Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting Ready.

So, I'm getting ready for our Missions team report on this upcoming Sunday. I'm reminiscing over the entire Africa trip trying to figure out why God wanted me to go. What was His purpose? Did I really make a difference in such a short amount of time? The answers to these questions might always go unanswered until I get to heaven to see the results, but I do know a couple of things.

God has put it in my heart to do more... more with my life, more with missions, more with my prayer life, more with keeping in touch with friends that are far away, more with my giving... just more. He has put us on earth to worship Him and telling other's about him is one of those ways! I would love for my family to have a part in this overwhelming feeling I have to do more. I mean if you are always living to your full potential you will always feel overwhelmed with God's love for you and for others, and why does it take sending me half way around the world to figure that out?

And right now I want to encourage my readers to do more! Send an email or a phone call to a person that God has laid on your heart. You never know what your friends may be going through. I did learn that we are really Corey and Jenni's link to the world they knew before and fellowship and laughter can be hard to obtain when you are in a country where you don't know the language (or very little of it) and there are very few people that you can fellowship with and those you do are your coworkers that you might not have much in common with. Those little "Hi how are you" emails from friends at home show that they love you and did not forget about you.

Maybe, God sent me to Africa to see how much we really have here. We are really spoiled in the United States! The people of Mozambique are really happy with nothing...literally nothing. One of the village children that we saw at the Bible institute really stood out to me in this. He was wearing a pair of those footed pajamas, actually Kaitlyn had the same pair when she was little, it had been cut off at the waist and he was wearing just the top. It was tied at the waist and his midriff was showing, his sleeves came about a third of the way up his arm. And through all of this, he had the biggest smile on his face and they all were singing at the top of their lungs! Yet, they have nothing. We have everything that this world could offer, and yet we are still sad.
Everyday we see commercials on TV about the newest anti depression drug, and how you will just be happy if you buy this new product...and yet there is a new commercial for another new must have product that will turn your life around the very next day. I wonder if we were to SHED all of this stuff, just gave it all away if it would turn our lives around. Christ says in
Mark 10:21 "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Jesus was talking to a rich man in that passage, but I think that here in America we are more rich than so many people that we could give half of what we have away and still be considered rich. I think that we are weighed down by all of the stuff we have too. Now, I am not saying that everyone who is depressed should give their stuff away and then they wouldn't be, but I do think it is a contributing factor for some in our culture. I also think that we are so focused on acquiring more stuff for us that we forget to think about other's.

I have this passion to share Christ's love with everyone, and here in the United States I have this fear. I have a fear of rejection from people I know and love. I have a fear of being ridiculed, and I have a fear of confrontation...which I don't do well. I only had some of these fears in Africa before the TLW rally, but after that all fears were gone. I know that God has the powers to take these irrational fears away, but it isn't easy since I am not usually the type of person who likes to just put myself out there. In Acts 18:1-11 it says "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision 'Do not be afriad; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.' So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God." Now Paul was persecuted for teaching and preaching the Gospel, but God said that no one was going to attack him in Corinth at that time...and he spent a year and a half there! But not only that Paul went to prison with a happy heart. God used that time to seal Paul's extreme faith and to get him ready for the persecution that was coming. I'm sure that Paul had his times of fear as I clearly see in Acts 18; but if God can do that from this man who was awful to Christians surely he is quietly trying to tell me the same thing. He can get me through the fear! Now if only I would listen and get out there and do it!

So, one more thing on Africa before I leave this topic for awhile and get on to my "real life". Capalana's...African skirts. I think they have the right idea on that one. They are very comfortable to wear, you don't need any sizes and they fit everyone. No more being worried about your weight. It is really a freeing experience to not have to worry about clothing fitting!

If any of you want to hear more Africa stories I encourage you to come to our share night this Sunday. It is at Holladay Baptist Church at 6pm. If you would like to come and need directions just send me an email!

Monday, October 08, 2007


I have put off posting this long enough! I'm having a hard time figuring out what to write about our Safari because it wasn't all it was promised to be.
We flew from Mozambique to Johannesburg on Friday. It was a longer flight because we had 2 stops, but we made it to Johannesburg in time for dinner at McDonald's and then off to bed.
Saturday morning we got up and went back to the airport to wait for the safari company to come pick us up. The man was a little late, but we drove to Siyabona's lunch stop right out side of Kruger park. It was there we found out that we weren't actually staying in the park (where we had reserved) but outside the park at a place called "Cheetah Inn". We were also supposed to go on an evening safari drive, but that wasn't set either. Jenni talked with the travel agent she booked through and was told that Cheetah was 3 minutes from the park and that we would be so happy there because it was deluxe accommodations. We managed to get our van driver to take us through Kruger on the way to Cheetah Inn, so we were able to see some animals before going to Cheetah. The park gates close at 6 so we had to be outside of the gates by then, and then it took another 2 hours! to get to Cheetah! So, we had been in the van from 9:30am to 8:00pm! By then we were all tired and just wanted to eat and go to bed! We did manage to eat a wonderful soup and Braai (an African BBQ) and then we headed off to bed with promises that we would be staying in the park the next night, so we needed to take our luggage with us the next morning. The accommodations were not luxury, and the showers were the worst! We had to push a button down to make the water come through the shower head, but then you had to hold it the entire time you are taking a shower! It was quite interesting to try and rinse the soap out of your hair with only one hand!
The next day we were up at 4:45am and off for our safari by 5:30am with our luggage in tow. From Cheetah to a different Kruger park gate it was only about 30 minutes. It was fun being in the open vehicles and we had a good time looking at animals during the morning. We then stopped for lunch, we had about an hour and a half off of the vehicles and the main driver was pushing us to get going again. We also found out at this time that we were back at Kruger for the night, again. So, we loaded back up into the vehicles and off we went again, only this time it was extremely HOT! It was in the middle of the hottest part of the day.

Originally, we were supposed to have a 3 hour safari in the morning and a 3 hour safari in the evening and down time in the afternoon because it is really too hot to be driving around in an open vehicle. We even had to stop at one point because our driver was dehydrated. I should stop and say this now...when you are on safari you CANNOT get out of the vehicle unless you are in one of the gated camps. It is dangerous with all of those wild animals out there! Well, our other vehicle got a flat tire! Everyone in that vehicle had to get out so the driver could change the tire! We were too far away from them so we didn't know this until later.

We drove around until about 6pm. Had a quick pit stop to use the potty and buy some cold water and then it was back on the road to get to Cheetah. They had already served dinner when we got there and turned off the water. We were so dirty from the dust that one person from each room was trying to take a shower when the water just stopped coming. I had decided that I would wait and it was a good thing because we found out that they had to wait for the tanks to fill back up! I did end up with a nice shower after our reheated dinner.

The next morning we were back on the vehicles at 5:30. We safaried until noon although we had asked to be dropped off at the location our van driver was picking us up by 11am. We convinced our driver to let us have a few minutes to shop as we had very little shopping time on our entire trip! We had fifteen minutes so it was in and out and then on our way back to the Siyabona lunch stop. When we got there the owner just happened to be there. We had found out that the place we were supposed to stay in the park has been full for a long time because it was a holiday (we had been booking this since June and Jenni had been given the run around since then). She talked to the owner and he was really upset. He wanted us to go back on the safari the correct way, but we had a plane to catch the next day! So, he told us he would refund our money, and also talked about giving us some vouchers for a free safari...not that we can actually use it, but maybe Corey and Jenni can get one. Then it was back in the van to drive back to Johannesburg! It seemed to take a lot longer to get back and we ended up stopping at a gas station which had a Wimpy burger in it to get some dinner. We finally made it back to Joburg, took a shower and off to bed! By this time it just felt good to be out of a car and not moving! I was feeling pretty shaky after traveling for that many days straight...but we weren't done yet, because the next day we were back on an airplane to come home...24 more hours of in air time!

Ok, so that was the bad stuff. Here were a few of the highlights on Safari! It was really amazing to see all of the wonderful creatures ,that God has created, in their own natural environment. The elephants were what really scared me though. They were bigger than the car and at a few points I could have reached out and probably touched one if I really wanted to. We saw so many things...Impalas, Kudu, Giraffes, Sable Antelope (which is really rare to see), hippos (although not close up), Monkeys, crocodiles, and Zebra just to name a few.
The highlights of the safari were though...A mother hyena and her pup (we saw them twice), an entire pride of lions I was able to get a picture of 11 of them but we actually saw 13 the other 2 were just a bit further away, and wild dogs which is another really rare animal to see. The wild dogs were funny though we saw a pack of them, and were taking pictures of them when all of the sudden there were Zebras coming through the brush behind the dogs. We asked if they would go after the Zebra, but we were told no that the Zebras are too big for the dogs. Well, the dogs had another thing on their minds and started to chase the Zebra. Well, the Zebras wanted nothing to do with it so they turned around and started chasing the dogs! It was really funny, and I tried to get some pictures of it, but they were too spread out to get one of the dogs and Zebra's at the same time.

Anyways, here are some of my favorite Safari pictures: