I am finished my last Africa message

and it feels like I've birthed a child. I can't even express to you what a relief this is. I have also gotten a lot done today...but more on that in a minute...

Lest you think I don't like to prepare messages, please realize I love it! This is what I live for! However, until the message is "ready", I'm not. Yes, the Holy Ghost can do what He wants to do and I hope He does and I'm certainly going to be prayed up, but if I don't have my notebook ready, well...I'm a mess. Sometimes even if I don't use it, (someone asked me the other day...why do you have all that written up in your sermon notebook but don't refer to it a lot? Because I've gone over it, and I know it for the most part, but I have to have my notes there as my emotional safety net.)

Everyone keeps asking me, "are you ready for your trip?" Well, until today...no. I had my ticket, my shots, my gifts for the women, and I'm getting my wardrobe together. But until the actual messages are prepared to preach, I felt very uneasy. Especially since they want me to send them my text, maybe an outline - since the entire thing will be interpreted in Swahili.

So, message number five is done. Yesterday afternoon at work I finished the second message to the executive women'sleaders/pastor's wives. Now, today I woke up, and my first priority was getting the fifth message done. I couldn't have had a good weekend if I didn't, and since this weekend is Dustin's birthday, I really want to have a good weekend!

So the messages are in my sermon notebook, (I just did them for the pastor's wives and women's leaders for their sessions - I don't have room in my suitcase for 3,000 handouts for the other women...) object lesson illustrations prepared, etc. It's all there.

On the subject of wardrobe ~ it's proving to be harder than I thought. It's a challenge. I never realized how many clothes I have that are inappropriate for Africa. I have actually gone to the thrift store to get a few things, reason being I might not necessarily choose these things to wear here in Florida, and I might even leave them behind in Kenya depending on the room in my suitcase, and the need of the people where I'm at. While at this conference in Nairobi, I am only able to wear pants in my room, alone. (I'll be able to wear them at the missionary's compound and then when we go into the city to see some things one day.) But during the entire conference I have to wear a dress or skirt. I have many dresses, but for various reasons they are not "Africa appropriate." For instance, sleeveless is a no no. I am not talking just spaghetti straps or such (obviously I would not wear something strapless, spaghetti strapped or such even to my own church services!) However, being that I live in Florida I do have a lot of sleeveless tops and dresses. Most of my dresses also come to the knee but not below. I'm not sure how appropriate that is for this culture and I don't want to offend.

Most of the photos I'm seeing of the women who attended last year have dresses that are mid-calf. It's not just an issue of style, it's an issue that they view as right/wrong and so as to not offend, I need to comply. I do have a few longer dresses but then they have slits which I'm also unsure about. When I looked at the photos of the women at the conference last year the majority had on very long skirts with loose fitting tops and all their heads were covered. The missionary said I do not have to cover my head, however they do ask that I wear a skirt or dress the entire time. No problem with that on my part - I'm agreeable to anything even if I'd have to cover my head, but I need to get some additional clothes. I have two longer black skirts that I wear quite a bit and I'm wearing each of them, for two of the days. But for the other two, I don't know. I'm at a loss. Most of my suits also come to my knee with the skirt having a slit in the back. I don't dress like a ho by American standards (smile) but I don't want to look like a ho in Africa according to their standards in the Kenyan church!

It's hard to believe it's getting this close. We're only 13 days away from departure. I still have to do my mother/son date with Jordan. That's coming up. Then at least one more date with Larry, maybe even squeeze in two. Everytime I lay in bed and hold on to him I think, "soon I'm going to be without him for nine days"...and I try to stay there, be fully present, and savor the moment.

Jordan stayed home from school today (overslept) and Larry was so ticked. So he told him he had to clean the entire day. And he assigned him the weeding outside. Well, that was on my initiative list to do by Monday. Halleluiah! I'm mad that Jordan was home from school however, it did help me out. He's already finished the worst of it which was the backyard and the two side beds. They are absolutely killer to do. Right now it's 6:00 and he's still working, doing the front yard now. Larry is wanting to teach him a lesson and I think he's learning it big time since the weeding in our yard is probably one of the least desirable jobs in the world. Once it's weeded this time I'm going to take Dawn's advice and start having somebody come out and do the pre-emergent treatments.

I finished all my initiatives today except for picking up my final Africa prescription from the pharmacy! I'll do that tomorrow. Then I'll be ready to celebrate Dustin's birthday, enjoy the weekend fully and start attacking a new initiative list next week. It was a great day of accomplishment. I have finished 30+ initiatives this week by the time all was said and done and it feels wonderful.


Tara Sloan said…
Deanna, I am SO excited for you! I am proud of you too! I can't wait to hear what God does through you in Africa! I am having my LIFE group, Destiny Driven Divas commit to fast and pray for you while you are gone! Please let me know the exact dates so I can pass it on to them.
Anonymous said…
You'll be in my prayers!!

Skirt suggestion: Take two broomstick skirts (the really light "crinkly" ones) and layer one on top of the other. It's nice and cool...will go almost to your ankles...it's not see-through if you layer two...and you can wad them up in a tiny ball in your suitcase and they won't take up much space. Plus you get two outfits for the price of one, lol!!

Hope all goes well for you...