Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sometimes it's ok...

Sometimes in life it's ok.... google conversions.
 (83.3 if you're wondering) use an abnormal amount of hand gestures in a conversation. miss home...
     ...while completely falling in love with a different kind of home. hop on the back of a random moto to ride to the market. have a photo shoot just because you are precious. take a nap in the middle of the day. share a plate. have no idea what is being said in 90% of the conversation.

...(& affordable) to have a custom made outfit. be constantly amazed at the life that the Lord has given me. 
 (the view on our morning runs)

Last Sunday we heard a talk about the Son-how He came with a radical view that tore a belief system apart, only to reconstruct it into what it was always meant to be. To love how He loves. To serve how He serves. To truly live out your relationship with Him.  This is how I feel about every experience here in Africa. I feel as if the Father is tearing down my pre-conceived notions about how life should go. From little things (like never riding on the back of a street bike with a stranger) to major things (like having to depend on Him in a completely new way), He is showing me how much I have to learn.  And while that is terrifying at times, it brings me continuous joy to know that He is growing me and stretching me into who He would have me be. While I'm experiencing many new things, He is strengthening the desire that He has placed in my heart. Life is crazy, y'all, but I am so happy He pushes us out of our comfort zones.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Village People

Our training ended with some time spent with a family...eating the way they eat, living the way they live. Two other girls and I were sent off to a village with no electricity or running water for a 4 day/3 night home stay. 

We were pretty nervous, but also excited for this chance. We were not to be disappointed. The family that we stayed with ended up being amazing. The father was a pastor in a local church in the village, and we were able to see him truly love on his community. He encouraged us by the way that he always had time for his ministry. We were able to see him disciple new believers and encourage members in his church, while still having time to be an amazing father. 

The mother was such a hard worker. Even though she spoke no English, we were able to communicate through many smiles and dancing. (Maybe I'll learn some rhythm while living here.) She had such a joyful spirit that you couldn't help but smile when around her. 

While there, I learned so  many new lessons. One of these being that it's ok to just sit. In my head I always have an agenda-something to be done, someone to talk to, somewhere to be. That is the exact opposite of life in an African village. This was hard for me, but the Lord showed me that such amazing things happen when you don't expect them to. A great conversation happens while you're "just sitting", you're able to take in His magnificence while "just sitting", and lasting friendships are made while you're "just sitting." 

At night we sat around the compound and just gazed at the beauty of the stars. We were truly reminded of verses about the vastness of God. 

 "But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."-Jeremiah 10:12

Yes, we had to eat things that were foreign to us. Yes, we had to bathe out of a bucket. Yes, we had to sleep with no ac or fan. But, we also got to dance and sing African praise songs by moon light with children in the village. We were able to see how truly big our God is, and we had the chance to spend time with a family who I fell in love with. This was such a great weekend, and I'll be forever thankful for the experiences that we had while in the village.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Simple kind of LIfe

For the next part of our training we traveled to a little town in the northern part of Ghana. We were able to see how the people live in the more rural parts of Africa. We were also able to experience many new things, such as....

meeting a king-
 The man with the golden rod in his hand was for "crowd control", the man sitting in the blue striped shirt was there to tell the king what we were saying, and the man you can't really see is the king. Someone pointed out the goodness of our Father. For an earthly king we had to go through someone to talk to him, but for the King of Kings, we are able to have a direct relationship with Him.

We even received a couple of gifts from the King..both of which we ate a couple days later. 

hunting for crocodiles-

 Our "fearless" leaders.

Such fun little tour guides.

learning how to make food from scratch-

We were thinking of going into a custom tortilla making business..think it'll work?

A couple of us also got the opportunity to share the story of love to women who lived in a witch's camp. These are women who have been accused of witchcraft, so they are taken from their family's homes and forced to live in this small section of town. The women were sweet and very attentive to the stories we shared with them. 

In the rural setting we saw more of the traditional beliefs, and the people were more open to talking about certain things. The pace of life is completely different than anything I'm accustomed to, but I found that I enjoyed the rural setting more so than the city. As much as I loved the people that I met in the first part of our training, I really enjoyed the smaller villages.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Life in the Ouag

For the past month I have had the pleasure of traipsing around West Africa, staying the night in places I couldn't even begin to pronounce, and seeing what this whole "life in Africa" thing is all about. Y'all, life is about to get crazy.

We started the month out doing urban training. As soon as I arrived in the city I feasted on cheeseburgers, french fries, get the picture. Then, things got real. 

This is a meal that I'm a pro at eating now. However, it was not pretty at first. The white stuff has a variety of names, but it's basically just water and some type of cornmeal. Don't let the spoons deceive eat with your hands. It's covered in chicken soaked in a peanut sauce. 


Speaking of eating with your hands, this is our translator and some of her friends that we ate with one Sunday. I asked the guys how you should eat the meal. They told me you eat with your hands, so I dug in. A couple minutes later I look over, and these jokers are eating with utensils. As you can see, I quickly made them switch to their hands.

This sweet child was such a little boy. He kept us laughing, and by the end of our 2 weeks there he was my little "nephew."

Our job during the day was to go out and ask questions about life, and try to understand the community a little better. Our afternoons were filled with debriefing and learning in a classroom setting.

Even though we were going out and asking about their culture, it was super easy to get into conversations about the Word and sharing stories with them. We had great conversations and met some wonderful people.

I also learned various other things...such as:
paved roads are a luxury, not a necessity. (also smooth dirt roads=luxury)
cold showers are actually preferred.
you never ever want the electricity to go out at while you try to sleep.
and...every culture should have a siesta. Praise Him for placing me in a culture that does.