Saturday, March 25, 2006

Zanzibar Etc...

Why was I in the most amazing place in the world last week? I don't know, but I do know this: you must all join me next time! The island of "Zanzibar", now known to me as Nirvana, was where the interns had their final times together before I take off this upcoming Friday, March 31. It's a sad thing but the trip was amazing. We enjoyed every moment of the beautiful and historical Stonetown and the white sands off the coast of the Indian ocean here in Tanzania.

Mind you, it was quite the adventure to get there... but an 8 hour bus ride, a night in an Italian hostel and ferry boat later we stepped foot onto God's icing. I can honestly say it was the most incredible water I've ever seen... even miles out into it it was still blue like a swimming pool. The fish were like Finding Nemo! And the star fish looked like cookies with red icing... they were beautiful... nice descriptions huh? :P Well , my camera doesnt work under water so you'll have to come for yourself or just google it...

The whole trip was awesome. We took our long bus ride to Dar... it was like that Suntrips flight to Oahu that one time but tighter... Maples insider for that one. Then in Dar we stayed at this cool little hostel called the Cefa... Its an Italiano run place and it was real special... :P The owners kids, Kiara and Francesco, were incredibly beautiful. Their Father: Italian, Mother: Tanzanian, them: gorgeous... and they spoke fluent English, Swahili, Italian and are learning French... 10 and 7 years old! What the heck!?!?! I was just hopin' that one day my kids would do the unthinkable and pass Algebra! But now I've raised my standards. Once again... I wish I coulda took pics of these amzing kids who shared their stories and songs with me while hanging out in the tv room but some may find that kinda creepy so I didnt capture the Kodak moments... Mary preached in these 2 cool churches that Sunday and some of the interns did an incredible drama. The word was good, the ministry was good... God moved.

Not only was our trip to Zanz beautiful... but the town we stayed in on the first night was one of the first hubs for slave trading. They call it Stonetown to this day... probably because most of it is made of stone... :P (pic above and right here)... This pic which looks kinda like a stadium is where they would barter slaves on the platform and the next pic after that is a monument of how they used to keep the Africans while in waiting to be traded. We even sat in a real dungeon that slaves were held in. It ws a sad and powerful reality... and the most educaitonal thing Ive done since the fall!

More Stonetown/Zanz moments...

Zanz is 96% Arab so yes all the kids are these beautiful... It's sad though that the island is run by an Islamic faith... hmm? Maybe I can move there and be a tropical missionary???

This is the view from our sail boat on the sunset cruise we took on our first night at the beach resort.... yes the beach resort!!! AWE-freaking-SOME!!!

Here's our African Sailor man chillin in the sunset thunder... :P

This ones for my Alex... I miss you and seeing this acrobat show on the beach of the Indian ocean didnt help! But these acrobats were awesome though... I have more pics for when I see you in a million months... oh yeah sorry Buckys heads in the way.
The busy streets of Zanz...

Heres the American team... e're missing our African thunder the beautfiul Goudy but shes comin up next! R2L: Me, Dennae, Heather, Bucky, Christian aka Naitwa, John, and Scott... we;re sitting in frnt of our Italian hostel the CEFA! whoop whoop...

How many ways can me and Gaudy wear a wrap? Here's us before dinner and the acrobat show in Zanz...

Johnny, Naero and I pre-snorkel...

Then there's me and my nappy roots... post-snorkel...

"Oh uh-oh... we in Oakland now..." Here's our wonderful team leader Mary who put the whole sha bang together... and J, Buck, HB, Gaudy and Huse standing in the middle of the street in Dar Es Salaam about to get hit by a bus... Whoops!

So overall, this trip was amazing. I saw a side of this awesome God that we serve that Ive neevr seen before. Gaudy said it best... "how can anyone see such beauty and not see God?"... We saw some of the most beaustiful parts of our world this week. I fell in love witht he creator all over again... the ocean was warm like bath water and the sun was hot like fire... lol.. we got the burns to prove but in all reality... this life is way too amzing to let the oppurtunity to explore Gods beauty pass us by. Even the islamic songs and chants heard through out the city severl times a day were beautiful... it was very sad because with all of our hearts we wanted to ehar the angels singing praises to the Lord for all the great stuff he's done... but still beautiful. This was the perfect end to an incredible season in my life...

Don't worry it's not over yet... I'll be bloggin about the aftermath when I return home to the U.S. this upcoming Friday... until then... I'm going to soak in as much Africa and as much of my Mary, Jill, Gaudy, HB, Besty's, Huse, Naitwa, John and the Emma Center kids as possible! Peace easy! A-town! (Africa-town... lol... I dont know why... I just do....) :P

Monday, March 20, 2006

Living on The Mountain

I've spent the last 3 months living on this mountain. Moshi, Tanzania is on the bottom of this incredible mountain... Kilamanjaro of course. I've been eating with its people, drinking water from its springs and falling in love with its children. On the other hand... I've been living on this spiritual mountain. Eating only things of God in my life (no outside temptaions:tv, music, movies, etc...) drinking from this wellspring of life and beauty that I see in His creation from the minute i wake up to that huge Tanzanian sun to the moment I fall back asleep with an amzing view of every star to see from earth through my tiny bedroom window.

To go home i'll have to come down from the mountain but I won't have to come down from the mountain... that makes sense I hope. My attitude and heart have forever been completly changed. The Lord has completly uprooted my entire being... not like "I went on another week long missions trip to Mexico and saw some poor people, built a house then came home and went back to my same routine..." although ive been on some POWERFUL week longs to Mexico... but more so like being taken away from my comfort zone and everything and everyone I know... like right now i'm sitting on the computer in my hostel on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of the Indian Ocean with a naitonal sitting next to me watching The Breakfast club with Arabic subtitles... who does that?

I don't believe you will truly, completly appreciate your life for what it is until you come to a place where you are willing to change and grow and move forward and be stretched and be flexible... to give God all you are... all the time...

One of my biggest battles has been to lay down this sin nature... this flesh.... this being human if you will... :) selfish thinking- the me, mine, I mentality that I've perpetuated with selfcenteredness since I could make decisions... oh yes, i'm still selfish, but now aware in that attitude and pursuing change and growth daily.

This is my prayer for every person I know... and not even that... every person I dont know... but even more so every YOUNG person I know. Today i met a woman that said the more languages you learn before your 35, the more likely you are to become fluent in those languages... and let me tell you, being selfless, thinking of others higher than myslef and more than myself is a language nearly foreign to almost everyone I know... especially me. So my proposal is that we start young, people! e step outside of our flesh (ie: selfish thinking, shallowness and yes even foolishness at times)outside of our comfort zone and our own plans... let go and venture out!You will never I mean NEVER regret it! I can't imagine my life without these people... my circle of friends without these friends is incomplete.

Think about it... it's this bubble... this ocmfort zone... this safety net of having every second of our lives planned after highschool. Graduate, go to school, work your butt off, get a job, work your butt off, fail a class, take it agian, pick a life plan, change the life plan, work your butt off, graduate school, do the plan, tolerate the plan, change the plan, go back to school, work your butt off, fail some more classes and the cycle continues til we're 30 and/or too old to changh the plan again... and in the midst of it all... we stand in church every Sunday telling Him "I want to do what you want me to!!" HMM??? Of course much of this scenario can be inevitable even for those of us completly walking in obedience... life is full of things we don't really want to do but need to to get closer to what God has for us... but... what if? Just what if there was something bigger than everything we thought we knew??? Something more to life than just following the status quo of the 18-28 year old American. Suppose you gave God a period of time where He had your UNDIVIDED attention. What if we were truly missional in every area of our lives... walking servant minded... not "socially acclimated to our cultures image for youth" minded.

Let's say you took a semester/trimester or by gosh a year off of school (gasp! "A whole year?!?!? but then I'll graduate when I'm 24 instead of 23!!!" you may say... "hakuna matata" I say... "one less year of being a grownup in the real world"... lol... i know, someone slap me later) but let's justr pretend for one minute... you took this time and got away... NYC, Japan, Tanzania, the Philipines, Oahu, San Francisco, Puerto Rico... and the list of amazing places goes on. You go: you spend your time learing about a new culture and a new language, eating new food, meeting new friends from all around the world, adapting to new personalities, learning how to work on a team, learning to be humble and selfess, falling in love with a people you would have never imagined even knowing... hot summer nights in January...

Not going to the movies! talking on a cellphone!!! watching MTV or vh1 or having starbucks everymorning and In-n-out every weekend... listening to Sunday sermons 2 deep in translations... serving expecting nothing in return and loving most if not all of every moment. Meeting people with similar vision, passion, and heart for ministry as you but nothing else besides that similar and walking away with a best friend... Diving into the word of God during our spare time!!!??? Spare time? Yes, it's awesome. And last but not least... seeing the good the bad and the ugly of your own heart and waking up every moring in pursuit of refinement, understanding the hear tof God more because when you're not in your bubble... your comfort zone... your "home church" with your homies.. the only way to look is up.

What if we really did "go out to the world"?. God shouldn't have to call us up on our night time minutes and tell us exactly when where and ow to go here or there... he's given us His word to obey, a heart to feel compassion, ears to hear a peoples cry, hands to work and serve with, and eyes to see the need, and feet to go! We have God senses... are we using them to the best of our ability? Are our eyes open? Or are we waiting for "One new message" with A-Z details... God never "called" me to Africa... but I asked for his eyes, ears and heart and He opened up the dorrs of oppurtunities to put my misisonal foot forward and go to the need.

mom shouldn't have to tell us to do the dishes... if we see dishes in the sink shouldn't we just do them? Hasn't she raised us up well enough to recognize and just do it?

I'm sure you can't imagine the "mountain" you'll be on when you enter into a realm of obedeince... yes, you'll still be human; selfish and prideful and daily battling to exit that flesh but yes you'll be transformed form the inside out and constantly refined by this awesome God and blessed by the oppurtinity to be on his frontlines.

Mark 8:34-37
...You must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the good news you will find true life...

and how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than the soul?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Camping in the Massai Village!

Once upon a time, there was a group of interns and the "Mama Intern" (Mary Navarro!) in Tanzania. We decided to go on a camping trip in the Massai village last weekend. So we loaded up the dala dala and headed out! An hour later we passed the witch doctors house and entered into the Massai outskirts!
" How many interns does it take to set up a one man tent?"John asked. So far it had taken all of them!

They later saw that one tent for all seven interns and a national would never work! So Rebecca to the rescue!

Bucky came and saved the day! She put up all the other tents and we would be able to sleep in peace! (not based on factual events)

So the boys had their space...

And the girls had theirs... (from T 2 B, L 2 R: Rebecca, Heather, Gaudy, Mary, Deborah aka "Debo", Me and Dennae.

So we played with the kids... jump rope has become the popular favorite. And the kids had a blast... and so did the interns. We had also done our ministry presentation earlier in the day. (David and Goliath and the "you are able with God's strength" message)

And then... Pastor Longita (the host pastor in the village we stayed at) led a group of children in a Massai kid v.s. Moshi Kid tug-o-war contest! It was awesome!!!! :P

Then me and Christian aka Naitwa eloped in a tribal hut outside the water hole and adopted a Massai child... and we all lived happily ever after. Pole mom! (lol no, not really, I could never elope on the internship!)

Random Cool Moments!

"We don't play... We quit school cuz of recess..."

and Heaven came down... here's the view from our tents right before sunset... hecka awesome.

Becky on time out... pole dada (poe-lay dah dah: too bad... so sorry)... :P

and then... the dala broke down on the side of the road!!! shoulda been a... lol... thought you knew!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Ha Ha! Well that's what it may seem to be... but yes we are coverd from head to toe in mud... why you may be asking? Because yesterday God opened up the heavens and after being in a drout wiht no consistet electircity or water in our wells for weeks now... the storm has come... and we danced in it like mad savages then played tug-a-war and almost died! Well, we didnt almost died but Husereau decided to pull so hard that fell backwards and injured my spacula?? (The bone right under your shoulder blade?) but that wasnt till after all of me went down hard and hit my head first in the muddy but still firm grounds... Buckys hand was almost ripped into many peices from the rope and we both almost blinded Scott with the whole mud in the face move... nevertheless... it was probably one of the most fun things any one could ever do on a rainy day in AFRICA!!

Me and Huse... straight gangstas... lol

Carrie II? No wait it's the girl form The Ring??? Oh... it's just Bucky making her "Dusty" face... :P

Mud-ducks R Us?? Shoulda been an A-G missionary! Send us some money for showers please... :P

Please pray for the rains to continute to come... the rains are about as close to a shower as we get these days with empty wells and all... and the electricity being out really suckshowever we're so used to it now that we get along just fine playing nerts (nerts: (n) funnest, fastest, most intense crazy addicting card game ever; synonym: grits: what the germans here in tanz keep calling it by mistake) by candle light.

On a more serious note... not having rains is affecting our entire country. There are several villages around Tanz that are dying and crops arent coming, livestock not getting fed and its not a good thing. So pleas pray for the rains!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I can see clearly now...

So many things have happend since my last report to all of you... Let's back track. Last week a friend of Dennaes, Pastor Don nd his daughter flew out from Rhode Island. Don and Renee were so much fun to be with. We taught them our addiction nerts and they just flew with it. We all went on Safari together... Don had a few speaking engagements while he was here as well and the Lord really moved in truth through the word. Us girls had so much fun with Renee... I think God totally blessed her heart while she hung out with the interns all week... she's now our official mini-intern.. aka "mintern". They went home already... pole... :(

But God's still stirring up some awesome thing with our crew. The 20 something's Engish fellowship that Scotts been leading is going really well. Last Friday we had 18 internationals at our fave restuarant Sals Salinero. We packed up Sals and Husereau gave a word on not havin the fear of man in your life... it was awesome and I know God really blessed these people... There were internationals from all over including various parts of England, Switzerland and all over the states. It was awesome and Im juiced aboutt his Friday... Scotts doing a great job leading this whole thing up. We've all seen this incredible leader inside of him pop out his little head and speak up... it's been really cool.

As for village minstry... we're going outt o the Massai (pictured above) next week for a 2 night camping trip. it should be interesting... It's the real Africn bush out there. I'm super scared... but I'm way excited. I know the Lord goes before us and these peoples hearts are really opened to hear what we want to say to them through loving them and their children and spending time just getting to know them. God really works miracles through just those simple things.

Speaking of spending time... Gaudy, John and I went to the KCMC hospital today and visited the kids in the childrens ward... it was so heart breaking o see these kids squished in rooms 5 or 6 beds in rooms the same size or smaller than the single or doubles in the states... but they have hope... and they still smile. We played witht hem and prayed with them and just visited and talked with them.Many of them with this stomach disorder- the one that causes the bloated belly- they won't make it through their teenage years... but they still smile. How unbeleivably crazy is that... its such a reality check for those of us who take advantge of our lives and waste the moments that God has blessed us with. It broke my heart but brough me so much joy all at the same time... in all reality Im not really "called" to hospital ministry... honestly... I wasn't really "called" to Africa... but I was called to be used and to bless and to teach and to learn and have my life flippd upside down... God's word "CALLS" all of us to feed the poor and care for the sick... that's not to say my life is any more valuable and special because I'm in n African hospital or whatever... but it is to say that my heart has been radically shook up... my life totally invaded by the voice of God in this season. My prayer for allof you is that you hear that 'call' in your life and answer with a flexible mind and open spirit.

I met a really awesome bubbly fellow yesterday at the coffee shop with Huse. His names Manuel and he's traveling around Tanzania and then to other parts of Africa on just well... I dont know why.... I think hes just back packing and trecking around. Either way.... he was an awesome guy. He just becme a Christian a month ago at this big gathering in France thats apparenty known about world wide called Taize. Sounds exciting... I taught Manuel how to play speed and he whooped me... we had all sorts of interesting converstion about life and God and it was just awesome to pick up form no where with a random foreign stranger and make a new friend... thats what you get when you just kick a convo. :)

We're down to the last stretch of the internship and the mods even gettin a bit solemn. We know the chances of the 7 of us being a team together ever again are slim to none. Of course we'll probably all keep in touch through emil and xanga or whatever but it won't ever be like this again... theres a season for everything... this has been one of the best if no thee best season of my life as a Christian. I've walked in so much faith and have gone through and am still going through so much refinement as a woman of God, a friend, team mate, daughter, sister, besty :P and just in my character in general. I can't wait to go home and share this joys which is overfowing from inside me right now. Although Im sad to leave my team... its even sad because Chrsitian and Dennae are climbing the mountain this week and they'll be gone for 6 days. Pole... (too bad) but how awesome is that ... thy're climbing the freaking mountain!!! Mt. Kilamanjaro! ?Mt. Kilafreakinjaro!!!! LOL more Later gotta go teach the njoro kids how to double dutch... ha ha ha... I love my life... :)