And her name will be….

Anastasia Louise Hazel

We are happy to share with everyone what our daughter’s name will be. Like most of the names in the Bible, her name has an origin and means something.

Anastasia means resurrection.   And    Louise means renowned warrior.

So together her name means Renowned Resurrection Warrior.

How did we come to this name?

Louise is from our American family.

  • Claudia’s grandmother was Claudia Louise.
  • Jeremy’s grandmother was Barbara Louise.
  • Jeremy’s mother is Deborah Louise.

Anastasia comes indirectly from our San family in Namibia.

When we were visiting Namibia in April, we told our San family we were expecting. Tsaba, my mama and namesake, gave us a boy and girl Ju/’hoan name. This is their tradition for the grandparents of a child to give the name and not the parents. Tsaba gave us /asa for a girl. It has a click. It is the easiest of the 4 clicks but the U.S. government would not understand it for a birth certificate or future legal things. We didn’t want to complicate our daughter’s life, so we westernized it to Tasa. We pondered it for a long time and just didn’t feel it was enough. We searched and searched through other names but kept coming back to Tasa. I found that Tasa meant resurrection. Then I looked for other names that meant resurrection. This is when we found Anastasia and Tasa can be a nickname of Anastasia. It took several weeks for us to settle on Anastasia.

I did more research. I read an article about how one man presented the gospel by introducing his family and the meaning behind their names. Anastasia was his mother’s, wife’s and daughter’s name. “Anastas” is a Greek action and promise word found in 138 verses in 6 different forms in the Bible. When used as a verb, it is means to make or cause someone stand up, to raise up or to raise again; resurrection. This started with Abram when God told him to arise and walk about the land of Canaan and when God promised that everyone would be blessed through him. This is the inheritance of heaven for all who confess and believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” John 11:25

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3–4

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15

Jeremy and I have used often 1 Peter 3:15 to describe the work God has for us here in Africa. Hope with gentleness and respect. This hope we pray will come to the San, the Digo and all the unreached people groups of the world. We have just a small part to play. Thank you to all who play their part by praying for us and faithfully giving. Please continue to pray for this pregnancy: that I will remain healthy even though I am unable to get to doctor appointments as normal and that Anastasia will be born healthy. Our little warrior is growing and active these days!

 

 

 

Settled and Safe

Greetings from the beautiful coast of Kenya in the village of Vuga. Since our last post, we have successfully started to get settled in our new home. We have been able to rent a local car and make several runs to the supermarket for basic household items and to stock up on basic food items. In the village, fresh fruits and vegetables are available daily which is nice. We have started a few lessons with our language helpers. We are fully immersed in trying to learn 2 languages now. Our time at language school was good and has already given us a head start on Swahili. We have found part-time house help to wash clothes, clean and cook a traditional meal twice a week for us. This will especially be important once Baby Girl Hazel arrives in October. Everything is new again but we are slowly getting adjusted. Please keep praying as we encounter these new things and make decisions every day.

This coming Tuesday is the national election for Kenya where everyone will vote on local to national governmental positions. You might hear or see things in the news. Yes, Kenya does have some history of post-election violence in the large cities. Rest assured we are fine and safe here in the small village of Vuga. For our safety, AIM has put a travel ban on us for about a week to make sure we stay away from the big cities. People are actually moving back to the safety of the villages. Please do join us in prayer for a peaceful election like Kenya experienced in 2013.

Recently, I have been reminded of Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” Being in a new culture has forced me to make a lot of decisions lately. Some important to our future here and some not.  Some that set precedent and some that won’t. No matter the importance or impact, I’ve been reminded to continue to seek God first when making decisions. Many time we seek other’s opinions first and then go to God with options. I believe the Bible clearly says we should seek God first. The past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to put this into practice. Let Him guide you and then let Him use others to confirm what your hearing from Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy

 

Masai Market

We are still at language school this week. It has been a good, challenging, difficult and at times frustrating experience. The time though has laid a good foundation for us to continue to learn Kiswahili when we return to Kenya next week. We are far from becoming fluent but I learned an African Proverb this week that says “You don’t become an expert in five days.” When explained to me, the proverb means that there are 3 ingredients needed to become an expert at anything which are practice, patience, and persistence. This includes becoming an expert or fluent in another language which definitely takes longer than 5 days or the 8 weeks we have been here at language school.

One of the great things about being here in Africa over the past 2 years is that we have been in 6 different African nations and have been able to meet people from many different people groups. Each group is different in their language, culture, customs, dress, housing, way of living, etc. We have been with groups of people that are agriculturist, hunter and gatherers, and now pastoralist.

This past Saturday there was a Language School field trip to the Masai Market. The Masai keep herds of cows, goats, and sheep. So we went to the meat market. There were 100’s of Masai men buying and selling their animals.

Our guide for the day told us a little about their culture like there are 3 classes of men: elders, warriors, and children and that their favorite color is red. While at the market, animals are bought and sold along with some of them being slandered and cooked. There were 100’s of people sitting around enjoying a good meal and fellowshipping. The Masai Market happens every Saturday. This was a great cultural experience for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It amazes me how diverse the people are on the African continent. We are all created by God in His image. We serve an Awesome God.

Prayer and Fasting

As I laid awake in the early hours this morning, I was thinking about what to write. Then at 5am, the Call to Prayer started at a local mosque. Yesterday and today have been religious holidays here in Tanzania because of the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. During their daily fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. They also refrain from sinful behavior such as false speech and fighting. Muslims believe the spiritual rewards for fasting is multiplied within the month of Ramadan.

This is all new for Jeremy and I. We have lots to learn about what our new neighbors believe. To be truthful, it is disturbing to hear the Call to Prayer every day. I try to stop and pray for our neighbors at these times of day.

At 5am this morning, I turned to what the Bible says about prayer and fasting in Matthew 6.

v5. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

v7. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

v16. When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

These were Jesus’s words against those who publicly pray and fast for others to see. At the time these were his Jewish neighbors. They were receiving their reward in full by the religious practices of the day. Sadly, our neighbors here publicly call for prayer five times a day and publicly fast for an entire month. They have received their reward already. Yet, they believe by doing these things they are increasing their spiritual reward.

But what did Jesus actually say about receiving rewards for prayer and fasting?

v6. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

v17-18. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

To me, these are clear instructions of what not to do and what to do. Jesus was calling out his Jewish neighbors for their religious acts and setting a new way for his followers. Jesus even taught them how to pray in Matthew 6.

v9-13. This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

I do pray for our neighbors and that one day we can all pray this prayer with a sincere heart to Our Father in heaven, the unseen One, who will reward each person for what is done in secret.

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My

“Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my.” Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz

This line reminds me of a place in Locust Grove, GA called Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. There was a special trio called BLT: bear, lion, tiger. They were rescued together as babies and have grown up together at the sanctuary. This is an unnatural trio of predators. In nature, they would never be together because lions are from Africa, tigers are from Asia, and bears are from North America. To Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman, these were their greatest fears in the dark woods along the path of the yellow brick road.

Language learning is a great fear for many people. As Americans, we endure the two years of foreign language in high school. We learn to read and write a language but never really know how to speak it or understand someone speaking. A few love learning language, some hate it, and others struggle through the whole process. After our high school exposure to a foreign language, we tend to forget almost everything we learned.

“Classes and tenses and agreements, Oh my,” has become a new saying for us.

Jeremy and I both have our own learning disabilities, so language learning is a struggle for us in different ways. We have completed 17 of 60 lessons here at language school. It became a little overwhelming by the end of the third week because in Kiswahili there are 15 noun classes, 15 tenses, and everything has to be in agreement within a sentence: subject, object, adjectives and verbs. Just this past Friday we were trying to explain why we were struggling to our language helper after being presented with the word AMEWAITENI. Only it was left of the original verb kuita which means to call. When you break down this word AMEWAITENI:

A – is the subject pronoun for he/she

ME – is the past tense

WA__ENI – is the object pronoun for all of you

IT – is the root of the verb kuita

(You drop beginning and ends of verbs to add the subject, object, and tenses.)

Literally, you can say a whole sentence in one word. Amewaiteni means He called all of you. I can read the word fine but to be listening to someone speak, you have to do so much to the verb to understand. Jeremy is struggling to even break down a word into the parts to understand the whole word.

Please pray for us as we try to learn Kiswahili. Every day we have 20-30 new vocabulary words being added and usually a new form of a tense. After 4 weeks, we probably have over 300 vocabulary words, 5 tenses, and nouns from 11 classes with their positive, negative and possessive pronoun forms. This is a lot to take in, understand and then to speak. It is truly a challenge for us. Please pray for ears to hear, minds to understand, and tongues to reply. We know we can only learn this language and its complexities with God’s help.