! Today was a wonderful day. Last night was a late night I didn’t go to bed until 12:30 or so but I was up at 6:30 with Esther at my window asking if I was awake. We made our breakfast plans for 7:30 and I threw on some clothes and spent some time in the word. I felt like God was extremely clear this morning. I just stayed in bed listening to Ave Maria and reading from Luke. I read the story of how Jesus appeared to the disciples after He rose from the dead and they didn’t recognize him the whole time and it wasn’t until they began to eat together that he recognized him and He had to open their minds (Luke 24: 45). It then made me think about the last supper and when they ate, He then said do this in remembrance of me. I thought well they sat and ate together all the time and then the last time they eat together Jesus says when you break bread an drink wine do it in remembrance of me. I just couldn’t help but think of what a crazy mess of religion Jesus made of things. Here He was one man that showed up and says that He alone is fulfilling the law and that people don’t need to do this whole sacrifice thing any more and we are in a new covenant with God where we can feel Him any time we ask. It is so drastically different than everything that everyone knew back then. Anyway I just had some interesting convo with God this morning. I’m still dwelling on all this obviously.
By 7:30 Esther, Alicia, and I went to the Nautilus for breakfast. I had a pancake, it was tasty and a cup of tea. Oh and our server gave me a free muffin just because.
Once back I put together my medical box and then went to the truck to say good-bye. I did tear up just a little once she was in the truck driving off. I adore the girl, I feel she is my sister. By then it was house cleaning time. All of us went to town on our dirty house. We did a crazy good job and now I am sitting at the clean table walking barefoot on clean floors with flowers on the table and the smell of bleach still in the air as I journal in an empty house listening to my music. I don’t care if I am a dork who eats a candle lit dinner alone, because I enjoy it.
My gear repair kit has come in quite handy since being here. I have yet to use it for myself but I helped Henk the other day, I helped Spencer today and I have helped Johan twice.

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Today I had to say good bye to two trucks full of friends. Some I know I will see by the end of the month, others I know I will see at some point down the road, and some I know I will never see again. It is hard but I know I don’t know how hard it really is yet.

Shout out to all y’all!!!

I just want to say that I will be in the bush bush now for the next 3 weeks but I will be back in Montana before you blink an eye. Thank you to everyone who has sent emails and quick messages of love. They have gotten me through this far. I can’t wait to see you or talk to you once I’m back in the states. I will fill you in on the rest of the story in a month. I love you! God is with you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Graduation week!

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Today was the first day of the last week of school! Weird! Today really was a great day. School began with worship and graduating the Young family and Jesse and Tanya because they leave tomorrow to go back to La Shinga. Then Mel Tari spoke, which was so amazing! Man he is one of my school favorites! Then Amy spoke! She is an amazing, wonderful woman that beat us up with her honesty in a good way. I really respect her when she talks about not whining, and enjoying the luxuries that we have. Mel too, I respect him so much and find him relatable when it comes to talking about how we need to go about our day to day lives. This morning God put Nina Landis music in my head when I woke up. So I listened to it as I did yoga and read my Bible. God started talking to me about same things that Mel and Amy talked about later. That is God for you! For lunch Esther, James, Alicia, Chris, John, Mandy and I went to town had Chinese food, ice cream and did some grocery shopping. It actually was a wonderfully enjoyable town visit. I had a lot of fun and was able to get a little bit of peanut butter and mangos and bananas. It was great. Alicia, Esther and I made tuna sandwiches for dinner because the Iris base ran out of food so they did not feed the mission school students tonight. They fed the kids and the bible school students. Then Mel Tari spoke again at the evening session and again it was wonderful. God is good, day after day, after day! AMEN!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Today marks exactly one week till I leave for the bush bush, and exactly one month until I am home in Whitefish, Montana! Crazy!!! It is all exciting, and wonderful, yet sad and terrible at the same time. I will be saying goodbye to my family here, my home here, and my life in my bubble. Yet I will be embarking on an incredible adventure that will last for 3 weeks and then I will be heading back to Montana to bring all the wonders of Mozambique home with me. God has not given me a spirit of fear, and yet I know believe that it is good to acknowledge the fact that difficulty is around the corner. Because when I headed out to my first outreach I didn’t believe that it would be hard for me, and with that I got a slap in the face I was not expecting. But I am admitting that this will be hard even though I am so excited for it, and I know that it will be hard once I’m home as well even though I truly can’t wait.
Today Mel Tari spoke in the morning and he is amazing I’m telling you. He is such a papa and ridiculously funny! Then Heidi spoke and she always has many incredible stories to share. As soon as school got out I went and got my rice and beans and went to the meeting for outreach. David made creeps and oh man were they good! I’m looking forward to more of those! I had to leave that meeting even before we were totally done because I had color group meeting with Heidi. We sat in her office with kids coloring, walking around, and interrupting and we went around the room and shared how we got to Iris, how we liked the school, and what we are doing after school. I have to tell you about Dan and Lisa! So I don’t think I mentioned it at the beginning of the school but the first day the first group of us were here, we were all chatting and Lisa mentioned that her and Dan were engaged and Esther asks “so do you have a dress yet?” Lisa casually answers “no but I’m not worried about it, I’ll just wear my favorite dress if it comes down to it.” Well Esther then says “well I have a wedding dress, God told me to bring a wedding dress to Pemba, do you want to try it on?” Lisa tried it on and it is the perfect fit, and it is exactly what she had been looking at online that she knew she couldn’t afford. Wow! So ok here is what happened today… As Dan and Lisa tell their story to Heidi, Heidi then asks “do you have rings?” the answer was no and Heidi then responds “well do you know I have a ring ministry? Yeah people give me rings and then I give them for wedding rings. So what do you like, gold, silver, white gold, diamonds?” Come on!!! I started crying right then and there. God is just so ridiculously good!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
The last week of school God never intends to leave you with what He has done in the last 7 weeks. He always wants to give you that last bit more. This morning Mel Tari spoke and then Papa Roland. They are both awesome! And worship was incredible too. The afternoon was pretty mellow and after dinner and a little gathering of ice cream for those who helped Roberta with the book reviews. The evening session started shortly after that. All we did was worship and at one point the Lord layed the burden of Whitefish so heavy that I was in a ball on the floor rocking, and tears pouring out of my eyes, snot dripping from my nose, and I was screaming! Everyone around me was loud and in their own world so no one really noticed my crying and screaming. As when I have a intense intense cry this was it and all I could do was ask God to visit people now. I would call people by name as God gave me the names and I believe that God is coming to Whitefish. I feel a bit vulnerable telling you this whole story but I promise in the beginning that I wanted to tell you even the times that I am a mess on the floor. After the evening session I put on some hot water and Jess, Anna and I sat and had hot chocolate and talked a bit. We had a wonderful talk with Anna and just loved and encouraged her tonight. I think it was really good and I felt that we bonded over it as well. We talked about what a testimony she is and if there are things that she still needs to cry or scream about that she needs to do that and not feel stupid about it.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
This morning after getting dressed and grabbing a cup of Ricoffee, only the best, I washed all my clothes. Once every item was hanging on the line I grabbed the remaining of my coffee and walked to the last class! Mel Tari spoke first and then Mamma Heidi. After class I had a meeting and then Jess and I made two batches of glory balls for graduation tomorrow, then two batches of Jello, cleaned house, made dinner, and then an apple crumble. We had a very domestic evening. There are times in which I step back and think, “what time period am I living in?” I have to haul my own water, I spent all day washing laundry by hand, cooking and cleaning. And we have to do it all in a floor length skirt

Friday, December 4th, 2009 Graduation Day!
Wow! What a day! Just after 6am Jess came in and woke me up. I made some rice porage from rice that I saved from the night before and we were out of the house by 7am. We walked up to Nathan’s casa (Nathan is the school director), to do some gardening. There is a large garden area up by the prayer hut and the school hut that is beautiful but the horses are free range on the base and therefore they have fully destroyed the garden. At one point goats got into the garden and did a lot of damage as well. But Nathan has been working on it for the last 2 months or more and a wall has been built surrounding it so the horses cannot get in and today a group of us planted trees! We planted coconut trees, mango, orange, and papaya trees, thorny bougainvillea flowers along the wall to keep the banditos from jumping over. We cleaned up garbage, and watered. It was so much fun. Even in just 2 months you can see such a transformation of our garden enclosed! It is beautiful and I can’t wait to come back in 3 years and see the coconut tree that I planted, tall and bearing fruit!
So I didn’t get to stay long today because I had a meeting at 8am for medical training. I volunteered to be the on sight nurse for my 3 week bush bush trip. We are a group of 7 with two Mozambiquan pastors. We will be driving in a Land Rover for 3 days to get to our destination. We are going to a place that doesn’t yet have a children’s home. A Brazilian couple from the last mission school just moved there and are pioneering this new city. They just got there and we will be there first visitors, so this is truly going to be exciting. Iris Ministries just bought what used to be a brothel and the plan is to fix it up to the point in which it becomes a children’s home. From what we have heard there are many, many abandoned children. Street kids are everywhere and currently there is no where for them to go. I will be here for Christmas unless we decide to start driving back to Pemba Christmas day, but either way I’m also the “Christmas Director” for our team. I’m so thankful for my children’s school class back in Whitefish. Before I left they did a bake sale and raised money for the kids here. The Lord told me to hang on to it for a while and I didn’t give it to the base here right away and now I know it is for the street kids for Christmas in this new town I will be living in for 3 weeks. Thank you kids! Just a little side note it is rainy season and the town we are going to is on the Zambezi river and there are big possibilities of flooding so please keep Mozambique in your prayers in this regard. I have scene what one day of heavy rain can do and I don’t to see it get worse. Moderation of rain please, no floods!
Ok so after the medical training I went home put on a bright red t-shirt with the Iris logo on the front and back, a long skirt and my purple bandana to signify what color group I’m in. Graduation here is definitely not get in a nice dress, take a shower and put on makeup it is more like just wear what everyone else is wearing and don’t bother showering today because it will end up being pointless and hey no one wears makeup any other day there is no point in putting it on today and then crying and sweating it off 5 minutes later. I walked up to the school gazebo looking like I went back in time and am now 10 again with my baggy tee, my hair pulled back, and my skirt. Once there all of us students gave a standing ovation for our wonderful staff. We stood shoulder to shoulder completed the circular gazebo with a wall of bodies in red, blue, black, and green Iris t-shirts. The staff walked around to each of us praying over us and blessing us with authority to go out into the world. We started up there at 10am and by 1:30 we glanced at the clock and realized we were supposed to be at the kitchen a half hour ago. We were just having too much fun.
At the kitchen we broke up into our color teams with a group of the Mozambiquan Bible school students in each team as well and we had a chicken dinner feast! Each house made a few batches of no bake cookies and after passing those out the competition began. We played the simple egg on a spoon game and I know this sounds funny but it was such a beautiful sight! Mozambiquan mommas and papas and mission school students from 17 different nations dancing on tables, screaming, and getting so excited over a piece of chicken, rice, a juice box, a cookie, and a simple egg on a spoon game. Music blasted the sound of gospel hip hop something, “get down get down get down…” and I there was not one body not dancing. Mamas carried the egg on the spoon with babies strapped on their backs and I can truly say it felt like family.
After the massive lunch party we all walked down to the church and Papa Roland, Mama Heidi, and Papa Mel Tari were waiting for us. The dancing continued once we reached the church and a all students from both schools were up on stage doing the follow the leader dance to some African worship song. That building is HOT and dancing only makes things worse. Like I said earlier no point in taking a shower. Everyone is soaked with sweat at this point. Mel Tari then preached with his Indonesian accent heavy and his Pentecostal mannerisms even stronger, and a Portuguese translator did his best to keep up with him and the Makuah translator did his best to keep up after the Portuguese. Heidi then read each a group of mission school student’s names as they stepped onto the stage just to fall to their knees while Mel, Heidi, and Roland prayed for each person. Brian, the leader of the Bible school, then would read a group of Bible school student names and they would come up and do the same thing. I believe we started this process at about 3 and when I reached the front door of my house it was 8pm. I know this might be really hard for you to imagine but God is a lot of fun! It was not a horrible sit through the reading of names and clapping for 5 hours it was a quick mention of the names and then lots of prayer. And again this might sound strange to you but the prayer was not quiet whispering, with classical music playing in the background it was tears and laughter, it was shouting and dancing, it was fun! At one point after everyone’s names had been called and we were all now on stage and the music was going again as loud as ever a Mozambiquan woman picked up Mamma Heidi and carried her around our “dance circle” then a Mozambiqan man did the same to this guy Eric, a mission school student from New York, and then my roommate Krista runs across the room and picks me up. I felt as if I was in some Jewish wedding or something. It was hilarious! We both then fell to the floor in laughter and stayed there for probably 2 hours.
Once we mustered the strength to walk back to our house we discovered that the party continues! All of us mission school students then sat around a fire roasting hot dogs. Yes I had a hot dog and coke and didn’t think twice about it. The evening has dwindled to an end at nearly midnight and everyone here can testify it was quite the day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving and Rain

Friday November 27th, 2009
This morning I set an alarm and was awake by 4am. The sun wasn’t quite up so I waited till nearly 5 to wake up Krista. I threw on the same dirty clothes I was wearing yesterday (I don’t think I have ever done this in my life before coming here) and the two of us walked 20 minutes to the Nautilus. By 6am I finally connected with my family via Skype. I was able to see a blurry image of the whole crew. The image on my computer screen skipped glimpses of the all the faces I love crammed in a corner of my parents warm house protected from the chilly winter air. They gaze at me sitting on the pier with the ocean in the background, squinting from the intensity of sun that is making sweat roll down the back of my tank top. I couldn’t have been happier to see my family, and I know I am so incredibly blessed to have them. I am only 1 out of 17 and they love me enough to want to stay together and talk to me as a family. How could this not brings tears to my eyes?
After time on the internet ran out, Krista and I walked further down the beach to a little restaurant to have a cup of coffee. We sat with our toes in the sand as we enjoyed the still quiet beach. We exchanged wisdom and concerns as clouds slowly covered the sun and a warm rain began to fall. We walked home with thunder booming behind us and our feet kicking the surf. I swear by my Timbuck2 bag so we walked without worry for our computers were safely tucked inside my treasure bag.
We made it home bodies soaked, computers dry, and put on a pot of tea. Today is the day after Thanksgiving which means it is officially Christmas season. The Christmas playlist on my ipod was the beginning of what I would like to think of it as “if you give a mouse a cookie,” example. It started with a cup of chamomile tea and Christmas music, then once on the subject of Christmas, Carrie, Krista and I grabbed scarves, Carrie’s beanie (don’t ask me why she has a beanie in Mozambique) and Krista’s gloves (again don’t ask) we took a few “Christmas” photos and then it escaladed to the idea of Christmas cooking. We don’t have much to work with in our cupboards, so some peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and coco powder made a truffle that we then rolled in cinnamon and instant coffee! Yeah they were amazing and extremely rewarding! It then escaladed to wanting a Christmas tree. I left the house in claim that I would find one. Well I came back with what I thought was a good “tree.” The next few hours were spent decorating the tree, making popcorn garland, and singing along to the classic Christmas songs. The “Christmas party” did not remain just me and two of my roommates, it grew with every girl that walked by the house, or heard the music. I passed out cups of tea to our guest in only our finest china, (emptied peanut butter jars) and in return each new guest added to the energy of the moment.

Knowing we got a little ahead of ourselves, but it was a ridiculously funny challenge of our imagination to imitate Christmas as we know it. A giant palm tree branch and a “happy birthday” banner found in a random drawer, transformed into “happy Christmas” with help of some magic, created the foundation for our “Christmas tree.” And earrings, popcorn, headbands, and whatever else people came up with trimmed the tree before finishing it off with a giant leave in an abstract shape of a star at the top. God continued to bless us with rain all day and although it wasn’t cold outside it still helped set the mood.
The rain continued as Carrie, Krista and I put on skirts and rain jackets, and walked to meet up with the rest of the group for village outreach. A group of us went to Theresa’s house which I was excited about. (She was the woman that gave me the necklace the last time I went on village outreach.) The last time we were there we noticed the roof on her house was in really bad shape. When we visited today we noticed that her roof was brand new! Iris ministries came last week and gave her a new roof! We sat and visited for a while and then continued onto a new house. Here there was one almost blind woman and her husband and children and this 18 year old girl that had no other family that now lives with this family and helps with the children. I know I have said this before but the sense of community is incredibly provoking. Time moved extremely slow while we sat on grass mats with children on our laps. I held this one boy for about 2 hours and we just played clapping games, and I let him and his older brother play with my hair Occasionally their mom would laugh at my stylish new do and at one point she leaned over and rubbed oil in my hair and face. A kiss on each cheek and a “ciao, ciao” sent us walking back home.
I have to be honest I just wasn’t into the food from the kitchen tonight, consequently I had some crackers with butter for dinner. I cannot possibly describe to you how messed up my eating habits are here, but I’ll give you a little idea. Yesterday I ate a burger for my thanksgiving meal (first one in almost 2 years). Chicken night on base is the best night of the week. I have had nothing but instant coffee this whole time. I have had multiple sodas (I absolutely never drink soda at home except an sporadic ginger beer). The other day I didn’t have milk and therefore I had orange juice in my cereal. And the other day I accidentally missed the breakfast roll and ended up eating a cracker/cookie thing that tastes like cardboard with fake butter and honey on top. And to think that before I left home I was concerned with drinking out of plastic water bottles, that is the least of my concerns at this point. Now you know that when I brag on my cooking of good food it really is a rarity. This is a more accurate description of everyday.

Saturday, November 28th, 2009
The sound of Thunder shakes me awake and the sound of rain on the tin roof lulls me back to sleep again and again through the night. I end the cycle by deciding to get out of bed and grab my raincoat. I walk out of my bedroom in my Kermit the frog jacket ready to walk to the kitchen at the top of the compound. Before I make it past the threshold of my bedroom door, Krista walks in drenched and holding all six bread rolls. Turns out there is no need to challenge the rain after all. The house remains dark and the only sound is the rain increasing his authority. Krista and I put on a pot of water to make our pot of instant coffee and sit at our dinning room table. The rain is no longer gentle and kind as yesterday but powerful. I don’t have a worry in the world except for when the rain comes in sideways and through the windows. For the windows have no glass on them which is not usually something we think about until you are sitting on the toilet and getting rained on at the same time. Yet again I say this is all that we could possibly worry about, while there are thousands of families surrounding us who live in a one room dirt floor hut and the rain becomes a cruel god that invades their houses, through their poor conditioned grass roofs. He turns their floors to mud and soaks everything in his supremacy. The cardboard walls of some houses wither away leaving individuals exposed to the rain’s wrath, and there are no coffee shops or cafes that the locals can take cover in while they wait out the storm. It is just man against rain.
By noon I walked to the Navel with the “Dutchmen” (three people from Holland). The walk over there was interesting. I had a hard time walking because I was laughing so hard at Jerome getting stuck in the mud. There was no avoiding walking through the garbage filled mud puddles that tried their best to eat your flip flops. We sat there till after 5pm and I ended up reading over 200 pages in my book. We walked home along the beach to avoid the river of garbage that encapsulated the road, and still we were challenged in avoiding mud and trash as much as possible. I am close to finished of another one of my books and good thing too considering it is the last week of school starting on Monday. Weird! All of us can’t help talk about it frequently these days, and yet we all know that there is no predicting just how the future will pan out. I know I will experience culture shock upon entering the US and I know that I will miss my new family that I have here and yet there is nothing I can do to prepare myself for this except to acknowledge it is coming quickly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beach, Snorkle, and Matapas

Saturday, November 21st, 2009
The beginning of the day was pretty mellow. Just Lisa and Jess and I hanging out at the dinning room table, talking, looking at photos, listening to music, reading, sleeping. I didn’t even really ever get dressed today. I stayed in my sarong till we went to the beach at 3 and then got home and changed into a dress. The beach was a blast though. Jess, Hannah and I walked to the Naval side with our 2 in 1 shampoo conditioner and lathered up. After washing hair and body in the waves we sat on the edge of the water and exfoliated with sand. The waves were strong today and I felt like I was 4 again playing on the beach. We just let ourselves get tossed and twirled, pulled and pushed. At one point Jess and I were getting pulled toward the sea and a whole school of fish were caught in the wave. There must have been more than 200 small fish jumping up out of the water and we couldn’t help but scream and do our best to crawl away. I have not felt this clean since I left home. My skin is soft, my hair is washed, I was getting exercise and I wasn’t sweating! Once we got home Jess and I decided because of the sick bug going around we wanted to clean house really good and do our best to get the sick germ out. Jess, Lisa and I swept, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, filled water buckets because the water came on for a little bit, we cleared and wiped down every surface. Man it feels good. I have been not feeling great for the last 3 days, Jess is not feeling great, and Carrie has been sick for the last 2 days. Right now there are more than 20 people in the compound that are sick. It is absolutely crazy! We have increase prayer and worship exceedingly and are encouraging others to clean like mad as we did. We had one group get back from outreach today and 4 came back sick. We still have a team out till tomorrow and I am praying that non of them are sick.

Sunday, November 22, 2009
What a day! Late last night the red team got in from outreach and all day today everywhere you look was a sick person. I want to say almost 80% of the school has been sick in the last couple of days. Some are worse than others but like I said almost everyone has been hit. We looked like some hospital in the student compound. Every back porch had three sometimes four people laying on matrices, and camping mats with buckets and cold washcloths.
However, there were a few of us who were better by today and a group of us rented a boat and snorkel gear through the Nautilus! A group of 9 of us loaded into a rusted, leaking, motor boat that has scene some battles with the ocean and headed on a 15 minute boat ride to a coral reef located off the coast. I have never done anything so amazing! The whole time I really felt I was living a dream. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I was seeing fish and sea creatures I had only previously scene on TV or the pet store. But I was swimming with them, inches from touching them. We snorkeled for just under 2 hours, hopped back in the boat and pushed through the water back to shore. Once back we sat on the pier at the Nautilus’s restaurant and ordered a fruit salad with ice cream to top off the afternoon.
Lisa and I had dinner plans tonight so once back I rinsed off the sea water and we began cooking. Lisa had already begun cooking a chicken that she bought at the grocery store the other day and I started on the sauce. I bought a jar of mixed spices, green mangos, and other kinda Thai spice combos and mixed a few spoonfuls with a jar of coconut milk. We got rice from the main kitchen and had a feast. Sunday night they serve matapas on the rice which is not my favorite and therefore Sundays are a great night to make our own topping.
I can’t help it I had to include a picture of matapas. After dinner Lisa and I were still feeling the cooking mood and we then decided to make an apple crumble. It is amazing the creativity that comes out with such limited options. It is also great living in a little community because we were just a bit short on oats and so we had to borrow some. Then our stove ran out of propane and so we had to go and borrow a neighbors oven. We finished off a great day by bugging a different neighbor to borrow a movie and sat in the kitchen with Jess and Daniel and watched Narnia.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
This morning I grabbed my breakfast roll and tea walked home remembered about our empty propane container so therefore grabbed that and walked back up to the kitchen to replace it. Once back home I did my best to put it all back together to be honest I’m not sure if it is completely right even now. After class Lisa, Jess and I grabbed our books and walked across the street to the beach. There is a resort not far away and this is my favorite beach to go to. They have the grass roof umbrellas, and chairs scattered around a bit and so we picked our spot and spent time just listening to the ocean. I got up and was able to go for a bit of a walk alone. Yes Lisa and Jess are in sight but not sound and you feel as if you are alone. I was able to just talk with God a bit and have a good one on one time with him as the ocean water tickled my toes. I feel so blessed to be here. We walked back to iris because I had an appointment to teach the book “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson to some of the students in which English is not their first language. This is a hard book to give a brief summery in 30 minutes with translating into Portuguese; but I did my best for the Brazilian couple and the Sinhye from South Korea. The rest of the evening was yet again full of much silliness with my housemates. The laughter never ceases.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another week, Another post

Sunday was my day for the internet and after I finished posting my last blog Mandy, Johan and I walked to the Chicken Shack and ran into Esther, James, Chris, and John. The Chicken Shack is litterally a shack just outside of the Iris base that sells little cookies and soda and a few little lunch items. It shares one of it’s walls with the wall surrounding the Iris compound and the other three walls are made of chicken wire windows and bamboo. After ducking your head and stepping down into the little room with 3 wooden tables, a few tables, and one bare light bulb in the middle of the room, the man behind the counter greats you with a smile. He knows no English and so ordering anything consists of pointing, he then types the numbers into a calculator screen, and you pay accordingly.
The rest of the day I read my book, and then cleaned house. I have yet to explain my living quarters. I live in a house of 7 people. Anna and Andy, my house parents, are from England. Lisa is from Tanzania and Australia, Jess from Vancouver CA, and Krista from Cali are in one bedroom and Carrie from Cali and I are in a room that is about the size of my sister Robin’s walk in closet. We all share a common room with a table, a fridge, a stove, sink, and a cupboard for dishes and food. Living in community is fun, crazy, and I love my new little family, but we also step on each other’s toes as well.
Monday the birds sang good morning as I climbed out of bed just before 6am. It truly was a joy to discover we had running water this morning and that I could use the bathroom and avoid walking to the latrine. After rejoicing over the simple things in life I put on a pair of leggings to cover my knees, and then a pair of shorts overtop because the leggings are too tight on my butt and a tank top. (work out wear in this culture ends up being lots of layers) I grabbed my ipod, my yoga mat, and made my way to the side of the house that had shade. I made myself a cup of detox tea once I was finished and got dressed for the day. As I was sitting reading my bible Jess came out with a text message for me. It was mom and dad saying that they are trying to call me. I fought with the phone for more than 40 minutes but eventually got through. I was so desperate to hear from them for the fact that I read on face book yesterday that Robin had been hit by a bus and that was all I knew. The rest of the day not anything too exciting happened except for the discovery of a random tomato plant that is beside our house produced 4 juicy red tomatoes!
Tuesday was both Carrie and Esther’s birthday! We begin with craziness of singing and showering our birthday friends with love. Heidi spoke at school again today. I fully enjoyed what she had to say, and it all resonated with what the Lord was already speaking to me. Tuesday afternoon my house took a group of girls from the Iris base out for a soda at the Chicken Shack. We baked brownies ahead of time and went around saying names and ages but it is hard with the language barrier to develop relationship. I find myself wanting to do and say more than I can while I’m here but I just have to keep reminding myself that just loving on them and learning their name is significant. After we said good bye to our house full of girls we got together as a family again as our weekly Tuesday routine of having dinner together.
Wednesday afternoon I got to go to the internet for a short time and I was able to check my email. I so enjoy reading each and every one of your encouraging words, and info on life back in the glorious Montana. You will probably never know just how much they mean to me. In the evening we had a get-together planned with all of the Mozambiquan Bible School students. All of us Mission School students loaded onto a few camions and drove over to what is called Iris base one which is where a lot of the long term missionaries live. We unloaded once we got there and broke up into our already assigned teams. A team of Bible School students joined us and we ate chicken and rice, we played games, and were able to really be one family. Toward the end of the night all us Mission School students lined up to pray for all the Bible school students as they left. We blessed each one as they walked by and when everyone had passed through the line we all ended up dancing around to the Hillsong song “Take take take it all…” (I don’t know the title sorry) I will tell you from experience dance parties in Mozambique leave you dripping in sweat when they are over, but nevertheless they are so worth it. As my friends back home can testify I would not survive 3 months without dance parties.
Thursday afternoon was a much needed rest time for me. I didn’t take a nap… but I did just sit at the table, write, and listen to music. I even got maybe 30 minutes with the house to myself! This place has been great in the regards of relationship as well. I know I don’t mention the people here that often because then the blog posts would all end up being 3 times longer but each day I spend hours at a time just sitting and talking with people. Lisa and I have had many deep conversations. Jess I feel is always interested in my life and I get to share to her about all my loved ones back home. Alicia and Esther I feel are my sisters. And each day I connect on new levels with others as well. This evening I went to a Missionary couple’s house with a group of girls and we all sat around and had a question time in regards to marriage. It was interesting, but I tell you what the house we went to, man it was something else! It was a friend of the Missionary’s house right on the ocean. Us ladies sat in a circle with fresh fruit juice in hand, a beautiful gazebo overhead and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore just yards below us.
Friday I made myself stay in bed for a while and try to sleep in a bit, by 7 I had to get up. This morning I made myself oatmeal with apples and cinnamon and a splash of sweetened condensed milk. I am beginning to get a little creative with the food that you can purchase here in Pemba. You never know what might be in the grocery store and/or fruit market. I have to brag one more time, Monday night I took a can of coconut milk and mixed it with the thai spice I brought from home, fried up some onions and garlic and asked for rice only from the kitchen and made myself the best dinner I have had here on base.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week six summary:

Ok, I'm gonna be honest with you last week, and into this week I had been feeling pretty empty. I love being around people, I love the social jobs I had back in the Fish, but I also so enjoyed living alone for the last 2 years. I have always been a person that needs time alone just as much as I need to be social. There are little joys of home that after more than a month of not having them you begin to realize how wonderful they really are. The alone time is one of them for me. Here in Pemba I'm living in a house with seven other people and in a community with houses and people always around. It has been an interesting aspect since there is no glass on the windows, just screen and this means that no matter where you are someone can hear and/or see you at all times. If you go anywhere outside of the compound you have to have at least one other person with you wherever you go and therefore even going for a walk alone is out of the question. I say this to explain one little area in which was making it a bit hard for me. It took a few weeks but loosing all independence finally hit me hard. Even though my birthday last week was in fact wonderful it was also so busy that I was unable to even talk to my parents, and then once I made it back to Pemba Saturday night it took me till Wednesday of this last week to be able to check my emails. Internet here is a complicated process. All that to say that to explain that I really had lost my energy, joy, and patience for a little over a full week. However this story has a happy ending. Something snapped in me Wednesday and I woke up with my joy back! That morning I said to my roommate Lisa, "Lisa, I'm back!"
It is a good thing too, because I left again for outreach on Thursday. Going out to
the bush takes a lot of energy and it is important to go into it with a good attitude or else you
really are miserable. Thursday we arrived at the village of planned and by the end of the
many people that came on this particular village visit we totaled 55. Mozambiquan Bible
School students, Mission School students, visitors, Heidi and Roland and their people, the
cook crew, the translators, and a group of dentists. That evening went well because I had my
joy back. I felt at home grabbed a little girl and began dancing with her and others while
African music played drawing a crowd from all over the village.
Friday morning I awoke in the midst of our tent city to loud children shortly after
4am. Heidi brought Starbucks to share with everyone this morning and of course we were all
overjoyed. Those of you who know me might cringe at this next comment but I will also
admit I have been drinking instant coffee for the last couple of weeks. Yes its true, instant
coffee with lots of sugar and milk. So to have a taste of real coffee was quite a wonderful
I stayed at our little tent village and helped with the dentistry team while a group
went with Heidi to go dedicate a children's home. I passed out a napkin and paper cup to
each patient with a smile, and then held their hands saying peace in Makuah over and over
trying to insure them that they were going to be ok. Then I would move to hold their head
after the anesthetics set in and it was teeth pulling time. The dentist crew was wonderful. They
were all so happy and loving toward each patient and it all went quite smoothly.
The dentists packed up once no one else mustered the courage to come near, and rice and beans awaited for lunch. After lunch it is again so hot everyone just lays low for a while. Lisa, Desi and I sat in the cement hut church for it was a little bit cooler and read or laid on grass mats for a quick nap. Not long into our relaxation Lisa was interrupted with a large rock hitting her directly on the head from some kid who ran by and threw it into the church. The kids in this village were no typical bad children. They really were maniacs. Natalie was walking to the car a bit later with a few water bottles and was literally mobbed by children as they stole the water from her hand. These kids do not stop asking, do not stop pestering, and even once they have they only want more or then steal from each other. It was a mad house. To explain my point even further, last night Johan's tent was sliced open with a razor blade and out of his tent was stolen his camera, his head lamp, money, and even his shoes. Antoinette's tent also was cut into and her camera was stolen. Serious bad kids. There where about 3 out of more than 50 running around that I could see were genuinely good kids. That evening we went to a different village nearby to show the Jesus film and pray. That night 4 men were completely healed from back pain and mobility was granted back to all of them. Yeah, I have a good God! He loves us and wants the best for us.
The next morning there was no sleeping past 4am because of what sounded like a
fire truck siren right next to my tent. But no it was children with flutes participating in a
circumcision ceremony at the house right next to us. Apparently it is a village tradition but
really why did it have to be at 4am? The rest of the day was packing up, waiting around for
no one knows what and then piling on the camion for the trip home. We more than doubled
our time for no particular reason and more than 5 stops. Ha! Welcome to Africa! We have all
day to get home why not take it?
Tonight was something special though! There is a cafe here that is run by some of
the older Iris kids to help them develop skills needed for the future. The cafe just this last
week finished a wood fire pizza oven and now serves pizza, smoothies, soda, semossas, ice
coffee, and banana bread. But as I was saying tonight was special. They had for the first
time ever open mice night. 5 different groups from the Mission school signed up as well as 5
groups of Iris kids. I walked over to the cafe and located down in the garden along the
bamboo fence was a huge baobab tree with the African animals carved into the base and a
string of lights hanging from above, which was the backdrop for the stage. A cement patio
made a half circle around the tree, littered with tables and chairs. Marshal Mclean played in
the background as people ate their pizza, laughed and talked waiting for the show to begin.
The whole night was great. So many talented people got up shared one or two songs, did a
dance, or read a portion of the book they were writing. At this point I felt as if I was living
both the life of Montana and the life of Mozambique at the same time. The only thing that
would make it better would be to have you with me. But I lay my head on my pillow and my spirit visits you as I dream. While my body lays in a bed protected by a mosquito net, and a soft breeze occasionally makes its way through the window to relieve the heat for a second .

Sunday, November 8, 2009

October 30th - November 7th

Friday, October 30th
Today's village outreach was different than last week's and yet just as touching.The team meet at 2 and after waiting a good while we gave up on the translators and just headed out to the village north of the Iris base. Not too far into the village we stopped at a house exploding with children. Come to find out there are people living here that run a sponsorship program. The kids loved the attention and we just sat and let the girls play with our hair and played games with the boys. There was another small baby today that I was holding and playing with for a while. She had a washcloth that was pinned onto her as a cloth diaper so I was safe from being peed on this time. However she did end up spitting up all over me as do most babies. It is just different here though. There are no blankets handy or spit rags. So you just brush it off best you can and shrug your shoulders.
Next we went over to a woman who's husband works for Iris as a guard. She had such a gentle spirit and she asked that we pray for her. We prayed for protection and provision and as we were saying our good-byes she took the necklace off her neck and put it on me. My heart melted I couldn't stop saying "obregada, obregada.(thank you)" I'm so touched by her generosity. I can't wait to go and see Theresa again.
We moved onto a group of women playing a game similar to the board game "Sorry." I joined the ladies for a while and was really content to just stay there, until I got distracted by a young girl of about 9. She was playing with my hair which was fine but then she took off my necklace and would not giving it back. I had to walk away from the game I was playing and convince her I was serious about wanting the necklace back. Eventually she gave in and a group of us then moved on to another woman's house. We had found a translator by that point and so we just sat and got to know her a bit. We met her son and saw the house she was in the process of building. At this time we began to run out of daylight and so we started heading back home and she walked all the way back with us.
Our purpose for these village visits is purely to develop relationship with locals. There is no big plan when we go out. We simply love people where they are at, become a part of their lives even in a little way, assess their needs, and to continue visiting throughout the week. Once relationships are developed then we have opportunity to meet some of their needs as well, such as bring them a pair of flip flops, or sign them up for our roofing team to come and put a roof on their house. But it is important that we have relationship with them first and then can give out of love and not just to meet a need.

Saturday, October 31st
Happy Halloween. I'll give you one guess what I was this year... Yep a Missionary in Africa! Surprised? Well jokes aside I had quite an amazing day today. Esther came to my window at 5am to wake me up. I threw on some yoga wear and we headed to the beach with Alicia and E.B. The four of us did yoga together on the beach when people barley scattered the beach. After an hour or so rain began to kiss our faces every couple of seconds and we gave up the yoga and hit the internet at the Nautilus. Once finished with responding to the rest of the world we walked back down to the Nautilus's restaurant for breakfast. Sitting on the beach with coffee and toast what could be better?
After breakfast we walked back home and Esther, Alicia and I went into town for supplies, toilet paper, laundry soap, peanut butter, all really exciting things. It is 50 mets (close to $2) for a taxi ride into town and our Portuguese is good enough to get around town. Often we will go to the market for bananas or mangoes as well and do some bartering but today we went in for pure necessities.
Once back to the base there was the decision was made for the dolphin that tonight. The dolphin is a kinda cheap restaurant closet to the Nautilus Hotel we use for the internet. You can get a small pizza for 120 mets ($5ish) A full two tables of us walked the stretch in pursuit of food other than beans and rice. Sometimes it is worth a walk and 120 mets for a pizza over another RICErific meal here on base. After the full day of being out and about I finished off the evening sitting on Alicia's front porch with a cup of African red tea, friends and discussion of music and life.

Monday through Wednesday:
I will be honest with you Monday through Wednesday looked like school, projects, reading, meetings...

Thursday, November 5th, 2009!!!!!! 21st Birthday!!!!!!
Well I woke up this morning early and in a good mood. Praise God! I grabbed my ipod and listened to Andrew Bird's "The Happy Birthday Song" and then "21" by the Cranberries and finally "Melody" by Blond Redhead. All great happy birthday Melody songs. I then grabbed my breakfast roll and tea and left it on the table as I did yoga out in front of my house. Later as I began to get ready for the day Alicia came over and gave me a birthday present of carrot sticks and homemade in Africa hummus!!!! I'm not sure how I could possibly explain to you what a miracle gift this was! My house was wonderful to me as well and showered me with "happy birthday" wishes before heading up to class where they then sang happy birthday to me. A group of us are going on on outreach this weekend and so those who weren't all prayed for those who were. After I passed through the line of people praying for me I went and layed on the floor to just listen to the Lord. I layed down and Henk from South Africa came over and prayed for me. He prayed an incredible birthday blessing over my life and for the next hour or more God continued to give me visions and talk to me.
One vision I had, I was laying in a hammock with the refreshing Montana mountain air on a summer day kissing my face. Papa God was laying in the hammock next to me and as we layed side by side in the hammock with His arm under my head I could see that we were on the tippy top of a steep mountain. From this mountain God started showing me different cultures and villages. I peered down into the valley and could see African villages next to London, East Indian villages next to Paris, Arabic villages next to New York. I could see the world. The Lord then brought to memory the scripture I read on Tuesday Psalm 2:7-8 "He said to me 'You are My son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." Which to me is a reminder of the promise that God has called me to travel the ends of the earth with Him and I wont ever stop bringing His love to every corner of the world. He is my papa God and I am comfortable in His arms.
We had class and again a lot of good things happened. After class however was rush time. Time to inhale some rice and beans grab backpack, tent, sleeping bag, water for 3 days, and a pack of wet-wipes and head to the camion to leave for outreach. We left sometime after 3 and headed to a village about an hour away. We set up our tents and then began to set up for the Jesus film. The Jesus film is a simple short story of the life of Jesus in the Makua language. Heidi came on this outreach along with our guest speakers right now Paul and Sherrel Black. Heidi preached after the film and called up those who wanted prayer. We spread out and began praying for people. I know is "un taka tefu (come Holy Spirit) and so pretty much that is all I prayed. The chief of the village loves the Lord and the people in this particular village were happy and excited about us being there. So in this aspect I would say I felt as if I was living the "Always enough" book. It felt extremely natural because of reading stories just like this.
As I layed my back in the African dirt and looked into a sky that is clean of all light pollution, I began to analyze this years birthday in comparison to my last. Birthdays are significant days and therefore it is easy to go back to this day in particular. This is the first time I have realized that I am a different person than I was last year. I layed under a completely new sky of endless layers of stars and I cannot possibly understand the depths of the universe. Yet, the God who created it all, chose to transform the insecure, pushover person I was last year by bringing me to Africa. I now have realized that I don't even recognize the person I was and know without a shadow of a dout that I could never go back to that place again. I have a confidence in who I am now that I never had before and I only received that through spending time with the one who made me. He knows how I tick and tock, He knows my ins and outs, my ups and downs. And now I can say that I have found all I need in Him, and I no longer have to turn to people-pleasing to fulfill a need to be needed void inside of me.

Friday, November 6th:
I woke up sick this morning. It got so hot so fast in my opinion and there really was no escaping it. After packing up tent and gear I kept my yoga mat out and just layed out in a field while everyone else played with the kids for a while. I was overjoyed by the time we were ready to head out, because I knew there would be a breeze once riding in the back of the camion. Sure enough it was a big deal for me to be able to cool down. I tried to keep drinking water but there was no use, I couldn't keep anything down. After a few hours of driving and some really hard to bear stopping in the extreme heat of the day we made it to the village of Ungora. As we drove in the children came out from all around and began singing and dancing on the hills as they waved and then began to chase after the truck. By this time I was feeling much better and we sang and played with the kids for a few hours. Now that we are a significant distance from the ocean it is HOT. Even the Mozambiquanas take a nap at this time of day when it is this extreme. We are guessing it was around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So we decided to take a break from kid time for a little while as we had lunch and set up camp. I skipped breakfast this morning but my 2 in the afternoon I was feeling pretty good so I decided to have some pasta that our cook crew made for lunch. Well this was not such a good idea in fact and I ended up going to bed for the rest of the day because of feeling sick once again. As I was laying down God brought to mind the rejoice always scripture and though I know God did not make me sick I began to praise Him because His goodness remains constant even when things don't go as I planned. Seven o'clock rolled around and I was woken up by my good friend Alicia, Courtney, and Shenea. They had come back from where the Jesus film was playing because God told Alicia to come and pray for me. I woke up and as I sat up my stomach was again in extreme want to fall over pain but I let them pray for me and the pain stopped and I received an energy I did not have before. I threw on my Chacos and we walked back to where the film was showing.
This evening was eventful in a different way and we never will understand what really goes on because of the fact that I know I will never see these people again and there is no way to tell what changes happen on an individual level but all you can do is hope that you made a positive impact by just holding babies and seeing the Holy Spirit heal those in pain.

Saturday, November 7th:
We packed up and went to church early this morning. They had church today because we were there and we sang and the Mozambiquan pastors preached and again there was a simple enjoyment of company this morning. After saying our good-byes we hopped back in the camion and headed for home. It is strange how truly "home" this has become. As my eyes saw the ocean for the first time my heart got giddy. Getting back to my family here was refreshing as well. All those who didn't go on outreach went to an optional class that was going on for anyone interested (not just Harvest School students) on marriage. It was a lot of male/female brain games that I know was really great information, however I'm happy on my decision to go on outreach instead. Those of us who did chose outreach we all then decided that it would again be fun to go out to eat tonight at the Dolphin once again. A pizza and a coke treated me well after a good long outreach and tonight I decided even to get a little dolled up. I put on makeup and did my hair for the first time in over a month. It was a fun dramatic change considering how dirty I was from 3 days in the bush.

My apologizes this is so long but it has been over a week of not talking to you at all. As you have read there was a lot that went on this week and as I've told you before, you are a part of the adventure so I can't leave you out on the details. Life here in Pemba is really so so so incredibly privileged. We have electricity from 5am-8am and again from 5pm-10pm, I have a bed, I have running water, I have more than one set of clothing, I have a grocery store, and I know that I am intensely blessed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some everyday info

My family and friends, I am so grateful to have people like you in my life. Even though I am fully enjoying my African experiences here I still cannot help but be thinking and praying for all of you. When my head hits the pillow you are the ones that visit me in my dreams. When I am on my face in prayer, you are the ones that are on my heart. It is hard for me to not have as much communication with all of you as I would like, but just because I have no idea of what is going on with you, doesn't mean that you are any less on my mind.
So I have already told you the morning ritual of super sweet tea and a bread roll, but I have not told you about the other two meals of the day. Lunch is rice and beans everyday and dinner varies. Rice and some topping. My goal is just to keep my perspective in the right place and then I hope to not get sick of the routine.
Slowly but surely I'm getting out to you some of the basics of everyday life here. You know my every morning, you know my every meal, you know about the few and very speedy showers. Doing laundry is another great adventure. It is all hand wash in buckets and communal line drying. After only a few items the wash bucket is full of dead ants and the water looks as if you used it to mopped a floor for the first time in 3 months. It is important to do laundry before class however, in order for the sun to finish drying the clothes before they get unwillingly donated after sunset. This means laundry must start at 6:30 or so. I really don't mind doing the laundry though. It is kinda meditative.

A few other daily things besides yoga, laundry, prayer, reading, going to the beach, and all the other things that sometimes get me to thinking I'm on vacation, one of my favorite places to go is the baby house. I love hanging out with the toddlers because there is no hindrance with when it comes to the language. We just play!
For the kids here the idea of a TV is an outrageous thought, but they don't really even have toys. The boys are really good at making these toy cars out of old flip flops and sticks. They make balls out of old garbage bags and twine. The kids are perfectly content just sitting around. They don't have to be entertained at every moment. The culture is all based around community and relationship. Dancing, or singing or girls doing hair, or boys playing soccer, these are the things that make up fun.
This week we have been doing a 24/7 prayer week which has been fun. We have a gazebo here on base that has someone praying in it at all times. During the afternoon each day we have a spontaneous worship session. Singing with the Holy Spirit is so much fun. I was on the team that played on Tuesday.
I know this weeks blog isn't specifically what happened this week in my life but I wanted to give you a few more tid-bits of the everyday here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Time to Go Out

The rest of the week has proved to be yet another novel. Wednesday evening was another monumental experience in faith for me. I am once more a new person today than I was yesterday. One of the key words here for this school has been acceleration. I believe that word has proven true in my life already. This is a school not based on just learning a bunch of facts. This is a school based on changing a life to forever be wrecked for God. To be wrecked for seeing the things of God, hearing the voice of God, experiencing the presence of God, and to live in this reality for the entirety of life remaining on this earth is the goal of the instructors for the students.
Friday marked a new season of learning here however. Up until this point I have had God do so much for me internally that when Heidi Baker was speaking Friday morning, God warned me that today is the beginning of the hands on training. For two weeks I have had time to receive the internal transformation to get me to the point of being able to live the life. Every Friday I signed up to go with a group that is going to visit the village just outside the Iris base and just see what God wants to do. There is no agenda except loving people and letting Jesus show His love to them through us. It is important to wear a long skirt past the knee and a shirt that covers one's shoulders when going into the village out of respect to their culture.So here is the story of my village experience:

A group of us "Acunya" (white people) and two translators walked out of the gates at the top of the Iris base and walked into real poverty. Rows of houses made from bamboo, rocks and some clay created pathways of red dirt. Mamas sat on grass mats outside their houses with naked bottom babys sitting on their laps. We great them with "Salama," the Makua word for hello, as they respond with "Saloma mohavo?"
"Kehavo, Mohavo? I'm good. How are you?" we reply
"Kehavo!" echos which ends the extent our our knowledge of the language. This is frustrating and stirs within me the strong desire to learn more Makua. As I follow our group leader Mattheus we stop and sitt on grass mats with four women. One woman is sick and with very little energy, pulls out her breast to explain she has no milk to nurse her baby. We pray that God heals her body from all sickness and returns it to a healthy state. A few minutes of prayer and translation pass and she then asks her mother sitting on the other grass mat for her baby. She then begins nursing and has a new countenance and energy that she did not have previously. I am sitting on a grass mat next to a woman that looks to be the grandmother of the young woman and Matt, our group leader, is sitting on the other side of her. Matt knows a bit more Makua and tries to make conversation with the woman and she sits with no response. The oldest Mama's daughter gets up, puts her mouth to her ear and yells what Matt is trying to ask. At this the elderly woman response and we learn of her serious hearing loss. Through a translator it is then revealed that her vision is in poor health as well. She sees a blurry double of everything. So we ask her if we can pray? She agrees and I hold her hand with both of mine, while Matthaeus takes her other hand. The presence of the Holy Spirit showed up so thick that the three of us did not want to move from that moment. As we sat there enjoying the peace of God the translator standing about 3 feet away and speaking in a regular voice asked the woman if her hearing was improved. She then opened her eyes and responded to his question! He then put two fingers in front of her and asks how many? She responds speedily with the correct answer every time. He then points to a person walking in the distance and asks again how many? She responds, "one." The whole family and all the kids that had showed up during this process then began to all shout "Hallelujah, gracious Adaosh!" and we joined in the celebration as this woman's hearing and vision became totally restored!
As we continued on our way through the village more and more kids joined our parade. I picked up a precious little girl and I carried her though the town. The sweat of our bodies mixed on my t-shirt with the dirt in the air, as we walked and laughed through the village. We followed one of our translators which is a local pastor to his home and as we arrived I said goodbye to my new friend as she ran back with the other kids. I then picked up a new little baby and held her as I sat outside the pastor's home. A warm liquid then covered my skirt and I just smiled as I realized I was now covered in baby pee. We prayed for the pastor, his family, and his home and then began our way back though the village in the direction we had came.
We came to another small house and stopped as we greeted the three women sitting on their grass mats. One then informed us that her daughter was sick inside. We went into the small box made of clay and there was a table on one wall, and a bed on the other. On the bed was a gorgeous young woman sick with Malaria. I sat down at the head of her bed and began to rub her back realizing she was nothing but bones under a blanket. Tears began to stream down my face clearing trails of dirt as they poured from my eyes uncontrollably. The desperation of the poor came over me to the point in which praying with compassion was not a hard concept to have. The translator informed us after about 15 minutes of praying with her that she was feeling better. One by one we made our way out of the house. The peace of God was thick in the room and I just wanted to stay. I eventually got up and walked over to the young woman's mother and gave the good-bye gesture of shake hands and kiss each cheek. The nonverbal communication intensifies when it is all you have and she communicated her thanks for us coming. We all left the house with the door open and stood outside for another 20 or more minutes. I kept peering in the doorway gazing at the woman on the cot and she had a completely new glow about her. She sat up and stopped coughing and new energy was in her eyes.
During the walk home through the village my mind was wrapped up in all around me; babies in rags playing with knives, cardboard houses, visible diseases and infection. We had to continue walking at this point because the sun was beginning to set and it gets very dangerous to be in the village after sunset especially for white women. The group of us made it back into our safe gated community, thanked our translators, and went on to our separate houses. I reached my front porch and could only lay there by the door. I smelled of urine, I was covered with dust and dirt, sweat, and tears. Yet in knowing all this as I layer on the floor in front of my luxurious house, I almost didn't want to remove the filth from my body. Because in a way I felt just a little more connected to the people while in this condition.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 19th - October 21st Sickness and Health

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today was spent in bed! First night of Africa I was welcomed by the bugs, they now are a constant companion that all of us are just getting used to. Today however I got visited by another African classic, sickness. In the middle of the night last nigh I was kinda feeling it, but I tried to press on and even got ready for the day. I was in class for not even 10 minutes before I knew it was not going to be possible for me to stay. I was having a hard time climbing up and down the ladder to my bed so my bunk mate Carri let me sleep on her bed for the day and I have been in constant contact with a fan or else my fevor takes over and I nearly fall over in a full body sweat. My house has been wonderful though. Jess went and got me a sprite and I am sitting up now which is a huge improvement. People are praying for me and I believe by tomorrow I will recieve new strength. I wasn't able to keep my milaria perscription down either so I really need to be better by tomorrow in order to try and take another one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I awoke this morning not only totally well, but full of joy in abundance! Yes I took many vitamins and slept all day yesterday but there was tens of people praying for my health as well. I believe that God sometimes works with us on miracles. In some cases such as my ear, He heals instantly. In other cases as the flu that I had yesterday that I no longer have today He works with us through vitamins, and prayer, through rest and intercession. Yet in both cases I blame God for my healing. Ha! 'cause He is good in every circumstance and every situation. God did a lot of house work on my heart today as well. I cannot possibly tell you all that has occured within me, but it is all good. Each day I feel a new lightness in my step and a new wieghtiness of glory on my hands. Each day I chose to give up the dirt and sin in my life, and embrace the love and joy in return. Each day I become more of the person I've always desired to be. So tonight I took a shower and I stood in the big bucket we do our laundry in so in order to reuse the water that was rincing me. So the shower process looks like this: Turn on water get wet, turn off water, soap up and shampoo up, turn water on and rince. This way the running of water lasts not even two minutes and I am happy to get a shower every 2 days, its actually quite great. So as I was saying this time I stood in the bucket in order to be able to reuse the water that rinced off my body. Ha! so I sat and used that water to shave my legs and when I went to pour it out it was the thick red color of the earth here in Africa. I don't realize how physically dirty I really am, but hey its all good 'cause everyone here is in the same boat. We are all dirty and stinky together!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Again I awoke with such an energy and joy today! I just loved it! I made a new morning playlist for myself and went out to do my morning yoga and prayer. I just love it! When I got here God told me to be on the worship team here. I argued but knew that He knows best for me, so I signed up. This morning my bunk mate Carri from California, this guy Chris from North Carolina, Rollo from the UK, and I all lead worship. Man it was fun! I so enjoyed just floating in God's presence this morning and we ended up leading for the second session as well. I didn't realize untill someone asked later on but, it has been 7 years since I have been an active part of a worship team. I might have sung once or twice within those 7 years but not really a member of a team. It is so refreshing to be right where God wants me to be. Another classmate came up to me when class was out and said that my voice made her want to drink coffee and listen to 50's music. I am still laughing at that comment 'cause I just think it is so funny. So here I am on Wednesday and I'm posting another blog but I just can't help it now. I'm so excited to share all that is going on with you. Please write me any questions you have, and just so you know the whole time I have been here I have been praying for you! You are the ones that come to me in my dreams, you are the ones I'm interceding for, I love you my home, my family, my friends, my people, and I believe God is doing big things in your life!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A novel has occurred within just one week of school it is hard to give you a real taste of my new life here. The sun creeps up over the ocean at 4:30am with birds celebrating a new day. By 5:30 I join the celebration with my i pod, my bible, and yoga mat. Kim Walker sings "You wont Relent," as I stand in tree pose facing the ocean. Every morning my body and soul crave this one-on-one time for just me and my lover Jesus. After an hour or more I tear myself away to grab a roll and cup of super sweet tea from the kitchen. I sit on the front porch with a book and enjoy the simple food for another hour before grabbing my notebook, bible, and water bottle. I walk to class, a large gazebo located on a hill overlooking the compound, and utter "bom dia" to every person on the way. I stand with the ocean breeze whipping my skirt and my arms stretched out in worship. This is how each and everyday begins in paradise!
Even though each morning looks very similar, God does something new in me everyday. Sunday was my first African church service and it really was all I dreamed it could be. The kids and I danced in the front during worship. They have more dancers and kids on stage than they have musicians and all the music carries a strong drum beat you can't help move to. Papa Roland Baker spoke a few sentences in English then it was translated into Portuguese and then again into Makua. The message was a simple invitation to have more of the Holy Spirit. In response I made my way to the front of the church, and laid on grass mats among beautiful African women and children. Tears streamed down my cheeks as my mind raced with the miracle of me being in this moment.
On Monday the first day of school, my ear was really bothering me and it was hard for me to be in worship. Back when I was in 8th grade my right eardrum popped and it has given me problems since. In worship I placed my hand over my ear and my friend Alicia who was next to me, saw that my ear was hurting so she placed her hand on mine and prayed for a new eardrum. Instantly the pain left completely and my hearing was totally restored! Ha! God is so good!
On Friday the last day of school for the week, Heidi Baker spoke about our identity. Ephesians 1: 4 states that God chose us. Laying on grass mats I began to thank God for choosing me. What a humbling thought that the God of all time and space chose me. As I lay in His thick presence, I was taken away into a series of visions. After each one I asked God what it all meant and He would explain. I felt as if I was laying on the floor for maybe 20 minutes yet when I opened my eyes, the sun had set and when I moved, my body was sore. I was on the floor for more than 2 hours! My heart and my head now belong to the King of Kings who has the best in mind for me. He has given me dreams and He promises they will come true.
All I can tell you is what is happening to me. I can't explain. I can't argue. All I know is God is so real that I hear His voice clearly and have relationship with him,and His touch is so real that miracles happen. I am praying that you get to experience God like this. That He visits you in dreams and takes you on journeys and touches you in ways that every heart ache is healed and every pain flees.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I made it to Pemba! Upon arriving we went to town to get the feel of things, did some shopping and whatnot and a hurricane of emotions was constantly storming for me. I was extremely exhausted and after setting up my room a bit and having dinner I crashed into bed. Only a few hours later I awoke to the feeling of a bug bite on my leg, then a tickle on my arm and then my neck. I tried to convince myself it was all in my head and finally ended up turning on my light in order to find my bed was swimming with ants. I grabbed the bug spray killed all that I could, brushed off the tiny dead bodies and tried my best to sleep the rest of the night which didn't go to well. The ants returned in force and since Wednesday when I arrived it has become routine. I spray ants last thing I do before bed, and when I wake up I sweep out piles of dead bodies, then go get breakfast come back spray some more, read then sweep, and this continues all day. I have since moved my bed to the opposite wall of the window and have yet to have them in my bed. However, last night my goodnight present as I climbed into bed was a large cockroach on my pillow. :) Welcome to Africa!
Well enough about bugs, and onto kids. I have had multiple dance parties and the girls have done my hair. We have played Frisbee, and played in the ocean. I'm telling you this is heaven. The kids are so much fun. At one point in walking back from the beach I had two kids holding each hand. They just surround you at all times. I love it. Michael Jackson is the man around here too, so the kids in playing and dancing on the beach sing "beat it, beat it!" I love it!
My other classmates have been wonderful as well. The first of us all arrived on Wednesday and then none until Friday. I have fully enjoyed everyone since Wednesday I have yet to know the new students. But already friendships have blossomed. I have decided I will come back with a Auzzy, South African, British accent just so you know in advance.
Well, school starts Monday the first week has been amazing! Rice and beans for lunch and dinner with a roll for breakfast. Thank you all for getting me here. God bless you and next Saturday I will tell you all about school.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Getting there

Well the flights were in fact long and at one point got lonely. Two days of absolutely no one to talk to! Can't remember the last time that happened. Back home my voice was starting to get harsh because of talking from 7am to 11pm everyday. All flights went according to plan and the visit with Nicole and Zach in Seattle was just perfect. Connections with Alicia worked perfect as well and we are now happy stereotypical Americans in South Africa. Staying up all night, doing yoga, crunches, taking photos and sitting on face book, has summed up our evening. But we know it wont be like this again so we are taking advantage of the opportunity. Oh and a side note for you, even in South Africa, where it is over 70 F I still have cold feet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Preparation Process:

So beginning in April I started the "get rid of everything" process. I moved out of my gorgeous condo on Big Mountain and into a 1970’s truck bed camper. I got rid of all but 4 boxes of kitchen items, my art, and a portion of my clothes. The summer was simple. I lived on my sister’s property with no electricity and hauling buckets of water from the nearby stream. I showered wherever I could, (which was sometimes the creek) and loved every night around the campfire.
After applying for the Harvest School of Missions there was not much I could do to prepare until my letter of acceptance that came on July 23. As I read the letter, the flood of emotion hit me so hard I was crying and laughing and knew that from this point on my life would forever be different. While going through the 50 pages of everything that must be done I began to question what I was getting myself into. The rules, the money, the list of what to bring, it all began to overwhelm me and for about 3 days I was worried.
By the end of the 3 days I realized that I had already been given $550 specifically for my trip and all 11 of my required books where provided for me. 3 DAYS! At that point I knew that I had nothing to worry about, and from then on all I did was work, read, sew, and create.
On September 12th I set up my parents yard as a Melody boutique with food, my mother’s art, and some stuff I had made. This day was just as much emotion as the acceptance letter. I cried with every hug and every smiling face that made a trip to come and encourage my dream.
But it didn’t end there! Everyday since I have had a testimony of the goodness of people and the goodness of God! As I am days away from getting on the plane I just want to say thank you to everyone who has impacted my life!

Thank You:

Bob and Kimberly Johnson
My Parents
Robin and Dan Reese
Jenna Hille
Aglow Ministries
Meadow and Eric Reese
Bill Fischer
Bob and Lori Hoback
The Corne Family
Dan and Kathy Jordan
Kat from the Coffee shop
Flossy Fletcher
Greg and Sherry Wassell
Greg from Big Mountain
Mikki and Barbra Robinson
Tony from the Coffee shop
The Lazy Coffee Club
Danny and Katlyn
Paul and Lisa
Brenden and Tarah
The Kiehn family
Betty and Woody
Lisa Croteau
Zach and Nicole Dowler
Luke and Jacey Dowler
Sammi and Justin Dyck
Brett Bollweg
Adam Larson
Jordan Vaughan
Chris from the Coffee shop
Dustin and Elisa
The Hille Family
Tupelo Grill
Montana Coffee Traders
Amy Keeler
Matt Brussard
Gatlin Hardy
Everyone else from Coffee Traders
Marlene Hanson
Dave and Collette Taylor
Tim and Alex Torgerson
Joseph and Christy Rauwolf
George and Marty Miller
Rachel Knox
Ben Brittsan
Sarah Brittsan
Karen Reese
Sherry Vanslyke
Promise Joy
Ron and Jan Brunk
Kim and Kyle Fedderly
Brian and Naomi
Dom and Shelly Garefino
Snell Family
Cheryl Sausen
Joe Lieski
Nixon Family
Jeremy Wishart
Nate Townsend
Nicole Croteau
Abby Carlson
Julie Smude
Marlene Eccles
Melanie Reimer
Ty and Megan Unruh
"best friend" Adrianna
Everyone else from Wasabi
Sharon Barker
All the Fernie boys
John Arrends
Olivia Stark
Gene and Olivia
Jeanie and Don
And I know I am forgetting people and I’m so so so sorry but know I love you and I appreciate all of you. This is OUR adventure!