Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If you have an hour...

If you have an hour I would challenge you to watch an awesome message from a missionary supported through my church.

His name is Tim Shontere and along with his wife Courtney has been on the field in Yembi Yembi, Papua New Guinea for the last three years doing bible translating...his message is both encouraging and challenging!

I hope you have the time to enjoy it!


Click on the link, then click on "Tim Shontere - The Yembi Yembi Gospel" - March 1st, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An African Prince, The Santa Monica Pier, A Parking Space and a Question...

How do all these things fit together??

Here's the story:

"You Don't Act American..."

I have to say, this is the first time I have ever been told that!! Well I guess I have been told that I have an African soul before, but never that I didn't act American.

I mean, I have lived in America my entire life...I think it must be entirely impossible for me NOT to act American!

BUT never the less....here's the story:

Yesterday I was meeting a friend at the Santa Monica Pier to hang out. Now if you have ever been to the pier around sunset on a Saturday you know that there is practically NO place to park!

So after about 30 minutes of circling I gave in and pulled my car into a $6 parking structure. I found the elevator and headed up to the first floor, expecting it to let out on the street somewhere. But to my surprise, when the elevator door opened, I was in an office building with a security guard sitting at a reception table. I took one step in...then decided I must be in the wrong place.

The guard, seeing my confusion, waved me over to his desk. I asked him if it was okay to park there if I was going to the pier...turns out I was in the right place after all.

The guard was African, so I decided to stay and chat awhile while I waited for my friend to arrive. Turns out he is a prince in one of the royal families from Cameroon and has only been here a year and a half to study medicine.

He asked if I had ever been to Africa and I told him all about my plans...that is when he asked me where I was from...

Stephen: "Are you an American"
Me: "Yeah"
Stephen: "You are?"
Me: "Yeah"
Stephen: "You don't act like an American"
Me: "I don't?"
Stephen: "Well, maybe when you thought you were lost in the elevator...you acted like one because you were about to go back down without asking directions but now I see you do not act like one."
Me: "Why not?"
Stephen: "You don't act like them because they are all so busy, running around. They do not stop to talk to anyone, but you are here talking to me and you love Africa.
Me: "You are right"
Stephen: "Yes, I have determined it, you are not American in your heart"

Needless to say, he was a very cool guy. I saw him again and listened to some more stories as I came back to get my car later in the evening. He walked my friend and I down to our cars and as we drove up to the pay booth he had beat us to it, paying for both of our cars...

So that is my adventure with an African prince, working as a security guard, near the Santa Monica pier, who is convinced that I don't act like an American!

Friday, March 27, 2009

50+ days and counting...

I can't believe how fast time has flown by but I am only two months away from my second round of missions training!!

I have been so busy that I have been neglecting the blog a bit but all for good reasons!

I have been fundraising and WOW...its a HUGE task! It involves speaking at churches and community groups as well as one-on-one dinners and coffee dates. It involves email follow-ups, phone calls and the works!

I have been working full time...its crazy to think that I work all day and then do my second job of fundraising on nights and weekends! This past weekend went so fast with 3 speaking engagements that Monday caught me off guard! In fact, I was so behind on my sleep this week that I told the kids it was Wednesday on Tuesday - we even sang the "Today is Wednesday" song all the way through 2 times!

I am still trying to get somewhat settled into my new living quarters! The boxes I took with me are still piled up in the garage, the boxes for work are still waiting to be scanned into my computer and the boxes in the trunk of my car are still going with me everywhere I go...

So needless to say...I could use a personal assistant (or maybe 2)!!

I guess it is all part of packing up my life and starting over in Uganda :0

Please keep me in your prayers!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pray For Me

Please pray for me this weekend! I am speaking at in a Sunday school class, a church services and an evening service this Sunday.

Please pray for me to have wisdom in what I say and please pray for the people listening to have ears to hear.

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Pink Slip Story...

If you live anywhere in the state of California you have probably heard of our budget woes and the school district insanity. If not...lucky you!

Anyways, Los Angeles Unified School District, has decided to balance their budget by cutting teaching jobs. They not only cut probationary teachers but permanent 10-year teachers as well. I was one of the "lucky" 9,000 teachers that will be losing their job as of June 30, 2009.

The funny thing is, I was planning on quiting my job then anyways, so the news of my layoff actually saved me paperwork and the hassle of quitting!

My boss had no idea of my plans to move to Africa...that is until last week! She called me into her office and told me to start looking for a different job.

She was expecting tears or anger but instead I leaned back in my chair and said, "well actually, I don't need to because I am going to move to Africa instead!"

I wish you could have seen the look on her face...It was classic! She was shocked to say the least and of course had many questions.

Boss: "Africa?"
Me: "Yep...I have an opportunity to help out there and so I am going to do that"
Boss: "What opportunity"
Me: "Well, a school asked me to be principal and rewrite their curriculum"
Boss: "Principal??"
Me: "Yeah...but I turned that down"
Boss: "What school offered you that?"
Me: "Oh and international school...but I didn't think I was ready yet"
Boss: "An international school asked you to be principal??!!"
Me: "Yeah"
Boss: "huh..."
Me: "Yeah, but I want to learn more about their school system before I do that"
Boss: "Where will you live?"
Me: "In a hut."
Boss: "What about your house?"
Me: "I rented it"
Boss: "You did! To who?"
Me: "To some guy and his wife and their baby on the way"
Boss: "And you all live there together?"
Me: "Nope...I moved."
Boss: "You moved??"
Me: "Yep, last week."
Boss: "You moved last week?? Where do you live?"
Me: "In Simi Valley"
Boss: "huh..."
Me: "So actually this is perfect timing and pretty much validates that this is what I should do."
Boss: "huh..."
Me: "Yeah, I mean, it really is perfect! So yeah...I'm moving to Africa"
Boss: "Do they have flush toilets where you are going?"
Me: "Well...not the place I will go for the first 6 months"
Boss: "...and you want to go?"
Me: "Yep!"

Here's the really cool thing...If I had taken a leave, the longest leave was 12 months. By being fired I have 39 months to be rehired with all of my seniority...That means that if after my first term I don't go back to Africa, I will have a job waiting for me here!

Isn't it so cool that God is a "details" kind of guy! I could not have planned it so perfect even if I had tried! He is so awesome!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Watching God Work...

Okay...so there was one time in my life when I thought that people were crazy to believe in God...my thought was how do they know what they believe is the real deal...I used to think that Buddhists believe they had the way, atheists believed they had the way, Muslims believed they had the way...I figured how is that any different from Christians who believed they had the way.

Well...let me just say...I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I have the WAY! How do I know that my God is the way...simple...my God loves me so much that he listens to my prayers and answers them. He is a God who has the details taken care of. A God that I don't have to wonder if he will really come through for me. He is a God that has a plan and that nothing can stand in his way...not the bad economy, not the housing market...nothing!

This past year has been a year of answered prayers and it is so encouraging to see how God continues to amaze me. What has God done for me?? Here are the ways my God has answered my prayers in the last 4 weeks...

1. God answered my prayer for renters and they moved in about a week ago

2. God answered my prayer about New Hope Uganda and I was accepted for this July as one of their institute students

3. God answered my prayer about my furniture and all of it sold within 2 weeks with no bartering!

4. God answered my prayer for a bed to sleep in and I have a great roommate who has an amazingly comfortable bed for me to use

5. God answered my prayer for increased financial support and I increased from 12% to 44% in one month

6. God answered my prayer for a way to tell my boss about Africa and I got a pink slip from LAUSD...laying me off exactly 2 days before I plan to leave for Uganda.

7. God answered my prayer for people to encourage and support me and I have so many new people on my support team that are doing a great job at that!

Yes...my God is a god of answered prayers, of kept promises, and of amazing love...I wish everyone on this planet knew my God!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Revised Ministry Video

So...yes, this is yet another version of the same set of pictures you have seen but I wanted to try out my own abilities at video making this time, so here it is... Enjoy!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good Ol' KP

This dude is cool!

He has been to my church a few times and never ceases to amaze me...here is a video I recieved from him this week.

Only watch it if your ready because it is not a real uplifting kind of thing...actually its a challenge...one that I by far don't live up to but want to.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Last Pieces of Furniture...

So yes...God is amazing!

I mean...who sells a whole house of furniture in less than 2 weeks and gets all the money asked for with no bartering??!! - It's a God thing for sure!

Here are the last pieces I have left...please let me know if you are interested!!

1 dark wood coffee table
2 dark wood end tables
1 dark wood framed mirror
3-5x7 rugs
1-8x10 rug

Thanks to everyone who has made this move possible for me and all of those prayer warriors I have on my side!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

And The Sun Came...

I received a great gift this past Friday...it was a rather random and unexpected one but great none the less.

I took the day off work to volunteer at the so cal kindergarten conference. My job is the same every year...I get to check in the exhibitors that are selling their goods at the conference.

So this year, as I checked in the same familiar faces that I always do, I came across a new face. A man named Paul Nzalamba who was selling art from his homeland...Uganda! Random?? I think not!

So Paul and I chatted throughout the day, I would stop by his booth to see how stuff was going and he would swing by my table and remind me to come talk to him. I shared with him the lugandan words I knew and he shared with me some of the little quirks and customs that the locals know.

During one of my visits to his booth, he handed me a postcard, like the one you see above, and told me it was his gift to me. He had painted the picture to remind him of Uganda...here's the story he told me about his painting entitled "And The Sun Came".

The sun is coming out after the rainy season
The yellow hills represent the dry season
The green hills represent the wet season
The woman's skirt on the left represents the abundance of corn
The woman's skirt in the middle represents the abundance of millet
The woman's skirt on the right represents the abundance of peas
The woman are dancing because they know that they will not starve with the abundance of resources in the great country of Uganda.

Pretty cool huh?!

Once again, I can say thanks to God for giving me a random meeting with a Ugandan who lives near me...I'm up to 4 now!