Thursday, July 23, 2009

A new look!

Yesterday, I went with my kids to spend the day at the English camp. As you can imagine, my kids loved being a part of the singing, drama, volleyball, and even the service project. As a team of about forty-five, we headed into town to clean up the city. With the okay from some of the government leaders, we spent a couple hours picking up the trash along many of the streets. I guess I'm feeling my age, because my back is sore today, but we had a great time hanging out with everyone. Below are some of the photos from the trip.

We'll be leaving to take the team back to South Africa and to spend some time with our co-workers, Scott's aunt and uncle that we haven't seen for a number of months. We are looking forward to a couple days of downtime and fellowship after our very hectic summer.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

English Camp!

PHOTO: Sunday worship at David's house church

It's been a busy weekend for us, as the team from Houston arrived Friday night after a long drive from the capital. After a good night sleep with the sound of the Indian Ocean in the background, we spend Saturday getting to know the team, resting, surfing, and planning for the English camp. There were a few hiccups, like the rented van getting stuck in the sand, a dead battery, and a lost pair of car keys that miraculously appeared the moment we started praying as a group.

PHOTO: Ricardo leading worship

We left the beach early Sunday morning and spent the day in worship at two places. The first was at David's house church. Ricardo (one of our future teammates) led worship and the team did a short drama on Abraham and Isaac that was well received.

PHOTO: Drama on Abraham and Isaac.

In the afternoon, we went to a village where Scott has been teaching in for the past six weeks ago. They were joined by another group we've been working with in the area as well. In the village, Elizabeth (our original contact who first invited Scott and David to come) and her family have faithfully coming every Wednesday to hear about God's word. Yesterday about fifty came for the worship and drama. This was my first time to the village, and I loved sitting with the women, holding the babies, and getting to know them. One lady asked me when I was coming back, and I was so happy to be able to tell her that I would be back soon. I can't wait to get to know them better.

PHOTO: Time in Elizabeth's village

After our time in Elizabeth's village, the team stopped at a local restaurant to eat before settling in at the camp. It took about two hours for them to get their food and Scott even had to end up taking his in a take away box because it wasn't ready until everyone else had eaten! I drove home last night (I'll be staying at home with the kids this week) while the team continued working out details for the trip then went to bed at the camp where they will be staying this week.


PHOTO: Elizabeth's village

This morning, the group of students from Mozambique that will be at the camp met at the boat docks to cross the bay. I have to admit that I was pretty emotional as I watched them board the boat. I'm so excited to see what God has planned in the lives of both the team from the States and the group from here. Many hours have been put into the planning and I know that everyone is going to enjoy their time together. Please pray for all those involved in this English Camp.

On a side note, thanks to all of you for your congrats on our new house. We are so looking forward to making the move in the next couple weeks. I'll post more photos then! We've been studying the story of Abraham and Isaac the past couple weeks in our home churches, and I was struck again by God's provision to Abraham with the ram He provided for the sacrifice. This drama was acted out this week by the Sugarcreek Team (see the photo above) and every one loved it!

Also, Angel asked where you can find my books. Most of my books can be ordered on Amazon or I found out that Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio doesn't officially release until August 1, but it was printed early for a Sam's Club special promotion and will be available in Walmart stores soon. Cranberry Hearts is also available now in many Walmarts, your local Christian bookstore, and has been seen in Target as well. And if for some reason you can't find what you are looking for, please contact me directly as I have copies I can sell as well.



Friday, July 17, 2009

We're moving!

Now, normally, such a statement would make me want to run and hide, but this move won't be to another country. Just down the road a couple miles. While we've enjoyed our last year in the house we're currently in, including the friends my kids have made, there have been a few drawbacks that we won't miss leaving behind.

The house above us, for instance, was supposed to be finished about a year ago, but the construction, it seems, is never ending. This also means little privacy and lots of noise with all the workers in out at all hours of the day (even peaking through our windows if we're watching a video. ) Add to that a smelly chicken coup right behind us and very little yard and, well, we've been ready to move for quite sometime.

The problem, though, is that it isn't easy to find housing here. We started spreading the word that we are looking for housing for our teammates later this year, and in the process hoped we might find something for ourselves as well. I spoke to a friend last weekend to let her know that we were looking. The next day, a lady stopped by looking for someone to rent her house. We looked, just to see. . .And loved it.

The new house
After that, the details, just seemed to fall into place. It's a bit smaller and doesn't have any closets, but other than that it's perfect for us. Scott will finally have an office outside in the garage, and we have a large yard. The other fun thing is that the roof has been made into a balcony that overlooks the bay. The view is stunning, and I'm so looking forward to being able to step outside my house and not step into a construction site. Many of our electrical issues should also be fixed as the house is grounded (no more getting shocked) and the power should be steadier.

Another exciting thing is that the house comes partially furnished with things like a fridge, washing machine, microwave, beds, and dressers. Now while we don't need the furniture, our new teammates do. And the owner, who lives overseas, is happy with them using whatever they need!

God is so good!



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Book Suggestions!

Thanks for all the great book suggestions many of you left last week in the comment section. I've compiled them in case you are looking for a recommended summer read. I'm always looking for new authors (and more from my favorite authors, of course) so here is a great list sent in by all of you! The last one is what I just finished and really enjoyed.

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn
Summertime J. M. Coetzee
A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston
A Time To Surrender by Sally John and Gary Smalley
Adam by Ted Dekker
The Passion trilogy by Julie Lessman
Ransome’s Honor by Kaye Dacus
Never the Bride by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay
The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson
Sunset Beach by Trish Perry
The Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus
The Returning by Ann Tatlock
Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meisner



Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Winners!

One of the Big 5!

Congratulations to Mez, Donna, Amy, Marjorie, and Karen who all won copies of Cranberry Hearts! I'll be contacting you shortly for your snail mail addresses.

If you missed your chance to win a copy of Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio last month, visit Edwina Cowgill's blog here for another chance to win a copy! You can also read her review of the book.

And thanks for all the great summer reading suggestions many of you offered! I'll be compiling a list of your suggestions to post later this week.



Friday, July 10, 2009

Winter outreaches

We're beginning the next phase of our "winter" outreach schedule with some of the team arriving this weekend from Texas and Brazil. The rest will arrive next Friday. Scott's been busy getting students for our English camp that will start on the 20th. We're excited to see how God will use this to reach out to more people in our community.

This time will be filled with dramas, games, music, and fellowship. Ricardo, one of our future teammates moving here in January, will be leading worship at the camp, and we're so excited for him to be able to join us. Tonight, Scott will be going back to the village where the water well is being dug to show the Jesus film again, then he, along with several of the Christians will do follow up tomorrow.

Please pray for the people involved in these outreaches, both those here in Mozambique and the Americans arriving from Texas.

In the meantime, I'm busy with mid-terms for the kids. This year (4th grade) is the first year of testing for Mariah, so this is a new experience for her. I've come to appreciate teachers much more after my past year of home schooling and have decided that the teachers work even harder than the students!

I thought you might enjoy the fact that we are now trillianaires. Okay, well it does depend on what currency you are talking about, and the fact that you can't even buy a loaf of bread with a trillion Zim dollars. Zimbabwe is actually no longer even using their own currencies, so this bill isn't worth the paper that it's printed on. The ten cent bill used to be able to buy a GRAIN of salt, but you can see from the bill, that it's expired. Please pray for the people of Zimbabwe and especially our sweet orphans.

Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to leave a comment on my last post for a chance to win a copy of Cranberry Hearts. I'm loving the book recommendations, so keep them coming!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Win a copy of Cranberry Hearts

A little over two years ago, I was privileged to work on a series of contemporary romance novels for Heartsong Presents with Lena Nelson Dooley and Elizabeth Goddard. Their stories, along with mine, A Matter of Trust, are all included in this three-in-one collection as part of Barbour's Romancing America series.

What will happen when three Massachusetts women's journeys home lead them down dangerous paths? Heart and health are on the line when Gerome Mays suspects Leiann Hambrick of stealing from her grandfather, when Ty Lawrence's past shadows his future with Kayla Marceilo, and when Zane Baldwyn discovers that Riley O'Hare's brother's death was no accident. Will faith and love pull the women through the dangers.

If you'd like a chance to win one of FIVE copies of Cranberry Hearts, leave a comment below and let me know your reading recommendation for this summer! (I'm making up my list of must read books!) And for an extra chance to win, leave a comment AND sign up for my newsletter here. Be sure and leave a way for me to contact you in your comment. I'll draw the winners next Monday!



Monday, July 06, 2009

Winner of Snow Melts in Spring!

Congratulations to Tabitha! You've won a copy of Debbie's Snow Melts in Spring. For those of you who didn't win, you can find Debbie's new book at your local bookstore or on line.

I'm going to be running another contest starting on Wednesday for my July release, Cranberry Hearts, so be sure and stop by then for a chance to win one of five copies!



Sunday, July 05, 2009

Encouragement for the day. . .

"As the deer pants for steams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." Psalm 42:1

I’ve never been a particularly patient person. Maybe it’s because I always seem to be waiting on something. I was reminded today of Abraham and Sarah. There must have been great rejoicing for Abraham and Sarah at the birth of Isaac, a child who had been prayed for and desired for many, many years. What joy there was when all the neighbors came to celebrate the birth of this first born. Some years later, the Bible says God decided to test Abraham.

Hmm. . .these moments that test my faith are usually even harder than patience! And can you even begin to imagine the thoughts that flew threw Abraham’s mind?

"God, he is my only son. The seed that you promised."

"God, I waited years to have this son, I love him."

"God, why are you doing this to me? It is not fair."

"God, I’ll give you anything, just not my son."

I can think of a few of my own questions I would have liked to ask God, but God didn’t ask for Abraham to decide what he would rather give up. He asked for his only son. And even though he must have had many feelings of doubt, fear and anger, the Bible says early the next morning Abraham got up and left to do what God had told him.


Later, Abraham stood with the knife in his hand. When he raised it to kill his only son, he was stopped by an angel of God. What relief he must of felt, what joy. What faith Abraham had in God. Abraham called the place, "the Lord will provide."

What an amazing testimony of faith.

I’ve been reminded lately of God’s faithfulness and how I need to long only for Him. The road we’re on isn’t always easy, but He’s always there, giving us hope, strength and direction.

How has the Lord provided for you recently?



Friday, July 03, 2009

Trip to Kruger

We enjoyed a day in the park with the groups from Texas before they headed out the next day for the States. As many of you know, I never turn down a chance to visit Kruger, and we ended up having a great day. Hope you enjoy these photos. I also posted some different ones in my facebook album.

Love to win free books? If you haven't yet, don't forget to leave a comment on my interview with Debbie Vogt from Tuesday for a chance to win a copy of Snow Melts in Spring, her debut contemporary novel from Zondervan. Also, my good friend Lena recently interviewed me on her blog. You can leave a comment on her blog for a chance to win my July release, Cranberry Hearts from Barbour Publishing. I'll also be giving a way several copies of the book next week as well, so be sure and check back soon!



Long-tailed shrike

Morning Mist over the water

Lilac-breasted roller