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! :)