Thursday, March 18, 2010


This is my brother-in-law.

Isn't he precious? I have started referring to him as "Yoda." You'll see why in a minute.
"Yoda" is madly in love and married to my sister, Elisabeth.

Aren't they sickningly sweet?

For Christmas this year my family decided to forgo buying each other presents and make each other presents instead. Yoda is one of those "car guys." I'm pretty sure he knows everything about cars. Since Yoda knows how utterly inept I am in the car department, for Christmas last year his gift to me was to teach me everything he can about cars so that if at all possible I can avoid being stranded in the jungle when I move to Africa. My gift FOR him was to let hime teach me about cars (without being distracted by tv, magazines or the computer.......Elisabeth...). I think I got the better end of the deal. For that reason, I will now refer to him as "Yoda" because I am his willing student as he teaches me all things "CAR."

Last night was our first "car session." I got to use the tool box that he suggested I buy at a great "after Thanksgiving sale" last year. He successfully taught me how to change the lightbulbs that were out in my blinker and brake lights and how to change the wiperblades. Yeah yeah, baby steps, baby steps. This weekend we're going to the junkyard to find some more parts to do some more "car stuff."

Now I have to tell you. Elisabeth did really really well when she married this guy. He is so sweet. He has spent hours researching different things that I may want to get for my Jeep in order to make it last longer and run better in Africa. Things like....larger radiators, new springs and shocks...etc. (I'm sure I'll understand more of what that means after a few more lessons). I've had to break it to him that while I really appreciate that he doesn't want me stranded in the jungle (and I completely agree with him) it's not in my budget to spend thousands of dollars on car parts. For one thing, I've already sent one Jeep over there....and it was stolen. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I need to hold onto things loosely! I was a little worried that he wouldn't understand because...well....he's a car guy. They're really into cars. But last night he put my worries at ease. In additon to teaching me about cars, he told me that he's looking into ways to finance these car upgrades becasue he understands that they're not my top priority. Phew. What a great guy!!

THANKS AARON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You got me rolling......

Well, one more step in my move to Africa. I dragged my brother-in-law (my designated "car guy") along with me to look at a Jeep to ship over to Africa. We are planning to ship a container to Sierra Leone in May and I wanted to send a car along ahead of me so it will be waiting whenever I get there! After searching Autotrader and Craigs List for months, we found this one and got a pretty good deal. My only real requirement was that it is in good enough condition to not break down in the middle of the jungle. I know there are no guarantees.....but hopefully this is the one.

The next steps involve many lessons in learning how to maintain it. Aaron (my brother-in-law) has agreed to teach me how to work on my car so I can fix any and every problem that I ever encounter! Ok....probably not EVERY problem! I'm really blessed to have him help me and look forward to getting my hands dirty and learning about things like....tork...combustion...."regular maintenance" and other such foreign concepts.

Hopefully I will get to use my Sierra Leonean drivers license soon! :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's a Christmas Miracle!

More adventures in Sierra Leone! I just got back from a quick little trip with 14 other people. We did a medical clinic in an village called Gbangbatok (I think that finally at the end of the trip I could pronounce it right...maybe). I know myself well enough that when I got home and couldn't really think of anything but moving to Sierra Leone...I wasn't surprised. My appetite has been whetted! :)
I had a couple awesome things happen while I was over there. After arriving the first night, we were waiting at the ferry. (They designed the airport on a penninusla so you have to take a ridiculously rough road or a ferry to get to the airport. Super convenient!) Anyway, this woman came up to one of the other team members and started talking to her like they were friends. It took a few minutes, but she realized that she was mistaking her for someone else. We started talking and I found out she and her husband are doctors and work in a hospital up north. I was a little hesitant but went for it and told her my plans to move there and need for experience. She gave me her card and we went our separate ways. Fast forward to the end of the trip. I e-mailed her as soon as I got home and she was excited about the possiblity of me coming there too. She said they've been praying for someone to come help with the OB clinic.

OB. Not my strong point. At all. My background is ICU nursing and generally when we see a prego patient we run for the hills! However! Maternal and neonatal mortality is a huge problem in Sierra Leone so it's an area that I really need to grow in! The hospital that this woman works at was rated the "safest place to have a baby in Sierra Leone" and they have a huge emphasis on women and children. I'm really really really excited about this possibility. She told me that she doesn't think our meeting was an accident and I hope she's right. Is this where you're leading me Jesus? We'll see!

What else? Oh. I must really be getting old because this was the first time I've been referred to as "mother." Really? 28 and instead of "auntie" I get "mother?" Ouch! I guess I have pulled out 7 grey hairs.....

I finished my little prayer cards today. You know, the ones you hang on your refrigerator? They don't exactly look......pofessional. But when God was dishing out the creativity he decided to be stingy with me! I'm working on my prayer letter to send out as well. My goal is to get it sent out by next week. I'm excited to see what kind of response I get. I think one of the things I'm most nervous about is feeling like I'm doing this alone. I know that my friends and family will support me though, and that's super encouraging!

Well, guess that's it for now. Keep on keeping on.....Sierra Leone here I come!