Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm in this strange period of time right now. People are asking if I'm excited, and I don't know how to honestly answer that question. This is not really the time for excitement, I guess. This is a season of goodbyes, of grief, of letting go. And while I don't for a second doubt that I must go, I do feel every second the weight of what's happening. When I moved to Zambia last time, it was supposed to be for two years. Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no idea what all would come to pass in the two-years-turned-nearly-four. Had I known, maybe I wouldn't have signed up for it. I wasn't aware how painful it would really be to leave all those I loved behind. I was clueless as to how difficult living cross-culturally can be. My eyes had not yet been truly opened to the kinds of poverty and sickness I would quickly become intimate with. No one had told me of the lives I would love and lose. And I most definitely didn't know what it would feel like to be halfway around the world hearing that my niece was going to die. If God had laid all that out for me before I ever left, perhaps I would have thought twice.

Thankfully, He let me walk blindly, a bit naively, into a life that would change me forever. He led me where I could not have gone alone, and He held my hand through days I thought I'd never get through. He gave me my babies, He gave me the aunties, He gave me a purpose. He gave me the talents and temperment and heart that I would need to love these babies, to call another country my home, to walk away from the best family any girl has ever been born into. Because of what He's shown me there, I can't not go. My babies are waiting there for me.

So going back feels different this time. I'm not going into it blindly or naively. I'm counting the cost. I'm making a conscious decision to choose this road, even when I know what all it may bring this time. It will no doubt bring seasons of heartache and loneliness, but it will no doubt bring life and joy and purpose. How can I not follow again when He so faithfully led me before?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello everyone! I'm in busy preparation mode as I prepare to leave for Zambia on August 10. I'm currently in Austin, Texas spending time with one of my sponsoring congregations at Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ. It's been such a blessing to get to know so many people and start forming relationships that will hopefully last forever!

I know a lot of you who are reading this are long time supporters and followers of the work going on at the Havens, but I also have many new friends and supporters that have many questions. Although I hate to bore the rest of you with things you already know, I thought I would take some time before I leave to get everyone acquainted with the Havens, their history, and how the whole operation works. But for today, I'd love to show you a video of a few of our babies!

The aunties have lots of sweet songs they sing with our babies. One of these songs teaches the babies to greet in both English and Tonga (a local Zambian dialect). The song goes a little something like this:

How are you today?

Mwabuka buti?

After years of singing this song, I added a line to the end of it that just makes me happy. I tell them,

I love you so much!

And then in the sweetest, most precious voices you've ever heard, they respond with

Shooo ahhhhh!

This is actually the word "sure", which sounds like a pretty lame response to someone telling you that they love you. But it's something Zambians say often, and I just liked it. So here are some of my favorite kids (Emma, Mary, Katy, Linny) in all the world greeting you.