Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Mandolin...coming soon to Jessica's repertoire

So this is the funny story of why I will soon be playing the mandolin. A couple of months ago during a 40 day period I’d set aside to seek the Lord, I had the idea that a fun adventure when I come home on furlough would be to take up the mandolin. I confess I know virtually nothing about this instrument but the key factor was that I knew my brother had one. My mom had the inspiration to give him one for Christmas a few years back, but I’m not sure its strings have ever been plucked. I emailed my mom and she got Casey to locate his mandolin, and he went and pulled it out of the warehouse for me.

I don’t know the first thing about mandolin-playing so I also asked my mom to find me a teacher. Where do you go to take mandolin lessons? My mom just happens to be in the middle of working on a music project with a young man, and she was like, “Hey, he plays a lot of instruments, I’ll ask him.” Sure enough, he teaches mandolin! What are the odds? So I don’t know where this experience is going to lead me, probably not to Carnegie Hall, but I think it will be fun and who knows, maybe I’ll find a new passion and a way to express myself! It would be cool if I could use it to lead worship or to play with my Congolese musician friends. Yeehaw!

How God Gave Me a Car

This is the amazing story of God giving me a car. Since He apparently wants me to have this car, I’m looking forward to seeing how He uses it in my life!

I’m going on a 3 month furlough starting in December. When I return to Congo in March 2009 I will be transitioning to a new assignment helping people use Scriptures in a local language here. When I was talking with my future supervisor about this work she asked if I would be able to obtain a vehicle. I’ve never wanted to have a car here since public transport and walking are so convenient and having a car is expensive and troublesome, but for traveling around the region for my work next year, public transport probably won’t cut it. I said I figured I could ask my partners and raise the funds if a vehicle was really necessary.

The NEXT DAY, I was driving along with some friends and I realized that they would be leaving Congo soon for a different assignment. “Are you going to be taking your car with you?” I asked. “No, we’re going to sell it or give it to a mission.” “You could sell or give it to me!” I said.

I decided not to say anything else about the car but just prayed. Two days later I got an email from my friend saying they were getting lots of offers for their car but that they would like to sell it to me if I wanted it. After reading the email I went on some errands and was praying about the car and composing a letter in my mind to some prayer partners asking for their advice. Not finding what I was looking for, I decided to stop in a little shop before heading home and there in the shop was my friend! She gave me a ride home in what would be my new car and we chatted about how to work out the details.

After prayer, counsel, and looking into the costs of maintaining a vehicle, I decided it was not only an offer too good to refuse, but that it was another open door from God for my work next year. It turned out to be less complicated if I just purchased the vehicle from them, rather than figuring out how to get it donated to me. But my friends decided to give me a donation for my ministry, which would give them the tax write-off they were looking for. When they wrote the check they made it out for much more than what I will pay for the car, so now I don’t even have to worry about the expenses of changing the papers or paying for insurance or maintenance or even a whole lot of fuel for the next year!

I was really touched by my friends’ generosity. The only sad part is the reason they can sell me their car is because they won’t be here anymore when I return. I look forward to telling them the stories of how God uses the car in the next year! Watch for updates on the Pathfinder’s travels in Congo :o)

PS: The photos of pushing the car were taken on our adventure with Carrie to see the gorillas. We found out after the trip that the 4-Wheel Drive wasn't actually working! We were very impressed with what the car did with just 2 wheels. Now that it's fixed they've been having even more fun driving all around!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Outta Town photos

I finally posted some photos on Facebook of my trip to a town called Ngo when my friend Carrie came to visit in July.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Orphanage needs urgent help

Hello my friends! The orphanage I've been going to for a year and a half now is in urgent need of a new house. Together we can buy them one! We're just getting it started, but check out:

Please pray that:
--People would give to the project and we'd be able to make a downpayment soon
--The owners wouldn't sell the house to someone else (they're receiving lots of offers but so far have been faithful to us)
--God would put peace in the hearts of the workers who are very stressed about the situation

You can also check out my Facebook photos of the kids.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why I'm proud to be American today

So I'm down right grumpy about election today, but as I read about it from my perspective here in Congo I still have cause to be happy for my country. Praise God for a country whose transitions of power are without violence! Praise God for a president who telephones to congratulate the new guy, promising to make it a smooth transition and telling him to go have a good time. And praise God for an opposing candidate who sees he's been defeated and graciously promises to do all he can to help his opponent succeed in his task. I'm thankful that we don't use force to determine the outcome of our elections. It's truly amazing.

I'm also proud of America because we have shown today that truly great strides have been made in our society. What joy for little old black ladies who lived through the civil rights movement to go and vote for the very first black president. So cool. And I'm happy that an entire continent can share in this victory as well, feeling that a great thing has been done for their whole race. People lean out their car windows and shout "Obama!" as I walk down the street :o)

So there is cause to celebrate America today! I did it by taking advantage of our tax dollars and eating a complimentary breakfast at the American cultural center. I even got a little Republican notepad :o) Consolation prize I guess! I also met the new ambassador who greeted me as "Linguistica" :o) Just never know who is reading this thing!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Who I spend my time with

Meet Barb and Espérance. These are the friends I spend a big chunk of my time with. Barb lets me come over and enjoy her air-conditioned apartment and drink her cold coffee and tell my stories and listen to her godly counsel. Espérance is my Congolese confidant and my co-conspirator at the orphanage and choir. They both are like family to me and have been a big inspiration in my life and walk with God.

It's funny how age or race or background or nationality becomes irrelevant in the choice of our best friends. There's something magical about the way God brings people together. You just never know!


Heather and I met up last night to go to a friends' house and discovered we were twins! And even another girl we got together with was also wearing jeans and a black top. So 3 out of the 4 women present were dressed alike. Spooky :o) This is the outfit I've decided to wear on the plane home (unless I buy something better on my day layover in Frankfurt). Yes, I'm already compulsively planning every detail of going home and it's still 4 weeks away. Family, think we can go to the Cheesecake Factory after the airport? PS: I'm not short, Heather's just REALLY tall!