Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You can sign up for Mocha Club!

Well. I'm excited.

Our Rolling Hills Mocha Club is ready to roll and I'm hoping we're all going to create teams... Follow this link to sign up and then create your team: https://www.africanleadership.org/mochaclub/new/30

They've made it pretty easy to invite people. You can import addresses from gmail, yahoo and hotmail. Be sure to customize your invite message and you're ready to go. It's as easy as pie.

See you at the Braii!



I am writing up evaluations for both Living Hope and the Team House this week and would love any feedback you have regarding any aspect of our trip. Please send it to me in e-mail form (by Thursday, please) rather than posting it on the blog.

Also, if you have thoughts to share about future missions to South Africa, let me know. In the meantime mark your calendars...we are headed back Feb. 22-March 7, 2008!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Braai Plans

This is what a braai looks like in Ecuador. Yes, these are guinea pigs. However...

Our braai is this week! No rodents! The plans:

Thursday, March 29

6:00 p.m.

Dave and Julie's house (2221 Lindell, 37204)

We will provide kebobs for everyone; we need you to bring everything else, including your own plate, cup and flatware.

Okay, just kidding. We do need you to bring food, but not your own plates! :-)

Just reply to this post if you are coming and with what you plan to bring. Everyone does not need to provide a side or a dessert, so those who love to cook and can make that happen, please sign up first! You may not be as good as Cath, but that is okay!

Can't wait to reunite soon, friends...

Friday, March 23, 2007

World TB Day - Nato

it infects 1/3 of the world's population.

Right on the heels of World Water Day is World Tuberculosis Day. This disease kills more than 2 million people each year around the world, and can be prevented. Use today (and tomorrow) to learn about the disease and why it claims so many victims in other parts of the world. Take a minute to send a message to world leaders to increase the amount of attention paid to TB. Then, support programs near and far that are working to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. A little time learning and a little time acting will save lives.

(from Cool People Care's 5 Minutes of Caring)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Soweto Gospel Choir - Nato

Link to 'Soweto Gospel Choir' in the iTunes Store

As many of you noticed, I found a recording of Njalo (Always). The recording is from the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. The group currently has 3 amazing albums, tour the US frequently and are ambassadors for Nelson Mandela's '46664 AIDS Foundation' (46664 was Mandela's prisoner number at Robben Island).

(from the Soweto Gospel Choir site)
"The Soweto Gospel Choir was formed to celebrate the unique and inspirational power of African Gospel music. The 26-strong choir, under the direction of David Mulovhedzi and Beverly Bryer, draws on the best talent from the many churches in and around Soweto. The choir is dedicated to sharing the joy of faith through music with audiences around the world."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Something I Read—Amy J

It's Saturday afternoon and I am sitting at my desk at work trying to write a compelling 8-page brochure. It's not going so great at this moment. I'm just wishy-washy and contemplative and I can hardly figure out all that I'm thinking, much less compel anybody on earth to do anything—which is problematic for my work life.

I talked to Leah. She reminded me of what we were doing at this hour one week ago... which was absolutely nothing except sitting on a plane for like, the twentieth hour. I told her I feel like Africa was months ago. How is that? How do I come home from an extraordinary place and feel so far removed? When I think about how simple life in Africa was and how un-simple I make my life... that's part of my lesson from Africa.

I grabbed the book "The True and the Questions" by Sabrina Ward Harrison from my desk (clearly, the books are helping me process...) and I totally get what she's saying:

"I see myself rushing around maintaining and preparing for what will happen next and the worries that go along with it. Getting ready for life—not being in life. It seems we start so young with the routine. If we stop there are so many worries of what could happen. Will I lose the connection? Will I be replaced? Will I be forgotten? It is exhausting—gripping onto too much. I am reminded of May Sarton writing in Journal of Solitude: 'Imitate the trees. Let go. Cut off excess. Prune. Wait. Watch. Grow deep and high to the sea.’"

It actually reminded me of Jeremy and Jennifer and Hutch. I've been thinking about them this afternoon—trying to reenter life here. They've lived so simply and enjoyed it so much. And now they're back to our pace. That's tough. Maybe we're supposed to pray for them... maybe that's why we met them in the first place. But what do I know?

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow! aj

Friday, March 16, 2007


Well, let me tell you...this really hasn't been the best adjustment for me. When I would walk outside, I would close my eyes and pretend that the traffic noise I heard was really the crashing of the waves, that the wind I felt smelt of salt, that I was not at the Y but walking to the beach; however, I opened my eyes to where I really was. I'm not going to lie that I was a bit disappointed at my surroundings. BUT.... (there is always a 'but')’Suth Afica’ (yes I had to put it in there).

But really, as I was driving down Hwy 100 to go home, I just felt God speaking: “Sam, my beauty that I have created for my glory and for you enjoyment is not just in South Africa, it is all around you!” It was then that I really felt convicted of being sad that I am back, of returning to a place that I felt had not the glory of God in it.

I just encourage ya’ll to really look around and see that God is glorious even in Nashville and that He is doing an AWESOME work here among us! As I read your blogs, I am getting so excited that God is truly moving us to ACTION!! And this is why we went: to be changed and to change not only in South Africa but also here back home.

Here are some pictures that I took of Nashville awhile back. Just look and see that the Lord is and has been truly good even here at home! Believe me: this has been a hard lesson!

insync - mandy

Hi Y’all! 16 March 2007

Greetings from Sunny(windy) Noordhoek, Cape Town, 'Suth' Africa (I can all here you guys repeating it after me:) I’ve been wanting to email you guys since you left but for lack of email addresses its only happening now and on your blog. (I snuck in!)

I can't believe a week has passed already - hectic! It was awesome having you guys come to stay in my house. I call it my house cos yesterday my mom happened to be in the Cape (my folks live 1800kms away so it’s a memorable occasion 'Suth Africa' when we see each other) and she asked why I didn’t have shoes on when I was essentially ‘at work’ and I said, but this is my home. And then she said in good mother style ‘but I hope you wear shoes when the people are here’ to which I promptly repeated, ‘but this is my home’! I’m sure you can all visualize the conversation between us!

Hey! This computer just corrected my spelling against my will! It changed my spelling from visualise to visualize! How rude! A big no-no in Suth African English is NOT spelling our words the American way! Dodgy! Yet now it’s doing it for me! Aaahh! The American’s are taking over!
(if it’s guys like you… I wouldn’t mind – you’re all legends!) 'Suth Africa'

On the way back from dropping you guys off at the airport, all my good intentions of going visiting in Stellenbosch fizzled away as exhaustion set in. So soon after I arrived back at the Team House and noted it’s empty hollow feeling, I stumbled downstairs and into my bed. But I didn’t sleep before I putting my thoughts on paper, I wrote it in poem form (I know… I’m a bit of a freak! Who writes poems these days anyway!)

'Suth Africa'

Neverthelesss I’ve decided to pass it on to you guys regardless of what you might think or how much you might laugh! Now that you know me, you know that being laughed at/with is a regular occurance!

I really enjoyed your energy, (as was quickly picked up by a stranger in the street on the first day you arrived) and your drive. 'Suth Africa' For those who feel a calling to come back may it be for only 2 months or so, please be in touch! I saw the Thomas’s the other day (long live cocoa!) and they raved about you guys and I chatted with Cath while we were driving somewhere and we came to the conclusion that – based on all round performance (professional voice) – you guys were an ultimate team (and that's a huge compliment remembering we’ve had and seen many many groups)

And thanks SO much guys for my office! It’s SUPER cool! Groovy!

Love you lots!
God bless,
And keep dominating for Him!

I bet I got you guys all mimicking 'suth africa' in random sentences and repeating my South African words! (for those who were observant enought to notice:) Oh, and email me sometime, madrap83@gmail.com I promise to reply!

Okay back to the poem, here it is…
*nervous pause*

In Sync

It’s strange, the people who cross our lives.
A connection,

A captured frame within a life time of film.
You understand,
No explanations,
An undercurrent,
Between two people.

Worlds apart,
Ages apart,
A bond.


The silent dance,
In sync.

MR 09 March 2007

If it doesn’t make sense then don’t worry bout it,

if it does… then it was written for you!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Glimpse of Hope?

CNN.com World Article - 3.15.07:
South Africa fighting 1,500 new HIV infections a day

Mocha Club-Amy J

The Rolling Hills Mocha Club Team launches on Monday! I had breakfast with Barrett (Mocha Club Guy) yesterday and he shared a much bigger picture of Mocha Club's work in Africa. The bottom line is, $7 a month is transforming Africa. And we get to be a part of that! There are so many amazing projects that are happening through Mocha Club.

Right now, our Rolling Hills team is set up to support the purchase of ARV drugs, the drugs patients at Living Hope receive. I want to challenge you to get on the Mocha Club site (mochaclub.org). If you "Search for Existing Clubs" you can read about each clubs purpose. Our club is listed and if you're like me you're ready to enter your info and start building your page, but we really should wait until Monday b/c the page is getting an overhaul this weekend.

I hope you all will see the outrageous potential in this program. As the Africa team, I hope we will lead out on this effort!

OK. That's all from me at this moment.

I am looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday! I feel like I haven't seen you all in months.

P.S. About my "Processing" post... I heard a song that's helping me process or maybe it's inspiring me... Sara Groves "Add to the Beauty" It kind of sums up my feelings about my account of our trip and how I feel toward Africa.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Processing... -Amy

Now that we're all back into our routines, what's happening with you guys as you process our trip?

I had a positive experience and I find myself telling people about how much I love Africa—the beauty of it, the grandness of it all, how God outdid himself when he created such a gorgeous place. And then I find myself trying to explain the outrageous paradox called Africa. A place where beauty and the ugliness of stigma coexist; where the poorest of the poor live practically across the street from "wealthy" people; how can a land so ravaged by AIDS be home to people unrivaled in their joy; and I think about Red Hill, where one woman celebrates having a container that allows her to administer love and mercy to children who probably dread sun fall every night because of the things that happen in that very community.

I find myself sorting through the contrasts with each new conversation. I am no closer to a theory or a solution than I was when we landed in Nashville. But tonight, I picked up a book from my coffee table... "Hope In the Dark." I've had it for months and read it many times, but it suddenly means much more to me now that I've seen Africa with my own eyes. Jena Lee (BloodWater Mission) and Jeremy Cowart wrote/photographed the book, which by the way has great pictures from Cape Town.

Jena writes:

"The first time you drive on Cape Town's highways you're sure to notice the stark contrast of overcrowded, shack-filled townships amidst a well-developed city. The strange thing is that most people in South Africa, myself included, begin to ignore it. It doesn't shock you anymore and it's easy to turn your gaze away from the situation and pretend it's not there. But that's what apartheid was all about—denying the value of an entire people. In the laws, apartheid ended more than twelve years ago, but I'm not sure if it has truly ended in our hearts."

Later in the book she says...
"People ask me, 'Doesn’t' it paralyze you to walk so closely and intimately with suffering? No, I tell them. If I've learned anything from my time in Africa, it's that though the suffering is overwhelming, so too is the hope.'"

I'm processing—praying for rescue from an apartheid that seems to still exist, praising God for hope that triumps in His people.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A thought to Ponder - Allison

As I was sifting through the 256 emails that I had to return (most of them meaningless junk-yet they had to be sifted through) I found this quote on the bottom of someone's email and thought I would share!

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."

- Nelson Mandela

It seemed fitting towards my day but I do hope that they ways that I have been altered create some change in the world around me! I guess that is the challenge before us.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home, But The Story Continues - Nato

After another brutally long flight and a short hop from Chicago, we finally made it home on time last night at 8:15PM to the cheers of many of our friends and loved ones. While this officially concludes our trip, as you might have gathered, much has been learned by each of us throughout this journey and many of the lessons won't truly hit home until a few days or weeks after being home.

With that being said, please continue to check the blog on a regular basis.

FRIENDS: Conitnue to pray for our team as new revelations come, and look for many new photos from various members of the team.

LIVING HOPE '07 TEAM: Continue to write new entries here. Unpack your stories, process your thoughts and new visions God has given you. Post comments on the entries of others and share in their experience. This is a wonderful place to communicate to everyone that has been a part of this incredible journey, both in South Africa and here in the States (this also will cut down on the hundreds of mass emails, replies and RE: RE: RE: FW: RE: replies). We'll post pics here as well as information about the upcoming braai.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hangin' At Heathrow, Part Deux - Nato

So here we are at London's Heathrow airport again for 4 hours. The British supremacy means that we had to do a second security check after we arrived, as well as paring down our carry-ons to 1 piece per person. Other than the fact that it baffles me how you can make it 1/2 way around the world and have the rules change within the same system. But I digress....

It's definitely a much longer journey back home than it was going the other way. Thoughts of shortly seeing family and loved ones keeps us figiting on the long flights. The good news is that the longest leg is now over.

Today is also Zana's birthday, so make sure you wish her a happy day.

We look forward to seeing you all upon our arrival.

Friday, March 9, 2007

All Good Things... -Amy J

"All good things must come to an end." I've heard that old cliché my entire life. I just don't think it's true. While our time in Africa comes to a close, our thoughts and prayers and purposes are far from over. As Brent says, our work in Africa is just beginning.

The truth is, Africa leaves a mark. As with most mission trips, it is hard to explain all that Africa is to us. Each of us has a different perspective. So when you ask us, “How was Africa?” it may take us a while to answer. For certain, we can say it’s been “good”, but to explain how much we’ve loved and been loved, how we’ve lived in community, how we’ve marveled at God’s creation, and how we’ve walked alongside the poor and their precious caregivers… well, we will struggle to explain.

While we are the team you sent, we don’t come home with a plan for what’s next. Truth is, we’re not entirely sure what’s next. But we are sure of one thing, whatever’s next, it’s got to be a team effort—a Rolling Hills effort. I love the intentionality of RHCC. I love how our people get behind missions—think about all that God allows us to be apart of in the world… Moldova, Ecuador, and now Africa.

Thank you for sending us. We’re on our way home, hopefully very different than when we left.