"We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Home

I arrived in Atlanta, Ga at 6:30 am Christmas Eve - what a relief it was to finally be home!  Mom and Dell woke up at 4 in the morning to drive to Atlanta to get me!  Customs and baggage claim felt like it took a million years - then we began our drive to Columbus.  I don't know a time I have been more excited about food than when we passed a Chick-fil-A on the way! I ordered my favorite - a chicken, egg, and cheese bagel - mmmmmm. 




After a 13 hour flight - with the seven hour time difference - I am having some "jet - lag" problems.  I am sleepy when I am suppose to be awake and I am hungry when I am suppose to be sleeping! 

I drove to Auburn (which I was nervous about - but am still very capable of driving - and how amazing it is to be able to drive yourself somewhere - whenever you want or need to go!) in time to visit with my cousins from Montgomery, my grandparents, my aunt Lee Alice, and then make it to church for the Christmas Eve service right on time!  I walked in and found my dad ushering at the back of the church - it was so great to see him! I think he is just so excited for me to be "safe" back in America.  I don't think I will ever forget that moment - Him realizing that I am good and happy and me realizing the time that has passed since I left and understanding for maybe the first time what "family" is and how important people are to me.

Elizabeth and Tracey and Hannah and Lydia and Paul and Skip and Glenda were all there - great hugs - great Christmas Eve.  Just good stuff. Thank you, Jesus for all my many blessings.  Thank You for family and friends and so many homes to come home to that I can't decide where to stay and thank you for life and for how You allow us to live in freedom- sometimes I forget how many times you give us the choice - but You have given us the priviledge to choose how we live our lives, and where we live our lives.  Thank you. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Israel is amazing and I have been really sad to leave - so I have been blessed with a few more days here! It really is nice to have some time after such a busy trip to rest and just be here.  I, however, have not had this attitude all day! 
So, I was suppose to fly out of Tel Aviv at 5:30 am - so I arrived at the airport early - at 2:15 ish.  Once I passed through the brutal interegation that I have been through traveling into and out of the Middle East (which is a hastle - but one that I am so thankful for and comforted by), I was told that no planes had taken off from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany - so there were no planes here in Tel Aviv to take us where we needed to go.  Since I was early - I was one of the first of the hundreds of people stranded and stressed in the airport to be in line to change my ticket.  There was a group of med students from the US in line behind me - and we were all advocating for each other to be able to get to the front of the line and get on one of the flights out of Tel Aviv today - Israeli people apparently do not know how to "cue" or make a line.  Emotions were running high - people were breaking in line and yelling at each other and grown men were shoving to be next in line.  We made it to the counter - safely - only three hours after we arrived, and 15 minutes before my original flight was scheduled to take off.  I had the option of flying to Newark later today - with no connecting flight to anywhere in the south - I tried every airport in the south east - and there is suppose to be bad weather in the North East - or a flight leaving here tomorrow evening - flying straight into Atlanta, Ga.  This is when I was trying to call home from the airport to give the message that I would not arrive in Atlanta today - and I was trying not to sound too stressed - but after having no sleep all night in the airport - I was a little stressed. So, I appologize for worrying you - I am really fine and safe and good - wishing I was at home - but fine and safe and good.  So, I am stuck in a nice room right on the beach here in Tel Aviv.  I have an Isreali buddy - who is trying to get to Montogmery, AL - what are the chances?

While waiting in line with so many people from so many cultures - I was praying for my flight and my chance to go and I was overwhelmed thinking about these people who don't have Jesus in their hearts - they don't have the peace that Jesus is going to take care of this.  I have just been overwhelmed with how the Lord is taking care of me in this situation.  Friends in line - buddy to travel with - beautiful beaches - there's no better way to be stranded. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have recieved from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I am missing you all and I am now scheduled to arrive in Atlanta on Dec. 24 at 6 am - please keep that flight in your prayers - and that I am able to make it home for Christmas.  I am comforted by the fact that our all loving God is in control of this situation - and He's taking care of me.  Thank you for your prayer and I will see you soon!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Israel!

Literally walking in the steps of Jesus is so overwhelming.  We just did a brief two hour tour of Jerusalem - and are trying to decide what to do next - so much to do and see. So much to take in.  Layer upon layer of history.  The people we have met here have been so nice and welcoming.  The food is amazing - not saying much -- any food would be amazing compared to African food!  We even had a jelly doughnut to celebrate Hanukkah! 

Can't wait to show pictures -  Christmas blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sad to be leaving...excited to be with friends and family (and air conditioning, and stable power, and target, and fast food, and clean air and christmas decorations and so much more!)



Last visit to the orphanage before break! We colored nativity scenes and sang Christmas songs - a-mazing.







This one wanted me to take our picture over and over - and it is so funny - the Ghanaians just don't typically smile in pictures - so this is him "smiling."










It was my roommate, Anne Clair's Birthday Tuesday - and she got....




A goat! Not just any goat - it's a pygmie goat! Almost a mini horse, Elizabeth!  She named him "Rudolph" the red nosed rain-goat!  We call him "Rudy" for short.  When he cries, it sounds just like a baby crying - it's so strange, and kind of cute too.




Isn't he cute?!



And, I had flowers planted in our front yard - they are suppose to grow really fast to cover the razor wire on the top of the fence - maybe even by the time we get back from Christmas!!

I am flying out tomorrow night!!! So exciting! Please keep all of AIS's staff's travels in your prayers.  I will not be using my phone - or taking my computer - so if I find an internet cafe - I will try to post that I am in Israel - if not - you can see me on Dec. 22  after I fly into Atlanta!!  Merry Christmas and see you soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm coming home!!!



Ah! Just in time!!!!

Remember

One of my prayers since I have been here is from Revelation 3:3:

"Remember, then, what you have received and heard.  Keep it, and repent."

I don't want to forget any of the things that I am learning here - but it's a pattern in my life to forget, and I inevitably have to learn things over and over again.  I have reread the Luke this week, preparing for Christmas and travel to Israel (I still can't believe I am going!!).  And something new stood out to me:


   "And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
   And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." Luke 2:15-20


I always think about Mary and what she was thinking and how she handled all the pressure and excitement and so many other emotions that would come from carrying Jesus.  I think this passage reveals Mary's character.  She kept the words of the Lord and the miraculous things He had done, and she pondered them in her heart.  


God does amazing things around us all the time.  It's our choice to see things in this world as the divine work of our God - to give God the glory.   Then, it's our choice to keep these things, thinking about them, pondering them.   And last, it's our choice to allow God to change us through them.  


So, look around you and see the things that God has done for you, and for those around you - keep them - and then, be changed and be blessed!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Soooo Africa!




We had Friday off of school for "Farmer's Day" - so we used the time to travel to Ada beach.  It was absolutely beautiful - a time where I really realized that I was in Africa and I was glad and grateful to be.

Nicole and Charlie Wright, Kim Kershner, our driver William, and I drove the two hours to this glorious place.  There, we boarded a leaking canoe to get to the end of the beach, to a place called Maranatha.










The boat ride was beautiful - there were some really nice houses -mostly British owned vacation homes.




Then, right next to them are straw huts!




Sooooo Africa!




Then, we got to the beach where we were staying - it was an area like the jetty in Destin- "bay"on one side, and the ocean on the other.




Here is Charlie in one of the huts we stayed in!




Mosquito nets over the beds.





Straw roofs.  Apparently the straw huts are strong enough to last for years! I would have thought they had to rebuild them all the time - but the people said the roofs might need to be replaced every five years or so - crazy!




Charlie reminds me so much of my cousin, Lydia.  She loves animals!  We were all the time catching cats, dogs, hermit crabs, fish, and William caught this baby goat for her!


We swam and napped in the sun during the day, and when it was time to sleep, the huts were too hot --




so we carried our mattresses out to the beach and slept there...only for a while...






...until it the moon was up. (the sun set around 6 and the moon didn't come up for another 2 or 3 hours!! which made the stars in the sky soooo nice!)  When the moon was finally high in the sky, about 11 at night, we took a walk on the beach....




Looking for tracks from the ocean...




Left from a sea turtle!!! Ah! There was one who had walked up the beach to lay its eggs - it was so amazing!!! I felt like we were invading her privacy watching her - but it was so cool!  It took her over an hour - and when she was finished, she covered them up by moving the sand with her arms and legs, and rocking her whole body back and forth - smoothing out the sand over her babies- so that no one would disturb them.  It was so amazing.




She will come back in two weeks to nest - and to see her babies hatch.  The baby turtles will have to make it 20 or so yards down the beach - battling humans and massive crabs to make it back to the ocean to meet their mom and swim away.  She will know the exact place where to meet them - how amazing is that?!?!  We thought she was huge - but they said she was the "smaller" breed of sea turtles that come to lay eggs here.  Crazy!

The two days we spent in Ada was to relaxing and fun and it is always so nice to get away from the city. The people there were friendly - there were lots of internationals staying in the huts - all day and night there was drumming and African music - love it.  William was so excited to come with us - that was a huge blessing to see - he met some fishermen who let him help pull in their fishing nets - and gave him some fish.  He was sooooo excited to have fish to take home to his wife - it really reminded me of all the things that I take for granted - even here in Africa.  I have plenty of good food, a nice and safe place to stay, and great job.  So much to be thankful for.

I am getting really excited about traveling - I shot up in "bed" saturday morning - realizing it would be one week until I will be flying to Israel and then home!!!  We have not heard anything about our visas or passports - so please keep praying.  We are hoping that no news is good news - the lawyer says not to worry yet.  We have realized that as long as they will give us our passports back, we will be able to leave the country - it just might take a while to get visas to get back in - which I can deal with much better than not being able to come home!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


So, I have finally been able to unpack my bags!  While unpacking, I found a prayer journal that I started sometime last year, and included a detailed recap of how God completely moved my life from Birmingham, AL to Accra, Ghana.   I didn’t realize I had been praying for God to send me here for a year.  It is so overwhelming to realize that God really listens to us, and His answers to our prayers are so specific.  

I have had more, and/or chosen to give more time for prayer since I have been in Africa, than any other time in my life – and it has given me such a peace and understanding of God and His word– but it has also made me really think  ….  I should already understand prayer, since I have prayed every bedtime and at every meal since I can remember, and a lot of the time in between – but why we should I pray to a God who already knows all things, exactly as they are going to unfold? Through my time here, God has shown me over and over and over again (and I am sure that I am going to need more reminders)  - that He just wants to spend time with me – with you – with all of us, He wants us to ask.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

"You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions....Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:2