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Jeremy and Claudia Missionaries to Namibia
October 25, 2016 9:04 am
Published in: Namibia

Things have been difficult recently. Only a few people have known what has happened but slowly now the word is getting out. About a month ago AIM told our team that they were disbanding the team. Here is the link to the letter sent to us to share. This was difficult news to receive but Jeremy and I agree with the decision. We have shared in the past to pray for team unity. Unfortunately, the whole team failed to come together plus other issues like medical and engaging the curriculum. Jeremy and I confess we could have worked harder and tried harder and we did play a part. We are sadden deeply that the team has ended this way. Yet, this past year has not been for nothing. The lessons learned are not void. God has used this time and will continue to use it.

20161023_09101020161021_18222720161023_142622Yesterday, the team left Tsumkwe together after 4 days of goodbyes and packing our things. It has been a physically and emotionally draining week. I personal slept less, ate less, and cried many times. Here are some of the pictures of our farewells. Our actual family would not allow me to cry because they believe we will be back.

So where are team members going from here?

Some are on a plane this morning heading back to the US. Some are in Windhoek praying about where to go from here. Our team leaders are staying in Tsumkwe for now.

Jeremy and I are in Grootfontein waiting for the second team vehicle to be repaired then we will drive to Windhoek. We have the desire stay in Tsumkwe. Unfortunately, we have received word that our visa renewal has been denied. Once in Windhoek, we will start the appeal process to receive our work visa to stay in country. Our current visa ends on Nov 15th. We will also have an end of term debrief with AIM leadership. Jeremy and I hope to go for some help to deal with the struggles, pain, and hurt we have experienced this past year. Many things must come together for us to return to Tsumkwe. So we ask you to pray.

What to pray for at this time?

~ Our work visas will be approved. ~ The community leadership of Tsumkwe will want us to stay after the hurt the community has experienced. ~ Jeremy and I will experience healing in our hearts and mind and return to Tsumkwe healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically. ~ For the San community, this has been hurtful to them also and they don’t understand. ~ For God to produce Beauty from Ashes.

October 5, 2016 2:21 pm
Published in: Life Lessons

Poverty can be defined as the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; as a deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients; or insufficiency.
Thankfully the Creator of the Universe is the ALL sufficient God.

John 10:10 says, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy; I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

Abundance is the opposite of poverty. God intends us to live in abundance yet we allow a “thief” to come and take this abundance away. This “thief” can come in many forms beyond physical needs.

Poverty of the mind: to think one has nothing yet there are God’s blessing surrounding one.20160929_130952
This is what you find in Keiskammahoek, South Africa. They have land, rain, grasses (for God’s blanket in the garden and to feed their animals), manure (to fertilize plants or to make compost), and a mild climate. They are so blessed but they have rejected these gifts. The land is poor and has many weeds. In Tsumkwe, Namibia, there is sand, very little rain, and the climate has the extreme cold and heat. They too have rejected the gifts of the Kalahari grasses and allowed cattle to eat it away. The land is barren where man has come yet in the Kalahari there is so much life.

Poverty of the heart: to reject the gift of forgiveness which brings healing and restoration.
All across Africa and around the world men and women reject the only thing that will bring true hope, healing, and restoration. This is Christ!

20160928_091830Last week Jeremy and I were in Keiskammahoek, South Africa at Farming God’s Way In-Field Mentoring. We attended last year while waiting for our visas. This year God allowed us to attend again. We came weary and was looking for a time of encouragement to continue in the Kalahari. Little did I know God would be gently pushing me out of my comfort zone and had 3 sessions for me to teach. I had to stay up each night to prepare for the next day session. I was weary and nervous for each of the sessions but God is sufficient and supplied the energy and courage to stand and teach.

Yet I did allow the Evil One of this World to steal from me. He caused me to cry before my last session. I doubted for a moment that I could stand and teach. He had come as a thief to steal from me and the people.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

My call in life to the unreached and poor was confirmed again this past week. I believe Farming God’s Way is a tool that God has placed in my hands to help reach the lost and poor. In my own power, I am unable to use this tool. I have to humble myself, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from my own way. Only then will God hear my cry, forgive and heal my mind and heart. Then abundant life can be found in Him.
God heard my cry and came quickly. He spoke through me to the people this past week. Praise God!!!

September 19, 2016 9:24 pm
Published in: Namibia

This is the second of a two part post.  If you missed part 1 you can find it here.

Just last week I was presented with the complete bow.  It was such a great honor to have uncle present me the finished bow.  I can now tell the complete story and show you pictures of the rest of the process.

So were able to locate some kudu skin.  Uncle took some of it while still fresh and put it over the end of the quiver to make the caps.  He then let them dry for almost 2 weeks and below you can see he is prying the one end off as this is the removable cap.


Uncle loosening the top piece of skin as this will be the removable cap.

He then worked the skin for about 2 weeks burying it in the sand keeping it moist.  Every few days he would pull it out beat it and work it back it forth to loosen it up.  He then cut it up into strips to make the straps and pieces we used to sew the straps on.


Here you can see we are sewing the strap on to the quiver by sewing loosened skin around the quiver.


Some of my sewing handy work. The thread is animal ligament.

Now that the quiver was done and ready to hold the bow and arrows it was time to make the arrows.  A typical bushman arrow consist of 4 parts. The metal arrow head and shaft, the hollow reed connector piece, the wooden connector piece and the arrow reed itself.  The bushman use the animal ligament and wrap it around the end of the reeds to prevent cracking they also use what they call gum which is hardened  tree sap as a glue to hold it together.  You can see below the modern arrows are made from fence wire that is beaten and then filed down.  The poison that is actually delivered on the arrow is applied just behind the arrowhead on the metal shaft.  This poison is what slowly kills anything including humans.  The wooden connector is hand carved.


First you hammer the end of the fence wire to this shape then you file.


This what a finished arrowhead looks like complete with animal ligament wrapped end to fit into the holding reed.


Uncle is making the wood connector pieces. This piece connects the two hollow reeds together. The smaller reed connects to the arrow head and the larger reed is the long piece of the arrow assembly.


Here you have pictured arrows connected to the smaller reed and even one connected to wood connector. All connections are glued together with tree resin.


This is the finished arrow with all four parts.

When it is all finished and done.  You have the finished product.  A bow and quiver and spare reeds and your ready to go.  I could have said alot more but and if your interested ask me some questions as I really didn’t take alot of pictures but I did watch the whole process and I was also helping make my bow set at the same time.  This truly was honor to presented this bow and to go with Uncle and have him teach me the whole way.  The younger generation are losing the “old ways”  it is sad.  Now to learn how to shoot it and then to go get meat for everyone.


The complete kit as they say.


August 26, 2016 1:48 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

One bite at a time.
An elephant feeds a village.

These were just sayings to us a couple weeks ago. There are no elephants just living in the US so you can’t understand sayings completely until you live them. As a child, one of my favorite places to go was the zoo. I loved watching all the animals. Jeremy and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary today. Wow! We had no idea where life would take us together when we said I do! When we first got married we were living in Covington, TN. It is a small farming town north of Memphis. We would travel to Memphis usually once a month to do our “big” shopping. We also became members of the Memphis zoo. We both loved going every month and just watching these “wild” animals in their enclosures. The modern zoo tries to make the enclosure appear like their natural environment in the wild. Now 16 years later, there are no more enclosures for us. We live in the greatness of the Kalahari Desert. There are elephants living here. We have seen their HUGE footprints. Three weeks ago an elephant died north of Tsumkwe. I saw a video of the Ju/’hoansi cutting it up. Then pieces of it were taken all across Tsumkwe. Uncle received a large amount because he is the big man in our neighborhood. It is his responsibility to give out to each family their portion. So literally an elephant does feed a whole village. We were honored when Uncle gave us a small piece. We feel a part of the family here. I had no idea how to cook elephant. I have no refrigerator or crockpot to save for later or cook for hours. So I cut it into smaller pieces and cooked in a pan. It was chewy so you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. It has a wonderful taste. The next day I watched my neighbors prepare the meat properly. It is even more wonderful cooked over a fire for many hours. Just this past week coming back to Tsumkwe from a village, we saw our first elephants here. They were amazing to watch. We were the ones enclosed in the vehicle in their environment. AWESOME!!! My language helper was with us. She checked the wind direction and said it was okay to get out. We out out and walked into the bush for a closer view. WOW! They are so BIG! Wild elephants can be dangerous so we only stood for a few moments and took a few pictures. Unfortunately there is not enough internet here in Tsumkwe to share those pictures today.

WoW! 16 years together. We are still travelling to the “big” city once a month for shopping and we get to see truly WILD animals. We are so blessed. This year has been one of the hardest. God has sustained us together. We are closer and stronger as a couple. We have learned so much. Thank you to all of you who have prayed. Your prayers are being answered.

July 19, 2016 12:20 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I, Jeremy, just finished reading a biography about Brother Andrew. One of the takeaways that impacted me from the book was the power of presence. His willingness to go just be with the Christians suffering under communist rules was so encouraging to them. Little did I know that this past weekend I would have the chance to practice the power of presence.

A few weeks ago, I found out that a father who I play soccer with and his family had unexpectedly lost their 2 year old son. Friday it had been almost two weeks since his passing. The family was ready to bury him and move on.

Funerals in Africa are very different than the United States. Older family members take care of everything. A funeral is a celebration of the life. The family will come together, drink tea, celebrate and fellowship. The immediate family is responsible for every aspect of the funeral from securing a casket, retrieving the body, preparing the body, putting the body in the casket and bringing it back to Tsumkwe, if the person died somewhere else. Since we live out in the bush, grave plots don’t exist. They have burial areas. A few men of the family will go dig a hole the morning of the burial. Then the burial service happens where the entire family attends. After the burial, a meal is served by the family for the entire family who attended. This is a short version of what takes place.

This past Friday, I received news that the family was in a pinch and didn’t have a way to go buy a casket or retrieve the body in the “big city,” a 7 hour round trip away. Zeka, our team leader who was very close to the father, offered to drive his vehicle and help them out. I felt like I needed to go along to help Zeka drive. So early Saturday morning, we took off with both grandfathers and two uncles. They had to locate paperwork for the body to be released from the mortuary and buy a casket. It took several hours to just locate the paperwork with offices being closed on a Saturday. Then the mortuary was closed also. They called around. While waiting, they bought food for the celebration. Finally, a man came to release them the body. The grandfathers and uncles placed the small boy’s body in the casket themselves. We all got back in Zeka’s vehicle and I drove us back to Tsumkwe. We arrived back in Tsumkwe 12 hours later and a little tired.

Sunday morning I awoke to the news that the burial was going to be that afternoon. So after church, I wanted to be there with the father and to show my support to him and the family. I walked over to the family’s house and Zeka joined me there. As we sat and had tea with the family, both Zeka and I were asked to share something at the burial. As time got closer, we actually were being asked to do more than share but officiate the burial with the help of another friend. For me, the power of presence turned into an opportunity to verbally encourage a family who had just lost a child. I was the only white person in attendance and only 1 of 4 to speak at the burial site. What an honor! I found out later that the family requested that we speak because they were so grateful for helping them retrieve the body.

To wrap up this story, let me share what happened after all the words were spoken and sand was shoveled and thorn bushes placed over the site where the child lay. From a distance the grandfather came over to me with his hand extended, he said thank you for being there yesterday when we went to get the body and thank you for being here today to help bury him. This wasn’t just a simple thank you. The way in which he shook my hand, the tone in his voice and how he placed his other hand on his arm was a way of showing honor and respect to me. This is huge for an older person to show a younger man of a different culture such respect. All I could muster in response was simply “your welcome.” That was enough. The power of presence is truly amazing. You see most of Jesus ministry was about the very power of presence and coming alongside people in their everyday life. A key aspect of what being a missionary is just about the being.