Saturday, August 26, 2006

Storms


I was reading back through my last year's journal and found this entry from a mini-vacation we took to Naples, FL. We stayed at Rob's Great Aunt Katty's beach condo.
"Last night about 3pm I heard thunder rolling and saw the flash of lightning. I lay there, thanking God for this "gift" b/c I love storms and especially the sound of rain on the roof. This morning the sea is rough, crashing waves, overcast sky. But there is still a certain beauty at the beach even amidst the storminess. I ponder that and realize there is beauty even in the storms of life, even in the midst of them. It's not the peacefulness you feel on a calm day, but maybe the beauty is in the power that motivatres the storm to come and the cleansing that the storm seems to produce as the beach now lies flat and clear of debris. Sure, it stirs up a lot of muck - seaweed, sand, driftwood. The waters are more murky today and yet when everything settles, there is a cleansing, it almost gives a purifying effect. Isn't that just like God? He uses the storms in our lives to motivate us to huddle up to Him for safety and as a result of the storm, we are purified, refined. Maybe that is one hidden reason why I LOVE storms!" (May 31, 2005, Tuesday)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AFRICA!!!!

An amazing trip! No way to adequately describe it except to say worthwhile, heartbreaking, fulfilling, many God-moments, grateful, humble people, a new worldview has been awoken in me. The only way to really understand it is to GO! It will be worth every penny, every amount of time off, every thing you THINK you are giving up, you will gain back 100 fold. You can never out give God!
The land is beautiful. This is Swaziland on the way to the orphanage.
The children are precious.

Glorious sunsets!
Our team from Atlanta. There were about 50 people in all from all over the US.


It feels like God touched our hearts more than the people we came to serve, just by their faithfulness to Him in the midst of incredible hardships. 48% of Swaziland tests positive for HIV/AIDS, many of which are women who contract the disease from their husbands. The king in Swaziland has 14 wives, it is a polygimist society so the men feel free to sleep around. The wives get AIDS from their husbands and pass it on to their children. You don't see many people from the ages of 20-40, they are just not there, gone, dead from AIDS.

There is an abundance of orphan headed household which means little kids raising kids, literally. Or go-go's (grandmothers) who raise their grandchildren which is usually not just one or two but eight or twelve kids. 75% of kids 15-19 did not know you get AIDS from sex. It is not talked about, not dealt with. AIDS is an incredible stigma and shameful thing to talk about or have. These people have endured such hardship and yet they have a huge trust in God, probably because they have no one else to depend on. We can learn a lot from them on total dependence on God.