Sunday, December 30, 2007

Maggie Moo

When I first wrote about Maggie on here I had only known her for about a day and I liked her a lot. Now it's been about two months and now that I know her better I don't just like her, I love her! She is a hilarious, fun-loving, cuddly, sweet, fast-growing dog.
The primary characteristic that sticks out though, is her quirkiness. So here is a list:

Top Nine Maggie Quirks
1. Her irrational fear of dark-colored sewage covers. - Every time we come near one on a walk she plants her feet into the ground and won't budge. We have to pull her with her little bum sliding on the pavement. Either that or she runs far around it. She's fine with the light colored ones though..those that blend in with the rest of the sidewalk.
2. Her fear of trash bags. - This one is a little more rational because the noise scares her when my mom or dad takes one out and shakes it open. Nevertheless, it is funny to watch her run in fear.
3. The way she sleeps with her head in her food dish. - Very subtle indeed.
4. Her love for the metal part of Higgin's old leash. - I think it's mainly that it feels good as she's teething.

5. Her affinity for squeak toys. - She takes one and jumps on to the couch near one of us and starts squeaking and squeaking and squeaking and squeaking until you feel you're going to go crazy! Once I took it and threw it behind the couch and she gave her cute little howl/bark. :0)
6. She steals our shoes and takes them outside through her dog door. - Actually, she'll take anything she can fit through her dog door outside. It's really funny to watch her carry something really large..she moves so quickly with it.
7. She loves to play with Nalgene bottles. - Unfortunately, my mom gave her my nice one from Starbucks without asking.
8. She loves sleeping on her back. - Her paws just go everywhere. What makes it especially funny looking is that her legs are so stinkin' long!
9. If I sit in a chair and lean back she barks at the bottom of the chair leg as it moves back and forth. - She basically freaks out...she lunges for it then backs up and growls. It's so funny!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weird Dreams

I don't know what it is about sleeping downstairs in the sewing room on an air mattress, near Emily, but I have been having some unusual dreams. Now to those close members in my family, this would come as no surprise to them, since I am known for having strange dreams. But it came as a surprise to me, because I have been sleeping so well the last 4 or 5 months or so, that I've barely been dreaming at all.
Anyway, to get on with the dream. I was in a room with a large bed and I had just killed a snake. Well...I could see that there were about three more large snakes moving around under the covers at the foot of the bed and their heads were as large as dogs. They were coming and at first I thought that I could kill them, but soon I realized I couln't. I jumped off the bed and around this time I realized that my dog Maggie was in the room. I just thought, I had to get out of there and so did Maggie. So who do I try to call on my cell phone? My boss at the tutoring center. Very weird. For some reason I had now closed the door and was outside of the room...I had left Maggie in there! But the phone wouldn't work...and Maggie was going to be eaten....and then I woke up. It was about 5:20 a.m. and unfortunately, the dreams had just begun. I won't recount all of the rest because people might just think me too weird....but anyway...I had driven to work...I am pretty sure...and I realized that somehow I did not have my car, it was in some random parking lot and so I had to call someone to pick me up. All of a sudden, Emily, Jeremy, and Melissa Johnson were there. For some reason, in order to get my car we had to go to a large hotel. We were inside, climbing up the incessant, small stairway and as we neared the top, a man and his little girl, who happened to live there permanently were outside their room. The little girl was on the stairway and so someone lifted me up to get over her and I bumped my head very hard on the ceiling. After that I was in a parking lot with another friend...my car was supposed to be there but it wasn't, but she was picked up by her fiance (this friend was not Kristin Cooley even though some of you may be thinking it was). They left...but for some reason she was suddenly there again with me and we were running to my house. Then all of a sudden we were in my cousin's car...although it wasn't his gigantic truck and my friend was telling me that she didn't think she wanted to marry her fiance after all.
Next we were at my house and I had invited a few friends over...the group that normally hangs out at Anton and Marietjie's on Sunday nights, only none of those people were really there hardly. It was very random people..and when I say random, I mean random. (I really use the word "random" too frequently.) Anyway, we were all crammed into the sewing room that Emily and I happen to be sleeping in, even though in reality...this room could really only hold about 5 people max. (There were about 20 in there.) I went out to the kitchen to talk to my mom and she was asking why there were so many people there, and I said I had no idea because I didn't invite them. Next I walked into my living room and started playing the piano, only I was a prodigy or something. I wasn't even looking at the keys and I was playing a symphony or something. (That part was pretty cool.) Next thing I know, my friend Ellen is coming out of the sewing room telling me that she is going to leave. So I go into the sewing room and everyone is gone! I head back to the living room and Megan Cooley is there...like she had been there all along even though I hadn't realized it. She was telling me that Kristin was moving to Texas, which I thought was strange considering she was getting married in May. Then suddenly we were at the Cooley's old house and we were walking down the hall and there were all these cool paintings on the wall...only they were in sets of two which indicated that Kristin and Megan had taken an art class together which I considered odd since they didn't really seem that into art. I asked Megan how she felt about Kristin moving to Texas and she said she was happy about it and all I knew was that I was sad, and then I woke up.
So there you go....a little insight into my strange brain. At least that's what Emily thinks. This was two nights ago. Last night was much shorter but just as weird. I could fly and I would punish people (?) by taking them and flying over the ocean about 100 yards from the shore and would threaten to throw them in if they didn't do something. I'm pretty sure that's what it was. Weird. Well, I'm kinda hoping I don't dream something so strange tonight.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prayer

I really love going to night church and last night especially. It was the second part of a two part sermon that John did and I missed the first one, so I was glad he did a review. It was on God's sufficient grace in trials and it was so uplifting. It was one of those messages where I feel like I just want to sit there forever and stay in that frame of mind. It's so easy to get up and get involved in a conversation with somebody that doesn't have anything to do with the message and then forget what you just heard. Anyway, we were reminded about how we are often driven to times of intense prayer when we are faced with a very difficult trial and, in a way, it's a sad commentary on our lives that it takes something like an extremely difficult trial to bring us to that point of such dependence on God.
This reminded me of something that I have been thinking and reading about recently. God tells us all throughout the Bible to pray to Him and to bring our requests before Him. To bring everything before Him. And He tells us that if we ask Him anything in His name (according to His will) He hears us and answers us.

Matthew 7:11 "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"
Luke 11:13 "...how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Matthew 21:22 "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."
Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you."
John 16:24 "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..."
James 1:5-6 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."
1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him."

Again, why do I not come more often to God in prayer?! He has given us who know Him every spiritual blessing. I find it extremely encouraging, for example, that it is God's will that people be saved. It's also His will that I tell others about Him. If I pray that He would give me boldness to evangelize for His name's sake, and I pray for wisdom in this area with no doubting, then He promises to answer! He hears us! If I am seeking to honor Him in my life, in regards to a job, and I pray that He lead me and guide me to do what He wants me to do...and I pray about this with faith, He will answer! It's so comforting to know this! And I hope that anyone reading this may be encouraged as well. God is faithful!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sister Day

So, my sister is pretty brilliant. Mariejtie and I joke about how people think we are creative, but we really just steal ideas from other people or places (like our pumpkin...that ironically won "most creative). But anyway...my sister is creative in the true sense of the word. She came up with Sister Day. She felt that since there is a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, why not have a Sister Day? (If any of you want to steal this idea, you could have a Sibling's Day too. :0)
Emily thought that since both of our birthday's are in May and her's is the 16th and mine is the 26th, than Sister Day needed to be on November 6th. (The month that is halfway to May and a day that still had a 6 in it.) Emily also said that presents must be involved.
We started off the morning with breakfast at Egg Plantation and I got my favorite meal there. One of my favorite meals of all time actually. Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. Oh my! It's good. :0) I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of it, but oh well! Here are some pics of Egg Plantation.

After Egg Plantation, Emily did have to go to one class to take a quiz. I ran home and finished getting her present ready. I didn't have much wrapping stuff so I kind of threw it together.

After her class, she rushed over to pick me up and we drove over to the mall to see the movie, Dan in Real Life. It was so good. It was one of those movies that you leave just thinking, "what a great movie." It was the first time I had seen Steve Carrel (or however you spell his last name) play a normal person. It was kind of a comedy drama. He was still funny, just in a different way. Anyway, I would recommend it for sure. It was pretty clean too. We actually opened our presents in the dark theater before it started. I got Emily a necklace and headscarf thingy and I decorated a frame for her. (Again, a stolen idea.)

Emily got me the new Rascal Flatts CD, but seriously, the most precious thing she gave me was a poem that she wrote. I may embarrass her but I have to write it on here. She is seriously really good I think. She based it off of three pictures of us when we were little.

Head bending down, mouth open in speech, Who is she talking to so intently? Sitting in a cardboard box, wide grin, Who is she being so silly with? Arm around a shoulder, a protective grasp, Who is she caring for so sweetly?

Her sister looks up and understands, Her sister grows up to be like her, Her sister sits beside her in a box, Her sister grows up to laugh with her, Her sisters' is the protected shoulder, Her sister grows up to depend on her

You still teach me now, Things more important than speech, We still giggle when life is funny, But we experience the hard times too, You still look out for me, That's what sisters do

Anyway, I thought it was incredibly sweet. That was my favorite present. (But the CD is pretty cool too. :0)

After the movie we went and got lunch at Panda Express. Yum! We split chow mein and orange chicken so we could fit in some Pink Berry. So delicious.

The day was so fun! Haley, even if you don't agree, in my mind the day was completely pakkish. My sister is the coolest. It's definitely going to be an annual event!

Maggie Pictures

Here are some more pictures of Maggie. They are mainly for my dad. She has already grown!






Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Chocolatine, Friends, and Maggie!

At the beginning of this weekend, I was a little bummed, because I wasn't going on the camping trip to the Sequoia's with a group from Bible study. And while I am still a bit sad that I missed it, God still blessed me with a great weekend! On Friday night I went to Mariejtie's with Megan and Rebekah and we saw one of my all time favorite movies (musicals for sure), Singin' in the Rain. Classic. We had In-n-Out, had a great time chatting, and watched the movie. My favorite part was watching Mariejtie laugh over the "microphone" scene. It might have appeared that I was laughing at the movie...but I was cracking up over how much Mariejtie was cracking up. I'm talking knee slapping, hold your stomach laughter. :0) I greatly appreciate the fact that she enjoyed it as much as I did. I wound up spending the night too, so that if an intruder came in, I would be the first person to be shot and it would warn Mariejtie. Her words, not mine. (As you may have guessed, Anton wasn't there, but he was on the camping trip.) The funny thing is...I really did have a dream that night that I got shot. But that's another story in itself.
The next great thing about this weekend is that my family got a new dog, Maggie. She is a Wheaten Terrier and let me just tell you, it was love at first sight! Some of you may know that our dog we owned for 14 years, Higgins, is gone. We had to have him put to sleep. I wasn't sure if I would want another dog so soon, but we really all did. It just felt like something was missing from our house. I also wasn't sure how I would feel about having a girl dog. But I just adore Maggie! She is so sweet and friendly and funny. She loves to have you pick her up...she is in her nibbling stage, but she loves to lick your face. She pounces and bounces around everywhere...and she's already pretty obedient. I mean...how could you not love her little, cute face? Here is my first picture with her the day we picked her up. :0)

Checking out her new home.

She is just precious!
The other fun part of the weekend was going to Chocolatine with Haley and Mariejtie on Sunday after church! Haley had told us about this place, a very "pakish" French cafe owned by a true French couple named Hugo and Sabrina. Their friend from France, who is here for an internship, served us. The food was soooo good! We ordered different things and tried out each other's meals and they were all delicious! We also ordered a few desserts....that are all made right there....and they were scrumptious as well! Thanks again Haley!

I knew this place was the real deal because I found a tea towel there that I bought for my mom in Marseilles! I was way excited!

I just thank God for wonderful friends and conversation and for blessing us with fun times together!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Greeting


Today I came to the realization that I have had this blog for at least a year, because as I was walking up to the front door of my parent's house, I noticed that our neighbor's graveyard was all set up, the topic of my post last Halloween.

I went to my parent's house tonight for a few reasons...one was that the cul-de-sac across from our house was throwing a mini-potluck dinner, which meant a free meal. Hardly any students showed up to tutoring today because of Halloween, so I only worked an hour and then headed on home just in time to eat. It was a tad awkward because we don't know anyone in the cul-de-sac these days and they all have younger kids. This random kid dressed up as Buzz Lightyear came up to me and asked if he could have a drink. I was kinda thinking, "I'm not your mom, kid' but I headed over to the lemonade pitcher. Another man was already pouring a drink and Buzz tried to take his cup, but I told him to hold on. I think Buzz should have actually dressed up as a camel. As soon as Em and I were done eating we headed on home.

For some reason, I like going home on Halloween to pass out candy to the kids. I don't know why because tonight I found out that I am the worst Halloween greeter on earth. I should have remembered last year when the kids came to the door and shouted out "Trick or treat?!" I would answer "trick" and they looked back at me with blank stares. My mom and my dad are the best at greeting the trick-or-treaters and Emily isn't bad herself. Everytime they answered the door I heard exclamations of "What a cute outfit!" or "Well hello there, who are you supposed to be?" The first time it was my turn to answer the door I heard the kids yelling "Merry Christmas!" before I even opened it. So as I put some candy in their bags I told them they were a bit early. My family mocked me incessantly for being a mean greeter. I just had trouble thinking of what to say to the kids and making it sound sincere at the same time. You'd think I would be better at this considering that I would like to be an elementary school teacher.

Later on tonight, I was thinking over how strange the whole concept of Halloween is. You buy a bunch of candy (which isn't cheap!) to pass out to a bunch of kids that you have never met, that are dressed up as Spiderman and Transformers.

Anyway, at least we had an enjoyable time watching a classic Hitchcock movie. (Despite the fact that it was interrupted every five minutes by the doorbell.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's that time of year!


Fall is officially here (okay, so not officially, but in my opinion it is) and I am beyond excited! Fall is my favorite season. Well, when spring is here I sometimes think that that is my favorite season, but really, I think it's fall. Or I should say Autumn. I really like the name, Autumn. I think it's the nicest sounding season name. When I hear the word, Autumn, I think of a red, crisp leaf.

So it only began to feel like autumn on Tuesday. It was a little chilly in the morning, and that familiar crispness in the air arrived. Then on Wednesday, I awoke to gray clouds.....and I got to wear.....a sweater! Oh it was wonderful. But I actually felt the first hint of autumn this past weekend when I was at Starbucks with Emily. I decided to order a hot drink because I was just tired of ordering cold ones. I bought a Pumkin Spice Latte....one of my all time favorites. I took a sip, and it was amazing! The sip embodied Autumn! I closed my eyes and took another sip, and even though it didn't appear to be true...I could hear the wind howling outside and the leaves on all of the trees were instantly red and gold, and I was wearing a sweater.

Today the crispness was there again in the air and the sky was the bluest blue and the clouds were huge, puffy, and very white. It was my favorite sky. I couldn't help but look at it and think of our amazing God! I am so thankful that He created Autumn.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Returns

I am really bad at taking things back to stores. The return/exchange area of a store scares me. I don't exactly know what it is. Even if something is damaged, I don't like taking it back. I'm pretty sure the main issue at hand is that I assume the person working behind the counter will think that I was really the person who damaged the item. Or that my reason for taking back the item isn't good enough.

On Wednesday I actually had two return experiences. In the morning, I took back my friend's rug to the store. I didn't mind driving down to Ikea. I really love that store actually. However, that is another blog in itself. Anyway, my friend gave me her debit card that she used to buy it and that is when the first fear came into play. I thought, that isn't my name on that card. What if they ask me for I.D.? What if they don't believe me that my friend really asked me to take back the rug for her? I just knew that I would not be the one driving back to my friend's house with the rug, but that I would be riding home in a cop car.

Well, I got to Ikea, I took a number and I sat down and waited with great anticipation. I played Sudoku on my phone in order to distract myself. I heard a ding and looked up at the number on the screen. It was a 32. I looked down at my ticket. Same number. I slowly walked up to the counter with the rug. The lady asked why I was bringing it back. With my eyes on the counter I mumbled out something along the lines of it not being the right size or color for the room. Apparently this was a good enough answer. Whew! Then she asked if I wanted the money back in cash. New panic moment! I pulled out the card and told her that it had been paid with it. Then she said she would give me cash back since it was paid with a debit card. Another whew! But then, she passed me the receipt and told me to sign! Moment of truth. I told her that I was bringing it back for a friend so was it okay if I signed my name? "Sure, no problem." Third and final whew! Now I could go upstairs and happily meander through the showroom looking at all the beautfiful furniture and decorator items. :0)

Well that was my first return. The second one was the hideous black top I had bought at Macy's with a birthday gift card. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. I blame it on the fitting room mirrors. My roommate agreed that I needed to take it back. The only problem was I had ripped off the tag and thrown away the receipt.

I seriously have a disease of some form in this area. As soon as I bring a clothing item home I immediately rip off the tags. I can't even say how many times I have regretted this move. Thankfully I found the tag, but no receipt. Because the tag wasn't attached I assumed they wouldn't take it back. So the top sat on my desk for about a month. Once in awhile I would look at it and think, "I need to try and take that back", but to no avail.

Finally, on the day I took back the rug, I thought I might as well get it all over with. So I went to Macy's. Surprisingly, she took it back, but not without proper humiliation. "Next time, the tag will need to be attached." Next time? You really think you are going to be here the next time I take something back? What are you going to do, put a hidden camera on me to make sure that I keep all tags attached from now on? Anyway...the humiliation is another reason why I hate returns.

Well, sorry if that was the most boring piece of literature that you ever read. But my sister didn't want to keep looking at that giant spider picture.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mini Heart Attack

That's what I had this morning first thing after I woke up. The sink was getting a bit overloaded with dishes and so I decided to clean up. I picked up a cereal bowl and out crawled the spider who just lost her husband. Okay, so maybe it wasn't actually a black widow, but it was large. Definitely one of the most gynormous spiders I have ever seen in a house.

One of my roommates was still sleeping peacefully in the next room and so I had been trying to keep it down, but on seeing the spider I yelled out in a panic. I don't care how many times you saw Charlotte's Web as a kid, your first reaction on seeing a spider of that size is KILL. Or else run away screaming like a little girl. Mine was of the first nature. You can't just let something like that have free reign of the house. I mustered up all the courage I was able to and proceeded to hack the thing to pieces with a large cooking spoon. Spider legs were splayed all over the sink. It was a nasty job and for about ten minutes afterward I felt like things were crawling on me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mom and Dad

As you can see below…I just moved out of my parents house a few days ago, and it may seem silly to most of you out there…well the few people who may stumble across this blog from time to time…but I already miss my parents. Now it may seem silly because I am still only living 15 minutes away from them, so I can see them anytime I want…but still, it’s true.

As I’ve been sitting here by myself, alone, in this empty new house, :0) I’ve been thinking about how much I take my parents for granted. (I really don’t like using such common place words “take for granted” to describe that, but that’s all I can come up with for the moment.) My parents love each other, they love me, and most importantly they love the Lord. That right there is enough to praise God for. Nowadays there is probably a very small percentage of parents you could say that about. I’m already way more blessed than a lot of people out there. Yet somehow I still manage to complain about my parents sometimes. How ridiculous!

I haven’t had much time to notice it yet, but I have already started to see since I’ve moved out, how much things cost, and my parents were willing to spend a lot of time and money to raise me. They even consider it a joy! They give me godly, helpful advice that I don’t always want to listen to, because I stupidly think that I know better than them. Their rules and such played no part at all in the decision to move out, but nonetheless, I didn’t always want to follow them. Yet they had certain rules in place only because they love me and sought to teach me how to make wise decisions.
And I know that there were times where I wanted to hide my face in embarrassment over some of the things they would say or do when my friends were or even weren’t around…and now those are some of the things I miss the most. Those are the things that make my parents funny and fun!
I’ve just got to say…I love my parents! Mike and Jackie….Dad and Mom…..Poppala and Mother of Pearl (their card shark names….don’t ask). God knew what He was doing when He gave them to me.

For all of you out there who don’t take time to thank God regularly for the parents He gave you, stop and do it! He has commanded us to honor our parents and He has told us to thank Him for everything. And James 1:17 says that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

And parents are a good reminder to us of our perfect, loving, heavenly Father! So thank Him too for the fact that He has adopted you as a son if you have put your trust in Him!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tennis Shoes and Pasta

Those were the last two things I had to get from my house that I naturally forgot to bring to my new place. Yep, for those of you who don’t know, I moved out. Back in the days when I moved in and out of my dorm at Master’s, I always had to make about 50 trips back home in order to get the random things I forgot. It was no different this time. Except this time, I didn’t move back into a dorm, but into a small house to live with three of my friends from church.

It was kind of a sudden move. No, I am not trying to run away from my parents. I’m very close with my family…it was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. (Even though I’m only 15 minutes away.) My roommates used to live in an apartment, but the owner recently sold it and they were forced to move out. Their fourth roommate did not move with them so they needed a new one. We had talked about me moving in with them eventually; some day…I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

I also thought this would be a good time to learn how to manage money. I have never had to pay for too many things living at home, so I don’t really feel like I have learned how to do finances very well. I think it will be a good time to learn how to be content with the things God has blessed me with. I won’t have much money to buy things other than what I truly need. Tutoring and substitute teaching doesn’t pay too much. If any of you think about it, you can be praying that I will truly be wise with the money God entrusts to me.

Part of the fun of moving into a new room is the chance to decorate! I really love decorating…and I think that if I could ever run my own little side business, I would sell refinished furniture. My mom and I went to a thrift store in Sunland and found a little dresser and a roll-top desk for practically nothing and fixed them up with new paint and knobs. It was so much fun!



Everything kind of seems weird to me right now. Not going back to school, moving into a new place, waiting for calls for subbing… :0) I never really like change at first, but I know it usually winds up good. I am thankful for the opportunity to draw closer to the Lord in a time where I need to rely on Him. Well, I always need to rely on Him, but this time it is in a slightly different way. He is faithful and good and has promised to never leave me or forsake me. Isn’t that such an amazing promise?! I think so.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

South Africa!

Okay, so this is a long post, but if it wasn’t, the post about my South Africa trip would be boring and nondescript. So here it is! :0) There are pictures for any of you who don’t like reading. Although I can’t take credit for most of them. I borrowed a lot. (Mainly thanks to Kim and Wes.)

Well, (I feel like I start off every blog with “well”) anyway, I think it is about time I write about the missions trip to South Africa that I went on. It was definitely the best mission’s trip I have ever been on. It was a combination of many things really.

For one thing, our team got along so well, which was funny because we were a pretty diverse group. We had Jeremy, my cousin, a man’s man kind of guy I guess you could say. Very outdoorsy, works with his hands, competitive.
Then there was Patty. One of the most godly, encouraging people I have ever met. In Galatians, where it tells us to let the Word richly dwell within us so that we sing songs, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in our hearts to God….that describes her. She has a ton of Scripture memorized and she is always thanking God for something and she tells almost everyone she meets about Jesus.
There was Justin…one of the guys from UCLA. He is just funny. Jolly is the right word actually. He has a million different laughs. I think if anyone was feeling down on the trip at any point, they could have just gone to Justin and he could have cheered them up.

We also had Wesley…or Wes. I used both…depended on what he was doing. He knew when to be serious and when to have fun and liked to keep peace on the team. He also goes to UCLA and studies molecular biology…he could tell us all about deadly viruses…he and Justin together cracked me up.
There was Chandra. She just graduated from UCLA as an art major. Chandra I think, can do just about anything…rock climbing, painting, sports, you name it. She also was just faithful to serve anyone in whatever way she could.

There was bubbly Michelle, who was also faithful to serve anyone in anyway, very cheerfully. She just sees what needs to be done and does it…and she can be friends with anyone.

We had Ben…as we described him…corny weird…but seriously…he was great at leading us all in worship with his guitar. He’s just a very sincere guy and very informative about South Africa, since he had been living there a few months before.

Then there was our fearless leader Chris. He really did seem fearless…nothing seemed to faze him…even when he knocked out one of the other guys on our team in a wrestling match. :0) He’s only 24, and it was his first missions trip to lead, and he did a very good job…preaching on the fly, not complaining, and reminding us faithfully of our purpose in being there.

Then of course there was Emily. What can I say about my sister? She went with a broken ankle and was amazing. She never complained that I heard of, and yet she wasn’t able to do the stuff she loves…hiking, sports. But she was able to do the important things like encourage the people she met with her words.

Then of course there was Jesse Johnson. He was only able to be there for the beginning of our trip…which I think was fine with him, since his wife, Deidre, wasn’t able to go. But he taught at the retreat for Cornerstone…the young adult group from the church. Very convicting and encouraging sermons. God really used him to make me think about what I have been living for at home. He reminded us of the fact that if we are not living for Christ, than whatever else we are pursuing is worthless. We were sad to see him leave!

Wow, well I wasn’t planning on writing that much about the team, but I couldn’t help it. One of the saddest things about coming home was the fact that we had to all split up. Anyway, another reason why I loved our trip was because of the people in Cornerstone. They were all so friendly and open with us. It helped having the retreat at the beginning because we were able to get to know each other. Near the end, one of the girls in the group, Jen, and I were talking about how we both felt like our team was a part of the church. We all just loved hanging out together and were able to have so many great conversations. This also made it really hard to leave at the end of the two and a half weeks.

Yeah, so first we went to the retreat for three days. It was kind of in the mountains, kind of the wilderness. This was where I saw trees that really made me realize that I was in Africa! They were like the trees you see in The Lion King! We wanted to make the retreat be like a mini Resolved. So Jesse opened up each message with a little bit about Jonathan Edwards. I liked the podium Jesse used. A laundry basket on top of a chair.
Most of the group is saved and just as encouraging to me as I could have been to them, but the main Christian friends they have are at their church. While we were on retreat we got to go on a beautiful, three and a half hour hike, past croc infested waters and by a waterfall. I really love that kind of hiking for some reason…up rocks and through the woods…not serious rock climbing, but fun hiking.



It was so cold at night there! Remember, South African winter. We were in a stone wall cabin with no heating, obviously…and there were these hole/window things along the top of the walls with little flaps that covered them in the night. I have a really lame sleeping bag and the zipper broke. I was wearing multiple layers but I only had one pair of pajama pants…so my bum (as the South Africans would say) was freezing more than anything else. It was really weird…I had to wrap my towel around my waist to keep it warm. Haha. We didn’t sleep too well the first night, but thankfully it got warmer the last two nights.
The Cornerstone group taught us this game called one clap. It’s a little bit like Pig in basketball. You stand in a circle and toss a rugby ball back and forth. You have to anticipate whether or not a person is going to throw the ball at you and you can fake once. You have to clap before you catch the ball or you get a P. But, if you clap and the person wasn’t throwing the ball to you than you get a P. You’re obviously out once you spell PIG. It was so much fun…we played it so much during retreat.

When retreat was over we all went back to Hillcrest (the real city we were in…about a half hour to 45 minutes from Durban). Some nights we just spent time with our host families…some nights we hung out at the Archer’s with Clint and Kim and Noah! And sometimes the Cornerstone group too! We had a couple of Mafia nights which were pretty fun with so many people. The night we got back to Hillcrest we went to this giant three story mall and played Putt-Putt. There is a really cool girl named Liz from Australia who moved to South Africa not too long ago and she had us all over to her place for a braii (a South African barbecue) and they taught us how to play cricket! So fun.



It was just great to see how everything is going so well at Hillcrest Baptist Church….that the people love the Archer’s and that they have such a fun young adult group. It was so fun seeing Kerry Drew too!
Near the middle/end of the trip our team went to a place called Hope Valley. It was only an hour away from the Archer’s but it felt like hours away because it looked so different. Nothing but sugar cane fields everywhere you looked. It was beautiful…especially during sunset. We watched the sunset one night from a little hill at the place we were staying. We sat there for about an hour…not even talking really. Just watching.
The Zulu people live there in the valley and there was a little school where a lot of the kids go. Two Christian couples live at the place we were staying at. There are cabins and it is often used to host retreats. There is a church there and the pastor and his wife are Zulu. At night they have choir practice and a Bible study. The first night we got there we went up to the little church (very little…a small little room) and we heard people singing on the way. When we came inside we sat down on some chairs and the choir was right in front of us. They were singing really loud, it was amazing! No instruments but they had perfect pitch…they were harmonizing…it just sounded beautiful! They were all barefoot with short hair…as I was sitting there I was just thinking how different their way of life is than mine. And here they were, all the way in South Africa, singing hymns to the same, amazing God that I sing too. He cares about us all. It reminded me of a couple of verses in Revelation. It’s Revelation 7:9-12. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Anyway, I am really looking forward to that. I think it will be so cool, and it was exciting to experience of a bit of that right now.

We wound up doing a kind of Vacation Bible School with the kids at the school. We gave a little message in the morning or a skit and then split the kids up into two groups. One did games and the other did crafts and then they switched. We couldn’t understand each other (thankfully we had a translator for stuff like the skit and message) but we still had so much fun with the kids. Some of the older kids did actually speak a little English. That was in the mornings. In the afternoon, when school ended…a bunch of the kids ran up to where we were staying and hung out with us.


At nights we made a fire and hung out with the teenagers. Most of them could speak some English and we taught them the one clap game.

The last day we were with the kids they and their teachers showed us how they dance. We all got in a large circle and they sang and beat this drum and people took turns going in the circle and dancing. They even had some of us go in. It lasted for about an hour! It was so much fun! I just loved our time there!

So I could go on and on forever with this post, but no one would read it I’m sure. Like I said, really the rest of the time there we just spent time with the church, especially the Cornerstone group and the Archers. The last night was especially fun. We held an American pancake dinner at the Archer’s and invited the whole church. We made a ton of pancakes and had so much fun chatting with all the people.

The Cornerstone group stayed the latest and said their good-byes. That is when we realized how close we had all become. I feel like I am sounding so corny right now, but it was true!

The next day we were very sad as we left for our very long flight home, but very thankful that God had blessed us with such a wonderful trip!

! It seemed like the theme of the trip for me was that life is about God’s glory and not about me. I just feel that not working this summer I have just been very complacent and self-focused and I am grateful that God got me out of here for awhile and taught me new things about Him!

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