29 November 2007


Well things are starting to wind down here in Paarl and I’m about to end this adventure with yet another adventure.

Tomorrow morning I will be headed off with 23 other South Africans and Americans on a cross-countries road trip. Over the course of the next 4 days, we’ll drive across the South African karoo into Botswana, past Victoria Falls and into Lusaka, Zambia. We’ll camp along the way and then in the yard of the American missionaries we are visiting in Lusaka.

Once in Lusaka we will put on a holiday club for 350+ children at a school for orphans. In the afternoons we’re hoping to visit the children’s villages and build relationships within those communities. We’re all very excited to minister in a new culture and see how God has been moving in Zambia.

This trip is particularly significant for me because this will be my first time to a new place in Africa. As many of you know, my heart is not only for South Africa but the continent as a whole. I am anxious to see other parts of this wonderful place. And it’ll be my prayer that God will open my eyes to what he intends to share with me during this time in Zambia.

After I return from Zambia on the 9th, I will be in Paarl to say goodbye for just a few days and then will be arriving at LAX Dec 14th at 7:35pm. It’s all gone by too quickly but I am so ready to be home with all my dear friends and family. You’ve been missed!

With such a big adventure on my doorstep, I covet your prayers. Thank you for your faithful encouragement and support over the past 7 months. It’s been a blessing to know I have a whole team at home praying for me.

Here’s what you can be praying for:
o Safety: We will be driving in a caravan of 4 trucks & 4x4s and will be camping out in the “wild” at times. Be praying for smooth running vehicles and protection from hungry animals- seriously!
o Health: We will be in a malaria & yellow fever zone. Enough said.
o Opportunities: Our purpose in going is to minister to these children through our relationships. Be praying that God will provide the opportunities to build into these children’s lives.
o Guidance: As I shared, this is a big trip for me personally because it’s yet another step in exploring the calling God has placed in my heart.

winding down//week28

Well things are winding down... I've begun saying goodbye, which hasn't been fun.
And the week has been full of packing & paper writing. So I must just leave pictures to tell of my week...

24 November 2007


This Thursday I was missing baking pumpkin pies, Hayden & Reed arguing over who had to set the table for 18, my dad taking his sweet time doing unneeded home projects 10 minutes before our friends arrive, and my mom remaining graceful through it all. It was a holiday I didn’t think I’d miss, yet I spent most of the day recalling past holidays & wishing I’d be there for the chaos of this year’s holiday. Now, more than ever, I find myself so grateful for the gift of family.

But what I’m really grateful for this year is food.

As I always do, I spent my Thursday afternoon playing with and feeding little children who eat, on a good day, twice a day. On hot days we pass out bologna sandwiches instead of soup. Between you and me, I can’t stare at the sandwiches too long because it makes me queezy. Yet these kids gratefully accept their juice and sandwich. They are truly grateful.

And this Thursday, I learned from my little friends what gratefulness looks like.

It looks like loving your rubber bologna sandwich and the hand that passed it out.

I want to be bologna sandwich grateful.

15 November 2007


Today I watched a boy get hit by a car.

I walked from the dirt patch where I park every week in Chris Hani and passed by the fruit and vegetable stand. Laura and I were laughing about something. Before crossing the street to the church I looked left. Out of the corner of my eye I watched a boy of eight or nine run across the street only to be propelled twenty feet to the other side by black VW hatchback. At that same moment I heard a thud- the kind that makes you go weak at the knees.

A mere fifty feet away, I stood paralyzed with shock. My heart was threatening to jump out of my mouth. My hand over my mouth seemed to suffocate me. I felt light headed. And as I stood there helpless, I watch the boy struggle to stand. Instantly, his legs gave out and he returned to the pavement hopeless. A man from the offending car jumped out, scooped the boy up and returned to the car. As the drove past, I got a quick glimpse of the boy’s quivering lip. And they were off.

My mind was suddenly drowning in questions. No one had gone to look for his parents or a friend. Did this boy know these people? The clinics are closed. Will they wait the long hours with him at the government hospital? Or will they drop him off at sangoma, a witch doctor? What if he’s bleeding internally?

I still can’t wrap my mind around this.

But what really strikes me is the mass suffering of these children. This car accident was a tangible and difficult evidence of suffering. And how many more children have avoided car accidents but are dying of HIV or AIDS? None of them have big thuds to scream their case.

This is a big world with big problems for little people. Good thing we have a big God who hears all those thuds… right?

11 November 2007

a tug of worlds//week26

Below is adapted from an article I wrote for APU magazine, "Generation Why." I think it best describes the inner turmoil I'm facing as I prepare to move from a developing country back to the wealthiest nation in the world's history.

As I leave my adolescence behind, I find myself in the middle of a ferocious tug of war. After many touching encounters with the world’s underprivileged, I have wanted to forsake my lavish American lifestyle. However, the desire to meet societal standards makes it a challenge. For a humanitarian spirit like myself, to buy or not to buy is a troubling dilemma.

At first glance it may seem simple. I must simply avoid the unnecessary acquisition of stuff. But I, like many American Generation Y-ers, was raised in a world where happiness, acceptance and success were all implicitly measured by the designer brands you owned, luxury cars you drove and extravagant vacations you enjoyed. I live in a land where 16-year-olds receive new SUVs and sports cars for birthday presents. A place where college students, including myself, carry their books about poverty, disease and other world injustices in designer bags. And where private schools schedule ski vacations so families can make use of their “snow homes.”

I always had an innate sense of caring for others. I would put money in the offering at church for those starving African children, and my family made several trips down to Mexico to give away our old clothes. I was well aware that there were many people in the world who lived nothing like I did. But it never really affected me. That is, until my first trip across the big pond to South Africa. There I made friends which shoeless children dressed in tattered clothing. There I held children whose parents’ lives had been stolen by a rampant disease called AIDS. At the formative age of 16, I found myself in a place that didn’t put value on brands or appearance, but rather on life, simply because life is a luxury there.

Upon returning, my heart had been transformed. Instead of longing for a new Coach purse, I wanted to see shoes on the feet of the AIDS orphans I had held. Yet within months, I was competing with my Juicy Couture-clad friends. I was spending $700 on purses. I was asking for a new, faster car. And I was concerned with the weight of Nicole Richie.

Year after year I returned to South Africa to see my friends who were delighted with their one tattered uniform and the chance to attend school with poor lighting and no heat. I held one dying child after another. And I would return each time to the States adamant that in remembrance of them, I would not succumb to our materialistic society. And time after time, I would embarrassingly fail at my resolve.

Now, after seven months of living amongst the poverty and crime that grabbed my attention three years ago, I wonder if seven months was enough to transform my whole heart and mind. When I return, will I be able to repress 20 years of socialization? How do I live in that world but not of that world?

03 November 2007


Today Jesus told me to play.

“But Lord, how do I play? I don’t know how to play. What’s so important about playing anyway?”

“I will teach you. Just come.”

“But Lord what about the things that need to be done? What about planning for tomorrow? How will I make an impact for your kingdom if I don’t get to a place where I can impact?”

“Jenna. You won’t get anywhere without me. I order your steps. And right now, you need to play. If you don’t play now, you’ll never play again. You need to play because you need to let go. You need to let go of tomorrow.”

“Yes, God. But what if I stop to play and then forget to plan?”

“Trust me Jenna. Your ways are not mine. When we do it my way, I get the glory. But forget about that plans. It’s not about the plans. It’s about the play.”


“Yes, dear.”

“I don’t know about this. Are you sure?”

“The day you stopped playing was the day you stopped fully trusting me. Tomorrow will always be there. But today is just today. So play. I’ll teach you. Just come.”

Today I’m learning to play. Who knows what I’ll do tomorrow.

Have you played today?