Saturday, January 15, 2011

Life is a polka...

Well, the term has started out with a bang indeed! Life has been a little overwhelming, but some troublesome things are already getting better, and God is always good. Here’s what’s been going on in the bush:

*Boils. Well, not quite boils, but a sore of similar type. I have about 7 ‘mini boils’ on my right shoulder that suddenly came up right as term was starting, and have made my life interesting. Let’s just say that the story of the plagues of Egypt will never be the same again! They are healing now so they just itch a little instead of the burning pain I had before. Those on top of everything else this week were just a little much, but now that they are healing and everything else is shacking out, I think I’ll be fine.

*Changing class numbers! I started the term with 20 kids, knowing a MK was going to possibly be joining mid-term, but after the first day of school it was proposed that one of the 4th graders skip up to my class. Her parents had requested it partly because she is so tall, but she is also very precocious academically, so after much talk, we let her do a trial run till today to see how she did. I’ve been very pleased with her work—it’s been better than some of the ‘real’ grade 5’s, and I think it’s better to challenge a kid than to leave them in a class where they are bored. So, I had to dig out some more books and figure out what number to give her, but I think we’re settled now until the other student returns.

*New housemate! The Thursday before school opened, Beth S. (my former housemate) and Rachel B. arrived at Sakeji. Rachel is living with me, and while it took a little adjusting to having a housemate again, I’ve enjoyed getting to know her. Rachel is from Scotland, and thus has an awesome accent!

*Laptop issues! Let’s just say that I now know a great way to spent a stupid amount of money is to buy a laptop, ship it via DHL to Zambia, and then try to get it out of customs. I ended up having to pay a k4,000,000 fee for customs, but God is in control and already I have had a surprise gift of k1,000,000 towards that surprise expense. God is good!

*Mouse! Remember my mouse trouble? Well, I had heard a second mouse knowing on a dresser in my sewing room, so I had put down some poison after the trap failed. Well, a few days ago, Rachel asked me if I smelled gas in the house. Now, I have practically no sense of smell, and at the time I didn’t notice anything. However, it soon became apparent that something was rotten in Valley View. I traced the source of the odour to the sewing room, put two and two together and came up with…IV. I pulled out the bottom drawer of the dresser with some fear and trembling and saw a HUGE mouse crawling with maggots. I put the drawer back quickly and considered my options. Somehow I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to deal with it. Turns out, Pam’s dad has no problems with things of that sort, so he very kindly came over to my house and removed and cleaned up my nasty visitor. I’ve been trying to get the smell out of the room—candles, airing and room spray seem to be slowly diminishing the smell. I’m just glad the thing died in such an easy to reach spot! Also, I’m glad someone else was willing to dispose of it for me!

And that’s what’s going on in my life! Hope your month is a little less hectic!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My New Years Story...a few days late

Well, I wanted to post this on New Years Day as it’s a New Years story, but both the 110 and the 240 went off at once and I lost all that I had typed up, so I finally have a pocket of time to do it again, so here goes!

Last year on January 1, I arrived in London on my way to Zambia. I had a good sized layover, so I had planned to get out into the city and go through Westminster Abbey and maybe (time permitting) check out a yarn shop before heading back to the airport and then on to Lusaka. I had a few pounds on me from a few summers ago when I took a travel study trip to England, so I was able to buy an all day tube pass for the correct zones. This left me with about £5, but as I had my debit card I planned to get some cash when I hit the city. In the airport there is a place where for £8 you can leave a bag for a few hours, so I dropped off my bulky laptop bag and headed out into London. When I arrived at Westminster, I started trying to pull out my cash so I could pay the entry fee for Westminster Abbey. To my surprise, no ATM I tried worked. I was starting to get worried—my card had always worked internationally before, and I wasn’t sure why it would be this time.

When it became clear that my cards were blocked, I found a phone booth and called my parents to see if they could sort it out. What I forgot was a) it was New Years Day so the bank was closed and b) my parents were driving back from Tennessee. I got through and explained my dilemma before running out of change, but of course there was nothing they could do to help me. Now, I knew I could get back to the airport just fine (though somehow I failed to communicate that to my poor mother), but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my bag back. Not only did I have less than £5 now, but I had less than $2 on me because of all the craziness of leaving from Nashville. I wondered if the place would take a check, but figured it was unlikely. I didn’t know anyone in London, and the one place I could think of to go for help was closed. I spent a lot of time wandering around Westminster trying to find an internet cafĂ© to see if there was anyone I could get a hold of, but had no luck.

Shortly before I would have to head back to the airport, I decided to try one more ATM, just to make sure my card was really frozen. As I was once again unsuccessful, I muttered, “Rats” or something along those lines and started to step away. A middle-aged gentleman had just stepped up to the ATM beside me, and when he heard me he said, “Sorry?” Almost without realizing it I was pouring my story out to this complete stranger with no real goal in mind, just the need to share with someone the frustration I had been going through all day. To my shock, the man looked at me, said, “Well, in the spirit of the season,” and handed me a £10 note. I stammered some thanks as he went off to continue his life, and then sent a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to heaven for the Lord’s provision. I was then able to redeem my laptop and make a quick phone call to my worried mother telling her it had all worked out and I was safely on the airport about to get on a plane for Zambia.

I will never forget those desperate hours in London trudging all over in the cold trying to figure out what to do. I’ll never forget that kind stranger who gave me a bill that covered my need even though I had not named a sum. And I’ll never forget how God showed me yet again that He meant for me to be going to Zambia to join His work there. How many people get to start their time on the mission field with a miracle?