Saturday, August 16, 2008
this is my journal entry from august 11th, the day before venessa and i left namibia. i decided to type it up for all of you instead of scanning the page. ndamangululwa had me draw pictures all over it, so it's not entirely legible for the common eye, haha. here it is...decoded.
august 11, 2008
psalm 34:8 ("Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.")
isaiah 55: 6-7 ("Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.")
matthew 17:20 (He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.")
this morning we all went to church. the walk there is about 30 minutes, but it doesn't feel that long when you're walking in beautiful white sand among good company. it was hard on my heart to be in such a beautiful place...where the people face such poverty. there is trash everywhere and the habit of the people is just to throw their trash anywhere. venessa and i felt so criminal throwing her fanta soda can or the wrapper to my Jungle granola bar in the bushes...but the girls said it is just how things are.
we left for church at 8am...maybe 830...and arrived at around 9. there were a few groups of people praying and reading bible verses. the actual service didn't start until around 10. i was having a pleasant time observing all that was happening around me. a sweet woman was leading a scripture reading in front of where we were sitting...she started speaking english so venessa and i could understand. i guess it was obvious that we didn't speak oshuwambo, ha. she was speaking about 'boasting in the Lord' because of all He has done for us. it seemed ironic, yet so humbling, to hear these words from someone who seemingly had so little. there was lots of beautiful singing during the service. theses people sing so so loud...but it's somehow some of the most amazing singing i've heard. if you are singing from your heart, i guess it's obvious...these people definitely were. they are so full of gratitude and so in love with the Lord. the speaker was a nigerian doctor. the pastor was performing a wedding somewhere. i really enjoyed the message. it hit home for me. i wrote a few verses above of one's that he spoke on. funny how we can be so far removed from our 'home'...in such an unfamiliar place...with unfamiliar people...and find such common ground through scripture. the service was so long and i prayed the entire time that my hunger and thirst would go away. i felt bad focusing so much on myself when these people were so focused on greater things. the service finally ended at around 1pm. maggie sang like an angel. she led some of the songs in the youth choir and i so badly wanted to record them singing and take it home with me. venessa finally got to pee (we made great use of the church restrooms today and yesterday). we stopped at a market on the way home and we all bought drinks. i got my usual powerade and bought the girls a loaf of bread. venessa bought her usual fanta and drinks and chips for josephine and ndamangululwa. maggie had to stay at church a little longer for a youth meeting afterwards. she was there for about 3 hours. we've been surviving on bread and peanut butter and pap. pap is the cornmeal dish they eat every night. it's made of dried corn grain that they wash and lay out to dry before they grind it real fine. then they make the pap...prounounced 'pop'...it's similar to a thick, sticky mound of cream of wheat or oatmeal. they pick off chunks with their fingers and dip it in this spicy soup called chakalaka (i brought some home with me). we had pap every night...though i only had a few bites out of respect. it's not my thing...though i was grateful and honored to be a part of their lifestyle. a lot of times the sand blows in it when it's laying out to dry...so it's no surprise when you come across many grains of sand while eating it. i've been taking bites of my Jungle granola bars throughout the day. i had a whole one on the walk home from church. that was a splurge. i was so full afterwards. i'm saving my other powerade for the bus ride home tomorrow. we haven't had lunch today, but we will probably have pap or bread for dinner. i love the bread. i hate that venessa and i are always thinking of food...all the things we can't wait to have when we get home...i feel so selfish. i'm going to try not to think about it anymore and distract myself by thinking about all the things i'm going to miss when i leave HERE. my phone ran out of battery yesterday right as fred sent me a message. i couldn't even open it before it shut off. i wasn't worried about charging it before we got to the hostel tomorrow night, but venessa said that fred would probably be really worried. she has a good heart. fred would like her, haha. the lady that lives next door to us had electricity, so my phone is over there charging right now. she let me unplug her refrigerator (very rare to find someone here with a refrigerator!) just so i can
charge my phone. big hearts these people have. ok...off to take pictures of the girls!
so that was written on our last day in ondangwa, the day before we left namibia. i arrived home on wednesday the 13th...3 days ago...and my heart misses all that i experienced when i was there. when i was away from home i dreampt of all the things and people i left behind...and now that i'm away from namibia i am dreaming of all the things and people i left behind. my heart is restless. i have lived and continue to live a life that is blessed more than i deserve. i am constantly given so much more love, support, protection, encouragement, and gifts than i feel worthy of. i have no idea why, but i am grateful. i hope to give it all back in any way i can...10xs over.
before we left on monday morning from ondangwa, maggie read venessa and i psalm 91.
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]
2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
as i read that again and again, i am in tears. how gracious they have been to us...to lend us their home, their bed, their hearts. bless these sweet girls.