Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last Days in Texas

Well here we are...
Our month has past so fast is hard to believe. We really had a wonderful time with our friends and family here in Leakey. Some highlights: Men's fellowship at Living Waters Church (30lbs of fried shrimp, corn on the cob, fries, and sopapilla cheesecake), trip to Austin to see our friends Carrie and Dave and to see Mr. Gibbard play a great set at SXSW, BBQ!, our day trip to San Antonio, meeting so many kind brothers and sisters at Living Waters and getting to know some of them, sunrises through the giant pecans, thunder storms, baby deer, ranger rides, hiking at Garner State Park, dinners and playing games with our Rick and Jackie and Kristi and Steven, and watching our kids play together. But mostly it's been great to spend so much time with my folks, knowing that it might be three years until we're back in Texas. So, thank you Lord for a great month! And thank you Texas!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas V. Zambia

Ok, so I've said that in some ways, our time in Texas is preparing us for life in Zambia.
So, Zambia is going to be a time of intense cross-cultural learning and living: they have different foods, ways of dress, language, and styles of worship. This is all true of Texas! Texans eat, dress, and talk differently than most Pacific Northwesterners. Bellingham is all about local, organic, vegetarian, wheat/gluten free, fancy lattes, with a emphasis on international ethnic foods. Texas is all about bbq, Mexican food, meat, iced tea, meat, and fifty kinds of amazing desserts. In Bellingham you are most likely to drive (in this order) a Subaru, Toyota, Honda, or Volvo. In Texas you can drive a Ford truck, a Chevy truck, or a Dodge truck.
While Bellinghamers might be most excited about the new REI catalog and the sweet deal they got on Crocs/Keens/Birkenstocks/Chacos,Texans wait for the new BassPro catalog and wear cowboy boots, big buckles, jeans & cowboy hats. Plus Texans just talk a little different than folks in the NW. They're always "fixen'" to go somewhere or do something. And they're generally more polite than you can imagine. Now overall, Texans aren't THAT different from Northwesterners, but we definitely had to adjust and adapt to the culture here and be respectful of differences to build relationships and get to know people.
That said, in Washington when we talk about Zambia people are very concerned by the critters we'll face living out at Ciyanjano. The scariest bug/animal in Bellingham is yellow jacket. But Texans know all about big snakes, spiders, and ants. They have at least 3 kinds of poisonous snakes, huge spiders, and fire ants. When you tell people from Washington that it gets in the low-100's during the hot season they break out in a sweat. In Texas, they're used to it. The land in the hill country also looks a lot like rural Zambia, so it looks like home to them. We have no cell-phone reception, need to drive into town for wireless internet = we feel disconnected and distant from our home and church and the majority of our friends. Sounds like the first couple of weeks/months in Zambia to me.
I guess all this points to the fact that maybe Texans are more culturally prepared to move to Zambia than us sissy Northwesterners. But that's why we're here I guess, to toughen up. And God-willing, raise some Texas-sized support!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ciyanjano in Action (Aliveinafrica.com)


Please read this great blog post from our teammate Steve Allen about a recent youth camp at Ciyanjano:

I was invited by Pastor Simuyemba (a pastor from my class) to come and teach the youth from his church at conference being held at Ciyanjano Centre. It was an amazing experience. One, to be at our own facility and seeing firsthand how needed and appreciated this kind of retreat location is was encouraging. The students couldn't say enough about how much they loved being at a place that was quiet and beautiful and out of the chaos of the compounds. It helped me really gain a sense of urgency about the need to continue to develop it so more and more people can benefit from this place. Second, I love speaking at camps. So many years of camp speaking brought me back a bit and I was in my beloved element. And third, I spoke on the Holy Spirit and it seemed as if God had pre-ordained this talk as one lady shared afterwards that they had been asking questions during the sessions before and I answered all of them. (Not only did I not know what questions were asked, I also didn't know they were speaking of the Holy Spirit.) So, it was just a great, great, great time. I was talking with the pastor afterwards and he was delighted with our time there. He and his wife were fasting for the entire conference and so I was encouraged that he was encouraged. (The youth also fasted that day as well.) If you have a love for camps and you want to get involved in helping us in our building phase, go to this website: www.ciyanjano.org and see if you can't partner with us in this journey.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

TEXAS!!

People keep asking "What are you guys doing in Texas?" So here's the basics.
1. Family time - My parents live here in Texas and we wanted to spend a nice, long chunk of time with them before we pack up their 2-year old grandson and move to central Africa.
2. Homework - We are about 2/3 finished with our online course (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement) so we still have 5 lessons and a research paper. So we're spending a fair chunk of the days and evenings trying to finish our readings and assignments.
3. Admin. - As "pre-field" missionaries we spend lots of time writing emails, notes, and cards to our supporters and friends. We're trying to transfer 250+ names, addresses, phone numbers and emails to spreadsheets so we can keep track of our contacts. We're working to arrange more opportunities to share about Zambia with both groups and individuals.

The bonus is that Texas is a little like Zambia. So it's good practice. More on this next time.