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God is moving, can you see it?
August 3, 2012 7:37 am
Published in: Uncategorized

(n.) The interior of the country

Mo with the giant rosemary bush

Mo (my best and oldest friend from Montana) and I got to go “up-country” a few weeks ago.  Kenyans that live in the city generally claim a different area of origin besides Nairobi.  It might be where their family originally comes from or where they were born.  During holidays the city practically clears out as urban Kenyans return to their “up-country” homes and relatives.  The setting is typically more rural, more basic, and often times more beautiful.  We had the privilege to escape the pollution and noise for 3 days, and get back to basics.

The place: the outskirts of Rurii (central Kenya)

The people: Samuel and Esther Ngarachu, Mo’s Kenyan host parents in 2008

The Ngarachus

Let me tell you, it is sure different from the city!  Better yet, let me show you…

My car after a two mile stretch of very muddy road

The rooster's final moments of life 🙁

The bloody aftermath... dinner.

Plucking the feathers off of our dinner

plucked, washed, and ready to chop up and cook

up-country stove

good morning nature

The garden in the morning

sweet pea flowers

Mo in the maize

dew on a spider trail

The Ngarachu's front yard and gate at sunrise

Bucket baths and squatty-potties, at least there was toilet paper!

All brothers!

A friend showing us his tree tomatoes, yum!

Ninja training with Mo

Esther washing fresh spinach from her garden

A curious neighbor girl coming to check out the two white ladies

Hard-working hands

Peaceful sunlit morning in the country

Brilliant starry skies at night, golden misty bird-song filled mornings.  Fresh produce, curious children, warm and welcoming neighbors, water from a hand-crank well, hospitality and endless cups of chai tea, miles of rolling farm land as far as the eye can see.  Yep, up-country was refreshing.  But more than that it was a re-centering, back to basics, re-prioritizing time.  Once in a while, you just have to escape to the country… or to the up-country.

 

 “Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature.”
-William Cowper

July 27, 2012 2:45 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: ,

Thankful.  That’s how I’m feeling.

Thankful that God knows what I need.  I’m talking beyond food, water, and shelter… He knows what my heart needs.  This month it was refreshment, and it came in the form of familiar and dear faces.

Mo, Dar, and Candice, wonderful friends reunited in Africa!

Not just one friend, not even simply two… but THREE of my beloved gal-pals made the trek to Kenya, and I was lucky enough to soak up some laugh-filled days with them.

Mo exploring Kitengela, Kenya

On the bridge to Kitengela Glass, don't look down!

Maureen is my oldest friend from home in Montana.  We first met eachother on the playground in 2nd grade.  She was part of the reason I came to Kenya in 2009.  She had gone to Africa the summer previously and told me I should really consider going.  I couldn’t be more grateful for her nudge out the door.

Dar & Mo, the brunettes!

Darnell and I had the priviledge of venturing around Kenya in 2009, and staying together in Korogocho slum with a wonderful Kenyan host family for three weeks.  There is something about killing cockroaches, learning how to make Kenyan food, sitting through 3 hour church services, and leaping over sewage rivers in the slums that turns new friends into sisters.  I can’t believe we got to revisit that place again 3 years later, thanks Dar!

Dar & I with our host parents in 2009

Darnell with the camels in Kitengela, Kenya

Currently, Darnell is living in Italy with her husband James.  She sent me a message a few weeks ago asking if she could come down and see me before she and James moved back to the states.  DUH.  We had a great time running around Kenya, laughing at old stories and seeing old friends.

Candice and Mo in Kitengela, Kenya

Candice

I met Candice on the 2009 Kenya trip as well.  I have never known somebody who emanates so much grace.  Candice is that rare person who makes you feel instantly calm, understood, and loved.  She is a treasure, and I’m so blessed to have had a few days with her.  She is off to Dallas Theological Seminary to study counseling this fall, I can’t think of a better career fit for this big-hearted gal.

Boat ride on Lake Naivasha

Brownies, games, and Jane Austen!

smooch!

Sunrise on Lake Naivasha

We adventured all around Kenya, recounting old memories and make new ones along the way.  There is nothing like a taste of home.  There is nothing like friends that know you.  This month was balm to my soul and food for my heart, it was so, so, SO good.  Mo is here for a couple more weeks, and it feels like time is whipping by like the wind.  My prayer is to stay present and savor.

 

Your Father

knows what you need before

you ask him.

Matthew 6:8

 

June 4, 2012 6:57 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been in my head a lot lately.

You know the feeling, when you realize you’ve been sitting in the same position for a long time, staring at the same spot on the wall, just thinking.  I’ve had some incredible experiences lately that have caused me to retreat into the recesses of my brain (and heart) and mull.  I’ve had a chance to go through photographs of the last month, and it has only deepened my “head time.”  Oh how I love photography.  The fraction of a second snapped with a camera has the ability to rocket me back to a time and a place, helping me remember.

These photos are my visual breadcrumbs, they are significant marks on a path of memory that I can follow through the woods of my mind.  They leave a trail, reminding me of where I’ve been.  Whoa, did I just get a little “heady” there?!  Sorry, that’s just how it’s been lately.  Here are some of my latest “crumbs”…

I had my first guests!  After six months without a familiar (Montana) face, my heart nearly exploded with joy at the sight of these people.  We ventured around Kenya, and went to many places that had an impact on me in 2009 when I first came to Kenya.  The second time around is always different than the first, but sometimes even more meaningful.

Lots of laughs with Joanna, Yasmin, and Holly

Revisiting Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, home to more than 500,000

Spending time with my dear Kenyan host family in Korogocho slum, Nairobi

Get-away with my girls on Lake Naivasha, complete with several hippo encounters!

In early April I had the privilege to experience a different area of Kenya, outside of the bustling epicenter of Nairobi.  The media team and I traversed eight hours north to a place called Maralal.  It’s an arid, scrubby land where the sun shines hot on the baked earth, and all the plants seem to have thorns.  The Samburu people call this area home.  They are tall, lanky herders (goats, sheep, and camels) with friendly, warm spirits, sun-weathered skin and broad smiles.  Oh, and they like beads… a lot.

Samburu mama and her chicken

Samburu kiddos

I was struck and inspired by one Samburu, a young pastor named Peter.  A warrior turned multi-church pastor, Peter left his tribe to get an education, and unlike so many, he returned to be with his people afterwards.  He rides his bicycle for miles and miles every week between his four churches (one of which is under a tree).  I’ve never met someone with such a heart of joy and passion.  His fire inspired us all.

Pastor Peter on his bike near one of the first churches planted in the area

Little Samburu girl at church

Chai tea and hospitality at Pastor Peter's house

After my mini-adventure to northern Kenya, I boarded a plane bound even farther north.   North Africa.  Little did I know what was waiting for me… a whole new world.  I went to see what that world looked like, felt like, tasted like, smelled like; I went to broaden my knowledge of what and who makes up this crazy continent of Africa.  I went to see my dear friends who labor in love there.  I went so my heart could begin to understand.  Head coverings, mosques, Arabic, the call to prayer… It is a place unlike anything I had ever experienced.

Fabrics for sale in the market

Canyon walls

Exploring local crops by the river

Breakfast with friends

Oasis town

Fragrant tea blend of rose hips, chamomile and mint

Camel trekking

Honeydew is best shared with friends

Fresh orange juice!

Climbing dunes to watch the sunset

A couple braves the rocks to watch the ocean

Spices galore!

Thread baskets

Toasting adventure with saffron mint tea and dear friends

Now, I know how to pray.  Now, I have breadcrumbs to remind me of all I saw, heard, tasted, and felt.  Now, I can’t pretend that I haven’t seen this world, this beautiful and vibrant yet hard, heavy, and dark world.  Now, I can’t ignore it… now I press into it.  Now, I bear witness of my experience.  I feel a bit like Paul, who was knocked clean off his horse on a road to another place, and made to see.  Afterwards God told him this…

Now get up and stand on your feet.

I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness

of what you have seen and will see of me…”

Acts 26:16

Paul rises, taking with him what he has seen, and walks forward into God’s promise… that he, Paul, will see more of God.  I am responsible to bear witness to everyplace God leads me.  Now, what do I do with what I’ve seen?  That’s why I’ve been in my head, I can’t just walk away from this one.  God has planted some curious seeds in me, and I’m giving them time and room to grow.

I only have one life to pour out, and I want to make it a beautiful offering, a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice to my God.  I will not lay before Him a life that was easy, nor one that cost me nothing.

What can I say?

What can I do?

But offer this heart, O God, completely to you.

 

April 18, 2012 11:12 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I grew up in Montana. Beautiful, wild, wonderful Montana.  Rivers, mountains, valleys, wide open spaces, and fresh clean air.

Thus moving to the busy, crowded, dirty, loud city of Nairobi, Kenya has proved to be quite the transition.  Enter the grace of God.  It is only through His goodness that I have been able to adapt to this place and enjoy it too.  Never the less, some city escapes are required for former country girls to stay sane.  Good thing Kenya boasts endless opportunities for recreation and exploration!

On Good Friday, some friends and I decided to take advantage a particularly close attraction, Mount Longonot.  The mountain is actually a dormant volcano in the floor of the Great Rift Valley.  The top blew off a long time ago, leaving a vast crater.  It’s a good hardy day hike, especially if you decided to go all the way around the crater after you summit the rim.  If you find yourself with the chance to hike Mt. L, do it, the whole thing, totally worth it!

 

My "partners in climb" haha... Naomi and Jenny

 

We kept a keen eye out for wildlife and were rewarded with sightings of giraffe, zebra and lizards! No cape buffalo, thank goodness!

 

Our TINY chameleon friend, found on the trail.

 

Allllllmost to the top!

 

The crater! A huge forest is at the bottom, and I'm almost certain that it is full of dinosaurs and strange beasts!

 

Making the loop around the rim of the crater with Lake Naivasha in the distance.

 

Feelin' strong at the top of the peak on the far side of the rim! Whew!

 

Thorns everywhere! What a reminder of Christ and His suffering on Good Friday.

 

A great day with great ladies!

 

March 30, 2012 6:35 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I just turned 24… in Africa.  Crazy.

This was my first birthday away from home, and to be honest I was anxious about it.  A few weeks earlier, the first major pangs of homesickness started to hit.  I was sitting on a friend’s porch when I called my sister to wish her a happy 30th birthday.  She answered and I could hear the lively cacophony of a busy restaurant in the background; laughter, music, the clink of dishes and silverware.  Then I heard several variations of “Bess?”, “Is that her?”, “In Africa?!” “Hi Bess!!”… my parents and all of her friends shouted their hellos from the table.  It was a quick sweet call.  A few days afterward I opened my inbox and found photos from my mom from their trip to see Hannah and celebrate her birthday.

My beautiful sister Hannah in Portland, OR

It was so good to see, but I also felt really far away.  I felt like I missed out.

We always celebrate my birthday with a party at my folks house in Montana.  I like parties, the bigger the better.  And I really like people, the more the merrier.  I’ve been called a “Birthday Diva”, and that’s ok because it’s true… I LOVE birthdays, especially my own.  March 21st is the first day of spring, the official turn of bitter winter to the season of new life.  This date can be tricky in Montana though, winter can still be holding on, or the snow may have yielded to sunshine and new buds.  We always pray for sun.  My dad lights the charcoal grill, and we pack the house with friends.  Everyone talks, eats, and laughs into the night.  Sometimes a friend will bring an instrument and bless us with music as the light fades.  It’s my kind of celebration.

But what would that look like here in Kenya?!  I’ve only been here for six months, I don’t have a grill, and I don’t have my family or any of my old friends from home here with me.  I found myself longing for home, for my familiar, for my birthday tradition.

Cue the family of God.  I woke up on the morning of the 21st to an invitation to coffee from my sweet friend Sharday.  Upon opening my front door, I found streamers and signs from my incredible neighbors!

Please notice the drawing of my cat jumping over my car! Thanks Silas, Micaiah, and Allison!

They snuck over and put them on without me noticing!  Such a great surprise.  After coffee I walked into the office to even more streamers, treats and love from more neighbors!

My decorated office, yay!

After a great skype call (and dance) with my best friend Mo in Seattle, my co-workers and neighbors then took me out to lunch (Chinese, yep they have Chinese food here!).  Afterwards my friend Jenny called and asked me to dessert!

Fruit tart and blueberry cake with Jenny... before and after.

After a food-coma induced nap, I walked over to my neighbors (The wonderful Levander family) for dinner!  They went all out with deep dish pizza and boston creme pie with sprinkles!

Silas and Micaiah, my birthday ninjas!

Heart, and stomach full, I logged onto skype and chatted with my brother Sam in Chile, my sister in Oregon, and my parents in Montana.  Hearing those familiar dear voices from home was just what I needed to cap off a very good day.  I felt so much love, even from across the world.  But the fun was far from over.  On weekend, a few friends and I went to the elephant orphange just outside of Nairobi and got to see those pachyderms up close and personal… so wrinkly!

Elephants after their mud-bath

Afterwards it was time for a… BBQ!  My favorite!  A bunch of friends came over with, an old-school grill showed up, and we started cooking, eating and enjoying the evening.

The men, doing what men do...

Cake and singing... just before the attack!

The night concluded with a fair bit of mischief, in-which I was pelted with water-balloons to honor my “bath-day”.  Apparently it is a Kenyan tradition to throw water onto the b-day person to “wash” them for their new year.  If you look close you can see a little yellow piece of water balloon stuck to my shirt… I’ll get you guys back!

These trouble makers made sure I got soaked! My Kenyan brothers: Phil, Ezekiel, and Jacktone

A fun, soggy time was had by all.  Thanks friends, new and old, state-side and Africa-side, for making my birthday really really great!

 

 

February 18, 2012 4:26 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , ,

But not just a still, quiet peace…

Contained within shalom is a tapestry of meaning.  Threads of safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, rest, harmony, and the absence of discord are woven together into completeness, wholeness, and fullness.  The result of shalom is enemies reconciling, injustice disappearing, wounds healing, fears ebbing away and communities being restored.  It is a loaded, rich peace.

Shalom is not the sort of thing typically associated with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dusty streets of Bunia, DRC

Instead war, rape, poverty, violence, tribalism, disease, injustice, and unrest are lashed together into a crude picture that represents the Congo in many of our minds.  True, these things have taken place in the Congo, and sadly are still happening to this day.

But there are also echoes of shalom, unexpected patches of peace, sparks of deep love and joy… like the millions of bright pricks of light in the dark night sky.

Sunset in Bunia, DRC

The media team and I went to the DRC to see just what God was up to in swiftly growing school called Shalom University.

Flying over Lake Victoria

The campus is located in a rough town in north-east DRC called Bunia.  It is a place of dust, razor wire, and UN troops.  This city has seen a lot.  These people have been through more turmoil than I will ever know.  War, tribal strife, mass looting… the list of unspeakable hardship goes on and on.  During one of the conflicts, the school became home to more than 1500 refugees, holed-up in classrooms, offices, and the chapel.  Miraculously, the school remained unlooted and on the whole, undamaged by rebels and troops.  The same could not be said for the rest of the town.  Now Shalom University is growing exponentially; nearly 900 students are flooding the campus.  We went to tell this story, to see how shalom is catching fire, and to witness it spreading.

Professor Witmer walks through campus

God is up to something in the Congo.  Something big, something beautiful… He is urging His children in the DRC to spread shalom, to be peace-makers.  He is using this school in Bunia to send out solid, servant-hearted leaders into the Congo.  Into business, into agriculture, into ministry… they are bringing sparks of change, and becoming ambassadors of peace.

There is evidence of shalom here, the fingerprint of the Creator of peace is all over this place. It is on the faces of sweet light-hearted children, in the melodies of Congolese choirs practicing at dusk, within tight community gatherings, upon the eager minds of the students as they soak up knowledge, and resting on the distant mountains, hazy and glowing orange in the setting sun.

Light will always overcome darkness.  Always.  I am so grateful to have seen a slice of Congo.  True, it is a tough place.  But it is also a place of surprising beauty, full of people that God’s heart burns for. I pray that one day I will see more of this country… and witness just how deeply peace can take root.

Congolese mama and her children

Bananas at the market

Waiting to mud the chicken coop

Dried fish, yum.

Market ladies, selling everything from peppers to nail polish

Community water tank

Sorting beans for dinner

Before church

Camera v. Camera

Outside of a rural church

Sweet girls living in campus housing

Sugarcane snack

Campus housing at dusk, three families to a building

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;

then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18

 

January 5, 2012 8:11 am
Published in: Uncategorized

“Sometimes you get tired, but the joy remains,” said Elicah as she reclined on the couch and closed her eyes.  Insects filled the night with their symphony, and the last dregs of black tea floated in our mugs.  I had asked her what it is like to be “Mama” to so many, including me.  Never have I met a woman with a more joyful, servant’s heart.  Every year new daughters from America, and sons from the slums of Kenya come into her fold… there is always room for more.  I have a lot to learn about love  and servanthood from Elicah Wetindi.

Tired but joyful.  I would say that perfectly sums up my December.

Tana and I shared an adventuresome roadtrip to visit nearly 100 rural Kenyan kids in the hills of Machakos, where we planted trees together, danced, sang and prayed with nearly 100 children.  Priceless.

On-Field Media took a field trip to the mountains of Kijabe, Kenya to do some filming.  I and three families (+kids) hiked into some hotsprings and gathered footage for a film we are working on.  Monkey calls, a distant waterfall, and views of the Great Rift Valley far below…not bad for a day at the office!

Christmas came swiftly, but thanks to 80+ degree weather, incredibly caring neighbors, and a healthy dose of Christmas cookies, I didn’t find myself feeling too terribly homesick.  I was able to spend Christmas Eve caroling with all my neighbors in a packed joy-filled living room.  I then was invited to sleep over with a wonderful missionary family, and woke up to giggles of delight from their two small sons as they ran downstairs on Christmas morning.  The beauty of Jesus was magnified this season, and I sat back an marveled at the gift.

I found myself the recipient of incredible generosity once more on the day after Christmas.  My Kenyan host family from 2009, the Wetindi’s, invited me to stay at their “upcountry” home in RURAL western Kenya.  Kenyans who live in the city often have a rural home where they were raised/where extended family remains.  During the holidays the city practically empties as Kenyans head “upcountry.”  Lugari is a place where the day seems to slide by slowly, where maize grows high, red dirt roads stretch ever long through fields, and there is always one more cup of tea to be had.  7 hours on a bus, 1 hour on a mini bus, and 1 hour on a piki (motorcycle) will get you there in time for the sun to set.  For five days I enjoyed long walks, fresh produce, meat, and milk, no running water, gorgeous countryside, curious kids shrieking “mzungu!!” (white person!), star-filled night skies, and fresh clean air.  Every night found me collapsing into bed, completely exhausted but heart full to the brim.

Thank you Tana, team mates, neighbors, and Wetindi family & friends for making December truly incredible.

Planting a tree in Machakos, Kenya

Kijabe, Kenya

Tea time!  Kenyan chai = black tea, whole milk, and sugar

Elicah Wetindi, aka my Kenyan Mama. Lugari, Kenya

Obed and Joseph. Lugari, Kenya

Joab brought us fresh bananas from the river. Lugari, Kenya

1, 2, 3 kiddos on a bike

Joseph, Nico, David, Joab, Rozy,and  Benard sharing a funny moment.  Good people, wonderful friends.

Apparently I looked strange, haha.

Tree farmer & family. Lugari, Kenya

Walking home before the rain. Lugari, Kenya

Joyful friend Joab. Lugari, Kenya

Gathering wood by the river. Lugari, Kenya

Roy, neighborhood kids and grain for porridge

Nightfall in Lugari, Kenya

Piga Picha (can I take your photo)?  All smiles.

So young, so strong

Roasted maize under the stars. Delicious. Lugari, Kenya

Sunrise in Lugari, Kenya.

December 19, 2011 11:41 pm
Published in: On the Field Tags: ,

I’ve been feeling thankfulness well up in great springs lately.  It’s overflowing actually.  I’m sitting here in my little apartment on a Sunday evening, tea in hand, just thinking about how well I have been taken care of.

I have a home with windows, doors, a bed and a proper toilet.  I have running water AND electricity.  I have trees and flowers right outside.  I have neighbors who know my name, and even want to know my story.  They invite me over for home cooked meals AND send me home with Christmas decorations to put up in my place.  I even have a cat.

I work with people who are so passionate about seeing others come to know the love of God, that they left everything easy and familiar, and came to this foreign land.  To Africa.

Living here is hard.  It just is.  The power went out for 12 hours yesterday, I still can’t figure out where all those ants are coming from, and the crappiest blender here cost me $42.  I keep stumbling over simple Swahili with the gate-guards, cab drivers, new friends, waiters, my host family, anyone Kenyan really.  I always have a nagging sense of being seen as a walking $ sign, which is confirmed by the street kids who follow me to the grocery store asking for money/candy/my shoes/anything they can get.  Last weekend I had to say goodbye to one of my closest friends out here before she walked into the airport to catch her flight back to the States.  And to top off my pity party… Christmas is only week and I will be an ocean and several time zones away from my family for the first time.  Yeah, it’s hard.

But it is also surprisingly beautiful.   Shaking your fist at traffic on a busy highway leading out of Nairobi only to look to your left and see 11 giraffes just munching on acacia trees. Being the only single 20-something at a salad-potluck (with just lame carrot sticks to offer), only to be embraced, included, and loved.   Running through the rain in downtown Nairobi with a Kenyan friend, and not being able to describe why you can’t stop laughing and why you don’t care that your shoes are soaked. Tagging along on a random road trip, and finding yourself on a red dirt road in the middle of nowhere watching nearly 100 rural Kenyan kids running toward you, screaming and giggling. Holding hands with women who had served long, tough years in creative-access nations far away, where they couldn’t even breathe the name of Jesus, and watching them cry as they were able to freely and loudly sing O Holy Night in a safe living room.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

count your and see what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings name them one by one

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

We sang that song in church today.  It was hot, 80 degrees in December, and the building was overflowing with hundreds of dancing, praising Kenyans.  Swaying shoulder to shoulder with them, I wondered why I got to be there too.  Small town, middle class, 5’5”, 23 year old, Caucasian-as-they-come Bess Brownlee… sweating, singing and dancing in a huge African church.  Why do I get to live this story?

 

Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup

You have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

I don’t know why I get this opportunity, but I do know that I could never say thank you enough times.  It is a privilege to be here.  Even when street cats fighting outside my window again, and my tap water comes out slightly brown.  Thank you for this life Lord, help me not to waste it.

 

 

Merry Christmas everyone, I love you and miss you very very very much.

 

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