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Jeremy and Claudia Missionaries to Namibia
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.

July 7, 2016 1:21 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

My dove in the clefts of the rock,
In the hiding places on the mountainside,
Show me your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, and your face lovely.
Song of Solomon 2:14

This is the image God gave me when I was at Connect Week of AIM, April 2013. Each candidate stood to give their testimony of how God had brought them to seek to continue their journey with the Lord in Africa. This was the week that I was reminded where Namibia was and was introduced to the San people for the first time. Now three years later, I sit here in Tsumkwe, Namibia with the San as my neighbors.
This image returned to me this past week in some very difficult meetings. All of us have had difficult times whether in our childhood, our marriage, our workplace, our family, our walk with the Lord. We don’t understand why these things happen. We want answers. Why did this have to happen? Why me?
For me I hid from the difficulties of life for a very long time. I was so shy. I was this dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside. But God called me out in my senior year of high school. He called me to stop running from Him and He wanted me to make a difference for Him. This just started the journey I have been on for the past 20 years.
At Connect Week, I shared that I was that dove in clefts that God had called. I was sitting on His finger and He was telling me to fly. This meant fly to Africa to follow Him. I never would have imagined this first year in Africa was going to be so hard and difficult. There have been several times I have wanted to just quit and go home. I have experience great homesickness the past 3 months. (Please forgive me for not blogging during this time, but I am back.) One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Most of the time I focus on the hope, the not growing weary, and the not fainting. AIM really wants their missionaries to thrive in Africa. They want us to soar like eagles. The Lord wants us to soar like eagles. But it’s hard to find that hope sometimes.
Many people shy away from Song of Solomon because of the detailed love between God and His beloved. This is the intimate love God desires to have with each one of us. The first verse asks God to kiss His beloved “for your love is more delightful than wine.” I am so thankful God’s love for me did not leave me that shy dove in the clefts and He desires to see my face and hear my voice. As I grow in my faith here in Africa, I search for my voice in the Lord even when it is the most difficult thing to do. I search for my voice in a language I do not know yet. I search for a voice.
So why do things happen? Why do things have to be so difficult?
I have just started reading a book which says “the Lord heals by leaving the broken part right there in place, overcoming it by His nature. Our trust as Christians can only be in His righteousness in us and for us – always! Thus the world is turned upside down! The world would fix the broken thing and rebuild personal pride and confidence. The Lord says, “We’ll fix it by not mending it at all! We’ll use that broken thing to give glory to God, and from that awareness of sin we will build trust every day anew in God’s Holy Spirit to sing the beauty of Christ’s nature through us for all to see.”” From chapter one of Transforming the Inner Man: God’s powerful principals for inner healing and lasting life change by John L Sandford
So why do things happen? We live in a broken world full of sin. Are you aware of your own sin?
Why are things so difficult? Maybe we are trying to fix it and not allowing God to use the broken thing to bring Him glory.
God can make a dove soar like an eagle.
He can give a voice to sing the beauty of Christ.
Will you trust Him to use that broken thing in your life to give Him glory?
Claudia

July 7, 2016 1:20 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

My dove in the clefts of the rock,
In the hiding places on the mountainside,
Show me your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, and your face lovely.
Song of Solomon 2:14

This is the image God gave me when I was at Connect Week of AIM, April 2013. Each candidate stood to give their testimony of how God had brought them to seek to continue their journey with the Lord in Africa. This was the week that I was reminded where Namibia was and was introduced to the San people for the first time. Now three years later, I sit here in Tsumkwe, Namibia with the San as my neighbors.
This image returned to me this past week in some very difficult meetings. All of us have had difficult times whether in our childhood, our marriage, our workplace, our family, our walk with the Lord. We don’t understand why these things happen. We want answers. Why did this have to happen? Why me?
For me I hid from the difficulties of life for a very long time. I was so shy. I was this dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside. But God called me out in my senior year of high school. He called me to stop running from Him and He wanted me to make a difference for Him. This just started the journey I have been on for the past 20 years.
At Connect Week, I shared that I was that dove in clefts that God had called. I was sitting on His finger and He was telling me to fly. This meant fly to Africa to follow Him. I never would have imagined this first year in Africa was going to be so hard and difficult. There have been several times I have wanted to just quit and go home. I have experience great homesickness the past 3 months. (Please forgive me for not blogging during this time, but I am back.) One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Most of the time I focus on the hope, the not growing weary, and the not fainting. AIM really wants their missionaries to thrive in Africa. They want us to soar like eagles. The Lord wants us to soar like eagles. But it’s hard to find that hope sometimes.
Many people shy away from Song of Solomon because of the detailed love between God and His beloved. This is the intimate love God desires to have with each one of us. The first verse asks God to kiss His beloved “for your love is more delightful than wine.” I am so thankful God’s love for me did not leave me that shy dove in the clefts and He desires to see my face and hear my voice. As I grow in my faith here in Africa, I search for my voice in the Lord even when it is the most difficult thing to do. I search for my voice in a language I do not know yet. I search for a voice.
So why do things happen? Why do things have to be so difficult?
I have just started reading a book which says “the Lord heals by leaving the broken part right there in place, overcoming it by His nature. Our trust as Christians can only be in His righteousness in us and for us – always! Thus the world is turned upside down! The world would fix the broken thing and rebuild personal pride and confidence. The Lord says, “We’ll fix it by not mending it at all! We’ll use that broken thing to give glory to God, and from that awareness of sin we will build trust every day anew in God’s Holy Spirit to sing the beauty of Christ’s nature through us for all to see.”” From chapter one of Transforming the Inner Man: God’s powerful principals for inner healing and lasting life change by John L Sandford
So why do things happen? We live in a broken world full of sin. Are you aware of your own sin?
Why are things so difficult? Maybe we are trying to fix it and not allowing God to use the broken thing to bring Him glory.
God can make a dove soar like an eagle.
He can give a voice to sing the beauty of Christ.
Will you trust Him to use that broken thing in your life to give Him glory?
Claudia

June 22, 2016 9:56 am

So this will be a two part blog post.  Currently I only have enough photos and information but will share more in part 2 when I can.  I wanted to go ahead and share this amazing story with you.  As part of our first 6-9 months in Tsumkwe AIM has us focus on building relationship and trust in the community by learning the language and spending alot of time with our neighbors learning culture.  For me I have had the privilege to spend alot of time learning from Uncle.  Uncle is our landlord, friend, and my Ju/’honsi name came from him.  About 2 months ago I was told by him that we together would make a traditional Bushman hunting bow for me and he would show me how to do it and then teach me how to use it.  The following is the story of that process.

One day Uncle and I went to the bush I thought to get firewood but on  this trip it was to find a proper stick for the bow.

(To view the pictures you must click on the link above  “see all comments” at the bottom of this email  if you are unable to view them in your email or on your above.)

That is where the story begins.

You need the proper tools: 

20160429_082405

Here we are sharping the “bushmen leatherman”

This is tool along with a knife is all you need carve your bow

This tool along with a knife is all you need carve your bow

We went to the bush and choose a certain species of wood.  I wasn’t expecting to get the raw material that day we went to the bush so I don’t have a picture but it had to have a bow in it already.  I know uncle had been scouting and looking for the right piece of wood for weeks before when we would go and search for firewood.

We begin

We begin

Here he showed me how use the "bushman leatherman". I worked on the other end after he taught me.

Here he showed me how use the “bushmen leatherman”. I worked on the other end after he taught me.

After the bow was carved we added some Vaseline to it to keep it from cracking. We will let it cure for about a month or so.  In the meantime it was time to start making the quiver.  The quiver will hold the bow, the sticks for fire making, and the arrows. 

To located the quiver material was an entire day process.  After sunrise we went into the bush and located the proper tree then started to dig and cut.

We dug the roots of a certain tree to find the perfect quiver material.

We dug the roots of a certain tree to find the perfect quiver material.

Once we had dug the roots. I had to cut the ends of the root to expose them so we could pull out the wood from the middle later on.

Once we had dug the roots. I had to cut the ends of the root to expose them so we could pull out the wood from the middle later on. Uncle did the first one for me.

Here are the three roots ready for the fire.

Here are the three roots ready for the fire.

So we built a huge fire and then let it die down to coals. Then dug a trench put our prepared roots in the trench and covered. We let them "cook" for about 7 hrs.

So we built a huge fire and then let it die down to coals. Then dug a trench put our prepared roots in the trench and covered. We let them “cook” for about 7 hrs.

After retrieving the roots we easily pulled the middle wood out of the tree root.  The wood had so much water in it that we cooked the water out causing it to shrink.  We were then left with a hollow hardened tube, the bark. 

I will pause the making of the quiver at this point because we have to find some kudu skin to make the shoulder strap and top and bottom pieces of the tube.  In the meantime we were able to locate some animal ligament for the string.

Here uncle prepares the animal ligament in water to start making the string.

Here uncle prepares the animal ligament in water to start making the string.

Uncle then proceeded to weave 4 strands of this together to make the bow string.  I was so intent on watching I didn’t get any pictures.

So at this point lets pause this story.   When I return to Tsumkwe next week we will begin to process the kudu skin he located, string the bow, finish the quiver then we will make the arrows.  I anticipate we will finish the bow in the next few months.  Stay tuned for part 2 for the finished results.

June 15, 2016 5:09 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

This is the long anticipated video that proves we we have can speak a little Jo/’honasi click.   Gather the family and friends and learn some bushman click with us.

For a direct link click here: