As I'm typing this, I'm sitting in a business center at the Inter-Continental in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yep, not exactly in the plans for this day. Where you all are, its about 4am, but for me, its a ripe 10:05, African time! When we got to JFK and got our itineraries yesterday, something looked a little odd. I did the math in my head and figured out that our 3-4 hour layover in Joburg was more like a 26-hour stay. But I just really hoped that I was wrong. I wish. What this all means is that we had to find a room for the night. What a blessing for us that there is a great hotel right across the road from the airport. Greg was able to use his priority-member points and we're all checked in to two rooms. So far, Africa is great! Our flight was really a breeze, and it was only 14 hours, compared with the 17 we were expecting AND we got to witness our first African sunrise from somewhere over Namibia! Granted, I've only seen the airport and this hotel, but everyone we've encountered has been so friendly and obliging, and I can't wait to get to Zimbabwe and really get into this trip.
Here, they're preparing for the Fifa World Cup. Funny, because last time I was overseas (Germany in 2005), we were stuck in the middle of them preparing for the cup. There's such an air of expectation when a country is about to host a huge event like this. Everything is getting dressed up and readied for the masses that are about to descend on this nation.
If I'm being honest, I was a bit apprehensive about going on this trip. Ok, I was a lot apprehensive. It's one thing to talk about it and raise support and even to take a vaccine or two, but it suddenly became all-too real when my parents dropped me off at the Hubbard's on Monday. In reality, I did really well. I barely cried, and the fact is, I've been away from home for much longer. Heck, I've even been overseas for longer. But there was just something about this trip that's scary. Maybe it is that everything is so unknown and I'm not exactly sure what to expect. Maybe it's the feeling that what I'm about to see and experience is going to break me clean in two. At some moments, I've even thought about June 3rd, when I get to step back on US soil, and wished for that day to come swiftly. But amongst all of that, I know that I need to be present in this experience. This is by far the most adventurous trip I've ever been on. It's exciting and new and already a blast. I don't want to wish it away. I want to savor every moment, every sight, every smile, every tear.
Thank you so much to those of you who are supporting me and my team, whether it be financially or in prayer (or both!) while we are on this adventure! I love you all and can't wait to share my stories and pictures with you!
May 14, 2010
Below is my itinerary for my trip to Zimbabwe. It is definitely subject to change, but it's a basic structure of where we'll be and when we'll be there. If you can just keep the entire team in your prayers for safe travel and for God to move during our times of ministry, that would be a huge blessing! We'll have internet access sometimes, so I'll try to post, if only briefly, on here!
18 MAY TUE
18 MAY TUE
►AM- PA team leaves JFK at 8am (Greg & Robyn Hubbard, Krista, Betsy)
20 MAY THU
►AFT- PA team arrives
►PM- Get settled at SDA Conf Ctr. Early dinner at Stryskos, no eve service.
21 MAY FRI
►AFT ESIGODINI SECONDARY SCHOOL 2:00pm (25kms out of BYO. Depart SDA @ 12noon))
►PM COWDRAY 6 PM depart SDA at 530
22 MAY SAT
►AFT Mass team of 5 arrives
►PM HOLY SPIRIT MEETING For Bulawayo District. Several churches from the BYO Dist are invited to Cowdray for HS emphasis.
23 MAY SUNDAY
► AM- Leave SDA 9am to arrive at Cowdray Park 9:30. Team can do CHILDRENS CHURCH, probably under a makeshift tent. This will be a long service 930am-130pm or so.
►AFT-Service will end approx 130-2pm. Then we go to SDA for lunch, naps, showers. Then return 6pm. ►PM- COWDRAY 6 PM
24 MAY MON
►AM-Optional morning phys work at Cowdray. Cutting grass with “slashers”.
►AFT- 3pm KIDS MEETING.
►PM- GREG COWDRAY 6 PM
25 MAY TUE
►AM-Leave 7am for rural church, GARANYEMBA HOME-BASED CARE TRAINING 9am-1pm. Concurrent will be a KIDS SCHOOL MEETING across the road at Garanyemba Primary School, probably under a large tree. ►AFT- 2PM HOLY SPIRIT MEETING For Gwanda District at Garanyemba church. Meeting ends promptly at 3:30. ► PM- DEPART GARANYEMBA PROMPTLY AT 3:45 THEN JOINS GUY AT COWDRAY PARK.
26 MAY WED
►AM-GREG at LUVEVE SECONDARY SCHOOL (near Cowdray) SESSION ONE: 11:00-11:45AM. SESSION TWO: 12:00-12:45 (actual times may be adjusted)
►AFT- KIDS MEETING AT COWDRAY
►PM-6PM We all join Cowdray Park AG at their weekly PRAYER MEETING. (no formal ministry)
27 MAY THU
►AM- Leave 8am for ANTELOPE PARK. Arrive 1030am. Settle into rooms. Relax.
►AFT-1 PM Lunch. Optional activities
►PM-Dinner at 7pm
28 MAY FRI
►AM- 6am Optional WALK WITH LIONS. Breakfast at 8. Optional activities.
►AFT- 1pm lunch. Leave for Bulawayo (2 hours) mid afternoon.
►PM-At 6pm we go to Bulawayo Academy of Music Hall for the worship band Christi is involved with, “LIVE OUT LOUD” (A Youth For Christ ministry)
29 MAY SAT
►AM- Leave 8am for rural church BEZHA (1.5 HRS). Team can do some painting (bring paint clothes) and they can do a KIDS MEETING during the mid morning.
►AFT- After a bag lunch, GREG can speak at 2pm. We depart at 430pm (so as to not drive at night)
30 MAY SUNDAY
► AM- We return to BEZHA for church services, CHILDRENS CHURCH, outside under a tree.
►AFT- When church ends we can depart then stop along the road for a bag lunch. Arrive at SDA late afternoon.
►PM-6 PM we join Christi at her Sun eve youth service. After worship GREG SPEAKS. Then we can go out for “pizza”
31 MAY MON
►AM-We depart SDA @ 8:30am for GWANDA (1.5 hr drive) to vist and pray at SIZIBAS, NYATHIS home and church. One or two school assemblies. Optional: another service or a KIDS MEETING.
►AFT- Depart Gwanda @ 4:00PM. Arrive at SDA 5:30
►PM-Dinner@ SDA around 6:30 and if you want share some testimonies or comments, photos, videos, experiences, questions, suggestions etc. Hand in evaluation forms to Jim Strysko.
1 JUN TUE
►AM-After breakfast, Pack. Mass team leaves for the airport by 12pm
►AFT- Ministry TBA
►PM-Dinner with the Stryskos
2 JUN WED
►AM-Pack and depart for airport
May 12, 2010
I'm back at home. My dad and I drove through the night and got here around 7:30am. This was by far the hardest time I've ever had leaving Gordon. I cried. A lot. And it's all because of these knuckle-heads. You see, they've all taken a little piece of my heart and have decided not to give it back.
It's really unfair.
But secretly, I don't mind.
See this one? Yeah, she tricked me into living with her so she could steal a BIG chunk.
This one has blessed me in ways she'll never know.
These two spell trouble. And I love them. SO much. (Though the one on the right should go back to New Zealand. Hehe.)
This guy's such a kind soul, and an amazing lighting designer.
This one cracks me up!
She is easily one of the funniest, most kind,
and generous people I know.
He gives the best hugs. Hands down.
Maybe someday, when I have a few hours and a box of tissues, I'll write about all I've learned this past year. For now, I'm heading into a time of transition as I unpack from the school year and repack for Africa.
May 8, 2010
Finals are upon us,
the days are winding down.
I've been a busy bee,
Getting ready to leave this town.
(ooo...ah...clearly, I avoid writing poetry for a reason)
so, here's what we, at Dexter, have been up to:
more cupcake baking.
building the most epic fort ever.
photo scavenger hunt around campus
sporting our new (slightly really geeky) shirts
our AWESOME RAs!
two of my most favorite people...ever. we're so glad to have Cas back with us!
Lacy and her friend Kaeli went to Sr. Formal! They looked gorgeous!
and that, my friends, is what's been going on.
May 2, 2010
I just got home from taking my good friend, Catherine's, Sr. pictures. She's been a staple of my Gordon experience, and I couldn't have been happier when she asked me if I'd do a shoot for her. Here are some of my favorites:
And here are 10 things I love about Catherine:
1. She's the best deputy-RA I know.
2. She loves all things nautical.
3. She's got the best dance party tunes ever!
4. She's a J. Crew girl.
5. She's one of the best shopping partners I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.
6. She shared all those tid-bits of seasoned advice my freshman year.
7. She's encouraging.
8. Her smile.
9. She's always willing to go out of her way for her friends.
10. She's a lovely soul.