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God is moving, can you see it?
November 14, 2011 11:15 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I have a mailing address! If you wanna make a Montana girl in a big African city smile, send your hand-written love here…

Bess Brownlee 
c/o OFM
Box 21171
AIM International Services
Wilson Airport
Nairobi, Kenya 00505

(it is best not to send anything bigger than a manila envelope, or else it probably won’t get to me… and if it does, I will have to pay big bucks to pick up a package, boo!)  It will take about two weeks for mail to get to me from the states.

Miss and love you all!!

November 8, 2011 11:07 pm
Published in: On the Field Tags: , ,

“Give us today, our daily bread…”

I have literally prayed this prayer for years in church (you know, as part of the Lord’s Prayer) but have had literally no idea what it meant until I got to Africa.  Well hold on to your baguettes, things just got gluten-y over here!

Food goes bad quickly here in Africa.  I think is must be the lack of preservatives and processing, because my milk got lumpy within 4 days.  Whew, that was a lovely surprise.  This reality, on one hand, makes food much better for you.  It is fresher, and hasn’t been messed with as much.  But on the other it means you have to be a smart shopper and use the fresher stuff up within a few days, unless you really like moldy cheese…and meat… and bananas.  I’m not used to weekly, and sometimes daily shopping.  I like to stockpile, to only worry about groceries a couple times a month.  Well that just won’t fly here… I’ve got the chunky milk to prove it.

The future tends to freak me out, yet I choose to let my thoughts reside there.  I start thinking about tomorrow, which turns quickly into the following week, next month, and before you know it I’m agonizing over what is going to happen 10 years down the road.  Who needs a time machine when you have my grey matter?! My mind easily rockets to the future, or slips into dwelling in the past, yet it seems unsatisfied to abide in the present, in the moment, in the good stuff goin’ on right now.  I try to spiritually/emotionally/physically stock-pile for the future and become blind to how God has been providing for me, day by day.

Coming to Africa was hard.  There were (and still are) so many unknowns.  What will my home be like?  Can I really do this city thing?  Will I fit into my team well?  What about living alone?  Driving on the other side of the road?  A new language?  Malaria?  Water?  Is that a slug?!  It’s a lot for a girl from rural Montana to take in.  But everyday, there has been exactly enough bread.  Just what I needed.

When pulled up to my apartment for the first time, this hand-drawn sign was on the door…

It’s the little things really.  Small bursts of God’s goodness and love for me, presented in new ways each day.  A quick encouraging email.  An invite to go play volleyball, eat pizza and meet new people.  A verse on a slip of paper addressing just what I ended up needing later in the day.  A backyard BBQ complete with sloppy joes and sodas in glass bottles.  A handmade red-beaded bracelet from a sweet child.  Staying up late and talking about tough but beautiful times in life with a new friend.

He has proven Himself enough, every day… often in unexpected ways.  I am learning to relax, say thank you for my bread, and enjoy it with my God.

 “Two things I ask of you, LORD; 
   do not refuse me before I die: 
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; 
   give me neither poverty nor riches, 
   but give me only my daily bread. 
 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you 
   and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ 
Or I may become poor and steal, 
   and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Proverbs 30:7-9