Monday, February 27, 2006


Today I stepped off the curb and it was completely natural to look first to my right, THEN to my left. And I smiled to myself.

Friday, February 24, 2006

this week (give or take) in the life of Schmanda

cookie baking. Colossians. thunder. lightning. the mountain. again. this time with 22 teenagers. poisonous spiders. "i'm afraid of heights" and "i want my momma" talk. success. fun. lots of fun. "Baby Don't Go" on MILLION TIMES. windhoek. goodbye sara. death by mosquito. bird-like moths. Sudoku. asparagus crepes and coffee. rain. rain. more rain. track and field. discus-into-foot injury. forgotten sunscreen = even worse Teva tan. jenniebobennie blog support. #3 peeing cricket ousting. ruben samuel. runny tummy talk. tuna. newsies. jax: killer dog in training. sunset everlasting.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

it would be easy to make this a sunset blog...

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surprise servanthood

On Tuesdays Kendall and I have invited the girls we are building relationships with to come to our house for a time of fellowship. Last week was our first one, and there were 19 girls piled into our tiny living room. We prepared a meal for them and spent time talking and sharing stories with each other. As Kendall and I discussed what we would do with the girls tonight, we talked about our desire for these young ladies to begin learning about being a servant. Many of them know the Lord and are excited about learning His Word. Our hope is that we can see these young ladies not only hear and learn the Word, but practice obedience to it. At 5 o’clock when the girls arrived (a smaller group than last week b/c many didn’t realize that this was to be an every week invitation) we gave them an assignment. We told them that we were taking a trip somewhere and they were responsible for putting together a short program consisting of a few games, songs and a Bible story. We told them not to worry about doing it in English, because where we were going English wouldn’t be understood anyway, and encouraged them to be creative with how they did their story. We gave them scripture from Luke 10:29-37 (the story of the Good Samaritain). They put together a short skit depicting the actions of the Good Samaritan and chose someone to explain the significance of the story. 30 minutes later we piled them into the bakkie (truck for all of you non-Namibians) and we drove them to our destination: Victory Camp. For those of you who don’t know, Victory Camp is the name we have given to the Okahandja trash dump. Many people live there collecting clothing, housing material, food, and all other essentials from the trash. It smells, the place and people are dirty, the ground is littered with broken glass and rotten food, and this is home for a great number of people. When we arrived, I looked at the faces of the girls. They were apprehensive, but willing. We prayed together and everyone got out of the bakkie. We sent them to go gather the people and ask them to come and listen to a story. Several girls walked along with me as I approached a group of men who called us over to them. We introduced ourselves and I began to invite them to come and listen. It was evident that although these men knew introductions and basic formalities in English, they did not understand my invitation. Praise the Lord: one of the girls jumped right in there and started speaking their language and told him what we were doing and asked them to join us. Then several of the girls began to talk with them. Another man called us over to his “house” and invited us to look inside. The girls again took initiative to ask him to come listen to the story. He followed us, as did one of them men in the first group. The men joined a small group of children that has also gathered and we gave the time over to our girls. They began by singing some songs, then they shared their skit about the Good Samaritan and explained that Jesus was saying through the parable. I was so proud of them! They did a great job, and they seemed to truly enjoy themselves. We talked t the girls afterward about how they felt about the night and their responses brought joy to my heart and a hope that God just might be stirring a heart of compassion for other in these young girls. I hope so. That is something sorely needed here. There are so many needs. Many of the girls who served tonight may not have much more then those we visited tonight in Victory Camp, but my hope is the God is showing them no matter how much or how little we have, we are all called to give out of the abundance of God’s love in each of us. He calls us to love each other just as we love ourselves. “Who then is my neighbor?” I pray that there are several girls in Okahandja who understand the Luke passage they acted out in a much more tangible way.

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The girls leading some songs

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The Good Samaritain helping the man who was robbed

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The audience at Victory Camp

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It was late and I was in Africa; I stand corrected

I had a very nice birthday. We celebrated by climbing the mountain, and saw about 15 baboons hanging out at the top. As we were getting closer to the top, one of them decided he wanted to come down, and fast, in my general direction, all the while squawking about something. (Perhaps he wasn’t too thrilled that we were interrupting his morning laziness on top of the rocks.) I’m thankful for a God that even hears prayers about baboons remaining happy and unaware of my close proximity. We did nearly experience calamity when a large rock Kendall was standing on came out from under her and began careening down the mountain towards Todd, Erin, and me. Erin was in the immediate path, but thanks be to God and a husband who both protected her! I jumped to my right and avoided collision. After descending we had to walk the river to get back to the road. I sank into the river mud up past my knee and got stuck. Severely STUCK. Todd had to pull me out, and it wasn’t easy! Refer to visual aids below:

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:

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Exhibit C:

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Exhibit D:

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(Yes, Buddy documented the whole episode) We were all very tired and we stopped in town at Café Spitz for lunch. Then there was a big rainstorm, we all got soaked and frozen. One we made it home, I got a shower and took a nap. After that we all went over to Todd and Erin’s house and made homemade pizzas. Erin also baked a cake and they sang happy birthday. I blew out imaginary candles, b/c we didn’t have any candles. I also got a small battery powered lantern from Jenny and Kendall, and Sammy had Jenny give me a banana (Team A might possibly understand the significance). Also, Buddy bought me lunch at Café Spitz after our mountain climbing excursion. Suffice it to say that when I play “2 Truths and a Lie”I have good ammunition. Who else can say, “On my 29th birthday I climbed a mountain in Africa, narrowly avoided an angry baboon, was nearly smashed by a tumbling boulder, got stuck in thigh-deep river mud and lived to tell about it.” Eat your heart out, Mike McSwegin. It starts with this.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

in the eye of the storm

Today I went to the funeral of a little girl, just a week old. She did not have a name, and her tiny casket is something I will not soon be able to take out of my mind. I am reminded of this world we live in, where the wages of sin is death. Death is no respecter of persons, age, race, color, status. Our friends, Cristaan and Nelda, have been trying to have children for quite some time. They have been through several previous miscarriages and still births. This conception was going well, until two weeks ago. Nelda was due in April, but was admitted to the hospital due to complications. There was an emergency C-Section and the baby was delivered last Tuesday, January 24th. I was blessed to be present at the hospital just after the birth, where we talked and prayed with and for Christaan, Nelda, the baby and family, and we worshipped God through scripture and song. It was a beautiful time of being the Body of Christ. Here is a picture of Nelda's mother, friends (both named Melody), and Christaan and Nelda at the hospital after Nelda's surgery:

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Nelda remained at the hospital with their baby. The baby was having some difficulty with rapid breathing, the next day she appeared to be doing better, but was battling jaundice. Later this yesterday, she passed away. Christaan called this morning with the news. My heart was so sad. Yet I know God is even in this time of sorrow. We prepared a meal for the family and joined them at Christaan and Nelda’s house to pray and sing. They brought the baby and there was a short “viewing” at the home, then we walked to the cemetery for the burial. Todd (one from our team) shared some scripture from Isaiah 40, and a short message explaining how this world we live in will always bring death, but Jesus offers life beyond death, through His payment on the cross. He exhorted those there to recognize our need for Christ’s payment for our sin. We worshipped. It has been so humbling and joyful to see Christaan’s heart through all of this. The cry of his heart is that God’s Name be glorified in whatever happens. Even while experiencing the complications last week, during a Bible study he began leading at his house, he presented the gospel to a young man there who put his trust in Jesus for salvation. Hearing Christaan’s joy over a brother being saved, even while feeling the uncertainty of his own situation, was such beautiful evidence of the work of God in his life.

This week has been full of ups and downs and I covet your prayers for the team. There is great evidence that the team itself is under attack and we need prayer that we stay steadfast and strong under His protection.