Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Nothing less than unconditional surrender is ever a fitting response to His sacrifice on Calvary..."

.
I've been reminded several times by several people that I have a blog that severely needs updating... so, now that I have some time to actually sit down and pound out some thoughts, here I am. To keep myself organized, I'll try and stay on one topic at a time, since it's been so long since I've updated.


CAMP JABEZ:

It's hard to believe that we're down to the last 11 weeks of the discipleship program. In the beginning of this year, I thought the end would never come [not that I wanted it to; it just seemed so far off!] and now it's hard to believe that it's basically almost here. The thought of going home is exciting; it's been a long year, and a challenging one at that... but it's going to be hard to leave this place, too. I've really come to love the people. I'm still working on 'loving' the culture, though... the changes can be difficult sometimes!

We recently took a team of 10 on a 5-day mission trip back to Meru. We've been to Meru once before, in June, I believe. This time it was supposed to be a bunch of churches coming together for a youth 'camp'/program... but only 10-15 students actually came. It was still a good time; the students we brought did very well with the times they were asked to share in the teaching sessions and during the house-to-house evangelism. It was a hard week for me, pregnancy wise; when I had to go to the bathroom, my routine quickly became: "Run into the tin shack, vomit from the smell, pee, and quickly run away." Also because of the heat and all the walking, my legs and feet swelled up and I had to take it easy after that. Since I hadn't had much of an appetite either, it was hard for me to eat the food they provided and the amount they gave... I feel bad, because I don't want to offend anyone; it's not that I don't like the food, it's just that I can't eat all of it. They always make fun of the "wazungus" [white people] who can never finish their food... but I don't think they realize that their portion sizes are about 2.5 times the amount that we normally would eat in one meal!

 [a few pictures from the mission]

 [banana trees]

[the dreaded 'squatties']



 [where the meals were prepared and we ate]


 [me and Philister]


 [everyone sleeping on the way home; the people you can't see are hunched over in their seats, completely zonked out!]


On Monday nights, we meet as a leadership team and have a short Bible study, and we also discuss a book that we are going through together. The plan is to read/finish 5 books by the end of the term... right now we're reading True Discipleship and Spiritual Leadership... two books I wish I would have read earlier! They are really changing my perspective on leadership and showing me how pathetic of a leader I am... not in a bad way, but basically just showing me how small I am and how big God is. They both talk about what it takes to be a leader/disciple... and it takes everything. You have to be willing to give it all up. That's so hard for me to grasp sometimes. "True Discipleship" is where my title quote comes from. It's been on my mind a lot lately. We may think we gave up 'a lot' to come to Africa for a year... but in reality, would we be willing to give up EVERYTHING, down to our lives? I've just been thinking about that kind of stuff a lot lately.

On Tuesday mornings, we still attend the 3 1/2 hour class... last term we were going through a book called "Leading Christian Organizations." This 8 week term, we are going through a book called "Power Ministry." Yeah, the title got me a little nervous, too! It's extremely Pentecostal and honestly, I'm not sure what I think of it... I'm still trying to figure out what I believe regarding the Holy Spirit and all that stuff... I'm trying to do more study and research on the topic so I can make a solid decision. I'm not even sure I want to think about the final exam... I've never really had to take a test on something that I didn't agree with/believe in, so this will be a challenge for me.

On Wednesdays, the bead women still come to the compound with their magazine bead necklaces and such. I've really grown to love this group of women, although I find the book work and going through the necklaces a bit tedious sometimes. The necklaces/bracelets are still for sale, if anyone is interested... they would make great Christmas gifts! Let me know if you'd like to purchase any.

Jake also teaches on Wednesdays... right now he's teaching about false religions to follow up the course on evangelism. He seems to enjoy it.

Fridays are my day to teach the second class, from 5-7... which is just the girls. I think I'm just now starting to "not dread" teaching... after 8 months, I still don't feel it's my gift or my strong point, but it's going okay. We just finished going through the book, "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free" and now we're going through a devotional book that takes you through the Psalms. I'm not exactly sure how to teach through a devotional book, though; but I guess I'll figure it out.

On Sundays, we usually attend a missionary fellowship church about 45 minutes away from here. The attendance varies from 10 to 25, but it's nice to have fellowship with other missionaries. Occasionally we stay to have a service with the students [they have one every Sunday, whether or not we stay], like we did last week; we shared in communion together... something we haven't done since Easter.

So that's the gist of what our 'weeks' look like... but you gotta tie in all the 'life' stuff that goes on, too... the building projects, being with the students, cooking, going to town, etc...so  it usually means we are pretty busy people.

PREGNANCY:

I'm now on my 21st week of pregnancy. It's still going pretty well, although the trimesters seemed to be a little confused; I wasn't ever sick in the previous trimester, but now I'm pretty much nauseous all the time! I haven't sleep well in about a week because the nausea hits the hardest in the evening, although it's pretty constant throughout the day, too. It comes no matter what I do; if I eat, if I don't eat... regardless of what I eat, activity, etc. I haven't had much of an appetite lately, either... for the past couple of months, I've had to force myself to eat because it just hasn't seemed appealing to me, even the foods I like. My mom and a friend both sent me packages with some treats in them, so I've been trying to snack a little bit more... but it's hard when eating just sounds disgusting.

I had my second appointment last week. Everything seemed fine, but the doctor didn't really tell me anything, so I'm assuming all is well. I had to prod him for answers, which he seemed irritated by, but heck, there were things I wanted to know! The baby's heart rate was 148... I'm down 3-5lbs from my last appointment at 10w4d... the placenta is in a good place. The ultrasound technician took pictures, which we were told at the end of the appointment 'were for the doctor to look at, not for us to keep...' which I guess was fine, because there weren't any 'fun' pictures [face, full body, etc], anyways. Jake took pictures of the pictures with our camera, but they're not all that exciting. At the end of the appointment, the doctor lectured me for about 10 minutes for not knowing what reactions I had to certain medications that I'm allergic to. I was kind of stunned at his tone of voice and words, so I was probably stuttering while I said things like, "Well, my mom has records of it all... that stuff happened so long ago, and the reactions were serious enough that I haven't taken them since childhood... I just don't remember..." and he replied, "Well, 'my mom said' isn't good enough for me and I don't consider that an allergy." Rawr. I'm kind of glad that I won't be delivering here... personally, I'd like a doctor who doesn't make me feel like an idiot! I understand what he was talking about; it's probably good stuff to know... but I felt pretty demeaned with how he was talking to me. Oh well.

Here are a couple 'belly photos' from 19w6d. Still not much to show, but at least there's a little somethin' somethin'. I haven't felt baby move yet, but I hope to soon!


 
COMING HOME: 

After the student's graduation ceremony on November 28th, we [Eric, Juli, Sarah, Jake and I] plan to take a few days and do 'something fun.' I'm not sure what that entails yet, exactly, but I'm pretty sure we'll be traveling someplace somewhat touristy [Mombasa, maybe?] and do some fun things and relax a little bit. It will be nice to have a few days to unwind before we begin the long journey home. I think we are leaving here on the 8th of December and we arrive home on the 9th, late. We'll be staying in Apple Valley with our fantastic friends, Andy and Katie [love you guys!!], for an undetermined amount of time until we figure out 'what's next.'

Eeep, my mom is calling on Skype... gotta go! I think this suffices for now anyways. :] Blessings!

3 comments:

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing all of this Laura. You will have wonderful stories & pictures you share the rest of your lives :)

I never did feel Jessie moving much, even after she got big. She was just in a different position than Maggie was (sitting cross legged!) You'll feel your little one soon enough and then it will be over and you'll wonder how that baby ever fit!

Dan D. said...

Heh, squatties.

Kathy said...

Hi Laura,
I love your blogs even more now that I know how it all looks, smells and feels there. You may miss being here, but I miss being there with all of you.
So did the doctor take the time to tell you if the baby is a boy or a girl, or is it too soon to know?
Thanks for the update.
Love you,
~K