I did some repair painting on our Esther’s House sign before the team came. It was just dingy and flaking off! Not a big deal, but definitely a longer task than I thought it was going to be. Over confident…

Anyhow, Jason and David along with any other free hands were working on the bathrooms. It was getting to be lunch time and some clouds were rolling in. I figured I had earned some “beef” and frankly was at a good stopping point. Besides the fact that, the sun was scorching my hair line, and tot, tot, tot it looked like rain.

I text Jason to come get me…silence. He was right in the middle of his tile project. No worries, I’ll just walk with two gallons of paint and my bag of painting utensils the 2.8 km back. Two steps and it starts sprinkling, another two steps and it’s reached a raining status. Now, normally there’d be no worries. A little rain would’ve felt refreshing, but in Africa that little rain could be buckets in less time than you can say tot, tot, tot it looks like rain. Thankfully it was just a light rain and cleared up after just a few moments. I was truly grateful since I had just spent the last two plus hours painting with water based paint!

Getting on with my story here, I reached the top of the first little hill and decided walking was for the birds not to mention the group of men that were gathered about 30 yards up. Bike Taxi…well of course! The fact that I am going to climb on the back of some strangers bike, on a dirt road, with a Lowe’s cart full of supplies, and a skirt seemed like a given.

This is what I learned in that long short trip of dirt road back and booty therapy:
-never and I mean never try to hike yourself on the bike with a shorter skirt on when your hands are full. you will catch the skirt in the middle and give yourself a homemade diaper (back up and try again)
-leave your painting gear, cans and all at home. you can hang on better when you hit the holes and also when he catches speed and you realize your skirt has now rested somewhere between your chin and your belly button
-One should never assume that even though these men have thighs of steel it won’t take every ounce of their body standing and him practically grunting to get you up a 1 degree hill. I blame it on the paint…
-just accept the fact that he will speak to passing bikers and you know from the laughter that almost causes the biker to loose control it’s about you
-the village people will also do the same as you breeze by them
-you wonder how much time it will take for the skin from your hip to your pinky toe to heel should you come in contact with the dirt road
-you also wonder if dirt taste good
-or if the dirt has urine and other “things” in it
-your hair will look like you’ve ridden in a cadillac with top down when you come to your final destination
-the most important thing I learned though was that LIFE IS SHORT so take a chance and ride a bike taxi in the middle of an African Village so you can smile and wave, and laugh at yourself, and show them LOVE and that you are normal just like them!

I hope this post has inspired you to do something out of the ordinary and check something off of your bucket list!!!
Lacey

scorching forehead!!

scorching forehead!!

laughing hysterically when I pulled up at the EH gate :)

laughing hysterically when I pulled up at the EH gate :)

I may always be playing this catch up game…

I wanted so badly to post all the kids at Christmas with their sponsor gifts- one reason bc they were so sweet and excited and second bc the lighting was perfect that day for this less than professional photographer-instead for some reason my laptop ate them…not really sure what happened to them. I had them in labeled albums and everything, and then the next thing I know, vanished! So, if any of you have any ideas feel free to let me know if you have ran across this problem.

We had our first intern come and go. From the moment Seth got here it seemed natural, like he was just one of my boys home for holiday or something. He fit right in at EH and the kids all loved him. He was like a breath of fresh air for my boys. Having someone from home that had already built a previous relationship with them was just what they needed. I will forever be grateful for him answering God’s call for that if for nothing else. Although I know good and well there was so much more.

Jason and the kids and I got away for a bit. It was much needed. We cleared our minds and got some rest and relaxation, fun, some American food (we all regretted later), and absolutely some of the most AMAZING views you have ever laid your eyes on. Thank you Jesus for the ability to give our family a break from “survival” mode.

We finally got our vehicle cleared after 2 trips to Tanzania and several trips to the city. What a load off of my husband, which is a load off of all of us. When your living quarters are “quaint” and “cozy” not much affects only one person…we pretty much all feel it.

Our second intern arrived here last two nights ago (late getting this blog out…haha)! Richard had that worn out look but was running on adrenalin, so when you say, “Are you worn out” the answer is always, “nope I’m great!” :) Jason sent me a text about 30 minutes before they got here asking if there was dinner. I happily obliged, and thankfully the Lord had provisions because otherwise I would’ve slaughtered him out back with the goats. Let’s just say it was late and I assumed since nothing was said they had already eaten. We are happy about having Richard!

Our first team of 2014 will be here in less than a week and all of us are a little MORE than excited! Special friends for each of us is on the flight manifest and we may or may not let them come home… Praying for them as they prepare to leave home and make this journey. I know first hand how the devil likes to stick his nose in and trip us up so our hearts aren’t in check and ready for what God has in store, but not this time devil! You have to leave at the sound of his name and Jesus name has been prayed over and over them! Won’t you lift them up with me?!

I honestly don’t know where the last 3 months have gone, but this I am sure of, Jesus remains the same 3 months ago, today and 3 months from now. Lately I have been wrestling with this “between two worlds” feeling. It’s almost like I can see (and feel) it from a birds eye view. My arms and legs are stretched as far as they can to hold a piece of each of them. My muscles are aching and trembling trying to not let go for fear of never going back. I see the “real” life that happens here. I see the “real” life I left at home-family, our friends, community, and our church body. I see the new friends and family I have here. I read the headlines at home of murder, school threats, backed up traffic or road repair, snowed in…again, and a world with it’s priorities and government a complete wreck. I live here with a different kind of death, most children don’t have the privilege of even attending school, traffic is crazy but never backed up and roads…well you can imagine, there’s no snow but plenty of rain and scorching sun, and I am “stuck” inside a lot more days than I wish, a world with it’s priorities and government a complete wreck. These two worlds I have come to love, so completely different, yet much the same. The same for each of us too, no matter where we lay our heads at night…this opportunity to share Christ verbally, or in our actions, or our everyday living on the streets of NWA or the roads of Ntcheu, Malawi. My personal prayer is that I will learn to live in just one world at a time and bask in the memories of the other. I want to be over this grieving period and yet I don’t. How can a person LOVE two things so much?! Well…I can…maybe that means my heart is just ridiculously large? haha

Here are some upcoming blogs to be watching for:
Life lessons from a bike taxi
50 ways to wear a chitenje
(_______) Kabobs
My backyard animals are (_______) than yours

Toodles
Lace

My maannnn...talkin' bout my maaaaan (my man, my man)

My maannnn…talkin’ bout my maaaaan (my man, my man)

2nd Birthday Boy!! Last year before I have 3 teen boys in the house...

2nd Birthday Boy!! Last year before I have 3 teen boys in the house…

Seth on his last night here.  He may never be the same!!! haha

Seth on his last night here. He may never be the same!!! haha

Playing with the baby lion cubs!!

Playing with the baby lion cubs!!

3rd Birthday Boy!  The big 13 and he has grown like a weed since we got here :(

3rd Birthday Boy! The big 13 and he has grown like a weed since we got here :(

First Birthday Boy!

First Birthday Boy!

December, December oh how I am so incredibly thankful to have had experienced you, but even more grateful you have moved on. I will be forever changed because of you, and surely not forgetting you anytime in the next 100 years. Thank you for making such an impact on my life. Sincerely yours, frazzled and blessed mother of many…

The rains started! The rains ended. The rains started again and yet we still have no consistent water. I am most certain the devil has plugged the pipes coming into our house with a dead hippo or something. Ever heard the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome…I do this daily when I walk to the sink and turn the faucet handle. Call me insane…

Remember the song on Lion King where Timon and Pumba are singing the duet, as Simba and Nala are meeting again? Timon sings “Our trio’s down to two” That couldn’t have been more true for our team this month. I am pretty sure we have all experienced every emotion on the rector scale possible. So, while we have been stretched thin, taught some valuable life lessons, and figuring out a new game strategy, our team was challenged a little more. Apparently, we are “super” people… Catherine had to fly home solo with a shoulder injury, perfect timing on God’s part, with a family emergency that came about just days after being there. We are praying fervently for her and her family there and her immediate family here. Jason has been in Tanzania (2nd time, sorry I don’t have time to explain all of that on this post…possibly a future post) now for days while customs has “lost” the keys to our vehicle. We have been praying fervently (along with some of you) that God would receive the glory and the keys found so he can get out of dodge! Still believing Him for that. All the while, God has been faithful! He brought many joys and peace in the midst of all satan’s distractions and attempts at tearing us down. We experienced Christmas at Esther’s House with all of the children, residential and the non-residential, our widows, the staff. The pics tell a thousand words! Jiles said that’s the first time everyone has been under the same roof. The feeling was indescribable that day. We all sang and danced, shared cokes, cookies and cake, laughed and laughed and heard from the word. Stanley and Bruce worked hard with the kids on the skit of Herrod (Bruce) and Christ’s birth. One word. Hilarious. Sound effects and all. ;) We handed out goodies to the widows and the children. Let’s just say it takes an army to pull that stuff off and you’d think it was easy! Then you still end up with some bumps, but it’s Malawi no one is phased except the crazy Americans.

Our maize and soybeans have been planted and growing strong, and so is Esther’s House! We have added 3 more children to our non-residential program the last few weeks, and 5 widows. God’s still on his throne! One of our new children we added injured his leg and when I mean injured I’m talking I’m not sure how the infection hasn’t already taken his leg or worse. So if you will kindly lift him up for healing.

Rewards day thrown in, several trips to the city for business matters, airport runs, and supplies, being T-boned by a drunk mini bus driver, a little mini Christmas getaway for our families to rejuvenate and lift our spirits, homeschooling, and life in general just about sums up the last few weeks. I am sparing you some of the details, but trust me it was no less than blood, sweat, and tears. I should have a new baby to show for it, but instead I have a new determination to finish the course set before me. As much as I love kids, obviously, I am sure our family is complete. Kreyton prayed that God would make our family bigger a couple nights ago and graciously I rebuked him under my breath…

Enjoy the pics!! Oh and I almost forgot, our first intern has arrived, SETH!! You can guess from the above that the timing was impeccable. (Another Lion King quote, sorry too many kids movies lately. I blame it on the rain and no where to go)

Happy New Year!
Lace

Brax and Granger helping stuff the goodie bags

Brax and Granger helping stuff the goodie bags

Gavin pitching in!

Gavin pitching in!

Giles, Bruce and I filling rice bags

Giles, Bruce and I filling rice bags

David and Catherine helping knock them out

David and Catherine helping knock them out

Cat working on putting the pics in the frames

Cat working on putting the pics in the frames

Ethan glueing pics as fast as he can

Ethan glueing pics as fast as he can

Helping the widows try on shoes

Helping the widows try on shoes

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Debra and Cat handing out pics

Debra and Cat handing out pics

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Krey and the kids getting ready for the festivities to begin!

Krey and the kids getting ready for the festivities to begin!

IMG_4842

DSC_2178

Stanley, Bruce and Jason acting up :)

Stanley, Bruce and Jason acting up :)

Elford having a good time!

Elford having a good time!

Giving the EH kids their Christmas!

Giving the EH kids their Christmas!

Anita, Patricia, Esimy, Eunice, Miles, and Dadly

Anita, Patricia, Esimy, Eunice, Miles, and Dadly

Our goofy pic!

Our goofy pic!

Busisiwe cheesing!

Busisiwe cheesing!

Maize!

Maize!

Perfection

Perfection

Beautiful

Beautiful

Dinner on Christmas Eve with the Star of Bethlehem in the background

Dinner on Christmas Eve with the Star of Bethlehem in the background

This would be Jason and I trying to feed 8 kids pb and j and cheetos in the car bc it was pouring rain

This would be Jason and I trying to feed 8 kids pb and j and cheetos in the car bc it was pouring rain

So….I have so many unfinished thoughts posts that I have wanted to share, but just can’t for one reason or another. Some are too personal, too emotional, and frankly just plain ol’ hard, others are just simple but can’t seem to find the words, while others are long and just haven’t found the time. (or made the time, call it for what it is)

I will be posting in the next day or two and try to make it coherent…no promises ;)

It’s a New Year, and with that always comes the fresh starts and new beginnings. I will share with you all what’s been happening here the last few weeks and what may or may not happen in the coming weeks.

Prayers are always welcome and reciprocated!!
Lacey
www.purecharity.com/projectEH

Rewards day rolled around again and we had a blast. We were hoping the kids were just as excited as us for this project! We think they were…haha

We realized after visiting with most of them in their homes it would be fun to take pics of them and their families and frame them for Christmas. I would say 99% of the homes did not have pics in them and probably that many have never even had them taken before.

Bruno, a local carpenter, cut all the pieces for picture frames and dropped them off at my house in a big potato sack. Gavin, Kreyton and Granger worked on sorting short and long pieces while we explained the plan to the kids. Most of them sat with blank faces. I wasn’t really sure if it was because they were shocked someone wanted to take pictures of their crew or the fact I was trying to fumble the four pieces in the air to demonstrate what the end product would look like. Either way, once those paint brushes landed in their fingers you could tell this was important to them. I didn’t see one single child “slap” on some paint and call it a day. It was carefully thought out and the choice of color for the day seemed to be red! Who knew?! GO HOGS!!!

Euginio and I also worked on measuring the widows for shoes for their Christmas bags. It was quite hysterical really, and I wasn’t sure if it would be proper to laugh so I held it all in. Although, I did hear some giggles coming from the crowd of women a few times. Very cute, if I do say so myself.

This past Saturday, we or actually more Catherine than myself, spent the day taking pics to put in those beautiful frames. We didn’t have as many families show up as we wanted because it had rained, HALLELUJAH, the night before which means everyone and their dog, or goat, begins planting the fields! It’s life or death for most and we have all been waiting for the rains for some time now!!! Hopefully we will get more done over the coming week and weekend to get them printed and back to them by Christmas.

I will leave you with this from The Circle Maker: When you live in obedience, you position yourself for blessing. And you never know how or when or where God is going to show up. He might just send winds out of the west at fifty miles per hour with a 100 percent chance of quail.

Blessings,
Lacey
www.purecharity.com/projectEH

Debra and I trying to demonstrate the final look

Debra and I trying to demonstrate the final look

I think all of them put the pieces together on the ground to make sure it was going to fit! ;)

I think all of them put the pieces together on the ground to make sure it was going to fit! ;)

To say they loved to paint would've been an understatement ;)

To say they loved to paint would’ve been an understatement ;)

Couldn't have done this project without David and Jason using this contraption.

Couldn’t have done this project without David and Jason using this contraption.

There was some serious painting going on!

There was some serious painting going on!

They were concentrating so hard to make it just right!

They were concentrating so hard to make it just right!

Euginio and I working on measuring the widows feet for new shoes.

Euginio and I working on measuring the widows feet for new shoes.

Hanging out waiting for the others to finish

Hanging out waiting for the others to finish

Jason, Euginio, Stanley and I with the widows that were able to come Saturday

Jason, Euginio, Stanley and I with the widows that were able to come Saturday

Catherine has been working hard the last few weeks with Bruce trying to get all the home visits done, and in the process we figured what better chance to hand out mosquito nets to them. Since the rainy season is upon us and a plague of mosquitos, it only makes sense.

Crosschurch VBX from this past summer sent money over to help supply around 85 nets for the children and families in Madzanje village!! The people were truly grateful from the bottom of their hearts. Some of the women on their knees in respect and thankfulness in front of us, smiling from ear to ear saying “Zikomo.” (thank u) It was really great timing as American families coming into the Thanksgiving/Christmas time of year, to see what it truly means to be thankful for something so little, yet so huge, and to have so little, but at the same time so much!

The kids and I loved every minute of it. If we could visit homes everyday and hand out mosquito nets, I don’t think it’d ever get old.

Thank you for allowing us to fulfill God’s plan for us, however that support looks! He sees your obedience, and so do we.

Blessings from Malawi Africa!

www.purecharity.com/projectEH

Visiting with one of the guardians.  There's always a crowd :)

Visiting with one of the guardians. There’s always a crowd :)

Kreyton

Kreyton

that smile!

that smile!

a new baby...and I do mean NEW!  So cute.

a new baby…and I do mean NEW! So cute.

Excited about her new net!

Excited about her new net!

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Brax and Bruce helping hang them

Brax and Bruce helping hang them

Cayla-Marie, myself, Clever and Catherine.

Cayla-Marie, myself, Clever and Catherine.

Tracy insisted the girls hang hers, not Bruce :)

Tracy insisted the girls hang hers, not Bruce :)

Tracy's grandma was so kind, she was the only one all day that completely hugged me! LOVE.

Tracy’s grandma was so kind, she was the only one all day that completely hugged me! LOVE.

Saturday was the monthly rewards day I have mentioned before. We had such a good time. We broke in the Wilson’s for sure!! :) They planned some minute to win it races and some other stations to rotate the teams around. Beading, cookies, and face painting were all a hit. I didn’t get a chance to see all the outside fun, but from the looks on all the kids faces, yes even the older ones, they all had a blast.

I can’t speak for Cayla Marie, but my painting skills are limited when I don’t have something to look at and the right kind of brushes. Yes, I am that kind of painter…I do better looking at an image rather than just doing. So, we had these choices for them a cross, soccer ball, spider, snake, smiley face, heart, or…or…or I can’t even think what the last one was…or maybe that was it. Give me a break it was yesterday. I’ve slept since then, kind of. :)

Then this little girl walked up and sat down and I asked her what she wanted. She studied the choices for a second, waving her finger over them, and stopped on the heart. The only thing is, she didn’t say “heart”….she said “I want LOVE.” Talk about taking my breath away and causing me to steady myself. It wasn’t so much what she said, or that the words were so faint I could barely hear her, but the fact that here I am sitting in a room full of children that only want LOVE. Some know it and some don’t, but I know. And HE knows. I pray that if I accomplish nothing else here, that I will at least show them HIS LOVE. THAT, is what I want for them, to hear, to see, and to feel God loving on them. Then, all of the rest will be icing on the cake.

Think and pray about how God can use you in this journey! Maybe you can come love on them this coming year!!! Or come love on any of the three families here serving Esther’s House, sounds weird, but truth is loving on us keeps us going, to keep us here loving on them. :)

Hugs
Lacey
www.purecharity.com/projectEH

Debra and Esimy helped with the bead station!

Debra and Esimy helped with the bead station!

Esther, Ruthie and Esther ;)

Esther, Ruthie and Esther ;)

Painting Anness' LOVE on!

Painting Anness’ LOVE on!

Sweet girl!

Sweet girl!

Hanging with my Krey :)

Hanging with my Krey :)

This is what happens when you have older brothers....

This is what happens when you have older brothers….

Some of you have asked what does your typical day in Malawi look like?

Well, I want to say it’s glamorous! I feed hungry babies everyday, love on widows, and evangelize every day until dark, but the truth of the matter is I don’t. Don’t quit reading now…for I actually do something! haha

My day and most days consist of this:
Homeschooling my three youngest boys. It’s a struggle. Somedays a nightmare. I leave the table crying or angry…the kids leave in the same state. I am told repeatedly throughout the week that I am mean, horrible, they hate me and the fact that I took them away from “real” school and their friends. I grin and bear it. I try so hard to turn the other cheek and persevere. Somedays I succeed and some I don’t.

This is also amongst the day:
Cooking 3 meals. You know a part of what that looks like if you have kept up with us. It is a slow and tedious process. You never know when it’ll turn out eatable or not…we have a back up plan now though! PB and J or ramen noodles :)

And there’s always a little bit of this and that:
Bible, I keep very near at all times, prayer, someone knocking at the door needing something or someone, the girls running in and out to show or tell me something, Ms. Jane taking care of the house (LIFESAVER for both of us) spills and messes, hauling water in, and killing a few spiders or something with legs often enough to mention it on this post.

Bottom line God has called me to this:
1-To be a wife foremost. To enable my husband to carry out his duties as director, support his decisions, and to be his help mate.
2-To be a mother to my children. This, at least for this brief time, includes homeschooling. It is not what I want to do and it is most definitely not my gift, but I will persevere until God says it is finished. (this is what Malawians say when something is “done.” We refer to it often!!) If it is your gift, maybe God is calling you here. hahaha…no really. You are “most welcome.” (another malawian-ism)
3-To keep my house in order and the affairs of our home. This has proven to be a little more difficult than I expected. My saving grace has been Jesus, Ms. Jane, Ms. Judith, Jesus, the Bible, Jesus, friends and family encouraging me, and Jesus.
4-To this ministry. The boys and I spend some evenings, a few days here and there, and the weekends doing the glamorous things I envisioned my every day to look like. But maybe just maybe MY glamorous was right here in my home where God knew the majority of my days would be spent. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

Blessings,
Lacey

Homeschool Table

Homeschool Table

Tuesdays the boys help feed the children and families from the hospital at the Gray House

Tuesdays the boys help feed the children and families from the hospital at the Gray House

hanging at EH

hanging at EH

playing a little soccer

playing a little soccer

I have hated writing this post all day…

Briefly, I just want to let you all know that baby Chisomo has gone to be with Jesus. I write with tears in my eyes as we speak. I am joyful that her tiny body is not suffering, but sorrowful because of a sweet family that was going to make her their forever daughter on Friday.

I don’t have all the answers. Of course, the “what if’s” are flooding in, but we are resting in the fact that Jesus knew every hair on her head. He knew her before she was knit together in her mother’s womb, and he knew that she would be in the hospital for 17 days before he brought her home. In the mist of the heaviness today, Jason was seeking the Lord and was gently reminded of the number 17. Reminded that in the Bible 17 is referred to often as victory or spiritual perfection! Look it up, it’s fascinating. (www.biblestudy.org) So you see, He is victorious over death and she is in spiritual perfection. I am praying that maybe just maybe she is resting in her mother’s arms. A perfect reunion with her momma on one side and Jesus on the other, can’t you see it?

My heartaches for a momma, here though, that loved her without ever even laying eyes on her. The Bible says we are to comfort with a comfort we were given 2 Cor. 1:4. So, tomorrow as I come face to face with a kindred momma please pray that God will speak through me straight to her soul. God will ease the pain that will come for both of us, hers fresh and mine rekindled.

Blessings
Lacey

Twice in one week!! I know right :)

Just wanted to give you a few updates from the last few days!

We got to reunite Baby Josie with family yesterday!! We found out some deeper info about her mother, so we are glad God led her to us because maybe that was the transition she needed to be taken care of by her other (capable) family!

In other news, the Wilson Family will be here in one week!!! So excited to have them here finally and their sweet kiddos. My boys, one in particular, could possibly be more excited than I am. haha

Ummm let’s see what else??? Oh, I know our story will be featured in the November issue of the Peekaboo magazine there in NWA. Honored they would give us a chance to share what an incredible God story we have.

Another cool little story that has just begun-there’s this guy here in Ntcheu Jason and I have been trying to hangout with some and just be here for him, you know sharing about Jesus in a “soft” way. He’s that kind of guy you can’t just throw it all out there. We saw him today and visited with him and he finally nonchalantly threw into the conversation “I quit drinking…., it’s been a week.” We praised him humbly and didn’t make a big fuss, but the second he left Jason and I were giddy. God’s working in his life and it’s so amazing to see, to see him yearning for more in life and wanting to find what we have. Pray that God will continue to use us and he won’t run!

Well, seems like there was something else too, but I can’t seem to think of it at the moment. Maybe I’ll get a third blog in this week…who knows…crazier things have happened…

Hugs :)
Lacey