Thursday, December 23, 2004

On Tuesday I flew back home to La. I was met at the airport by my mom, cousin, and two friends, Kristin and Kim....good times!
The weather here has been pretty yuck since being home...sleet, ice, rain. Today we braved the treacherous conditions and joined all the other hard-headed holiday travelers on the road. We were bound and determined to make it to my grandparents house in Heber Springs, Arkansas. In some areas the roads were completely iced over and many cars were in the ditches. I was so nervous sitting in the back behind the drivers seat. It took us 8 hours for a trip that is usually only 5. I spent most of those 8 hours playing with the gum that I was chewing by wrapping it around my finger and biting it....yeah so my finger is nothing but a bone now. At one point my brother looked at me and said if I was trying to get rid of my finger, he had a pocketknife that would make it go a lot faster. Well, we are here and we made it safely.
So right now I am sitting in my grandparents den typing away while my grandpa (he and I are the only ones still is not even 8:30pm!) is sitting in his recliner watching "Pet Star" hosted by Mario Lopez (yes, AC Slater himself!) on Animal Planet. A pony just did some trick and the judges gave him a ten.
I always like being here at my grandparents house.
UPDATE: a cute, toothless, little redheaded boy is on "Pet Star" with his bird and they are about to sing some MoTown....should be interesting.........oh shame, the bird totally sold the little boy out and did not perform. I am embarrassed for him. Good thing the judges threw out the mercy score and gave him a high score for his effort.
Well, I guess I am gonna join my grandpa in front of the tv and watch the conclusion of "Pet Star."

Friday, December 17, 2004

So it is Christmas time again. Truly, where does the time go.
So it has been 3 and a half months since I returned to the states. I wonder if a day will ever come that I do not measure time according to when I was overseas.

Today is Friday and I am thankful for that, although I do not have a big weekend planned. I am guessing that I will be spending most of my weekend preparing to go home for the holidays. This will entail washing clothes, taking out trash, and cleaning the bathroom. Actually, all that won't take but a good 30 minutes so I guess I should look for some social outlets to fill my time. Last weekend I went on the mother of all road trips. I went to New York City and back in 24 hours!!! Crystal (a new friend that I will discuss later, and a former jman), Deanna (my quadmate and other jman here doing the same job as me), Jeremy (another jman doing my same job, yes it takes 3 of us!), and myself left Richmond at 1:42 am Saturday morning and drove 6 hours to New York. At about 8am Saturday morning we were driving past Times Square! It was so amazing. We all pretty much decided to go on a whim. It all started b/c Deanna watched a movie set in NYC at Christmas time and threw out the idea that we should go. At first we decided it was a great idea but was just not possible. So Friday morning at work we all talked it over once more and decided to go for it. We definitely did not lolly-gag in our 24 hour experience. In our trip we managed to see Lower Manhattan...Times square..5th avenue...St. Patrick's cathedral...Rockefeller center...Radio city music hall...Staten island...Brooklyn bridge...Statue of liberty...Empire state building...WTC site...and an accidental train ride to Brooklyn, which was ok b/c we got to see the Brooklyn Bridge!! It was truly a great day and I spent many minutes on the phone with my sister telling her, "Oh my goodness, Brandi, you won't believe this, there is the............."
This trip to NY was more for the tourist aspect. Next time will be more for culture...Broadway musicals, museums, partying with celebrities, etc!!
I love living 6 hours from NYC, 2 hours from DC, 2 hours from the beach, and 2 hours from the mountains!! Now if we can just get some proper sweet tea, gumbo (and all the other fabulous Cajun dishes(crawfish included)), and Louisiana friends and family up here life will be perfect!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Well, after a two day ordeal I finally flew into Richmond, Virginia today. It was harder to get from Louisiana to Virginia than it was to get to Zambia! It was frustrating, but I rather enjoyed my stay in Atlanta courtesy of Delta Airways. I saw Stephanie and Tommy (both journeymen in Zambia) first thing and ate lunch with them. We had a good time talking and laughing about our time together in Zambia.
There are two other journeymen here at MLC doing my same job so today I went around with them and got acquainted. They seem to stay pretty busy. Tomorrow is when I will begin doing whatever it is that I will be doing. I think it is going to be weird living and working at MLC. Now I have power and responsibilities, I am not here just going through orientation. I even get to drive the golf cart around campus!
Tomorrow my friend from college arrives here for orientation andI am so excited to see her! That is definitely one perk of this job, I get to see some of my friends when they come through here.
Maybe one day when my life here settles down I can start posting pictures again. I just have not had a lot of time to take pictures since being back. Well, that's all for now....

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

This post is coming at you from the Franklin Parish library in Winnsboro, Louisiana! Yes, that is right, Winnsboro and not Ruston. Since being gone my parents moved to Winnsboro so now that is where yours truly will be residing for the next couple of weeks. I have been home almost a month now and it already feels like a lifetime ago that I was calling Zambia home. Since being back I have done some traveling in the Little Rock and Dallas area visiting family. I have also gotten to see a few friends along the way. I have been so busy I have not had a lot of time to even think. In fact, I have not even unpacked my 4 pieces of luggage that I brought home with me from Africa.
So the other big news besides me being back in the states is that I am moving to Virginia in 2 weeks. I will be extending my term as a journeyman and will be working at the place I went to for 6 weeks for orientation before I left the states. I am pretty excited about it. I will be there for at least 6 months and possibly up to a year. So if you are ever in the Richmond area, give me a call!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Ode to Kelley Grace and Jackson....

At the beginning of August I took a road trip to Malawi to visit the Boersma's, friends from home who are missionaries in Lilongwe. I have known them for several years and I was even Kelley Grace's first babysitter. I visited with them for 3 days and they showed me all the hot spots in Lilongwe. It was nice to see them again and talk about not only African living but life in Ruston as well. So, without further ado(Brandi and Amy), here are my pictures of Kelley Grace and Jackson.

They just love one another

Silly Kelley Grace

Jackson in the sandbox

Our supper of hamburgers and strawberries

Kelley Grace looking sweet

Jackson, with mustard on his face, showing me how long his tounge is

Their scary the words of their father, "They ain't right."

Jackson at riding lessons

Kelley Grace cantering

And this concludes my ode to the Boersma children.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

I just recently got back from Zimbabwe. We went down there for our annual mission meeting. I wish I could say I had a blast but it was actually quite boring. All we did was sit in the most uncomfortable chairs imaginable for 8 hours a day listening to some really long-winded people talk about issues that did not or will not affect me. But no worries, I did pretend to be very interested in the issues at hand and even asked a question or two during one of our meetings.
This was my last time to see Victoria Falls (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world)...probably the last time in my life. I have seen Vic Falls about 4 or 5 times, I can't remember. And every time I see it, it is still an awesome sight. Too bad no one took advantage of my being here for these last two years...I could have driven you down to Livingstone to see it (and not to mention game drives and other fun african adventures!).
Tomorrow I am traveling to Malawi for the week. This is going to be a great time for sure! I am going to vistit some great friends from Ruston, La, who are missionaries there. Most people reading this will probably know who I am talking about...the Boersma's! I have known the Boersma's for 6 years. I started babysitting for them the summer after I graduated from high school. Kelley Grace, their oldest, was only 6 months old. The Boersma's have been back in Lilongwe since December. I have been trying for months to work out a trip to see them and it is finally happening, yippee!! I should return back to Lusaka on Saturday, August 7.
When I get back from Malawi, I will only have 17 more days till I fly home! WOW!
I will be spending that time packing up and moving out of my house and into the guesthouse at the mission. There is much to be done before leaving here on the 24th. I have a list a mile long of loose ends to take care of. How can it be that it is all almost over?? The time now is coming like a freight train!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

And once again my gift of procrastination rears it's ugly head. I currently have about 6 must-do items on my to-do list for the day. Instead of getting busy and completing those tasks, here I am posting unimportant information for people to read. I got this email forward from Melissa Knobloch (known as "snobs" from here on out). It is about "knowing your friends." Why do I always feel compelled to fill these things out? I think I do one once a year. Instead of forwarding this on to others like the instructions say, I am just going to post it here for your reading pleasure. Love ya, Snobs!
1. What time do you get up? 

2. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who wouldit be?  
Julia Roberts, I think she and I could be really good friends. But if she is busy I'd opt for Nelson Mandela.
3. Gold or silver?

4. What was the last film you saw at the movies? 
SpiderMan 2

5. What is your favorite TV show? 
Alias...we get the show taped in the US and imported to us

6. What did you have for breakfast?  
toast and eggs

7. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with?
I cannot say for fear that they could be reading this. 
8. What/who inspires you? 
Not to sound all super holy, but I'd say the book of Romans. 
9. What is your middle name? 

10. Beach, City or Country?
 this fair skinned, red headed girl is gonna have to say the country, preferably the mountains
11. Favorite ice cream?
 new york stawberry cheesecake by the dreamery or ben and jerry's cherry garcia.....mmmmmm, i can have that again in 42 days!

12. Butter, plain or salted popcorn?
13. Favorite color? 
14. What kind of car do you drive? 
thanks to Lottie Moon, I am currently driving a really nice dark green toyota corolla
15. Favorite sandwich? 
grilled cheese made with velveeta chesse
16. Favorite Sunday or daily comic strip? 
i like that blondie & of course the peanuts
17. What is in your CD player?
a mixed cd that a great friend gave me! she even titled the cd "bush boogie"

 18. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation,where would you go? 
New Zealand, but can i bring a friend?
19. What color is your bathroom?
  grey stone tile, both floor and walls
20. Favorite brand of clothing?
for the past two years it has been anything that volunteers leave here when they go back to the states.
 21. Where would you retire to?
somewhere in the south. I want to be the lady who sits in a rocking chair on a big wrap around porch, wearing big funny hats, who has lots of cats and gives cookies out to all the neighborhood children who plays in my yard.
 23. What did you do for last birthday? 
I taught a class, hung out with Paige, and the ladies here took me out to tea.
24. Where were you born? 
Vicksburg, Mississippi

25. Favorite sport to watch? 
american football, but i have come to find out that the other sport known as football has lots of very attractive players
26. What fabric detergent do you use?
Omo....doubt anyone has heard of it

27. Coke or Pepsi?

28.  Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
night owl

29. What is your shoe size? 
anything from an 8 to a 9

30. Do you have any pets?
why yes I do and in 5 weeks they could be yours!! any takers?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Last night I had the mother of all sleepovers. Three lovely young ladies spent the night with me.  Me, Meredith Davis (8 yrs), Peyton Davis (5 yrs), and Rebekah Neely (8 yrs) played dress up and did all kinds of girly things to our hearts content. When the girls left my house today, their faces were stained pink from all the blush and lipstick they kept applying over the past 24 hours. During our girl fest we were also able to squeeze in a couple of movies, The Cat in the Hat, and The Lion King 1½.  Sorry I don’t have pictures for this. I was busy popping popcorn, applying eye shadow, and telling the girls to not squeal so loudly. This whole experience made me admire my parents even more!
On Monday we are headed down to Zimbabwe for our annual mission meeting. It is crazy how fast the time is flying! July is already more than half over. How in the world did that happen? While in Zimbabwe I will be attending meetings and struggling to stay awake during them. I will also try to muster up the courage to bungee jump. I never even gave it a second thought last year; there was no way I was going to do it. Although I think this year if someone twisted my arm hard enough I could be easily swayed.
I am currently working on a power point presentation about my two years in Zambia. I have yet to choose a song to play in the background, there are too many to choose from. Anyone have any suggestions? If so, please send all suggestions to  My next dilemma with the power point is God has done more work IN me these past years than through me. How do you present that in a nice and tidy 4 minute presentation? Recently I have been looking through old pictures of mine. As I look at these pictures all I can think about is how different I am now….but praise God for the difference! What a shame it would be if I went home the same way I came. But just to ease your minds, I am indeed still as silly and laughy (is that a word?) and klutzy as ever. 

 *A side note-  My wonderful friends Tommy and Stephanie Knighten sent me a package, yippee!! And in the package was a huge plastic bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans. I mean, wow, how great! I really do enjoy Jelly Belly jelly beans. But let’s get serious for a minute….is there really anything more disgusting than the buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Belly?? In the immortal words of my dear friend Amy Wilson, “C’mon, get real!”

Sunday, July 11, 2004

For several weeks now I have been pretty busy helping out with volunteer teams that come from the states for a couple of weeks for a mission trip. Many teams have already come and gone. Not only are we in winter here in Zambia but we are also in what the missionaries call "volunteer season". Yes, it has been tiring at times but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
This past week I have been helping out the Neely's with a team that came from their home church in the states, First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. They held a medical clinic in two villages. Besides rashes and other fungal ailments I'd say the most common problem they saw was women who were experiencing back pain. It really isn't much of a wonder considering that the women here are the ones who do all the hard labor. A typical village scene is a woman who has a baby on her back while carrying water with one arm, using her free hand to hold the hand of another child who is able to walk, all while balancing firewood on her head. I mean these women are seriously strong (and have super buff arms!). The sad thing is these people don't have the access to medicines such as Tylenol. And even if they did, there is no way they could afford it. For 16 tablets of panadol (Tylenol here) it costs $9! And $9 is about 4 days of work for the people out there. See where I am going with this?? So think about how privileged you are the next time you pop a couple of pain relievers for a head ache.
Tomorrow (Monday) we are gonna be going to House of Moses with the nurses on the team. That should be a lot of fun, hopefully I will have a lot of pictures of that.
Today we took the team out to a bush church. I think that was my last Zambian bush church experience. I was looking at the calendar and every other Sunday is going to be busy doing other things. The bright side is that the church we went to was a good one to end on. I had a great time there and was actually able to worship and not feel like I was on display for all to stare at.

After church we took the team to a really good Indian restaurant in town. As I was sitting there eating I could not help but think of some of my friends from Tech, Regin, Benjamin, and Suv. They are from India and were kind enough to invite me over to their house a couple of times to eat. Man, those are good memories! I wonder if they ever read this website? In case they do, thanks guys for your hospitality!
Actually today I strolled down memory lane for quite a while. I could not help but think about many of my friends from college. Just this week I have heard from many friends out of the blue. Every letter, email, package, picture, or even instant message I received from these folks made me giddy! It made me excited to see them again and to catch up on what is happening in their lives. Speaking of I going to have any in Ruston? I believe most people have moved from the promised land and gone to seek adventures elsewhere. That is a bummer for me. Everyone else is off being a grown up. Actually, now that I think about it, I will have one friend in town. She will be returning back to Ruston from a distant land about the same time I will.

Well this is starting to turn into a ramble.
And just so you know, I have been sitting here writing this while listening to Billy Joel...good times for sure!

*I hope to have some pictures of the Neely team up soon.

Friday, July 09, 2004

And then there were…….

And then there were four. Alan left last week for the States leaving me, Jill, David, and Mallory in Zambia.

Then a few days later Jill and David left leaving me and Mal……And then there were two.

Well, today Chris came back to Zambia!!!!!!! Yes, that is right, the new poster boy for journeymen at the IMB, who would most likely grace the cover of The Commission magazine if it were still in print, is back in Zambia!!!!
And then there were three!!!

Chris is back….and it is great! It was never even a thought in anyone’s head that he would come back to Zambia. The guy got sent home in February to have stinking heart surgery. Everyone is pretty amazed at all the circumstances that GOD has orchestrated. It has been very surreal to see him again, but very awesome nonetheless.

Funny story (but maybe also a “you had to be there” story.)……

Tonight we (me, Mal, and Chris) went to the movies to see Spider Man 2 (which I liked very much). So as we are walking into our row of seats we encounter something slippery on the floor and tell each other to be careful not to slip. So our three seats (you are assigned seats at the movies here) are the ones that the slippery stuff is in front of. We sit down and Chris immediately says, “Man, something stinks. It smells like throw up.” So we all start taking in big sniffs to see if we concur with him. Well, we definitely concurred. Then Mal says, “ Oh my gosh, I think it is that slippery stuff.” (I am dying out laughing hysterically at this point and am unable to get a word out.) So Chris goes in for a closer look at the unknown substance and was able to verify that the mystery stuff was indeed puke. By this time we are all in unbelief and laughing uncontrollably. Now the theater was VERY warm b/c they did not have any a/c or air circulating and also the whole cinema was packed out…..which only made the stench stronger b/c of the heat . At this point the trigger to my gag reflex was getting very sensitive and I was afraid I was gonna spew myself, but luckily I did not. Chris did wind up telling an usher and eventually he came to clean it up. Unfortunately there is no Lysol in Zambia.
So the moral of the story: Even vomit can be funny.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tonight is Alan's last night in Zambia. At 6am he leaves for the airport headed for the United States. Alan and I have known each other for a while now. We met at orientation in Virginia in 2002 and even come over to Zambia together. It will be sad to see him go but I know he is headed home for some exciting adventures. Tonight all of the journeyman went to the Dickard's house for supper. It was a last hoo-rah for us journeymen. Not only is Alan leaving July 1, but David and Jill will be leaving July 6. So that leaves me and Mallory left until August(when I leave) and September(when Mal leaves). This time last year there were 9 journeymen in Zambia but come this Tuesday there will only be 2.

Me and Jill

David, Mallory, and Alan discussing Mallory's iv. Yes, Mallory has an iv in his hand because a piece of a stick got caught in his leg and caused an infection so he has to get injections of medicine for a few days. Oh yeah, he also has malaria along with the infection.....poor guy has been out of commission for a few days.

Alan, Jill, and Mallory

Our gracious and hospitable hosts, Stan and Nancy Dickard

Departing journeymen from Kasama, Zambia....Jill and David

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Going to the valley......

We left at 6:30am Sunday morning to pick up some volunteers in the valley. It was really early, but it sure was beautiful! Too bad this picture does not come close to doing this sunrise justice.

This weekend I took a brief trip to the southern province of Zambia. I went down to Gwembe, where career missionaries Wes and Laurie Wilcox live. The only place I have ever been to in the southern province is Livingstone to see Victoria Falls. I went down to Gwembe with Mallory to pick up his mountain bike team. In my opinion I think the southern province is the prettiest place in Zambia.

On our journey down to the valley we pulled over so we could take in some of the landscape. If you look closely in the distance you can see Lake Kariba.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

Since September I have been teaching a Bible club at Lusaka International Community School (LICS). We meet once a week after school for an hour. This time last year my roommate Stephanie was teaching there and I would tag-along with her (mainly for moral support). I never had any intention of doing that as a ministry for myself. As it would turn out I became good friends with a co-worker here, Helen, whose children attend LICS. She asked me if I would be interested in doing a Bible club this school year and I said yes….but what I thought I had agreed to was teaching for one term of the school year (about 8 weeks) and also not that I would be the primary teacher but rather Helen’s helper. Both of those assumptions were wrong on my part. I was committed for the entire school year and I was THE teacher. Now before I go much further I want to give you a little detail about LICS. This is not a Zambian school, although many do attend. This school is full of ex-patriot children from all over the world, most of whom their parents are diplomats. Some of the countries represented at LICS are Germany, South Africa, Iceland, Finland, India, America, Cypress, Mozambique, England….and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

The first Bible club of the year was a little discouraging for me and I felt as if it was a pointless ministry for me to get involved in. We only had 5 children attend and two of them were Helen’s children who are already believers. I do not want to give the impression in this story that I was concerned with numbers at LICS, but rather I was wondering if I was wasting my time and God’s time. Looking back I can see what a blessing it was to have such a small number. I was able to give more one on one attention to the children and get to know them better, meaning I was able to encourage them and build a relationship with them individually. As the weeks and months passed on I began to see God moving in our small weekly group.

Every week when I would walk on campus to where the children were they would run to me while yelling my name and hug me and were genuinely excited to see me….and I was equally excited to see them. Talk about a great feeling! Just to shorten this story I will go ahead and jump to the really good stuff that you are all waiting for……………..April marked the beginning of the third and final term of the school year here. In the beginning of every new school term the children get to pick the afternoon activities in which they will participate for that term. When I showed up for our first Bible club of this term I was floored when I saw that over 20 children had signed up!
In the previous 2 terms of Bible club I mainly taught stories such as Adam and Eve, Moses, David and Goliath, etc. I had never just plainly presented the entire gospel message for them. In the beginning of this term I could tell that the Lord wanted me to teach the children about Christianity and what it means and takes to be a believer in Jesus Christ. The Lord had also impressed that same message upon Helen to tell the gospel to these children. And so it began…….

For 6 weeks I began teaching these precious children about the gospel. We covered everything from what is sin to who was Jesus Christ and why did he have to die for us. Each week Helen and I would review with the children about we had been teaching and then would build on the previous weeks teaching. The ages of our kids range from about 7-11 years of age. Most of our students are actually 9 or older so they were really able to grasp what Helen and I were teaching.

When Helen and I felt that the children understood the message of Christ we gave them an opportunity to respond and make Jesus their savior. So two weeks ago at Bible club I led the children in a prayer of salvation and gave them the chance to accept Christ if they had never done so. After the prayer, but while their heads are still bowed and their eyes are closed, I asked them to raise their hand if they prayed with me. My eyes filled tears as I saw 12 out of 21 children raise their hand. Helen and I looked at each other and just smiled with excitement and joy over their decisions. Helen took down their names and as we looked over the list we realized that most of the children who had accepted Christ were older and truly understood what they had just done and knew what it meant for them personally. Then Helen and I began to think about the 9 children who were not on the list. Seven of those nine children we knew were already saved. I was speechless at what God had done! Most of all I was so humbled that he would use someone like me and give me the privilege of seeing something so amazing happen.

The icing on the cake came this week. Two of our girls in Bible club were unable to attend the previous week because they were gone on a field trip. On Monday they saw Helen at school and started talking to her. Helen was catching them up about what happened in Bible club and in the process led those two girls to the Lord! Helen called me on Monday and told me and I just about could not believe it!

Helen is the brains behind our operation. She realized that these children in the coming months and years are most likely not going to have much (if any) discipleship in their lives. She suggested we get together some material to help them along in this beginning stage. We came upon a children’s survival kit guide. This guide takes about 6 weeks to complete and is made for children who are new in their faith. It covers the basics of Christianity and helps to build a firm foundation with scripture and prayer.

This week when we met for Bible club I talked to the kids for a little bit and encouraged them in their decisions they had made. While doing this, one of the girls that had prayed with Helen on Monday raised her hand and very unashamedly and happily told me that she and her friend had prayed to receive Christ earlier in the week. That made me so happy that she was so unafraid and was proud to tell about what she had done! She was not timid about it at all. Praise God!

Also this week in Bible club, 3 boys who are in 6th grade and are the only Christians in their class told a story of what had happened in class that day. Before I tell of what happened let me preface it by telling you some of the things we have taught them in the past month at Bible club….sin is sin in God’s eyes, lying is not “better” than murder to God; God can forgive you of any sin, you can never be too bad for God to not love you or forgive you; and when you ask for forgiveness of sin, God casts it away as far as the east is from the west.

Ok, back to the story…….these three boys told me that their teacher was telling the class that murder was the worst sin you could ever commit and God could not forgive you of it and would not let you into heaven. These guys took a stand and told their teacher and classmates what the Bible says!! I was so impressed that as young as these children are that they know the truth and are able to recognize anything that is contrary to God’s word!

Things to pray about....
*the LICS kids for discipleship and growth in their walk with the Lord
*the LICS kids who are Christians to remain strong and willing to make stands for the Word of God, even when it is not the popular thing to do
*for the children who have not made decisions for Christ
*someone to take up and continue teaching the Bible club this coming school year
*for the Holy Spirit to have His way with these children and the entire school

Sunday, May 02, 2004

When I left the states 19 months ago (yes, can you believe it, 19 months!!) I was aware that life in the states would continue on without me (contrary to popular belief). Even though I knew this, the reality of it has not hit me as hard as it has this week. This coming weekend two of my very dear friends in the states will be getting married. One is a friend I met in college and left behind when I came to Zambia and the other is a friend that I met here in Zambia. Just so you know, it really stinks to be here and missing out on all the celebrations that are happening this week. I could sit here and be bitter and have a pity party while I type this but instead I am choosing to meditate over Philippians 3:14. How can I be upset with my circumstance of being in Zambia when I know this is the place God has called me to be. It is not so much that I want to be at these particular weddings, but rather I want to feel involved in their lives (it is a little hard to feel involved when you are separated by an ocean). But like I said earlier, I knew life in the states would go on without me. Praise God that He has allowed me to have such a life changing experience. While growing up never did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to see the things I have seen, do the things I have done, and be in the places I have been!!!
One thing I have done a lot of this month is think about what my re-entry to the states will be like. Without a doubt I know it will be difficult. The reverse culture shock is going to be brutal! You could start praying for me now in this area! Pray that I would not be so caught up in leaving that I neglect the work here…pray that I finish my term well! Also pray for me as I discover what steps God wants me to take next. Pray that I would be faithful and obedient to hear His voice and follow His way.
Now some of you may be asking, “Ashley, what are your plans when you return home?” My answer so far will have to be, “I have no idea!” Good thing I still have another 3 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, and 8 hours to pray about it before I leave here (but who is counting the time??). As of right now, everything is an option…graduate school, seminary, substitute teaching, cart-girl at a golf course (this is the suggestion of my friend Mallory), waitressing, and even joining a group of average-Joe superheroes whose “super powers” consist of shoveling well (the Shoveler), bowling (the Bowler), being invisible when no one is looking (the Invisible Boy), fork throwing (the Blue Raja), and rage (Mr. Furious). I am not really sure what my “super power” would be though??
I found out some good news this week. On Wednesday I went to the House of Moses orphanage. While there, I started talking to some of the ladies who work there. During the course of conversation I found out that my favorite baby in Zambia is still under their care. Last year Stephanie and I were told that Cecilia (my baby) had been put back with a member of her family. I was selfishly sad to hear of this because I knew it meant I would never get to see her again. But last week I found out that she was not placed back with family but rather sent to another orphanage for children over 1 year old. So I made arrangements to meet up with a lady who works at House of Moses and go to the other orphanage in hopes of seeing my sweet little Cecilia. It has been nearly a year since I have seen her, I am sure she is not so little anymore. When I last saw her she was on the verge of talking and walking. I bet she is so grown up now!
For all seven people who are still reading this, I want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and thank you for praying for me during these next few months of transition and change.

And of course before I end, no update would be complete without an apology.....I must apologize for the lack of correspondence on my part for the last couple of months. Some of it has been computer/internet problems but the majority of it is good ole Ashley-style laziness.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

This past week was a great one! Everyone in the mission met together for our annual prayer retreat. The retreat and break came at just the perfect time for many. Our mission has gone through many struggles and hardships (burglaries, surgeries, family problems, etc) in the last couple of months and many people had been left feeling defeated. We ventured about an hour outside of Lusaka to Ibis gardens for the retreat. We spent most of our time worshiping, praying, giving testimonies, and saying goodbye to many who will be leaving soon. There were not many dry eyes the whole weekend. We praise God for His faithfulness and unfailing mercies. He met us at Ibis gardens and left us feeling refreshed!

At the retreat, we had a baptism for one of our mk's, Tyler Strange. Tyler is being baptized by his dad, James.

At Ibis gardens there were little houses that we stayed in. Most houses could sleep about 7 people. I was very excited to see that I got paired with the Davis family to share a house with. If you recall, the Davis family (Shawna, Darren, Micah, Meredith, and Peyton) is who I stayed with back in October when I went to the western province for a month. Peyton (4yrs old) and I shared a room this weekend…it was great!!! She would wake up so happy and would immediately want me to play with her and brush the hair on her my little pony.

Sunday night I babysat the Davis kids while their parents went to see The Passion. Thanks to Alan we went bowling for free! It was a lot of fun to take the kids bowling and see them get so excited.

Micah Davis waiting his turn to bowl.

Peyton Davis being a cutie pie.

Everytime after Peyton bowled she would do a twirl...this is her in mid-twirl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Not to sound like a total girl, but...........

The past two days I have gone bowling with Mallory and Alan (Alan "works" at the alley and uses his connections to get us in free). And in these 2 days I have managed to break off 3 of my very lovely fingernails while bowling. The damage that was done was enough to make the boys cringe and feel sorry for me.
I know this bit of info is not very exciting and probably isn't website-worthy....thanks for reading/caring.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Helen and Rebekah

Thursday I spent the night at the Neely’s house. Helen and I are putting together health care lessons teaching end of life care (she is a nurse). We were gonna make it an all-nighter and work on our lessons. But for some reason we didn’t accomplish all that we had intended on. Maybe it was her cute daughter Rebekah who kept showing me her Barbie doll’s hairstyle, or maybe it was the discussion we were carrying on about theology….who knows.

Friday was a girls night out. Me, Jesse, Heather, and Michelle went out and ate at a nice restaurant, Le Triumph Dolphin. The owner of the restaurant is from the island of Mauritius, so the food is Mauritian (kinda like a creole taste, man is it good!). Apparently the day we chose to go was also the independence day for Mauritius so there was a live band there performing....very nice!

Tonight I got to see one of the cutest little girls in Africa, Peyton Davis.

I think she was wanting us to make silly faces.

Tomorrow will be a fun day. I will start the day off at 8am by letting in Esnot, my house worker. Then I will head over to a Bible study I am doing with all the ladies in the mission. We are doing The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore (which I highly recommend). After Bible study I will return home to a clean house thanks to Esnot (yipee!) and wait for Micah and Peyton Davis to come over. They are gonna come over and play for a couple of hours. Later in the afternoon me and some friends are gonna go get henna put in our hair. I have done henna once before and loved it so i am excited about doing it again. Then, to cap the night off I am going to the Dickard's for supper (praise the Lord!). We will be having a journeyman supper in honor of Carrie Eargle. Carrie is a j-man here whose term is ending and she leaves headed for the states on Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


humbling moment of the day: this came while i was teaching Bible club kids at LICS. i was standing facing the kids who were sitting at their tables. i started walking backwards towards the blackboard. as i was walking i backed into a box of books that were on the floor....and of course i fell into this box. luckily the only thing i hurt was my ego. the kids did not laugh at all, they were surprised and shocked i think. i quickly got myself together and used this incident as a teachable moment. our lesson last week was about making fun of others. there is nothing like reinforcing a lesson.

tonight i went over to the strange's and we watched a video sent from the states. the video is of american idol and my big fat obnoxious fiance. man, we laughed our heads off! we are curently in the middle of the auditions on american idol. first of all, american people in america not have good friends or self respect? it really makes you think what goes through some folks mind.
my big fat obnoxious that show is hilarious! that guy who is playing the part of the fiance is stinking hilarious. i can't wait to see how it ends.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Good times and good friends!

left to right: me, jesse, mallory, david, carrie, jill, alan

The Kasama crew (david, jill, carrie) came in this weekend. Carrie finishes her term next week and returns back to the states. David and Jill came down with Carrie so they could get in some last minute journeyman bonding time in Lusaka. I have said it before and I will say it again...i really like it when those guys come in to town.
If you think about it, you can pray for Carrie these next few months as she readjusts to life in america after she has been away for 2 years. I am not sure if you are able to grasp what a difficult time that could possibly be for her....i know i am not looking forward to reverse culture shock when i return in september.

This weekend I came upon this photo of me and some friends from college. It made me miss a lot of my friends from back home. Good memories for sure! I hope you enjoy this pic too.

Do you notice that i am so white i am glowing??!! maybe it is just the light from my halo.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Mallory, Amy, Alan, Jesse, Heather, Me, Michelle
Heather, Michelle, and Jesse are here in Zambia working with Navigators and Amy is a friend I met in Va in 2002 during orientation.

This week me and some non-louisiana friends celebrated Mardi Gras. I know we were a little late in our festivities but this was the time that best fit into our schedule. In Zambia, you have to create your own fun and we use any excuse to throw a party. To celebrate Mardi Gras we cooked a pot of gumbo (that is right, i made gumbo!!), wore mardi gras beads, and dyed the meringue of our banana pudding mardi gras colors. It was a lot of fun to just be with other American friends and relax and fellowship. By the way, explaining mardi gras to zambians was quite a task. I basically just had to tell them that it is a celebration of sin. They laughed at us silly americans (or should i say louisianaians).

Heather, Jesse, Michelle

Yesterday was a nice day. In the afternoon, Heather and I went and watched Underworld. That is one of those "you only watch it b/c you are in Zambia and there isn't much else going on" kind of movies. These days I will go and watch most anything at the theater b/c they just started selling slush puppies!!! "mmmm, slush puppies (to be said like homer simpson)." After the movie Heather and I went to the grocery store and bought some things for us to prepare supper with. We came back to my house, cooked supper, and sat and talked till about 10pm. It was really nice to just sit back and talk.

This week was my daddy's birthday!!! woo hoo!! But unfortunately I was unable to call him. My daddy is by far the cutest daddy out there and if you don't believe me here is a picture for proof!

The birthday boy

Also, this week started the countdown for my remaining 6 months left in Zambia. That is a super crazy thought to think about. Six months is gonna be here before we know it!!! Does it really seem like I have been gone this long? And now, on to the million dollar question..what in the world am I gonna do when I get home??? You can start emailing your suggestions to me now at I will take all the suggestions for my future into considration and let you know what I think about them. (for all two of you that actually read this website)

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


The number one reason today why "this country blows" (owen wilson, shanghai nights) cat possibly has tumors and has to be put down. sad times in zambia for sure.
i wish the vet would have used a little more tact when she told me this information. there was no sugar-coating it at needless to say i starting crying right there in front of her.
liza the vet....she's a straight shooter for sure.

chikulu....truly the greatest. (chikulu means "the greatest" in nyanja (or is it bemba??))

Saturday, February 14, 2004


It is my goal to have a date for this oh-so-joyous day next year and not spend it all day babysitting. Does cupid know where to find me in Africa?

Monday, February 02, 2004

This past week I went to House of Moses orphanage and brought along several others. It was the first time in a long while that I had visited there. I have really missed many of those babies!

Mallory, Me, and Alan taking in the blues.

This weekend a group of us went to listen to a “blues tribute”. We were very excited about our outing and were looking forward to it since there is not a lot to do here pertaining to entertainment. As it turns out our musical evening did not meet our expectations (which should not have surprised us). To quote my friend and fellow journeyman, Mallory, “It was more of a blues disgrace than a blues tribute.” The general consensus was that the band members did an okay job but the singers were terrible. The bands were from all over…..there was even one from Scandinavia.

Let it be known that I now have a new ‘do. That is right ladies and gentlemen, Ashley has cut her hair. Before anyone gasps in disbelief, just know that it was time!!! My hair was down to the middle of my back and I think I cut off about 5 inches (give or take….I did not take out a ruler and measure). A man named Peter is responsible for the new style. I went with a friend to get her hair cut (by Peter) and he had some strong opinions regarding our hair. I was game for something fresh and new so I took the plunge and let him have his way with my hair. Not only did he cut it but he also put henna on my hair. The henna made my hair much more healthy and took out all the blonde I put on it several months ago. Now my hair looks very healthy and red again.

before and after

Here is my token Linus and Chikulu picture. And no, I did not pose them for the picture.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


This past Saturday night was a lot of fun! I attended a murder mystery dinner party for 8 guests. It was hosted by a couple who lives here and works for the American embassy. We met at their house (also known as "Maltie's Malt Shop" for the night). The whole theme was a '50's theme and we were a group of friends returning for a class reunion five years later. Everyone was given a character to pretend to be and dress up as. My character was a party girl that comes from a hoity toity family. Some of the other characters were the perky cheerleader, the smart bookworm girl, class nerd, the jock, the succesful (but shady) bussiness man, and the rebel/ bad boy. I will confess that I was not the murderer....but i was in a conspiracy to murder someone. Our class nerd was behind it all along!