Meet my Hospitality Friends

I’ve shared a few times about my friends from Wiphan who are a part of the hospitality class. On Sunday, these very special and dear friends of mine graduated from their class after one year’s worth of hard work. With that being said, I thought it would be nice to pay a tribute to them share a bit about each one of my close friends. They mean so much to me! I hope you enjoy reading about these lovely people! They’re pretty special. ;D

                       BeatricePublication Beatrice

If you want to hear a powerful voice, just listen to Beatrice sing! Her voice completely amazes me. When I have the opportunity to sing with my friends, quite often Beatrice is the one leading us as we sing worship songs to our Savior. Her passion when she sings completely overwhelms my heart. Another thing about Beatrice I love is how she never seeks attention or the spotlight. Maybe she does have the best singing voice in the class, but she doesn’t sing to seek glory. She’s genuine. She talks to everyone and is friends with all; but she doesn’t try to be someone she isn’t or attempt to make sure all recognize her. One of my favorite memories with Beatrice would be the time 5 of us girls were putting on our makeup together and she went around and showed some of the other girls what certain products were for and helped apply them. She always does her makeup very elegantly and the day 5 of us girls acted very girly putting on makeup under her supervision was definitely a fun memory! She’s moving away sometime this week or next. I’ll miss dear Beatrice greatly, but I’m so happy God has provided her with a job and I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together as friends.

                              Richard

Publication Richard

Richard is a character. He’s barely over 5 feet tall and doesn’t mind being teased about it. He also loves to be “DJ” and contrary to Beatrice, LOVES being the center of attention. He’ll dance in front of an audience of many without a care in world. He’s a rather entertaining and hilarious dancer! He and Alex (my 13 year old brother) have a pretty close bond and enjoy spending time together. My brothers also discovered Richard’s incredible fear of chameleons. In fact, one of my favorite memories with Richard would be the time we threw a toy dinosaur at him, shouted, “Chameleon!! Watch out Richard!!” and he screamed like a little girl and fell out of his chair!! My other favorite memory of Richard would be the day I played Uptown Funk (which he had never heard) and he unknowingly started dancing exactly like Bruno Mars and I couldn’t help but laugh!! To make it even better, the outfit he was wearing was incredibly similar to Bruno’s in the video. So he not only danced like but also looked like Bruno Mars and he didn’t even know who that was!! I appreciate how Richard is comfortable in his own skin and though he likes being center stage, doesn’t really care what others think but just enjoys being himself: the entertainer. I’m definitely going to miss his ever-present desire to entertain and make others smile!

                          Publication Justina  Justina

This girl has a beautiful meek and quiet spirit. She’s generally a reserved person who will talk some, but it takes a while to bring her out of her shell. She’s a person of few words making the things she does say extra meaningful. However, ask her to dance and you’re in for a surprise or invite her to pray and her passionate praying can’t help but touch your heart! It took a while for me to get to know Justina, but once I did we bonded closely. She’s still that meek and quiet girl I knew from the start, but once she started opening up about her life and after we hugged and cried together for a long time on a sad day a sweet bond formed. We generally enjoy spending time together alone, so we don’t spend a lot of time together every time we see each other. I would say our friendship is one of a mutual understanding. We are there for each other whenever needed. It’s wonderful to have a friend like her who I can confidently say would hold me while I cried if I ever needed it. I appreciate Justina so much!!

                            WinfordPublication Winford

Need a goofy selfie partner?? Or someone to do goofy poses?? Winford’s got ya covered. I have more pictures of him making silly faces than I do of him smiling or making serious faces. He never ceases to make me laugh even though I don’t think he necessarily intends to be funny. I actually have a video (he didn’t know I was taking) of him making faces at his reflection in our car window when he thought no one was around. He’s always full of energy and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sad or down even if he does walk 2 hours one way to school. His philosophy was that it was good exercise. My favorite memory with Winford would definitely be when dad and I explained the word “dude” to him. We laughed and laughed!! I greatly admire Winford’s constant joy and I’m thankful for his friendship. He is moving away this week as well and I will miss him; but like Beatrice he has a job and I’m happy for him.

                             EvansPublication Evans

Evans is a very quiet person. I’ve known Evans since day one, but he’s so quiet I regrettably don’t know him as well as the others. When he does talk, it’s usually to ask me questions about the U.S. or English or my life in the U.S.. So while he may not open up a lot, he’s very inquisitive about other’s lives which shows his selfless personality. He was also the first person I ever showed how to “swing your partner” after he asked how I danced in “America”. One of my favorite memories of Evans would probably be the time he made a comment to one of my friends when she hit a note REALLY off key while singing. I know that sounds like a silly “favorite memory” but Evans is SO quiet and SO reserved I never expected him to say anything and the fact he was the ONLY person to say anything about the off-key note struck me as really funny. What stands out to me about Evans, which I hinted at above, is his selfless and caring heart. He never brags about himself or even talks about himself at all, but always asks about others and intently listens to every word said. His example has definitely encouraged me to talk less and listen more. 😉

                                  HellenPublication Hellen

Hellen has welcomed me as a friend from day one. Her sweet smile and loving hugs are always there when I see her. She, like Winford, always wears a smile and seems to be full of genuine joy every time I see her. Hellen has a sweet baby daughter named Janet who I can say is also a part of the hospitality class. =) Janet comes to class every day wrapped on Hellen’s back and is loved by all the other students who take turns holding her. Hellen takes her role as mother very seriously and is always quick to put Janet’s needs before her own. Despite her being the only woman in the class to bring a child, she doesn’t feel shy or embarrassed but joyfully works hard to gain an education while still being a mother. Hellen loves to play with my hair and has braided it for me multiple times. She also loves to test my Bemba by speaking to me in only Bemba and seeing how well I respond. Even when I fail she smiles broadly and encourages me. She’s always been so welcoming of me and that’s meant a lot! The things I love about Hellen are her diligence and hard-working effort to get an education and provide for herself and Janet while being a mother, and also her welcoming spirit. I’m going to miss her smiles and hugs!

                            CharlesPublication Charles2

Charles has such a sweet personality! He’s soft-spoken and also speaks incredibly slow (making his Bemba easier for me to understand), but enjoys a good conversation. Charles is also very protective. Twice he’s shown himself to have that protective instinct when I’ve been around and I truly appreciate that about him. It shows me he’s trustworthy and someone I can depend on should I ever need help. Cameron (my 7 year old brother) and Charles have a very close bond. Cameron refers to Charles as his best friend and asked me numerous times about when Charles would be home while the students were away doing internships. Charles returns this affection and would frequently ask me how Cameron was doing. He also likes to ask questions about the U.S. and about English words he doesn’t understand. To give you an example, he once asked me what “Yankee” and “expendable” meant. I had to think about both of those for a minute!! My favorite memories with Charles would probably be our countless conversations. He was always one of the first students to show up to class, so we had a lot of time to visit over the months. Character wise, what stands out to me about Charles is his trustworthiness and his sweet spirit. He just has that personality that we can’t help but love because it’s so genuine and kind. I’m so thankful for his friendship!

                               FrancisPublication Francis

If I were to describe Francis in one sentence I would say this: He has a passion for sharing God’s word with the world. I can hardly hear a sentence from his mouth without him saying something about God and how wonderful He is. When all these friends came over to our house for a fun get-together, Francis was the one who pulled me aside and asked if perhaps we could do a short Bible study before we took them back home. Francis then led a short Bible study with an audience of 9 other young adults and my family. Francis and I’s relationship is one of a lot of teasing. We actually didn’t become close friends until more recently, but since then we always enjoy laughing together and I enjoy teasing him about a certain someone. 😉 Along with teasing each other, we also spend a lot of time talking about what God is doing in each other’s lives. A couple weeks ago, he and I visited for probably 30 minutes while he shared what he felt God calling him to do with his life. He always tells me that I and my dad have been an “inspiration” in his life. Well, I think that is a pretty sufficient word to describe his impact on my life as well. His life has been an inspiration to me and I’m grateful for his friendship!

                           GasperPublication Gasper 2

Gasper is also one of my very best friends in Zambia. His love for and dedication to God have greatly inspired and encouraged me. We’ve had so many discussions in which he’s shared difficult things he’s gone through and how God helped him stay strong and the things he shared are things I admit would be hard for me to face. I also appreciate his willingness to be my friend on the hard days and good days and his words of encouragement from Scripture he forever offers me. God has given Gasper the gift of encouragement. Many of my best memories with Gasper are times when he’s deeply cared on the hard days, helped lift my spirits, and point me back to Christ; and the times we’ve prayed together on bad AND good days. As for his personality, he’s an incredibly social and outgoing person who greatly enjoys the company of others. He loves to smile and is always laughing and making others laugh! He’s loved by everyone in the hospitality class and seems to be recognized as the “class leader” along with the “class clown”; though I think he shares that latter role with Richard. 😉 Gasper’s friendship has been an incredible blessing to me and I’m so grateful for him in my life!

                              BrendaPublication Brenda

Brenda definitely stands out as one of my best friends here in Zambia! The first day I ever went to Wiphan, she and Winford met me outside and invited…practically pulled…me into their classroom. Brenda introduced me as “my friend Megan” and took me around the room to meet everyone else. Without her initiating my welcome into the class I might never have gotten to know all these wonderful people you’re seeing in these photos and I may never have found best friends. She’s one of the most outgoing girls I’ve met here in Zambia. She forever wears a stunning smile on her face and loves making silly faces in the camera. She has such an inclusive spirit and never meets a stranger. We’ve had such wonderful times together; from silly, meaningless, goofy selfie-taking to talking about the serious things in life. It’s hard for me to choose a most memorable moment with Brenda because there are so many! A time she greatly impacted me would be the time she walked 1 hour and 30 minutes to Wiphan just to see me when she was sick. I felt AWFUL but she told me she wanted to come. That’s when I knew how much she REALLY cared about me and our friendship. I’m beyond grateful to have a best friend like Brenda in my life! Without her, my adjustment to living in Zambia would’ve been much harder…

                        Everyone Else Publication Bonse Fye

This collage is one containing pictures of all my other friends in the class who I have enjoyed spending time with over the past year. To name a few: Hellen (there are 2), Pamela, Charity, Foster, Stanley, Edward, Miriam, Diana, Memory, Shadreck, Esther, and Cleopatra. All these friends, while I may not have known them as well, mean so much to me also and I dearly love them all!!

 

 

 

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Margaret

I remember going to Wiphan for the first time and meeting so many new people. That day is still etched vividly in my memory. One person who stood out to me that day, and forever since, was a girl named Margaret.

I couldn’t help but notice her: the young teen whose shining eyes and smile instantly warmed my heart…who walked with a visible limp…whose leg was swollen to 3 times its natural size…yet was smiling so big!

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Margaret playing dodge-ball with friends

Margaret had a rare, but not unheard of disease known as Elephantiasis. Here is an online definition of the disease: Elephantiasis refers to a parasitic infection that causes extreme swelling in the arms and legs. The disease is caused by the filarial worm, which is transmitted from human to human via the female mosquito when it takes a blood meal. The parasite grows into an adult worm that lives in the lymphatic system of humans.*

Despite her disability, Margaret was always at school and always wore a smile. She laughed with her friends and participated in most of their activities. She possessed joy even in her struggle and pain!

She didn’t complain.

She didn’t even show signs of a desire to complain!

She simply dealt with it all and continued living her life.

Last July (2015), my family, a team of around 7 ladies from the U.S., and a few fellow workers at Wiphan went to visit Margaret’s home. Her home was very small and dark, but she and her family welcomed us all.

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July 2015

Towards the end of the year, I noticed Margaret hadn’t been at school in over a week. I approached Pastor Aaron about it and asked him if he knew where she was. He told me he did not, but was going to go to her home the next day and check on her.

I was at Wiphan the next day when he wheeled his bike inside the gate. He began telling me how Margaret had been sick for over a week and had gone to the hospital, but had come home without receiving any attention or medication. The sickness was presumed to be malaria; though I’m not sure that’s all it was.

Pastor Aaron shared he had tried to get Margaret onto his bike with him to bring her to Wiphan and see Nurse Becky, but she wasn’t even able to sit on the bike seat.

Nurse Becky later made a house call. I’m not certain of the outcome, but after asking Pastor Aaron later on I know she did improve from the condition she was in.

The school year in Zambia ends around the first of December and starts up again around the first of January (there are other breaks throughout the year). School finished shortly after the incident I just shared so I didn’t see Margaret for quite some time.

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Me with Margaret my second time at Wiphan (March 2015)

Having completed grade seven (which is a big accomplishment!!) in 2015, Margaret moved into secondary school at the beginning of January through Wiphan’s Inshila program (click here if you’re not sure what that is).

Before the new school year began, there was an Inshila meeting which Margaret attended. She looked so incredibly different I didn’t recognize her at first…Her face had gained much weight and her chin was swollen. The lower half of her face was probably double its normal size.

I wasn’t entirely sure it was her at first! She was wearing a long dress so I couldn’t see her leg to be sure. I whispered to mom who was next to me asking if it was Margaret. We were both taken aback when we realized it actually was her! Her features were so much different and though she still smiled faintly, I could tell she wasn’t feeling well.

I greeted her as she left and asked her how she was doing. Her smile returned a little more as she said, “I am fine.” But she still wasn’t the same girl I’d known before.

This was the last time I saw Margaret…

I learned earlier last week from my parents that her condition was progressively worsening. Then today, we the received news she had passed away.

If had had to pick the two most prominent attributes I saw in Margaret they would be joy and perseverance.

She never lost that smile and she never gave up or let her disability control her life; and those two things about her really impacted me and brightened my spirits when I saw or thought about her.

Margaret will be missed; but that sweet heart and spirit will always be remembered by myself and so many others!! As someone else put it, “Sweet Margaret has been one of Wiphan’s most treasured students”.

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Margaret with her sponsor, April. ❤

 

*www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Elephantiasis.aspx

Grandpa

Grandpa

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Kindness and gentleness were normal for you.
Patience and godliness were prominent too.
You were faithful to your family and in all that you did.
You persevered and worked hard until the very end.
You were content with little and never asked for a lot.
You served our country proudly and bravely you fought.
Your mind was spun of tales and wisdom;
And all the day long you’d listen to Hank Williams.
Working your puzzles and herding the cows,
“To Grandma forever” you honored your vows.
A hard working farmer you spent days in the field;
All these and more, memories we cannot yield.
As we cherish the godly example you set,
We realize your life’s not over yet.
For in our hearts you’re always alive,
Through memories passed down your legacy will thrive.

~Megan Hensley

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13

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Grandpa and I Christmas 2014

My Great Grandfather, John Eagleman, passed on Sunday, January 17th, 2016. He was the man every young man should strive to be! He was the kind of man I will look for in a future husband…Besides my parents, he and my Great Grandmother (who is still living) are my biggest role-models and most are the most influential people in my life. Grandpa will be sorely missed! He will be missed by more people than just his 4 children,  9 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. He was well known in town and also highly respected in his community. He was called “uncle” and “grandpa” by more people than just his relatives. He was loved by many…

Forever in my heart and memories always in my mind…I love you Grandpa!!

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Grandpa and Grandma December 2014

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Grandma and Grandpa Sept. 2015..Aren’t they just beautiful!? ❤

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Grandpa (left) with his brothers, and fellow veterans, Uncle Ralph (center) and Uncle Roy while in Washington D.C. on the Honor Flight in 2011. All three of them have now met their Savior in heaven.

 

The Gift of Family

I’m going to be very open and admit something here… For a long time, especially the last year or so leading up to our move to Zambia, I never made an effort or even had a desire to spend quality time with my family.

I’m not saying I didn’t love or enjoy them. I did! But all my effort was put into spending time with other people. When I was away for a night or two, or if I was gone for a week (a rare occasion, but it happened now and then) I missed my family; but not so much it ached inside me or so much I was ready to get home just to hear Alex’s puns, Jackson’s witty remarks, Andy’s incredible noises, Cam’s serious expressions, Mom’s willingness to help me with/talk about anything and her servant’s heart, or Dad’s goofy faces and steadfast diligence to spend time with us all even though he works a full time job.

Those things weren’t on my mind and I didn’t appreciate or recognize those things about my family members like I should’ve.

In the last (almost) year, Mom was gone for a month (during which time I learned to appreciate her in ways I never had before); but personally I have only spent two nights away from my family.

The first night I spent away from them was shortly after we moved here and I was only gone for around 15 hours. So in 9 months I hadn’t spent one night away from my family. We’d woken up and gone to bed all in the same house every day (besides my mom for that month).

I realized after a while that I had grown closer to my family and enjoyed being around them more than I ever had before. I wasn’t spending a majority of my day in my room or constantly wishing I was off with friends like I used to (*Note: I still ask about and enjoy friend time immensely and no less than I used to; I’m just learning to enjoy my family more than before.) However, I didn’t realize just how much I had grown to love my family until I spent the second night away from them just this past weekend…

I had a wonderful time at a sleepover with 3 fellow missionary sisters. It was an incredibly girly weekend (something I’m not used to but was a welcome change) and it was the first time I’d stayed up later than 1 a.m. in months!

On the topic of it being incredibly girly, after only being there a short time and seeing 3 sisters interact with no brothers around (they have an older brother who is out of the house), it was so fun and funny to me I just sat down on a bed and laughed so hard I nearly cried. I realized nearly all the girls I used to hang out with in Missouri either had only brothers or had a brother or two who hung out with us; and having only brothers myself I recognized this was a very rare and new occasion for me to be around girls who had a house all to themselves! It was such a fun and memorable overnight!

At the same time, I was thinking constantly about my family and how much I missed each one of them…I was having a blast and enjoyed every single minute; but after only 28 hours I was ready to be home and see my family. Again, I had such a fun time!! There was even talk of staying another night which I would’ve enjoyed just as much I’m sure; but I was also happy to come home and see my brothers and parents.

I walked in our front door and felt like I hadn’t seen my family in an eternity. My family sat down at the dinner table to eat and I sat with them even though I had already eaten.

I told them how much fun I had, shared an overview of what we did, and showed them a few pictures. Then, I told them how much I had missed each one of them and how I would’ve enjoyed staying with my friends longer, but was thrilled to be home again with my family at the same time.

My brother Jackson, the witty one, proved his wit again by slowly turning a stunned expression in my direction and saying in a voice of surprise, “You…you…missed us?” I couldn’t help but laugh…nor could the rest of my family; but his shock at my statement really made me think: he’s surprised that I missed him. Why should he have to be surprised? Why haven’t I missed them so much in the past? Why didn’t I recognize how wonderful and fun my family is until recently?

So while his question, tone, and expression were rather funny, it still made me sad to think about how low of a priority my family used to be to me and how I wasn’t the only one who recognized that. On the other hand, it was also uplifting and exciting to see the shock on all of their faces and know just how much they meant to me now and for me to know I can change and have made a good start.

I’m not perfect. I still become easily annoyed by my brothers and have a harsh tone with them often. I still argue with my parents and make smart-mouth remarks I shouldn’t. I have a long way to go…a VERY long way.

I may not have recognized it until recently. And I may have even surprised myself by how much I missed my family after such a short time, but I now recognize how much I have bonded with each of them and how much I truly do love, want, and need each one of them.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by Brooklyn M. from Blue for the Sunshine Blogger award. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what this all means; but I was completely flattered and surprised to find I was nominated!! Thanks for thinking of me Brooklyn! =D

The rules state I must list seven facts about myself. So here goes! I’ll try to be a little creative. 😉

  1. Music is one of my passions! Wherever I am found, I’m usually either singing, playing guitar or piano, or listening to music…or many at once. 😉 A friend of my brothers once told me I sing more than I talk; and that’s saying something!
  2. I have a bright orange birthmark on the left side of my head just above my temple. It’s mostly covered by hair, but often when I pull my hair up it is visible.
  3. I HATE making my bed. Making my bed stresses me out. I’m a very analytical, logical thinker. So when I make my bed I try to do it with the least amount of walking back and forth from one side to another. However, I’m also a big perfectionist (and a bit OCD); therefore, wrinkles of any kind don’t settle well with me. So maybe I don’t want to walk back and forth to the sides of my bed, but if I see a wrinkle on the opposite side it can’t go unfixed. All this on top of the fact when I’m making my bed all I can think about is that I’ll be getting back in it within 20 hours so why make it? Okay, moving on…I think you get the idea
  4. I like being alone and in situations most people would find boring. I will talk to anyone and I talk way too much, but I often find myself spending down time simply sitting and thinking (while earbuds are in my ears). I’m a dreamer. I think up crazy scenarios and play them over in my head. Long car rides are fun to me! Whoo Hoo! 8 hours of nothing to do but relax, listen to music, and think! 😉
  5. I have never dated/courted before. I’m most certainly not opposed to dating/courting. My BIGGEST dream is to be a wife and mother one day. But as of yet, God hasn’t given me or my parents clarity that the right one has come along. I don’t see the point in dating someone unless marriage is the idea. (maybe I should write a whole blog post about this?)
  6. I enjoy butchering chickens. I know…I know…this is weird. But it’s true! I’m not saying i enjoy decapitating animals for the sake of seeing them flop around headless. I enjoy it because when I butcher chickens it makes me feel like I’m living back in the 1800’s and I’m really working HARD for a meal!! And I enjoy working. =)
  7. I am a hopeless sinner. Truly I am hopeless. All of my “good deeds” are like filthy rags. I am full of sin and deserving of death and an eternal life in Hell; in separation from God. But God, in His grace and mercy, sent His son Jesus (in essence, sent Himself) to take the punishment for my sins and wash me white as snow if I accept this gift. Salvation is a free, yet ever so costly gift. I am hopeless. But in Jesus Christ I found hope!
Here are the rules:
1. If you get nominated, make a post like this.
2. Give thanks to the blogger that gave the award to you.
3. Include the bright yellow picture in your post.
4. List seven facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 other bloggers that you respect and let them know by posting a comment on one of their posts.
So I will now nominate:
Lauren from Defying Depravity
Laini, Skylar, and Lauren from Things Thinking About Things
Tristan Barnes from That One Sick Girl
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Our Christmas: Zambia vs. Missouri

I experienced Christmas 2015 in a way I never had before. Not to say I experienced it in a better or worse way than I had in the past, but it definitely was different.

In the U.S. Christmas was always a very busy time of year for my family. We had about a week of time (with Christmas Day usually landing somewhere in the middle) where we were constantly going somewhere, cooking something, cleaning the house for guests, or preparing gifts for friends and family.

Christmas was the time of year when we saw a lot of extended family we didn’t see throughout the rest of the year.

In a lot of ways, I really loved how busy the holiday season was for us back in MO. I like being busy and having a full schedule. I also like spending time with my extended family enjoying laughter, good talks, games, food, gifts (giving and receiving), and with some of them reading the story of our Savior’s birth; though that sadly isn’t an important aspect of Christmas for much of our extended family.

I also like how Christmas time in Missouri generally includes sweaters, warm fires, and hot cocoa (however, this year I heard it was a rather beautiful day as opposed to the traditional cold day). I like cold weather and it was one thing I looked forward to about Christmas time.

This year in Zambia, however, there was no extended family with whom to spend the holiday season. There was no snow. There was no warm fire or hot cocoa. There was no week-long preparation and celebration with people outside of my immediate family. There was no waking up at 6am Christmas morning to hurry and get dressed to head to my Great-Grandparents for a Christmas breakfast.

Instead, I slept in until 8:30am and my dad cooked us a nice breakfast of sausage, bacon, and eggs which we ate around 10am. We were in no rush and had no set plans for set times.

 

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Christmas selfie! The *mostly* serious one… 😉

After breakfast, we sat together as a family and opened the gifts under our small tree. We didn’t have wrapping paper so Mom had the idea to put each person’s gifts inside a backpack since we have “traveled” to a new place and were spending our first Christmas here.

Later on, we went Christmas Caroling to different friends’ homes. We went first to see each of the three people who work at our home: Steve, Zenia, and Reuben.

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Getting ready to carol Steve and his family!

We sang a song or two and visited for a few short minutes. We also had a few gifts to give each of them and they were quite surprised by the whole escapade! In fact, no one whose homes we visited knew what Christmas Caroling was, so it was very fun to show them our American tradition. =D

Following our visit to Zenia, Steve, and Reuben’s homes we drove over to the village of Nkwazi where one of Wiphan’s schools is located.

We parked at Wiphan and walked to Pastor Aaron’s home. We tried to sneak up on them and completely surprise them, but most of the family was outside so that didn’t quite work.

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Pastor Aaron coming to evaluate the commotion outside his home…haha!!

Unfortunately, Pastor Aaron was very sick with malaria, but he still came outside smiling to greet us before returning inside to rest, taking my dad with him to visit. We had brought them a bag of mangoes and Pastor Aaron made sure to grab the bag of mangoes before he returned to the house. haha

Before Pastor Aaron could take mango bag, Mom grabbed the biggest mango and gave it to his wife Vivian. Vivian was laughing and smiling and when we took a photo of the family (excepting Pastor Aaron who was already inside), Vivian proudly held her mango out where we could all see it clearly. 😉

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Pastor Aaron’s family; as his wife proudly displays her mango. 😉

We were hoping Pastor Aaron and his family might like to join us for the rest of our journey singing through Nkwazi, but since he was sick and couldn’t, we continued our journey with his two nieces(my good friends) Victoria and Karen.

We walked to the home of Mary, the maintenance woman at Wiphan Nkwazi. She is such a fun lady and her reaction to us singing outside her home was precious!

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Mary watching us sing outside her home!

The reactions of everyone else that saw us were rather interesting as well! One guy said cheerfully and curiously as he walked by, “What is going on here?” We also had a small crowd of children walking with us who attempted to sing along with each song.

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Some of the kids who joined us on our journey caroling through Nkwazi.

Victoria and Karen separated from us at this point to continue on to Nkwazi market. My family returned to our car and drove into Nkwazi’s neighbor village, Mapalo, to visit another friend.

Justin works at Wiphan as the trainer and overseer of the jewelry program for widows. Along with this, Justin also does amazing woodwork! When we arrived at his home and we sang for him he was so thrilled. We chatted with him for a few minutes and laughed and smiled as he always likes to tease and be teased in return.

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Enjoying some laughs with Justin as always! =D

Our family returned home after this where we sat and spent some time together as a family talking about the true meaning of Christmas, whether or not this Christmas will be a memorable one, and sharing different thoughts from the day.

After this, we worked together to cook supper: my mom’s incredibly delicious barbeque meatballs with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.

While we worked on supper, we called my grandma and put her on speakerphone so we could all talk to her for a while.

We finished talking to my grandma and after eating supper we skyped with my other grandparents and my aunt’s family who were all together for Christmas. We had a good visit full of laughs and fun…It was a great way to finish off the day!

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Mom surprised us with a cheese-ball!! =D VERY special because cream cheese is an incredibly rare find here!

So was this Christmas a memorable one for me? Did I enjoy the day? An emphatic “yes” in response to both questions!

I woke up Christmas morning sincerely missing my extended family and feeling sad knowing I wouldn’t be seeing them that day or the surrounding days like I always did. Throughout the day, thoughts of my family back in the U.S. filled my mind and in a lot of ways I wished I was there celebrating Christmas with them.

Even still, on the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Christmas. It was so drastically different from any other I’d ever experienced…and I was experiencing it in Zambia!! I did miss my family, yes. I did miss our traditions we had with family. But at the same time, the change of pace was a welcome and enjoyable change. Introducing our friends here in Zambia to a new tradition and singing about Christ Jesus’ birth through the poorest of poor villages was amazing…

I won’t say one way we’ve celebrated Christmas, is better than another. Both have their perks for me and both have their challenges. What I can say, though, is I did completely enjoy my Christmas this year in Zambia and it is one which will imbed itself in my mind as a “core memory” (reference from the movie “Inside Out”).

A Zambian Christmas…how could I ever forget that?? I wonder where next Christmas will find me…

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Aaaannddd our crazy selfie… ;D