today I officially learned how to wash my clothes in the bush. This morning started like most mornings in Africa for me which consists of Bible, and a solid bowl of Choco Balls and Peak Milk. After diggin in the Word I was feeling pretty ambitious so I had the goal of getting the boys up and around and then washing clothes in the bush. Now any of you that know me well are probably laughing because you know that washing clothes is not really a gift that I have. However, I was determined to get my two buckets and learn how to wash my clothes bush style. I got a lot of laughs, as I attempted to scrub, clean, ring, and rinse all of the clothes I want for just these next few days in Africa, and then my trip back to America Sunday/Monday. After about an hour all my clothes were successfully on the line, and ready to spend the day drying in the African sun. I know one thing after this, I will not take for granted the washing machine and the dryer when I return. It was really fun though, and just constantly cool to see another way of life on the other side of the world. I’m so thankful that no matter where we live, what we look like, and what life is like we are in desperate need of Jesus as our Savior. This shatters every cultural barrier and impacts ever society. We need Jesus. flat out. straight up. there is no way around this. It is Truth. I see this more and more in Africa every single day, and in America, too! …After we finished with washing clothes, I played a little soccer, and read with the older boys. The days are starting to feel a little more routine here, but still completely out of the norm for me. Learning so much, challenged and changed by so much. After the day progressed I had the sweet opportunity to take eleven of the smaller kids with me to this huge open field, with a huge hill they call mountain. It is absolutely gorgeous, and just so cool to see the Lord’s creation. You cannot stand in this place and deny His power and His beauty in His artistry. The hills roll on and on and on, ahh just wait for pictures to come its beautiful…every tactic I was ever taught in classroom management fails here- not because it’s not solid teaching- but because everything operates so differently here. A majority of the time I don’t feel tough enough to be here. So thankful that God’s power is perfected in my weakness. As the eleven kids ran around like crazy on the hills, eating cashew fruit, sliding in dirt, throwing rocks at each other, and just being kids I couldn’t help- in the midst of feeling zero control at all- being overwhelmed by God’s ultimate sovereignty and His grace with me. Africa is nothing like what I expected. Sometimes because of the overwhelmed-ness of it, my heart continues to resort back to this wall- like ok Stef don’t feel- because if you break you will stay there continually- constantly. Because poverty is everywhere I look, illness is all around, people are hurting and broken all over the place. However I am reminded today that this does not change God’s character, and this does not change who we are in Him and what He calls us to be. One of my favorite songs in the world is called “Overcomers” and today I listened to it multiple times, meditating on the Truth that in Christ we truly do overcome. Regardless of all, Jesus wins. so so sweet. I listened to it while I folded Ugo & Terry’s little bitty clothes, and something inside of that moment just struck me. I call those moments here “wake up” moments. It’s like a lot of the day my heart will go on auto pilot to just try to remain as steady as possible. However, as I folded their little bitty clothes and looked out at the bush out my window, I can’t help but be totally lost in how big God is, and how massive His love is for us. unmeasurable for sure…from the adventure on the walk to the field we returned to Chase finding the biggest lizard I’ve ever seen in my life. Don’t worry pictures will come. It was massive, and the boys were so excited to “chop” it- which means eat in ebo. As I am writing this blog I heard squeels from downstairs as they divided up who got what pieces to eat of the huge lizard. Life in the bush- so different! For dinner I stuck with rice and orange nutri-c, no lizard for me. I thought I could do without that one on this African adventure- but if extended the opportunity again I’d probably try it. I think I’m going to head to bed, I actually get tired around the right times now, which is funny since I head back to America in three days. While my heart misses home, family & best friends a ton, I know I will ache leaving here in a way I never have. I just really don’t want to forget what the Lord is teaching me here. I don’t want to go back and speak of the massive impact it had on me to be in a third world country, and to see people living with absolutely nothing- yet living in a way that looks like the impact never actually took effect. Tomorrow should be a normal day in the bush, and then Friday we will take a big trip to the river. The kids are stoked! Excited to swim in an African river- and don’t worry mom & dad I will not drink it! Saturday will also probs be a solid day in the bush with maybe a trip out and about to get good ole African items to bring back to the fam. I will continue to update daily- so for sure through the next four or so days- and then I want to continue blogging as I get home, and jump into the kamp season that is quickly approaching. Keep praying for these precious 23 kiddos, A place of Hope, the Starlings, and Nigeria as a whole. I am so serious when I say I have never seen a place so wrapped up in using Jesus to get somewhere, but not really clinging to Jesus (who we know He is through Scripture)–you can see His face on semi trucks, on businesses and His Name is often used kind of like just a genies. It’s so hard to watch, but I know the Lord is at work here, and I know that He is able to accomplish all of His will! All of the time! Forever. The people really are precious, and it’s so cool to know that we belong to Him. Thanks so much for reading, for writing, for praying, and for the massive loads of encouragement. Again, I cannot begin to tell you how much it means- it truly blesses my everyday, and I thank the Lord so so much for it. Cannot wait to share stories with you as I get back in a few days, and just testify to how our God truly is God of the Nations–It’s not just a kids song that He is holding the whole world in His hands. He really is! –will write again soon–encouraged by this today — Psalm 53:2–check it yo! Love & Grace from de Bush! Bt dub as I washed filthy clothes today I am reminded of the desperate state of sin we were in, and just how white He has washed us, by His grace! Pray that you rejoice today in Jesus being more than sufficient to cover all of our sins and stains. We are washed white in Him, and get to live in that daily! so so good no matter where in the world you are! Be bloggin tomorrow!