Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Lord is Faithful.
It has been an insane year, since I last wrote on this blog. So much has happened and I have lost control of my regular writing! But it has been an amazing year of seeing how faithful the Lord is to listen to his people who truly want to serve Him.  He actually listened to me and helped me with so much this year, so that I was able to continue my ministry here at Lily of the Valley Children's village, and not only that, He made so much happen this past year for His kingdom. I am truly grateful.
And His faithfulness is why I can continue my faithfulness to all these precious little faces!!! I will give you some highlights, especially recently there have been so many blessings. So I continue to stay strong here!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Winter in South Africa

On June 19th I went from New York summer to South African winter.  From beach, pool, park to layers, hot chocolate, and warm stews.  It never gets cold enough to snow, but the building are not really heated so it feels that way sometimes.  But the bright sunshine does a good job of warming us up during the days.
It has been one week since I have returned to Lily.  Many volunteers are leaving and there are some painful relationship challenges here, so it has been a very hard place to step back into.  I feel lonely, but depending on God for his presence to comfort me.
One unexpected blessing of coming back, was the love of the kids.  They showered me with love when I returned so much more than I was expecting. Their concern for me, as I took so long to return, just melted my heart and showed me the important reason of why I am back. 
I must bear my burdens for the kids sake.  So, its been a week of joys and sorrows, mixed together. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

 Time in New York.

The last few weeks I have definitely had some very special time with friends in NYC.  Being reunited with lots of friends and great fellowship has been a wonderful blessing, and being reunited with this great city has also been great. 

I was able to return to one of my favorite Greek restaurants in Queens, as well as get in a Yankees Game, a truly New York experience.  The funny thing is that while I love New York City SOOOO much, I don't miss it while I am in South Africa.  Weird. 

But most of all while I have been here, I have had quite a bit of alone time, and a lot of inner turmoil that God has really had to help me with.  Now is the time to face going to back to something that feels way too big for me to handle.  "God, REALLY??? You REALLY think I can do this??  But you didn't see me that last few weeks there."  I actually have not been feeling any strength at all.  And the more I think about things, the more physically sick I get.   I actually have been quite sick. 

But God had the most huge message for me. I went to a church service that I normally don't go to, but God hit me sooooo hard with his grace.  The message was about failing in our sorrows and in our weaknesses and his grace was sufficient, when everything in us fails.  And God uses our failures and our weaknesses, and He is our strength. I was struck by His peace that lasted for days.  It took all the fear of failing God away.  Then a couple weeks later I went to another service and that was about being used in utter weakness by God.  That just filled me again with the love of God.  I am failing and so weak, but that is just the opportunity for Him to show His great power.  So I press on. I press on toward the deep love I have for the kids at the orphanage.    

Friday, May 18, 2012

 Time in the States has been split between time in New York City as well as time with my family in San Diego California.  I spent 3 weeks with my sister and her teenagers in sunny southern Cali.  It consisted of watching a lot of soccer games and spending time just having fun with my niece and nephew.  Its amazing how my niece and nephew can make tooth-brushing and other mundane activities fun. 
While I was in San Diego, I had lots of time alone while my family was at school or work.  I really spent that time in prayer and thirsted to hear God's voice of what He wanted from me.  It has been soooo difficult for me to think of going back to the pain of the guy situation and all the hardships.  It has been weighing so heavy on my soul. I have also been a bit frustrated with myself for the fact that it has been so hard to think of going back.  But asking God for His presence and His strength in my severe weaknesses. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Well, I am home in the states for now.  My flight home was surprisingly effortless. I guess I am getting used to the long flights. I even slept, which was unheard of for me.  But one reason it was easy and pleasant, was flying out with one of the volunteers, who was very special to me.  She has been so great to get to know in her 6 months at Lily.  We ended up having similar flight itineraries, so we flew from Durban at nearly the same time and met up in Jo-berg for a few hours.  We talked and talked, at the end of our Lily Journey together (for the time being). 

We even had a similar layover in London, but didn't quite make the connection with each other.  The photo shows us in Jo-berg together. 
Back to New York City! BAM! The crazy rich, intense life! My first week back was quite hard.  I realized how exhausted, especially emotionally, I was from everything.  Culture shock hit me pretty hard, confusion of life, painful guy things, etc.   I was sick the first week and was surprised at how much I couldn't handle big social things.  But I was welcomed home by some great friends.  I was back to the city I love, as well. Even had a long awaited "10pm Astoria Park Frisbee Throw" with my frisbee buddy, under the lights of the Triboro Bridge. 
Then, the next week, I flew out to Southern California, and have been here visiting my sister and her kids. This has involved well-off suburban American life.  Blond Soccer Moms and soccer games, car-pooling school kids around, cooking for hungry teenagers, mass-quantity grocery shopping, and going to bed at 9:30pm.  But I just LOVE my niece and nephew who are teenagers now.  Last night I even had a moment with my niece, thinking to myself while we talked, 'she is not just my niece whom I need to love, but a she is going to be a good friend in my life'. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Hearts of the Kids.

The hearts of our kids have been growing in Christ so much and their desire to reach out to the poor is crazy! Orphans reaching out to broken communities! God's work has been amazing in the last year! The kids have been on break from school and one of the activities they did was to visit a very poor village. The councilman gave the kids a tour and showed us what the needs of that community were. There was no running water in the village, and the water truck came while we were here for the families to do the daily water collection. Disease was rampant and kids ran the streets everywhere, but had little food. The homes were small rickety structures that barely stood on their own.
It was a great experience for our teenagers to get a reality check and a perspective check on their lives. And to realize how much they do have at the orphanage. This was a "vision visit", and many of our teenagers were able to think of some things that they could do to help the community. The plan is to come back fairly regularly to help with different things.

Easter has been really meaningful this year for me. I have been away from all the usual services and rituals, but I was at the orphanage on Good Friday and the kids had a time of carrying a big cross, remembering different stages of what Christ went through as he carried it along to his death. Somehow it was just extra meaningful to me, as I feel like I have to carry a heavy load in my life at this time. It was encouraging to me.

Now I am back in NYC for break from the "front lines".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Family. As of March 24.
The volunteers and staff are very much family. We live together, work together, and socialize together. We are all we have. Unfortunately, volunteers are short term-coming and going and coming and going. In december I posted a shot of the volunteers, as we all ate together. And realized that in just a few months, our family was almost completely different. One person comes, one person goes and I sort of just don't feel the change so dramatically, but then realize how much change we long termers go through. The above photo is of most of the current female volunteers. We have a couple of guys as well. But this set of volunteers have been SOOOO great, we share so many laughs together. The woman on the left is the new career counselor for the teenagers and she will be here more long term. She just moved down to my building (a next door apartment), so we will be working and living closely. She is full of energy and ideas and is a huge answer to prayers.

With the close living/working/socializing environment, it honestly has been really difficult in the "getting over the guy" situation. Luckily, he has been on leave a few weeks, but still it is really difficult. Needing a breather, I have decided to come back to the States in early April (about a month earlier than planned). I am not feeling too able to work with him at this point, so asking God to do something-either moving him or working inside of me, to help, because I feel so strongly like I cannot leave this place. Its been a hard trust issue with God to keep going on what seems like a very painful path, when really I just want to fix things myself and ease the discomfort (quit).