Saturday, September 03, 2016

Forgiven?

Have you ever done something wrong? Something you know was wrong? Something you've already apologized for, repented of, tried to make amends for? But, then, years later, someone brings it back up and it's as if you just did the thing.

That is the frailty of being humans. We can't forget wrongdoings, especially when we were the victim.

Life is hard sometimes. We all have done something wrong. We've all felt guilty or ashamed because of a bad decision (or series of decisions) on our part. But, how long must the guilty continue to feel guilty?

I'm so grateful today for this scripture. It comes from Micah 7:19; a part of the Bible rarely referenced. It says: "He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."

Thank you, God!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

September 1

Well, I've been thinking about getting back to the old blog. Since it's the first of the month, why not now.

We are in a new place, again. Salt Lake City, Utah! We are somewhat settled now. Just waiting for our shipment from Angola which should arrive in the next two weeks.

My goal is to blog every day for the month of September. I think that should get me back in the swing of things. We'll see. I think I have quite a bit to blog about though. New city, fitness, family...there's always something going on. I'm going to try to think of a schedule for myself though. I think this will give me something to break up the monotony of my days here. But for now, I'm going to explore some malls/shopping centers in solitude. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Rocky Beginnings

I decided towards the end of last year that I would start blogging again. Then, I thought why not just start on Jan 1st. I planned this nice introspective post about new beginnings and making decisions to change our lives for the better.

And, then...

While eating breakfast, we heard a loud crash. This is what we found.


Yep, a portion of the ceiling collapsed onto the floor because of a water leak. Also, there is mold. Great way to start off the year.

Since it was new year's day, I knew there was no way that we could get anything done to fix this. So, we just put a trash can under the leak and swept the trash into that pile up there and moved on with our day. We left the pile because we want to make sure the maintenance people see it.

The kids and I decided to go swimming. When we returned to our house, we noticed this.




This house is super raggedy. We live on a compound of 100 houses that are exactly the same. Some are more raggedy than others because some of us live at the bottom of the hill. Supposedly, there was a landslide here a while ago and the earth is still slowly shifting which created problems with the foundation, blah, blah, blah. We were supposed to move to a different house in October but that didn't happen. So now, we are in this house with 50,000 cracks in the walls and foundation, a couple leaks, a broken front door, 2 unusable air conditioners (each room has it's own a/c units), and other little issues. 

Argh...

I'll be back another day with a more upbeat post but I'm back to stay.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Danica and Malaria

I haven't made the time to transfer pics from my phones and cameras yet so that's why I haven't blogged about Namibia and South Africa yet. But, I remembered I never told this story.

So, a couple months ago now, Danica started feeling ill. She said her stomach hurt and she had a really high fever and was just very lethargic. We have been warned continuously that any time anyone has a fever, they should be checked immediately for malaria. So, of course we headed to the clinic. There are only a couple clinics here where the company allows us to go for medical issues. At that time, there was only one in the city. So, I pack up the kids and we set off. I have Danica wrapped in her quillow because she was freezing cold. The driver sets off for the clinic.

Unfortunately, although this is the primary clinic for expats like us, that doesn't mean there is always an English speaking person available. I keep telling the people (in my limited portuguese) that my daughter is sick, has a fever, etc. Oh, and yeah, she had a couple mosquito bites. Eventually, an English speaking person comes around and tells me to wait.

These clinics are generally a first come, first serve type of facility and are always crowded. Not only is it a medical facility for expats but also local employees of the company and their families. There are no fees for visits, including medicine and special tests. So, Danica and I sat in a chair while Brayden and Danae complained about having no place to sit. Eventually, Dwayne came as well.

Yes, I called him frantic about my baby and complaining that he moved us over here.

After waiting about 45 minutes, we are seen by the triage nurse. Danica still has a fever, although not as high as earlier. We wait about 45 more minutes and are then called in to the doctor. He believes she has malaria but we have to get blood work done to prove it either way. I take Danica to the lab where she screams likes a crazy person while I hold her still so the nurse can take her blood.

I was so nervous letting those people poke my baby.

We wait about 30 more minutes and the doctor calls us back in. He said he is very surprised to say that she doesn't have malaria but instead has some unknown infection that her body is fighting off. He said all her symptoms pointed to malaria but, somehow, it's not there. He prescribes antibiotics, we go to the pharmacy downstairs to get the drugs, and we leave.

Later, I'm told that the same anti-malaria meds that we were taking at the time are also the treatment for the disease. The treatment is just a higher dosage that that to prevent. Since Danica is on the lower end of the weight limit for her dosage, it's possible that the drugs were already treating the malaria. She continued taking the anti-malaria meds and about 2 days worth of antibiotics and has been fine ever since.

We are no longer taking the daily malaria meds though. We have quite a few in case we need to start self-treating but have decided to just trust that God will protect us from the disease. And, we lather up in mosquito repellant daily. Because it rains very little here, we don't have a ton of mosquitoes anyway.

We thank God for protecting all of us but especially our baby.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why we are here!

I'm back for real this time...

The main deciding factor for coming to Angola for 3 years was that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When will we have another chance to live in Africa and travel around the continent. At my children's school, they get 3 breaks a year. They have Spring break for a week in October. Remember, we are south of the equator so the seasons are opposite. They have summer break in December for 3 weeks and then a 2 week fall break in March/April. Additionally, because this is considered a hardship assignment, the husband's company gives a stipend for R&R trips.

For us, this means at least 3 African vacations yearly and then a trip to the US in June/July/August (not sure when we'll arrive or leave). After our stay here, we should have visited at least 9 countries.

We've already begun our travels and I will blog in depth about those this week. In October, we went to Namibia and visited the cities of Windhoek, Swakopmund, and Sossusvlei. In December, we headed to Cape Town, South Africa. Both of these trips were fantastic.

In March, we are seriously considering the African island nation of Mauritius (near Madagascar).

In addition to these, we are interested in Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and Victoria Falls (on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe).

Sometimes, this feels like a dream because we really can't believe we are here and seeing all these beautiful places.

I have a lot to write about and decided that today I would get back on it.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boring!

Sorry for the long break! We had internet issues and then I just didn't feel like blogging. I'm back now and will post regularly.

Boring!!! That adequately describes Luanda. There's not much to do here for fun. No bowling, skating, museums, children's fun places. There is a movie theater but it's in Portuguese so...

On our compound, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts, soccer field, and playgrounds. But, it gets old seeing the same stuff all the time. There is a nearby beach called Mussulo which is a really nice spot. The problem is that I'm used to having a variety of things in Houston and here there just isn't much. So, we have to deal with the mundane existence here and then have a fabulous vacation every few months. It is what it is!

One way to deal with it though is that people have regular get togethers. There are birthday parties every week. There are different groups that get together for different activities as well: book club, bible study, prayer group, movie days, bunco, tennis matches, etc. So far, I do the prayer group and movie days. Bible study is at the same time as my portuguese class and I really have to get this language. I don't have my shipment yet so can't play tennis. I'm trying to find stuff to do though.

The highlight of everyone's life here are the vacations though. In October, we went to Namibia. It was fabulous and a post will come soon about that. We are spending Christmas in Cape Town, SA. Our goal is to make it to the following places before we leave: Kenya, Mauritius, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, and Morocco. I really wish we could go to Egypt but they have to calm down there first. It is likely that we won't make it to all those places but we will see.

I miss all of you and will write again soon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Luanda Para Cristo

Hey!!!

Let me tell y'all about this church event we went to. For my Houston SDA folks, do you remember a few years ago when we had the Houston for Christ evangelism thing for the month of February. Well, they had a Luanda for Christ thing in Angola. It was introduced at the beginning of the year and then they had a 4 week crusade with nightly preaching which ended on September 21st. On that day, they rented out 2 soccer stadiums for the church service. It was quite amazing! In total, the report is that more than 23,000 people have been baptized so far this year. The goal is 1 million before the end of the year.

So, the church that we've been attending was told to go to Dos Coqueiros stadium which seats about 12,000 people. We were told to get there by 8:30 so our family will be able to find seats together. That was good information because by 8:45 the place was almost full for an event starting at 9:15. And, there were people everywhere sitting on the steps, on the ground, on the soccer field. And, almost everyone was travelling with pots, plates, drinks, etc. because the plan was to stay for the entire day. That was their plan, by the way. We went home after the service.

We were seated in the end zone (I don't know soccer vernacular) which means we couldn't see things very well. But, that didn't matter because: 1) We didn't understand much anyway, 2) We were close to the exit.

The week before, the adults were given t-shirts to wear because they wanted everyone to match. My kids wore their Fondren Children's Ministry t-shirts so they could rep their church and be easily identified by their parents.

There was an American guy there who gave the first sermon (yay because we could understand). I had a translator sitting next to me but I think sometimes she would forget her job so I didn't get everything. She was very happy to translate the 2 testimonies though so I'll share those.
1) A lady joined a Bible study group and decided to be baptized as a SDA. Her mom told her if she went through with it, she would be disowned and the mom would tell everyone she had died. The lady was baptized anyway. She said she would rather be dead to her family than dead to Christ. Family means everything in Angola so this is a very bold step for her to take.
2) A teenager boy said he joined Pathfinders to hang with his friends and was introduced to God. He said he was impressed by the other kids because they had different standards than everyone else.

"Luanda for Christ: 1 million souls for Christ"

"Hope for Angola" and Danica repping for Fondren CM

Panorama shot of the crowd. The lady all the way on the left was my translator.

If you squint a little, you can see people in white on the field. They were baptized that day in a kiddie pool that was maybe 1.5 ft deep. We are still not sure how that happened.

Another panorama shot. They guy on the left with the orange shirt is our driver. You can also see the tops of my kids' heads on the bottom left. Oh, there's Dwayne's big head too!