Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back to Africa

In exactly one week at this time, I will be flying through the air in a plane with a destination of Africa.

I am returning to Zambia.

"When you go to Africa, you leave part of your heart there." Those words were spoken to me before my first trip. I held onto them with a "we'll-see" attitude, not being able to fully believe the truth of them because I had not yet experienced Africa.

I have now, and I am here to tell you-- those words are true.

As my trip nears, I am anticipating it with memories of last time...

One of my favorite experiences of the everyday culture was the mile-long walk on the dirt road to the school. The very first morning, we ventured out into the cool, foggy morning. Trucks whizzed by us with Africans sitting in the back. A myriad of men walked down the road to work, and women carried bags or babies on their back. Bikers with baskets, kids in school uniforms, all of us walking together. It was during these moments that it seemed most real to me that I was, indeed, in Africa.

As we neared the school, kids in mis-matched, torn clothes ran up and asked us where we were going.

"Lifesong School," we said.

"Us too!"

Word spread, and bright-faced, smiling kids ran up and grabbed our hands. They held on and walked beside us with innocence and trust.

It was then that I learned love-- Jesus' love. I felt it welling up inside my heart and bursting forth, pouring out of me to shower on the kids.

I learned this lesson of love again and again throughout that week. In church, when the African people in their lively, spirited voices sang and danced praises to Jesus with hands lifted high. Underneath the mosquito net hanging over my bed at night, when I drifted off to sleep thinking about the widespread disease and sickness that sweeps over these people with little healthcare, and thanking God for His hand of provision in my own life. When I met other African people, and they welcomed me wholeheartedly and told me to visit often. When I held 3 children on my lap, and they were content to sit and be embraced. When I served them the only meal they had seen in 3 days-- a piece of bread with a smear of peanut butter.

Giving feels good, but I came home feeling like Africa gave me more than I was ever able to give back.

I am excited to hear the voices of the kids, and most of all, to see their faces. Their eyes say more to me than anything else. I am delighted to love them, and my heart swells to think that they are even more delighted to love me back.

If I don't bring one back with me this time... it will be a miracle.

Love you all... this next week looks like a pretty busy outlook for me, so I will be back after my trip with lots of stories and pictures!


Sunday, July 10, 2011


I have this recurring dream where I am driving in my car. I look in the rearview mirror, and a white car is following me. In my head, I think, "Oh no, I wonder if that's a cop. I'm speeding." And it always is. And the cop always pulls me over.

Today I was telling my sister about this-- that I needed to consult a Dream Dictionary to decipher the meaning.

"Are those actually accurate," she asked.

The meaning:

"To dream that you are pulled over by the police, suggests that you need to slow down and take things down a notch."

Somehow, I feel like it could be pretty accurate.

In other news, we celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday today. She is my only living grandparent, so it's quite special to see her reach such a milestone. A couple of my favorite memories of her...

She always calls her refrigerator "the ice box." I always thought that was funny.

Anytime I visited her, particularly after school, she would ALWAYS have chocolate pudding cups for a snack. Yum!

When I was 4 years old, I had to wear an eye patch on my eye. It was no fun, and I didn't like to do it. I would usually cry, and when my mom would take the patch away from my eye, all the tears would spill out. My Grandma told me that "if I was good, I would get a prize." The prize was always a box of Frosted Mini Wheats... my favorite cereal.


So we had a great time today with her. All of her kids, almost all of her grandkids and all of her great-grandkids were there. It was a full house!

I leave for Africa in about 3 weeks. I can't believe how fast that came up. I am super excited. Part of me hesitates to envision what it will be like "this time" because disappointment inevitably follows when I think I know how something will unfold and it doesn't; whereas the unknown is always exciting to me because it is new and different. So I'm trying not to put preconceived notions on this trip-- and to help, my travel buddies and I fly through London on the way there so we get a whole day to explore!

Beyond that, I am just real excited to see the kids again and capture the culture through photography.

Kristi and I counted today, and to date we have shot 6 weddings. We have 12 more to go this year. We are only 1/3 of the way there. I can hardly believe it, but I knew our Fall was packed. Our summer has actually been a nice break, and while I've been enjoying it, I'm bracing myself for a busy wedding season ahead. We always get through it, but not without a lot of work! But it's hard to view something as "work" when you enjoy it so much.

Well... I'm off to bed so I can start my Monday off right. Love you all!