Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I have learned all over again that it is so easy to be complacent with efficiencies, comforts, luxuries even clean food and meaningful relationships, and have a relationship with God as a great addition.
When it is the opposite of that that will
sustain us, knowing the Lord and interacting with His Holy Spirit is all that is necessary...everything else is a great addition."

Just after I wrote this in my journal, the Holy Spirit yet again opened my eyes to yet another appropriate verse, this time on the flight from Atlanta to RDU.

I cracked my Bible open to this verse...

Ezekiel 37:14

"'I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall
live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and preformed it,' says the LORD."

The pictures that are being downloaded from the camera's memory stick are bitter-sweet reminders of the past two week's activities and faces. When I gave the kids each a Bible I gave them an assignment that they were to come back to me on Friday with a favorite verse picked out to share with me. They looked grateful for the gift, almost to where they were anticipating me to collect them back. So, when they
opened it up and saw their name written in it, they were so excited. It was theirs...a book of promises for them.

For example, Emma chose 2 Peter 2:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To His be the
glory, both now and to the day of eternity!" She is the one in the middle of the picture of three.

After 24 hours and 15 minutes traveling, I am home. Thanks to M&D and Ben, I felt a warm homecoming at the airport. There is a bit of culture shock coming back home, (even though it does put a smile on my face to hear of State's victory in overtime.) I
am so excited to share stories and pictures with you. You are going to love the jewelry that comes out in May.

It will take awhile to see just how God's plan will fall into place with these 17 ordained days, one thing I do know... He is at work, and it is so fulfilling to step into that! Thank YOU for praying for me, for the path to be clear, with no fear, for health, and for these children.
Thank you for taking this journey with me! It was empowering to know there is a network of believers standing with me.

There is much to do, I feel that this is a beginning not an ending. Please tell me if you would like to know as doors open, of opportunities.

Let the Lord be magnified!
Julie Anna

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 16, 2008

I only have 3 minutes to write, we are out of power here.

It is funny, the power is out right now, so bugs are crawling all over the screen because it is the only light. The kids of the missionaries are playing cards behind me on the floor, with their South African accents. Makes me laugh.

Thanks for your picture of jewelry design. It came through. The idea is great, we may have to adapt it a little to a style easier for the kids, but something similar.
I have been hearing your encouraging voice in my head. This work is fun and fulfilling, I can't wait to tell you!! It is labor intensive though, time in the Word and sleep have been HUGE necessities, more so (sadly) than at home.


January 15, 2008

This picture is of Gill, pronouced Jill, my British roomie. She too came over here listening, to find God's call for her right now and the next chapter of her life. She has been traveling here for 6 weeks and has 6 more to go. When she leaves here, she will go to an orphanage in Mosambique. She has been a blessing to me, she reminds me of Melinda. (Makes me miss my Australian Mate!)

We are sorting beads again today, and will go visit the kids where we were yesterday again this afternoon at 4:30. And again tomorrow we will do the same. Thursday is the day that Anita wants to go to "town" to the bead shop. Could you send this request to Alex and also Sharon... Any simple bead designs that are classy, and eye catching. Many of the people who have been buying want a mixture of African styles and also American, that will be worn in the states. I have some ideas, and have no problems with the color combinations. If they have any suggestions for the design structure of the necklace or earrings, it would be welcomed! It would be exciting if they could send any ideas... to this email address.

Thank you for your prayers, I have just started to take lots of echinecea and Vit C.

It is so funny, they call semi-trucks "Lorrie Trucks" or just "Lorries" and they have been driving by the road here today. Some of the folks here have been saying "the Lorries are being so loud" or "is that a Lorrie I hear?" Makes me smile. I love you sister.

This kind of work is like running a marathon, I just keep thinking about the Lord and what He did for me.

Lunch is ready.

I Love you!!

Jan 14, 2008 - Ladybrand, South Africa

Okay, now that that is off my chest.

So, last night. Anita had asked if I would help with a devotion. Instead trying to out pour wisdom, ha, I just decided to let the Word and the Holy Spirit do the work. Up until now, every time I have opened it on this trip, Scripture has just rung loud and strong. The perfect word has come right out. Well, I went and grabbed my bible from my room and opened it randomly right to Romans 16. I was sure because I had prayed just before doing so, that God would show me what to share with the group.

It was frustrating and I was disappointed because nothing was there that were familiar words that rang in my heart. If you are curious what it is... I encourage you to read it if it isn't recalled to mind. I kept my finger on it, but continued to look through the new testament for other references like 1 Cor 15:58, Hebrew 6:10-12, or Phil 2:12-13. I wrote them down on scraps of paper and let them choose their verse. I decided that if one verse didn't mean a lot to the group, maybe another would. (Covering all my bases was the plan.) I asked if we would go around the table and each took a turn reading. But of all 7 of the scriptures, an amazing thing happened when Romans 16: 1-5 was read.

Brenda spoke up and said that she had done a study on this chapter specifically and that no where else in the Bible are these names mentioned and yet because of the work that they did others were able to spread the Good News. God loved these people so much, as much as any one of the disciples that He made sure that their names were included in the Book of Life. Gill also spoke up and shared from this.

Later when we did a round robin prayer, Barb tearfully prayed giving thanks for the insight and revelation of this passage of scripture that was made clear to the questions that she herself was asking just hours before that yes, God does know even her in this very hour... who she is and the needs that she has. Barb is the missionary who lives near Uncle Frank and Aunt Nancy.

I write this to you to share with you that I learned from this. God knows. His purpose is great, and if I am asking to be used, I must be willing to be obedient, even when I don't necessarily understand or see the bigger picture. He sees what we don't.

This work is defiantly a labor of love. To take in the culture, the project itself of jewelry making, the language, to understand how JOH got here, to help with where they want to go, one week is not enough. Life is very different here. People are mostly the same though. Giving money is not what they need. They need participation. A picture is worth a thousand words. I will attach a few from today. Anita, Brenda and I went to one of the JOH projects about 10 minutes drive from here.

These child of them asked if where I live is much different.
They live here in this village. It is called a township. It is very different than the little rondoval villages in the mountains of Lesotho. These people don't own their land. There is not a sense of pride as much here. They must be taught responsibility, skills, independent thinking from the stronghold of their elders. The government has very much of a control over how impoverished they really are. There is one place in the township that the people go to get water.

The goal of jewels of Hope is the 2 1/2 hours with the children once a week. It is not jewelry sales. However, because the jewelry is the means to the end, it must move. They are coming up with some great designs for the next couple tri-mesters. Y'all are going to want each one, I already do. But, the goal is the time with the kids, to make an impact in their little world, to show them that someone cares and help plant seeds of who the one true God is. The leader of each group needs to be someone is a respected Christian from the area. Petunia is the one that will mentor these kids. She is the one that Anita is pouring into right now. I will include
a picture of her.

I just lost power. I will have to send the pictures later.

January 11, 2008 Photos

January 11, 2008 Lesotho

Good morning sunshine!!

I am just back from the border. It is 6:38 am Friday. Aunt Nancy and I got up this morning and drove to the top of one of the lookouts, Lancer's Gap, here in town to watch an African sunrise. We caught it just in time too; there was a short gap in the clouds for us to see. Bright orange against a pale grey sky, with big white birds flapping their wings to get up speed. Psalm 19 was on her heart, we didn't bring a Bible with us, so I wanted to look it up just now. It has refreshed me this morning. I will be picked up by Barb Clark, Jewels of Hope coordinator at 10 and head toward Ladybrand

Last night was my last night here in Lesotho. We ate Papa and Moroho (roll the r), which is similar to eating grits and cabbage. It was very much more appetizing to the mouth than you think. My cousins showed me the way you eat it is by rolling a small ball of it with your right hand and scooping up beans and cabbage with it in your hand. For breakfast in a few minutes we
will have what Frank has been cooking. a big pot of Lesheleshele, sorghum porridge. Yes, Frank is like Daddy, an early riser and breakfast connoisseur. I am encouraged after having insightful conversations with Frank and Nancy over the past 4 days. Laughter is soul food too! We have
had much! Horseback riding on Wednesday and experiencing the mountains here. AND the people! Wonderful faces all over.

I am not sure if I will have access to the internet after today. From what it sounds like, I will be working with the trainers of the children, those who will mentor these orphans, almost like a camp. There is so much to tell already just from this past week. So many of you would just love it here.

Until then,
Julie Anna

January 08, 2008 Lesotho

I am overwhelmed.

How God works. God you are SO BIG!!! You never change. Thank You for this security we have.
I will try to bring as much of it as possible to you when I get home and type the cliff notes to the best of my ability right now until my head falls on the desk…

Children. That is what I experienced today. Amazing little faces. Soft tiny brown fingers, wrapped around mine. Don’t think I didn’t consider how I could bring several home with me. The smell still stays with me.
Aunt Nancy and I visited MIS this afternoon and spent about 2 hours playing with these orphans and walking around the, well it is more of a habitat than a facility as we know it. Wow, there are so many of you who could do so much here!!! I am so excited to show you. From what Nancy said, it had been through a dramatic change in even the past month with toilets, new cement laid, and a renovation to the girls area so they now have bunk beds to sleep in instead of the floor.

The cool thing is that there is a well respected builder who has volunteered to come and show the older boys how to lay concrete, so that not only do they have this project to take more ownership and pride of their home, BUT ALSO they learn a skill that they can develop for when they are older and out of school. They have obvious physical needs for the site as well as many other kinds including attention both medically and emotionally. The three year olds and younger were the ones that we first came upon. I will attach a few pictures. They seemed to be taken with MY TOY… the camera. It was so funny. Y’all, imagine small children, malnourished with messy noses running up to you and laughing at the sound of a black box held up to my face… THEN letting them see THEIR faces. It was
Oh, my.
Hilariously cute and yet moving and aching at the same time.
I caught in one picture a shot of one of the kids trying on a bigger pair of shoes that would fit him better with the help of a guy that is volunteering there… he came just for a visit in February with his counterpart and they have only returned once home since February. I can understand why.
Mavis Mochochoko, the woman who runs the place, has an amazing story. I can’t wait to share it. Similar to Paul on the road to Damascus. She is a pastor now, and unfortunately I will miss her preaching. I leave Lesotho on Friday and that will be the last time to be with family. The group Jewels of Hope that I will have the opportunity to experience will pick me up then and take me to Ladybrand which is a city just on the other side of the border, into South Africa. We will share the rest of the time I have here and will be taken then to the airport at the end of next week.
So much to tell… I’ve only been here 3 days. Pray for these children. Pray that their faith grows strong so that they will have Hope. Hope will create resilience to live.
~ JA

Oh, yeah, we did other things today too. I took a hot shower!!! I played with my cousins, of whom I am addicted. And we visited the bakery and hardware store in town. That was interesting. Tomorrow I will be horse trekking… aka horse back riding.

Laurie, the skirts are wonderfully lightweight and full of color. I could not have asked for a better gift for Christmas.
Thank you