Friday, June 24, 2011

Post #1: Children of Zion Village - The Beginning (Monday-Thursday, June 20-23)

The Beginning

Sorry this took a while but we have been having internet connection problems!

Scott is a wimpy girl and can dish it out but can’t take it!


Prestige Worldwide a.k.a. “The Dream Team”

Lies, all lies. I can take on anything Natalie, Josie and Olivia want to dish out. They have now been named “The Queens of Sass” - Scott

I begin with an apology. I know that there are some parents and a wife and kids who have been anxiously checking the blog to see if we have arrived. Well after 2 very long days and 4 flights, we finally made it to the Children of Zion Village! The flights were relatively uneventful until we finally landed in Botswana. We made a b-line to the boarder as it was about to close at 6pm and we were less than an hour from that time! We quickly made it to the Batswana boarder and we got our passports stamped. Our driver finally came out with only minutes to spare. Once we got in the van we made it to the border crossing on the Namibia side. The gate was already closed with a very stern guard looking at us. But then after a moment passed, he was willing to unlock it and let us through. Then we made it into the office but the person responsible for letting us in already left. The other people in the office told us to just go on. Soooo we did. BUT, we woke up at 5AM the next morning and booked it to the border post to make sure we were legal first thing when they opened. There was some frustration and hesitation on the part of the person responsible for stamping our passports. I was deciding to take the angry papa-bear approach with this guy when all of a sudden Lisa jumped ahead with the sad grandma approach, feeling so bad last night with how hungry and tired her dear children were and in good faith we came right back first thing in the morning. Now it took some time and convincing, but we finally got back into the country.

It was exciting to see the teens and kids again for both Lisa and I. Many of them have grown so much and look more mature. Lisa was bummed when she learned that many of the animals are no longer here. But we learned quickly that the priority has been the children, especially in the transition they have been through and many of the changes were made for their best interests.

Our first full day was great. We started very early with trying to make things right with our border fiasco. On our way back from the border we had to drop off our driver, Elton, at his village. We were able to see a very large mud house that he just built for his wife and child. The teens were also able to visit and observe the village that Elton’s family was a part of.

Once we made it back to the village, we were off and running to all of the stores to buy food for our stay. We visited their open market and their 2 grocery stores. Of course we had to find all of the “Yum Yum” peanut butter in all of its glorious flavors! There was much rejoicing.

When we got back to the village we got all of our food situated in our living quarters. The boys are in the bungalow and all the girls are in the East cabin. Both of these cabins are right next to each other which is nice that we are for the most part all together and not spread out. As a side note, the boys had great conversation and then went to bed without any problems. I read for a while and then went to sleep peacefully. Lisa on the other hand said that the girls would not stop their giggling and loud bursts of laughter. I foresee a possible powder keg here. Will I see Pastor Lisa erupt like a volcano? Time will only tell. I just don’t understand how Lisa can’t control these teens. I never have any problems.

After we got settled down in our cabins, we split off into a variety of activities. The girls went and took a nap (which ensures even more giggling and burst of laughter tonight! And, I almost forgot this, but one of the girls left the little spicket water-thingy running by accident so they flooded their cabin.) So far, Lisa is doing really well but we are only on the first day! The boys on the other hand, shoveled manure all afternoon. We drove to the middle of nowhere for about half an hour and then found a plot of ground that was about 6 inches deep in dried out cow manure that has been there about a year. We loaded up the pickup truck and brought it back for fertilizer for the gardens. Tyler had the joy of riding in the back of the cab both ways. Without manure one way, and with a giant pile of manure the other way. I asked Tyler after it was all done what he thought. He said it was awesome! So if this chore ever comes up at home, remind him of the extreme amount of joy this job brought to him in Africa!

Lisa made Cincinnati Chili tonight for dinner and we are just about to get ready for our debriefing time. So with that, I will pick up on the rest of this story every day or two! All is well with all of our team. Jimmy has already been here for 2 weeks and has been doing great. He and I have had a lot of time to catch up (while shoveling manure) and here all his stories so far. There are also two very cool college age girls who are here. Lena from Germany and Kim from Texas. We have enjoyed getting to know them. And finally, Travis and Lorna have been great. I want to make absolutely sure that we are the best possible team ever in all that we do. We are their first mission team and I am very much wanting us to serve them with our best efforts, humbly follow their guidance and leadership, and be absolutely no burden whatsoever but a support and source of encouragement during our time here. Lisa and I have already had some great talks with them and are getting even more excited about the rest of our time here. We went through all of the gifts that we brought them. The only problem is that we are missing one of the bags that had a bunch of soccer jerseys, CD’s and DVD’s. We were told that that bag got left back in Washington D.C. and that they would ship it over to us right away. Just pray that it gets here safely.

Also, begin to pray that our team would start to feel pushed way out of their comfort zone so that their faith in Christ can begin to deepen in a powerful way. And begin to pray that you as parents and a church congregation can be used of the Holy Spirit to help these teens integrate all that they learn here back into the context of their families, communities and church! Be open to God’s leading in your teen’s life knowing that this may or may not lead them to what you may want for your teenager. But know that God’s plan will always be better than ours.

Till next time . . . .


Anonymous said...

Scott, So happy to hear you and "The DreamTeam" have arrived safely. Sounds like quite an adventure getting there! Keep us posted. You have such a way with words:)I didn't know Jimmy was going to be there, how nice. Thanks for the update, keep them coming. Love to you, the team, the Curry's and kids. Nancy Roberts

CShawty703 said...

We were starting to wonder what was happening over there! Glad you have arrived safely! Sounds like you're all having fun...even shoveling poo! LOL! Girls, do keep Pastor Lisa up ALL night - she needs to relive her girl-hood.;-p God Bless!

Cheri P

Timmy said...

Great to hear all is well, and to know that you guys are doing God's work in this country. Skyline Chili; thats a little touch of home. Blessings to the group


Timmy said...

Glad to hear all is well. Skyline Chili; nice touch. Blessings to all in the group; and to our two missionaries; you are all doing God's work.


Doug Ransom said...

Awesome news, Scott! I'm not surprised you already had an "Africa moment" with your Botswana to Namibia border crossing - "It's Africa!" That's just the first of many events that will challenge you, Lisa and the teens (uncles & aunties!) to go beyond "comfort zones" trusting God to find the right path.

Reading your blog made me want to beam myself over there now! Too bad Star Trek technology doesn't work yet! :-) Since I'm not there, please give my best to Petro, whom I sponsor (I can't believe he's 18 now!) as well as Elton & Jessica, Leonard, Jenny and the Curry's (I know I left out a few).

I look forward to your next post. God bless all of you!

Doug R

Anonymous said...

We love ya's and are proud of you all!!! Ride an elephant for me PLEASE!!! Wish I was there too!!

Anonymous said...

We love you all!! PLEASE FIND AN ELEPHANT FOR ME AND RIDE IT SCOTT!! Tell them the students to be bold and Ryan and I are proud of ya's!! Oh and girls calm yo self down at night or the end of week two will be hard... and Scott I like how you make it sound like the girls didn't do anything.. I mean really.... Josie needs to update the real story!! And as far as Scott not having issue "handling the students" that's because they are usually having to handle YOU BRO! LOL