Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home and Back Again


So my lovely wife kindly reminded me today that it has been quite a while since I last blogged so I thought it would be a good idea to fill everyone in on where we are at in the swing of things.

I just returned to Zambia from a crazy two and a half week trip to the States where I spoke in churches, visited familes, partook in weddings, and picked up 3 suitcases of stuff for Jess and Sunda (thanks family and friends...they were thrilled!) I also got to pick up our new laptop so praise God for that! We should have a little more regular blogging ability from here on out. For those of you I got to see who have been praying for us and supporting us along this journey in Zambia, it was a true blessing! All of the churches I attended welcomed me as if I was family and I really came out of my time home feeling spiritually refreshed.

Although I felt good spiritually I must say that I was physically "finished" by the end of my time home. I think I had one too many "late night hangouts" with Dougie, Johnson, Duda, and Mike as we prepared for two of their weddings. Not to mention getting to see Tyler, Jenn, Corey, Hank, the Baisdens, Glenn, Dan and his beautiful fiancee, and a whole slew of other buddies. All in all, as much as it was home, it definitely didn't feel like home without my girls. I missed Jess and Sunda terribly and I definitely made the decision to never be gone that long again unless i have to be!

When I got back home Jess met me at the airport and after spending a few hours in town doing some errands (welcome back to Zambia) I got to the base and found Sunda sleeping. She woke up and seemed a bit confused as to how I was home, but within a few minutes she was stuck to me like glue. For the next several hours, every time Jessi tried to touch me Sunda would say, "no mommy! my daddy!" That made me feel good. Sunda enjoyed her tickle me Elmo doll and Jess tried on about every pair of clothes i brought for her. It was like Christmas in June!

Just two days ago Jess and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary and we had a blast. Of course, with any special occasion, Zambia has to try and snuff our fun, but we have learned to battle and win. The day started with Jess and I heading into town to enjoy some time at the 5-star hotel known as the Royal Livingstone. About half way into town; however, the radiator decided to stop working and we spent the next 45 minutes (which is how long the whole trip should have taken)stopping and starting as things heated and cooled. We finally made it to the Royal and enjoyed some time at the pool just talking and reading. After that we had a wonderful lunch that was rudely interrupted by a hungry monkey! Jessi stood up to chat with her mom on the phone and just as she walked away, a star monkey jumped up on our table and grabbed two of our rolls. He stared there looking at me for a moment and when I saw that he wasn't moving, I grabbed the steel plate from under his legs and thwapped him on the head. He jumped down, rubbing his head, rolls still in hand and ran off. Oh the joys of Zambian outtings! Everyone around our table had a good laugh and I heard the whole scene replayed by people for the next 10 minutes. I then treated my wonderful wife to a full body massage at the Royal and we finished the day by getting "towed" back to the base and enjoying a nice movie on our new laptop in the tent. It was really a nice day together.

Things have gone back to being semi-normal at this point on the Overland base. We are still going through the Advanced Missions Training and it has been amazing. Jessi is an expert diesel mechanic now and Sunda has made friends galore. We are still praying this adoption through, and I really am believing that it will be over within a month. For all of you who have been praying for that...thank you!...and keep praying. We love you all and hope to be seeing you in September as a family!

in Christ,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Survived Without My Husband...Part I

Jake arrives back in Zambia tomorrow! Funny, I have been saying for three weeks that Jake is visiting “home.” I’ve also been saying that I can’t wait for him to get back “home.” We had a culture class this week about “global people.” Global people are defined as people who are happiest when they are in transit between one spot and the other. They’re not quite happy when they are in their home culture, Culture A, because they’re thinking about what they’re missing in Culture B. Yet, when they are in Culture B, they are missing the people and the opportunities of Culture A. Clear as mud? Anyway, as much as I am always seeking to be content regardless of my situation...that definition of a global person is pretty true. However, for the three weeks that Jacob has been visiting the States while Sunda and I are here, I haven’t felt like I’ve missed out on anything at all. My time here at Overland, attending the Missions Training Courses, has been so rich in experience and joy that I am grateful for being here instead of being home. I can’t wait to see what the rest of these months have to offer. And I am convinced that our time in the States after this training is all over will be even richer because of the hard work that we’ve put in here, waiting for it.

Speaking of waiting for it, I find that the longer I’m here in Zambia, the more a part of me belongs here. A huge part of me identifies with the people and understands, just a bit at a time, the culture and the mindset. I long more for my family and my friends, but less for the land that I used to be so attached to. Less for the things that I thought I would always miss...bottomless sodas, Target, convenience in all forms. People say that in being a missionary, you go through the same stages that people in grief go through. Starting with denial, ending in acceptance. I don’t know exactly where I am along that spectrum. But I think I’m getting closer to that acceptance bit by bit.

Besides all that, I can’t wait to get this adoption finished and get this little girl home to meet her family! I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the suitcases that Jacob is bringing with him. I’m so glad that Sunda will have little bits of everyone before she even gets to meet them.
Speaking of Sunda, she is the Overland Base darling. She charms everyone and is effectively better at memorizing names than most of the adults I know. She can identify most of the 35 people living on the base right now, and greets them all regularly. Life has been pretty crazy around here with me in school and Dad at home. But she has proven her flexibility and adaptability yet again and coped marvelously. Her nanny is fantastic and a gigantic blessing. We are headed out into the bush this week for more outreach, and one of the older women staying on the base right now asked me with concern, “Does she go with you into the bush?” “Absolutely!” I said. “She’s the best evangelism tool that ever was.” She’s a true missionary child who lays hands on the sick and prays, “Jesus, Jesus.” She sings and dances during worship. Now, if we could only get her to stick around for the sermon!

Just a quick update to let you know that we’re all well. Well, Jake is in the air right he’s as well as you can be crammed into a tiny airline seat!