Monday, February 27, 2012

HOME in Zambia

From London to Lusaka, the flight went so well.
When I left a couple friends were saying in light of the many prayers that were offered up and the specific ones of the Lord doing beyond what we could expect or imagine, they could not wait to hear how well things would go.

So here you go...The flight was not full at all, which meant we were able to spread out and I pulled the “I have alot of kids card” to one of the flight attendants. They said that after take off people could change seats and spread out some. So I asked one of the attendants if we could have several of the seats toward the back for the kids to sleep. She said ok and I am very glad I asked her because as soon as the seat belt light went off and we went back there she was standing by two rows telling others no they couldn’t take these seats.

SO what that meant for us was that we had 7 rows! 4 of the two seater rows in our regular seating and then 2 three seat rows and another two seat row in the back. The kids were so weary that before take off Emma fell asleep, as well as Jackson. Caleb was starting to nod off too! Everyone was able to stretch out and get some sleep if even just an hour or two. By this London to Lusaka flight we had been awake a full day and a half and the Lord just blessed us with this kindness.

We arrived on time into Lusaka where it was warm and sunny. We didn’t have any trouble with the Permit issue, they let us in and had to just pay for James and I and he is to go and start the process to renew the permit this week.

ALL of our bags arrived. This is another great blessing! There were 24 checked bags, 8 rolling carry on suitcases and 8 backpacks. Everything made it.
We loaded up and came home to the house.

I will say it was a bit surreal feeling walking into the house.
We were all happy to be home, but feeling a bit strange too.

I don’t know about most people, but as soon as we get back form a trip we start unpacking. So we started opening bags and boxes to see where things were, if certain items, “made it” and started unpacking. We were attempting to bring a tv back. The prices here are expensive and we got a good deal on one the day after thanksgiving so we thought we would give it a try. Well it arrived, but had a crack in the screen so is black on one half of the screen when we turn it on. There was a puncture in the box so somewhere in transit that must have happened.

Disappointing, but in light of all the things we brought, we have no complaints.
6 laptops ( personal and ministry ones) made it. Picture frames, glass candle holders, small kitchen appliances, christmas ornaments, lots of clothes and shoes, pots and pans, books, CDs, DVD’s..etc

Now we are having to figure out where to put all these things. So we are still unpacking and sorting things out. We had decided to move the kids rooms around so not only are we unpacking but we are clearing things out of closets and drawers too.
Seems like alot, and it is, but rather unpack where they were going to be then have to move things twice we decided to go ahead and do it now.

We are all getting over the jet lag and had a good nights sleep sunday night. Saturday most all of us were awake and 3 am. Several of the kids have allergy issues the last 2 days, so hopefully those will settle down once we readjust to things here.

The kids will start school on wednesday. It will be Jackson and Caleb’s first year in school so I want to make sure they are caught up on sleep before they have to be in the classroom setting.

As we were landing we all commented on how green everything is. The garden is full of corn and we just enjoyed some for lunch today. Limited and Perjuite, our workers were very glad to see us and asked how our trip went and how everyone is “that side”. It was sweet they missed us too.

We were back at church yesterday and it was good to see everyone and hear people telling us they missed us and welcome back. We worshipped at Ibex Hill and it was great to hear the singing and pastor Kasongo preaching. He was ordained as a pastor last month. He was a student at the Copperbelt College so James has especially enjoyed seeing the “fruit” of the College.

The Lord has blessed our travels. Thank you all for praying.
Please continue to pray that we would re-orient back into the culture here, and be joyful in the midst of the frustrating or inconvenient aspects of daily life. (Roaches taking over the kitchen, trying to get internet started again, laundry ) I was commenting to James about how I started a load of laundry and now 5 hours later it is still not finished washing. (Water pressure issues). He jokingly said, “Well you think we should call up British Airways and see if they can book us a flight back?”...
Ok. Point taken, thanks deary.

Friday, February 24, 2012

En Route

We are waiting in the airport in London. All day. We ate lunch at the Giraffe which is where we ate the last 3 times we have been here. James and I might get one more starbucks drink before we head to our gate in a few more hours.
The kids have been on the internet on webkinz and now are watching a dvd on one of the laptops. Dora, not too exciting for the majority of the kids anymore but it is for Grace, she just took a good nap in her stroller. We have all been trying to catch a little nap as we are spread out in a busy section of the airport. Every 5 minutes the speaker announces which flight is closing and the time. Talk about making the time go slow!

There are Shops all around us, but what is the point of looking, we can not fit another thing into any of our bags. :-)
The Lord was very kind yesterday and everything went great at check-in. We arrived in plenty of time to the Louisville airport. All the luggage was loaded in a 15 passenger van, then all the kids were loaded in another van and all the backpacks and carry-on suitcases in a third vehicle. Our check in went very smoothly and we were not even charged for the 2 oversized and overweight bags! That was great.

One of the challenges going through all the airports is everyone is pulling a suitcase or pushing a stroller. And 6 of the 8 suitcases are the ones that tip over when you let go of them, so every time we stop all the kids bags fall over...Thankfully just now in London we were able to check 5 of the bags through so we only have 3 to keep track of.

We had several friends out to say goodbye to us at the airport. I was talking to a few of them and the younger kids were crawling on the floor under the seats. I said, that's fine with me, I don't even care if Grace is licking the floor as long as everyone is happy!
Well about 10 minutes later I look over and Jackson was licking the arm rest of the chairs we were sitting on.
I was joking, it wasn't to be taken literally. Funny thing is he did not even hear me saying that. HA! oh well.

Our gate in Chicago was right across from a play area which was such a blessing! We were able to meet my cousin for about an hour before going back to the international flights and earlier in the day we parked ourselves at the end of a baggage claim area near the escalators and elevators and we all took turns with the kids going up and down and running around them. A couple scraped knees, bleeding through their jeans and all in all it was a good thing keeping them busy!

Let's see...what else. I guess this blog is mostly for me today just writing to have something to do! Grace fell asleep on the plane coming here during takeoff and slept until about the last hour or two. That was another blessing.

Thanks for praying!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Twas the night before...

And all through the house, several creatures had been stirring
and making quite a ruckus.
The van was loaded with much care and 24 bags sit waiting,
hoping for no extra bag fares.
Our goodbyes have been said, and we are weary but well-
just can't wait to get home now, but must sit for quite a spell.
16 hours on a plane, and 16 hours in the airports...

Ok I can't take this rhyming any farther.
I was stretching it for those few sentences wasn't I?
I am sure Ian could as he is really good at that kind of thing. We read a book on the founder of Chick-Fil-A ( our favorite place to eat) and I told him to write a poem and he did. It was quite entertaining. But ...
Maybe I am a bit giddy as I am so ready to get home now.

I know the irony of it all is no sooner than we are back I am sure we will be missing things about America again.
The kids and I have talked about this a few times. They are ready to get back as well even though they have enjoyed their time with their friends. I should say all the kids except Grace.
She was laying in bed tonight, arms folded behind her head on the pillow and she was telling me she didn't want to go back to Zambia!

I reminded her of her room, the trampoline, swing and things at the house. But that didn't help.
I am sure in her mind, America means fun, great food, candy every time she is at church from one of our pastors, and lots of attention from other people! She has loved having older kids carrying her around playing with her and catering to her. I think its safe to say between all the people at church, and her grandparents and family she has been spoiled! No wonder she doesn't want to go home. She is still not a American citizen anyway so she has overstayed her welcome, from the American Embassy's point of view...
Since we were delayed with my surgery her visa was not extended so we are hoping not to run into any problems leaving the country. We would appreciate your prayers for that, as well as for James Work visa.

When we left Zambia, he was notified that his work permit/visa had expired and he will need to reapply for one when we return.
Theoretically this should not be a problem, but who knows what will happen when we arrive into Zambia.

We have been blessed to have this extra time here and have felt more encouragement and strengthening from the Lord. We are leaving in a far better state than when we arrived and for that we are very thankful!
I have recovered from the surgeries and am walking fine now and feeling much better.
Our church prayed for us tonight specifically in regards to several different areas of our personal and family life. It was a blessing and we are continually humbled by how much we are loved and cared for and prayed for but so many people!

Our plane leaves tomorrow at 1:30 and we fly to Chicago where we have a 6 and 1/2 hour layover. We then fly eight hours to London where we then have a 8 hour layover before flying 8 more hours into Lusaka.
We should arrive into Lusaka 7 AM Saturday, which would be midnight Friday night here. So anytime you think of us and wanted to shoot up a quick prayer, we would be so glad.

It was great to see some of you while we were back, though I know there were many we didn't get a chance to visit with.
Thanks for supporting us with love and prayers!

Next Post should be from Zambia. That country that just happen to win the Africa Cup of Nations last week! YEAH!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rooting for Joy

Two weeks from right now and we should be cruising at a high altitude above the Atlantic Ocean, beginning our journey back home. I just wanted to write a quick note and ask for prayer as we finish up our time here. Our last couple weeks are packed with last minute things.A few more doctor appointments, visits with friends, one more sermon for James at our home church this coming Sunday, a couple more trips to Target and Walmart and we should be set.
Then there is packing. The weighing of the packed bags, rearranging things so they are at the limit, packing more bags deciding what to leave behind because we can't fit it in, or because we didn't need it in the first place-then reweighing the bags again! 6 of the 24 are good to go. Packed fully and weighing in right around the limit.

Often it is during these times that I get stressed and sadly, irritable and awnry, or is it ownry--either way I don't know how to spell it cause I shouldn't be that anyway! I was telling a friend no matter what, it seems like any trip we plan for and pack for, even when we lived here, I always get tense and stressed the day before and morning of. So, here is where my praying friends can remember me and my family.

We have 2 more weeks. As James tells me, we are getting on that plane with what we have and if things don't make it that is fine, we will be ok. It would be great if these next 2 weeks were a time of joy and peace and happiness. Not of stress and crankiness. The indicators of the last few days would point to the latter. I am rooting for the former and praying for that too. I can root all I want for it but without Jesus giving the grace and strength and joy, I know I won't be very fun to be around! So thanks in advance for your prayers!