Friday, November 20, 2009

Nkhoma and the village!

Hey everyone! Thought it was about time for an update :) Josh is gone for the weekend to Nkhoma with the highschoolers from the academy. I'm pretty sure Nkhoma is the name of the mountain but it could also be the area. They went to hike and camp and have a "revivial" type thing. I was going to go but backed out...camping AND hiking in one weekend is just a little too much for me! ha. Josh and some of the guys on campus went last weekend and carried a bunch of stuff up there (water, wood, etc) so the kids would'nt have to. They still had to carry a bunch of food and stuff this time though. They left Friday after school and will get back Sunday. Please pray that they will have a fun and above all SAFE trip! I'll let you know how it went :)

So while Josh is gone I'm just here by myself for the weekend! Actually today I am going to this village for the second weekend in a row. I believe the village is called Sensa. About a month ago some of the newer missionaries on campus got involved with them. One of the students at ABC was asked to come and preach there and asked if a few of the campus girls would like to come along. I came the third week they went. It is pretty much as "villagy" as it gets! ha. The Chief is a new Christian of about 2 months. Even being that "new", he has already kicked the "guli wam culu" out of the village. The "gulis" are religious type leaders in the villages. I'm not exactly sure what they believe but they are NOT Christian by any means. The villagers are scared of them because they can cast spells and do witchcraft. So it's really good that he is now gone! But the village also practices polygamy. Last week when we went I saw about 15 women and like 6 or 7 men...and literally 80 children (I counted!). So they've got a ways to go but it's so great the steps they're taking already! They have even put up the walls for a church :) We had fun though. We go and sing with the kids, then do a bible study and play a game. Even though we focus on the kids, pretty much the whole village comes out to see us. The first week the group from ABC went a few weeks ago was the first time many of the kids had ever seen white people. So they're very timid and curious. We are trying to find a way to help them learn to read Chichewa (none of them speak English) so that we can get them bibles. There are four bibles in the whole village but since very very few people can read, that doesn't do much. One of the students from ABC that goes with us, Culsuio (I have NO idea how to spell his name) is going on Fridays to give English lessons but they really need more than that. So we'll see what happens! Please pray for the people...that they would truly have a desire to learn to read so that they can further their education in Christ! Also, pray for us, that we would find ways to help these people learn how to read! And that we will know what to say while we're there. It's hard to know if you're being effective when they don't speak English and your speaking through a translator and don't really know the culture very well yet!

Besides that, we are still just teaching and counting down the weeks until Christmas break! ha. Four more :) We get a whole month off for Christmas here so that should be nice. And our house is pretty much infested with "chop chops" (these huge spiders with big choppers!). We've found like 6 in the past week. Luckily, our kitty Sunny loves to hunt, play with, and then eat them! So I guess as long as I keep him inside, it's not so bad :) I hope everyone is having a great holiday season back home!

Love,

Rebecca :)

P.S.: Please feel free to tell churches, friends and family about us and what we're doing here. We've been here for four months now and every month our support is getting lower and lower. We're okay as of now but it's getting a little scary to think what will happen if it keeps dropping at this rate! We really feel that we have a place here and want to do and be where God wants us. Thanks so much to all our donars for allowing us to have come this far!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

No more "weeks" and Reading Day!

Ok, I know it's been a while since I've blogged! We've been super busy with school and everything. We are still doing great though :) Busy, but great! I know I started out doing a "week by week" blog...but as the weeks have past, that's just not happening! ha. Plus, I'm starting to loose count of how long we've been here now. I think it's been right around 3 months though. It seems like we've been here for a year already. To think about living in our little house on Hobby Farms Rd. in Clinton, MS seems like ages ago! But we're having a good time, making lots of new friends, trying to follow God and influence in a positive way all of these kids we're with all day long.

I feel like I have finally gotten a "handle" on this teaching thing. Not that I'm good at it or know exactly what I'm doing but the routine of it is settling in. This weekend will be the first since we've been here that I won't have to go to my classroom on Saturday! I decided last weekend that from then on...NO more going up there on the weekends! The whole process of lesson planning and preparing is getting easier for both me and Josh. I think I enjoy teaching a bit more than Josh though...but hey, I get to practice letters and do art projects all day! I think Josh really just doesn't like the fact that even after school is over...he has to come home and grade papers, get things ready for the next day, work on lesson plans for the next week, etc. Just pray that he will stay encouraged and uplifted as we're here teaching for the next 9 months!

Last week at school ABC Christian Academy held its' annual Reading Day. The entire day was devoted to reading and/or reading activities and all the kids got to dress up as their favorite book character! I had SO many "princesses" in my class. I'm not too sure they were characters from a book though...I think they just used it as an excuse to dress like a princess at school! ha. They were adorable though. If any of you are familiar with the Twilight book series you know about Edward Cullen. That's who Josh dressed up as! I painted his hair brown and glued glitter all over his face, neck and arms and he wore some "sharp" clothes to school. :) He looked so cute! As for me, I was the tree from The Giving Tree. I always loved that book growing up and brought a copy of it here with me. I made a tree hat, wore brown, and held limbs in my hands all day. I really looked more like a pinnapple but whatever! ha. It was alot of fun...an exciting day for sure :)

As far as "daily living" goes...we have hired a house helper who comes every Tuesday and Thursday to help out around the house. Her name is Grace and she is AMAZING! I am going to be so spoiled when I come back home and can't afford one in the states. She's just a really sweet and grateful lady and never asks for anything. And she helps me out a TON. She does dishes, sweep and mops the floors, cleans the bathroom, does laundry, etc. It's great! We really love her. Her English isn't that great though so sometimes it's a little difficult to communicate. A change of subject that I just thought about...it's gotten really hot here lately. Not hot muggy like Mississippi, just hot. But without air conditioning it's a little annoying. We pretty much are clamy/sweaty from about 9:00 am-9:00pm. But we know there's nothing we can do about..that seems to help a little-since we know we can't fix it I guess we just think...oh well! If we were in the states and it was this hot at our house though...we'd be sleeping at our parents house! ha. It's probably good for us though. It has rained a couple times these past two weeks for about 10 mins each. It smelled so good! The rains typically come mid to late November. That will be nice. But even though it's not raining, somehow the trees and flowers are blooming. When we got here everything was BROWN, but now it's green. And it's only showered like 3 times in 3 months!

Well, I guess that's about all for now! I'll really try to be better at posting though. I hope I'm doing an ok job as far as what I'm writing about. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email or just leave a comment to this post and I'll answer you :) Thanks so much for everyones support, prayer, and commitment in our mission!! Keep us in your prayers, please :)

Love,

Rebecca :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 7

Hi everyone! Here are some pictures from Malawi!! Finally :) These are of our house and some of us out in town and at school:









That's all I can upload right now...the internet is SO slow, especially with uploading and downloading. Hopefully that gives some of you a bit of an idea of where we are! I'll add more later :)

So...I thought I would start this post with some fun facts about Malawi and living here that we've noticed so far! Here goes...

1) It's polite to honk your horn here
2) Don't expect people to follow any traffic rules...ignore the stop lights! (or robots as they say here). They are really more of a suggestion here than a rule anyway
3) It isn't rude to ask someone for money...even if you don't know them very well
4) You don't have to pump your own gas here!!! They do it for you :)
5) When I go to the market...there are people who will watch my car for me (watchmen) and people who will follow me around and carry my bags for me (bag boys)...for a small fee of course. But it's very convenient and a great way to help people out! :)
6) In the stores, sometimes they will have coke, sprite, and all flavors of fanta (fanta is like their coke here)....and then another day have NO carbonated drinks at all
7) It's not uncommon to be out in town, have someone point at you, say something in Chichewa, and laugh, haha.
8) Children here...especially outside the city LOVE Azungus! Or white people haha. They smile and laugh and want to touch you.....and of course yell, "Azungu! Azungu!" ha.
9) Lizards and geckos become a part of daily life...I don't even think anything when I see one running across my kitchen counter anymore
10) Our water and power go out at random times. I haven't been one of the unlucky people who were in the shower with shampoo in their hair when the water went out yet....and hope I never have to be!

Josh and I are both doing very well here and are adjusting fine. I really haven't been homesick at all. Alot of people have though...maybe that will just come later for us. Or maybe we'll never be homesick!

School is beginning to go much smoother for both of us. Though not really EASY....it's definitely less stressful than the first couple of weeks. We are learning to prioritize and organize our time :)
Josh has become pretty involved on campus. Apart from teaching, coaching soccer, and helping out with band, he is also the "sound man" for both chapel sessions (or any other formal "meeting") at the academy. He will also be helping Kelly Dehnert at the college with recording in the music department! He is very excited about that. I think he starts helping next week. If that wasn't enough to be doing already, he plays basketball two nights a week and goes to the other Christian school in the area (Bishop Mackenzie), to play ultimate frisbee once a week. I am so very proud of how well he has adapted here and the responsibilities he has taken on! :)

My load is a good bit lighter...ha. I have continued to go to Chitipi orphanage on Fridays which is something I have really come to look forward to each week. I just love the kids! They are so thankful and greatful for what they have. And they love when we come and play with them. I am beginning to learn their names and get to know them. Hopefully I can become someone they can really talk to and rely on for any type of support. Their worries as 10 year olds make me feel so guilty sometimes about the things that worry me. Most of the kids are able to go to school...but some are not. You have to take an "exam" to get into highschool here and there is one girl, Chimwewe, who was real down last week about her exam. She was nervous she wouldn't pass and not be able to go to school. Whereas when I was growing up I HAD to go to school....there wasn't a choice not to. The orphanage is a Christian facility run and supported by COTN (Children of the Nation) and they all seem to have been exposed at least a little to the bible. We all just go and spend time with them and hope that we influence them in a good, "God-like" way. I will keep you posted about how it is going every week :)

I have also been to the Crisis Nursery a few times now. For those of you who don't know...the Crisis Nursery is a "santuary" for babies 2 and under whoes parents have died of AIDS, malaria, etc. Or for malnurished babies whoes families can't afford or aren't able to take care of them. I go and just hold the babies and play with them. It's a really great mission...but it is really really sad to go. Some of the babies have AIDS and others won't make it due to malnourishment. It just makes you want to take them all home! But we enjoy going. And we can help the "mothers" with feedings, etc. while we're there.

We are still "church hopping" at the moment but want to settle down somewhere soon so we can get involved there as well. There are still a couple places we want to try. We can't decide if we want to go to a "missionary" church or a more rural village type church. We'll see! Just pray that we will be directed to the right one...and that BOTH of us will choose the same one ha :)

Please pray the God will continue to give us strength and energy as we are here in Malawi. Sometimes it is hard to be optimistic because of how bad everything is. But we are trying to keep our spirits up and continue to teach and minister to our students!! Hope everyone is having a great week!

Love,

Rebecca :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weeks 4, 5, and 6!

Hey everyone! I'm so so so sorry I haven't blogged in almost 3 weeks! We have really been super busy since school started and this past week we didn't have internet.

So, lets back up to almost three weeks ago! The first week of school for both me and Josh was a little hectic. For one, we have never taught so even the thought of a lesson plan was overwhelming! Teachers do alot more "prep work" than I ever realized (even a four year old kindergarten teacher). But especially a first year middle school teacher who is teaching FOUR different classes/subjects. Josh really has a heavy load as far as school work goes. And many of his afternoons are spent helping out with sports teams at the academy so he does most of his planning and grading at nights and on weekends. YUCK! haha...but he does have a helper :)

The second week of school we started our "afternoon activities" which we are required to spend 2 hours a week doing. I had my first ballet class two tuesdays ago. It's really fun! The kids are 3, 4, and 5 so they are pretty young. It can be a bit stressful going from 5 hours with 17 four year olds to an hour with 12 3, 4, and 5 year olds though! I don't think I've ever talked as much as I have in the past three weeks. I say EVERYTHING at least three times haha. But they are so sweet and cute and to see them enjoying an activity I've prepared for them or to hear them say, "I love you Mrs. Harper!", makes it all worth while :) And it's pretty amazing to be able to watch them learn their letters for the first time and begin to put letter names with sounds. We are just working with vowels right now so it will be neat to start consonants and have the kids start "blending" sounds...ba be bi bo bu, etc.

My other afternoon activity I committed to was going to Chitipi orphanage every Friday to hang out and play with the kids! There are three teachers from the academy that go and lead it every week including myself. Also, about 5 or 6 academy students 11 years and up go with us to help minister to the kids. I plan the art and craft acitvity every week. Our theme this year is the "fruit of the spirit" so most of our activities and games have to do with fruit, love, joy, goodness, patience, self control, etc. There are about 36 kids at Chitipi. They are all so happy! Even though they have next to nothing they are always smiling and eager to interact and play with us. It's really great...after a long day at school on a Friday they really give me a new energy and uplift me! I look forward to going every week :)

Josh has been coaching the middle school soccer team. I think he is enjoying it! He asked our sports coordinator if he could get an assistant though because of the amount of kids. There are about 25 kids and he's been the only coach. A team played a game today with another Christian school in the area (Bishop Mackenzie Baptist) and Josh coached that. He was really good! He was getting into it and giving the kids tips as they played. This game was between kids ages 5-9 and they pretty much just all followed the ball wherever it went haha. But they were cute!

Josh is also helping out with band which he is enjoying as well. It's a small "random" band. The only pre-requisite is that you play an instrument. There are only about 6 or 7 kids that take it...but Josh plays pretty much any instrument so he can for sure help out there! There was a little Korean girl who plays piano that speaks NO English that he worked with this past week. I don't know if any of you "blog followers" have ever worked with people that speak no English and you don't speack their language....but it's difficult! I have a little Korean boy in my class and it's so hard to communicate when they know NO English at all. It's really a challange...but a rewarding one when you see them start to pick up on words your saying. We were both surprised by how many Korean students go to school hear at the academy.

We are still "church hopping" at the moment but hope to settle down somewhere soon. We have been to several different churches which have been ok. We'll just have to wait and see! Last week we were going to go to a village church with the McDonald's but I got sick :( I want to try one of those though! Maybe if we went to a village church every Sunday we would learn Chichewa faster. We are trying but it just sounds like mumbo jumbo when they speak it. My teaching assistant, Mr. Gray, has been helping me out with a few simple phrases but it's difficult! We really want to learn it though.

We really appreciate everyone's support and prayers! I hope in the next week I can do another post and talk about more that is going on! To sit down and try to catch people up on over three weeks of "happenings" is overwhelming! haha. I need to make a list of most important things or something :) I hope everyone is having a great week! I will try and upload some pictures of our house and the city this weekend.

Love,

Rebecca

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week #3

After our third week here in Malawi, I think we are both starting to get into some sort of a "routine". We no longer feel like we are on a mission trip or vacation! It is beginning to feel like home :)

We started school at the ABC Christian Academy Monday! :) The first day was only 2 hours long and one of those hours was spent in assembly so we basically just got to meet our students. My four year olds are SO cute! The first time I met one of my little girl students she looked up at me and said, "You gotta help me out with this school thing!" haha. Today was the first "real" day of school; from 7:15-12:00 for me and 7:15-1:10 for Josh. We start early! But we get out early too which is nice. We've just got to get used to planning and writing lesson plans! Which we just learned how to do. But we're both excited about this year.

All academy teachers who don't have children are required to sign up for 2 hours a week of afterschool activites. Josh will be coaching highschool soccor (or footbal here!) and helping out with band. I will be teaching 3 and 4 year old ballet and going to Chitipi orphanage once a week to play with the kids. We start are afterschool activites next week and can't wait!

After three weeks of living here...I can finally drive a standard car on the wrong side of the road! I tried several times the first week we were here with no success so Josh had to constantly drive me around everywhere. Which wasn't really a problem unless he was gone and I needed to go somewhere. Anyway, I can do it myself now!! :) Like I've said before, food here is very expensive..we buy all of our fruits and veges from the market (which is very cheap!). I can buy a large bundle of bananas for $1.10. But a pack of chicken breasts from the grocery store is $9 and a small block of cheese is $6-$9. And we love cheese and meat!! haha. I love going to the market to shop. Everyone is very nice (probably because they want you to buy their stuff!) and friendly. It's fun to bargain with the venders to get a good price. Alot of times they will give you a high first price because they think, because we're white, we are tourists who don't know what a reasonable price for something is. But we've been told :) I just like getting out in the town!

There is much poverty in Lilongwe and all of Malawi. I have found a man who makes pretty much anything from Chitinge, (I think that's how you spell it?) a material the women use for skirts or to tie their babies onto their backs. His name is Charles and his tailoring is his only source of income. He has several daughters and one is sick. We were encouraged by another missionary to use him 1. because the stuff he makes is really pretty and 2. because he really needs the money. And to us it is so cheap to use him! He is a very sweet man and has already made several things for us. He even made me curtains! He only charged $12 for labor! (people work for so cheap here). I just had to buy the chitinge (which is also very cheap!). I call him and he comes to my house on his bike with all of his "goodies". He makes wallets, purses, aprons, curtains, etc. He could probably make anything. We feel like he is another avenue we can use to try and do some good here in Malawi!

As we are getting settled into our new life, we don't forget why we are here. We came here because we felt God's calling to teach here. Teaching is our main focus right now. Though we definitely plan on getting involved out in the community, teaching is our #1 job while we're here. We want to not only teach these kids but to influence them in a positive way. We want to get involved in their lives and be good Christian support figures to them. We hope that we can help them academically, personally, and spiritually over this next year. We want to thank all of our supporters again because, without you, we wouldn't even be here!! Thank you for putting your faith in God, knowing that it was Him who put us here (and for a reason only He knows!). Well, I better be off to bed! Have to wake up at FIVE THIRTY!! I'm going to have to get used to this haha. Thanks again everyone for following our blog :)

Love,

Rebecca

Well, I better be off to bed! Have to get up at FIVE THIRTY tomorrow....this will take some getting used to haha.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week #2

We've been in Malawi exactly two weeks today! This past week has actually been a little slow. Still getting our classrooms and lesson plans ready for school. My classroom is pretty much finished now. Mr. Gray (my assistant) and I will clean and straighten everything up tomorrow and should be ready to go! Josh didn't really have all that much decorating to do with his classes. Just lesson plans and organizing. He is almost done also. We are both very ready for school to start!! (but a little nervous as well)

This week is orientation week for new missionaries. Tuesday we will meet in the morning and go over the history of ABC (which I know all too well from working at the office!! ha), a seminar about staying healthy in Malawi, a seminar about African culture, and then an ABC student lead scavenger hunt around Lilongwe! Wednesday we are going to Dedza for the day! It's a a really nice quaint little "area" ( I don't really know what you would call it). It has a nice restaurant and a pottery making factory that has TONS of cute stuff! Sam McDonald (our host family) and Kelly Dehnert are taking us for a Q and A type thing. Then Thursday will be for all academy teachers...a teacher orientation. We will be going over the handbook and everything. And Friday is free..then school starts Monday!!

Today Josh and I asked our gardener, Happy, where we could find charcoal to grill with. He took us to his village (in our car cause the bag of charcoal is HUGE) and got the charcoal and showed us his house :) There were so many little kids at the village and they were so cute! They all (and I'm talking like at least 30 kids) were following us around and shouting "Azungu, Azungu!" which means white person haha. Happy said he will teach us Chichewa if we want! Then maybe next time I can acutally TALK to the kids. They had no idea what we were saying and pretty much laughed at everything we said. They wanted to hold our hands and touch us. They were so sweet and funny. I can't wait to go back!

I think we are adjusting well here. The hardest thing for us has been cooking ha. We didn't do all that much of it in the states...hamburger helper, spaghetti with Prego, etc. Here, it's all from scratch! Yuck! But it's becoming kind of a fun challenge to find good things to make and stuff. It will take some getting used to but if thats our biggest complaint so far...we're not complaining! ha.

Josh and I were both sick with a kind of "Malawi stomach" bug this past week. It's going around on campus and was NO fun at all! Josh's only last for about 30 hours...today is day five for me and is the first day I feel 100%. Glad it's over. Hopefully now we have some sort of amunity built up for next time!

We are still just getting started on our journey here and can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the next year! I plan to go to the crisis nursery as soon as I'm positive my "stomach bug" is all the way gone. And I want to go back to the village ASAP. I was kind of feeling discouraged this past week when I was sick...but going and seeing those kids today reminded me why we're here and really gave me a new excitement of whats to come! We pick out our after school activities this week so I'll let everyone know what we've chosen soon. I think Josh is doing soccer and I'm doing ballet but were not sure yet. I hope Josh gets to do soccer :) I know he'd have fun with that! Well...we are going to go and try to grill with this "charcoal" we got today! Wish us luck and God bless!

Love,

Rebecca

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week #1

So...this is our 6th day here in Malawi and we are really enjoying it! :) Here's a little insight into this last week:

The ride over here was very long. We got up at 5:00 am Saturday morning and drove to New Orleans. From there we flew to D.C. then from D.C. to Johannesburg, where we spent the night at a really nice bed and breakfast. Then Monday morning we went back to the airport and boarded our final flight to Lilongwe, Malawi! When we got here, 6 of our 10 pieces of luggage were missing...so we took what we had and went to see our new home :) I have taken pictures of our new duplex but can't find the adapter thing to upload them with, but I will keep looking. It's really cute! We have a nice yard and a gardener! Everyone living on the African Bible Colleges campus is required to hire a gardener. Ours is named Happy :) He's really sweet and does a great job with our yard and garden (I'll post pics of that too when I find the adapter!).

So our first day or so here we really didn't DO much. We unpacked our bags that we had and slept! Last night was the first night I slept ALL through the night ha. Tuesday Josh and I met with Laura Chinchen, the curriculum coordinator at the Academy where we will be teaching and with wife of ABC's president, Dr. Paul Chinchen. We got our keys to our classrooms and went over our curriculum. We got the handbook and I got my kids names and nationalities. My students consist of kids from America, Malawi, Australia, Korea, South Africa, and Zimbabwe! I am still in the process of decorating my classroom and will post pics when I'm done. It's so cute!
We are both very excited (and a little nervous since neither of us have ever taught before!) about starting school August 24th :)

Wednesday we went grocery shopping! LeAnne McDonald took both me and Josh to several of the places she goes too. Food is very expensive here (American food at least...and meat!). We spent about $300 on 3/4 of the amount that would have bought us in the states. We had fun and got to see alot of the city. At all of the different places we went, people pretty much surrounded our car when we were getting out and in trying to sell us different things; bananas, tangerines, etc. Fruit from the market or venders on the street is very cheap. I got a bundle of about 12 bananas (they are smaller here but not tiny) for about $1.50! We had fun :)

Then Thursday we got the keys to one of the Academy car pool cars! It's really small and I can't drive it because it's a standard. I'm trying to learn but I kill it pretty much everytime I start to go. Josh says it's a bad car to learn on, so it's not me! ha. We went out and explored a little in town. Thats the day that 4 of the remaining 6 missing pieces of luggage arrived. We went to the airport to get them and immediately when we picked them up thought, "wow, these feel really light." So we opened them and they were all anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the way empty (We had packed them to the brim before we left!) Which means alot of our stuff was stolen, probably in South Africa. ALL of Josh's musical equipment was taken....about $1700 worth and our life savings of movies, about $2000 worth...and countless other random stuff. We were really upset Thursday but I mean there's nothing we can do about now. It's all replacable! It was a risk we took..and we lost. Anyway that was kind of a frustrating day. I mean, how can an airline as big as South African Airlines afford to have their customers things stolen out of their bags! Sam and LeAnne McDonald had 2 laptops stolen a couple years ago. They said they filed a complaint but nothing ever happened.

So Friday...we spent most of the day at the school. Me, Josh and my assistant Mr. Gray spent the morning decorating my classroom. And then in the afternoon me Josh and Laura Chinchen got Josh's classroom all set up! He is in the brand new science building! The science part is downstairs and his room is upstairs. It's really nice! Thats really all we did on Friday. Oh, we met our new duplex neighbors, the Breuningers! They are from California. Jeannette will teach 2nd grade at the academy and her husband Derek is doing sports with the college. They are really sweet :) We had potluck that night at the Chinchen's house. Everyone on campus comes and takes a different dish. We got to talk to alot of new missionaries and start to get to know people better.

Then, Saturday was a fun day! We went out driving again and on our way out we saw this man holding up this kitten on the side of the road!!! It was so cute...and we had been talking about getting one for when we're here. So I said, "ok, if it's still there when we get back, we'll get it!" And it was! We paid $12 for her...the guy said 2500 kwacha at first (which is like $15) and I said 2000, and he was like ,"ok". I asked him if it had fleas and he just looked at me and I asked again and he said, "yes yes!" haha. Obviousley his English wasn't very good! We did more unpacking and organizing that afternoon and watched a movie I bought from some guy in the parking lot of a grocery store! ha.

We went to church at the campus chapel this morning and then went to a pizza place with some other couples called Mama Mia's! It was really good. This afternoon was spent entertaining all of the campus kids who love our new kitty. They are all so sweet and funny :) This week has been pretty much been us getting settled in our new environment. We have seen many out of the ordinary things. It's weird to go out and see beggars and street venders everywhere...children running around barefoot, etc. Next week I really want to start doing some community outreach! Like going to the Crisis Nursery :) So far, we are really enjoying our new home. We have lots of new friends and lots of new opportunities to take advantage of! We are really happy to finally be here and can't wait to see what the next few weeks hold for us!

Thanks for all the support and prayers everyone!! I will keep you updated weekly!

Love,

Rebecca

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

*The Countdown is On*

We officially have ELEVEN days until we board our plane on August 1st in New Orleans, fly to D.C., then Johannesburg, and finally arrive in Malawi! ( the flight from D.C. to Jo-Burg is 15 HOURS long!!!) I cannot even describe the emotions we are feeling at this point!! Well...mainly me I guess. Josh grew up in Africa and I have lived in Clinton, MS my entire life; so I guess it's a little bit more of a "big deal" for me than it is for him. Still, we're both excited!!

This week is both of our last weeks of work :)) So next week we will focus on PACKING; which we really haven't started doing yet. We will store most of our things at mine and Josh's parents' houses. We have pretty much gotten all of our clothes (we have to buy a years worth before we leave because the "shopping" is very limited in Malawi, and a good pair of shoes is impossible to get there). We also have to bring all of our toiletry items....shampoo, soap, deoderant, etc. You can get it there but it is very expensive because any "American" luxery items are imported and the taxes are very high. So a bottle of Pantene Pro-v there would be half the size of a normal bottle here and cost $10.

Our support is coming along pretty good! We have about half of what is recommended coming in monthly. We hope that some people are just waiting until August to start sending support. If not, I guess we will be eating nsema! (a maize based "mush" that the Malawians eat) Because we have already bought our plane tickets so we ARE going no matter what!! AHH...I can't wait to get there! I have enjoyed my time working at the ABC office for the past two years, but I must say, I am ready for a change from an office setting. Teaching little kids will be much more entertaining! ha.

Keep us in your prayers as we are packing and getting ready this next week!

Love,

Rebecca :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Support Status!

Our support raising has officially begun!! Last Thursday we sent out a mailout consisting of: a prayer picture card, a support card, and a letter. We still have a few people we haven't sent them to but plan to get those out this week! Since I work at ABC I am able to see donations as they come in and, praise God, we've already gotten a few! :)

We know that if we are truely meant to go in August, God will provide but it still makes me nervous ha. So please pray that we will not worry about the money and just focus on our mission and getting ready for the move.

In the meantime...Josh and I are both working semi-full time; as much as we can! Josh is off his car insurance and his dad is working on selling it so as of two weeks ago we are sharing a car. Josh has really been a trooper about this and is even riding his bike to work in the mornings to help out (I pick him up in the afternoons!). He says it's good exercise; even though I don't like it at all and pray everyday he doesn't get hit by a car!!!!! We are planning on selling my car but, obviously, can't do that quite yet :).

We plan to leave the first week of August...the 3rd or 4th. We figured out that plane tickets will be the cheapest if we buy them four weeks before we leave so we are waiting until then to actually purchase them. We will be flying with South African Airlines which is what we did when we went over spring break. (They are really nice planes!) They use Continental in the states but the long "over water" flight is with SAA. We are also planning on taking one of our dogs, Holli. She is our first baby and we really think that it will be worth taking her! But, since it is rather expensive...we will have to save up our own money to take her. I would just feel bad using donor money to take a dog ha. We are in the process of finding homes for our other babies- Shadow and Buddy :)

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Love,
Rebecca :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A few more details!

Since we haven't actually left for Malawi, there isn't much to say about our "African Adventure" yet! So I thought I would just fill y'all in on some more specifics about where we will be staying, what we will be doing, etc.

Malawi is a small country in Southeast Africa. We will be living in the capital city of Lilongwe. The African Bible College campus is enclosed by a brick wall with and electric fence on top! Mainly to keep out theives. There isn't much physical violence in Lilongwe...at least not on the ABC campus. But people do break in quit often at night and steal things. Many of the missionary houses have bars over the windows. Not sure if ours will or not...hopefully! ha.

The campus istelf is really beautiful. There are hired gardeners that keep everything looking nice and green! The houses really look like houses you would see here in the states...just with no air or heating. (And from what I'm told, things break alot. They say even though the houses may look like American homes from the outside, they aren't!) It doesn't get quite as hot there as it does here...I think 85-90 is the high in the summer and in "winter", which doesn't last long, it gets down to the 40-50's. Thats pretty cold with no heat though!

We will have running water, modern bathrooms, etc. Though we can't drink the water out of the faucet, there are filters available so that we can drink it. Electricity and internet are also available, though not always very reliable. (And the internet is very slow, but they do have it!!) The electricity goes out regularly at random times. There are generators on campus though. But sometimes they go days without electricity.

As I said in my previous post, Josh and I will be teaching at the academy. It is located on the campus of ABC...just a short walk from where our house is. I put pictures on facebook of our trip to Malawi over spring break. You can look at the campus and academy! It's really nice. Josh will teach high school history and maybe a computer class. I will teach 4-k or as they call it "reception". The shcool is very small. The numbers get smaller the older the kids get. There are two reception classes with 14 kids in each class. Josh's class will have 6-8 students (at least thats about how many were in the history class we observed when we visited).

There are also a couple of ministries/orphanages we plan to be involved with. As well as going out in the community and villages and getting to know the people! I can't wait to go! Well, I guess thats enough for now...I will post more as more definite plans are made.

love,

Rebecca :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Big News!

I thought that creating a blog would be the best and easiest way to tell everyone about our big news! (and keep everyone updated :)

So.....as many of you know, Josh and I went to African Bible College (I work at the stateside office) in Malawi, Southeast Africa over springbreak. ABC is a missionary sending non-profit organization whose mission is to train Malawian christian leaders to go out into their own communities and spread the gospel. The acutal college consists of Malawians who attain a degree in "biblical studies" from ABC. All of the instructers are American missionaries who raise their own support (they don't get a salary!-ALL of their income comes from donations from other people because, like I said before, ABC is non-profit).

Anyway...ABC is on a "compound-like" campus. It consists of the college, missionary housing, a clinic and a k-12 academy (for missionary kids and any Malawians who can afford to go there-academy teachers also rely on donations :). So, while visiting last springbreak..we were told about the extreme academy teacher shortage ABC was experiencing and how badly they needed teachers...specifically a high school history teacher and a 4-k kindergarden teacher :)

Now for the big news...after much thought and prayer, Josh and I have decided to commit to at least one year of service with ABC as academy teachers!!!! That means we will be moving to Malawi this August and will be there for at least a year! We are so excited and ready to go! Malawi is tied with the top four poorest countries in the world. So besides teaching, we will be able to to all kinds of mission and humanitarian work while we're there!! So, thats the news! I will post updates weekly to let everyone know whats going on. Right now, our top priority is RAISING SUPPORT! We have 3 months to try and get the recommended $1500-$2000 a month regularly, plus our plane tickets and travel expenses! Please pray for us as we go through this dramatic life change!

Rebecca :)