go to africa, get malaria

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

This is the motto of World Race. It will happen. It is inevitable. Accept it and move on.

But malaria doesn’t always have to look like the horror stories you hear most often (as they are really the only ones worth re-telling). My case of malaria did not involve vomiting or diarrhea or high fevers. My case involved extreme exhaustion and severe unrelenting headaches, until I was diagnosed and started taking my medications, during which time I also suffered from muscle aches and joint pain, something akin to acid boiling in my body.

So really, it hasn’t been that bad! But, truly, here is the story of my affair with malaria, the most common disease in Africa:

We arrived at our ministry site in Rukungiri, Uganda on a Sunday night. Monday began my battle with intermittent headaches, the kind where you feel like you’re under a hundred feet of water pressing in on your head. The intermittency turned into constancy, and I just accepted that the change in climate and altitude was something my body wasn’t ready to handle well. Also with 6 am wake-up calls and 7 am ministry times, I figured my fatigue was normal, too. So each day I sucked it up and dragged my body out of bed in the dark to prepare for the day. As the week went on it got harder and harder to get out of bed but there’s no rest for the weary so I would continue to fight to get up. By Wednesday morning my headaches were nonstop and unrelenting. I had also had four nosebleeds by then. Again, I figured, altitude issues. I felt ashamed and guilty for being so tired and using our afternoon break to nap rather than dive into community with the three times that live in our compound. But sometimes you just need a nap, so I would swallow my guilt and rest anyway.

On Thursday my teammate (and this month’s roommate) Christine awoke from an afternoon nap with a high fever. I knew it was malaria, coming from a girl who never complains about how she feels. So Brent and I took her to one of the ninety-eight local clinics just a few minutes’ march from our house, and indeed, she had malaria. The doctors were concerned about how high her temperature was, so they decided to admit her overnight and give her an IV with fluids (turning out to be glucose, a “medicine” that had worse side effects than the malaria itself). I decided to stay with her so she wouldn’t have to stay overnight alone in what looked like a cheap, horror-movie-style motel room, with dirty concrete walls and a creepy flickering fluorescent light.

I run back home with Brent to get some overnight stuff for Christine and myself, and on the way back I decide to go ahead and get myself checked for malaria, too… just in case. It was only going to cost 2,000 shillings, a little less than one dollar, and I thought, why not? Might as well. So I dropped the bag with Christine, get a blood sample taken from my ring finger, and go back to her room to await my results.

MALARIA.

Of course.

Mine is not as bad as Christine’s, however, not manifesting itself with fevers and diarrhea, so they just give me two kinds of pills and a syrup to take for the next three days, and wish me luck.

I actually felt relieved; I was not making it up. I actually was that exhausted and achy for a reason. The biggest thing I walked away from it with, is that I shouldn’t shame or guilt myself for feeling bad or not having energy. I finally stopped telling myself to suck it up and I am now beginning the process of allowing myself time to heal. My body is fighting a disease, not just an illness, and healing- and health- take time. So if I wake up tomorrow and feel like I’ve been hit by a train, or if one of those awful headaches comes back, or if I feel too tired to move, I will allow myself to stay, to be, and to heal until I am. Today is day #2 of having this disease, and it’s okay to just stay home and rest if that is what my body decides it needs. If I wake up tomorrow and have tons of energy, then great! I can get up and go with my team wherever they go.

But the point is- and my encouragement to you is- not to feel ashamed if you’re sick.

Don’t feel guilty if you have to miss ministry for a day, or stay home on a day when your team wants to go out and do something together. We don’t live like this at home; if you’re sick, truly sick, sometimes you have to miss things and that is o.k.a.y. I frequently struggle with guilt when I have to miss a day of ministry because of illness. But I just have to get to the point where I know that I’m not going to be fired, my team isn’t going to guilt-trip me or make me feel bad (and if they do, that’s their problem to deal with), and the kingdom of heaven is not going to fall because I miss one day. That’s the beauty of this whole thing: I am not singularly responsible for the victory or defeat of Good over Evil. I get to be a part of God’s victorious plan, but I’m not the Cornerstone of it- Jesus is. And He wants me to be healthy. He has created my body to be a beautiful carrier of His Spirit, and that is how my body wants to be- healthy. I should know that God loves me enough- and I should love myself enough- to know that it is okay to take a break, breathe a bit, rest awhile, and allow my body the time and energy it needs to fight when it is seriously ill. No more guilt, no more shame. Just love and peace and health. Amen to that!

The end of the story hasn’t presented itself to us. Christine and I had a crazy couple adventures in the clinic that night and the next day, one involving being witnessed to by one of the night doctors in which he told us we weren’t saved because we pronounced His Name “Jesus” (he also told us it was the first time he had witnessed to a mzungu…white…colored person), and one adventure involving a doctor asking Christine how she was and then running to get medicine for her, then asking me how I was and telling me he hopes I get better. She wasn’t discharged until late the following evening, and we trudged home slowly, and thankfully in a taxi, where we were greeted by a Yaaaaayyy from the teams, after which we both fell instantly and mercifully asleep.

We will both heal from this sickness; malaria is nothing to be afraid of. Do take action, however, if you feel sick or unusual, because it can become something serious. You might travel to Africa and never experience a sickness and in that case Praise God! But if you do, just remember to get it treated quickly, and be kind to yourself- relax and rest and allow your body to heal. Kindness is one of the greatest gifts God gives us for each other and for ourselves. So exercise it!

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
and make sure to call Mom

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safari bingo

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

Guys. GUYS. I got to go on an AFRICAN SAFARI. For reals.

It was one of THE COOLEST experiences of my life so far.

Since I was a little girl, I had dreamed of going on a real African Safari, I’m sure spurred on by my love and hundreds of viewings of The Lion King, Jungle Book (Live Version), and Jumanji.

My Mom, who loves me enormously, so much so she is willing to sacrifice her own comfort, sent me money to go on this dream trip. A few of my teammates, joined by handful of two other teams, headed out for Maasai Mara on a cold and early Friday morning.

After passing the first herd of zebra, grazing nonchalantly on the side of the road like common deer at home, I knew I was not sufficiently prepared for the surreality of what was to lie ahead.

11 hours, several pit stops, a riot with tear gas, and a delightful little hotel in the middle of nowhere later, early Saturday morning we arrive at the park where we’ll be making my dreams come true. Our driver, Steven, pops the top of the jeep up so we can stand and look out into real life. After 45 minutes of waiting for our passes, we finally pass through gates worthy of Jurassic Park status, and begin the adventure of a lifetime.

What they tell you about safaris: you’ll see TONS of live animals.

What they don’t tell you about safaris: 90% of it will be zebra and wildebeest herds, who incidentally live, eat, drink, and migrate together. I cannot begin to describe the enormity of these herds. There must have been thousands upon thousands that we saw in the first two hours of the journey. I can only say that that scene in the Lion King where the wildebeest stampede to the detriment of Simba’s and also every little girl’s heart is REAL. Not only do they live in those kind of numbers and more, but when we saw them stampeding later, supposedly being chased by a cheetah in the back of the herd, it was like a real-life enactment of the movie.

After the third hour of seeing only zebras, wildebeests, a smattering of tiny antelopes, and the occasional water buffalo herd (at which point in time I sang a resounding chorus of Larry The Cucumber’s hit Everybody’s Got A Water Buffalo), I was ready to see something different, something crazy. And our God, who is tender and sweet to my heart, answered my prayers.

We saw, in no particular order:

elephants and their babies
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

lionesses snoozing (and this yawning one)
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

a BOY LION (the one thing I desperately wanted to see, above and beyond anything else)
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

of course wildebeests
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

the funniest-looking water buffalo face of all time
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

zebra herds
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

herds of giraffes AND zebras

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

troops of baboons walking down the road, playing and carrying their babies on their backs

From andimoore.theworldrace.orgFrom andimoore.theworldrace.org

hippos floating and yawning in the great Mara River
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

two crocodiles next to them who seemed to care less that their one natural enemy was lounging yards away from them
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

a cheetah who snored himself awake under an acacia tree only feet from where our jeep parked
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

white-bodied and black-faced monkeys eating and swinging through the tree tops
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

storks who look like they wear suit jackets
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

vultures eating at the remains of a wildebeest carcass (and then this stately-looking one)
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

giraffes in the far distance
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

giraffes eating a tree
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

and one who saw our jeep, walked out of the brush, and stood right in front of us like a model striking a pose.
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

We saw towards the end of the day another lioness who sat right beside our jeep and when I purred at her, looked right at me.
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

We saw impalas with horns that were larger than any I had seen in a zoo
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

lonely ostriches who walked with their heads near the earth (except for this confidant one)
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

guinea fowl who resembled what I always imagined dodo birds might look like
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

hundreds of termite mounds the size of a small car
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

warthogs that didn’t look or act nearly as friendly as Pumbaa led us to believe they would (hence, no picture)

every kind of deer and antelope you could imagine
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

a dust devil
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

and some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen.
From andimoore.theworldrace.orgFrom andimoore.theworldrace.orgFrom andimoore.theworldrace.orgFrom andimoore.theworldrace.org

with some yoga action in there, too
(and in the far distance, you can see a giraffe in the shade of my tree)
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

I went home the next day knowing what it felt like to have a long-envisioned dream come true. I went home having seen animals I had only dreamed of and, being an enthusiastic and outspoken animal lover, this was one of the most special moments on the Race so far. I am so grateful to have had this experience, and so grateful to my Mother, who makes dreams come true.

best day on the race

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

It really was. It has easily been my favorite day so far. Here’s a rundown of what we did:

We left early to go visit the Havilah Family Orphanage. As we arrived, all the children ran out cheering to greet our car. As we all fell out of squishing into the tight space, children began jumping into our arms, hugging and kissing us.

Every day should begin like that.

We walk into the home, sit down, and cover ourselves with a blanket of children. And this is how we sit for awhile. Just covered in loving children who just want to touch us.

After awhile chores begin. We all peel potatoes, we boil water, we wash the little ones in buckets in the front yard- hair and faces and knees and toes, everything is scrubbed, and the little ones don’t complain while the sit shivering in the cold water.

Time to dry off!  The older girls scramble to wash all the baby clothes and find replacements while dozens of naked babies run around in the sunshine to dry since there are no towels.

After bath time is cuddle time. Sit on the couch and wait for 4 or 5 babies to come love on you, petting your skin or hair, or just cozying up as close as possible to the warmth of your arms. We decide to show The Lion King on my laptop, just as two teammies and our contact show up with a surprise: 2 brand-new mattresses! The kids all run out screaming and jumping, and almost trip the girls bringing them in. Instead of taking them into the bedroom, they plop them down on the floor right in front of the movie, and all 34 kids scramble for a seat, either back on our laps, or on the comfy new beds.

The movie was a huge success; they loved it! And afterwards lunch was served finally, first to the itty bitties, then to the next oldest, and so on and so forth until all have been served, and my own team gets to participate in the rice/potato/cabbage dish. It’s delicious, probably because we are surrounded by the sounds of chomping and slurping and chewing. It was the most beautiful sound that day.

But the day didn’t end there! Oh, no. After lunch was cleaned up, the dishes washed, the floor mopped with a rag, and an imminent rainstorm threatening, Milly and the girls decide to put on a show for us. The daylight dims as the clouds roll in, and the girls start to sing a welcome song. It’s so cozy in that room with no electricity, listening to the sounds of the storm roll in. Each girl, this time beginning with the oldest, stands up one at a time, introduces herself with “Bwana Asifiwe” (Praise God), her name, and her age, and then presents either her own song, a narrative, or a dance. Sometimes all three at once! The afternoon wears slowly on as the pounding of monsoon-level rain demands more volume from the participants, all of whom are smiling and laughing and praising God for His abundance.

But then it’s our turn! One by one the girls cheer each of my team members on, ushering them to the center of the living room to participate in the show; we do pushups, we dance, we sing, we share a little bit about the grace and greatness of Go, we share pieces of our own love for the girls… and by the time it comes to say goodbye, we’re all crying through our smiles, hugging, and kissing, and embracing like we don’t know when we’ll see each other again, hoping it will still be this side of heaven.

And we part, a little piece of each of us staying with the rest. And while it is emotional and difficult to leave these beautiful girls and boys behind, it is with confidence knowing that the Lord is their God and Father and Guardian and Protector and Provider, and how much more so than us does He give good things to His babies.

Bwana Asifiwe.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

snippets: a look back to europe

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

bread, butter, jam, hardboiled eggs-à Best Breakfast Of All Time
a month of love letters
greenery
gypsies
I’m a shepherd, too!
castles everywhere
speaking in youth services/churches
BEND YOUR EAR
pig poop
Bible Study two-a-days
Bulgaria, randomly the most beautiful country in Europe
H&M, the official sponsor of World Race
blindfolded Marty feeding blindfolded Brent ice cream
yes means no and no means yes
movie theatres and especially Iron Man
3 countries, 3 languages
my darling Matilda
lope mire, lara!
ATL month
Peaches hostel
unsung heroes campaign
i still haven’t found my dang yarn
coba winery
Slava na Boga!
So…what are we doing today?
city living! sofia and bucharest
it’s just like living at home
hot showers… sometimes
shopska salad
rain, finally
NUTELLA
milka
falaminderit
B.E.D.S.
metro travel
oh, more manual labor? okay.
we rode on a train and it was like going to Hogwarts!
2 ½ hour train ride becomes 11 hour train ride and is still AWESOME
internet!
I caught the biggest fish EVER
running with Karilyn
first annual chris scott o squad european 5k fun run
did I mention nutella?
Christine and Alexi
motika trauma and physical therapy
paint scraping
i. love. gardening.
dr. ivon ivonof
jigsaw puzzles
hour-long walks for internet
ROCKS. MORE. AGAIN. ALWAYS.
morning prayer/worship time with the team
Team O-Flow
beach team
goats, cows, sheep, and pigs. but mostly goats.
making cheese
tom sawyer white washing
a real underground church
N.U.T.E.L.L.A.

from the journal archives

Originally written on 7.7.13 at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

In Kenya, where my name is pronounced “Auntie,” churches abound.  There is a church every few feet and on Sundays you can hear the resounding boom of a sermon and enthusiastic handclapping all around you like a warm hug. Churches abound, but so does poverty. Poverty is everywhere here. We walked down a long dirt road to church. Children played with sticks and stones while their mothers, often carrying babies on their backs, went about the morning’s chores. The house where my team is staying this month might not have a working faucet, but we have a fancy squatty potty and electricity for a few moments in the evenings if the wind isn’t too strong or if the generator doesn’t decide to break. [Update: our neighbor has graciously let us hook into his line to share electricity. So now if it’s not raining too hard outside, we have lights!]

It genuinely amazes me how, in the midst of owning nothing, the people of Moi’s Bridge find delight, disciple, passion, and purpose in the Person of Jesus Christ. The conviction I have seen solely within the last two days is enough to make me question my own commitment to the Lord. Am I really committed? If I were in the same situation would I react in the same way- with hope and trust and faith in the Lord to get me through? And if struggles and suffering remain would I continue to praise Him and find delight in His Name?

I have a feeling that these next three months of immersion in this culture of praising the Lord “all the time” is going to change the very fabric of my nature and my relationship with my Savior. “God inhabits the praises of His people,” so when we praise Him in the storm, He comes and stills the storm. But not every storm in our lives is commanded to be still- and when this happens we, like Peter, simply reach out and take the outstretched hand of Jesus- and He will walk with you over the storm.


A few highlights of that first church service:

“Anointing is power; it ushers you into authority.”

“Speak greater things for your family. Decree and declare.”

“Live long to see your labor increase and multiply! Live long to worship the Lord and do His will! When you open your mouth, Christian, words of life come out… and multiply!

“When you walk with someone with eternal life, it magnifies your power. LIFE visits you and death cannot win!”


Yes. Yes, I believe I’m going to leave Africa deeply, deeply changed.

Bwana Asifiwe.

maumbo jambo

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

A couple phrases in Swahili to help you along in your personal African journey:

Jambo: Hello!  Weirdly enough this isn’t used as much as some of the other greetings.

Maumbo: Hello! What’s up? Your response is always “Poa.” This is not a dance.

Sa Sa: Hello! How you doin?” Originally I thought this was “salsa” and also a dance. Again, I was wrong. Also, always answer with “Poa.”

Poa: Cool. A response to Maumbo or Sa Sa.

Habari: How are you? A common phrase you’ll hear perhaps 80 times a day. More if you’re white.

Karibu: Welcome. Not like the antelopes of the American and Canadian northwest.

Asante Sana: Thank you very much. Do NOT answer with “Squash Banana.” Funny looks will ensue.

Mzungu: White man. White girl. This is always YOU. You will almost never be acknowledged by name. Also just accept that you are an exotic animal and the children specifically, in Africa are on safari to see you. They will yell so that entire families come out to watch you pass. You can hate it, or embrace it and be a celebrity for a month.

Kuja: Come. I have actually never heard this one… or said it.

Omba: Pray. Um… self-explanatory?

Mungu Akubariki: God bless you. Yes, the word for God is “Mungu.” And I love it.

Bwana Asifiwe: Praise God. This one is used frequently, and especially when greeting a brother or sister in Christ. Or at the beginning of a cell group meeting. Or when introducing yourself at said meeting.

Ndio: Yes. I actually just said “Yes” or employed the ever-useful head-nod-and-smile tactic.

Hapana: No. This was quite useful when dealing with children who think it’s funny to pull hair.

 

I hope this helps you navigate daily living in Swahili-Africa! If not, most people speak English anyway. But step out of your comfort zone and learn to at least say hello in their language- it’ll endear you even more than your fancy foreign skin.

calling all my yarnworkers: a compassion blog

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

There is this orphanage that my team and I have been privileged to visit and work at this month. One of many ministries we’ve been tasked with, it has been the place that has hit all of us the hardest.

The owner, Milli, began this orphanage three years ago, when she looked around her and began to feel overwhelming pity and compassion on the orphans of her village, particularly the “girl child” as they were the most vulnerable and the most easily lost to prostitution. She welcomed 11 young girls into the home where she lived with her own three children and husband.

Her husband left her for another woman soon after, and she had to leave her home. She took her three children, and the 11 orphans, and found a place in town. A local pastor found them, welcomed them into his church, and began to support the growing ministry. More and more children were rescued from the streets as a safer place became available.

Finally feeling some weight lifted, Milli and her girls began volunteering in the nearby slums, working with the elderly and the young who had succumbed to jiggers, a nasty parasite that burrows into the flesh and eats away at the tissue, causing intense pain as the flesh begins to rot. This is apparently a huge problem in this area of Kenya, and Milli and her girls wanted to give back. They also worked around the village, helping to clean houses, garden, and cook for neighbors- anything they could do to make a difference.

Things seemed to be going great but… as things go in desperate situations… the pastor who was supporting the orphanage, paying rent and electricity and so on, began asking some of the older girls to come to his home and “help out.”

You know where this is going.

He began seducing the girls, telling them if they didn’t sleep with him, he would stop supporting the orphanage and they would once again be homeless and without protection or provision. Four of the girls gave in- ages 13, 14, 16, and 17. Milli finally found out about what was happening when the 17-year-old became pregnant.

She confronted the pastor immediately and he answered arrogantly, saying it was the girls’ fault, and he was going to withdraw his support of them.  Milli and the girls left his church, and began to pray for God’s support. A lot of the girls became very angry with God, with “Godly men” and with church.

All Milli could do was cry out to God.

They have been struggling ever since.

No one has stepped up to help support this ministry. No church, no local families, no international ministry. Milli continues to raise, home school, love, and nudge toward Christ the now-32-in-number children. They pray daily for God to provide supernatural miracles. They have twice been threatened with eviction from their home for not being able to pay rent. They’re hoping to make enough money to pay for a small piece of land to buy a mudhut for the children- something rent-free and that they can call their own.

Oftentimes they don’t have electricity. The older girls who are enrolled in public school don’t have shoes. They’re ostracized. They have two bunkbeds, two regular beds, and lots of space on the concrete floor to share while sleeping. They have few blankets. Each child has 1-2 sets of clothing, often bearing broken zippers, missing buttons, and none have underwear. In the “winter” months, when clothes don’t dry, the children run around in wet clothes. Health care is nearly non-existent. Sanitary towels are non-existent which, for the older girls, is the worst part of their poverty. None have toothbrushes. They struggle for soap to wash, or oil for their skin.

Some days they don’t eat.

At all.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
This was a day we brought food for them.
This is daily living for the children of the Havilah Family- the name of the orphanage. Milli’s birth children live with their grandparents and she sees them once every other day, so that she can stay in the orphanage and help provide for the babies.

Every day Milli and her orphans- all of whom call her “Mama”- cling to each other for love and support. Every day they pray to God, and worship Him for His abundance- even when they don’t experience the physical aspect of it. Every day they awake and attempt to make it through one more day.

And to see these babies… to see these children and young ladies… each has a smile on his or her face. Every time we drive up to their home, they run outside and jump into our arms, hugging us and cheering. They sit in our laps, they play games with us, they show us new dance moves they’ve been working on.

We have dance parties.

These children who have literally nothing have joy.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
Precious, precious faces

Yes, the younger ones cry all day when there is no food.

Yes, the older ones cry when they are attacked at school for being poor.

But every day they get back up, and they begin again.

And to experience the love they have for each other- to watch the twelve-year-olds holding and feeding the two-year-olds… to experience the love they so freely give to us… is to experience a little piece of heaven.

And here is my plea to you, my knitters, my crocheters, my compassionate hearts:

While Milli is setting up an Sponsor-A-Child monthly program, there are other ways you can help out. If you have been touched by this story, if your little heart strings have been pulled, I’d like to invite you to consider partnering with Milli’s orphanage, the Havilah Family.

I know you all love to make things. It’s what we knitters do! I would like to invite you to start working on a Love-The-Havilah-Family Project: making hats, socks, sweaters, and (most importantly) blankets for all ages- 3 months to 17 years- and sending them to Milli. You can get together with some of your yarn-working friends and split the cost of sending a box overseas.

Sometimes, if you’re like me, you have excess yarn and no real idea what to do with it. Maybe you’re in-between projects, or you just don’t know what to do with those four skeins of neon orange yarn you got at the office party last Christmas. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that here is an opportunity- a real need- for some love. It gets awfully cold in Kitale, Kenya in the evenings and especially during the wet season. These kids need blankets. They need clothes. They need to feel like they aren’t alone.

And you and I can help! Get out those knitting needles, grab that crochet hook, or even clean out your closets! Send your Love-The-Havilah-Family projects to Milli, and feel love increase around the world.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
a little something like this, perhaps

If you have a further desire to be involved, leave me a blog comment with your email address and as soon as Milli has her Sponsor-A-Child monthly project available, I will let you know. It’ll be an opportunity to sponsor a child, similar to Compassion International- a monthly donation will provide food, clothing, books for school, soap for bathing, and other essentials. I’ll make sure to write another blog with more information about it as soon as I have it.

Thanks in advance for the loving work you’re already preparing to do on behalf of the children of the Havilah Orphanage. I know when your gifts of love arrive, the lives of these young girls and boys will be changed forever. Because beyond the money you might put into buying yarn or mailing clothes, you are sending hope, support, encouragement, and courage to the orphans of Kitale, Kenya.

And for that, I bless you.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org


All Love Projects can be sent to:

Hearts of Mercy
Havilah Family
c/o Milli Dindi
P.O. Box 2503
30200 Kitale, Kenya

fully funded!

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

The day came on July 1st, the official last deadline for fundraising. My squad was en route to Kenya from Romania, and we were in our 8 hour layover in Qatar (Cutter? Cut-tar? Kay-tar? No one really knows for sure).

We arrived in the Qatar airport around midnight-ish, finally receiving wifi, and I proceeded to check my WR Profile for the first time in several days. Lo and behold! Not only was I fully funded, I was funded over $1600 more than I needed!! Talk about the Lord’s overwhelming provision through His sacrificial children. Hopefully AIM will let me buy my plane ticket home with that money. I’ve heard (from squadmates) that they will allow that money to also be used on another trip with them, so perhaps in the near future I can lead a smaller, short-term trip with some high school students or something. I don’t really know, I haven’t looked into it quite yet.

But the point of this particular blog, is to THANK MY SUPPORTERS.

I absolutely, positively, 100% could not have done this without you. I wish I could send every one of you a personal thank you note, but seeing as how postal service overseas is not particularly dependable or affordable, I shall just thank you here and hope it holds you all over until I can come home and thank you in person.

I want to tell you about a sermon I heard in Romania, given to a gyspy church by an associate pastor visiting from California (small world, right?). It’s based from the passage in Exodus 17:8-13 about when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. In a lucky/unlucky turn of events, it was Moses, and not Joshua the military leader, who held the fate of the battle in his hands (no pun intended). The story goes that as long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites were winning. But when his arms grew tired and his hands fell, success on the battlefield turned over to the Amalekites.

Talk about pressure.

But he wasn’t alone! He had two men with him, Aaron and Hur, friends there to support him in his time of need. And when his arms would grow heavy and he felt like he couldn’t go on, they took his hands in their own and with their own energy, force, and concentration, held his arms up themselves, keeping them steady until sundown, and the battle was complete. The Israelites won! Not simply because Moses had been chosen by God to bear the burden of the battle, but because his friends stood by his side (literally) and supported him through the tough moments.

Can you guess where this is heading? That’s right, YOU are my Aaron. You are my Hur. You have been the friends and supporters in my life who have “held up my arms” so that the battle could be won and souls saved.

You have helped shoulder the responsibility. Maybe we can’t all be The Overseas Missionary (i.e. Moses… in this example). Sometimes we have jobs and spouses and kids and responsibilities that keep us from going further than our neighborhood (an equally important missions frield). But we all can be Aaron and Hur, no matter our circumstances. We can all go alongside those called away and support the Great Commission. In this case, you have been my Aaron and my Hur, enabling me to do what I absolutely could not do on my own.

You have provided incredible financial support. This trip cost $15,500 alone, not counting vaccinations, passports, travel to and from entry points within the country, and all the backpacking equipment I need to live successfully in a tent for a year. That is some serious sacrifice on your part. God knows we aren’t meant to do things on our own; perhaps that is one of the many reasons this trip costs so much money- He knows we cannot do things alone, and there is some serious humility in asking for help. There’s an even more serious amount of humility in receiving help. Humility that leads us to look differently at our own lives, the lives of those who give, and the lives of those around the world who are being touched because people gave.

You have provided me with words of encouragement that have spurred me along. We can each bring unique perspectives to every situation, perspectives perhaps unable to be seen when you’re in the thick of the battle. Words of encouragement at the right God-centered moment can change the momentum of any situation (1 Thess. 5:11). You have all sent heart-warming, soul-inspiring, perspective-changing encouragement to me through emails, facebook, twitter, and skype. I cannot begin to tell you how much less overwhelming life is when I have the support and encouragement from the people I love, spurring me on toward greater things than these.

You have also prayed for me. Intercession takes great strength because our natural instinct is to take care of ourselves, not offer ourselves to someone or something else. And yet, time and again, at just the right moment, I would receive messages and emails full of prayers or answers as a result of prayer on my behalf. I believe that as humbling as it is to receive financial support, it is even more humbling to be at the receiving end of passionate, intentional, purpose-driven intercession. Believe it or not, it can be easy to slip into a comfort zone even out in the middle of Africa, with little electricity, no water, squatty potties, and malaria-ridden mosquitos attacking you when you least expect it. You can grow comfortable in the middle of 4-hour long church services. You can create your own comfort zone when given the choice to walk to one more house and pray, or call it a day. You can bring along your comfort zone anywhere you go, even on the so-called “mission field”. But receiving prayers or messages from the Lord about me or this trip or someone specific I will meet- that is one serious way to kick the comfort to the curb. And you have been so faithful to me and to the Lord in lifting up this trip.

God will answer.

God has answered.

God answers.

And here are just some of the ways He has used YOU to change lives around the world:

~ children have been taught English, math, science, and Scripture in 7 countries so far

~ widows in El Salvador have been visited, comforted, and prayed for

~ the homeless in Guatemala have been encouraged and loved on

~ gypsies in Bulgaria and Romania have felt support and love

~ orphans in Honduras, Bulgaria, and Kenya have been held, hugged, kissed, and played with

~ orphanages and homes in Honduras, Albania, and Bulgaria have been built or fortified

~ missionaries stationed in Romania have been strengthened, encouraged, and prayed with

~ youth in El Salvador, Guatemala, Bulgaria, and Kenya have heard the Word of God. Many have given their lives to Jesus

~ kids in Albania have a newly-cleaned, painted and landscaped camp to go to this summer

~ the sick have been prayed over

~ the hungry have been fed

~ the despairing have been held

~ relationships have been built

~ community has been strengthened

~ The Holy Word of God has been studied, meditated on, and preached in 7 nations

~The Lord has been worshipped

~ The Lord has been glorified

And He still has so much left to be done. He is not finished. Even when this Race is over, in 4 more months, He will still not be finished. He says in His Word that He will only be finished with the final trumpet sounds and we ALL go Home. Until then, we go wherever and whenever we can, sharing His love, mercy, reconciliation, and Good News among every nation until every ear has heard, every knee bended, and every heart mended, and it is because of people like YOU, who give and give and give so sacrificially, that this calling on ALL our lives is accomplished.

Thank you.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

Thank you.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

Thank you.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

…and then i killed it

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

Or, How To Kill, Clean, and Butcher A Chicken For Dinner

Well, I did it. I successfully killed my Helen, a deliciously fat and sweet chicken that was given to me as thanks for preaching in a cell group. And this is the story of how I went from sweet, innocent, young Andi to ferocious, murdering pioneer woman.

Pastor Simon, in whose home we are living, calls to me from outside. As I step from the kitchen to the great outdoors, I notice he’s holding down Helen, my big brown chicken, with her neck stretched out long. A large knife is sitting beside him.

“Ready?”

It’s at this point that I notice I’m shaking. I really thought I was prepared for this moment, I was even eager! But now that the moment had arrived, the real me came out: nervous, scared, and a little bit sad.

Also a little bit nauseated.

But grab the butcher knife I did, and bravely I stepped forward, reaching down… and I began to saw. He wouldn’t let me chop the head off, the way I’d seen in so many movies, but he asked that I saw the neck instead, albeit quickly and with purpose.

The moment when you take a life, even if it’s necessary for food purposes, is actually quite terrifying.  And even beyond that, halfway through the neck, the hen began to flap her wings and kick her little legs and I might have screamed and run away, much to the laughter of Pastor Simon, still manfully holding onto the mostly-dead-but-currently-disco-dancing chicken.

Let me also say that this is all on video. Video that I most likely won’t have fancy enough internet to download while still in Africa. But let me assure you that the moment I CAN, I WILL upload it. Because it’s certainly hysterical and embarrassing enough to warrant fan commentary.

Back to the chicken. With the neck half off, Pastor Simon advised me to just let her die and, gratefully (and expelling a huge sigh of relief) I oblige. Moments later when she finally lays still, I take the knife and finish the neck clean through in 2 swipes. Why couldn’t I have finished it that quickly before?

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
This is my poor attempt at smiling at my work.

With Helen successfully not living anymore (clearly the most dramatic part) (and also to save you, the reader, from becoming bored or bogged down by my excess expository) I shall simply give the steps to completing your dinner.

The boiling water comes next. Pour the boiling water over the chicken to soften the connection between the feathers and the skin, and then pluck away! Be sure that you get all the fine hairs between the soft skin of the leg and the tough skin of the foot.

With the body still warm (eek!), take your knife and slice from neck to tail along the stomach, breaking the sternum along the way. Reach into the cavity (just like a Thanksgiving turkey, only warmer and slimier) and remove intestines, spleen, and stomach, making absolutely sure that you don’t break open any of the organs. Throw them into the “trash” bucket. Take out the heart, liver, and lungs, saving these in the “good” bucket. Same goes for any eggs you find (and Helen had quite a few). The eggs are extra easy to break, so take extra care when removing. You are also welcome to leave them until the end of the process.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
Real, real life.

Next comes cutting and breaking bones, starting with the legs. Cut halfway through what I assume is the “knee” joint, snap the joint, and continue cutting until leg is removed. Throw away the foot. Move up to the hip joint, repeat process, but throw the leg into the “good” bucket (who doesn’t like nice fried chicken legs?). Repeat on other leg, then move to the wings. Cut at elbow joint, snap, continue cutting, throw in “good” bucket. Cut at shoulder joint… you get the picture. When all limbs are removed, saw the back in half, break those bones, and continue cutting until the back is fully halved. Save both halves (after removing any last minute eggs).

Now that you’re finished, your chicken ready to be cooked, and you covered in its blood and slime, feel free to go throw up a little bit, but make sure you don’t touch any part of your own face or body with your blood-covered hands.

Wash up.

And you’ve successfully prepared a chicken, from living to the kitchen, the Kenyan way! Congratulations ensue.

PS. I have since killed and butchered ANOTHER chicken for dinner, and my Swahili tribal name has become MWANZILISHI, meaning Pioneer Woman. I quite like it.

From andimoore.theworldrace.orgMwaaaaanzilshi!

i showed up for jesus and left with a chicken

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

Remember that time I preached at a small group in Kenya and they gave me a chicken?

It happened.

July 10 was a big night for me. It was the first time I was to bring the Word in any form in any place in Kenya. We’d only been in country for 8 days, but most of those days had been spent welcoming in our Exposure students and getting acquainted with our new digs. We’d gone to church one day, and a school two other days, but that was about it. I guess my team had gone to do home visits one day, but I was laid up in bed, sick with sinuses, congestion, and the worst case of heart burn anyone has ever experienced ever. So perhaps it was time to start sharing the Word.

Our team had split into two groups for the day, and my group was told we’d be speaking at the “cell group” about half an hour before we were to meet. Two of the teamies in my group had already spoken at one of the churches we visited, so they opted not to speak at cell group. Which left one other girl, and myself. We bantered for a bit about what we might speak on, finally deciding that I would be the one to bring the message.

After some prayer, I decided on Luke 7:38-50, discussing the perspectives of the Pharisee and the woman with the alabaster jar. I, at this point, moments before we were to head to the meeting place, was begging the Lord to speak through me, despite my ill-preparedness and lack of know-how.

Which of course He did. He is so very, very faithful. We together spoke eloquently of the Pharisee pulling away from someone with a past, and of the woman who cared so little about society and so much about Jesus and His redemption that she crashed a dinner party and threw herself and her entire past at Jesus’ feet. It was one of those moments you absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is speaking and you are not.

The women of the cell group gave a big Amen at the end and launched themselves into beautiful 3-4 part Swahili praise harmony and prayed aloud for themselves and for each other.

And when all was said and done, after we, the visitors, had been treated to tea and bread (and avocado), and we were heading to our vehicle to drive home, someone stopped us.

“Wait! You have to wait on your cuckoo!” Cuckoo is the Swahili word for chicken. “Who is going to slaughter the cuckoo tomorrow for your dinner? You?” I should have taken this as a clue because I really and truly thought they were going to give us chicken that had already been cooked.

Nope.

After a few moments a lovely lady brought me a HUGE brown chicken, whom she handed to me with a smile and a laugh (I’m sure at my face), and bid us good night and God bless.
From andimoore.theworldrace.org

We then drove home, my hands around an enormous brown hen, whom I immediately named Helen, who clucked at every bounce of the car (and seeing as how the roads in Africa are seriously some of the worst roads on earth, it was a lot). At one point her wings got free from my grip and she tried to fly away, causing our driver and contact, Rebecca, to laugh and tease the rest of the way home.

Tomorrow I am to help our house parents slaughter, pluck, and cook Helen.

We’ll see how it goes.

But that is the story of preaching the Word and receiving a chicken.

To God by the glory. Haha!

From andimoore.theworldrace.org