Thursday, December 27, 2012


 I've been sporting pink.
Realizing my problems are small compared to the world's
Trying to be a cheerful light to all I meet
Growing everyday
Missing Africa
Thinking about my friend's accent challenge
Learning to deal with frustration
Tired of "growing up"
Taking time to play with the kids
Realizing how I take my marvelous, amazing and loving family for granted

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
-- Desmond Tutu

My Aunt has surgery today.
December 27

She's an amazing cook. 
Helps so many people.
One of the most cheerful people I know.  
A role model. 
A friend. 
An important part of my Family.
 And so much more. 

We had fun yesterday, spraying pink in our hair to demonstrate our support for my Aunt. (Middle)
It should stay in for a few washings, so I'm going to keep the pink for as long as I can. (Probably can't get away with it on Sunday...)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Puppy Love

 A little over a week ago we were puppy sitting for one of my friends. (Her unknown Christmas present) He's a 9 week old (at that point 8) Poodle Maltese mix. Adorable little rascal. Most of the time he just sat in my lap while I worked on projects.

Loved to sit on shoulders and watch Andrew play Minecraft

I'd put him on the ground and he'd play "tag" chasing after me as I ran around the living room/kitchen/dinning room. He's fast for a little guy! 

Happy Boxing Day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Latest Project

For the girl who has hardly sewn anything in her entire life that wasn't all straight lines and right angles, I am really proud of how my latest project has turned out. :D For those of you who don't know, it's Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. He's made of fleece, and has a magnetic fish he can "pick up".  This took a long, long time. I thought twenty-eight hours over three weeks and my mom thought more like forty. I completed my goal though, to learn new sewing techniques. (Something I felt I should/need to know but really didn't care to learn.) So I present Toothless, the semi flawed stuffed dragon plush. :)
His prosthetic tail has a buckle and is removable
There is a magnet in both Toothless' mouth and in the fish
He's over 3 feet long and his "paws" are weighted w/polly pellets
His eyes are sculpted from clay, hand painted, then sealed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Change of Plans

Change of plans for this blog, any unrelated posts about Africa will be moved to my blog In Process of Me. (My personal/art blog) I'll be uploading posts restricted strictly to Africa related topics here. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Few Photos From Africa

I've never seen such a vivid flower! (Zambia)
I was waiting for the bus, and noticed the above two flowers.(Zambia)
Reserve in Botswana

It's taking me forever to get my (literally thousands of) Africa photo's organized!!There's a bunch of (basically) the same photo, and a bunch of miss shots. (My foot, a random person, a blur.)

Reserve in Botswana
Oh, and as a side note. At some point prints of select photos will be available to purchase. A (undermentioned) percentage of the profit will go towards a (yet undetermined) African organization. The rest of the profit will go towards my college tuition.

The leopard kindly posed for us. (Botswana)

Can you spot the tiny elephants?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Song from a Psalm

I love music and songs.

My current favorite is "Psalm 139" (Not the Mercy Me version ;) )

I don't know its "real" name, its a song I learned at CYIA. So it might not be 100% accurate.

I like to think of it as a prayer.

Here it is:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts
And see if there be any wicked way in me;
Lead me in the way, lead me in the wa-y,
Lead me in the way everlasting

You have searched me;
You have known me;
My downsitting, my uprising;
You understand my thoughts from afar;
You know all my wa-ys,You know all my ways.

(Two parts can be sung simultaneously)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Photos With Assorted Friends

I took photos last week and Alley asked for them. (Sorry my computer wont email them!)
We had a lot of fun with Noah :)
Me :)

Noah and his sister Leia

(: Anna :)

Rachel Thoughts: "So What ARE You Going To Do With Your Life?"

(I should warn you that my mind goes down all sorts of rabbit trails. Also this isn’t an essay, a paper, or a devotional. It’s the opinion and thoughts of a sixteen year old who thinks sort of big.)

I've been thinking.  (I tend to do a lot of that :) )

It’s that question that plagues nearly every teen and young adult at some point in their lives… The question that has to have an answer because before you know it…

it is here.

Someone walks up to you and asks:
So where are you going to college? What Career are you going to take? Do you think you’ll get married?

“What are you going to do with your life?”

These questions never really bothered me, they just made me wonder, "Is something wrong with me?" I always answer that I don't know, that I'm waiting for God's leading. 

Quiet honestly I know what I want. (What person doesn’t know what he/she wants?) The real question is, is this what God wants?

Me - Who I want to be? Or who God wants me to be?
I want to get a job that I enjoy, that appeals to my creative side.
I want to be able to draw, paint, be a photographer, write and act on the side, if that isn't already part of my job.
I want to be involved with a children's ministry.
I want to be involved with children.
(If I’m being perfectly honest I want to be liked, and I want to respected)
I want to see my family.
I want to mentor other girls.
I want to change things I don't like.

I want to make a difference.

( WARNING Side Track Alert: Isn't that almost every kid's dream? To make a difference. To be somebody. To be remembered.

Each one of us is human, we strive to be something, we have a desire to work. We may fight it. (I certainly do at times.) But after a day of real, hard work. I am tired, sore, about ready to die, However...
I'm happy.

I love to work hard. There is a satisfaction to making something out of your day and not just playing around on the computer or painting nails or something. )

But is my "Making a difference" view different from Gods?  Is my “Dream” of my future not His dream?


I don't know for sure, God may have placed a desire in my heart. It's rare for me to know 100% that something is a sure fire yes. But I do have a little check list that helps me determine if its a "Rachel Thing" or a "God Thing."

A. Who does it bring glory to? God, or me?
If its me...  Its a Rachel Thing.
If its God. Its a God thing.

The tricky thing is it can be super easy to turn a God Thing into a Rachel Thing. When God works something amazing it can be all to easy to take the credit.  Rather than giving the credit where it's due. (Hint hint: God.)

Though, I've found the flip side is true as well! (And this is pretty awesome!) 
We can turn "Me Things" into "God Things" When someone complements you on something, give the glory to God. 
Now this is something I'm working on. It can be slightly, to incredibly awkward and hard to do. (Good things can be that way can't they?)
See, I love art, I love to draw and I'm alright at it. People complement me on my drawings and I should (should as in should but still haven't perfected the way to do it.) give the glory to God. I'm still working on the "Un awkward way to do it." 

B. Does this go against anything in the scripture, or against my Parents wishes? (Assuming you have loving parents who only want the best for you. Mine do, I’m pretty sure yours do to. ;) So continue…)
If so… It’s a “Rachel Thing”
If its in support of the scriptures, it’s a “God thing”

Basic I know.  So I’ll throw this in.

Lets see. So while becoming involved in the movie, acting industry might not be against the Bible. Its one I would be more cautious about.

I agree with my teacher, she said we need more Christian’s involved in the arts. (Movies, Painting, Etc.)

My thing is, they better be called into the arts. It’s a dangerous world, it’s to easy to be influenced into things. People who are not firm in the scriptures can be swept away when temptation calls.

We are influenced by what we are around, and right now there is very little positive Christian influences in the arts.

Which is why we so desperately need called Christians to impact the Arts.  (And because I love the arts, from writing, to drawing, to performing I wonder if I am or will be called. I want to be called, but it’s about God not me.)

C. What are my motives?
Motives tell a lot about the person, if you honestly think “Why” you want to do something you’ll probably be able to tell which “Thing” it is.

If it’s self centered, self gaining, or really anything “self” it’s a “Rachel (Me) Thing”

If it’s centered on Others, Scripture, God, etc… it’s a “God Thing”

This one is hard. So many things we want are, well based on us.

That’s why I’ve decided.

I surrender myself. My desires. My wants. My dreams.

And I trade them for God’s desires, wants, and dreams.

Because do you know what? God loves me. He loves me more than my friends, my family, my parents.

He knows me better than I know myself. He made me to love art, performing and children. He has the Best, most amazingly perfect plan for me. And one day…

I’ll hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant”

That’s the best dream I could imagine. (And it can be the same for you!)


Someone will ask, “What are you going to do with your life?”
I’ll turn and smile at them.

“I don’t know, but God has the perfect plan for me.”

“Aren’t you worried about college?”

I smile. “Nope. I’m trusting God. I’m perusing my talents and abilities, because they were given to me for a reason.” I pause and look into the person’s eyes. “God hasn’t told me what I’m doing yet. When He does, I’ll be ready. I’m always ready to drop my dreams, ‘cause I know His dream is always better.”


In the process of working with my Africa photos. :)

Today though we (My grandparents and family) gave a "short" presentation at a church.

Short turned into a little longer than "short".

It wasn't super interesting, we just each talked about a portion of the trip. Which when there are 6 people and only five minutes, your going to go a little over. (Or a lot)

Anyway. My dad and I are in the process of putting together a video and slide show about our trip, I'll post it as soon as we're done. (But plan to post some stories before then.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

African Post: Stuff

Last African Post I talked about the first plane ride, well more about the wait at the airport. One thing is sure. Waiting is a part of travel, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. When you travel you don't have to rush anywhere you don't have anything to do, you just wait. So I've been readin, praying, drawing, devotions. Shamefully I've been putting off my study of the Bible lessons I'm teaching at the kids clubs. Ekk! That should be interesting. I found out that in Africa you don't ask your "students" questions they don't know how to respond, and they tend to be shy. I think I'll ask a few questions and see whow they respond.

It's also strange how many stares we keep getting, it's getting borderline annoying. Anywhere I go kids, teens and adults stare at the strange Americans. On the plus side the Africans have been very friendly.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

African Post: Food

(NOTE: This is a scheduled post written on 7/2/12)

Thus far has been exceptionally good. Yum!!

It's funny how driving down the road (left side) you'll see people eating rods of sugar cane. I'll try and get a picture for you guys. (though as a friend of mine pointed out I need to get water marks so that will possibly have to wait till my return to the US I'll have to see.)

Apparently a popular local food (In Malowi) is roasted mice on a stick. They'll sell them in the markets. Luckily we probaly won't get served any. However, I might take a picture...

We've had lots of rice, chicken, minced meat (hamburger) bananas, tangerines, apples, spaghetti noodles, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The food is very good, but very African.Though some of the foods are the same they taste different than our american versions.

I've only been here for two days so I'll give an update on that later. :) praying for you guys!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Grandparent's Account of the Day 7/4/12

Greetings in our Lord's name.
We had good flights all the way from KC to Lilongwe, Africa.
The missionary, Rev. Obotte, and a mechanic, Ben, met us at the airport and transported
all our bags and the six of us to the Obotte's home.
We were indeed happy to get to Africa such a long trip.
We were busy on Monday trying to take care of everything before we would travel south to Blantyre for the first retreat.
We left Lilongwe and proceeded south but the roads were crowded with people so we drove slowly for the first hour. After that the traffic was less so we made good time along the road, in spite of bicycles, some heavily loaded vehicles, and pedestrians, from time to time.
We stopped three times so that took some of our time.
Also we had quite a bit of road construction (Yes, they have road construction here too!) so that slowed us a bit.
We thank the Lord for traveling mercies. Tom and Mike drove the two vehicles, while Cheryl and Ethel 'helped' them!
Rachel and Andrew took many photos.
We finally arrived just before dark, tired and ready for a good meal.
We met with the District Superintendent and requested that he have the cooks bring some food down to us, which they did. We enjoyed nsima (hard, white cornmeal), beans, cabbage and boiled eggs in sauce.
It was all very tasty.
We finished the meal with some Malawi tea. Delicious!
The first day of the retreat went well, although a bit disorganized.
The daughter of a former DS had passed away and the funeral was today, so many pastors and wives attended that, but they will be at the retreat on Thursday.
Those in attendance enjoyed our introductions and testimonies, as well as the
good preaching and teaching of Tom, Mike and Ethel.
In the afternoon, Rachel, Andrew and Cheryl conducted a Bible camp for the kids.
About forty kids came today and loved it!
We have some great photos of it.
We're sure there will be more tomorrow.
We have eaten supper--nsima (We had rice at noon.), beef (We had beef at noon.) and cabbage (Cabbage is in season.).
We enjoyed the tasty food.
The cooks are surprised we like nsima. Most people prefer the rice.
Maybe by the time we leave, we'll enjoy the rice, but right now we like the change.
Thank you for your prayers.
Truly God is working in our midst and we praise Him.
No one has really been sick, for which we are thankful.
Tom and Ethel

African Post: The First Retreat - End of Day

So apparently they do have internet. :)

Today was a good day.

We had tea, and bread with peanut butter for breakfast. I could hear the African's singing from inside the house 20 or so minutes before the actual starting time of the retreat. We prayed for the day and went out to the gathering area, a tent set up next to the house.

They had rows and rows of plastic chairs, something unusual for most retreats. At the front they set up a row of chairs for us. I sat on the far end. They sang a couple more songs before my grandfather got up and introduced our family. Then he handed off the mike to my dad. (They had a mike and speaker system set up temporarily for us.) My dad gave his testimony, then my mom, then myself, my brother, grandmother, and then ended with my grandfather's. They sang one more song, and then went into the preaching. My brother and I sat there for the first part before heading inside. We practiced our material for the children’s club we would hold later in the day, and relaxed, drank some enjoyable tea. (The tea is very good!)  Then we went out with our cameras and shot a lot of pictures and video.

There were these cute little African kids who would watch us from the open gate. I smiled and waved to them, in response they excitedly waved back. They were a bit shy though.

My mom came and found me and asked me to do the song "I Want to Know Christ" (A CYIA song) as a short presentation for the adults. I agreed and after my grandmother finished her talk, sang it with my mom for the Africans. They seemed to really enjoy it and joined in with us when we sang it a second time. Afterwards was lunch and one of the ladies came up to me, she wanted to write down the words of the song. I offered to write them down for her and give it to her after lunch. (Which I did)

Lunch was rice, (a luxury) beef (another luxury) and this really tasty cooked cabbage dish. The food so far has been very, very good, and I've adjusted to the different tastes quickly.
Yesterday we had beans, the cabbage, and nsima (also known as ugally) for dinner. I've had quite a few African dishes growing up, so the nsima was a real treat. Though the tea, having it from a young age, has been my favorite part of Africa, food wise.

After lunch they started up the retreat while Andrew, my mom, and I practiced our club stuff. I made a memory verse visual in Chichewa while my mom practiced the Missionary story, and Andrew the verse. They both are doing a great job!
My grandmother helped us figure out which words would not good for translation, as we would have a translator for the children’s club.  I practiced the Bible Lesson and how to do a group Salvation message.

At 3:30 we set up for the club (I promise pictures later!!) and Andrew and I went and played with a wordless book colored soccer ball in the street after 3 minutes we had one child and in under 8 minutes we had fifteen.

The translator had gone to get some children and when he returned I got the soccer ball and we got the children to sit down.

We sang the song "I Want to Know Christ" with them, it took a lot of repetition for them to learn the first part in English, but our translator knew what he was doing. 

Then Andrew did the Bible Verse and I held the visuals. (English and the homemade Chichewa) He did very well, he hasn't gone through the training I did, and he was dealing with explaining something to another culture. I know I would have done as well at his age.

I went into the Bible Lesson, which normally I have a hard time making it last. However, I was fitting in the wordless book with the story and getting it translated. This nearly tripled the length.
I used the soccer ball with the different colors to do the wordless book. I figured it might get their attention more.
Anyway, it went well, I did a group salvation prayer and nearly all of them prayer aloud so that is hard to judge. (Quick note, African prayer is really cool; when someone says "Lets Pray" Everyone bows their head, closes their eyes and prays aloud to themselves, quite loudly. So if you stand there you hear many, many prayers. I experienced something like this at CYIA, when they did a prayer concert. It is really amazing, hearing all the people around you, also praying to God. You feel surrounded by fellow believers and you feel even more grateful to God.)

After the Bible Lesson which was over an hour in length. (Usually should be less than 20 min, mine usually are only 15.)

We did two action songs, the first one is "How Wide and Deep and Long and High" the second one, "The Hippo Song". The hippo song was by far the favorite. I plan to post a video of it at some point. It makes me laugh when I rewatch it.

After we sang the Hippo song a second time, I said a prayer and we told the children goodbye.

They didn't leave right away, and some of them came up to me and would touch my arm before running away and giggling with their friends, daring one another to go touch the white girl. I held my hand out and they gradually got bolder till they were all tugging on my arm.  They seemed very curious.

We had brought chairs out to set our visuals on and the children helped carry them to the house. I told them "Zikomo", thank you in Chichewa, and they smiled brightly and giggled at my American accent.

Later as I told them goodbye and I would see them tomorrow, the last little girl, waved to us and said "God Bless You!"

I smiled and waved "God bless you!"

As she disappeared out the gate I smiled, that little girl had made it all worth it.

Today was a good day.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thank you to God.

African Post: First Retreat and Club

Hey we'll be starting our first retreat today so please be praying for that!

Here's a line up for the kids club we'll be doing. I'd give you a run down of the retreat but I have no idea about that.
Welcome - Rachel
Song "I want to know Christ" - Cheryl (Mom)
Bible Verse - Andrew
Song "Children's Creed" - Rachel (Thank you to the Myers who let me borrow their song!!)
Bible Lesson - Rachel
Song "How Wide and Deep..." - Andrew
Missionary Story - Cheryl
Song - Rachel
Review Game - Rachel and Andrew

NOTE: There is no Internet at most locations, this post was prewritten on the 2nd. Information is subject to change, this is just to give you an idea of the process.

Prayer requests involving the clubs

That everyone remembers their presentations, And that I convey how to teach to my mom and brother well.

That if some point I do back up, that I remember everything.

That the children will have courage to answer questions, and ask if they have any.

That we will speak clearly, that God breaks any cultur barriers.

That the children will understand our presentations.

That children will come. (they have school this time if year)

That we can handle how ever many children will come.

That the group salvation message I've prepared (As I can't leave my mom and brother to council unless there are only a few children, and even then they might need my help) will go smoothly and if they do have any questions will come talk to one of us.

That's the only ones I can think of, I'll give an update of how both clubs went on Wen or Thursday next week.

Any questions or post requests? Post a comment bellow or email me. :)

PS: please pray for the retreats as well! They start today!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Africa Post: Lost Luggage, Missionary Story and Comfort Zones


I'm in Malowi, Africa. It's been already been a most interesting trip.

We left Friday morning and had a two hour flight, we got to the airport and went to get our luggage but it wasn't there. I had the job of luggage guard and sat with our carry ons and backpacks (with 6 people that's 12 bags) anyway, it was the better of the two jobs in my opinion. Well while I was sitting there I couldn't help but notice these three little kids, who were also waiting for their bags, bouncing of the walls. (we had been waiting for over 1 and a half hours) A stray thought came to me, "Why don't you offer to tell them the missionary story? The CYIA visual is in your carry on. You know the story well enough to tell them". Ha, I thought, that is not a good idea, no way!, that would just be weird! I had a thousand reasons why not. But then a thought occurred to me. If it is something God wants me to do He will give me the strength. If it is something God wants me to do then I have nothing but the opportunity to loose.

Then I was thinking, how do I know this is a God thought and not a Rachel thought? Is an opportunity really a bad thing to loose?

It is.

God gives us opportunities, he promises to strengthen us, he promises to use our weaknesses as they are his strength.

God tells us to do as he asks.

Missing such an opportunity is doing what we feel like, and not what God asks us to.

That isn't serving God, that is serving ourselves.

So I sat there watching these kids playing on the seats and climbing under things. They were bored and I wasn't doing much of anything. I closed my book and walked over to my mom.

"what do you think about me asking those kid's grandmother about telling them a missionary story?"

My mom glanced over at them and nodded her head. "You could."

"Should I?"

"It's up to you."

I sighed, the parental version of "I want you to make your own decisions".
"I feel like its something God wants me to do." I paused. "How should I ask?"

My mom shook her head. "I don't know... Let's pray about it."

So we stood there prayed out loud then tossed ideas back in forth for the next two minuets.

Finally after deciding on a short two sentence request, I dug my carry on out and pulled out my visual. It sat at the top, as though It knew I would need it.

Takings deep breath I said a short prayer and walked up to the grandmother. "Hi," I smiled, "I went to a Bible camp a couple weeks ago and learned how to tell a missionary story, I was wondering if you would mind if I told your kids?"

She looked surprised, "oh no, that's fine." she turned and called the three children over. "Hey come here, this young lady is going to tell you all a story."

The kids came running over and sat down in a row. "Hi." I smiled, "Do any of you like stories? That's great I do to I'd like to tell you a really cool story about a man named John Payton. He was a missionary, can anyone tell me what a missionary is?" from there I launched into the Missionary story on John Payton. The kids seemed to really get into it. I even noticed some people sitting near us paying atteantion to the story as well. Thankfully they didn't seemed bothered by it.

I got through nearly half of the story when (about two and half days) when the bags finally came. I finished the story up. (something like. "John had many more adventures after the Witch doctors tried to kill him, but you know what? God always looked out for him and John knew he could always trust God.") I waved goodbye to the kids, who thanked me for the story (at their fathers reminder) and left with their bags.

I smiled and went to help grab the bags, feeing a deep satisfaction for stepping out of my comfort zone at Gods calling.

My challenge for you, (and me as well) is to follow when God's calls. Step out of your compfort zone, share with others.

Be used by God.

PS won't have Internet till next Wen at the earliest.

PSS Our luggage got lost for about 3 hours or so, they got left on the tarmack according to one staff, another said it got left in the airport. The main thing is we got out luggage! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012


We're Just about ready to go! Check out my dad's twitter (located to the right of this post) to keep up on whats happening as I'm not sure how much I can blog in Africa.

Yes saying goodbye reminded me of this... It was sung a few times at CYIA too.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Heart Knowledge

I've been gone for the past two weeks. (in case you didn't know.) It was amazing in so many ways I don't even know how to begin to start.

I met amazing people, people I will probably remember for the rest of my life. It was so cool getting to meet people who have the same goals as I do. There was over 60 students (I believe) and I got to know almost everyone. There were a few who I admired greatly, students who really put God first.

It was an emotional two weeks, I laughed, I cried, I helped, I was helped, I was there for others, others were there for me, we prayed and praised God for what he has, does, and continues to do.

I learned a lot. I mean really learned. I'm a church kid, I grew up knowing all the answers. But head knowledge is different than heart knowledge. Sure, prayer is powerful, but it wasn't as real to me as it was this week. I never saw the power of prayer until these past two weeks. Prayer is amazing. So is Gods love. Do you ever think about How much God loves you? I mean really think about it. When he breathed life into Adam he knew he was signing Jesus' death sentence. He knew before we existed what we would do to him and he still loved us. 

These are all thinks I knew in my head, now I know them in my heart. It makes me want to cry and jump for joy at the same time. 

Thursday night we had a prayer concert. This is one of the videos we watched in between singing and prayer. 

I'm like Peter I don't deserve God's grace.

But grace isn't about deserving it, it's a precious gift from God.

I'll write more later....


Boldness in sharing God's word
A desire to continue to desire to know God.
The 5 day clubs this next week, both the children and the teachers.

PS: Thank you to anyone who was praying for me or sent me letters, it was encouraging and gave me the strength I needed! :)

PSS: Hopefully my sleeping habits will go semi back to normal. I've been going to bed at 10:30 or later and getting up at 6:00. For the past two weeks.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Stop in New Mexico

On our way to California my family and I stayed the night in New Mexico. It was great fun and my brother and I took pictures!

View from the back porch

The shirt I'm wearing I got from a Do Hard Things conference. If you've never read the book, Do Hard Things, I highly recommend it! You can find it on their website.

Join the rebelution!