Why I’m Passionate About My Country

I don’t post political posts. Ever. I just don’t. I don’t like to debate about opinions especially in this election. However, there is something I’m very passionate about that I want to share with you; and that’s passion itself…

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As I woke up Tuesday here in Zambia, my nation was heavy on my heart. It was Election Day in perhaps the most pivotal and scary election in United States history.

I woke up as all my American countrymen were going to bed and a feeling of sickness flooded over me in nervousness and sadness over this election. I wrote this:

I woke up this morning; my nation heavy on my heart…
I’m on the edge of shedding tears because I’m afraid of this election…
I’m afraid of the corrupt state of the leaders of our land from the highest of authorities to the lowest…
I’m afraid because we are slowly letting the foundation of our nation slip away and the results of this election could result in its breaking altogether…
I’m afraid because I don’t trust this election to be fair. Too many people with agendas will do whatever it takes, even to dishonesty, to see the outcome they want…
I’m sick thinking about one day having to raise children in such a place; or at least, in such a place at some point in their lives.
I’m sick thinking about the complete stupidity of many American people ignoring reality and basing opinions on what feels good.
I’m sick thinking about what this election could mean for my country!
I can’t hold in the tears any longer…I can’t hold in the sick feeling in my stomach…
This is serious. This election’s results could bring about the fall of our nation or a civil war.
My heart breaks!! Lord, Your will be done! If it be Your will for our nation to fall, then Your plan is highest. I pray through literal tears that you would restore my homeland I hold so dear. I pray you bring miraculous conviction on hearts and wake up the Christians in our country to stand for You and spread Your truth! Lord, we’re a broken, lost, and hopeless nation…we’re also influential in the eyes of other nations. Let us not take that influence for granted and become a poorer example than we already are.
Lord only you can fix our brokenness, our lost state, and bring hope back in this bleak and seemingly hopeless hour. PLEASE, if it be Your will restore hope!!! I’m scared Lord! I’m scared because I don’t want to see my nation, the place and people I love, fall. Give me peace. Help me to trust You entirely and know You have a plan even if the situation looks bleak… even if the nation falls, You have a plan…
Oh Lord I pray on this day perhaps harder and more passionately than I’ve ever prayed about anything in my life!!! I know I’m not the only one Lord!! Hear our cries God!! But again, let us always say “Not my will; but Thine”.
Amen

Later on in the day, someone remarked about my passion for my country wondering how I could be so passionate.

The truth is, I never really felt patriotic before I moved to Zambia. However, since living here, I’ve seen my country from a new perspective: from the outside.
I’ve seen how much the United States influences other nations. In some places, it’s seen as a pinnacle of everything good. Thus, trends set in the U.S. by celebrities or whatever is put on television are quickly adopted by people of other nations.
We’re highly influential! Are we being good influences? I’m beginning to doubt…
I also saw how much I truly represent my country whether I want to or not! My actions reflect on my homeland. If I’m a kind person, people see Americans as generally kind. If I’m lazy, people will think Americans are generally lazy. I’ve seen evidence and heard personal stories of the reality that everyone reflects their nation.
Even if we don’t intend for them to, and even if my one action or the one action of a hot-tempered man don’t accurately reflect all American people, my actions still reflect on the U.S..

With these realizations, among others, I wrote this:

I’d say my feelings are less patriotic and more: “I am American and I can’t change that. How I act represents my country. No matter what, my future children will be at least 1/2 American and their heritage will be to the U.S. I can’t change that for them. Even if I live in Zambia all my life and feel more culturally Zambian; I’m still American, seen as American, and represent the U.S.. So as an American, I’m effected whether indirectly or directly by anything that happens such as a war, an election, etc.. That’s why I’m so passionate about all of this…”

The United States is my homeland. I’m proud to be an American! God made me American! That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always proud of the decisions of my people.
I’m passionate because I recognize that decisions made now greatly affect my future and the future of all other American people. Should a war break out in the U.S., my brothers, future husband, and potentially future children will be affected by that.

Elections aren’t decisions for just the here and now. They’re decisions for the future! They’re shaping and determining factors in the future of the United States of America! And considering I am American, elections are also shaping and determining factors in my future…

This post isn’t meant for me to give my opinion on the outcome of this election or to support or not support one candidate or another. If you’ve noticed, I haven’t even said who I supported.

My purpose in this is to encourage my peers, and everyone else, to CARE about things like politics and elections! Even if you’re too young to vote, are unable to vote, or really have no say in the matter whatsoever; you have the weapon of prayer!

Guys, I know we’re young. I know it’s “just one more vote”. I know politics is a stressful thing to care about…trust me, when I heard the results I about had a panic attack just from all the stress I’d been holding in…I know politics are confusing and complicated; annoying and frustrating; oftentimes not even fun to discuss. I KNOW that! But this is serious guys!

I want the best for my nation. Just as I reflect my nation by my actions, the actions of my nation reflect on me.
I know God has a plan for my country. Like I said in my prayer above, even if God’s plan is for the U.S. to fall, His ways are highest; but I’m still saddened and broken by that…
My loyalty is first and foremost to the Kingdom of Heaven. One way I show my loyalty to Heaven is by showing my loyalty to my people and painting a positive reflection of my people and hopefully being an example of Christ’s Kingdom through that.

So I encourage you, BE PASSIONATE about things like elections and your heritage! Elections affect you. Your heritage shapes you and sometimes defines you to others.

Let’s pray for positive effects, smooth shaping, and accurate definitions.

God Bless,

~Megan

Reverse Culture Shock

It’s been quite a long time since my last blog post. Lots of things have been rolling through my mind since that time, but I hadn’t quite found the time or words for writing anything out.

To catch you up to date, I’m currently in the United States with my family. We decided to come home to the U.S. for a few weeks to visit family and friends, take care of a few business things, and to refresh and revive ourselves before returning back to our Zambian home.

We’ve currently been in country almost two weeks.  It’s been wonderful to see familiar faces and reconnect!! I do miss Zambia tremendously, but I’ve also greatly enjoyed my time here thus far.

Despite having an excellent time being back in the U.S. of A, I did still experience this thing called “reverse culture shock”.

I find this to be something very difficult to explain because I honestly don’t understand why this happens, but I’ll do my best. It’s basically when someone experiences culture shock or feeling out of place in their native country after being away for a time.

I’d guess the longer someone is away and where they are would factor into how reverse culture shock would affect them. For me, I was only away from the U.S. for a year, so I’d dare say many others have experienced reverse culture shock more drastically than I did….but I did experience it!

-I’ve spoken to people in a foreign language out of habit. A few of my American friends now know (and use) a couple Bemba words).
-I accidentally thanked the Mexican waiter in Bemba…yes, it was very embarrassing.
-I kind of freaked out in the restroom when everything was automatic and came on without warning (the towel dispenser, toilet, and even the sink!).
-I’ve walked to the wrong side of the car bunches of times. Driving here didn’t take much adjustment though. That’s probably because I didn’t drive in Zambia. Adjusting as a passenger has been harder than adjusting back to driving. Haha!
-Basically, having the freedom to drive feels really weird. The first time I left with a friend alone it felt SO STRANGE because there was no parent with us. In Zambia, there was always a parent around me and my friends. None of us could drive either, so a parent always drove. It just felt strange the first time…
-I’ve wondered whether or not we had electricity a handful of times.
-It’s weird not seeing so many people walking on the road.
-It’s also strange not seeing people carrying things on their head.
-I’ve LOVED taking nice hot baths in CLEAR WATER!!! Not gross copper-colored water. BLECH!
-It’s been super nice to not have people staring at me!! Not that I’ve let my guard down completely regarding being aware of my surroundings, but I immediately realized how tense I’d been in Zambia just looking out for people staring at me…but here I can relax so much!

The other thing I would say has been an adjustment is just my mentality. Like I discussed in a previous post, my mindset is very different from what it used to be. Being immersed back into the American culture with this mindset has been interesting. I find a lot of times I have thoughts and feelings that can’t be understood by the people around me. Whereas in ZA I had other missionary friends nearby who could relate to me on every level.  That being said, it’s been an adjustment with how to express myself (or not express myself sometimes) with my new mindset. haha

One last thing to say about being in the U.S.: Since being back I’ve realized how much God has grown me. I still have a LONG way to go…but seeing how I was mentally, spiritually, etc when I lived in the U.S. vs. how I am now, I realize how much I have changed.  I rely on the Lord more in everything, not just the hard times. I realize how much God has helped me to prioritize things in their proper place. Along similar lines as my last point on my mindset, I just realize how different I am spiritually and I’m thankful for the work God has done in me.

I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means! I have a LONG LONG way to go and perfection is something I’ll never achieve in this earthly, sinful, body of mine. I have many sins I still need to work on. All I know is I’m a work in progress and I’m grateful to God for the lessons he has taught me this past year.

So, now you know a little about what my last couple weeks have been like. Hopefully the next few weeks in the U.S. will be as wonderful, and I hope I can find time to keep you all updated more often. 😉

Thanks for reading friends! =D

(Just a few photos with my friends in the U.S. 😉 )

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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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Living for Today

“Living for today” is a phrase probably everyone has heard before. I know I have! All my life I’ve heard quotes, song lyrics, advice from my parents and others; I’ve seen billboards and posts all about “living for today”. So why am I talking about it if it’s something I’ve heard so much and am so familiar with? Well, because it’s something I fail at…It’s one of those phrases that became far to cliché in my mind and never really resonated in my brain. Living for today is one of those things that didn’t seem very important or as worthwhile to focus on doing as other things did…

I’m a dreamer. Long car rides don’t bother me a bit (well, unless my brothers are kicking my seat or blowing saliva on me out the end of a straw) because I enjoy staring out the window, listening to music, and simply thinking…imagining the future…remembering the past…

Basically, I love to think; and my thoughts often turn to the future or what I’d rather be doing in the present. The future is a scary thing sometimes! There’s a lot of uncertainty about the future. We may be able to plan some things out, but there’s always something we can’t foresee; or maybe something we can foresee that isn’t pleasant. The present moment only happens once and instead of taking what comes to me for what it’s worth and finding the joy in it, I often think about what things I could be doing instead that I’d enjoy for more…(when really, if I just found the joy in what was given me, I’d find I often enjoy it just as much…keep reading.)

Not only am I a dreamer, but I’m also a detailed, overly analytic planner who “has” to have all the answers to every problem far in advance. This, along with the fact that I just like to think about the future, makes me highly susceptible to fall into worry, fear, lack or trust in the Lord, and impatience regarding my future and lack of joy; not living life to the fullest in the present.

God has really been working on this area of my life. He has been helping me see the value, purpose, and beauty in each day as it comes and not focus as much on the future or what I’d “rather be doing”. I had a day last week where my mind was COMPLETELY preoccupied with an aspect of my future that has a lot of unanswered questions. Not to mention, I received some really sad news that day that will affect my near future in some ways; so I was just bogged down with a lot of uncertainty. The truth is, no matter how much I thought about it, how long I talked about it, how many details I explored, it all came down to the fact that I have to be patient and wait on the Lord to guide me and help me. I wasn’t doing a very good job of waiting that day…I wanted answers and I wanted them NOW. I wasn’t even living for that day. I wasn’t full of joy in that day’s activities. All I was concerned about were the unanswered questions about the future.

That day, God was working in my heart to help me let go and trust Him more. The truth is, all we really have for certain is today; right now; this very moment! Nothing else is certain!

Without even realizing exactly what I was doing, I started “living for today” and more specifically, living for the moment after this day. The next day, I hardly thought about those future uncertainties. I prayed about them and was always listening for God to give me His answers, but I wasn’t worried. I had a renewed faith and trust and was able to enjoy each moment of the day…

The following day, my mom, Cameron, and I went to Wiphan. I have my favorite places, activities, and people I spend time with at Wiphan and where Mom, Cam, and I went (and the amount of time we spent there) wouldn’t normally be my favorite or preferred place to go; but I just went with it without thinking about where I could be and what I could be doing instead. And you know what?? I had a BLAST that day!! My arms were sore by the end from spending over two hours sanding woodwork and carrying the weight 200 necklaces on my arm for 20 minutes, but it was such a GOOD day! A day full of joy, happiness, contentment, and new memories!

I wasn’t the only one sanding woodwork…three other teens/young adults were helping and we had a really fun time laughing, visiting, and listening to music while we worked.

Mwape, one of the girls sanding with me, is a very dedicated young lady who walks 45 minutes one way to school every day. I was able to spend an extensive amount of time learning more about her and walking a mile or so with her running an errand for someone. On the walk, I met this kind lady who was eager to test my Bemba skills and while walking back to where we started, taking a different route through the village; I was able to greet numerous children I know from Wiphan! Just saying, “Good morning Mike! Good morning Elizabeth! Good morning Davis and Francis!” and hearing kids call me by name or even by “musungu belela”, it sent a thrill of joy through me that, again, I would’ve missed out on had I not lived in the moment helping Mwape and the others…

Carrying 200 necklaces wasn’t exactly what I imagined I’d be doing that day; but collecting the necklaces from each of the women (all widows) who made them and seeing their beautiful smiles, it was such a joy and such a sweet moment to me! I saw the uniqueness in each of their designs, styles, and colors…The necklaces are all similar, but each lady had her own way of creating them. I was able to play with one of the lady’s little baby boys and make him laugh; I was able to greet people in the homes nearby; and so many other things I would’ve missed out on had I not been there or chosen to enjoy being there.

I even had a chance back at Wiphan’s headquarters, to spend some time with the newest hospitality class (if you remember, my friends in the other class are gone until January). I greeted the ones whose names I knew and learned some new names. Some of the ones I already knew started asking me questions about “America” and it turned into them wanting to see my driver’s license and asking if I could just use it in Zambia. They assured me it would be valid (unfortunately no..)! I had such a fun time laughing and developing stronger relationships with them…

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First grade students at Wiphan Mapalo

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Later on in the week, I had the opportunity to teach a class of first graders for an hour or so…This was definitely a job (a lot of energy was contained in that room), but in the end we had so much fun! I learned many of their names and was able to tell them the story of David and Goliath in broken Bemba (I did have to use some English though). We did math problems together and even learned a memory verse…That day I also had the chance to spend time with a couple of the teachers at the school and we laughed and laughed together!! I helped Mamma Jackie (the cook) serve food to all the kids and got to see all their sweet smiles!

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Serving lunch at Wiphan Mapalo with Mamma Jackie! (Photo Cred: my Mom)

Again, these are all things I would’ve probably missed out on if I concerned myself with where I could’ve been or what I could’ve been doing. Instead, at the end of each of these days, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! The ONLY thing I could’ve wished differently was that I could’ve stayed at Wiphan longer (that’s always the case with me); but it worked out just as God wanted it to…

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Playing and singing a Bemba song with the first graders (Mamma Jackie had to come join in… 😉 ) The song is saying that “there is no one like Jesus…I walk, search, and turn around here and there, but there is no one like Him” (Photo Cred: my Mom)

So here’s what I’ve determined: when we bog ourselves down with fears about the future, regrets about the past, or different wishes for the present we take away from the joy that moment could possess if we just let everything else go and saw the beauty in right now. We learn from the past and the future takes some planning, but never let it downplay and steal your joy in the here and now. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today is a gift…that’s why it is called the present.” Cherish the gift of the present and don’t wish for a different gift. Right now is the only moment we can be certain of…no other time is certain. Take this moment; right now, today, this stage in your life, however you want to define “moment”; and live it to the fullest! Live it to glorify your Maker!!

Job vs. Me

Hey everyone…Sorry about the incredibly long gap since my last post. Different circumstances have made my schedule a bit more busy than normal lately. In fact, I haven’t been on the computer (besides for school purposes) nearly as much as I normally am; and it has been really nice actually (but that’s another subject). However, I still want to keep up with my blog and I have something on my heart to write about; so here goes!

As anyone who has followed my blog long knows, our electricity here in Ndola goes off every day. It currently (usually) goes off in eight hour shifts: either 5am-1pm (0500-1300) or 1pm-9pm (1300-2100). Pretty much anyone we talk to with this same schedule agrees the afternoon/evening shift is far worse! In short, I think it’s worse because everything we do becomes about chasing daylight or preparing for the dark. It’s hard to cook when there’s no light, so dinner must be started early. Not to mention the charcoal has to have time to heat, so we have to account for that when we calculate dinner prep time. Then, candles must be found and all conglomerated in a central location so we can light them and distribute them around the house when darkness comes. Heating water for dishes must be considered when cooking so dishes can be washed (unless we want to do it later).

Not only this, but the things we can do are more limited with the evening outage. We can’t be outside after dark (mosquitoes=malaria); it’s a bit difficult to do school work in the dark; computer batteries only last a little while; etc.

So I say all this as a lead-in to my evening…

It hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary. As you might have guessed, the power is off (yes, I’m running on my little bit of computer battery) which means everything i talked about above applies to tonight.

I finished cooking dinner in time for us to still eat in (somewhat) daylight. Afterwards, I was a bit at a loss for what to do…But I quickly decided to read my Bible. I know, I know, I mentioned how hard it is to study school work in the dark…but I’m not writing anything down, my Bible is small, and I have a priveledge not everyone has in owning a Bible, so I’m going to read it even when it may not be the most convenient.

The thing is though, it was very convenient! I truly feel like God is using these incredibly annoying power outages to draw me closer to Him. It’s easy for me to get caught up in day-to-day life and overlook spending personal time with the Lord; especially right now with such a busy schedule…But God is encouraging and helping me to slow down, put other things aside, and come to Him…And you know what? The more time I’m spending with Him in those “convenient hours”, the more I desire to make time for Him during even the busiest of days!

So tonight, after I finished with dinner, I went outside with my Bible, a candle, and a cup of tea and sat beside the crackling charcoal fire from dinner and read God’s Word.

I’ve recently begun reading in Job. I was doing a brief study on the story in school, and decided i wanted to read the whole story again. I’m only 3 chapters in and I’ve already learned so much and been pondering even more!

I think about wise men of the past whom we frequently quote their “wise sayings” (say, Nelson Mandela or Theodore Roosevelt) and I wonder, “Why don’t we quote Job more often?” This man was wise!

In just a period of minutes, Job lost all his camels, sheep, donkeys, oxen, servants, and children! One messenger after another; while the one before “was yet speaking”, came to bear these terrible reports to Job…

If I were Job, I don’t even want to imagine my reactions! I’m sure I would be quite ashamed of them…But what does Job say?

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
…”Blessed be the name of the Lord”….Job loses ALL his children, servants, and livestock and what he says is ‘blessed be the name of the Lord’…!!!
Then, another day, Job is suffering from boils all over his body. His wife comes to him and advises him to “curse God and die!” To this, Job replies: “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
The story is far from over at this point, however even in just this bit of passage, I have been incredibly convicted of my complaining attitude. Until reading this story again, I never really thought of myself as someone who complained; but in reality, I’m often complaining on the inside whether it shows outwardly or not. And I know good and well I complain about things far less consequential than what Job experienced…
Even in this blog post I’ve complained about the power outages…Sure, I also mentioned seeing a light in this dark time (pun intended) but I also see a whole lot of negatives as well; negatives which I am far too quick to point out and rant about before seeing the positives.
As I continue to read through Job, and as I continue to seek the Lord’s help weeding out sin in my life, I pray my focus will become less about my physical status and more about my heart’s status. I pray God will continue to reveal sins in my life to sift me and make me more like Him.
I realize this post has been a bit “all over the place” with regards to subject content, but I hope it all makes sense and that you have been encouraged.

To God Be the Glory!

Hello everyone~

I’m so excited that I now have this blog up and running! My hope is to be able to share with you many of the details of my day-to-day life here in Zambia (and who knows where else in the future!). God is indescribable, but I want to give you all a little piece of what he is doing in my ordinary life. This blog isn’t about me…Sure, I’ll be sharing funny stories and things that make me smile or cry..but when you read what I have to say, I want you all to see what God has done! God has allowed me to be here and to experience all the different aspects of life here; and I want to share those with all of you! To God be the glory!!