Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mwapona Bienyi from Zimbabwe!

Mwapona Bienyi from Zimbabwe!
I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to post. Communications in and out of Zimbabwe are a little less than reliable ;-) But, I'll give all of y'all a quick update on what I've been up to for the past week and a half.

The flight here was...interesting to say the least. My first flight to D.C. was uneventful. I arrived and got ready for my flight out of the country (but not before taking the wrong shuttle several times and getting myself sufficiently lost only to find, in the end, that my next gate was directly next to the one I had just gotten off from ;-). I waited in line for my boarding pass for at least an hour, it gave me a good chance to get to know some of the people on my flight. I found that I was one of the very few Americans on this flight, and the only female American. I sat next to a seemingly irritated Ethiopian man who said about 7 words to me the entire 14 hour flight. They ran out of baggage space, so I sat with my very large backpack on my feet the entire way. The plane had to stop to re-fuel in Rome. As we were descending the pilot warned us of upcoming turbulence and had everyone buckled in, including the 16, that's right, 16 infants on our flight. No sooner had the flight attendants buckled into their seats did the plane free fall several hundred feet. Though everyone was very vocal about the experience and some bags got thrown around (mine was fine, wedged in so tightly between my legs and seat ;-), amazingly, everyone was strapped in and no one was hurt.

The rest of the flight through Rome and into Ethiopia was uneventful. However, when we finally landed in Ethiopia I was slightly taken aback when, as we touched down, rolled past first, a field of donkeys, then what appeared to be a crashed airplane, then a wrecked bus, and finally settled down next to an outhouse. At this point, we were running about an hour late, putting me very close to my connecting flight. So, after finally communicating my issue to the flight attendant (who's spoke very little English) she said she would arrange for someone to get me off first and to my flight on time. Little did I know that these "arrangements" really meant me and a heavily armed member of the Ethiopian military sprinting down the side of the runway to my plane. But I made it and sat next to two very talkative Zimbabweans for the rest of the flight. We had to refuel, once again, and pick up some passengers in the Congo. It was quite interesting watching the on-coming passengers, and I was quite thankful I was not one of them as their bags were completely emptied on the runway, and then they themselves were patted down and all but strip searched. When we were finally loaded up, we made the final hop over to Zimbabwe. Surprisingly, I had no issues with visas or customs. My bags were not even checked and I just walked right out. (which some of the teams cannot say, they had laptops taken, candy eaten, and slim jims confiscated (my slim jims made it just fine:-))

After being picked up by the Ms and spending the night in Harare, the capital city, we headed to their home town, Bulawayo. We were soon joined by a team from Kentucky and we then headed out to "the bush", which was, in our case, a town called Binga. Binga has been hit hard by the economical downfall and lack of food in the country over the past few years and many people have barely, if enough, to get by. However, HE is at work in Binga. It was really great to meet with the Zimbabweans there who are passionately working to spread the gospel in that area. They are making very good progress on their own and are beginning to build churches. This is always the best way to see churches begun, with local people on the forerun. They are doing great things and really trusting their Father with their work. They, however, are in great need of teaching and leadership instruction and are so eager to learn! We had some opportunities for the guys from the team to do some teaching with them and it was very well received. We got to be a part of the makings of 2 new meetings getting started. They are not there yet, by any means, so please pray for the potential meetings of the Binga area. That they would remain faithful, that they would form a loving community together, and that their leaders would be able to guide the meeting in a wise and fruitful direction.

That's all for now. I hope to be able to update you again soon as I begin to explore possible medical opportunities while I'm here. Thank you everyone for speaking for me and your interest in the people of Zimbabwe.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kari arrives safely in Harare....... sure there is a story to be told.
She is now camping in the 'Bush'.
All's well, the land is beautiful and inhabitated by amazing animals.
Continue speaking for her safety and her mission.
With much love,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back to Africa

I leave, exactly 8 1/2 hours from when I'm writing this, for Zimbabwe. It may be my 4th trip to Africa, but...the "night before" always feels the if I'm about to embark on a great adventure! And yet, it doesn't quite feel real...I'm going where? It'll sink in about 2 or 3 plane rides in...

I spent today packing, which was a huge mess, but I got it done, and with just a few lbs to spare!! lol

Please ask for safe travel over the next 36 hours, and His guidance on how to best serve once I arrive.
I will do my best to update y'all here often, so check back!

"Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told."

**In case this is the first you've heard about my trip to Zimbabwe, read about what lead to it here and catch up on a brief lesson on what's going on over there here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Not Me Monday"

I thought this was a cute idea! I saw it on a friends blog and have always thought it super cute, but was not about to steal from fellow bloggers! Well, now she has invited others to join in the fun and make their own “Not Me” Monday blogs (and even provides links to those who took her up on her offer). So, I thought I’d give it a shot. If you have never heard of theses Monday posts, don’t worry, I’m sure it will be self explanatory ;-)

It was definitely not me who spent most of the week eating mostly frozen pizza, lean pockets, and instant pasta dishes because I was too lazy to cook for myself.

It was not me that pretended to refill a child’s cup of water by just walking out the classroom door, standing there for about 15 seconds, and then walking right back in when he refused to drink the “old” water that he had taken only 1 sip of (that had been sitting on the counter for no more than 10 min).

It was certainly not me that wrote an entire paper, got an A on it, but could not tell you, even 3min after writing it, what in the world it was about.

Of course, it was not me that used the wrong character’s name all the way until the end of my Sunday story, realized it, and had to stretch the story out so I would have time to gradually switch the name and ask enough questions of my students to convince myself that they had, in fact, learned the correct name.

And finally, it was soo not me who got her foot so stuck in the mud while 4 wheeling last weekend that I almost completely lost my shoe to the mud pit.

Happy Monday Everyone!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Went To Africa...

I went to Africa with that thought; the little one I think everyone has before they go; that I would change it. And then there is the one that everyone who’s been has put in my head; that it would change me. Well, I think I did, a little, and it did, a little. But a lot is still the same. A lot of Africa hasn’t changed. It’s still harder and simpler, confusing and scary, beautiful and broken. A lot of me hasn’t changed. I’m still complicated and searching, confused and scared, unworthy and loved. And that’s exactly the point. I’m not looking for something I can change. I’m not reliant on something to change me. I’m simply looking for, relying on someone to serve.

But still, I did change it… a little. Someone is a little less confused and scared and feels a little more unworthy; a little more loved. And it did change me… a little. I’m a little simpler, searching a little harder. And, thank goodness; I’m a little more broken.

As my next trip to Africa approaches very quickly, I've looked back on some of the things I wrote/learned after my previous trips. I wrote this the day after I got back from my very first trip. It was true then and it continues to be true after each and every return trip I've made...and I hope and pray that it remains true every time...