Namibia Easter Camp

Easter weekend in Popa Falls, Namibia was amazing! We took almost fifty youth on the long, hard road trip which began Friday morning at 5:30am. After a few delays, we made it to Popa Falls that afternoon. We set up tents and got a look at our living conditions for the next few days. Let's just say we were certainly not set up in a fancy resort. However, the area was absolutely beautiful! The church is right across from the Delta and everything is bright green from all the recent rains. The people of Namibia are just as precious as the people of Botswana. Like other villages I've visited, the local children were completely fascinated with our arrival and were constant spectators at our campsite and worship services. They especially loved watching the competition time we had for the teens. They, along with the adults, were full of hugs, smiles, and warm greetings for our group.

The camp's title was "Change Agents, Camp 28:1820" and it was focused on Matthew 28:18-20 and Jesus's command to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." We began with an evening session on Friday with Gary talking to the youth about "The Great Commission". Saturday morning I taught a session on "The Missionary Heart of God". It was wonderful to talk to the kids about a topic that is so close to my heart. Immediately after the talk and prayer time, the kids were divided up and sent out. They travelled in groups of 4-5 to go hut-to-hut to pray for people, share the gospel with them, and invite them to come see "The Passion of the Christ" that night at the church. The outreach was wonderfully successful! People were very friendly and open with the kids, listening intently to them share about God's love and how He has worked in their lives personally. A few made decisions and commitments of their own, with one woman even going straight to the church after praying with her group and committing her life to Christ. The youth were touched deeply with this experience and it was incredible to see them go out of their comfort zones as they shared the gospel with the people of Popa Falls.

Saturday afternoon was full of fun group competitions and lots of laughter. Then on Saturday night, we set up "The Passion of the Christ" on a large screen in front of the church. Many, many people came to watch the true meaning of Easter play out on the screen. Amazingly, although the movie was used as an outreach tool for the community, I think the youth were equally affected by watching it and being reminded of all that Jesus went through, especially as they were there in Namibia to share this with other people. It really added meaning and purpose to what they were doing.

Sunday was another full day. We had a beautiful Easter service with worship time like I've never experienced. Everyone should attend at least one African rural church service in their life. Wow! The singing, dancing, and overall joy in that place was amazing! I wish I had a strong enough internet connection to upload videos so that you could see it also!

After the service, the kids stayed busy doing a biblical scavenger hunt that Maureen put together, having to search the scriptures for answers and recreate scenes from the Bible to take pictures of. Everyone involved had a blast! We ended the day with an "off the hook" (as Gary would say) praise and worship service with just the youth. It was such a night of celebration! I am sure that people all over Namibia could hear the praises coming from that tiny church that night. I loved it! Even more than that, I loved the testimony time where the kids told what God had been doing in their hearts during the camp. So many kids were affected in huge ways and it was wonderful to hear them share so passionately what God is doing in their hearts.

I am incredibly thankful to have had the chance to experience this camp. Although I am not naturally a camper-type person, I am proud of myself for enduring mostly joyfully and allowing God to continue to stretch me in new ways. I also really enjoyed the fellowship time with the other leaders, and of course with the people of Namibia. It was a long, hard journey back home (14 hours in the car!) with setback after setback, including two flat tires along the way and being squished in the back seat of a car with three other people in a space meant for only two. After arriving home, though, and settling in, I looked at pictures and watched the video and just thanked God for providing such incredible experiences with Him. I am so excited at what He is doing in the youth here and look forward to all that is still to come!

Here are a few pictures from this weekend. You can find all the rest of them in the picasa web album. Also you can go here to read Maureen's account of the weekend.
A few of the local kids who came to greet us.
The Village Church of Popa Falls
The Okavango Delta
Ministry in the community
Three-legged race competition
Youth praise and worship night
Hanging out with some of the local kiddos
With Blessing, Pastor Kelvin's son
Heading home

Easter in Namibia

I am just a few short hours from leaving Botswana with about forty-five youth and five adults to head to Popa Falls, Namibia for a four-day youth camp/mission trip. I am excited to see a new place and to have the amazing opportunity to watch our youth ministering to people of another country. They will be going hut-to-hut to invite people to come and watch "The Jesus Film," as well as sharing the gospel and their testimony with people. The title for this weekend is "Change Agents" and the key verse is Matthew 28:19-20. The kids will hear various people sharing messages and will have numerous times of worship, as well as some really fun activities sprinkled throughout. I'd love to have you pray with us for the weekend. Here are some key points:
  • Travel safety, especially Friday and Monday
  • God's preparation of the hearts of the people we will minister to in Namibia
  • For God to equip all of the youth who are going and to really take them to the next level with Him
  • For a special bond between the youth who are going and that the bond and passion for God would follow them back home, influencing others who weren't able to go
  • My time of speaking (Saturday night) when I speak on the topic of us serving a "Missionary God". I pray that He opens the kids' hearts to see God's perspective on the people of the world and His calling for us to go to share with them

Thank you so much! I'll post pictures and details from the weekend when we return. I hope you have a very happy, relaxing, and blessed Easter!

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!" Luke 24:6

Elephants, Kids, and Praises

I tell you, the days here FLY by! I can't believe how quickly time is going by! I have lots to report on and some new pictures!


  • The trip with my class to the "Living with Elephants" camp was a huge success! The class flew on a tiny, 15 seat airplane for a quick 15 minute flight to the Delta. It was so fun to watch their excitement during the flight!
  • At the camp we played games, toured a safari camp, went on a game drive, and hung out with elephants for a couple hours...even hugging their legs! It was great to see them up close and learn so much about them. Even better was watching some of the kids change from being fearful and intimidated by them to being totally comfortable and at ease.
  • I was very proud of myself for roughing it at the camp. We stayed in tents on the ground, cooked our own food, and had a very interesting "bathroom"...I don't mean to complain, but I was VERY glad to get back home to my own bed and modern a sink and oven!
  • During the night while in our tent, we heard hyenas, leopards, and lions!
  • The morning before we left we heard noises behind our tent and when we went to inspect, we found a bunch of baboons "spying" on us...right in our camp!
  • Here are a few pictures from the trip: (check the picasa web album for the rest)

Children/Youth Updates

  • Kids, kids, kids...that is my life pretty much! :) What a joy this is since spending time with children is such a passion that God has given me.
  • God continues to move in an AMAZING way with the boarders and other teenagers at church. I am seeing one after another wanting to give their lives to the Lord and live for Him completely. I see their desire to go deeper, to get into the Word, to understand things more, and to purify their hearts and lives. My girls are so precious to me and I cherish every relationship I have with them.
  • A message board was recently put up at the hostel and God gave me the idea of posting a "verse of the day". Not knowing if the girls would care much or even notice, I've been totally shocked at what a ministry that has turned out to be. I see them stop each morning to read the verse and one of the girls recently wrote me a note thanking me for the daily verses and telling me how it brightens her day to read them. I'm so thankful for God's great ideas!
  • Please pray for these girls who are committing their lives to the Lord. As is to be expected, some of them have faced immediate trials. I pray that they persevere on and grow daily in their relationship with Christ.
  • The children's ministry at church is going much better these days. I recently asked for prayer for God to provide reliable leaders. Well, praise Him! At our last leaders meeting there were 23 people! And more excitingly, 16 of them were teenagers!! The youth are wanting to step up as leaders and begin serving the church. It's very exciting! (Just to put things in perspective, the other two meetings I've been at had only 6-8 people there.)
    God is moving in a tremendous way in the youth ministry at church. When Gary started there as youth pastor just two years ago, there were 14 kids in the youth ministry (13-18). Last Sunday we had over 170 youth at church! This is amazing!!
  • I am extremely excited that the young lady who recently gave her life to Christ and who I've been meeting with regularly not only continues to grow and spend time journaling and in the Word, she has now come to two different youth services! This is huge because her friend once told me her parents would not allow her to attend church. I thank Him for working in their hearts and I pray for God to use her to reflect Christ to her parents. I also pray for her continued growth and emotional healing.

Other praises and prayer requests

  • Yesterday I received the original background check in the mail that had been sent FedEx from the States. What a wonderful feeling it was to receive that envelope....finally! I was so excited, I actually captured the moment!

  • I am excited that God has been providing more fellowship time with adults. My current schedule does not allow for much of that time, but it is wonderful when I do get it. This will of course not be an issue next month during term break. Then I will have TONS of time....and no kids. :(
  • Things seem to have been so hectic lately. I almost feel like I am in America again the way I've been zooming from one thing to the next! The problem with this is that I don't make the proper time to just sit with Jesus and spend time with Him. When I don't make that time, I feel it in every part of my life. I would love for you to pray that I will make that time a number one priority and that I will find refreshment in His presence.

God is doing huge things here in Botswana. What an amazing privilege for both of us to get to see it happen! Thank you for partnering with me as we work together to share Jesus with the young people of Botswana.

Off to the bush!

Hello! Just a quick post to let you know that tomorrow (Monday) my class and I will be flying out on tiny, tiny planes to the Okavango Delta to an elephant camp. We will hang out with the elephants, learn tons about them, do other fun environmental activities, and then camp out for the night in tents and cook over a fire. What a field trip! My class is ecstatic and I am pretty excited too (other than the thought of flying in that plane!) I'd really appreciate your prayers for safe travel and God's hand of protection over each of us while we are gone. I can't wait to share pictures!

Answered prayers!!

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much." James 5:16
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22

Oh, my friends, our God is faithful. And your prayers are POWERFUL! Thank you, thank you, thank you for offering such amazing support and joining with me in prayer about my background check issue. I am so totally amazed to report that our prayers were answered! Joel went into the immigration office and reasoned with them on my behalf on Wednesday. They are granting me a 30 day renewable extension...which means I have 30 more days on my temporary permit and if I still do not have the background check, I can renew for 30 more days. The process was smooth and I didn't even have to go into the immigration office! I am so thankful and humbled at this amazing turnout! I am only praying now for the speedy delivery of the original document from the States. What a relief to have time, though!! Thanks again for your amazing prayers with this!

Birthday in Botswana

My first birthday celebration in Botswana was really a great one! My boarders are the most precious kids in the whole world, I've decided. I woke up to a cute birthday sign on the message board and many knocks on my door from the different girls with cards they had handmade (and spent tons of time on!) and little gifts they had bought me. When I went outside for breakfast, all 41 of the boarders broke into the birthday song. Then all day whenever I would see them, they would tell me "happy birthday"...even if they'd already told me several times today! We ended the day with a wonderful cake that Rhonda, the principal, had ordered, had fun taking pictures, and then I got some good girl-time with the girls in their room. To top it all off, every time I've signed into the computer today, I have had new, sweet messages from people back home. I realize that I am such a very blessed person. I spent a little time this morning just thinking about all that God has given me and where He has led my life. I am so very, very, very thankful.

P.S. A little extra birthday present was that finally, after three weeks without hot water, we got it back today! Yay!!