Friday, November 30, 2012

November 10th Journal ~ Its a deep one!

November 10th ~ Ingwe Safari ~ 9.50 am

Just got back from a morning safari.  We left at 5 am and it was so beautiful.  Got to see lots of animals.  the sun was warm but lots of wind to cool us down.  We actually got to get out of the land rovers and walk up to a couple of rhinos.  We got about 70 meters away before we had to stop because they were getting ready to run.  When we got back, Michael had our breakfast ready for us.  scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and a wonderful salsa.  I asked Michael how he made it and he said he puts tomatoes in a pot with olive oil. When those get mushy, take them out and do the same thing with onions.  When those are done, add the tomatoes back in with a half a cup of sweet chili sauce and a half a couple of sugar.  It was so delish!

After breakfast we left the safari.  After about an hour driving, we arrived at the Shangana cultural village.  We learned a bit about the culture.  It seemed quite fake though.  After a quick lunch we left for a mall where we had a half hour to browse.  After that we set off for Johannesburg.

That was a four hour drive but amazing.  Darlene and I were sitting right behind Michael and Lynn (our drivers) and we had the most amazing conversation with Michael.  First off he explained to us that when someone asks "How are you?"  we should always respond with "Excellent" .   The reason behind that is because "ex" means "from" and "el" is a name of God.  Lent means cleansed so when we are born again, we are excellent because we are cleansed from God.

He also talked of the word repent.  He talked of a penthouse and how repent is not something you do, it is a position.  We as children of God are meant to be in the penthouse or the highest position.  We talked about the churches purpose.  There are 5 positions in the church: pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet and preacher.  All are important but sometimes today's churches put pastor at the top of the list.  

He asked us when was the last time we rose someone from the dead.  He quoted Matthew 10:7-8, "As you go, preach this message: The kingdom of heaven is near.  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received  freely give."  He told us to look in the mirror.  We are made in God's image.  That means we can think like God.  Why do we have eyes?  To see the needy.  Why do we have ears? To hear the cry of the broken. Why do we have hands? To raise people from the dead.  Why do we have feet? To go our and preach the good news.  

We were made in God's image and his likeness.  His likeness is love.  The greatest commandment is written in Matthew 22:37-39.  "Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.    What is most important in my life?  First is God.  Myself should be second and neighbor should be third.  If I can't love myself as God loves me, how can I have any hope of loving my neighbor.  And because everyone is made in the image of God, when I look down on someone or judge someone, I am doing that to God's image.

Michael urged us to read the word and immerse ourselves in it.  He talked of John 3:16 and gave us a little illustration.  Say there were 12 people in a group and another one comes along and is a heart surgeon. He wants to join their group.  They welcome him with open arms saying how nice to have a heart surgeon in the group.  They all get along fine.  Suddenly one in the group has a heart attack.  Everyone panics, calling 911 and yelling for an ambulance.  The heart surgeon says "Hey, I'm a heart surgeon.  Put him up on the coffee table and I'll get him fixed up."  The rest cry "No, No you don't have the proper operating table, you can't do that here." They believed him that he was a heart surgeon but when it came down to it, they didn't believe IN him.  John 3;16 "Whoever believes IN him, shall not perish but have everlasting life"

I realized that I trust God but when it comes down to it, when it really matters, I have a hard time trusting IN him.

Our words vibrate through the air long after we no longer hear them.  God's word stays the same today as when it was written.  Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Michael showed us a neat card trick.  He said when we look at everyone we see different people. Then he flipped through the deck and all the cards were different.  When God looks at us, he sees the same, His image. Then he flipped through the deck again and it was all the jack of diamonds.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 9th

November 9th - Ingwe wilderness reserve~

Outside our rooms at Michael's Children's Village
Today we had a ton of fun.  we woke up around 6:45 or so.  Don D prepared an awesome breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash potatoes, porridge  and toast.  We ate and then had our devotional.  A bit later we met with Kelsey and Catherine who are missionaries here.  Later on, Teesa, who is the director of Michael's children's village came and we learned a bit about what they do.  It's unlike any orphanage I ever imagined.

They have three houses of children.  The Dube House, the Khosa House and the Baby House.  Each house has a set of house parents who care for them.  MCV's vision for them is to get them established as a family unit and then help them get established back into the community.  They then find new house parents and start the process again.  They also have a bible college, a preschool, and a dream centre which focuses on teaching them computer skills and career development.

We didn't get to meet many of the children as they stayed in their houses because of the rain.  We did meet a few of the older ones and they were very shy.  Shortly after that Lynn and Michael who run a safari came to get us.  They drove us a long way to their safari spot near Kruger National Park.

After we got settled in our rooms, we jumped into the safari mobiles.... Aka.. Land rovers... 

 There were six to a vehicle and I was with Barry, Gail M, Morgan, Lisa and Darlene.  We had a ton of fun.  So many laughs.  Nearly fell out of the Jeep a couple times and nearly got pushed out by Morgan who got a little jumpy when it got darker and more bugs came out.  
The other group

We spent 3.5 hours driving through the African Bush.  It was so beautiful.  Our driver was a little girl named Denise.  Well she wasn't really a little girl but she was very small.  She was really funny and loved to tell stories.  She was cute and had a great laugh.  We didn't see many animals but had so much fun.  We saw some elephants, wildebeest  gazelles, cape buffalo, and mongoose.  We are getting up at 4:45 tomorrow to go on an early safari.  Hopefully we will see some lions and leopards.  We got back at about 7:30, had some wonderful bbq chicken & sausage with salad and garlic bread by the fire.  I love the night sounds here.  Crickets and frogs. Also there is a bird that makes a sound like water dripping.  So Cool!! 

Cape Buffalo... See that tent in the distance?  Barry slept there that night.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back in Canada

I'm back!!!!  Well I"ve been back for a week now but have been sick with a stomach bug for the last week and a half so haven't really felt up to doing much.  But I have neglected you for far too long and I know you are dying to know how my trip went.  I thought the best way to do that is just copy out of my journal that I kept for the trip.  So HOPEFULLY each day for the next 15 days, I'll post one day out of my trip.  And add some pictures.

Here we go!

Days 1-3 ~~ November 6-8 (well I didn't journal anything on Nov 6th )

November 7th

It was an exhausting flight to London.  I barely slept maybe a half an hour.  That made for a tiring day in London.  We did manage to visit Buckingham Palace where we caught the changing of the guard.  I didn't see much because of course I'm short and there was a huge crowd.  Don D held the video camera up for me so hopefully we caught something.

We also saw Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.  I got some cool pictures for the boys.  We also stopped at a fish n chips diner called "The Laughing Halibut" for lunch and they had the best fish n chips I have ever tasted.

By the time we did all that, we were ready to go back to the airport and rest.  We didn't get much rest though by the time we got through all the trains and through security.

Now we are waiting for our flight to Nairobi, Kenya.  I took a gravol and I'm really hoping to get a good night sleep.  I think it is a ten hour flight.

November 8th ~ Nairobi

9Am ~On another plane heading to Johannesburg.  The flight from London was actually only almost 8 hours and I'm happy that I was able to sleep for most of the flight.  I'll look forward to sleeping in a real bed tonight.  Thinking of my birthday girl today and missing them all terribly.

9:45 pm ~White River, South Africa

It is amazing how good a shower feels after being in the same clothes for 3 days.  We finally made it through our three flights today.  The airport we flew into in Nelspruit was so cute but I forgot to take a picture.  Maybe someone else did.  We finally got to the base here in White River.  There was a huge storm when we were trying to land in Johannesburg so it was a really rough ride and I even saw some lightening outside the plane window.  We got here to the base (Michael's Children's Village) around 6 or so.  When we got here they had made us a traditional South African meal.  It consisted of fried chicken (although Barry called it fried crow) rice, coleslaw, beets, another cabbage looking dish, something that looked like really starchy, gluey mashed potatoes, (Barry thought it was made of ground up corn... mealy meal I think it was called) and a soup that had a broth with potatoes, onions and carrots. I think it had chicken in it as well.  It was all very good but the best was putting the soup over the rice and mealy meal.  
When we got there we were greeted by two very sweet and animated girls around 12-14 years old. They told us that their names were Abigail and Bridget but we found out later that they just made up english names for themselves.  It was there job to show us around the guest house and they had fun with it.  Their english was very good.

After we ate, we cleaned up, sorted the stuff that we are donating to them, had showers (with HOT water YAY) and played crib until we were too tired to think anymore.   One of the thoughts I had to day... Our driver from the airport, Johnny said that they have electricity about 75% of the time.  He said it went out about 3 times in the last week usually for about 4-5 hours but sometimes several days.  I just tried to imagine going without electricity for several days.  We go crazy after it's been out for an hour.  They cope without it here though.  I may have to go without electricity at home for a bit just as a little lesson for the kids.  Speaking of the kids, I was looking at pictures on the camera of them while at one of the airports today.  I miss them.  I can't wait to see them and I wish I knew how they were doing.  Anyway, I best sleep.  I'm glad to not have to go on another airplane again for a while... well until Sunday......

Thursday, November 8, 2012

10 years...

My first baby girl is ten years old today and I'm in Africa unable to celebrate with her.  So I wrote this post before I left so that she could read it on her birthday.

It seems too hard to believe that you have been in my life for 10 years and yet I can't remember life without you.   I was soo stinkin happy when I found out I was pregnant.

 I was so excited to know you.  When they said it's a girl.... I think my heart nearly burst.  My very own little girl to love.

As you grew into a toddler, you made us laugh when you would bite your toys when you were angry.. You only bit a person once though.  Your dad yelled so loud at the shock of it all, I think you never wanted to do that again.  

At age 2, you were a great talker and we have videos of you talking and talking and talking.  We used to call you sweetie pie and you would get so mad if someone called you a different nickname.  Gramma used to call you sugar plum and you would say "I not a sugar plum, I a sweetie pie" in a very frustrated voice.

At age 3, you were eager to learn.. you already knew all your letters, colours and shapes.  You were a wonderful big sister to "T". You had Daddy wrapped right around your finger too!

At age 4, we started dealing with your melt downs.  It was almost as though you had too many emotions inside you and didn't know how to let them out so you just melted down.  You were so sweet though most of the time.

When you were 5, you had two little brothers looking up to you... You were soo girly.  Loved purple and anything else girly.

At age 6, you were a social butterfly.  You had so many friends, loved your brothers, and just loved life.

When you were 7, you finally had that baby sister you always longed for.  And did you ever love that baby.  She was like your own living doll.

Age 8 and  you still acted like a second mama for Sweet Pea.  You were kind and loving to your brothers and sister.... well most of the time.

At 9 you have grown into such a beautiful young lady.  You have such a tenderness about you.  You are so caring.

 Now you are 10, I am so amazed at the girl you are becoming.  You are sweet, smart, kind and generous.  Your heart is truly good.  You fill our lives and everyone around you with laughter and joy.  

Laughter.... I love your laugh.  It fills the room and when you are really laughing hard, your giggle makes it really hard not to laugh along with you.

I love you so much.  I wish that I was there to celebrate this special birthday with you. I am thankful that you support me in going on this trip even though it meant I had to miss your birthday.   My wish for you on your birthday is that you continue to grow into that kind, generous wonderful young lady that you are. That you are happy and know that you are loved so much.

I love you beautiful girl and I miss you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's a long hard night.

Hey all. I can't believe how fast time has flown by but I leave for Africa TOMORROW!

As much as I tried to prepare the kids for my departure, I think it has become very real to them tonight. Well, I don't know if Sweet Pea truly understands but tonight when we were talking about it she said "but you will come in a week?"

Currently I'm writing this post on my phone in "I's" bed. He was pretty hysterical tonight and he wanted me to lay with him to help him go to sleep. He never asks me to do that and I was happy for the extra snuggles. "J" just came in though and said "what about my snuggles??"
He wasn't crying at this point though. The flash was bright for his eyes.

If you think about it, pray for my loves in the coming weeks and especially tomorrow. There hasn't been a day in their whole lives where they didn't see me and now I'm going to be gone of over 2 weeks.

Pray for my husband too. I am pretty sure he will do a better job at being"mom" than I do but I know it will be stressful especially dealing with sad kiddos.

Pray for all our safety, me while in Africa and in my travels and them as they continue their routine at home.

Lastly pray that God will use my time away to his glory.

Well I think Isaac is asleep so it's on to snuggle and probably comfort another kid. I love them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And the winner is!!!!

Okay so I"m so super late.  When I set the deadline for my giveaway I didn't realize that the day I set was the busiest day of my entire year and then I forgot.  haha.. but since no one commented on the post anyway no biggie.

However 2 people did share my blog on facebook so that earned them entries.   I just wrote down the two names, crumpled them in to a ball and had "J" pick a winner... the winner is Holly Ryder!!!   Send me your address and I'll get the book sent to you!