Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drill Sergeant wannabe

I think I would have made an excellent drill sergeant.

My poor husband and kids experience the home version of boot camp pretty much daily, especially now that we’re on a tight time schedule and still trying to get into a routine.

Aidan! Get your shoes on.

Noah! Brush your teeth.

Kezi! Pick up your pajamas.

Hurry up, kids. We leave in 3 and a half minutes!

John! Grab the keys, we have to go now.

Hup, two, three, four, Hup, two, three, four!


The only problem is, no matter how authoritatively I bark my commands, nobody responds with military precision and efficiency.

Aidan wanders to the coat rack and puts on his jumper instead of his shoes...well, at least he’s getting something on.

Noah totally ignores me in his quest to find the charger for his gameboy.

Kezi just looks at me and sucks her fingers.

And John picks up his book and disappears into the bathroom.


So I run around barking more orders, getting in people’s faces, grabbing shoulders and steering little ones to where I want them to be. I don’t go anywhere near John and the bathroom. Slowly by slowly the chores get done, the family members get organized, and we get out of the house.

Then the race is on to get the kids up over the hillside to nearby Fish Hoek in time for school. Here comes a school-run mom on a brand new course in a BIG truck...outta my way! I still don’t know the area really well, so I race up and down side streets until I find the right one. Ooops...took that corner a little too sharply and ran the back tire up on the curb...3 kids’ heads bounce off the roof of the truck. Oh well, no blood. Onward, soldiers!

There it freedom! Bay Primary School. Boot the kids out of the truck...”Come on, guys, out you get. Come on!” Drop ‘em off, quick wave, and I’m off. Yes!

Not that I don’t love ‘em...‘course I do. But my sanity has been severely stretched after 11 days in the car with them and not one minute of alone time. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Besides, their lack of response to my drill sergeant orders is wearisome, and I get tired of repeating myself, getting louder, issuing threats.

Maybe I need to get a whistle.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Days 6-7 Kampala to Cape Town 2011

Days 6 & 7 of Journey to Cape Town 2011

Greetings from Livingstone, Zambia! Well, we completed our first week on the road today. I can’t believe we’ve been driving for 7 days! So far the journey has been farther and slower than we expected, no surprise there. For those of you into numbers, we’ve driven 3,846 km (2,390 miles) through 4 countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia). From the time we left in the mornings until the time we arrived at our daily destinations, we’ve been ‘on the road’ for 70.5 hours (that includes stops for fuel, food and potty breaks). When I averaged the distance we travelled and the time it took us to cover that distance, we discovered we are crawling along at a mere 54.5 km/hr (33.5 mph). Painfully slow!

We’ve learned that we can’t figure out the distance, say 500 km, and guesstimate an arrival time, ie. “if we drive 100 km/hr we should get there in 5 hours, 6 with breaks.” No, that doesn’t work here at all. You never know how many villages you’ll go through, since the main highway passes through numerous villages and towns, and at every one you have to slow down to 80, 60 or 50. There are always speed bumps before and after every town, and often many on the main drag through town. There are also frequent police checks where they check our drivers’ licenses and vehicle documents to make sure everything is up to scratch. So far we’ve been stopped by traffic police 11 times.

But through it all...the long, slow journeys, the speed bumps and traffic police...God has faithfully protected us. Yesterday we had our first tire blow out. I was sitting in the middle with the boys, John was upfront with Kezi, and Yolam was driving. All the sudden I heard a whoosh!! and thump thump thump thump thump. The inner tube in the right rear tire blew and the tire went flat in seconds. Yolam did a great job keeping the truck on the road and gearing down to a stop. He managed to save both the tire and the rim, but the tube and the ‘gutter’ (?) were in pieces.

I ran down the road aways and set out our emergency hazard triangle and dragged a big tree branch into the road to divert traffic around us, and John and Yolam got to work changing the tire. Thankfully we were in a pretty deserted stretch of other vehicles or people on the road when the tire blew...and it was straight and flat, so it was a perfect location to get a flat. We managed to get the tire repaired at the next ‘biggish’ town at the ‘tire mending tree’...literally these guys were fixing flats under a scrawny tree on the dust-blown side of the road with no building at all...just a portable air compressor powered by a generator. They did a great job, but all the delays turned our 9-hr journey into a 13-hr journey. Oh yeah, we also lost time when we pulled into Barclays bank to get money from the ATM, and there was a Zambian woman with car problems in the parking lot, and Yolam came to her rescue and fixed her car within about 30 minutes. It’s great to have him with us and awesome that he can be a blessing to others, as well!

We slept at the YWAM base in Lusaka last night, and then headed out around 9 this morning for the 6-hr stretch to Livingstone. Today was uneventful with smooth, beautiful roads, hardly any traffic, very few speed bumps and only a few police stops. We arrived at Jolly Boys Backpackers around 3:30, and now John and the kids are enjoying the swimming pool while Yolam talks to some of the workers at the bar. Kezi is shrieking with joy having finally caught the knack of swimming without having to stop every time she needs to breathe. I would say today is the first day of her doing ‘real swimming’ on her own!!! Pretty cool place to learn that!

We are about 10 km from Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, so tomorrow morning we’re going to go and check them out. Then we’re hoping to drive to the Botswana border at Kazungulu, cross with the ferry, and begin our journey south through Botswana on the eastern border. We don’t have a place booked for tomorrow night, and aren’t even sure how far we’re going to get, so please pray for God’s guidance to a good place to sleep.

Tomorrow is also the presidential elections here in Zambia, so please pray for peaceful voting and no problems. We in the West often take this for granted, but here in Africa elections can be dangerous times. Most of the locals we’ve talked to don’t expect any problems, though.

The next few days are a bit unknown in terms of which cities we’re aiming for or where we’re hoping to sleep. Originally we thought the journey would take 9 days, but now it looks like it’s going to be 11. So we still have 4 more driving days to go. God has really been sustaining us, but I have to say...I’m feeling pretty shattered. Tonight is our second night of camping, and although it saves money, it’s tiresome to set up the tents, etc. Plus it takes ages to break ‘em all down and repack everything. Not sure how many more nights we’ll camp on the way.

There are many more observations and things to say, but I’ll stop for now. Thanks again for all your prayers, and we’ll do our best to keep you posted on the journey.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Vikki for the gang

Days 1-5 of Kampala to Cape Town 2011

Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Shiwa Ngandu, Zambia! We’ve been driving for 5 days now, and are at the halfway point on our journey to Cape Town. We left Tuesday Sept 13 at 5am from Kampala, and spent the 1st night in Nakuru, Kenya. That was a 12 hour day. On Wednesday we left just after 8 am from Nakuru and crossed into Tanzania where we stayed at the YWAM base in Arusha. That was an 8 hour day.

Thursday was a killer 16 hour day, driving 900 km from A

rusha to Iringa via Morogoro (still in Tanzania). The things that slowed us down the most in Tanzania were the numerous speed bumps, traffic police (we got pulled over 5 times) and having to slow down to 50 km/hr for every small trading center we passed through. We figured we were averaging between 50 - 60 km/hr all through Tanzania.

Thursday night we camped at River Valley safari camp along a river, and decided to sleep in and let the kids run around in the morning before getting back in the truck. So we climbed the hills around the campsite the next morning and took our time getting packed up. We left there around midday, and drove to Mbeya, arriving at Karibuni Center about 6 pm.

We left Mbeya this morning around 7:30 am, crossed the border into Zambia, and drove on to Shiwa Ngandu, more specifically Kapisha Hot Springs at Shiwa Safari camp. We arrived here about 4:30, set up camp, and have been enjoying the lovely hot water in the springs for the last 2 hours, and are now about to enjoy pizza and burgers.

Tomorrow, Day 6, we have a 9-hour journey to Lusaka, still in Zambia, where we’ll be staying at the YWAM base there. So far in Zambia we’ve hardly seen any speed bumps or traffic police, so we’re able to average about 80 km/hr.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic journey so far. The kids

have been doing absolutely amazing...hardly any whining or fighting. Yolam, John and I have been doing 2-3 hours shifts driving, and rotating around who plays with the kids and who rests a bit up front. Staying here and enjoying the hot springs has been a real treat, and makes the whole journey more like an adventure.

We so much appreciate your prayers, and ask you continue to do so! We’ve really seen God’s hand of protection, provision, and favor. We’ll keep you posted on the rest of the journey as often as possible!

Many blessings and lots of love from us all,

Vikki, John, Yolam, Aidan, Noah and Keziah

Monday, September 12, 2011

I feel like SHOUTING!

Psalm 66

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”[a]

5 Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
6 He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.

8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

The faithfulness of God should not surprise me...that is His nature! Over and over and over again He does what He says He will do...not like fickle me who sometimes forgets to do something, or just doesn't feel like doing it, or whatever. No, God never fails to uphold His promises.

He told me way back in the beginning of the year not to worry about the plans for South Africa, that He had it all sorted out, it would all come together...the schooling, the housing, the visas, the journey down by road. So what did I do? I worried. Yes, I worried about the schooling and the housing and the visas...oh, especially those visas and all that wretched paperwork. And did any of my worrying do any good? Of course not. And one by one, the giants before me were laid to dust as God arranged first an initial place to stay, then a school that would take all 3 kids, then the visas.

Now we are about to head off on the journey down to Cape Town, possibly even leaving tomorrow, and when I went to bed last night we didn't have a place to stay for the first night on our 9 day journey. I spent hours on the web trying to find accommodation but to no avail. I don't know about you, but setting out on a massive long journey and having no idea where you're even staying the first night can be a little disconcerting.

This morning when I woke up I saw a text from a friend in Kenya with the phone number of a South African lady living in Nakuru who has offered to let us stay with her! Wow! How cool is that? I'm not sure if it will work out because Nakuru is 2 hours farther than where we were hoping to stop for the night, but it was encouraging to see that text anyway. It reminds me that God will keep providing for us, just as He always has, no matter how much I fret and worry.

That's why I feel like shouting...God has done so many great things for us. More than I can remember, more than I even know. And He will continue to, because that is His nature.

Not all of His great things seem great to us at the time. Note verses 10-12 of the above many people can praise God for testing and refining them? For "letting people ride over their heads"? This psalmist knew God's blessings come in many shapes and sizes and are all for the good of His beloved children.

It's hard to reconcile that sometimes, especially in the midst of the fire, but as I look back on my journey with the Lord, I see that the pruning and the refining are actually more life-changing and greater blessings to me than things like provision. Those hard times when He faithfully guides me through the darkness, holding my hand and comforting me, shaping and molding me, those are the times that bring me closer to Him and result in making me just a little bit more like the woman of God He created me to be.

So today I shout for joy to Daddy, my Rock, my Joy. May His name be praised in all the earth.

Cape Town...
here we come!!!