Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thankful Thursday

In random order, numbers picked by Levi:

#66 - Eternal Security

#140 - The spiritual wisdom of my husband

#128 - A chatterbox sitting next to me during my Quiet Time.

#309 - A newly seven year old boy

#499 - The chance for my kids to play a lot with missionary cousins while I was in RSA.

#505 - A new faucet

#472 - The Living Word that refreshes my soul.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

10 Things I Have Learned

Our ladies from Sub-Saharan Africa - from Niger, Mali, Chad, South Sudan down to South Africa - have just returned back from a Ladies Conference in South Africa.  This conference may seem trivial to some but a humongus thank you goes out to all Southern Baptists who helped make this conference a reality.

The theme of the conference was 'Joy in the Journey'.  Here are some things (in no order) that the Lord taught me - or at least, reminded me last week:

1.   The journey is our daily lives and we can choose to have joy or we can choose to go our own way.  It really is a choice.

2.   Some days, it is a monumental fight for joy but it is always worth it.

3.   Every sister in Christ that was there have experienced very (very) similar ups and downs in their missionary lives.

4.   Worship with hundreds of missionary sisters was one of the best aspects of the week.

5.   God is not captive to our own human expectations of what our life and ministry should be and I should not be either. This was a HUGE one for me.

6.   God has not called us to a place but he has totally called us to HIMSELF.  Again, this is something that I have believed but it had gotten buried in the midst of the recent changes.

7.   I am not in this missionary life alone (besides my wonderful husband and children).  Every woman there seemed ready to love and support her sister in Christ. 

8.  This missionary life is hard but life was NEVER meant to be easy.

9.   The joy of the Lord is my strength!!! Nehemiah 8:10

10.  Our greatest joys are found in our trials.  A life without hardship is not really life at all.  How we show joy in the journey of our daily life gives great glory to God - and maybe that was the reason in the first place.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

South Luangwa Park Vacation 2014

We have just gotten back from a week in South Luangwa Park.  It is considered the best game park in Zambia and as you will see, it lives up to those accolades.

This seating area is just out back of the house that we were staying in.  Each day, except for Friday, elephants came to drink and play in the water/mud.

 The house also had a pool and honestly, the kids were more excited about the pool than they were the elephants, giraffe, warthog, bush buck, puku, impala, baboons and monkeys that we could see from the outside sitting area.

 There are 80,000 hippos in the Luangwa River.  We saw lots of them.

 Leopards are not easily seen in the park but we ended up seeing 4 of them in one day!

 Two baby giraffe (or at least, small) had just bounded across in front of our truck.  This one walks right out in front of us and stared us down - wondering what we were, I guess.

 This leopard was eating a impala when we drove up.  I guess he got full and decided to lay down and rest for a bit before finishing his meal.

 These lions were literally just laying in the middle of the road.  They were all sleeping while about four vehicles just watched them.

 As you can see, we were very close to the lions.  They were not impressed with us.

 From what our safari guide said, wild dogs are extremely rare to find.  We found four adults and three pups on the hunt for some food.

 The hyenas were likewise not impressed with us as they rested near where a group of lions had made a kill.

 This is inside the house where we stayed.  You can see the elephants coming in for their (almost) daily mud/water time.

Friday, August 29, 2014

On the road again....

One of the great parts of our ministry is that we get to visit most all the missionaries in Zambia.  We just recently travelled to the Western Province of Zambia (where we served our first three years).  On the way we had the amazing opportunity to see cape buffalo in Kafue National Park.  This is a rare sight and we saw them two different time!

 Our first stop was Mongu (6 hour trip) where we spent our first 15 months in language study.  Below is the flood plain.  As you can see, the Zambezi River is 25 kms from this point over the flood plain.  They are finally trying to build bridges over the flood plain to reach the town of Kalabo.  Back in 2010, we drove this 25 kms to Kalabo - during rainy season, in the rain.  It was a wild ride, for sure!

Below you can see the places that I am mentioning.

 After Mongu, we travelled about 5 more hours to visit a family in Sesheke.  As you can see, the kids had so much fun with their missionary cousins.

My beautiful friend, Melynda, baked me a belated birthday cake.

A snap before we leave Sesheke.

On the way home, we got a flat tire.  As you can see, we had lots of on-lookers which is really very common when one has a flat tire in the middle of a village.

After the flat was fixed (thanks to my multi talented husband), we were back on the way home after less than 30 minutes.  We leave in just a few days again, this time for a short holiday.  More pictures to come about that trip - hopefully, if I remember to take pictures.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Number After Thirty Nine

I walked into my fourth decade today.  I was not bothered by the big 4-0 as much as I was a bit more introspective today.  I wonder what my life has been these past forty years and what my life can be in the next forty (plus!) years.  Have I lived well?  Has it all been for the glory of God?  

I have had the privilege to travel to fourteen different countries outside the USA in these past forty years.  I have seen more countries than some but not as much as others.  I have lived outside the USA for almost 11 years of my life.

I have a marvelous husband and three fantastic children.  It is my joy to live and minister in Zambia.  As I look back on my life, this one verse is speaking to my heart today:

A man's heart plans his ways, but the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

I am so grateful for the twists and turns that my life has taken; all the places I have seen, the people I have met, the gospel that has been spoken.  A few times, the Lord has taken me places that I did not want to go but, oh!, the beauty of allowing Him to direct my steps.  He has made all things beautiful even through the ashes of my grief of not getting my way.  I want my heart to be His - totally and always.  Trusting Him every day.  Praising Him in every way.  Lord, let it be so for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Teenager in the House

Our volunteer team wanted to do a surprise birthday party for Hadassah while some extra friends were in Lusaka.  We totally surprised her!

 On her actual birthday (July 28), we invited some friends over to the house to celebrate.
The kids always get to choose their birthday meals.  She chose fried chicken strips (thanks to Jeff), mashed potatoes, green bean bundles and....italian cream cake!

We are very grateful for all our friends who made 
Hadassah's 13th birthday so special!

Friday, August 1, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

The new homeschool year has already started for us.  Many people have had questions on what we use for homeschool over here in Zambia, so I thought I would just tell everyone.  
Feel free to skip this post if homeschooling does not apply to you. :)

Above is Levi's Second Grade Curriculum.  
From the top down:
Rosetta Stone Spanish, Abeka Readers, Christian Light Readers of Helping Hands and Happy Hands, Explode the Code, Science in the Beginning, Horizons Math 2, All About Reading 3, Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills 2nd grade, Language Smarts C, A Reason for Handwriting and Traditional Manuscript Handwriting.  Not pictured is Adventures in Phonics C because I forgot to put it in the picture, Mystery of History Volume 4 because they have not released the hardcopy (we are using a download for now) and The Drive Thru History American History Edition DVDs.  These are just the basics as we have lots of other books that go along with these, especially living books for history but I didn't want to pile all of them up for you to try to see...

Above is Zoe's Fourth Grade Curriculum.
From the top down is Abeka Spelling, Kay Arthur Bible Studies, Rod and Staff English 4, Meaningful Composition Writing Curriculum, Rosetta Stone Spanish, A Reason for Handwriting Cursive, Science in the Beginning, Horizons Math 4, Lightbearers Worldview Study (this is actually for middle school but I am adjusting it for all our children and it is the Bible that we all do together), Bob Jones University Reading 4.  She also is doing Mystery of History Volume 4.

And, Hadassah's Eighth Grade Curriculum.
From top to bottom is Abeka Spelling, Bob Jones University Literature, Deeper Roots Bible Study (we love these!), Rosetta Stone Spanish, Teaching Textbooks Algebra, Lightbearers Worldview Study, Bob Jones University Writing & Grammar and Bob Jones University Science 8.  Not shown is Mystery of History Volume 4.  This doesn't look like much (I realized as I piled up her books) but all of these subjects are very well rounded and in depth.  She also has a myriad of living books that go along with the Mystery of History as does Zoe.

Below are a few pictures of our school room...