Saturday, October 31, 2009

Radical God

Here’s a quick video of one of our favorite songs to do with kids of all ages (brought to us by the amazing Brittany!). This video was taken during our first mini-camp at the youth center. Enjoy! Radical God Lyrics: Chorus: Ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka (clap, clap) Woo! (Repeat) Don’t you know He’s a radical God (clap, clap) Woo! (Repeat) His name is Peace His name is Love And He left His heaven above [spoken]: Raise the roof! In case you haven’t heard the word (HUH!) He’s a radical God Call and Response: Let me tell, let me tell, let me tell you why (repeat) He’s a radical God, He’s a radical guy (repeat) He made the earth and the seas and the stars and the sky (repeat) He came to be a man and He came to die (repeat) But He didn’t stay dead (repeat) Because He couldn’t stay dead (repeat) He rose from the grave (repeat) And He came to save (repeat) And that’s why, that’s why (repeat) He’s a radical God (repeat) That’s why, that’s why (repeat) He’s a radical God (repeat) Repeat Chorus

Friday, October 30, 2009

Women's Night

This is really old. Really. But better late than never, right?

Women’s Night (4/18/09)

On Saturday, we had our “Women’s Night,” which we had been planning for a few weeks. It was for the high school girls in our Rehoboth High School (RHS) Bible study group, as well as for the girls on the worship team at the church. I have included some pictures of the girls playing ice-breakers, specifically human tic-tac-toe. In fact, their enthusiasm was so incredible that I decided only video could accurately depict the atmosphere, so enjoy their excitement!

While 15-17 year old girls would rarely be this excited (after the 20th turn) about such a simple game, our girls are different. RHS girls live in a hostel at the school (basically boarding school), because they grew up on rural farms and come to Rehoboth for a better education. They don’t get a chance to do much in the way of entertainment, and they were SO EXCITED to come to women’s night. The fact that we watched High School Musical 3 and had brownies and ice cream and popcorn was icing on the cake.


*I had never seen anything in the HSM series. It is from the Disney channel, and therefore is cute, clean, and sugary-sweet. Apparently they want you to watch them in order, because watching the 3rd without the first two left many holes. Go figure…

*Brownies are not a common dessert here. Come to think of it, it doesn’t seem dessert is all that common in general (it‘s something I am oh-so-excited to share). And ice cream? Well, it’s… different. I know, I know; it’s a foreign country, so what did I expect? But it’s just different in a way I am not sure how to communicate. I have considered making homemade ice cream, like in a zip-loc or coffee can…if you have a good recipe, please pass it on. *Josh and Lantz (our host brother) helped me make and bag the popcorn for 45 people. Then, Stephen came over and they had a “boys night”- they ate junk food like bacon-flavored crackers (gag!) and watched guy movies. Luckily, Josh and I sleep on 2 twin beds shoved together (that can be separated), or Josh was worried he’d end up cuddling Stephen : )

*Incidentally, we were recently reminded that popcorn is a whole grain. A whole grain! In a world of meat, white pasta, and white rice, this is exciting news. It will now compose a large part of our diet.

Back to Women’s Night…
The purpose of our night was not snacks or games or even High School Musical; it was about discussing purity and relationships and godly femininity. Britt gave a brief but wonderful message on purity, and then we had a question and answer session in which Britt, Kristin, Mackenzie, and I were panelists. The girls put anonymous questions in a bucket, and we ended up with far more than we could answer. Thankfully, most of the girls are from RHS Bible study, so I kept the unanswered questions and will be addressing them at future meetings. You’re prayers would be greatly appreciated in this, as it can be difficult to maintain appropriate cultural sensitivity, while still speaking truth.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Battle Cry

Spiritual battle is intense and relentless here. You have to constantly fight against lies and tricks from the enemy, and it can be incredibly draining. Don’t get me wrong; I know we have a spiritual battle at home, but it is an entirely different kind. Sometimes it seems satan is trying to block our communication with God; during those times, we rely on God’s word more than anything. We read about the armor of God, and rely on it often.

The other day, I saw Josh was doing something with craft sticks, so I asked him what it was. He explained that he was making a cross to display in order to remind satan he isn’t welcome here. We went back to our respective activities, and after a few seconds, he said, “If the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack.”

Just like that, I was back in Sunday school

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love Like Crazy

We were asked to do a video for one of our supporting churches, and in order to get the most mileage out of the effort, we thought we could share it right here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Neighbors of the Animal Kingdom

One day we were getting a ride home when we passed what someone called a “baby alligator.”

What? I don’t think they even have alligators in Africa. Don’t they just have crocodiles? Mean, vicious, hungry crocs…

We walked the 100 or so yards from our house to the mystery monster, and here is what we saw:

Words fail me…

Just for scale purposes, here is Josh in its vicinity:

[By the way, he’s carrying my Bible Study bag, but next time you talk to him, you might mention his “green man purse” J ]

FYI, it was about a meter or so long (we use the metric system here).

Not that bad, you say? Check this out:

Yeah, you have fun with those. Try a little handshake or something.

This thing had been hit by a car, but I will spare you the pictures of the other, bloodier side. You’re welcome.

At least I’m pretty sure it was dead- I wasn’t about to go check.

Here is the crazy part: if this is lying dead in the middle of the road, it was once alive enough to walk there. Eww. And it probably has relatives that are still alive. Perish the thought…

As we were walking back, we were greeted by this sight:

The ledge he’s balancing on is just below my shoulder.

When we were preparing to come to Africa, I thought we’d need to watch out for snakes, scorpions, and animals like the reptile above. Instead, I should have feared the behemoth dogs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Constant Companion

I am a worrier. There, I’ve said it.

After Kelly’s post a while ago, I wrote the following in my journal:

[On anxiety]
God has given me the opportunity for great growth in this area as of late: moving 4 times in 6 months, the uncertainty of not having visas, being cut off from the life we are used to and the comforts of home. And yet, I still struggle- I want to trust and have peace.

When I think of the time and energy I have sacrificed in worry, it’s…embarrassing. I believe in the One Who Controls All,, who created the entire universe with the flick of His little finger, and I have wasted so much of my life caught up in the “what-ifs.” Years of my life.

The craziest realization? Anxiety and chasing down all the possible outcomes of a situation is usually so much more draining than what actually happens (usually). I see that it is foolish, and I should just stop worrying.

Problem solved!

Or not, because letting go is so much easier said than done. True anxiety becomes a lifestyle, one that is always tinged with skepticism, doubt, fear, and the need for control. Anxiety is the noose with which satan has tried to strangle my spirit.

Until this point, I have accepted it as a part of who I am, but that’s a lie. Anxiety is a condition forced upon us by the enemy, and one we don’t have to accept. Kelly’s post reminded me of that. We are not captive to our circumstances or inclinations; we have freedom in Christ. He has already won the struggle for us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 31

It's been forever awhile since I last did a weekly update, and somehow it's already week 31! Time flies (or crawls, depending on the day and attitude).

Monday was fine, without much to report, until that night. I. Couldn't. Sleep. A. Wink. Not at all. This had never happened to me before, and I laid in the dark, and read, and wrote, and stared. Eight hours is a really long time to be by oneself. Anyway, we figured out the next day that I was severely dehydrated, and that was the cause. It made Tuesday interesting.

We went to the preschool on Tuesday morning, and I can't really remember that much about it (I wonder why?) I know that they practiced Christmas songs for the Christmas program they are having in November (before summer break), and it is easy to figure out who learns phonetically :)

Wednesday's highlight was the youth program, where we read the stories of the lost sheep and the prodigal son. The kids decorated hearts that said "God always loves me." Forgiveness and grace may not always be emphasized, and we want to make sure that the kids know they cannot earn their way to eternal life, but that they must receive it as a gift of grace.

Thursday we had the mommies meeting, and it was a great time. They are learning so much, and are grateful for the chance to learn, which makes leading a pleasure.

Friday brought about the highlight of the week: a sleepover with 2 of our youth group girls. These girls are so precious and full of potential, not to mention fun! We watched movies after youth group, and then spent the next morning making and distributing PB&J sandwiches to kids in Block E. It was simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking; heartbreaking to see them exposed to so much poverty, but beautiful to see them showing Christ's love.

On Sunday we had another special event: a missionary family came down from Windhoek to accompany some students from the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS). One of their students, who is from Rehoboth, preached at a local church we had never been to, and we went to support him. Unfortunately his message was in Afrikaans, but we got the gist of it, and he did very well (it was about racism versus unity in the body of believers). Afterwards we had the chance to have lunch with his family and spend time with the Windhoek group.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ministry Update

I realized it has been quite a while since we have given an update on our specific ministries, so here they are:

We are still involved with the preschool in Block, which serves children aged 2-7. Recently a short-term team that came to Rehoboth donated money for land for a new school, and the land has been purchased. We are working on building plans and fundraising. We are also planning a Christmas party/”graduation” ceremony for mid-November.

Youth Center
Although we are still involved in the youth center, it is no longer the project that consumes the majority of our time. The building is now up to usable standards, and we are no longer working on construction. Sadly, one of the windows we replaced has already been broken. It is located near a couple of bottle stores, so we regularly have broken glass bottles left in front of the center. A group of community members has been meeting periodically to discuss the center; it is great to see local citizens taking ownership. We continue to lead the youth program with Kitty, and regularly have anywhere from 15-50 kids (with only the 3 of us to keep order). We hope to expand soon to include another day of the program each week. One need we are still praying about is local volunteers.

Hope’s Promise
Although my primary focus is counseling, we have tried to help out in other ways, too. Josh and I have been working together to construct a sign for the bead shop the organization maintains as a fundraiser. Although they already have a store, there is no sign, and it’s easy to miss. Also, we had the opportunity to work at a craft market for a couple of days, also for fundraising. As far as counseling, things are going great. I am doing group counseling with the kids on Saturdays, and that’s going really well. Unfortunately, I can’t see all of the kids on an individual basis, but this way I maintain relationships with them. Additionally, I hold weekly meetings with the foster mommies, and am developing a curriculum for this from scratch. I am actually really enjoying this part of my job, and it seems to be going well.

House Ministries
One of the unexpected pleasures of moving to the house is that we are able to serve more. On Fridays, a group of teenage boys comes from Block E to hang out for the afternoon. We feed them, play games, read stories, do crafts, and just spend time with them. Also, we have had the opportunity to house some visiting missionaries, and it has been so fun to get to know them. Lastly, we have also found ministry on our doorstep. We often have children come to the door begging for food. We ask them to do simple jobs, like water the flowers, and then pay them with food. They want to work, and they don’t want to be dependent. It’s great to see the pride they take in their work, if only given the opportunity.

Girl’s Bible Study
I have continued my study with high school girls living at a local hostel. We are currently learning about spiritual disciplines, and how to have a relationship with Jesus. I hope to do a sleepover and a volunteer day with them in the new year. They will begin exams soon, and I will not see them until January- I will miss them terribly.

Prayer Walks
Josh has recently begun doing prayer walks around Rehoboth, something that is SO crucial. There is a spiritual oppression here unlike any we have ever experienced. It is truly a battle for souls, and I am so proud of him for taking this on.

Youth Group
We continue to be involved with the same youth group we have been with since the beginning of our time here. They are currently undergoing a change in leadership, as the youth pastor is stepping down and a member of the youth board is taking over. As far as new events, we will be working a camp with for them for a week in December. We see so much potential in many of these kids, and hope to nurture that in some small way. Last weekend I had a sleepover with 2 of the girls, and the next day we took them to do outreach in Block E. One of them had been there only once before, despite having lived here her whole life. This generation can be the change in Rehoboth.

Block E Outreach
We have been doing Block E outreaches more often, in which we give kids apples or sandwiches or something else to eat. It is such a difficult situation. On the one hand, we don’t want to create a dependency, but on the other, we cannot sit by and watch them starve. After praying about it, God recently brought me to this verse, which is what I would like to leave you with:

“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God…As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.”- 2 Corinthians 9:11,13

God, may it be so.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Gonna Soak Up the Sun

We get a lot of questions from people at home about the weather here.

A lot.

I can't really blame them. Not only is Africa a mystery in so many ways, they are fascinated by legends of temperatures so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, that aerosol cans will explode, that mercury thermometers won't register, etc.

Maybe that's an exageration. Maybe not.

The forecast for the temperature today is around 93 degrees. Now, I know that isn't that impressive, but we also have to consider the fact that summer doesn't really start until December. For you northern-hemisphere folks, it would be like you having 93 degree temperatures in April, and just getting hotter from there.

An AIM missionary that we know has a T-shirt that describes the exact type of heat found in each region of the country. Examples include "sweaty hot," "muggy hot," and "burning hot." What was Rehoboth? "Hellish hot."

The other weather issue here is the humidity. Well, the lack thereof. It is dry, dry, dry all the time. So dry my skin flakes off if I scratch it. So dry I have to put vaseline inside my nose every night because otherwise it spontaneously bleeds. So dry that we try to water our flowers when the sun goes down because otherwise the water just evaporates- within a few minutes. So dry that Visine has become our new best friend. So dry that you don't sweat- actually, you sweat all the time, it just evaporates immediately. The telltale sign? Salt residue on your skin.

In all reality though, the fact that the sun shines nearly all the time here makes it all worth it (we'll see if I still say that in 2 months). I am so much more productive and energetic with sunshine, and it just makes me smile. My mom calls it "solar power."

I was inspired to write this post after hearing they got 2 inches of snow last week in our hometown. I don't really mind snow, but when you have it for 7 or 8 months straight, it loses it's splendor. The cold that comes with it doesn't win my favor, either.

But now? I am pretty sure it is something I might just dream of at times.

Luckily, God gave me the foresight to take a few pictures during a quiet time last year, and now I can make myself feel cold just by staring at them :)