Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 2

So I have been home for over 24 hours... I am in day 2. I have been loved on by my friends and had time to chat with my grand on the phone, I can't wait to get off the plane in Michigan to see her.

I am alright. This is the first time I have made it through the entire flight, and the entire first day without crying.

I miss Zimbabwe. I miss that place terribly, but I am ok. I am excited to be back for a bit, and I am returning to Zim as soon as I can.

Today was fun, I laughed with my girls and had a perfect first day in Cali:
~Slept in until 10 am (Gigi is back!!!)
~Took Rocky for a walk...(a very short one, he is lazy now)
~Made scrambled eggs for breakfast (Yup, I can cook now)
~Took a shower (A really nice, really hot, really long one--I smell so nice)
~Blow dried my hair, (oh my gosh you have no idea how pretty I feel)
~Went for sushi with Yara (I dream of sushi while I am in Zim... I am so happy!! But my stomach is too full... I will spare you the details of my stomach problems... yup --already!!)
~Went for waxing (Oh my there is a girl under all that hair!!)
~Went for pedicure (I am sorry, I have been in Africa for most of this year, please forgive the condition of my feet!! )
~Got my hair did (This was sooooo neccessary, Amen for cut,color and deep conditioning)
~Stopped by to visit with the pastors... (I don't know if it's sad or funny, but they didn't recognize me, all night they kept saying, 'you look better in America')
~Stayed up late laughing with my girls and eating chocolate chip cookies and milk (sorry marcus, I am gonna eat!!!!)

I can't wait to see you all, I have laughed so much since i got off the airplane and I know that this is going to be a great trip!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Today I am leaving. I am heading back to the States, back to California and then Michigan to the places that I should call home. Today I am leaving my home. I cannot explain to you how or when the transition took place, however I can tell you without a doubt that I call Zimbabwe home.

I am excited to get back to see my friends and family, but as always, leaving is bittersweet. I no longer have a life back in California. I have friends (and Rocky) who are really excited to see me, and I am more excited than I can express to see them, but I don’t have a routine, I don’t know how I will fill my days. It is like a vacation. I need a vacation. Bheki said to me today as we were locking up my house and saying good-bye to my neighbors, “You will be new in America, won’t you? Don’t worry you will have a good visit and come home soon.”

People ask why I love Zimbabwe so much. I wish that there was an easy answer. There are so many reasons that people love this place: the incredible land, the amazing adventures to be had, the beautiful people, the spiritual fullness. All of these things have impacted me. I have spent the last 2 years trying to understand this place, but what affects me more personally is how God has used Zimbabwe to change me. I am very little of the girl who first arrived here. I am more of the little girl that was left behind when I got off track. In the past two years, God has taken me through a process of healing and restoration and I am not sure if it is finished, but I am a lot closer than I was a few months ago.

I have learned who I am in this place. I have learned who God is in this place. I have learned how I want to live my life: what I am willing to fight for and what I need to let go of. In Zimbabwe I became a warrior princess.

Not only am I visiting friends and family, I am attending the global summit on AIDS in the church, I am so excited to hear what is happening in the church in other parts of the world, we are on the front lines here. But this trip is really for a specific purpose: WORK PERMIT. I have to leave Zim to apply. Immigration says that this process could take a minimum of 6 weeks and I want you to join with me in prayer. Every fact says that I should be denied, the circumstances are bleak, but the truth is that I am called to Zimbabwe. I know it, the people here know it, the people who have been here with me know it, and a lot of you know it. The truth is that God can suspend the rules and that He doesn’t worry about the facts. Please stand in prayer with my that I get my work permit, in not one day over 6 weeks. This document will change my status in the country and allow me to not only work with the boys, but to counsel and train! It is important, and I am fighting for it. I am a warrior princess!

To my friends in the States, I will see you soon! I land Monday at 2:45pm!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have to leave...

I don't know when it will hit me... but I am leaving Zim. I can't imagine what it will feel like when on the 25th my feet leave African soil. My heart aches at the thought of waking up in the O.C. instead of the high density of Victoria Falls. I know that I have to leave to get my work permit and become more permanent, but my heart is already permanent.

Tonight I was at a special Friday night service at church, which is such a gift...extra Celebration Church before I leave, but it was extra special because Pastor Tom, a man that I respect so much from Harare, was preaching in Vic Falls. So much stood out, as I try not to be consumed by thoughts of my work permit and my immigration status in a land that feels like home.

Pastor Tom said 2 things that I will hold in my heart until I get my papers and I return to my little home in Mkhosana!
~ My circumstances don't determine my future or my life, the kingdom does.
~ When love is high miracles happen.

I am banking on these two points, I believe that the circumstances, no matter how bleak they are do not determine my future in Zim. I know that God will ensure the circumstances are perfect for me to be where He will have me. I have tried to be faithful and obedient and I know that God has called me to Zimbabwe. I do not think that my time here is over. I also believe that God's grace can suspend the rules of the world. I am counting on this suspension when it comes to my immigration status because of the second point. Miracles happen when love is high, I don't know why, but Zimbabwe has stolen my heart. It took a group o f 12 boys, that has grown into a group of almost 60 boys to melt my heart, but it is not just them. This entire land has captured my heart. I have never loved so much, nor have I ever been able to accept love so readily either. This place has changed me, God has changed me and I have been prepared.

Some days I am tired of fighting, but no matter how great the difficulties I can just crawl into my father's arms and I am reminded of why I fight, and what I am fighting for. Please keep praying for me, I am unprepared to leave this place. I don't think I can get ready. I will even miss the unreliable phone lines, the slow internet, the power cuts and the times that i wake up in the morning and can't take a shower because I have no water. If that is the worst I have to deal with I will take a heartbeat.

Pray for favor with the government and for peace while I wait!! Also, please pray that i just have a ton of fun while I am home!!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I need your help!

OK so I kind of messed up and made plans that I was told we could pay for... but it turns out we cannot....

I will keep this brief as the details are not that important.

The outreach that is arriving here in about 24 hours is the November Thanksgiving outreach, this one is similar to the one that I first came on in 2005. Our focus is going into the rural areas and sharing a meal, while we share the love of Jesus and worship with our Zimbabwean friends. We also leave seed for them to plant, Bibles and mosquito nets as we are coming up to peak Malaria season.

I arrive back from Harare with my new visa about 12 hours ago at 4:30 am. Today I was informed as I came to collect money to make the purchases that we need for the teams to work, that they budget was off and that there isn't enough money to do the outreaches as we had planned. I am not sure how it happened, but I am sure it has happened.

OUr origonal budget for our outreaches in Zimbabwe was $1,500. At this point I am not sure if there is any money or if we are a little short, so I am asking you to help. I have gone around and set up all of these parties in the rural areas with the village heads, and my name is on the line. It might not seem like much, but honestly at this point it is all I have here. These men trust me, they help me when I need it, and the bleieve that my heart is in the right spot. Now I look like a big jerk to say the least, as if I have made fake promises of an outreach, with a big meal, lots of love and especially the much needed profits from us buying thier livestock to feed them.

We were meant to buy a lot... if you would like to know the breakdown, here are some of the costs:
Cow: $90-100
Goat $15-25
Chickens: $5-6

We also need money for mealie meal, rice, cooking oil, salt, juice cabbages and salad cream. We will also need money to pay for our transport out to these areas.

Please help. If you want to make a donation, please send me an email letting me know that you are donating so we know right away as most of our office is on thier way to Zim right now. You can donate online at just write in the memo "Zim food outreach". You can write the same thing on the memo of your check and mail to ROCK of AFRICA:: PO BOX 5000:: Costa Mesa, CA 92628. Anything over and above what we need will go towards Refuge's normal operating budget and is greatly appreciated. All donations are tax deductable.

I know that God will provide, and I also know that just as with my first outreach, the opposition is fierce because something great is going to happen. One of my best friends, along with some other very special women in my life are on thier way here and I am so excited to see how God uses them, and me at this time. I will be traveling back to the States on the 25th with them, and I will not return until immigration gives me a work permit. This is big. Please keep us and this outreach in your prayers!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

I miss you

I am sorry for being out of touch, I am traveling in Harare with Erin getting some things done befroe the team gets here, i will post something new as soon as we get home on tuesday! The team arrives on Wednesday and we ALL come home on the 25th!! WOOOOHOOOO!
I got my new visa for a little bit, but please continue to pray for my work permit!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

The best thing:

Reconnecting with old friends…..

Many of you know that I did not have the ideal childhood, but what you might not know is that some people loved me enough to try to give me the ideal childhood even though it wasn’t what I was born into.

My grandparents were those kind of people. We went to stay with them every weekend and did fun things and were loved on to the extreme. We took lots of vacations and every summer they took us to Sauble Resort in Ludington, Michigan.

I think I could say that some of the best moments of my life happened during those weeks at Sauble, which happened to coincide with my birthday every year. As I began adolescence I complained about leaving my friends to spend time with the people up north, but once I got there I was reminded of the special friendships I also had there. There were a lot of us in the same age group….I think at least 4 or 5 families and we all had such a good time! But by far, one friendship stood out the most… Sean Ford. I can never call him by just his first name, it’s weird. From like the age of 5, maybe earlier we were such good friends. Of course by the age of 11, I was for sure, at least for one week out of the year, that he was the cutest boy in the world.

The friendship that we formed was solid, and I had forgotten about it for a long time, until recently we were reacquainted over myspace…see it can be good for something other than pre-teen girls finding old men to flirt with! We have been emailing back and forth and getting reacquainted and talking about old times. It is like one of those times when you go out for drinks with someone you haven’t seen in 10 years…or going to your high school reunion. I keep waiting to get to the point where we are both like….uh, ok now what do we talk about… but it doesn’t come.

One of the first things Sean wrote to me was, ‘Do you remember what song we used to rock out to in the car??’ I immediately thought of this quote I had read… "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." That is true, even when the song is “It must have been love” Oh, we did grow up in the 80’s and 90’s people!!

In what could be one of the loneliest seasons of my life, Sean Ford’s friendship is a priceless gift. I think what I am finding out is that sometimes all of the love that we need is right there, just waiting for us to see it! I think we should all get reacquainted with an old friend… one of my best friends and I also recently hooked up (over email…I’m in Africa) with our 3rd partner in crime from MSU, and it has been great!!

Today my heart is smiling,


"I never had better friends than the friends I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?" -Stand By Me