Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Tired, Jet Lagged Mess

I've been a tired, jet lagged mess these last couple of days.

Just home for three days.  This time last week I was logging about four hours a day
on a big green bus, traveling on dirt roads out in the very remote bush of Kenya.  

I couldn't have been happier.

Our 18 member team from NewSpring Church worked in a small village called
Mbogoini.   We were the very first team from 410 Bridge to go into this area.

That was pretty cool.

It was the most beautiful land I've ever seen.

Everything you might imagine when you think of Africa.

Flat plains bordered by Mount Kenya.

Herds of goats & cattle.    Zebras.  Gazelles.   Acacia trees.

And a HUGE sky.   So beautiful.

The people of Mbogoini couldn't have been more welcoming and more loving to us.
Although very few of them spoke English, we managed with the help of our young

Over the course of our trip, we took on several projects.

We started the construction of a new school.

We loved on children.

Okay.   We loved on lots of children.

We led services in area churches.

We assisted in the school feeding program.

We washed dishes.

We played soccer.

We taught in the local school.

We trekked out on foot paths.

And did home visits.

A special moment for me was when one of the Masai women of the village took off her traditional Masai beaded necklaces and put them around my neck.  Wow!

Mainly, we focused on building relationships.     With the people of Mbogoini.

And with the people on our team.

I've made four trips to Kenya now over the last five years.   Every time I go, God
shows me something else about myself.    For me, it's like shining a flashlight onto my
good, bad & ugly.    Okay....not so much my good.

It's going to take some time to think through what my lessons were from this trip.
Some I've already seen.    Others are going to take a while longer.

More than three days for sure.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Freaking Out Stage!

Just days out from leaving for Kenya, I'm approaching the "out of body" freaking out
stage of the trip preparation....when it hits me that....OH MY GOSH, I'm getting on
a plane & flying to AFRICA!

I know.    I've been before, but it NEVER gets familiar.  And for sure, it never gets

I got most of my packing done today.  Vowing to go lighter and inspired by my friend,
Stacy Williams's impressive packing for this trip in a single carry on bag last year!

Some of my essentials:

a bag of miniature dark chocolates
a head lamp Kate gave me for my last trip
malaria pills
mini disposable tooth brushes
Cliff bars

Going "lighter" may mean leaving these behind -  the 5 lb. rain boots that pushed
my luggage over the weight limit last year.   My roommate, Jennifer, had to carry
some of my souvenirs home in her bag because of these boots!

And, yes, I'll make an art project out of about anything, including plain ole rubber Army
green mud boots from Wal-Mart!

The motto of NewSpring Kenya trips is "BE FLEXIBLE."     A necessary motto for the trip
(and come to think of it, a pretty good one for life too.)   We'll be flying from Atlanta to
Amsterdam in about 9 hours -- and then from Amsterdam to Nairobi in a little over 8 hours.
We'll stay in Nairobi one night - and drive 4 or 5 hours the next morning to our mission site.

The bus ride is FUN!    You can see why.  This was our ride last year.


We'll be serving in a village NewSpring has never been before, so excited to see a totally
new area.   It's called Mbogoini.   In Mbogoini, we'll be working on the construction of a
nursery school,  preparing & serving lunch at the local school,  speaking at the local
churches, doing home visits (hut visits),  teaching in the school & playing and loving
on the kids.

How cool is that?

I wanted to take this blog opportunity to also say "thank you."

People have been extremely generous to me in providing support for this trip,
especially those of you that participated in my mosaic raffle.  

Jim & Patty Stafford won the raffle a few months ago.  I had checks from friends who
live as far away as Hawaii, Texas & England - as close as Georgia & North Carolina
- and even my old stompin ground of Pumpkintown, Cleveland & Pickens!   That
raffle provided a big chunk of money for the trip.    Without your help, I wouldn't
be going.  Thank you so much!

I know you may also promised to pray for our team.   I hope you will!  
Our team is small (only 18) - but I can tell already, it's going to be a great group.
Thanks for prayers for Jake, Matthew W., Kara, Melody, Lindsay, me, Scott, Josh D.,
Josh G., Brenna, Tracey, Tommy, Ali, Donna, Amy, Matthew G., Mona & Stephen.

Scott is so uncomfortable flying, so he's been praying in detail (okay....it's bordering on
obsessive)....for the mechanics who work on our planes, the pilots, the hydraulic lines, the
landing gear....even the bolts & wings! -- he's probably prayed for the air traffic controllers
when I wasn't listening!    Bless his heart.    He's an antsy passenger!

I have sweet people in my life that are also stepping up to take care of my house, feed
my animals, walk my dog & cover my office so I can be away.  Good people!
They know who they are!   Each of you are giving me peace of mind to leave -- and
that's a huge gift.

I'm also leaving my girls to scrounge for a Thanksgiving Day meal, but Becca Chain
and my mama are looking out for them, so I know they're in good hands!

I know I have people in my life (and, no, mom, you're not the only one)  who have a hard
time understanding why I want to keep going to Africa.

I have to say.

I can't even image my life without it.

See you when I get back!