Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A VERY large snake we found in the house under the toilet.

Taking the little ones riding...

I'm not sure why I'm wearing this green shirt in nearly all these pictures because they were different days. I guess I don't have many clothes here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Tribute to Grandma Millie

On January 19, 2004, just a few days shy of her 72nd birthday, my Grandma Millie passed away. Last year I wrote this devotional thought on her birthday. I often think of the many things going on in my life I wish I could share with her especially now that I’m here. I can just hear her now bragging to all her church friends that she has a granddaughter who is a missionary in Africa. So thanks for letting me share this tribute to her with you again this year. Happy Birthday Grandma!

The other day a friend asked me what my favorite memory of my grandma was. At the time it was too painful to talk about, but I’ve had a memory that has been ruminating…

May I share it with you?

Most of you didn’t get to meet my Grandma Millie. For the most part, she was the typical grandma. A bit taller than me. A perfect coifed updo. A physique slightly softened by age.

This is my favorite memory…When I would walk through the porch and into my grandparents’ house, I’d always yell, “Hi grandma.” Inevitably, I would hear the shuffle of her slippers as she’d come dashing down the hallway and around the corner into the living room. She’d be so excited to see me. I’d get a big, warm, soft hug. I’d take in the smell of Mary Kay, Aquanet, and a hint of ode d’mothball. Then she’d pull back just a bit, put my big chubby cheeks in her hands, gaze deep into my face with all the love a good grandma can muster and she’s say, “aw, there she is, my beautiful granddaughter.” Now, I’m not saying this to brag; grandma’s often see their own kind of beauty. But there are few other things that make me feel as special, as loved and as invincible; the unconditional love of a grandma.

Now, most of you that know me well, know that I don’t sermonize often. Maybe it’s finally my seminary training kicking in or I’ve eaten one to bran muffins before trying to go to sleep, but I feel a burning need to share my devotional thought on my grandma’s birthday…

I have a Jesus that can put my big chubby cheeks in His hands, gaze as deeply into my face, and say with as much love as any good grandma, “there she is, my beautiful child.”

To this day, when I walk into her house, I still half-expect to hear the slipper-shuffle coming down the hall and see her turn the corner. Some days I could use my grandma to remind me that I’m loveable. I’m sure you could too.

This hasn’t been an easy year for many of us. We’ve lost loved ones, lost direction, had broken relationships, financial strains, struggles with schoolwork and self-esteem… wondering if we’re loveable. And I want to remind you, we have a Jesus that can take our face is His hands and show us His unconditional love; the love that sent Him to Calvary for us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


On January 14th, a group of 10 of us left for Windhoek, the capital, for a week-long whirlwind of various appointments and errands. I went mostly to assist with driving and childcare, but also to get away for a few days.
It’s quite the long drive through some interesting countryside before you arrive in a fairly modern city. We met some infamous African wildlife on the road (see above) but I’m happy to report that we had many traveling mercies. Along the road at various points we saw 2 elephants, a family of ostrich, many warthogs, guinea fowl, baboons, dik dik, roan antelope, gemsbok and a variety of other unidentifiable antelope (there seems like a zillion varieties here).
We got to eat at some interesting places including KFC but my favorite was Joe’s Beerhouse ( I got an impressive African shish kebob which included six different kinds of game meat: ostrich, kudu, crocodile, zebra, oryx and (for the less adventuresome eater) chicken. All of it was quite tasty except the crocodile was a bit rubbery and a tad bit too fishy tasting for my liking but at least now I can say I’ve tried it. I was also on a mission to get my fill of the closest thing I could find to Starbucks iced mochas. Mission accomplished!!
Though it was hectic, it was a blessing to get a way for a few days. But honestly the best part was coming “home.” We arrived back after dinner on the 21st. I went into the children’s home to find the usual post-dinner atmosphere… nicely showered and pajama-clad children getting their last minutes of fun before bedtime. One of my favorite toddlers came charging down the hall like a linebacker yelling “Auntie Jessica” and nearly knocked me over when he jumped into my arms. Quite a feat for a toddler you might say… but he’s quite the bruiser. I call him Bam-bam (I kind of wonder if this was what Ken was like as a toddler.) Anyway, right behind him was one of my favorite little girls who also came running squealing with excitement only the way little girls can. I felt exceedingly loved and it was the perfect end to our trip.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cruisin’ the Zambezi

Today we got the most amazing treat… a boat ride on the Zambezi. We own a basic motor boat mostly for emergencies (such as getting flooded in which is a possibility at this time of year – please be praying that doesn’t happen!!)
In the early afternoon, we set out from the shore in front of our property and headed out around the island that separates us from Zambia. It was a beautiful day and it was quite a relaxing ride. We cruised around the tip of the island and headed downstream. We were able to observe some hippos chillin’ in the water in a few locations from a distance. It was really cool to see them pop their heads up and then sink back down under the water.
It started to look like rain so we decided to turn back before the bridge near town that goes between Namibia and Zambia. (Also not to mention on the other side of the bridge there are some pretty strong rapids and none of us were up to white water rafting.) Just before we arrived back at our place, we spotted a huge crocodile sunning himself on the island shore. It’s a little creepy to see one so close to home. I mean we always have in the back of our mind that they are there, but it’s a reality check to see one. All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon admiring God’s beautiful creation.