Saturday, January 30, 2010

Results of Bequeathment

It has been 3 years ago today that my dad passed away. In more ways than one, he is the reason that I’m in Namibia, but I often wonder if he even knows I’m here. Either way, I can’t wait to tell him ALL about it when I get to heaven too ;-)

Growing up, I remember him spending a great deal of time leading the missions committee at our church. And with that came the lovely task he bequeathed to me of distributing missionary prayer letters to Sunday School classes. I really enjoyed reading about what God was doing in other countries, so I didn’t mind other than being shy about having to go into all the “adult” classes. But I especially enjoyed reading about the Minks (the previous directors of COZV), since they were old family friends--it gave a personal connection to these outside worlds I kept reading about. But at the time there was nothing more than the cool factor of actually knowing them in “real life” and the occasional fleeting thought of maybe I’d go to Africa someday…waaay in the future, when I was old. Well, I guess old is now…because here I am. My Dad spent a lot of time challenging me in a heart towards missions--missions at its heart—that all Christians are missionaries, no matter how near or far God takes them.

The fast track of my journey here though began just a few weeks after his death. Some people had raised money specifically for 10 of the oldest girls at COZV to come to America and sing and share their testimonies in different churches, and mine happened to be one of them. I hadn’t even given Africa a second thought from my prayer letter days until this night. Being still in the shock of what the past 6 months had been in my own life, hearing their stories of how much more they had been through, some even before the age of 5, snapped me quickly back into reality. I know I can never fully understand all they’ve been through (knock on wood), but I was now one small step closer as I dauntingly realized that night that I was now half an orphan. As the night went on, my heart for them grew deeper and deeper. I had a long, snowy, 5 ½ hour drive back to school that night and all these thoughts never stopped spinning in my head. I just remember God saying something like…’Your summer just became wide open, you know they always write in their prayer letters about needing volunteers, and this passion that you suddenly have for these kids is from Me…now GO!’ And, well, the rest is history. I have now spent just over a year with these wonderful kids.

I have no idea where the rest of my life will lead me…whether it will be back home, back here, or even farther around the world. But in the words of my father in a letter he wrote to me just a few months before his death, “I want to see Christ working in me, just an ordinary [girl] with an extraordinary God running [her] life and me genuinely praising Him for it.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thousand Mile Ride-Along

Well, more like 1,600 miles and it was all driving and no riding (which led to a serious case of a truck driver’s tan…), but it was a very enjoyable road trip nonetheless. This past Monday Jenny (the primary guardian), 5 of the kids, and I left for the capital on a medical trip. We took our 2 kids with epilepsy to a neurologist for long overdue checkups/EEG and 3 others to a dermatologist. The medical portion was very successful as well as conclusive as we now have new directions to head in for the treatment of all 5. Although our main purpose of course was medical, we also got to have a lot of fun as we toured the street shops, strolled around the mall, took a dip in the pool, and ate enough meals at KFC to be on a first name basis.

The driving portion was also very successful. In addition to the normal cows, goats, chickens, and dogs in the road, we also saw many wild game along the way. Included was a cape buffalo, baboons, elephants, guinea fowl, wart hogs, a giraffe, springbok, meer cats, a chameleon, a turtle, peacocks, kudu, a wildebeest, hartebeests, and one antelope we have still yet to figure out. Our African road trip turned out to be more like a free safari ride although sadly there are a few birds and a few thousand bugs now less of a life because of it. With the biggest problem only being a waitress confusing margarita pizzas for Mexicana and nearly killing us all, I’d say it was all-in-all a very successful trip.

Friday, January 15, 2010

When It's Over...

That’s exactly when you sleep at a sleepover…when it’s over. For winning the good deed chain competition, I promised all the girls a special night. Last Friday night I had a sleepover with all the oldest girls (12 and up), all 20 of them, and it was a BLAST. We cleaned out the bungalow and filled both levels with mattresses, sheets, pillows, and blankets and brought the TV over from the children’s home. They painted their nails, did makeup, played cards, ate ice cream sundaes, danced their butts off to High School Musical, made pizza from scratch, and then watched movies until lunch time the next day. They told me later that this was their first sleepover, which explains why they were shocked when I told them they could stay up and watch movies all night—and that’s exactly what most of them did, that and giggle of course.

Since it was all the girls that won the competition, I didn’t leave out the youngest 6 girls, but rather just had a separate non-sleepover night for them. In fact, it was even conveniently over by their 8 o’clock bedtime! But they partied hard up until then all donned up in their matching fairy dresses they’d gotten for Christmas. Nancy and I had them over to our house for their own movie night where they had ice cream sundaes, bananas (they weren’t too keen on the idea of healthy food in their ice cream for banana splits, so preferred them separately), jumped on the beds, then took their dresses off and snuggled up in blankets to watch Madagascar 2. Though I say ‘snuggled,’ it was a more of a mixture of snuggling, squirming, and squiggling; not a one of them sat still for more than 5 minutes of course. But all in all a wonderful night for both groups and well deserved.