July 23, 2011

Summer Fun

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation in the mail to a summer bbq for my church's worship team. It's an annual thing, and every year we have a different theme. This year's theme is "Fiesta," so the postcard included a paper-doll cutout of our worship pastor, including a sarape, a sombrero, and an itty-bitty mustache.

J and I were bored. It happens towards the end of summer vacation (J's a teacher, too) - we've done all the usual "fun" things, and suddenly we need to tap into our creativity to find something fun to do. That's when we remembered the postcard.

Our worship leader's name is Mark. In the hours following our amazingly brilliant idea, he became "Marco Libre," and we...well...Marco had quite an adventurous afternoon. We documented it. Here you are:

Let's play "Where's Mark?" Ready? Go!

Marco Libre was our Navigator (or, as J called him, our "NaviGATO.")

Marco "chopstuck" up a tree. He loves their spring rolls:


Tall, skinny latte:

"X" Marks the spot!


"I'm on a horse":

A Tiny Marco! (Get it? Hahah!)

CD. E. D. B. D. Marco!

Giant Dipper...little dip...er:

Sand in los pantalones, no bueno. Amigo con cannon, muy bien.

We still have ideas...more fun in the works.

July 1, 2011


I've been home longer than I was gone, but it's taken me that long to work through the culture shock, jet lag, and just...re-entry. Plus, my amazing family has claimed so much of my time since I've been home, that it's just now that I'm able to really process (during the school year, they are shamefully abandoned; and then I left the country not 48 hours after graduation...they get to claim as much of my time as they want.).

Am I changed? Yep. You can't journey to the fifth-poorest country on our planet, look into the faces of their neediest children, walk in the dirt to their homes, talk with the caregivers and NOT be changed. My heart is even more broken for their plight than ever before. And, a mighty huge chunk has been left in a feeding centre in the middle of the "bush" in Malawi. It's in the care of children with names such as Bridget Chomba, Mishak, Jonathan Saidi, Zione Flak, Yankho Guya, and Gabu...

Another thing that hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes was watching MY students rise to the occasion. In trips past, there was always something that fell through the cracks, some minor task that needed completing (if not, it would upset the whole applecart), some child that needed a friend that was overlooked, some person who needed a kind word. Not this year. This year's crop of students CLICKED. One person's weakness was covered by another person's strength. There were very few holes - in our team's strengths and in our program. To the point that I felt lost at times. Where was my job? I'm used to following the pack, picking up the dropped pieces, and filling in the cracks.

That loss of equilibrium is actually what we want. It means I feel a bit...off...as a leader, but it's a real dream come true. It means that we have enabled our students to the point that they don't necessarily NEED us to do what they were meant to do. The biggest dream of any person who's training leaders is to "train ourselves out of a job." Will we ever be out of our job? NO. There's always a new crop of students rising through the ranks for whom we need to be available. But, to actually see confidence, talents, and gifts woven together so beautifully as we leaders were able to...that happens very seldom in our lifetimes.

After a day or two of feeling a bit...not needed, I realized that this off-balance-ness was what I needed to learn. That maybe, just maybe, there was something for ME to do that didn't involve training or equipping my students (because, we already did that SO WELL.). That's when I got to look around and realize the incredible need for LOVE in the children at the centre. It was made abundantly clear to me when a seven-year-old boy climbed in my lap like a baby and sat there, letting me hold him, rock him, and sing to him for almost an hour. Seven-year-old boys in Malawi DON'T snuggle like that. But, this little boy had a deep-seated need, and he took the opportunity presented to him - one that, if I had been doing my usual "job" wouldn't have been available.

Memories are embedded in my heart, and since my camera broke down while on the trip, they're all I've got. Once I steal some photos from my team, I'll post them here. :)