Thursday, November 25, 2010


when i travelled to africa earlier this summer my perspective on life changed forever. i am so thankful for the way the LORD opened my eyes. to see children fighting over the leftovers broke my heart. i have never had to work hard to get my food and i can't imagine having too. on this thanksgiving, despite the issues, i am so thankful for everything i have. wishing you all a happy thanksgiving. 

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - Colossians 3:17

Monday, November 22, 2010

apartment's first christmas

i had to housesit two weeks ago and i was determined my apartment would be decorated for when i got home from being gone! although i have still added some beauty this week, i achieved my goal! :) my grandparents asked me what i wanted for a house-warming gift and at first i said a vacuum. after thinking about it for about .02 seconds i decided i needed a christmas tree. i mean, a girl's gotta have a christmas tree. and when i say christmas tree, i do mean a silver christmas tree! sooooo a few weeks ago my grandparents came over to eat with a precious little silver christmas tree screaming to be opened. oh, don't worry, i opened it up and it was love at first site. soooooo hope you enjoy the christmas decorations from my apartment's very first christmas
*sorry for the picture overload! 

 *this will eventually have some of my childhood ornaments on it! 

 my favorite christmas decoration below! i got this precious nativity scene from africa. 

hope you all enjoyed my little tour for christmas! i couldn't hold back any longer! 

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And He will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. isaiah 9:6


my apologies again for being a horrible blogger. i really do have great intentions. anyways, life has been crazy like normal, but i am getting a hold of things (knock on wood) and have had a great weekend to do some catching up! i am so excited for thanksgiving and for being off of school! i have two classes today and then i am free until next week(!) other than working on wednesday! i'm hoping to do some shopping for christmas this week!

also!!!! i decorated my apartment for christmas two weeks ago. and i am going to put some pictures on here! i can't wait to show everyone! i am pretty proud (if i can say so myself). i had a major budget, but everything turned out great! my very first christmas in my apartment! :) this is my favorite time of the year! all of the fun festivities and most importantly the birth of our savior! what an exciting thing to celebrate!

hope everyone had a great weekend! thanksgiving and christmas are almost here! eeeeek! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

africa-day twelve

 July 27, 2010

       We went to a new place today for the medical clinic. When we pulled up it was a school. My heart melted. I couldn’t wait to see what a swazi school looked like.  After unloading I took the opportunity to walk around. Every teacher was so open to let me come in and look around. Not only could I look around, but I could help her in her classroom.  Since my major is in education I was definitely in my element and I couldn’t have been happier.  The first grade class I sat in for a while sang me their ABC’s and told me their shapes and colors.  It was such a blessing. 
outside of school
third grade classroom
teacher's area
singing their abc's :)
third grade classroom. their teacher was 23!

I asked someone what happens when children don’t go to school and she replied “we don’t have that problem.” Education in swaziland is valued and every child wants to go. This touched my heart so much. I have been struggling with the hardships of teaching and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue teaching, but this gave me a new perspective and I am so excited to view my education in a different way. I helped with registration later in the afternoon and I had help with an interpreter who was a teacher at the school. He was 23 years old (pictures above) and he had went to the university in Swaziland.  I got to go look at his classroom and it definitely was humbling.  He was so thankful to have a place for the students to sit.  He didn’t care about anything else.  The day was long, but so worth it. We saw over 140 people and got to help many people who wouldn’t have had it otherwise.  I am so thankful to have a part of that. I hung out with Amanda and Jamie tonight and we had a blast.  I have LOVED getting to meet new people and have the opportunity to build life long relationships. I am definitely excited to keep in touch.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

weekend kick-off!

i am going to st. louis tomorrow to visit one of my sweet youth girls hollie. she was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago. it came as a complete shock to us all. you would have never known hollie wasn't feeling well before any of this happened. i got the privilege to go spend the day with her last week and i am taking another sweet youth girl andrea tomorrow! even though the circumstances are horrible, i am really looking forward to spending some time with these girls! here are some videos from last week!
the rest of my weekend looks pretty slow. work on saturday and church on sunday! i think we may have a fun bonfire on sunday! it's actually fall weather finally! have a great weekend!

africa day eleven.

July 26, 2010

       Today was the first day of the medical mission team. I got to be with Mary Macantyre (one of my newest friends). We took the responsibility of caring for the children while they waited to see the doctor. As we drove to the church (tent) we did devotion and sang some hymns. This trip has been such a great journey. I have met some great people and to fellowship and worship with them was amazing. We pulled up to a white tent which I found out was their church home
These people were so happy to have a place to fellowship. It was one of the most humbling experiences. After getting the medical clinic set up we got the soccer ball out to play with the kids. 
Some kids decided they wanted to color so we had some coloring books set up.  It was the first time for so many of those kids.  We played hard all day long and made some great relationships with the people we met. 
 The interpreter who helped Jamie was 23 years old told us about how he went to university in Swaziland in hopes that one day he will be a surgeon. His dedication and appreciation for school was so great to hear. God has been so faithful to teach me so many great things. I have a new perspective and appreciation for every aspect of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

fall break.

fall break is here! well it started yesterday, but i was traveling so i was able to write! i am down in mississippi! i took the opportunity of being off school to come visit one of my sweetest friends alyssa! i drove down yesterday and we spent the day relaxing and catching up. so far, it has been so great! i will have a post to share on sunday! 

but i wouldn't want to leave you all with nothing fun, so i have some pictures from this past tuesday night! i carved pumpkins with one of my oldest friends amber! we had a blast! our story is very fun, i will have to share that sometime, but for now, enjoy some pictures!

thanks anthony for being such a great photographer! have a wonderful weekend! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

africa day ten.

july 25, 2010

ahhh. a day of rest. thank you Jesus. i woke up this morning to send team cape off *tear*. it was sad to see them go, but i was excited to get started with my next endeavor. i uploaded all my pictures (so far) on my laptop and edited some. it was very refreshing and very relaxing. i actually got to take a nap which was so needed. today was a perfect day to recharge and rest in the arms of my Savior. the trip has been great so far i can't imagine having enough room in my heart for another week! ahhhh! but i'm more than excited and ready to take it on. i went to a meeting about the next few days. i am tagging along with the medical group. two doctors serving here in swaziland spoke and it was amazing. i have to admit i wasn't really looking forward to it, but boy, did the Lord show me. they spend their time serving in this country doing medical missions and sharing the gospel. it was absolutely amazing to hear. 
during my time with the medical team i will be a "teacher" for the kids while they wait to go see the doctor. i am just going to use this time to love on these precious children. i am so excited. i feel so spoiled getting all sides of the trip. i am definitely blessed. i can't wait to get started! 

africa day nine.

July 24, 2010

i woke up early this morning to eat breakfast with my group before they left. no lie. i was bumming. it was so sad to see them go, but i know we will see each other soon. we are already planning a trip.

after they left, the rest of the group wen to see project canaan. it. was. absolutely. gorgeous. canaan is the land john bardis (mom's ceo) bought. it is in swaziland and it was bought to build a self-sustaining land. it is 2500 acres of pure beauty. when it is all said and done there will be crops (corn, coffee, fruit, dairy, timber, etc.), a baby home (currently being built), a children's home, a school, technical school, and much more for the people of this country to run. all profits will go back to project canaan to help continue the self-sustainibility. what a great sense of accomplishment for the people of this country. 
plans for baby home "el roi" (the God who sees) in memory of jared birk.
while driving up the mountain (for real, mountain) precious sarah hit her tooth (when the jeep hit a bump) and chipped it. that awesome girl took it like a champ. she made jokes and owned that sweet smile. i can't imagine being that calm and secure at fourteen. thankfully the medical team was here so with a few homeade tools her tooth was fixed in no-time. what a blessing. 
the rest of the day we just wandered canaan and relaxed. it was a great day of rest! 

africa day eight.


July 23, 2010 
today was the day. litsemba. swaziland's first christian celebration and it was being held in the national stadium. 

we were prepared for fifteen thousand children. blankets and hats were collected/made from around the world. sweet people from the US, canada, taiwan and many other places knitted and bought thousands of supplies to make this event possible. every child walking thru the gate of the stadium received a blanket, sock cap, bible and warm dinner.  

the event was amazing. to say the least. there were over eight thousand children there. ahhhhh-mazing. the king was there with some wives of his. yes, wiveS. (every anniversary he gets a new wife. romantic, huh?) the LORD was there and His presence filled the arena. skits, music, and preaching were all centered around our savior all available for these precious children who have nothing. it was a piece of history and i was honored to be a part of it. i got to see my church there and our team sat with them thru the events. out of complete coincidence God the band played happy day (the song we taught our church) and they went crazy! they were the only ones who knew it and they jumped up and did all the motions. it was one of the greatest moments of the trip! the day was so long, but so worth it. big things are happening here.

 it was the last dinner with my group. i literally could have cried. it is awesome how much we have bonded. we are like a family and i couldn't have been more blessed. we had a great dinner and got to share lots of laughter and memories. i am kind of starting to think i like them. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

missing blogging.

i don't have a good excuse of why i'm not blogging other than the fact that i have been busy, but i miss it a LOT! i have been keeping up with everyone's blog, but just haven't sat down to write out my thoughts. i definitely have a lot to catch up on! also, my africa story was what i was writing about and in the process of moving i have misplaced my journal. it makes me real sad to write this, because i am scared to death i have lost it and it is the only place i have my thoughts of my trip :(. i will continue searching for it, and in the mean time catch up on everything else! hope everyone is great! don't hate me too much for being gone so long :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

africa-day seven

july 22, 2010

peace, love, safari! woot, woot! today we went on the safari and we got to go shopping at the candle factory and market! it was so fun and well needed! we slept in a little and headed to the safari ground. i went with kelli and amber! we of course had a blast! we saw lots of animals. about twenty min after we were out our jeep got a flat tire! our driver was calm as a clam (i don't know if that is a correct statement. ha). but before he changed it he jumped on top of the jeep to see if there were any deadly animals around! then he asked us to be on the look-out! although it was quite hilarious, it was pretty scary. 

saw impalas, antelope, elephants, rhinos, hippos, vultures, warthogs, and giraffes! we actually got to get out of the jeep and get real close to the giraffes! it was awesome. God made some gorgeous animals!

sweet friends <3

after the safari we went to a market and the swazi candle factory! it was awesome! all the candles are hand dyed and sculpted! they were great!  there was an open market right outside of the factory too! the day was awesome and a perfect "relaxer" from a crazy week, but sitting still for six hours was not my thing, right kellie?! tomorrow is litsemba! yayaya!

africa-day six

july 21, 2010

wow. as i sit here and write this it is hard not to cry. today was tough. let me first explain it was our last day at "our" church. before i talk about that let me explain how much i adore my team (random, i know). oh yeah. i am a little obsessed.  they are so fantastic and i have made great relationships with them that will last a lifetime. 

attempting to carry the bucket full of avacodos.
you can just figure out if it worked or not:)
okay, back to my journey. we went to the church today knowing we would be giving away clothes as well as food in the community. best group leader ever (sandra) went to the store and bought some food and we took it to our community. rafael and president took my group (kelli, megan, brandon, and i) to four homesteads. homesteads have a few TINY buildings where a family lives including their extended family. my heart broke during this time because all of the pictures you could imagine came alive right before my eyes. i have never experienced a need and poverty like this. the homes were squares of cement "brick" or mud and sticks made by themselves. the roof was made of thatch. trash was everywhere. wild dogs and cats, chickens and cows roamed the area and it was completely unsafe. it was hard for me to imagine allowing my family or children to stay in a place like this, but this is all these people know. the people were amazing. everyone pulled out mats (rugs) for us to sit down on. we sat and read the Bible to them, prayed for them, and gave them their gifts. i have never seen someone so spiritually and physically hungry. they were so pleased to hear the Bible. the Bible is a luxury in this country. only churches have them (makes me thankful for the countless copies i have under one roof). all these precious people wanted was to have God's word read (if only more people were like that). many wept and some even gave us gifts. yes. you heard me. they went to their beautiful gardens and gave us their prized possessions. 

when we got back to the church we got bible school ready. the kids started coming so we turned on their new favorite song and danced to "happy day." (as soon as i can figure out how to upload a video i'll share) as we danced and sang i looked over only to see this precious boy who looked sad. i am a fixer, so i went up to him grabbed his hands and started dancing. he just looked at me with his little sick eyes and was silently crying out for help. when he opened his mouth he looked like he had just eaten a red sucker, but much to my surprise his mouth was full of blood. tears started pouring. i wanted to know his story so i asked and he wasn't afraid to talk. as he started to talk that precious boy gave me more than i could ever have given him. he asked me if i knew the scripture. after answering yes, he went on to recite more scripture than i know. he told me he was born with aids and his mother and father were dead. he didn't have any money to go to the hospital, but Jesus was his comforter and he was being taken care of. chills? yes. tears? yes. i couldn't contain it. what do i have to complain about? nothing. my heart was ripped out and is still there. i can't believe people in our world live this way and no. it. is. not. their. fault. 
the kids at worship.
lindee is in the blue sweater in front.
i wish i could say we were able to take him and make him better, but that wasn't the case. when we left the kids were hugging us and telling us Jesus loved us. as i was crying (yes, i do believe my tear ducts work just fine) i couldn't believe what had happened that day. we took lindee (the little boy) home. forty minutes later we arrived at his home. he walks that far to and from school on a daily basis. how blessed are we in america?! lindee is on my mind and i won't ever forget that precious little prophet. the Lord just continues to break me and fill me up. i don't know if i can take it anymore.