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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quick Update

Life's been hectic here. So hectic, in fact, that I haven't had a chance to even turn on my computer since last week. In the mist of packing, we had to drive four hours to Joburg this past weekend to meet with our South African board for our AGM, a requirement by the SA government. Not the best timing with us having to be out of our house this tomorrow, but we enjoyed our time with the board who are all close friends.

While there, we enjoyed staying with some other friends we met when we first arrived here. Gabriel and their son Jesse, were best friends in first and second grade and we've kept in touch since moving away.

























It seems there's been lots of goodbyes lately, including one of the former members of the cell group we led while in Joburg who died suddenly. We were able to attend the funeral and visit with her family. Scott then preached on Sunday before we hurried home to continue packing.

The past two days have been spent doing more packing and moving boxes and furniture to storage while we are in Brazil. The photo below doesn't do it justice, but our driveway is very steep, adding a bit of difficulty to moving. The truck had to park on the street while furniture and boxes were carried up, or transported in the back of our truck. God has blessed us with so many people who have helped out with moving trucks, trailers, meals, and muscles!

With one day left until we have to move out, we'll be up early tomorrow to finish clearing out the house. Scott's uncle wisely told us to wait a week to leave for Brazil after moving out, and now we are so thankful. This will give us time to pack for Brazil and finish up all the last minute details!

Thanks so much for your prayers and emails! They mean so much.

Blessings!

Lisa

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Making a list and checking it twice


We're down to the final countdown, with only a handful of days until we have to be out of our house, one week from today. I declared it a school holiday, as it's impossible to do serious packing and monitor schoolwork at the same time. The kids didn't mind at all even though it rained all day. A perfect day, really, for packing.

The school we will be attending in Brazil has been wonderful. They even offered to pick up a few groceries so we'd have something to eat the morning after we arrived. That had been one of my late night additions to my list: Buy something portable that can be taken on the plane so my kids aren't hungry before I can find the nearest store and manage to buy something in a language I can't speak or read. Something else crossed off my list!

It's something to remember. God really does care about every little thing in your life that's happening right now!

Our house is looking very empty. Boxes line the front of the house, the kids are all sleeping in one room on mattresses, and the last room to pack is the kitchen.

These photos are of the view across our back yard. Even in the drizzling rain it's beautiful. I'm definitely going to miss this part of living here.


Blessings,

Lisa

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Orphan Relief Praise!


What an exciting journey it's been to see how God cares so deeply for His children! Many of you have been a part of the effort to take food to our orphans in Zimbabwe through both prayers and financial support. The response, in fact, was so overwhelming, that we now have enough money to supply food for them through most of next year. Already, they have received 7 tons of maize, and we are getting ready to send high nutrient food packets that can be prepared as a soup. These packages have been specifically manufactured for food shortage situations.

Last week, God put us in touch with a group who has a permit to take food into the country. This is a huge blessing, because without this permit there was always the chance that the government would confiscate any food we took in. They will be taking the food up later this week. Last night, several of our friends came to help pack boxes with the food to get it ready for transport.

Please continue praying for these sweet children we will be taking the food to, as well as the thousands more who are also in desperate need of food.



Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving




I know it sounds crazy, but it really hit me yesterday that we were moving. I glanced at my bookshelf, normally jam packed with books, and it was empty. My office cleaned out. The thought hit me--We really are moving!

And guess what? I'm excited.

Yes, there are those times of sadness of all that we will be leaving behind. One of those mixed-emotional times came last night.

We invited our life group, as well as two other couples, to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with us. Yes, it was a bit early, but for us, this was a special time to spend with friends and family and share some of our American heritage. Something we will miss this holiday season in Brazil.

We enjoyed the traditional spread with Turkey (one friend had never had turkey before!), home made stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.

Yum! It was fantastic.

As for our move, God continues to work out the details for us. We now have a room to store our stuff in! We plan to start taking things over this week, and should be about moved out by the weekend.

Several have asked about our luggage allowance when we fly to Brazil. Thankfully, the man who told us we could only take 20 kilograms each (about 45 pounds total) was wrong! Instead we can each take two bags that are 50 pounds each. This will make life much easier as we have lots of home schooling books to pack.

Have a blessed day!

Lisa

PS. If you haven't signed up for my newsletter, click here! The next one comes out the beginning of November, and I'll be drawing a winner for my Taste of Africa box. This includes lots of unique things from South Africa as well as a copy of Tara's Gold. If you're signed up for both my newsletter and my blog feed, you'll be entered in twice!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Azaleas and Jacaranda trees

Carol asked if the Jacaranda trees had a scent, and I'm pretty sure they don't, though I read that the wood does have a pleasant scent. Either way, they are gorgous! I'm posting some more photos of the Azaleas near our house that Janelle took. They really are stunning.

We are making progress packing up the house, though just found out that the weight limit for our luggage into Brazil is only 40 pounds per person. Yikes! Their school books weigh half of that.

Other good news is that Jayden is pretty much back to normal, and none of the other kids have come down with any of the symptem. I'll also be sharing some good news in a couple days about our orphans in Zimbabwe.

Thanks for the encouragment and enjoy the photos!

Lisa




Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Greener Grass


Have you ever noticed that the silly saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side” seems. . .how can I put this? True.

Yesterday was one of those horrible, no good, very bad days, I think I’ll move to Australia. Oh, wait a minute. I am moving. To Brazil.

OK. It’s not at all that I don’t want to move halfway around the world with three kids in tow, to a country where I don’t speak a single word of the language. Because I do. Really, I do. Most days anyway.

So back to the greener grass. The truth is, I have friends in America, South Africa, and in other parts of the world and the real truth is that we all have struggles. It really doesn’t matter where we live. At some point, the toilet will stop up, the hot water heater will leak, and one too many bills will find its way into our mailbox.

So I work to be content where I am by looking for things I can rejoice in.

1 The Brazilian embassy gave us a FIVE year, multiple entry. (We were hoping for three months and having to leave the country and reentering.)

2 We have a contact who has a government permit to take food across the boarder into Zimbabwe and has agreed to transport the food for us, ensuring it won’t be confiscated

3 We sold our house in Dallas!

4 I’ve survived the first week of home schooling.

5 The jacaranda trees are in full bloom.

Paul said we might be pushed hard from all sides, but we aren’t beaten down. We are bewildered, but we don’t lose hope. We suffer and are knocked down, but we don’t give up. Why? Because God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, and he will raise us up with Jesus. Our troubles are small and they last for a short time. We are earning a glory that will last forever.

Isn’t that awesome!

So, I won’t even mention the fact that we still haven’t found a mover, or a place for our dog and cat, or that I still have no internet, or that Jayden has the mumps. . .

Because I’m hanging onto His promises. And yeah, I’m still smiling.

Be blessed today!

Lisa

Photo taken by Janelle at Cherio Garden near our house



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Praise




It's official! Our house in Dallas closed on Friday! Our deepest thanks to those who have prayed for this difficult situation the past few months!

For those of you who haven't heard the 'rest of the story' we first tried selling this house seven years ago, but never had a single bite. At this time, we were planning to move to Japan to work with a church planting group, but the house ended up one of many doors God shut firmly.

Two years later, when we felt God calling us to move to Africa, we still hadn't sold it, but God sent us some renters at the last minute to cover the mortgage. But living halfway around the world while managing a rental house finally became too difficult, so last year we put it up for sale again. After two broken contracts, we are so thankful that the third time worked out and the house is now out of our hands.

Enjoy the photos of the Jacaranda trees! Spring has arrived in South Africa and these beautiful purple flowers dot the hillsides!

Blessings,

Lisa

Friday, October 12, 2007

Home again!


After a very, very long flight, I arrived back in Africa Sunday night, only to hit the ground running on Monday. We stayed in Joburg one night so we could finish everything for our Brazilian visas. This included passport photos, yellow fever shots, picking up our police reports, and finishing all the requested paperwork.

Back home, the rains have brought no internet and power outages, which is why I haven’t been able to blog or email the past week. I’ve tried twice now to go to the nearest town and work on line, but both times the power was out! This morning, they finally got our internet up and running. . .for about thirty minutes. So much for keeping up with things. It’s back on again this afternoon, but for how long is anyone’s guess.

Still, it’s probably a good thing that I’m not able to check email throughout the day, because for the next couple weeks, my days will be filled with home schooling (check out the photo with our news desks, thanks to a sweet friend!) in the mornings, packing in the afternoons, and writing to meet my deadlines at night. Thankfully, I’m loving my latest book, so writing has been a nice distraction. Still, the new owners of our house have requested to move in on November 1st, which doesn’t give us a lot of time to finish the hundreds of little details that have to be done between then and now, but with our flight leaving November 8th for Brazil, we need to be out of here soon.

So despite jet lag, I filled up on some caffeine-loaded coffee Wednesday morning (something I never do) and jumped into things full force. The kids could hardly wait to start school, something I’m grateful for, though I realize it won’t be true everyday. Even I’m excited, though. Our home schooling books arrived while I was in the states, making the whole transition seem more real.

Please keep praying for us during this huge transition. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming, but I’m trying to focus on one day at a time. In the middle of everything, Bia and Gustavo, our co-workers in Mozambique, will be coming in this weekend for a few days along with three Americans. Scott will be driving up to Zimbabwe next week to leave food for our orphans with other drivers who have agreed to take in more food when needed while we are gone.

We still need a place to store our things while we are in Brazil and a reasonably priced mover to move us into Mozambique. Our Dallas house is supposed to close today, praise God!!!! Please pray that everything goes through.

So, what can I say? One day at a time.

Blessings,

Lisa

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Houston


My mom, sister, and I returned from Houston last night after a wonderful trip. I’m really tired, but it was such a blessing to see some old friends and meet some new ones. I spoke to a ladies group on finding victory in God in a chaotic world, something my life has tended to be lately! Several of these women have recently been to Africa to be involved in our ministry, so this made this trip especially memorable. A special thanks to Flo and Darlene, who made our time in Houston so refreshing.

I’m busy today catching up on a few last minute things before flying back to Africa Saturday morning. This is a photo of the house we will be renting in Brazil. We feel so blessed to have found a three bedroom furnished house to live in! God is so good!
A special thanks to those of you who have told me you are praying for us! We are slowly working our way through all the logistics of the move, but there is still so much left to do and it can be a bit overwelming at times! Through it all though, I've been amazed over and over of God's hand in all of this, so praise to Him for His faithfulness!

Blessings,

Lisa

Monday, October 01, 2007

Reflections




I've had several people ask me about the differences between the States and Africa, and I have to say that even for a writer, who is supposed to thrive on a good description, I've had to stop to think about my answer.

South Africa is unique, with its first world veneer. There are shopping malls, movie theaters, Mac Donald’s, and acres of huge estates. Contrast this with miles of squatter camps, high crime, and AIDS. If I look beyond some of South Africa's development, into Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, I see the obvious lack of infrastructure, poverty, and scores of street vendors on every corner.

Yet there’s more to this continent than the poverty and AIDS. There’s something that draws me back and makes me long to return when I’m gone. I see the smiles of the children, and their love for family and learning. The dedication of grandmothers taking care of their children, joy without possessions, and a hunger for the spiritual world.

Maybe part of me wants to fix what’s wrong. Children going hungry. The lack of education, and most importantly, the thousands who still don’t know about the God who wants to draw them back to Him.

For all these reasons, my heart is still in Africa.

PHOTOS: My mom, sister, and I at the symphony. And a book signing at Mardels Bookstore with Vickie McDonough.

PRAISES!

1. We are still in the process of selling both houses, but both contracts are still on track. Please pray that we can close soon on them without any problems.

2. God has blessed our sweet orphans in Zimbabwe with enough funds to feed them for the next year! Praise God! Thank you so much to those of you who have been a part of this. Because of this we are no long taking donations (though if you are interested in becoming a sponsor to an individual child, let me know) I will continue to give up dates on our Orphan Blog. Scott will be driving up there next week with food.

3. Scott is planning to buy our tickets for Brazil this week, which makes things very real! Once I return from the States, I’ll have about three weeks to pack up our house for the big move. Please pray for a smooth transition into language school, especially for the kids who thankfully, can’t wait for home schooling to start. (Hopefully this will last!)
4. I'm off to Houston in the morning where I will be speaking. Please pray for a safe trip for my mom, sister, and I.

Blessings!

Lisa