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.