Friday, December 28, 2012

Things are settling down... I think

The past two days I feel like I have my little sweet pea back. We haven't had near as many fights and meltdowns.

Thank you to those who have read and have prayed. I think she is starting to realize that she is not the boss! Hehe.

Here's some pictures of our silliness at bedtime tonight. My phone is a great bedtime tool!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It is easy to lose sight....

I've had a hard day today... Sweet Pea woke up screaming at 7:30 this morning and she stayed in a mood almost all day. Fighting every single thing we wanted her to do. Worse of all is wearing her glasses. Not something mommy is willing to back down on.

By lunchtime, I was ready to pull my hair out, scream and pack my bags. I took a shower instead and had a long talk with God. Still I didn't feel any peace about the situation at all. It is times like this when it is so easy to feel as though God has forgotten me.

The only reprieve I had was our annual Boxing Day potluck with my extended family. There she was too busy playing with her cousins so she barely had time to fight me..... barely....

Surprisingly, bedtime went rather smoothly. I was able to use some of my old tricks to convince her to brush her teeth and use the bathroom without too much fuss. I even got her into her bed without hearing the word "NO"

Lately, instead of the usual kiddie songs that we sing at bedtime, she has been asking me to sing worship songs. It was there that I realized that I wasn't forgotten. I was loved. As I held my little girl listening to her sing love songs to Jesus, Jesus touched me. I realized how thankful I was to have such a wonderful family and such a spitfire of a girl who will surely grow to be an amazing leader someday. The things that I have and the people in my life..... I haven't been forgotten. I've just lost sight....

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My strong willed child.

I have four wonderful children. While raising them hasn't been completely easy, I have always thought that I have been so lucky to have such well behaved kids.

Sure, "I" has been a handful as a little one physically. He learned to climb at a very young age and hardly ever stops moving. I learned to anticipate his next moves and have kept him pretty safe so far. No broken bones at least.

Sweet PEa, however, has taken me completely by surprise. I used to call her my dream baby. She was so content as a baby and slept well. Things started to change as she turned 18 months-2 years old. She became super independent. She was very particular about things. She had a certain set list for songs at bedtime. If you sang those songs out of order??
Well lets just say you would feel her wrath. She craved routine and if things didn't go her way, there would be a complete meltdown. Eventually, I learned the warning signs and could most of the time avoid major meltdowns. I hoped and prayed that it was just her terrible twos and that when she turned three, things would just magically get better. Boy was I wrong. She had been three for exactly 4 months now and it seems as though things are getting worse. Lately I haven't been able to see her meltdowns coming and therefore haven't been able to stop them.

Can a three year old be Bi-polar? Sometimes I wonder about her. She can be completely happy one minute and flying into a rage the next. When she is happy, she is super sweet. A lovely girl. But I always find myself wondering how long it will last. When she is having a meltdown, there is no reasoning with her... No chance of getting her to settle down. Her newest thing now is screaming. She screams in short little bursts. Ear piercing screams that is. Also a complete refusal to so anything. Even if it is something she wants to do. For example tonight, She needed to go to the bathroom at my mother in laws. Jeff picked her up and carried her down the first flight of steps. That set her off. She had wanted to walk down herself. Jeff responded that he was sorry and didn't know. He set her back up the stairs so she could walk down. Nope she wouldn't have any of it. She started screaming and Jeff had to take her downstairs until she had calmed down enough to come back upstairs.

I am not sure why I am writing this all out. I just know that I'm at a loss and needed to get this out there. I don't know what to do with my three year old girl. I thought after having three older kids that I had this parenting thing down but she has definitely proven me wrong and so I am here. Completely at a loss.....

Monday, December 17, 2012

November 25th ~ Last journal entry

November 25th

I didn't journal the last two days of the trip because it was all travel time and I was very sick.  Travelling while feeling so crappy is gruelling   Almost a week after I got sick and my stomach is still not back to normal.

I am so happy to be home and with my family.  I miss Africa... I miss Izak and Maria... I dream about them at night and my thoughts go to them all the time during the day.

I was asked to speak today in church about my experiences so I thought I would write som things down that impacted me the most.

1.  Meeting Izak.  Meeting him made sponsorship real.  It's hard to think of your sponsor child as a person when you have never met them.  But to get to know what kind of person they are and how my measly so much a month means so much to him......

2.  The village feeding programs.  So many kids needing food.  Older siblings carrying little ones on their backs. Dividing up the food between them so they can bring some home for later.  That last family who only had one plate to share between the five of them and how grateful they were for that one plate.

3.  How desparate the kids were for love and touch.  as soon as we arrived eah day, the kids fought over our hands, held onto our arms and sat so close to me that I thought I was going to die of heat.

4.  The love they had for Jesus and for each other.  They took care of each other.  They are truly a family.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

November 19th - Our last full day

November 19th

Went swimming this morning.  I'm feeling ill today.  I've got a sore spot in my side that hurts when I move.  Also a headache and sleepy.

We went to Noviane this morning to hand out the remaining shoeboxes to the kids who are being sponsored there.  Also to give out the cows shirts to all the kids we there.

After that Don D, Morgan and I went to Mieze to pick up Martino and his wife Christina.  I got to see Izak for a few minutes.  I gave him a beef jerky stick to see if he liked it.  We headed back to Pemba to pick up the rest of the team. I stretched out in the back of the truck. I ended up dozing for a little bit.  

After we picked up the team, we went to a restaurant for lunch.  I had a burger and fries but really shouldn't have.

We are heading to Mieze for a dance party tonight and to say goodbye to the kids.  I'm going to be a mess tonight.


What a blast we had tonight.  It was just the center kids so it wasn't as crowded.  Well with 63+ kids and all the adults in their schoolhouse it was quite crowded but good.

Once they got the music set up, Barry got together a game of musical chairs.  The kids loved it! I think they played at least 10 games.  I let Izak take pictures but the camera battery died so I have no idea what kind of pictures he took.  After the musical chairs we just turned up the music and the kids danced and danced.  Even Martino and Gracinda danced.

I gave Izak a note I wrote to him and told him to have Martino help translate it.  A little while later I saw him with Martino and the note.  He came back and gave me a great big smile.  I also asked him if he liked the beef jerky and he did.  So I gave him the rest of what I had, plus my almonds.  He was quite happy.

After dancing to a few songs, it was time to say goodbye.  Lots of tears...  Some of the kids were mad we were leaving.  I can't imagine not coming back.

Funny I felt sick all day but when we were in Mieze, I didn't at all.  Now that we are back, I feel sick again.  Tonight I was glad to be in the back of the truck with the wind whipping at my face. It was dark too so I could just let the tears flow.  I've grown to love Izak just like one of my own and I'm going to miss him so much.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nov 18th~Church in Meize!

November 18 ~ 3:10pm

This morning we went to church in Meize.  There was an english speaker.  We all had to get up on stage and introduce ourselves.  After that we got to sit down with the kids.  I probably had 5-6 practically on top of me the whole time.  We had a great time making faces at each other.  They were all being very silly.  

When church was over, they had us line up at the door to shake hands with everyone leaving.  I must have shook 200 hands.  Afterwards we headed back over to the children's center to have lunch.  I hadn't seen Izak during church but right afterwards he found me with a big smile.  He had a english/portuguese bible in his hands so I showed him Philippians 4:13.  I asked him if he liked the bible and he said yes in english.  I asked him if he knew any english and he said yes but that's all he would say so I'm guessing that yes was his only english word.

After lunch they had us line up in the gazebo and they presented us with presents.  Raciena put a beautiful necklace around my neck. Most of the other women got earrings.  Interesting that I got a necklace since I never take my earrings out.  Very shortly after that we left to go back to the Pemba base.  We have had some down time now.  Some have gone to the beach, some have stayed behind.

Oh I was able to get some background on Izak.  Elizabeth asked Martino.  He is from the village by where we went to the beach.  His father died and his grandmother was taking care of five of them and having trouble feeding them.  Elizabeth wasn't sure how Izak was chosen to come to the children's center but she thought it had something to do with him having potential to go to school further on and such.  I believe he is going to be a great leader someday.


The rest of the day was mostly relaxing.  I had a bun with peanut butter on it for supper with some almonds.  I liked the rice and beans when we first got here but it's getting hard to stomach it now.  Today at lunch, I'm pretty sure there was sand in it.  I asked Izak if he liked it and he said no.  I feel bad for him because he has to eat it every day and I'm sick of it after a week.  I'm going to bring him some beef jerky and almonds tomorrow night when we go.

Tomorrow is our last full day.  I'm excited to see my kiddos and Jeff again but I wish I could stay and do more for the kids in Meize.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nov 17th

November 17th ~ 2:05pm

It feels so weird to write November 17 when I'm sitting outside in the shade and I'm still sweating.  We went out to Mieze this morning to give de worming medicine to the village kids.  There must have been 200 kids there.  We did it in the church and the kids just swarmed us as soon as we came in.  I probably had 3-4 little girls all trying to hold one hand.  Izak had grabbed my other hand before I got to the church.  I was glad to have him by my side.  There was a puppet show and a little service before we started.  Then all the kids came for their medicine.

It was total chaos at first until we were able to organize them into lines.  We had some of the bigger boys by the door making sure that they went outside after they received their meds and water.

After that some of us went to help with the feeding program for the village kids and the rest of us went to the gazebo to sit with the kids there.  My little Maria was back.  I hadn't seen her since the beach. I think she is one of the village kids because Don K doesn't really know her.  She is really clean though and she was wearing the bathing suit she had gotten on beach day.  The village kids are always so filthy but she isn't.  A little girl Zura attached herself to me for a little bit.  Until she saw Gail J who is her sponsor.  Another sweet girl sat with me for a lot of time.  I don't know her name though.  I think she was a village kid.  She couldn't have been more than 2.5.

Beautiful Zura
There is a Tia there named Gracinda and she is just full of Jesus.  She knows how to keep those village kids in line too!


8:00 pm

Later this afternoon, we loaded into the trucks to do a little shopping.  I was able to get a bracelet and a necklace.  I wasn't interested in much else.  After that most went to the beach for a swim.  I came back to the compound though.  Don D hasn't been feeling well.  Poor guy is our driver though and I feel bad for him.  He looked terrible.  Oh we got stopped by the police today.  Don talked to them for a bit and then went and got cokes to bring back to them.  It was super hot.

Well it's been a good day other than Don being sick.  Although the power just went out and I'm starting to sweat without the fans on.

Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 
Matthew 6:8

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nov 16th ~ An emotional day

November 16th ~ 7:50pm
Today took an emotional toll on me.  Got up and went for a swim bright and early as usual.  We left for Mieze by 8:15.  We were able to give out the boys gift boxes today.  It was so fun to watch them open them.  Especially Izak.  He really liked the dinky cars and the bouncy ball that Isaac put in there.  

We also got to see the medical clinic and after lunch we join in the feeding program.  They had a little service in the church, then all the women in the village and surrounding areas line up to get food to take home to their families.  Many of these women walk for miles and miles for some rice, beans and oil.  There was one women who walked a long way on crutches as she only had one leg.  

Soon after that we headed back to Pemba to go to the beach.  I wasn't really feeling up to swimming so I stayed on the beach and watched everyone's things.  I was able to do some good thinking and praying while laying in the shade.  It's so hard to see how little people here have.

After the beach we came back and relaxed.  We lost power again for almost 2 hours I think.  I'm exhausted again tonight.  So many emotions trying to bust out.

Nov 15th ~ Girls Gift boxes & Feeding program

Note: I'm so sorry I haven't updated.. we are going on 8 days of sick kids.  I'm praying we get it all cleared up by christmas!  I promise I'll get the rest of the journal entries in the next couple of days.  I'll write them today as I have time between helping sick little sweet pea in the bathroom.  

November 15th ~ 3:15pm

I skipped swimming today and regretted it.  I woke up and the power was out so the fans were out.  I woke up at 6:30 very sticky and gross feeling.  After devotions at about 8:45, we headed to Meize.  We spent a little time with the kids and we were able to distribute the gift boxes to the girls.  When everyone got theirs, they raised them above their heads and sang "Thank you Jesus"  It brought tears to my eyes.  I will never forget these moments.  

Afterwards we took a walk to see the foster homes and the goat farm.  I had kids hanging off me the whole time.  
Izak as always followed me around.  I learned that he is 12 years old.  Such a sweetie.  I would take him home if I could.  He fought to get two mangos from the bag and then gave me one.  I'll be so sad to leave him.  I didn't see Maria at all today but another little Maria attached herself to me for a little bit.

We left Meize and came back to the Pemba base.  We helped out with the children's feeding program where they feed the village kids rice & beans.  It literally broke my heart to see.  Older siblings with little ones on their back and little ones following them.  

One girl had four younger siblings and she had a Tupperware type dish.  She poured all their plates into it, gave them each a handful and then headed home with the rest.

Another family came through, the two older ones had babies on their backs and must have had 4-5 little ones following them.

Another little guy pulled a ziploc bag out of his pocket and filled it up. Then he ate what wouldn't fit.

It was all so overwhelming.  My emotions are all over the place right now.  I feel like I want to go home but I don't want to leave the kids here.  Especially Izak.

5:50 pm
We went down to the market to buy some food to make a good supper.  Unfortunately when we got here, we have no water and the stove doesn't work. Not sure what we will do now.  

"I pray that  your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given those he called - his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him."
 Ephesians 1:18-19 

9:30 pm
Well we also lost power for a while.  When it came back on and we got some propane, Don D made us a delicious meal of omelettes  salad and "sausages" that were more like a cross between hot dogs and Bologna   It was good except we didn't have any water to wash the lettuce so we had to use bottled water which we were trying to conserve.  So the salad had a bit of sand in it. No big deal.  The power went out again as we were cleaning up but the water came back so that was good.  The power didn't stay out for too long though.

I'm feeling weird emotionally today. All I want to do is sing but I feel really down.  I'm not sure if it is the impact of what I saw today. I know that by the time we left Meize, I was ready to not be touched for a while.  Those kids are all so desperate for attention.  They will just come up and wrap their arms around me or sit right in my lap or right next to me.  Sometimes the smell overwhelms me but I couldn't ever turn them away.

"Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ." Colossians 4:2

A Slideshow presentation I made

I was asked to put together a slideshow presentation for church on december 9th.  I really enjoyed putting it together... here it is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nov 13-14th Meize!!

November 13 ~ 6:45 am

Water was beautiful this morning.  We went at 5:30.  We have the truck now so we were able to go down to another part of the beach with no rocks.  One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the garbage.  Walking through the streets, they were filled with garbage literally.  There wasn't a spot you could step that wasn't on peice of garbage. There were spots on the road that looked burned with pots on them like people had used them for cooking.  No breakfast this morning.  I am glad I brought my almonds.


Lots to write about today.  This morning after our debrief and devotion, we had the morning free.  Darlene, Morgan and I went to the girls dorm to talk to the girls.  There was a girl named Justina who played the guitar really well and had a beautiful voice.  

We also got to visit the sewing shop.  I was able to buy a bag and a couple of skirts to wear.  After lunch, we all hopped into the back of the truck and headed to Meize.  I brought the video camera so i was able to get some awesome shots of all the kids running to the truck.

Thankfully others had their camera's out since I had my video camera out.  Don M got this shot!
Maria and I shortly after arriving in Meize for the first time.
There were so many kids hopping into the truck and all over the place it was a bit overwhelming.  When I finally got a chance to get off the truck a little girl shyly came and stood beside me.  When I moved, she moved all day.  She was so sweet.  I didn't learn her name until suppertime because she spoke so low.  As the day moved on though, she began to come out of her shell.  She is a very silly girl when she warms up and she was just cracking me up.  Her name is Maria and she is only 6-7.  Amazing that another Maria has touched my heart.

I also had Don Kantel point out our sponsor child Izak to me.  I got to watch him for a little bit. He is really handsome and very reserved and quiet.

Izak from afar before we met.  He's the one in the striped shirt.

After a bit, I was dragged into what looked like a school room by a little girl named Gracinda!  She wanted to braid my hair.

Lots of other girls joined in as well.  Beth's sponsor child Jihomalya joined in.  At least I think it was her. (It was her!
Jihomalya is on the right with the beads in her hair.
I took out pictures of my family and the kids gathered all around.  I must have said everyone's names about 20 times.  Even a little boy about 2-3 would point at each person so I would say their names.  Eventually the older girls were able to say them from memory.  It was so wonderful to share my family with them.  It made missing them and the hurt that comes from it a little bit better.  The best thing about it was that Izak came and asked me to say their names and when I got to my Isaac, he was so surprised.  He is really really sweet.  Later on I had Don K tell him who I was and that our family sponsored him.  He kissed me on the cheek and said thank you. Such a sweetie.

It was movie night so we all sat down and cookies & popcorn were handed out. 

 I was sitting with Maria playing with her and I see Izak sit beside me.  As the evening moved on, he sat closer and closer until Maria, Izak and I were playing together.  I was able to give him one of the bracelets I had brought.  

I was so sad to have to leave them tonight.  Darlene asked me earlier that day if I thought I would come back and I honestly said I wasn't sure.  After today, if I could spend all my time in Meize, I could live there.  All of those children't were just beautiful!

Oh!  I was actually able to take pictures with my own camera because Lisa and Don D found me a charger when they went to town.  God is Good!  As I was writing last  night I felt God telling me that I had to step out in faith and speak it out about my prayers with my camera getting charged.  So this morning, I went to Joy and prayed with her.  Not ten minutes later, Lisa came in with the charger!  Thank you Lord!

Tomorrow we get up early for a swim as usual.  Then devotions and then back out to Meize where we will take a walk through the village and take the kids to the beach.  It should be so much fun!

Ephesians 5:1 ~ Imitate God, therefore, in everything thing you do, because you are his dear children.

November 14th ~ 5:30pm

Today was good.  Up again at 5:30 to take a swim. Water was so nice and refreshing.  We had devotions at 7:30 and it was off to Meize at 9.  First stop was to the Meize farm.  Don K explained how it worked and we walked around for a bit.

mmmm mangos!

The next stop was to see the kids!  Maria and Izak found me first thing and stuck like glue.  Don K then took us on a tour of the village across the street.   The kids from the base came with us and once again Maria and Izak stayed right by me.

We were shown the houses that were being renovated and we got to meet the families.  Izak became a bit protective.  There was a boy that kept pinching my arm. Izak took him by the arm and threw him away.  He was really sweet though.  Halfway through the walk, he slipped his hand in mine. He has a great smile.

After the walk, we sat in the shade and some of the ladies got lessons on how to carry things on their heads.  

They also handed out the swimsuits that we had to donate to them.  Maria ran up to me to show me her pretty pink one that she had on.  We also had lunch. I had Izak on one side of me and Maria on the other.

After lunch, we loaded all the kids onto two flat bed trucks and took them to the beach. 

 The water was like a hot bath.  It was hard because the kids jumped on my back and it was sunburned so it hurt. The kids poking me doesn`t help either.  We had fun though I was disappointed at the water because I was looking forward to some cool water but it was actually hot.  

Morgan was baptized in this hot water today too!

Now we are all sitting around eating.  We actually had chicken with our rice tonight.  I`m exhausted.

My boy Izak!
Izak relaxing
Martino getting down and playing with the kids.