Friday, January 27, 2012

Before you give up- make sure you're not in a teacup...

If any of you follow my blog or see my facebook, you know that January has been a month of trials for me. From having my bank card "disappear" all the way to flat tires I have felt Satan's attacks on me large and small. He's been making it difficult for me to do my job, difficult for me to focus, to sleep to eat.... It's been a month of tears and struggles and trials- so I know God is producing endurance through this but I don't know what kind of marathon he has in store because I am wearing thin already.

The most significant of the trials is the fact that an issue has come up in regard to my health. I had a routine physical when I was home but because the duration of my trip was so short, the results of my labs and tests did not come back until I had already landed back in Zambia. One of the blood tests came back showing some significant numbers and in addition to that, a-typical cell formations were showing.The combination of the two is a problem.

Since my last tests were in 2010 and everything was clear, the doctor hopes and believes that this could be pre-cancerous rather than cancerous but did not want me to wait a year to come home and find out. There is a diagnostic test that needs to be done, however a specific machine does this test and I was informed by a friend of the Williamsons who is a doctor here, that this machine is only at one hospital here, one that I am uncomfortable, to use the very gentlest terms, to be treated in for a flu much less an internal procedure.

Because of all of this, I will be returning to the US in April to have the diagnostic test and seek treatment if necessary.

When I was talking to a friend here, I was stressing about having money spent to come all the way back because "what if it's nothing". She said " .... isn't that what you're hoping for? If it's nothing you have a party and you come home!" I guess things can be a bit out of perspective sometimes when you realize you were putting your bank account at higher importance on the list than your life.

I am praying that it is nothing, and if it's something it is caught early enough to turn it into nothing but only God is in control of that.

It's been a hard month. It's been hard to get back into the swing of things with jabs from Satan at every turn. It's been hard getting scary news for the first time in my life when I am across the ocean from my family. I am only 25. I've never gotten scary news before. Ive been to the doctor a thousand times and Ive always gotten a clean bill of health. No one ever really thinks of themselves as able to get seriously sick until they get the call from the doctor. If I am completely and totally frank, I still believe it's probably some kind of fluke. It just doesn't make any sense.

That's how the devil gets you though. He turns you upside down and backward until nothing really makes any sense any more... you start to wonder if God really has a hold on things down here. Did he forget? He's got a lot to think about- there are billions of people in the world.... maybe he didn't hear my prayers for a husband, maybe I wasn't convincing enough on how much I want kids... Maybe he was dealing with someone else when I was trying to get his attention to ask that I live a long healthy life and do what I want to do. The list goes on and on... and it because all to easy to take power out of God's hands.

It's so easy. It's so easy to say, OK God, I've given up my life, moved away from family and friends and now I'm doing what you called me to do and then you let this happen? I don't have time for this. I am too busy- I just got back- the kids need me here, I don't have the money.....

I stayed home to get some emails and planning done today. I was flipping through the TV and landed on a movie and this was the line Ashton Kutcher (don't judge me) said " This is your life. Right now. It doesn't wait for you to get back on your feet."

Obviously this was a secular movie but it's true. God doesn't just give us one trial, wait for us to get up and dust off and pull our socks back up... no. This is a fight. This is a war we are waging down here and He knows exactly whats going on. He knew what was going on in Jobs life... He may have even had a conversation with the devil about me just like he did then... and told him to go ahead and do what he needed to do, but that I won't break. What an honour. I wonder if people think about that. The Bible says God doesn't give us more than we can handle and so he must have though Job was made of pure steel.

The point is, most of the things we go through in life are so overwhelming and swallow us up til we feel like we're drowning and as soon as God sees fit to lift us up and place us back on solid ground we turn around and see it was a tea cup we had fallen into and not the ocean.

All the panic and anxiety and worry was - quite frankly- silly.

If  I am not sick, all of this was a bump or glitch in the road to teach me something of which I am not sure yet but it will be clear... if it's cancer or pre-cancer or anything rhyming with cancer God's in control. I am only scared because I know about it. God could take me tomorrow if He wanted to in a car crash or anything else- and it would only mean he's got something better for me to do up there than down here.

All of this is just to say... that's whats going on in a very vague nutshell. Work is continuing here. All the kids are in school and their fees are paid except Barbara. She failed her tests... miserably. Another trial. Did I help at all? Did I teach the wrong things... Should we have had more sessions....? One thing makes everything else bigger and harder. The work seems more tiring to me than I remember but it might be because my heart and mind are heavy and I have no choice but to drag them along as we visit the homes and buy the food and pay the fees and try on shoes and pick out backpacks....

Dark clouds are over head. They'll clear... they always do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mama said there'd be days like this...

Well, day 2 in the country and I am already in crisis mode. Last night I slept all of 2 hours, and I woke up this morning ready to start my first day in Kabanana back to work. I went to the ATM to take out cash for paying school fees and as soon as I entered my pin #... the machine froze. The guard assured me this has happened already this week, and that it would unfreeze and my card would come out.

An hour later.......

A bank representitive shows up and told me it's the company policy that foreign cards are immediately shredded when the machine captures them. I start crying because this is my only access to my own money and the ministry money, and she calls her boss. I talk to that boss on the phone and she explains again that there's nothing they can do-- they destroy the card. I told her that was ludacris because it was THIER machine's malfunction.... so she hangs up and calls HER boss. Finally she calls back and tells me that they will save my card at the bank in Long Acres and to come pick it up at 10AM tomorrow. I thank her profusely... but I'm doubtful because when Katherine was here, they shredded her card even after promising to keep it.

I decide to go and pick up my liscense, which I was supposed to have gotten on the 21 of Nov.,  on the way to work because it's overdue and realize the paper to retreive it is not in my car, so I drive all the way home and search for 30 minutes to no avail... now I am crying again and so I pack up Fanny and Maureens gifts and the clothes for their kids in my car and head to Kabanana anyway to see what we can do with no cash.

On the way, a dog jumps out in front of the car and I slam on the breaks sending the baskets of gifts I spent an hour putting together last night flying all over my car. I stop to put them back and realize half the candies have already melted and are getting all over the presents so I have another good cry and just keep driving.

I got to Kabanana and saw Wisdom, Tisa and went to Protasho's and then over to see Amos's sister... then used up what was left in the wallet to get as many notebooks as we could promising more whenever.... just whenever.

On the way home I went to the Road Safety Place (you will kiss the DMV if you ever try to get a liscence in Zambia) and I walk up to the counter and started crying before I even started talking. I explained that I lost the paper and he said he couldnt give me the liscence and I'd have to start over....I cried a little harder and he finally asked if I had proof of identity. Of course.... I had left my passport at home but I knew the number so he reluctantly put it in the system and got my liscence out and gave it to me... I grabbed that thing and RAN.

On the way home, I stopped at the bank to re-affirm that I'd be coming in the morning. After waiting in line for 45 minutes, my number was called and I explained the whole story. The guy just looked at me and said, well I don't know what they are talking about because foreign cards get sent to the revenue place in town and get shredded we arent even involved in that. I started to cry. I said that the lady and the other lady and that lady's boss said to come here at 10 and pick it up and he said "we dont get any deliveries til 12" I thanked him for his encouragement...... and then he said "Look, if she said to come here, she must have made some arrangement so just come then."

Needless to say I will have another sleepless and prayerful night. If I dont get that card, my entire life and the ministry are pretty much on hold until I can have money and/or a new card sent here, which could take weeks. I am sweating to death- it's 101* out. My eyes are red and puffy and I feel helpless and irritated and scared and overwhelmed, already.

Time to get on my knees.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Wow... what a month this has been!

I left Lusaka on the 21st of November to head back to the states. I was able to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years with my family this year which was completely invaluable to me. I got to see a new nephew, hear great news, help out my sister who had surgery, spend time with my sisters and brother, see my grandmother, aunts, uncles, some cousins and even some freinds from high school and college.

It was nothing more than game playing, eating, laughing and having a great time but I'll treasure those 5 1/2 weeks for ever. (Hopefully I don't treasure this extra 17lbs and 14 inches forever though....)

My mom and I spent the last week sorting through all my earthly belongings and boxing them up to be shipped here, then I guess I'll be officially Zambian!

It was a great month to end an amazing year, and I am thankful now to be back where my heart is and where God has placed me.

It's very easy to almost second guess yourself when you see the grocery stores and restaurants and family and friends and think how much more CONVENIENT life is in the US... but all of that melts away when that plane lands and you smell the familiar Lusaka smell and hear the local accent and see the smiling faces.... I'll be back to work on Monday and I am happier than ever.

I look forward to what God has in store for us in 2012. In 2011 He brought us trials and hardships but we also tripled in size, gained staff and built a building.... who knows what He's got in store for us this year... I'm just glad I'm first in line to see it!