Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Girl

26 October, 2008

From my journal...

It is amazing to me how even in the light of my recent appointments at immigration and the fact that my TEP has been denied, my life hasn’t changed.

On Wednesday when I was told that my TEP was denied and that evening I worshiped God under the stars at St. Joseph’s. Thursday I took the dentist to Voice of Peace to finish his clinic with the kids. Today I had a lunch appointment to make plans for the future, I went to a rally at St. Josephs and met with the matron regarding our schedule to train the staff and to being our mental health assessments of the kids and begin our group counseling. Then I headed to Voice of Peace to teach a lesson on God’s love for each of us.

I imagine that there might be a girl that when told, “No”, as often as I have been told, would shrink back and go. I imagine her, but for some reason, I can’t be her. That girl might be embarrassed less frequently, than I have been, but I don’t think she would change the world. That girl, when her work permit was turned down, would go home and pack up, and spend the next 20 days saying good-bye to loved ones. But I am not that girl, this girl will spend the next 20 days doing what I have been doing… what I have been called her to do. As a matter of fact Monday, early in the morning I will hitchhike to Gweru to spend a day with a family of one of our boys, and then Tuesday hitchhike to Bulawayo to build a relationship with a new orphanage by beginning their assessments and staff trainings.

I will then come back in time for my meeting with the Principal Chief Immigration Officer on Nov. 3, for my appeal. I don’t know why I have to continue this battle with immigration, but I know who I am and I know that He has given me a task here. Whether I stay or go in 20 days, I will carry out my duties in a manner that will honor and bring glory to God.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Wednesday 22 October, 2008
My work permit has been denied...

I have to say that I am in utter shock. I thought that immigration would drag it out, literally forever, but I NEVER, even for a moment, thought that my application would get denied.

In the moment that I received the news, I laughed. I really thought the woman speaking to me was joking. Trying to get me upset, or just teasing me. But I did not take her seriously. 4 hours later, still at the immigration building, I took them seriously.

My work permit has been denied.

Now I am bombarded by thoughts and questions...
Am I called to Zimbabwe? Was I ever? Is my time here over? Are you sending me somewhere else? What does this mean for Refuge? What does this mean for me? What does this mean? Do I keep fighting? Do I let go? Where are you? Why don't I hear you? WHAT??!!?

The only answer is this, "Trust me, I am with you."

I KNOW that God loves me. I know that He has a plan, I even trust that the pain that I am feeling right now is necessary. But I am hurting. My heart feels split in two. I am crying, and I don't even think I am crying for me... but for a nation. My heart still tells me that my future is here.

Thursday 23 October, 2008
I spent another day at immigration today, because although they know that my permit was denied, they cannot find my file and give me the letter that I need to make an appeal. It feels like an attempt to discourage me, but I had a great night with God last night and calls from 2 of my fave girls in the world and today I feel alright. I feel stronger than yesterday and ready to not give up.

So I spent the day at immigration.
3 hours sitting waiting for a letter that tells me I can't work in this country. The whole time I feel like maybe God will change the words on the paper and I will get this much needed sticker in my passport.

Instead, they close for lunch and tell me to come back on Tuesday. I hear very clearly, "Don't leave." So I say, "No I will wait, if that's alright."

About 30 minutes before they will return from lunch, I am looking for a bathroom. There is no one on the first or second floor so I make my way to the third floor. I have never met with anyone on the third floor because it is where the executives are. I pass by an office looking for someone to unlock the bathroom and a woman asks me, "Who do you work for?" I tell her, "ROCK of Africa, but i am just looking for the key to the toilet." She gives it to me and I make my way there.

In the toilet I meet a lady who asks me about the progress of my permit, which makes me tear up and she said, "Don't worry... just keep trying."

So I take the key back to the very nice woman on the third floor and she asks me a lot of questions about my work here and is really helpful. She then asks a man to meet with me, who is so kind and generous and uses his position to help me.

Long story short, I now know how to appeal and what i need to do.
I also have an appointment on November 3, 2008 for this appeal.
Most people appeal in a letter. I will write a letter, but I get to deliver it in person.

I left immigration today with a "no" that felt like a "yes".

I know that God's plan is perfect, and way better than mine. I was content to go pick up a sticker and have it put in my passport. Instead of the sticker, today I have a relationship with several very important people in the immigration department and an appointment to meet with the man who's decision determines whether or not I stay in Zimbabwe.

Please pray for continued favor.

The only answer I have is that He loves me. I trust Him. His plan for my life and for Zimbabwe is perfect.


PS, I laughed because the man who has been helping all along said to me yesterday when he found me in an office i shouldn't have been in said, "You are very brave. You have courage i have never seen. Anyone would have given up by now. This is why I respect you. You are a Christian and I see that by how you act here."

God's plan is best.


19 October, 2008
Dr. Liz, an American that has been living in Harare for 3 months was leaving, so Ash and I took her to Antelope Park for her last weekend. We were able to spend 2 days there enjoying the being in Africa! I hitch hiked from Bulawayo and met them in Gweru and it was such a treat.

We decided to do a lunar horseback ride, which Jesika would have loved! She is going to die as she reads this...

We were riding horses in the moonlight and although our guide Rod insisted that we stay on the trail, my horse, Casio, seemed to have my same wild abandon and we decided that it would be better to ride through the tall grasses. It was beautiful (Liz got attacked by a thorn tree, but other than that we were safe.) At one point we even got to join a heard of Zebra and wander around with them.

In the morning we went swimming with elephants and then hit the road to get back to Harare, where we will be doing a dental clinic at Voice of Peace and I will be meeting with immigration.

I love Zimbabwe.

Friday, October 10, 2008


It is amazing to me how the little inconveniences can just be too much to handle. I handle things like no food, no medicine, no power and no water.... but today I had to make a phone call to South Africa to book a plane ticket.

So, I had to leave my house at 6:30, walk through my neighborhood and into town.

Walk through town and go through the border post. I had to cross a bridge and go across the border into Zambia (a different country). Once into Zambia I had to get on a mini bus and drive to a place that has internet connection.

I then spent the next 8 hours trying to skype, email, and phone South Africa.

I am now sitting on the floor crying in front of my computer waiting for someone in America to call me in Zambia to CONFERENCE me into a phone call with South Africa.

That is like calling someone in London to conference you in to a call with Tijuana when you live in LA!!!


I love Africa :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Theme Song

This is my theme song today

Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won't back down

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I'll stand my ground
...and I won't back down

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
(I won't back down)
and I won't back down...

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
hey I won't back down
(and I won't back down)
hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down)
hey I will stand my ground
(and I won't back down)
and I won't back down
(I won't back down)
No I won't back down...

~Tom Petty
Won't Back Down

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wow, there is always so much to talk about when I get an internet connection!

It has been 20 days since I have been able to post a blog… how can I even begin to fill you all in.

20 days in a time when the countries surrounding mine are in turmoil, we have had the death of one president, the resignation of another, and in Zim… well who really knows what is going on here.

I left Harare on the 13th and flew to Johannesburg, South Africa. I was filled with excitement and hope because I was taking a holiday!! For a week I was going to travel South Africa with no plans until I had to meet up with Glen and Linda Megill in Durban for Pastor Chris’s ceremony.

In Joburg I stayed at a hostel with people from all over the world. I was with people from Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia! I immediately relaxed and decided to spend a day or so in town. I made my way to the apartheid museum and through Soweto. This museum is really something to see, but the history meant so much to me on this day. As I walked the halls of the museum and looked that the pictures of history in the making, I knew in my heart that history was being made back in Zim. I want to trust what is happening here, and I know that God has it in control, but I saw the brutality and the pain that was involved in the change in South Africa and I want something different for Zimbabwe.

As I finished the museum, I walked into the current events exhibit and nothing was there other than the headlines regarding Zimbabwe. SA’s president Thambo Mbeki was negotiating a treaty between Mugabe and Tsvangari. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what the people of SA fought for… if the former leaders of SA would be disappointed in their president. I was disappointed in him, and my heart broke for the people of Zimbabwe. If SA

The next day I rented a car (stick shift) and after a 2 minutes driving lesson in the parking lot, taught myself how to drive a manual in Joburg… anyone who has driven in Africa will know that this is probably not the best idea, but it was fun. Joburg is known for car jacking and road rage, and at one point when I pulled out into an intersection and will my very small car managed to stall and block all 3 lanes of incoming traffic, I experienced a little of what driving in Jozi can offer, but I simply looked at those hooting at me and said “Sorry I am a learner” and restarted my car and drove away, causing them all to miss their entire green light!! OOOOOPS!!

As I drove myself to Durban (a 6 hour drive) every radio station was talking about the agreement that Thambo Mbeki had successfully negotiated between the Zimbabwean parties. He was being threatened with removal from office in his own country, but was busy making deals in our country that would seriously impact not only Zimbabwe, but the surrounding countries as well…. Something seemed wrong about that and I couldn’t keep listening so I turned off the radio and listened to my ipod instead! John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” played several times in the drive and on the radio and the words resonated strongly with me. Everything people talk about in Zim right now is contingent upon our situation changing. I hear things like “if things turn right…” or “When things are different” in regards to getting a job, quitting a job; moving or not moving; building a house or not building. I wonder what we are really waiting for. I have continued to maintain the position that Zimbabwe will change when we change. When Zimbabweans refuse to stand for less than what is right and when foreign government’s refuse to accept Mugabe’s reign as legitimate. I am tired of waiting for the world to change, I am ready to change the world.

I stopped in Petermaritzburg for the night and walked around the town the next morning. I was overwhelmed with the history of this place, what especially hit me what the impact this place had on the life of Gandhi. He was thrown off of the 1st class train in 1863 because he was not white. On a statue honoring him is a statement saying that his non-violent movement started here.

When I finally reached Durban I was so excited for a holiday that I headed straight for the beach!! It was almost like being home!! I spent a few nights in a hostel and just hung out and enjoyed myself. I was able to meet some guys who teach the kids on the street to surf and I hooked up with some of the local lifeguards for surfing lessons…. I have a few things I want to do before I turn 30 and I am starting to check them off!!

When Glen and Linda arrived we travel to Etsone and attended the ceremony inaugurating Pastor Chris as the moderator of the presbytery in Southern Africa. It was freezing cold, but such an honor to be there to support the man who has been such a blessing in my life!

While I was in South Africa, my friend Lori was running her second half marathon for Refuge. Please check it out she is so great! It is not too late to donate… there are people running until October 12 and everything that you donate is matched by her company!!

After we left South Africa I had the joy of spending Linda’s first week in Zimbabwe with her!! It was so cool to see her meet all of the people that her life has been impacting for all of these years!

We got to do lots of ministry and spent time with the kids at Monde Primary School, the kids of Gwayi River and the people that we love in the areas surrounding Vic Falls. We hung out with old friends, made new friends and it was such a blessing to see Linda in action. She gave me a new nickname, Regindiana Jones… I think she wanted me to rethink Regina the Rockstar after hearing me sing with the kids in Monde! But when you look at the pics I really do look like a rockstar, don’t ya think??

I have had moments in the past 20 days of great joy. Sitting on the beach in South Africa and putting my feet in the ocean for the first time in what seems like forever was great. Seeing 9 lions with Linda on her first trip was amazing. But there have also been times of excruciating ache. My visit to the hospital this week showed that the treaty between the parties has not yet provided reason to celebrate in the lives of the people. The children’s ward was filled with babies whose main issue was a lack of food. One of these babies, a four month old named, Brandon I held and fed him his first milk in 3 days. His mother had died the previous Friday. 3 hours later he was dead. I have no doubt that when I return to the hospital in a couple of days I will find that he is not the only one. But we have been able to be a presence in the lives of his relatives who do not have a church family, and Glen spoke at Brandon’s funeral. His family has sense called me several times to come over and pray with them and I know that God will use Brandon’s life to bring his dad and brothers and sisters to Jesus.

God is moving in Zimbabwe. We are not waiting on the world to change, we are looking for every opportunity to change the world!

PS I have tried to upload pics but the internet is too slow... surprise, surprise... I will do so when the internet allows :-)