Sunday, December 25

Hello from Cape Town, South Africa!!

I may not always have a computer to email from, and as of yet we have had no phone to use, but I wanted to let you all know how things were going here for our team in Cape Town.

I made it to South Africa safely. Our team had an amazing flight. British Airways totally rocks!! They had the best flight attendants I have ever had. I watched a lot of movies and slept a lot on our total of 20 hours on the way here.

We stopped at Heathrow airport in London for about six hours, so we did not go into the city. We hope to have a long delay on the way home so that we can get a chance to actually go into London, as most of us have never been there.

We arrived at our first location tired, but ready to tackle jet lag head on. Our contact's family had our whole team over to their house for South African pizza and Mango juice. (The food here is healthy and amazing!)

Our second day was spent in an orphanage doing skits, dances and puppets. I love kids!! These kids loved us so much. We were able to spend a lot of time with them afterward playing soccer and getting our hair done. Those girls know how to braid, that's for sure. Erin has long hair and they had it in braids in like 45 minutes.

One girl latched onto me and actually walked, holding my hand back to our van. I sat by the window and she held my hand until we drove away. She just stood outside the van, smiling at me and gripping my hand. She stole my heart away.

On Christmas Eve, we went to a children's hospital to hand out presents. It was so exciting to hold kids who do not get a whole lot of physical touch. One little boy grabbed onto my hand and didn't want to let go until I picked him up. I held him for a long time, stroking his hair and praying for him. He fell asleep in my arms.

The hospital we went to was a state hospital where one room may have 8 or 10 cribs in it. I was so overwhelmed by this as it is something I have only seen before in movies. I can't believe people actually live like that. It was so shocking. I could tell that those kids don't get held enough to suit their needs, although I am sure the sisters (nurses) do the best they can to love on and take care of the children.

I was able to spend time talking to a woman whose baby was in the ward we visited about America and the process I had just went through to be able to visit here and work with poor in her country. When I told her the story of how God provided a way for me to get here, she asked me if God could provide a way for her to get to America. I was so excited to tell her yes, that God is a big God and he can do anything. I gave her my address so she could write to me.

Today, we went into the first township in the history of Cape Town. Townships during apartheid legally separated the blacks from the whites. It only ended a few years ago, while in America our separation of race ended about 40 years ago. Townships are like a whole other country in my opinion. It was different than anything I have ever seen. And way different than the white home we visited the day we arrived.

I have never seen such extreme poverty and sub-standard living conditions. You cannot even imagine what I saw today. My heart breaks for these people, but at the same time I learned a lot from them. Their sense of community is such an example to me. They take care of each other like nothing I have ever seen in any "white world." Older siblings care for the younger like a privilege and women love and hug on each other, sharing food and cloth to make goods. Township folk find amazing ways to make ends meet.

I experienced a love and acceptance like I have never received from strangers.

God is definitely shifting my paradigm, and while at times it is overwhelmingly hard, I welcome the change because I know that I need it.

Some of the things I have seen have only been shown to me via television until now.

Please pray for me in that. What we are going to see as time goes on is going to shake me up a bit, and I need God's guidance to keep me balanced.

Please pray for our team safety and unity as we keep pushing on through our schedule. It's hard to be patient with each other when we are tired. But, amazingly, we have come through unscathed thus far.

My love to all of you! I must go. Thank for reading this and thank you for all of your financial support and prayers. Through you, God has provided a way for me to be used to make a difference.

Blessings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ,

Sunday, December 18

Oh Mylanta!

Seriously, can we just leave already?!?!

I'm ready to go to Safa-Land.

So is Abbie.

Everybody shout out to Abbie!

Abbie says "Hey."

Man, I need sleep.

DTS Pic Links

Marja-Liisa and Me
Becca at Thanksgiving
Mexico Team giving the forks

Thursday, December 15

Are we really?

Seriously... Like are we really doing this?

We all woke up at like 5am to see the Mexico team off. It was crazy. Of course I started crying. This place is so empty, and it really feels... well... real that we are actually going.

I am so ready to go to South Africa. I am ready to hug on some kids and I am ready to do our dramas. I am so excited to go and dance too.

This is going to change my life, and I am ready for it. I cannot believe the time is actually here. It's hard though, because I know that this is going to be a challenge. My self-esteem issues have been coming to the surface. God has been helping ma tackle them left and right, which is cool. It's just hard. But, my hope and prayer is that God will transform me from the inside out on this outreach. I don't want to be in bondage to this self-esteem problem anymore. I am surely not going to let it hold me back.

I am so exhausted today. We did so much work, and I leanred a dance to do...

And Claire is watching me type this (she's staff) and she's English so I'll give her the forks. (o:

I love my DTS crew.

Sunday, December 11

Tonight was love feast

Our last weekend together.

Mexico team leaves this Thursday.


Thursday, December 8

Something is different

I can't explain it. It's just funny. Several people have said that I am glowing or my eyes are smiling (Yes, I'm part Irish!) or that I look different. I feel different. I don't know what it is, but I just feel different.

Last night my roommate and I got into some pretty serious spiritual warfare. We were awakened by a spirit of fear and we took it on. It was so awesome! If you ever want to know what Satan's inheritance is, read Isaiah 14 and 15. Holla. Back.

I love Jesus. He is so rad.

I have had to face a lot of pain from my past that the Lord has brought to the surface the past few weeks. I have felt like an open, festering wound lately. It's been really hard, but luckily God has put me in this environment where healing in conducive to what is going on here. I am totally excited about the outcome though, even though it may take awhile to see results! I just want to commit to seeing it through. I want to be loyal to my commitment to grow.

DTS is a trade up on life for me. Not a break even. Not a trade for the pits. Trade up.

God keeps his promises and that is good.

Friday, December 2

Filet Mignon

So, I am completely stoked to go to South Africa! I cannot wait to get there and be able to hug on some little kids. Our team has had some issues being tired and getting crappy with each other, which I'm told is normal. Please keep us in your prayers.

God really challenged me this week with the whole working in a Muslim country thing. I was thinkking about how hard it will be to not be able to wear what I want and do things the way I always have. I mean, this is a huge thing. Those are a lot of rights to lay down, man. I know this isn't going to be easy either. So, I was looking at a picture of a girl in a Muslim head wrap. I thought to myself how hard it will be to have to wear one of those all of the time when I am in the Middle East. And God led me to wear one. Even out in public. And I don't know for how long either. (I borrowed an actual head covering from a staff member here who spent a year in Afghanistan.)

I realized how much I stare at women who wear these out in public. I need to be more sensitive.

Thursday, December 1

Last stretch proves harder than originally thought

Yeah, it's the home stretch for DTS, peoples. And I have been running out of steam. Getting lazy even. I miss my homies in OH, but I am seriously in love with all of my DTSMates. I love it here and I don't want to leave... But I am ready to go on outreach.

Such an interesting dichotomy of emotions. I am working through it with my small group leader, and I know that it will turn out okay. God loves me, and he is there for me through all of these things. I had to be reminded of that today. It's good to finally have someone around that fills in a lot of the voids that I have felt over the past few years, but have been too chicken to work through or voice before.

Sometimes, I am still flabbergasted that I am even here. God is so freaking cool.