Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pictures from Zambia

The live chicken right before we killed it for dinner

Village children

Hiking to Kalambo Falls

Girls at the Falls

Me, Kacy and Kelly on the boat

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday My Love!!!!

We made it safely to Jo-burg! And I'm excited to tell ya'll all about what we are doing here. The Joseph Project is affliated with YWAM so we are staying at their base and working with them. I thought space was limited at our base....I now share a room with 11 other girls. There are 2 regular bunk beds and 3 three-level bunk beds. We are crammed in there tight, but it's kind of cozy! We live in a house in the inner city of Jo-burg. It is EXTREMELY different from our base which was 10 minutes away from any town and from the remote villages of Zambia. But I must say I like it ALOT! We are involved with a lot of ministries here. There is another pre-school run out of the building we are staying in, which is nice, the children come to us every morning :). Half of our group works with the children and the other half of us are going to local schools and doing presentations on human trafficking awareness, complete with a drama and everything. We learned the drama and information yesterday and we have been practicing since then. We haven't gone to a school yet but they are contacting them and hopefully we will have several to go to this week. After lunch there are 2 after school homework programs that are run out of our base. One is for the older children, grades 4 - 7 and the group I am helping with is grade 0-3. They are so cute I might be taking one home with me! Friday we are going on a field trip to the park with them so it should be a lot of fun! We also are already involved with a church here. We went Friday night, Sunday morning and we will go Wednesday night, Friday night again and then Sunday. They are doing a series on the Holy Spirit and several people from our team have already taught or gave testimonies. It has been a good time getting so involved with everything. The people that work at the Joseph Project are amazing and so wonderful to us, I have really enjoyed it so far.
Well tonight is Taco Tuesday! We have kept the tradition going strong...I only have one thing left to say before I go for now.....


I will update again soon now that I can get the internet again! Please keep praying for my team!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is going to be short because I do not have much time but I just wanted to update everyone on the last month of my life. Which leads us to ZamFam! I am on outreach in Zambia and here they put Zam in front of we thought it would be perfect to call ourselves the ZamFam! I have spent the last 3 1/2 weeks in Mpulungu, Zambia where I experienced all sorts of new things. In Mpulungu you can only buy live chickens, never frozen, always fresh! So I learned how to kill a chicken, de feather it, cut it up into pieces and cook it. Don't worry I have pictures to document this new skill I acquired. We ran an orphan school while there for 3 weeks. It was challenging because they were so young that they knew hardly any English but it was well worth the time and effort. I love those children so much and miss them already. We also went to a youth camp for a week, in Zambia youth camp looks more like boot camp. Complete with 5 am running, a whistle blowing for every activity, sit ups, step ups, climbing over walls, swinging on ropes, etc, etc. Needless to say I didn't appreciate this style of camp very much. But the worship was awesome and I learned a lot of new songs in different languages. I also learned how to eat nshima (Zambia's version of pap), by rolling it into little balls and using it to scoop up whatever food we had to go along with it. We always used our hands to eat, never silverware. In town we were local celebreties...people would stare and crowds would form just so they could see mzungu's (white people). Apparently white people are a hot commodity up in Mpulungu and everyone once to see, touch and talk to one. So much more happened this blog does not even do it justice. However I am at an interent cafe and it is slow and my time is almost out so I will have to update some more when I get back to South Africa.
We leave in 2 days for Johannebsurg where we will be staying with a ministry called the Jospeh Project. We will be doing street evangelism, helping with sex trafficing awareness workshops for the world cup, working with a school and working at another youth camp. Right now we are in Lusaka enjoying our day in town and staying at a YWAM base. I miss ya'll all very much and can't wait to see ya'll in a month!! June 7th back to Texas! I will update again as soon as I can. Please be praying for us as we travel and minister in South Africa!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Buses and Taxis and Planes OH MY!

The official countdown for Outreach is now 7 hours!! I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm so excited about the ministry we are going to be working with and all the children we are going to come in contact with. Please be praying for us as we travel there. It's going to be an interesting trip. We are taking a taxi from our base to the airport in Johannesburg which is 4 hours or so. Then we are taking a plane from Johannesburg to Lusaka, Zambia which is a 2 hour flight. Then we are staying the night in Lusaka and the next day taking a bus from Lusaka to Mpulungu which is a 17 hour bus ride. There are 20 of us travelling together. 3 Leaders, 15 Students and 2 Staff members that are coming for the first week. Please be praying that we make it there safely and that we don't get too irritated being with each other for so long in such a compact space. We need to get used to it because all 18 of us will be living in one house for a month! I know it's going to be a trip of a lifetime. We fly back to Johannesburg May 13 and stay there for 3 weeks so I'm also really excited about that even though we aren't quite sure what we will be doing there.
They fixed our internet today so everyone is getting in there calls and blogs before we leave. Here is what has been happening since you last heard from me. On Good Friday we had a Love Feast at Rich and Lynn's house (they live off base). All we were told was to dress up and we had to have a talent for the talent show that was taking place afterwards. The Love Feast was a dinner just for us DTS students, it consisted of steak, mashed potatos, salad, etc. It was amazing! I haven't had a steak since I've been here and it was delicious. The talentless people in our group, those of us who don't have singing voices......made up a dance. Not just any dance either. It was a boy band dance. We made a mix of songs from Backstreet Boys, NSync and Britney Spears, dressed up like boys and did a dance for our talent. It was so much fun! I'd have to say ours was the most creative. Everyone else was phenomenal with their real talents but ours was fun and creative and we had a blast.
This past Friday we stayed the night at Lynn's house so we could get up early on Saturday morning and climb Mt. Legogote (means head of the Lion). We woke up at 5, checked the weather, got ready, made sandwiches and off to the mountain we went. The climb was so much fun but being on the top was Amazing!!! I climbed a mountain in Africa! How cool is that? I'm pretty sure we took about 1,000 pictures up there. We stayed at the top for a good hour or so and just took pictures, enjoyed each others company and ate our lunches. It was good to do some physical activity and I have definitely felt it for the past 2 days. It was a good ending to a wonderful lecture phase and a great beginning to what I know will be an amazing outreach phase.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Missed Me?

I’m baaaaaack. Well for this one blog at least. That’s all I can guarantee for now because our internet on base still isn’t working. It’s been a week and a half since our internet broke and the week before that we were on our community stays so I have been disconnected from everyone. There’s no telling when our internet will be fixed because this is Africa and that’s just the way things work. So for now I am writing ya’ll from a internet cafe.
For the past week a team from Texas has been here and it’s so good to be surrounded by southern accents. They have been such a blessing since they arrived. Their preacher taught our class this past week on relationships and did an amazing job. Today they cooked us breakfast….homemade deliciousness. We had eggs with bacon, cheese, tomatoes, peppers and onions, biscuits and sausage gravy, fruit salad and coffee. A little taste of home.
I know everyone is anxious to hear how our community stays went. I stayed in Kabokweni, one of the communities we have a feeding program in. I was wrong about the child-headed household, instead we stayed with families. I guess they didn’t think it was safe enough for a bunch of white people to be staying with just children and no one to protect us. I say white people because literally most of the people we came in touch with or saw had never seen a white person before and definitely not an American. We were famous for the week, everyone wanted to meet the American and Canadian girls (my partner was from Canada, Shayla). Our family consisted of Mama (I still don’t know her name), Prudence age 24, her daughter Siphesihle age 6, Nothando age 18 and Khosi age 14. A house full of women, something I’m very familiar with. The girls gave us their bed and they slept on the floor. Our room came complete with one wall decoration…a picture cut out of a magazine of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be. We had a bed, a T.V, DVD player, good food and good company. The hardest part of the whole stay for me was the baths. It consisted of a jug of water and a bowl. It was interesting to say the least. I don’t know if I quite got the hang of it and I can’t imagine washing myself like that for the rest of my life. My hair is so long and thick that the only way for me to wash it was for me to lay over the bowl and for Shayla to wash it for me like in a beauty salon. I really wish someone was there to capture that moment on camera. We had a lot of good laughs about bathing and Nigerian movies that they made us watch. Their toilets are outhouses or permanent port-o-potties as I like to call them. The part I can’t get over is that they wipe with NEWSPAPER!!!! I did not partake in this activity. People on base had already warned us about this before we left so we brought our own toilet paper with us! Newspaper….can you imagine? I don’t want to. Shayla and I became part of their family for the week and probably for the rest of our lives. They told us stories of their hardships and what they wanted to do with their lives. They taught us words in Saswati and laughed when we tried to pronounce them. We made dinner together, ate together and watched the daily soap opera every night at 8pm together (subtitles included). Our last day they called the community cameraman to come and take “family portraits.”
It’s no coincidence that this last week was relationship week because the enemy has been in full force against relationships here. Without going into too much detail I will just say we had a long family meeting yesterday morning. People had a chance to let out their frustrations, hurts, and angers. I think I can honestly say I have never had an experience like that where people shared their feelings and it didn’t turn into a conflict. Everyone was respectful of each others feelings and no one became defensive or tried to fix it all. Instead it was a relaxed time to just get everything out in the open and pray for God to bring us unity, mend brokenness and heal the hurts and unmet expectations people had. This family meeting couldn’t have come at a better time because in less than 2 weeks we leave for Zambia and then on to Johannesburg. Our team needs to be getting along and unified for God to use us with all his glory and power. And I believe those are the intentions he has for us. We are now flying instead of taking a bus, which is a blessing. And once we get there all 18 of us are staying in the same house. So we need to start getting along here before we are thrown into harder circumstances where stress and conflict could arise much easier. In Zambia we are working with Good News Ministry and they have lots in store for us so I’m very excited. I’m most excited about the youth camp we get to be a part of. We get to be camp counselors for a week long youth camp where I’m sure great things will happen. After a month in Zambia it’s off to Johannesburg where plans still aren’t real clear. We aren’t quite sure what we will be doing there but I’m sure God will reveal his plan when we get there, so we are just praying and trusting him. Next week's lesson is on hearing God's voice. Apparently our teacher is going to be Amazing and everyone on base wants to sit in on our classes. Her lessons are interactive and I could always use more training and ways to hear God speak to me and through me, so I am more than ready for it. Tomorrow night is a surprise night for our team. It is called a Love Feast at two of our leaders house who live off base. We have to dress up nice for dinner and there will be a talent show after dinner. Everyone has to participate in the talent show even the leaders so it could get interesting. Some of the girls and I already have our talent planned out we just need to practice it tomorrow. The non-singers in our group are just going to do something silly and leave the good talents to the talented people on our team. Well my time at the internet cafe is almost up so I will leave you with some pictures of my teammates; Kelly and Manuel, and me working at one of the places we serve at. We dug 20 holes for posts in one day, my body was killing me for the rest of the week. Hopefully there will be another blog before we leave for outreach.....if not please keep me and my team in your prayers!

Monday, March 15, 2010

You Are Now Leaving Disneyland......

Warning: This is a very very very long blog, so if you don't have the time or the patience to read it you may want to stop now.

This past week was Identity week. I didn’t know it was possible to experience so many emotions in one week. To start off let me tell you a little about Disneyland….and I’m not talking about the magical kingdom Disneyland. I’m talking about the Disneyland that’s inside each one of us. The one where we build up these walls and become this fun, enjoyable place for everyone around us. The place filled with people who have expectations of us, our parents, children, siblings, friends, teachers, church, boss, etc. Where we try to be better, to love more, to respect more, we work harder, become funnier, laugh more, cry less, become strong, silent, or whatever it is they want us to do and be. We become Disneyland for them, building walls around who we really are. We make ourselves safe for other people, where they feel comfortable knowing and interacting with us. And somewhere in trying to meet all these expectations, somewhere along the way, we lose ourselves in Disneyland. It’s nice in Disneyland, its fun there. Everyone accepts us and loves us and it’s comfortable. But what happens when we leave Disneyland? Is it still safe? Is it still comfortable? Will all those people who loved us in Disneyland like us when it closes down? When we leave it for good?
If or when I come back a different person will everyone still like the Brittany who’s not in Disneyland anymore? The Brittany who doesn’t worry about everyone else’s expectations? Who only worries about God’s expectations and being who he made me to be. What if I don’t want a job that makes a lot of money? What if I don’t want to stay in one place? What if I want to travel the world? What if I want to be an emotional wreck every now and then? What if not everything is funny and some things really do hurt? What then? Yeah some people might want Disneyland Brittany back, but some people will still love me when Disneyland is just a faint memory. And those are the people I want to be with when their Disneyland is long gone too.
Realizing that you’re in Disneyland is just the start to finding your Identity. I know I have been in Disneyland for a long time. So how do you figure out the first step? How do you open the gate to leave Disneyland? Simple. You take off your mask. Here is mine…….

Who knew a simple mask painting could tell me so much about myself. So I didn’t know what to paint, so I made it purple because it’s my favorite color :) and then I just simply drew a design and put glitter on it. But boy did that say a lot more about me then I thought it would. We each took a turn in the "hot seat" as we like to call it and our teacher would ask us questions and speak truth about the things we had painted that represented us in ways we never could have even imagined. How is it possible that the truth can come out in a simple painting excercise? It was emotional watching each one of my teammates show the "mask" they were hiding behind. But if I thought that was emotional, God had a lot more in store for me.......
So new day, new activity. We had someone trace us on a piece of paper....then we wrote the negative words, names and lies that people in our lives and the enemy have spoken to us on the outside of our body. Then we wrote the good things we saw in ourselves and the good things our teammates spoke over us on the inside of our bodies. We drew a heart and left it blank, for a very special reason. Now we had time to go talk with God. Part of discovering our Identity is discovering who God made us to be and how he sees us. So we had to ask him what he calls us.....not Brittany, because there are a million Brittanys in the world. But a name that sets me apart from all the other Brittanys. A name that God calls me specifically. I found that answer came rather quickly and easily. It's not a name that I would describe myself as, or ever even have thought. At first I didn't think I heard right, this couldn't be the name he calls me, could it? But over and over again he said "Yes, this is you. You are Brittany MY Sunshine."
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. " -Matthew 5:16
As our teacher said he likes to think about it as, the one who walks in the light. And this is a verse my teammate got for me.
"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said "wake up, o sleeper rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." -Ephesians 5:13-14
And with our new names, God healed us. A story started it all.....Matthew 12:9-13. The story of the withered hand. And with the story came the "hot seat" again, where we came to our knees and asked God for one thing we needed in our life. Where we stuck out our withered hand for everyone to see and let God heal it. And it was heartbreaking and emotional to hear what some of my teammates needed healing for. But it connected us and tied us together so much tighter than before. And as surprised as I was by my name......I was just as surprised at what I needed healing from. Something God stirred in me that I never even knew I had kept in there. Hidden so deep I didn't even notice it anymore. And how well the withered hand story fit into my life.....cause I needed healing from the pain, hurt and rejection I felt from hands, not one but two. My own. My own two sweating hands that have been the source of so many hurtful words, looks, reactions and rejections. So bad and hurtful that I learned to hide them, make jokes before anyone else could and to apologize before anyone could say anything. My two hands that God made, that for some reason wasn't okay or normal to this World. And what I received was truth. Truth spoken into me from my leaders, from God and my teammates. Who cares if it isn't normal to this World, I wasn't made for this World. I was made for the Kingdom of God. So the healing is a process but it's the best start I could have ever asked for.
And so I got to make a new mask, for a new me. That mask is gone, and the new one looks a little bit like sunshine :)
Well there is only one more thing......A prayer request. Tomorrow we are going for our community stays. We each have a partner on our team and are going into one of two communities to stay in a child headed household* until Sunday. We get to experience real community life. No running water, maybe no electricity, pap everyday, and bowl baths. So pray for us as we go. Pray that we can impact the children as they impact us. Pray for protection and new light into what is really happening in the communities we are working with. Pray that God will open our eyes to see what he wants us to see. I will have so much to catch ya'll up on when I get back. So stay tuned.
*A child headed household is where the parents have died and the children are supporting themselves. So the oldest sibling is responsible for taking care of the other children, orphans raising orphans.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's been awhile.....

So exactly a month from yesterday we leave for outreach. I am really excited to experience other parts of Africa and even another part of South Africa. Last week was outreach prep week and we learned a lot about the places we are going. For instance in Zambia we are working with a mission organization called Good News II Ministry. We will be in Mpulungu, Zambia, right on Lake Tanganyika. While we are there we will get to work with the school the orphans go to, help with prison ministry, go to the communites around the lake, teach adult literacy and help with a youth camp. Monday's are days of fasting, no lunch and no dinner. Some of my teammates are pretty worried about it, I'm not so much worried about the no food as I am how grumpy I am going to get. Because lets be honest, without food I can get a little cranky. But I know that I can do it. So as we were preparing for outreach we had a lot of team bonding time. Which included going to this amazing waterfall that is about 20 minutes away. I have never seen a waterfall before so I loved it! The even better news is that while we are in Zambia we are going to get to go to Victoria Falls, the biggest waterfall in either the World or Africa, I'm not sure which but either way it's gonna be awesome. As far as Johannesburg goes, I have no clue who we will be working with. I know it's a dutch reform church but that's all I know for now.

Wednesday of this week was the first day of our newest feeding program. It will be in Mbonsweni every Wednesday from now on at the church. It was a big celebration that included face painting, games, water balloons, a mural of the children's hands and of course food for the children. I think celebration is a good word to use because we are feeding more children who may not be getting food but once or twice or even never during the week. The meal was big this week included pap (pronounced pop), minced meat, cabbage, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. The children had a chance to just be kids for once. They were laughing, smiling and playing as if they had no cares in the world. And I loved it.
This week was about finding our Identity, not just our own but our Identity in Christ. It was an emotionally hard week but so awesome! The full story of Identity week will be in my blog sometime within the next two days. :) So stay tuned. For now here are some pictures.......