Hi friends! It’s been a while. I figure the less I post, the better. Builds suspense, right?
Seriously, I’ll try to be better about posting more in the fall when the kids are back in school (I think I say that every summer). I have so many updates, this post will be like 20 rolled into one.
I have just finished packing my last bag for Africa! I had been doing little bits here and there…updating my passport, registering with the US embassy, collecting little dresses, etc. This week I’ve really been putting all of the other little pieces together.
I was given two large army bags to bring with me. One bag is filled with 138 little dresses, shorts and t-shirts for the boys and oodles of gorgeous handmade barrettes! All donated by wonderful, giving people from my community and beyond. (The other bag is full of my stuff – not so exciting). I will say that due to the culture, I am required to wear skirts at or below my knee for most of the time. Do you know how hard those are to find? Every single skirt I tried on made me look, well… matronly. Every. Single. One. So, in the spirit of sewing and Little Dresses for Africa, I decided to make a few. This one is my favorite and it is so comfortable. I wish I had time to make another, but I’m leaving on Friday.
And the best part? Wait for it…
Love it! Saves space in the ol’ duffel bag as well.
No, that’s not a body bag on my left. That’s the bag of little dresses!
I’ve also been busy getting the house in order for my departure. I finished paying the bills, caught up on the laundry and stuffed the freezer full of meals and goodies for my lovelies. I know they’ll be fine, but somehow I feel better knowing they have food to eat.
I really wanted to prepare my kids for having me gone. And I wanted this to be a bit of a learning experience for them too. My kids are always anticipating special events. Like MONTHS in advance. “How many days until Christmas? (in July). “What kind of cake do you want for your birthday (mine’s in March, but they’re asking me now!). You get the picture. Anyway, I decided to make them a paper chain with each date on it. They can rip off the current date & read about what I’ll be doing in Malawi that day. They’ll also be able to count down how many days until Mommy’s home!
I bought them world map place mats too, so they can see how far I’ve traveled. Honestly, I think they think Malawi is about as far as Massachusetts.
And, I printed off a map of Malawi, so they could follow me from the capital of Lilongwe all the way to my last stop in Blantyre to the South.
Sadly, I’m going to miss their first day of school. So, I printed off a picture of me with each of them from the first day of school last year. So they’ll know that I’m thinking of them. As harried as it can get around here sometimes, I know I’m going to be missing my family. A lot.
This week I also finished up two more dresses that I had started. I am taking a dress for each person who has helped me on this journey and this final dress is going in honor of my beautiful family, who is sacrificing to have me gone and who has supported me all the way. I made it in Stella’s size and this is the first time I put pockets on a dress. Stella wanted to make the little girl a necklace to include in one of the pockets. It’s asymmetrical and it doesn’t exactly match, but hey! She must know what little girls want.
I want to let you know that all of my funding came in AND MORE! My final deposit was due August 1st and that was all set, but then we learned we had an extra expense of the bags. We were hoping to get this fee waived, but after several conversations with the airlines, we were unsuccessful. BUT, generous donations rolled in at the last minute and we were able to cover the cost of the bags. God is good! We had a need and He met it!
We’re now asking for prayers: for protection, for unity of our team, for health & strength to complete our tasks. If that’s your thing, please pray for us.
My packing is 99% complete. I planned it that way, so I could spend the day with my family tomorrow. We’re going to hit the beach for the last time this summer! I don’t leave until Friday evening, which will give me time to straighten up the house. I always feel better leaving when things are somewhat organized. Friday night I fly to Washington DC to meet the team. We’ll spend the night there and then fly out on Saturday morning to Ethiopia. I think I calculated it’s a 17 hour flight (plus 3 to Malawi). Malawi time is 6 hours ahead. I don’t plan on blogging while I’m there. I’ll bring a journal and blog when I get home.
I have a lot of really great friends. It’s been evident as I’ve seen our community come together over this project. But last night, I had such a warm send off from some very wonderful, supportive ladies. I am so blessed to call them friends. And I will leave for Africa with a happy heart…
If you have any questions for me that I haven’t addressed, please comment and I’ll try to answer them before I leave on Friday. Otherwise, I’ll see you on the flip side!