Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Preparing for Goodbye - Lesotho

Hi all,
My time here is so quickly coming to a close. How fast three weeks can pass by. Miss everybody back home, but already starting to miss new friends here as well. I thank God that He allowed me this visit. I pray that I am able to come back for a longer stay. Wanted to start this post with a few corrections to prior posts. Had Jo look it over this morning, I have made a few mistakes in my reporting. First of all in talking about the work that Merrill and Bekah have been doing with the shepherds, I misunderstood. They did not translate the Bible, that was done when the first missionaries came. What they have been doing is working with shepherds, getting them to understand the Biblical text so that they could put it into story form that other shepherds will understand and be able to learn, and then recording it on the solar powered 3mp players. And Merrill was over an x-ray lab, not radiology lab. I think that is right.She is not a doc. And I think that the way I have it written it sounds like I led the men's group as well as the women's this last week, and I did not mean that. Sorry. Jo oversees the men's, but they lead it themselves. Both are incredible groups. I have been so impressed with both. Wonderful hearts for God in each. Yesterday I had my last session with the women's group. Only two were able to be there. Two precious women. They are two I will really miss. We looked at the cost of discipleship for early Christians and for Christians today. Not an easy lesson, but they have the maturity to look at this and take it in. Then the Sunday Bible study group had a braai - my first! (It means bar-b-q). Really great. We had chicken, sausage,and pork in a great spice rub. And with that we had green salad and then Jo's potato salad. I provided Mexican hot cocoa and pecan pralines. Quite a delicious feast! Then we watched and discussed the movie The End of The Spear. Quite sad, but so inspiring and thought provoking. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening.  One sweet note....at the women's group they honored me with singing a worship song in Sesotho. They harmonized and it was so beautiful. I love hearing their language. How I hope to one day learn a smidgen at least. It is very melodic or something. I love the sound of it. But I'm finding that my mouth does not make the sounds all that easily. Pray that God loosens my ear and my tongue. I was not able to go to church yesterday. Too many stairs to conquer. But I missed the worship so. So  I was so glad for the worship song at the study. Oh, for another correction, Maseru is the lowest point in Lesotho. I knew it was at least close! Today, we are waiting for Merrill and Bekah to come down from the mountains. Please pray for Bekah, as she is having health problems that the doctors have not been able to diagnose yet. Can't wait to meet them in person. Will say farewell to theMonday night Bible study tonight. So sorry that I missed that chance for the Fri and Sat groups. I am learning to use my crutches, and adjusting to not putting much weight on my right leg. Having to get a bit creative. But I think that my upper body strength is already starting to improve. So grateful to God that it was not worse. Sure didn't need my head breaking the fall! Another correction: The man that we spoke with in Morija is curator of the Museum there. We're not sure what his position with the craft shop is or will be. So enjoyed meeting him.  Now, I wrote about a 3 1/2 hour bible study. Some of us were there that long, however it started an hour late, and the last 30 minutes were discussion. So it went 31/2 hours for those of us who were there on time, but there was only 2 hours of instruction. Jo tries very hard to keep the study to two hours. And the last correction is that it doesn't really freeze in Jo's house. It feels like it some nights and mornings, but no, it stays around 40 degrees. So during the sunny part of the day it is warmer outside than in, but it reverses at night and in the mornings. I tried to take a picture of the steam coming out of my mouth and off my laundry one morning when I was hanging laundry on the line. It didn't come out well. Several nights Jo has lit a fire in a fireplace in her living room. That is heaven. Love those nights. I never use my fireplace at home, but there is something, apart from the warmth, that is so soothing about it. Hot tea by a fireplace - now that is luxury. Jo is out hanging up my laundry as I write. She has been so helpful, so kind to me since my fall. She is a strong, faithful, remarkable person. I have met several of those since I have been here. Know some of those back home.
What a journey this has been. Well, some exercises for my leg are calling my name. God be with you, Millie.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday in Lesotho

Hi all! Yesterday was a long day. A week ago I fell and hit my knee on the edge of a converter. I thought that it was just badly bruised. However, night before last I felt a sharp pain.It had bothered me all day. The next morning I told Jo, and we decided I needed to see a doctor. We drove to Bloemfontein in South Africa to the hospital where Jo's doctor has an office. She sent me for ex rays there in the hospital, then over to an orthopedic surgeon. I've torn the inner meniscus and tendon on my right knee. I will need knee replacement sometime soon, though he could not do it now because of the inflamation. I now will be bringing home as souvenirs crutches and a leg brace. I must say that the care was very good. I also saw a physical therapist who taught me how to use the crutches properly, put some kind of pulsing disks on me and heat, and taught me exercises to be doing. We started out in Maseru at 7:30 in the morning and returned to Maseru about 9 that night, but that includes a rather long wait at the border. On a good note, Jayne Wilkins, AIM's AIDs/HIV coordinator came in from the mountains and spent the night on Jo's couch. she also borrowed the shower. Hot running water is a luxery for her. The drive down for her is 6 hours. I wasn't shure I'd get to meet her, but she needed supplies. It was so good to meet her in person. This morning two one on one's cancelled, so Jo, Jayne and I had a good visit. The two of them told incredible stories, of ministry, of survival, and of the culture here. Jayne had to leave fairly early to run errands and head back up. Tomorrow she will go over to where two other members of the team have been working to help them pack up and come down into town. So I will meet them. They are Bekah Larson and Merrill Short who have been working with the shepherds in the mountains. They have just finished getting shepherds to read the entire bible that they helped translate, not just into Sesotho, but into the narative form that they understand. It has been put onto solar powered 3mp players. The hope is that the small group of shepherds they have been working with will take the scriptures into the mountains of Lesotho to other shepherds. They should be here Monday. Please pray for me these next few days, as I adjust to crutches, and especially for the almost 30 hours of travel I will be doing starting Wed evening.  Well more than that if you take in the 4 hour drive to Joberg (not including a wait at the border.) Thank you so much for your prayers. Thank you so much for your support. I was overwhelmed when I first came, but now I'm not ready to leave. There is so much to learn, and so much ministry needing to be done. I thank God that I was able to be here, and Pray that He open the door for me to come again for a longer stay.
God be with you, Millie

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lesotho - Deep into the Heart of the Country and it's amazing History

Dear all,
Had such a wonderful day today. The weather was a bit milder. Jo drove me to the Morija where the seminary is  located where my team leaders are hoping I will teach. There hasn't been an AIM team member on staff there in a while, and they are really wanting this, and I have a seminary education.The town of Morija is is about 40 minutes from Maseru. It was a nice drive, passing the Royal Village where the King and his brother and their families live. I did not realize that they did not live at the palace in Maseru, but they prefer to live in the old royal village, and to drive into the palace each day. On the way, we saw so many shepherds and flocks on the side of the road,in the fields, and in the villages. The first of the 8 pictures that I just sent is of shepherds and sheep and cows under the trees of Morija (the shepherds are in the back of the pic - look hard!). This is a historic town. It was the first settlement of missionaries in Lesotho. That was in 1833. There were 3 at first from Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. We walked down to a couple of the older cemeteries and found graves of family members, and at least one of these early missionaries. there were also newer ones that Jo knew, and members of families that Jo has known. Jo and another team member, Merrill short, had lived in Morija when Jo first arrived.  Merrill at one point was in charge of the radiology department of the missionary hospital there. The first missionaries started a school which is still in use, and a print shop which is as well. They printed the Bible and other books in Sesotho. The second picture I sent is of the first church in Lesotho that these missionaries built. It is now used by the Lesotho Evangelical Church. The next picture is of the Craft Center of Morija. We had a wonderful visit from the head of this craft center, and then met another of the staff who is working to get  local clays to use in pottery. They both asked me to consider working with them when I come. This is very exciting for me. We then stopped by the Morija Museum and I bought two books on Lesotho history, a Lesotho map, and a DVD on Lesotho history. Then we stopped by the teashop there and ordered lunch. This was served out in a garden area. The next two pictures are of the teashop, and Jo waiting at our table for our delicious meal. There at this garden I finally saw a spiral aloe. It is the national plant of Lesotho. I had seen photos and was hoping to see one. I think you find them more in the mountains. The last two pictures are of the entrance to the seminary that is there, and of the library of the seminary. We met a couple of the professors from there, and I learned that there is a need for someone to teach pastoral care, which I love. That was very encouraging. Jo bumped into a number of people she has not seen in a number of years. We also walked up to where some of the AIM missionaries used to live, and then up to a missionary home that is now a radio station. We were given a tour by a pastor who now heads this up. This was the first radio station outside of Maseru. While we were there school children were touring it, and one was interviewed on air. We got to watch for a few moments. He looked so young and nervous.Then we headed back to Maseru. My one on one this evening was rescheduled for tomorrow.  It's bedtime!  Tomorrow will be a busy day of one on ones, and then the men's group that Jo will lead will be in the evening.Have my hot water bottle at my feet, and need to tuck my computor under the covers on the other side of the bed so that it doesn't literally freeze, say my prayers, and turn out the light. Hope you all have a blessed night tonight. Millie

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Taking Flight in Lesotho

Dear all, Had an exciting morning yesterday. Headed out early to go to the military airstrip. Mssion Aviation Fellowship rents form them. They fly AIMS missionaries out of the mountains, fly docs and clinic workers and supplies all over Lesotho, and help those in the mountains in so many ways. Jo has a pilot's license, and lived in the mountains for nine years, so knows the MAF missionaries. She asked if I could ride with them if there was room. They agreed to not only let me, but for free. It usually costs $100.00 per trip. I did from my own money, not support donate to their ministry, but was so grateful for their generous offer. So Jo dropped me off at eight at the hanger. It was full, but at the last minute, someone did not show and I got to go. Not only that, but I was able to ride co-pilot - at least that postion. Had a wonderful view. It is a 4 passenger plane going out for the first time for them. It's prior use was in the Phillipines. The trip was great. I never felt sick. Yes! The flights were smooth, except one or two moments of turbulence. We landed at three airstrips, none paved, but well grated. The last one so reminded me of stories my dad used to tell about flying into and out of Hong Kong. As you take off, you fly off over a cliff. It is so amazing to see the ground just fall away. We flew up to 12,000 ft. It was a hazy day, so the pictures aren't wonderful, but I'm pretty pleased all the same.Saw so many sheep on the mountains, but never got a good shot of that. Do have some shots of kralls, the rock pens the shepherds use at night, and their stone huts. Some of the other pictures show mountain villages. Melvin, the pilot explained that they don't build villages high in the mountains, that is left for graving the herds. They don't build them near rivers, for they have a fear of rivers; legend has it here that evil spirits live in the rivers. They don't get their water from rivers either for the same reason. They build their villages near the many natural springs that flow in the mountain. Got to run. This evening I will conduct a one on one for a couple. This will allow Jo to attend to other ministry. That is one of the things I hoped to do while here. Jo teaches and mentors over 60 people now, and that keeps her so busy. I am so glad to be able to help her with that. God be with you. Millie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Update from Lesotho - Millie

Days are spinning by. We continue to do one on ones and bible studies. I am continually amazed by the young men and women that God has sent Jo. Some are ambassador's children, many have traveled to other countries, one is in ministry, some own their own businesses, others are in management positions of businesses,and  most are in their twenties are early thirties. They are the movers and shakers of this society. A number lost parents somewhere in their childhood, for so many households in Lesotho are headed by someone under eighteen years of age. So much of Jo's ministry is in leadership development, in helping mentor these young leaders as they learn to live out their faith in all aspects of their lives. The one on ones has much to do with this mentoring, though in one a young woman accepted Christ, and in another forgiveness issues were dealt with. Jo has now asked me to take several of the one on ones. I have done so once so far. I taught on the Father Ladder and God brought freedom to this person as she forgave a relative and relinquished inner vows made. We will continue the next time we meet. Every Thurs a men's group meets, every Sunday evening the woman's group that Jo is letting me lead, then there is a beginners bible study that meets on Fri evenings, that was so large that part now meets on Sat. night, and a more advanced bible study that meets on Monday nights. This last Sunday, with the woman's group, I continued to teach about discipleship, talking about the passion that we should have in following our Rabbi. Next week we'll look at the cost of discipleship.Now to the photos. The first one shows a small sandstone quarry. We saw a number of them as we went out into the countryside one afternoon. Buildings here are generally either made of quarried limestone, or cement bricks, or stones plastered in cement, or more traditionally plastered in a mixture of cow dung and mud. The last varies in color from a yellow ochre, to a grey, to rust, depending on the soil used. They are such wonderful earthy colors. All the sandstone is quarried and cut by hand. We passed several tektons on our way out, standing by the side of the road, chisel in hand, with a stack of cut stones piled nearby. Thought I'd get a picture of one on the way back, but didn't see them then. Missed my chance. Kept thinking of the tekton (builder) who became our Rabbi.The second picture is of a village farmer and his cow cart. I overexposed it. Sorry, Hope that you can still make out the blanket, knit cap, and gum boots he is wearing. So many men here dress like this even in town, but especially the farmers and shepherds. One of the things that had amazed me is that you will see sheep and cows down in Maseru, the capitol city,  grazing right up next to the street. A shepherd will be somewhere near. You see them everywhere, in the city, in the villages, up in the mountains. Jo showed me how to wear the blanket when I bought mine. The Basotho are known as the blanket people. Blankets are worn by women as skirts over pants, and as capes by both men and women. They are heavy wool and though are made in the England, are only sold here. They are held on by a large safety pin, and the women pin it in front, and the men on the side. You will see older women with one as a skirt, and one as a cape, or mothers, with blankets as skirts, and smaller blankets fastening a baby on their back. I've seen women carry bags and such on their heads.The last two photos show dongas, the deep ravines that scar the countryside, and carry with each rain more soil of Lesotho into South Africa. One of our team members has said that it is the greatest export of Lesotho, and without compensation. This same afternoon Jo took me a bit farther into the countryside into the near and low mountains to get a feel of what mountain village life is like. It was so quiet and peaceful compared to the crowding and confusion of the city. Bedtime is calling. Those of you who know me well will be amused to know that here I go to bed by nine or nine thirty, generally, and wake up between five and six, or sometimes earlier.
God be with each and every one of you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Update from Lesotho

Hi all!
Yesterday Jo took me to see two historic landmarks of Lesotho. These photos are from this outing. The first three photos are of Ha Kome - a hiding place for several Basotho families during the late 19th century. They took refuge in this overhang area - shallow cave if you will - to hide from cannibal tribes that were coming through the area.While there we were able to try some of the traditional foods. First we had something that was like yellow hominy,the second was a drink, often refered to as Basotho yogurt, made from sorgum, and then we had finely ground maze, finer than our corn meal and roasted so that it had a wonderful roasted popcorn flavor. They gave us each a little bag of the fine meal.  I made part of mine into breakfast this morning. The first picture shows the beautful woven fence around one of the houses of Ha Kome. The second is the visitors center there, and the third shows the rocky overhang that hid the houses built into the rock. The floors and walls of these homes were very smooth, plastered in a mixture of mud and cow dung.The forth shows another landmark which is the symbol of the country. It is a mountain structure named Qiloane. It gives its shape to the straw hats worn by the Basotho people. The hats are called mokorotlo. The fifth picture is just the countryside near Maseru, and the 6th shows the round thatched roof homes called rondavels. The7th picture shows a village. Each village has its own chief. The last one shows another rondavel. On the way home Jo treated me to a traditional meal of papa, cooked greens,mixed vegetables, and grilled pork. she purchased it from an outside vendor near the church we attended Sunday. The papa, which is like very stiff grits, is used to scoop up the other foods. I enjoyed it all very much. Last night I sat in on a 3 1/2 hour bible study that Jo taught. It was a difficult study, challenging some of their traditional beliefs, but a number of them expressed thanks to her last night or today per email for speaking truth to them.
Today I went with her to do a one on one session. Other wise today has been a day of laundry and preparation and catch up. Most days run from morning into the night with one on ones and bible studies. Tomorrow will be one of them, so I'd better start getting ready for bed. Miss you all.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Haiti day 6 by Melanie Kirchner

Today turned out to be super eventful, but also very crazy. We started out waking up for church at 8. When we arrived at church there were more people at the service then there were on Wednesday. Also when we arrived there was another bus of Americans, which was super shocking to us. They came from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and North Carolina. The pews were packed and many people were dressed in their finest! The worship was completely amazing, and even though I did not know what they were singing because of their language, God was definitely in the church. I thought it was awesome that I had the experience to witness another culture worshipping God. The people in Haiti have a true heart for the Lord and have an honest joyfullness for the Lord. John Hink preached from John 5 and discussed the aspect of legalism and wanting to get better. We have heard the sermon before, but it was a new experience hearing it and seeing the reaction of the church. We have also had to share our house with missionaries from the Dominican Republic who shared some of their stories today as well. One of the ladies only spoke Spanish and the translator translated in French, so we had to wear a personal PA system with someone translating in English. All of the languages made it very confusing, but it also showed how many cultures all have the same belief. A Domincan Rebpulic man also talked about miracles that he had witness and encountered. He stressed on the idea that the truth would set you free. All in all, church was very impacting. For one, the service was three hours, so three hot, sweaty hours with the Lord creates a whole new bonding, but also having the collision of different cultures emphasized the power of our God. A three hour church service was very new to us; it was also extremely hot and we could barely understand our translator. After church, we said our final goodbyes to the orphans at Source de la Grace and ate lunch that consisted of chicken, rice, maccaroni, and coleslaw. After our goodbyes we all piled into the van and headed on a road trip to the countryside. The countryside was up in the mountains and very beautiful, but also much much cooler. We could even turn off our AC and not die of a heat stroke. The road was very windy but also very green and tropical. When we reached the town at the top of the mountain we got out and saw the jaw-dropping view. You could see all of Haiti, including the beach/ocean, town, and more countryside. It was very different than the crowded dirty town that we were getting used to. It makes me kid of think that this is almost how God views Haiti, because when we first arrived I was overwhelmed by the poverty, but now I can see the beauty and begin to love the culture more and more. You can start to see the beauty under the rubble and see the joy and presence of God in this country. Seeing the country from above really makes you see the bigger picture and develop a sense of peace. However, the peace quickly vanquished when a truck clipped the side of one of our rental cars. We had to stop and make sure everything was okay. There was a scratch and normally it would be okay because they drive like crazy people, but becasue it was a rental, we had to fix it. So some boys hopped into our van while our main translator Jonas and the huge men stayed behind to fix the car. We were already packed to begin with, and with three extra smelly boys, we were extra stuffed. Because the van was losing power from the steep hills, we had to turn off our AC, so everyone was hot and miserable. We were told to go to a restaurant from Jonas, but becasue Jonas was not there, we did not know where the restuarant was. After driving around for about 30 minutes everyone was hot and cranky and we decided to just travel home instead. Luckily we all love each other and tempers died down and we made it home safely. When we got home Pastor was holding a worship service at his house, but we did not participate because their was no translator. For dinner we had sandwiches, followed by Denae's devotional about coming together as a whole under the presence of God. Currently the boys are watching the spurs game and most people have headed to bed. Sorry this is so late, Liz came into our (Robin, Abbie, and I's) room to distract me from writing. All in all today was a helpful day for me. I am learning more about this culture and finally acclamating to Haiti. I am sad our trip is almost over but feel I have seen God's heart working in the depths of this country.

Update from Lesotho

Wanted to send these first photos. They are of Maseru, the capitol city of Lesotho, where I am staying and will be ministering. It is a city ringed by hills, kinda like Denver. The haze is pollution, partially from the coal that is burned. Maseru has the highest low point of any nation in the world. Maseru may not be the lowest area, but close. It is about 5000 ft in altitude. It is winter here. It was 22 degrees this morning, and warmed up to the 40's. Need to head off to bible study right now. I taught a bible study last night on on being a Talmid.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lesotho Update - Millie

Hello dear family in Christ,
Miss you all, but you are here with me in my heart! Sorry that I haven't written in a day or so. It has been busy, have needed to let my body adjust to the time change, and I have been struggling a bit with not feeling well. Just a few days before I left to come over, I came down with infections in my sinuses and ears, and had gotten very little sleep. But Jo is being so generous and sweet about lettting me rest when I need to. She does so much ministry. I do see how much she needs someone here full time to partner with her in ministry. She goes full steam from morning to night. God is bringing so many for her to love, teach,mentor and pray with, for and through Him. The daily rhythm revolves around one on one sessions for prayer, counseling, and discipling, and then Bible study groups. Jo is a good teacher, teaching with such passion. There is much I can learn form her.  I have been able to add little bits a pieces from what Scott has taught us (another wonderful teacher!), from my studies,  and from what I have learned in my years in prayer ministry.Yesterday we drove an hour and a half for Jo to teach a woman's home cell group in Bloemfontein, South Africa. We left around 6:15am and arrived home in the late afternoon. The study went from 9:00am till a little after 1pm. The seesion started with praise, and I loved the joy in which they sang and danced to the Lord. It was wonderful.Such freedom, such expression and gratitude expressed, such joy. Then Jo had them read out loud from John 13, and I brought in a bowl of warm water, and Jo and I  washed the women's feet and then annointing them oil and praying over each woman. It was one of the most powerful and moving experiences of my life. Only two of the women had ever been ministered to in this way, and none by a white woman. You must remember that some of these women went through Apartheid or if they were too young, their families did. Wounds are very deep. Tears fell freely. I tear up just remembering it now.And then Jo did such a beautiful thing and appoligized for the white race, for the wrongs done to the African peoples. Afterwards we all sang together a hymn of praise to God. The teaching was on forgiveness and then after breaking for tea, on the orphan spirit and sonship. The women asked such wonderful questions, and opened up about their own experiences. There was much prayer. Such beautiful spirits - these women. What a privalege to be a part of this. So much more to share, but must run get ready for church.
God be with you all,

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Haiti day 5 by Brad Ingle

Hey guys, its Brad! What a great four days its been here in Haiti. God has shown through all the people here and its remarkable how nothing here would be possible without the love of our God. Its amazing! When our group first landed in the airport and then brought to where we are staying, I was scared because the whole time of the people. They would run up to you almost shouting just trying to ask you something that haha you cant understand. After these four days tho ive finally realized the reason for all the people yelling. Its because the people here live day to day, they are not shouting because they are trying to steal or attack you, they just want to make some money to have thier next meal. But even tho this hardship is here they still have crazy love for our lord. Its very inspiring, And it has taught me so much. I could write so many stories of how Gods love is shown here! Its crazy!

For now tho its time for bed these kids wear me slap out!

P.S. I love you mama :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Haiti day 4 by Meredith McLeod

Day four in Haiti has officially come to a close. Which is nice because I don't know about the rest of the team, but i am t-i-r-e-d! Today began with some groans and reluctancy but soon everyone was on there feet and ready to go! After a delicious Haitian breakfast, the teams hit the road (the very pot-hole-filled, who-follows-laws-here, no-seatbelt road to be exact). One in bound to Loving Heart Orphanage, and another to Source De La Grace Church (also an orphanage but no one seems to call it that?) Each group went somewhere they hadn't been before. From what I hear, the Loving Heart team loved those children as much as we did! They can just bring a smile to your face in no time at all! My team, went to Source De La Grace. We started at the school, which was absolutely bonkers. Those kids are rambunctious, let me tell you! Jessica shared the story of Jesus inviting the children to come to him, and then we sang Jesus Loves Me and Father Abraham to them. They were complete rockstars and repeated them to us in Haitian Creol! THAT was cool! We attempted to play group keep-up, but with 70+ kids and a language barrier... Yeah, no. It seemed like a great idea in theory! So instead we had a giant mosh pit of kiddos armed with beach balls. When we were waiting for the school children to leave, we went into the room set aside for us and poured through our translator, PG's, artwork. Not to give any spoilers, but parents, you're in for a treat, that man has some skills! Finally, we went over to the orphanage and loved on the children for awhile. We played with jump ropes, blew bubbles, and colored for hours. But after everything we brought to them, they were happiest to just sit in our arms and have us hold them. They are so content, I absolutely love these kids. Leaving will be the hardest thing I can imagine... Anywho, we met back up at the Guest House and devoured dinner. We then had a wonderful devotional led by Jessica. She talked about loving your neighbor more than yourself, and putting others' needs in front of your own. The boys (and a couple brave girls) played another crazy game of four-square. All in all, a wonderful eventful day. Please keep us in your prayers,
we truly appreciate them! Love you all! -Meredith

Haiti day 3 by Abbie Jurica

I would say today was a successful day.  Luckily this morning our room was surprisingly chilly and we actually woke up cold...to a waking rooster.  My room thought we were late to breakfast and so we were all rushed getting ready.  There are no mirrors in our room, but I guess that is a blessing in disguise not havin to worry about what our hair looks like and all that girly stuff.  When we went down to breakfast there was a spread from eggs and avacado, to peanut butter toast and bananas.  The eggs were very yummy and we were told there is a speacial spice in them...I guess they aren't going to share their secret with us.  After breakfast we all prepared for the day, and thankfully the teams switched vehicles and my group did not have to all miserably cram into the one car that is only made to fit half of the capacity it was carrying. I do think the other team is lucky they got the same adventure we had yesterday.  On the way to the orphanage we stopped at the deli market.  When we pulled into the parking lot two men with baskets full of fried plantanins came up to the window and we bought some for all of our passengers to try.  The men also seemed very glad to be receiving business.  In the deli it appears a lot like our stores, just smaller, and the main difference I noticed was the security and men with sawed off rifles standing in the entry of the store.  Aftter we bought our sandwich supplies for the day we headed to the orphanage.  I am not entirely sure, but I am pretty sure that we got lost on the way there because we stopped and asked for directions twice.  We got there safely though, and immediately as the gate opens, we are greeted by gleaming smiles of happy children.  They were so glad that we returned and came back, and that joy that radiates from their little faces really warms your heart.  Today we had enough room and were able to transport all of the supplies we brought for the children.  When we opened the suitcase we were tackled for beachball, bubbles, coloring books, and nail polish.  It was all a huge hit, and I think they loved every bit of it.  Not only the stuff we brought them though; they were content simply by just sitting in your lap and holding your hand.  All the excitement of the children drew in the neighbor kids and even classmates who were walking the street.  The orphan children were quick to include them in all our fun and everyone loved every bit of it.  It is totally awesome the compassion the children have for others, and even though they have so little, they did not hesitate on sharing their goods with their friends.  Their hearts are huge, and that is a wonderful picture of God's love.  Departure from Loving Heart was hard.  The children all clung to us, not wanting us to leave, and some even tried to get in the van with us.  It was sad when they asked us if we were coming back, but we were able to tell them that our other team would be there for them tomorrow.  When we got back to the guest house everyone was exhuasted and I passed out.  I heard stories about how crazy the guys were playing four square (very competitively), putting lizzards on leashes, and breaking Nalgene bottles because John thought they were indestructible.  He no longer has his.  For dinner we had rice and beans, fish, cabbage, and coleslaw.  After dinner Hannah spoke and talked about faith.  Your faith is led by your actions, and  on this trip  each of us steps out as we proclaim our faith.  Tonight's sleep will be really different from last nights chilly one because the AC broke.  We are living like a Hatian!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Haiti day 2 by Bracey Dyer

Today was Wednesday June 5th, we all woke up around 7:15 then waited around
for about thirty minutes before eating breakfast. For breakfast they made us muffins, pineapple, bannanas, bread, ham, and cheese. After breakfast we all got ready and piled all twelve people in my group in nine person car. Then we head off to the orphan home. When we first got there all the orphans we all at school so we started to clean up the back yard to make it suitable for all of the kids to play safely in their yard. Before all the kids clothes were just laying out on rocks, trash all over the yard and tall weeds everywhere. First we started by moving rocks and placing them in a better way so that they could have a flat and neater way to dry they're clothes, then we started picking up trash and pulling weeds. As soon as i knew it the yard was already looking a whole lot better. By then it was noon and all the kids were getting back from school, right when they saw us they all got really excited and ran up to us with smiles on they're faces. Just seeing that put a smile on my face. We gave them candy, coloring books, crayons, markers, soccer balls and jump ropes, they were all very excited. Our translator Jonah told all of the kids to sing us songs and that was very cute. After playing with the kids for a while i got hungry and decided to eat one of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that ther girls made for us the night before. Around two we had to leave. All Twelve of us squished into that car once again and drove back. When we got back everyone showered and rested in the air conditioning until it was time to get ready for church. Once five O'Clock came around we all got in the van and went to church. As soon as the vans doors opened at church i could hear the church band playing and the singing was beautiful. I wasnt really sure what they were saying since i do not speak the same language. About five minutes into church i started sweating because it was so hot, about ten minutes after that i looked down and realized my whole shirt was soaked in sweat, thank God just a little bit after that a man brought out some fans and then i was fine. When Josh walked up on stage i was suprised because i was not aware that he was going to be preaching tonight. I thought Josh did an awesome job and also thought it was really cool that he had the oppotunity to do that. Overall i thought the church service was really cool, one thing that was weird though was instead of greeting people like we do at the beginning of church they all turned to their neighbor and shook there hand goodbye and then left. Then we all came back to the house and caden did his devotional and talked out Jesus feeding the four thousand. Then we had a awesome dinner that consisted of chicken, rice, spicy slaw, and fried plantains. After dinner i took another shower because of how much i sweated at church. Then the pastors kid came up to me and asked me to play uno with him while i was in the middle of this blog. Now he is currently playing uno with Josh, John, and Liz.

Day one in Lesotho - Millie

Millie is currently visiting Lesotho a small country located inside the country of South Africa. Her long term goal is to serve full time in Lesotho. She is currently on a 3 week trip. Follow her on this Blog to learn more about how God is using her there and the Lesotho people. Below is an update letter from her....

After years of planning and dreaming ,and now after almost two days of travel - I'm here in Lesotho, Africa. It is nine twenty nine pm here (eight hours ahead of San Antonio). I got in About an hour ago, took a  shower, brushed my teeth and then settled in to write and let everyone know that I made it okay. It was 28 hours of travel to Joberg, South Africa, and then another 4 1/4 hours drive to Lesotho.  The AIM missionary that I will stay with this 3 weeks, and who I will partner with in ministry, picked me up, which was such a blessing.  Her name is Jo Fernandez. We did not leave Joberg right away.  I got into Joberg around. 7 am. There were a few errands to run and a friends to see before we headed out. I met several other missionaries from other organizations. They were delightful.Saw beautiful trees and bushes there in Joberg in the residential areas and around town. Was impressed as we drove into the countryside that it is not that much unlike that flat planes, and rolling hills of south and central TX. Did see an ostrich farm or reserve or something, but otherwise mostly cows or goats. Jo says that most of the animals  of any kind are in farms or reserves in South Africa; very little left in the wild.
Saw Maseru, Lesotho in the dark. It is larger than I realized, spread out over a bowl inside a ring of hills.It was this bowl of lights in the dark. Can't wait to see it in daylight .It was cool and plesant down in Joberg during the day, but got cold this evening here in Maseru. Has already been snowing in the mountains.This is their winter. 
Well starting to really feel that jet lag. 
God bless each and every one of you, Millie

Let the Adventure Begin! - by Liz

It was an early morning that started at 2:00am. Yes you read that correctly! We have a 545am flight and therefore had to be at the airport at 3:45:). I felt mixed emotions as we crossed over the ocean and Haiti was in sight for the first time. As we began to land the beautiful country was right outside our window. I had this weird urgency to just want to jump out and walk and touch the ground that is so dear to these people. Heartache was my immediate feeling, followed by beauty and hope. While I looked around and saw so much devastation, I also saw hope. And people who were picking themselves up out of the rubble, literally, and pressing on. The faith and determination these people have is humbling. To experience so much devastation, yet still choose to stay. Some because this is their only choice, and some because this will always be home. We walked into a busy airport in Port au Prince. The one thing I had asked our prayer people specifically for was an easy time during baggage claim. Because of the economy everyone is trying to make a buck, so men with fake badges will swarm you and try to "help" and take your luggage, for a small price of course. Angela our team leader was fierce, constantly say "no merci" until they finally gave up and went away. It took us awhile to collect all 24+ pieces of our luggage, but thankfully it was all there and nobody's was missing. As we began to drive, it began to feel a lot like Uganda. All of us girls piled into a van and off we went. The boys rode in the tap taps along with all our luggage. Sue, no red dirt! But instead I was shocked to see pavement and sidewalks, something unfamiliar in Uganda. But the crazy driving is just the same! Sweet faces crowded the streets as women, children, and men all went about their business. We got to the place where all the people who lost homes in the earthquake built their temporary homes. I think they're called tent cities. But they are basically one roomed small metal buildings all crammed into this little area. It's heartbreaking as devastating all at the same time. This is literally all these people have left. After seeing what the majority of the people live in here, it was hard to pull up to our lovely guesthouse. It is very nice. I'm grateful for running water and a bed to sleep in. Can I say it is hot, like I haven't stopped sweating since I got here. But I'm honored and grateful to sweat along with the beautiful Haitians who live here. If they can do it, so can I! Though I think they have an unfair advantage, they are probably immune to the climate. Our team is all well, and we are excited to be out and about tomorrow. Can't wait to see our students give their hearts away to a country who has lost so much. Tonight we rest, for tomorrow we hit the ground running! Much love to you all and thank you for all the prayers