Saturday, May 30, 2009

First day recap...

Writing here, at 6:00 am on Sunday morning before we leave for church. Yesterday (our first day here) was quite a day. Although we had nothing planned, and did not even leave the quarters of our home, we still found much to keep us busy.
Upon arrival to Zambia we took a bus to a village called Kalinga Kalinga, which is just outside of Lusaka. This is where our homes are. There is a large concrete wall (with wound barbed wire along the top surface) surrounding two small pink homes; this is our residency J The house that I am living in has three bedrooms, a bathroom, small living room and a kitchen. The 6 of us girl interns live here. Mary Leslie is my roommate and we sure have made a little home out of our room. Yesterday, what I think really put the final touch on it, was hanging up the mosquito net. We used some string from a bag of oranges that we bought to tie some bows on it, and of course, we used my athletic training tape to stick it to the wall. Mary Leslie didn’t exactly like the “decorations,” however I think that she is used to them now, haha.
We spent probably a good half an hour yesterday also trying to arrange our beds. Our room is small and the beds are almost twin size, a bit bigger actually. With all our luggage and being extremely tired, it took forever. We would rearrange it and then realize that it didn’t fit, or the door wouldn’t close, or something crazy. Running on such little sleep, we were laughing hysterically basically the entire time. It was quite fun.
After settling in, all of us interns figured we better take a nap. We each slept for about two hours and I think that we came to an agreement that when we woke up, we all felt either a. like we had gotten hit by a semi truck or b. we were slightly intoxicated. I’d say personally, I was probably a combination of both, haha.
Later we went to the other house (which is literally 10 steps out our back door) and played some cards and just spent some time together. We shared time getting on the internet (which as of now we do not have wireless, so that will definitely put a limit on my internet time) and visited with Patricia (a staff member of EOH who cleans and cooks). The power was out basically for the majority of the evening, so Patricia cooked for us over candles. We had a nice candle-lit dinner, that was quite lovely.
I forgot to mention what happened before we took a nap. Clearly, am still out of it a bit. Mama, Mareta, and Cypheen (EOH staff members) met us at the airport and then brought us back here. Each of us interns were given a cell phone and taught how to use it. It is very expensive here to talk, so we were instructed to avoid over use.
Then Mareta and the 6 of us girls began to talk. We just laughed and laughed with Mareta- she is such a wonderful woman of God. She told us parts of her story, how she is close to adopting a child, and we were excited for her. I later asked her a few questions: 1. How have you seen the Lord moving in your life in the last month? She answered with a long response about an incredible revelation she had just experienced, about righteousness. The smile on her face as she shared about this revelation was beautiful.
She then turned to me that my questioning had caught her off guard. She then asked me to answer the same, and then all of the girls. We all spent time sharing what the Lord has been doing in our lives, and amongst us interns, most of us somewhere in it noted the reality of the Lord’s provision in our lives, as we sit here in Zambia.
Skipping back ahead now, to after dinner with Patricia, we just spent time talking with her and listening to her story. She shared about her family and children- she is also a wonderful woman.
We waited up and then had a meeting. Paul and Kim (a couple that is in transition to becoming full time missionaries with EOH here) got back and they had formulated a tentative schedule for our time here. It was very nice to see the “big picture,” however, we now understand a reality that we will be extremely busy for the next 2 months. The schedule is wonderful though, and I really am looking forward to getting in the thick of it.
Well, I better get going. We are leaving for church and then spending the day with Martha (EOH director) and her family (including a 3 week old new baby boy named Josiah). I am quite excited.
I am trying to write as often as I can, however, I never am sure the next time I will be able to post.

Lots of Love!

Finally in Zambia!

Hiiiiii! You will be happy to know that I have made it safe and sound to Lusaka. Oh it is so beautiful here, I cannot even describe.

The flight was wonderful from London to Lusaka. I sat by two beautiful Zambian women who served as such an incredible blessing for my journey over. Both of these women were true gifts from the Lord. Conversation flowed so naturally, reminding me of my love for these sweet sweet people. Their gentle spirits and outward calmness reminded me of what it is I truly love about this place.

Time, is nothing here. Sounds weird I know, but already in the 7 hours that I have been here, I am on no sort of schedule- I am at such peace - despite my exhaustion. I feel no pressures to be doing anything other than taking it in- the reality that I am here- the reality that this is home.

When we left the airport after arriving at about 6:40am this morning, tears filled my eyes as I filed onto the ever so familiar LSK bus with the other interns. Some of them have been to Zambia and enjoying with me the delight of return, while some enjoying the beauty of a first visit. All together, I could just see the tears in each persons eyes, and if not there, the sheer blessing in each one of our hearts. I cannot explain.

I began to write a piece this morning. I didn't finish, but I spose I'll share it at this point:

The Zambian soil is so familiar- the smell as it brushes by my nose, leaves me lingering- eager for more.
I cannot help but take my shoes off…to feel that ground - hard and dry, yet so full of life, energizing me through the bare soles of my feet.

Oh, how I honestly love this place. Somewhere inside, it’s much more than just a destination. It’s home - not really - not at all - but somehow that is how I associate this place. Familiar ground. I’m finally here, finally returned to such a beautiful place. Oh, it’s quite lovely.

It truly is incredible to…..
be here.
It honsetly is everything that I desire.
Sometimes I'm scared. Sometimes I'm weak and weary. Sometimes I am confident and strong.
Above all though, I am always growing. I am always drawing closer to my Father in Heaven. I am always growing in my full dependancy on Him. I am always seeing more and more of His provision, his love, and his grace.
Well, a Zambian woman named Patricia just got here. I will be spending the evening with her, learning to cook some Zambian delights.
Love you all.
In Him,

Layover in London.....

Why hello everyone! I am currently sitting in the London Airport, waiting to board the plane to my final destination, Lusaka Zambia. As I am eager to share my experiences upon arrival in Zambia, I mustn’t leave out the wonderful day I had today in the city.

London is absolutely beautiful- The streets packed, filled with beautiful buildings overlapping each other. The fences iron, the architecture detailed, the flowers vibrant. Gardens flourish surrounding the parks, with trees overlaying each path and walkway, almost tunnel-like.
I must admit that I am not one for what is stereotypically known as “tourism” however, today I very much fell into that category . I believe that my time was much too short to even begin to appreciate the beauty of London, however, I suppose that what I did see enabled me to grow on what I had previously assumed London to be.

A few places that we visited were Green Park, Buckingham Palace, the Horse Guard, Parliament, and of course Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I very much enjoyed each of these.

As I walked through Green Park, I cannot describe what exactly was going through my head. I remember watching people with a complete uncertainty of what they were doing, questioning what it was that had brought them to Green Park. Beyond those with obvious intentions, meaning those aiming to capture beauty with camera lenses larger than bricks, I could not piece together in my mind why someone would be in Green Park. With continued observation I found that people enjoyed this place, they enjoyed a simplicity of life that I have not seen in quite some time. The man on the bench, investing in what looked to be a large novel of some sort, I wondered if he had anything else to be doing? Does he have a job? A family? What is it that makes it okay for him to be here? On the flip side, why wouldn’t this be okay? I have not the answers to my own questioning. I do know though, that something about Green Park made me want to put prose on a page. My desire for a paintbrush also presented itself.

As we approached the gates to Buckingham Palace, a parade was taking place. Beyond the thick iron gate, guards and horses passed, presenting the residency of the Queen. The grounds of this palace were well tended too, with flowerbeds and thick green grass covering the ground. There were large statues that caught my eye, and the beauty of her palace lingered in my mind, even as we moved on.

We walked through the Horse Guard, another beautifully detailed building, and were able to see a real guard. I felt bad for him, unable to smile. My initial observation was that he was absolutely disgusted with the constant flow of tourists, ranting and raving, obnoxiously snapping pictures of him on his horse. He looked not much older than me. I wondered what he was thinking as he sat there. I do not believe my final observation differed from my initial. I left somewhat ashamed myself, and even a bit embarrassed that I too, had taken part in this picture act.

Parliament was also quite astounding. Much larger than I ever imagined. As we drew closer on sidewalk, I found myself wishing I knew so much more of the history of London. I strongly desired to understand exactly what went on in that building, exactly whose work resided in that building, and the actual history of the building as well.

My tour of Westminster Abbey was completely radical. My eyes focused on the details of the architecture, with even the tiniest details radiating in the sunlight. I desired so strongly to just stand and stare, to attempt to gain a greater appreciation of such impressive work.. However, I also could not resist a look inside. Grant (another EOH intern) and I entered at a cost of 6 pounds. Westminster Abbey, a gorgeous I had never even imagined possible. I have not the words to describe such an intensely rich experience.

Visiting Westminster concluded our main tour of London. As we walked down the streets, I continued to question what life was like in London. I could not imagine, or even wrap my mind around what it would be like to spend an extended period of time somewhere like that- to be able to call a place such as this, ‘home.’ I could not imagine a life that consisted of daily trips through Green Park, or walking down streets with such beauty. I cannot imagine what it would be like to understand the rich history of London, also understanding the true significance and history of each of those sites.

Well, I must get going. About to board my final plane to Lusaka, where I will reside for the next 2 months of my life. I am very much excited!
More later.

P.S. I have been trying to upload pictures, however am having some difficulty. Hopefully I can upload a few here and there. Sorry!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

texas, training, and tons of fun....

Hi everyone!
Well, made it down to Frisco, Texas yesterday afternoon. Arrived around 2:00 pm and spent the afternoon hanging out with the other interns and getting to know some of the staff at Every Orphan's Hope (the organization I am interning for). We checked into a hotel (very modern- for those of you familiar with City View in Holland, it is much like that). We then went to a Texas BBQ for dinner and then went bowling. You will be happy to know that I bowled a 123 haha. Then we had some ice was great.

Slept awful last night. Not sure if it is just being excited or what, but I was happy when 5:00 am rolled around and it was time for a bit of exercise. I went down to the workout room in our hotel and broke a little sweat (Dad can appreciate that, since we worked out in the mornings together for the last few days before I left ).

We went to IHOP for breakfast to begin our day of training. We met in a big conference room and basically went over intern responsibilities and the basics for our time in Zambia. It was pretty long, but is nice to finally know some specifics to our ministry. Some of the things that we briefly went over were our roles in facilitiating Camp Hope, our roles in the My Fathers House Oprhan Homes, and what we will be doing with the Sponsorship program. All sound quite delightful.

Anyways, then we went to one of Gary's friends houses, where we had pizza and just had some fun. It really was nice, and I feel so very blessed to be so welcomed here. Everyone is so completely supportive of what the Lord has called us to this summer, and there is nothing more comforting.

Well..tomorrow is the day. We will be getting up and discussing intern responsibilities further, and then departing for the airport tomorow around 2. Our flight to London takes of tomorrow at 5:30 pm, and then we arrive in London at 8:40 in the morning. We have the entire day to spend in London then (which will be Friday) and then we leave from there in the evening for Zambia.

Sooo...not sure when I will write next, but hopefully I will be able to write soon and I will definitely put up some pictures from London! Soo..better get going! Miss you all! Hope all is well.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here comes goodbye, and here comes hello!

Hi All!

Sophie here, as I am rummaging around through my tornado of a room (and entire house as my family would probably argue) trying to finish packing and getting everything ready to leave. I have to admit, I feel a bit behind (just having finished my class and now having to pack/clean/organize/and say goodbye to friends and family) however, that is not to say that I am not excited!

I AM EXCITED! I cannot wait to feel that Zambian soil on my feet. I cannot wait to breathe in, and breathe out the freshness of the African air. I cannot wait to see again, a sunset, that is more beautiful there than anywhere else I have ever seen. I cannot wait to see the beauty in the smile of a child. Oh, I am eager for my return.

Well, considering the extreme length of my "to-do" list, I should probably get back to it. I want to thank you for being a part of this journey, and I am excited to be able to share with even more throughout my stay in Zambia.

With that, may the Lord continue to bless you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

In Christ,

P.S. - I cannot make promises, but I am really going to try to at least write every few days or so. Actually, I would love to write more frequently even than that, however, depending on internet while I am there - that may not be a possibility.

P.S.S - I would LOVE to hear from you while I am gone. If you would like to send me emails (I cannot promise that I will return) or comment on my blog page, that would be quite lovely!

Okay...enough already :)

Bye Bye