Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flashbacks


I've been back in the US for almost three months now, but there are still a few things I want to share with you from the past year. I could rarely upload videos in Uganda, but I still want you to see some of them.  I've compiled a few of my favorite clips.  This is the real Africa - not the movie kind.  Enjoy! :)


video

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Travel Notes III - Maphutseng, Lesotho

Coming to Lesotho (pronounced Leh-SOO-too) after being in equatorial Uganda amazed me. I didn’t know Africa could look like this! Check out this photo:


Nope, this isn’t Arizona or Wyoming. It’s Africa!

Oh, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s spring here! I was sad to have missed spring at home, but now I get to watch the peach trees blossom, enjoy the fragrance of wisteria and witness to transformation from brown to green.

The old stone mission house where I stay.

What am I doing here? I'm staying at Growing Nations, whose mission is "transformation through sustainable agriculture." I'm learning about conservation agriculture, Farming God's Way (www.farming-gods-way.org), transformational development, and accumulating a myriad of tidbit lessons. :-) I'll write more specifics about what I’ve been doing here, but for now you can enjoy a few photos.

One of the many incredible sunset evenings.

A hike into the hills above our place.

Digging planting holes with local farmers.

Turning the compost pile. It was overdue for turning, so it was a steamy, smelly job.

Soil erosion is a serious problem around here. The gullies you see are called "dongas", created by serioius run-off from overgrazing and ploughed soil.

This donga is over 20 feet deep!

Some of my Growing Nations buddies - Stephen, Adriaan, Petrus, me, Christiaan, and Kitty.

Travel Notes II - Pemba, Mozambique

I went to Iris Ministries in Pemba to see what God is doing there, to learn, and lend a hand where possible. I found my visit to be full of contrasts:
  • Excitement to see new places, but longing for familiar places.
  • Gorgeous turquoise Indian Ocean and the orange, parched dust of the land.
  • Five star beach resorts 100 yards from a poor neighbourhood of tiny houses and shacks.
  • Quiet, reflective times in the visitor center, and games with a hundred excited children.
  • Lots of questions about the future, yet intimate and powerful moments of worship.
The Iris Ministry base, overlooking the Indian Ocean.

I’ll just share a few snippets and photos here. If you want to know more about Iris Ministries, you can visit their website at www.irismin.org.

House building looked a little different: digging post holes using machetes.


The posts are lashed together with split bamboo and rubber-coated steel threads from old tires.

The first Sunday as I worshipped in church, I sat with bowed head, tears silently rolling down my cheeks. Soon I felt a small hand reach into mine. A young boy (maybe 6 years old) was beside me. He didn’t want my attention, he just sat there. He was there for my benefit, ministering to me. I was humbled and blessed.

The last Sunday each visitor was at Iris, the children prayed for us during the church service.

One week I travelled with an Iris team to a rural village for pastors’ training and children’s ministry. All of our supplies, sound equipment, etc., was loaded onto the back of a covered flatbed truck, then we piled in on top of it all, creating “beds” as comfortable as possible for the six hour ride. On the return trip it was so dusty, that our Mozambican colleague looked like he had died his hair orange!

Our mode of transport to the rural outreach.

The bumpy 6-hour truck ride.

Any time during the rural outreach when we left our “camp”, we were followed by a mob of children. One day I brought out my Frisbee and football. Oh, what cheers of joy and delight. It turned into a massive fetch game. I threw the Frisbee as far as I could and the swarm of children ran after it to bring it back for me to throw again.

The lovely "mob" of village children.

The faith, worship and prayer is beyond what I’ve seen almost anywhere else. People pray simply and with certainty, and God responds with healings, food multiplication and people coming back from the dead. In exuberant praise (lots of dancing!) and desperate worship, it is obvious that people recognize that nothing and no one is more important than God. I want this passionate pursuit of God and the fruit of it to become commonplace in my life.

Sunday church service. Lots of dancing and exuberant singing!

The children would have taken photos with us all day long if we let them!