Sunday, November 30, 2008

Somebody get me a vitamin!

This is a photo of Savanna & I yesterday as we were getting ready to go to the Currie wedding. She stuck out her hand and snapped this of us on our way out the door. (Her hair was dry by the time we got to the wedding 2 hours later in Orlando!) That's her new cute little dress she was wearing for the occasion, and meanwhile I was wearing one of my Africa dresses complete with jewelry I found that was just like what Pastor Jane had loaned me in Africa. I got blessed to find a replica at Bealls that was God! :-)

As for was a good day ~ nothing earthshattering to report. It was just a fine day which by standards of much of the rest of the world would be amazing, I guess! I am just so tired and looking forward to feeling back to "normal" again whatever normal is. Each day I get up and go about my work but can't wait to get back to bed. My home Christmas decorating is done and some cleaning but I have so much left to do and not a lot of energy to do it right now. I am counting on bouncing back to a normal schedule in a few days to a week. That whole time change, jet lag, really did a number on me not to mention pouring myself out to the masses. lol Although the house decorating is done the church decor is not complete but we are having a little gathering to get it done tomorrow and after a night's sleep I should be ready to join the group and tackle it.

In other news...Psalm 34 was on my mind when I woke up today and I read it to the choir believing it was for several people today. I know the Lord has His hand on our people and all of their needs. I choose to trust Him.

God moved in the gifts of the spirit during worship ~ always so welcome. The theme of the whole day from worship, gifts of the spirit to preaching, all meshed together in a beautiful way. Love when that happens!

We had a choir dinner and I ate two helpings of lasagna. So much for going on program today. :-) Well, I was going back OP on Monday so I guess that's alright. I have been craving Italian food like crazy since I got back from Africa. Why Italian versus anything else I do not know but I have wanted pasta, pasta, pasta. Tom also brought me a cherry pepsi today and hid it so no one else could get to it before I did. :-) Always nice to have folks watchin' out for me, ya know? (Thanks, Tom!) I actually brought it home and enjoyed a nice glass in the quietness sitting in front of our Christmas tree when I got home from rehearsal. Little things like this make me happy. Really folks, it doesn't take much...I am honestly a relatively simple person. (Some of you are thinking, yeah, right, but honestly if you really know me you know this is true. Little things make me happy, and also if you want to know what I'm thinking or how I feel, just ask. I'm not a game player, I just state it like it is in a straightforward way. Thus, the "relatively simple" label I just gave myself.)

Before I get too serious here, it's time for me to sleep again...g'night for now. Sleep tight my dear friends. I have a lot of good ideas on my mind I want to blog about and when I get the energy I can't wait to! I am actually taking vitamins but wondering if they are placebos. ha! ha!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And we're off...

It's the start of the Christmas season! With Thanksgiving behind us we are now officially into the next season. It's one I absolutely love but it's usually very wearying for me with all it entails. This year I am just committed to resting more and not getting frazzled. Seriously. I'm making this a priority. Wait and see...I really do mean it. I'm thinking of doing some really uncharacteristic things to simplify.

Yesterday was dedicated mainly to decorating the house for Christmas. I like to do it the day after Thanksgiving unless something prevents us from doing so. It was also Larry's birthday, however we still did both things on the same day. By the way, the carrot cake I made for his birthday was awesome! I highly recommend the recipe to everyone! See yesterday's post for the details.

This year I added another tree to the mix in our house. This means we have three trees right now. I could just keep adding trees forever which is a story in itself that I won't go into here, but suffice it to say we have a new tree over by the kitchen table/desk area that has blue lights and silver decorations.

Here's a beautiful photo that Lourdes took of the front of our church lit up. You can find more of her work here. Pastor Trinity oversaw the decoration of the outside last weekend while I was away in Africa and my husband was away at the youth convention. Great job! I love to see the church decorated for Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Be yourself...

no one can tell you you're doing it wrong!

Carrot Cake ~ Prize Winning Recipe
for Larry's Birthday

I wanted to make something special for my husband's birthday today, and carrot cake is his absolute favorite. Believe it or not in 21 years of marriage (and 23 birthdays total with him) I have never made him one! How did this escape me? I dunno. But this is the year. I needed to find a recipe so I searched on line for one that was prizewinning and widely reviewed and acclaimed. This was the one I settled on. We'll let you know how it tasted. The photo above is the finished product.


4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. ** I wanted to make a round layer cake so I made it in two round pans and set oven timer for 30 minutes. Then I opened oven and checked every five minutes, re-setting the timer until it was perfectly done and knife inserted came out clean.  

To make cake: In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan. If making the 9 x 13, bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If baking the two rounds, bake for about 30 minutes and check it until it's done. Let cool in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. 

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (Icing was a bit too thick when I made it and not easily spreadable so I added 2-3 tsp. of milk and continued to mix.) Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle the top and sides with the nuts. Frost the cooled cake. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Meme

I got this Thanksgiving meme from Tara...and was tagged, so here goes!

1. Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home, or going elsewhere?
I like hosting holidays in my home, although Thanksgiving has definitely become more of a challenge since I've gone to Africa the past two years until just days before.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range?
My husband completely takes care of the turkey and I really don't know what he does, but it comes out perfect each time.

3. Do you make stuffing or dressing? What kind?
Dressing… bread

4. Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie? Both!!!

5. Are leftovers a blessing or a curse?
Ooooohhh! A blessing! Love 'em!

6. What side dishes are a must-have in your family?
7 layer salad, my homemade yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, Misty's creamy corn, cranberry sauce.

7. What do you wish you had that might make Thanksgiving easier?
More countertop space.

8. If/when you go to someone else’s house for the holiday, do you usually bring a dish? Absolutely - definitely a few not just one.

9. What do you wish one of your guests would bring to your house?
There's really nothing more I wish for - we have a full house and a full table of food!

10. What do you wish one of your guests would NOT bring to your house?
Any animals.

11. Do you stick with a particular menu from year to year, or do you mix it up?
Yes, we are very traditional in our menu. Sometimes I add something but our constants remain!

12. Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday in your home?
It is both

13. Share one Thanksgiving tradition.
Larry gets up early to start on the turkey and he and Savanna begin watching the Macy's parade and that's what I wake up to. I have done all of my food prep the night before and then all that is left for me is cooking the sweet potatoes and making the casserole, the mashed potatoes and rolls. Otherwise, it's a day to relax until it's time to do the dishes after the meal.

14. Share one Thanksgiving memory.
We used to spend all of our Thanksgivings at my in law's when we lived in Maryland. It was a much more relaxing day for me as my mother in law did more of the cooking and I just made a few dishes. One Thanksgiving Larry and I just went in the back yard and fell asleep in the hammock together for a long time and it was so nice.

15. Name five things you’re thankful for.

1. Personal relationship with God.
2. My family and friends
3. My church
4. New opportunities and the ability to dream!
5. Africa

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My husband is crazy

Larry did the funniest thing last night. After the soccer game he took Jordan to Arby's. Everyone in my family knows I don't like Arby's -- except for their cherry turnovers I don't like anything else there, at all. (And yes, I've tried LOTS of things on the menu.) I had no idea Larry and Jordan were even stopping there, in fact I was home in bed asleep at the time, but here's what happened...

Larry ordered his and Jordan's food and then asked for 2 cherry turnovers, to bring home to me. "Sorry sir, we are all out of cherry turnovers..." said the woman who was working the counter. My husband got a horrified look on his face and said, "you're kidding..." and looking very upset he said, "I don't know what I'm going to do. If I go home without them, my wife will beat me..."

He never cracked a smile saying all this, so the woman took him very seriously and said, "sir we won't have them until morning." And he said, "well, could you write my wife a note saying that you were out of them, so she will know it's not my fault?" And the lady said, "I'll do one better than that. I will get a letter from the manager to take home to your wife saying that we don't have them right now and if you come back first thing in the morning we will give you two of them to take home to her for free."

My husband couldn't believe she was saying this. He had just been teasing of course but they took him TOTALLY serious. It was too funny but amazed that they took his little quip about me beating him seriously. So a few minutes later the lady comes out with a letter signed by the manager that they were out of turnovers but would have them in the morning and he could pick them up then to bring to me.

This morning he got up and went and picked them up and brought them home to me and told me the story and gave me the letter from the manager . The kids and I have absolutely been cracking up about it.

My friends, if you are hungry and go by an Arby's and don't have any money on you just tell them your spouse might beat you and they will give you the food. This might be especially helpful information as our economy gets worse. Ha ha!

I think that's pretty cool that the Arby's people did that for him and might just be enticed to go back in there and try something else on the menu since they were so unbelievably accomodating of my husband. However, if I ever go in there with him, they will think I'm a husband beater. I do looooooovvvee cherry turnovers but I would never beat anybody over it...but, for something chocolate...

Photo Op

Me with Susie Q...

Sunday night's Thanksgiving Dinner & Pastor Appreciation

For all you pie crust challenged people

I just finished making another pumpkin pie, a cake, and now I'm working on our seven layer salad for tomorrow. I will admit it is not the easiest thing in the world to make a good pie crust. After my post yesterday I got several comments about making pies so I thought I'd post some helps for those who might want to venture out and try it instead of buying a frozen one. There are several things that go into making it "just right" or well, at least a workable pie crust. (lol)

First, you must be in a good mood. Stop laughing. No... start laughing is more like it, I guess! Turn on some uplifting music. Tell yourself, "this is going to be a perfect pie crust!" and get started. For those who think I'm kidding, I was always taught that you must be in a good mood to make a pie crust, and it has proven itself true in my life. If in a bad mood you will get irritated when rolling it out and lifting it into the pan and you will more than likely throw it away and start over. So get happy! Hum while you work.

Second, it's extremely important to make sure the water and shortening are VERY cold. And you must complete your pie crust while they are still cold. This is the one thing that most people miss and why they get frustrated. It is next to impossible to make a good pie crust if they ingredients are not chilled. I put my water in the freezer with some ice cubes, and I also put my shortening in the freezer for a few minutes before using.


2 and 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water (make cup of ice water, put in freezer, then when ready to make dip out 1/2 cup water from the ice water)

I make mine in my food processor as it is much easier, but you can do by hand. If making with processor, take flour and shortening together and pulse a few times until it is course "pea size" crumbs. If doing by hand, cut it in with fork until it is such.

Add 1/2 cup of ice water and mix with fork. Press together in ball and divide in half. Flour board or clean counter and roll out to desired size. You may need some of the flour to roll it out on top without sticking, but do it very lightly...just enough.

Carefully fold in half and place into pie pan. Cut around edges and crimp as desired. If there are gaps in pan just fill in and press. This will give enough for 2 crust (top and bottom pie) or two one crust pies. Follow whatever directions you have for whatever pie you are making. Last thing to do to give it an extra special touch is -- wash hands well, take small dish of milk, dip two fingers in milk and dab around outer edges of pie crust before baking.

Questions? Got yourself in a fix? Email me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I did today

Today I worked from home and got the last few church things done before Thanksgiving (remotely from home) and then made two homemade pies for Thanksgiving...pumpkin and cherry. Pie is probably my favorite dessert of all time. My grandmother used to make excellent pies...the absolute best. I don't quite come up to her standard but I try hard. I am also making something special for Larry's birthday which is Friday. I won't put the details here, being that he reads my blog daily -- good husband that he is. (GRIN)

I cleaned out my spice cabinet today and rearranged it. I've been wanting to do that for four years. Seriously. It's waited that long. It's a major job as the cabinet is large and being that I am a serious cook I have a gazillion spices, cooking and baking products. For some reason the mood struck me today to just do it.

Dustin is at college in classes til late tonight, Jordan has an away soccer game tonight and Larry has a board meeting. I am going to get another dish made for Thanksgiving, and do some light cleaning and go to bed early again. I know many people wouldn't understand how I could be this tired after a good night's sleep, but all I can say is I truly am tired. Thanks to all who gave me the advice to slow down and allow myself to take time to recooperate. Aside from doing these few things I am resting as much as possible and going to bed early again tonight without guilt.

Playing catch up

Sue took this candid photo of me capturing some of the sights on the streets of Kenya by video...I hope to post video soon after we edit it down so that you can have a better picture of what really happened and what we experienced...

I didn't blog at all yesterday which is rare to almost non-existent! It has been so hard getting back in the swing of things since I came back.

We arrived on Saturday night but our luggage didn't. Since there are absolutely no liquids allowed in the carry on bags in Kenya, I had some things in the checked baggage that I really wanted for Sunday morning. The bags came at 5 am and I got up and unpacked them and got ready for church. As most everyone knows, Sundays start real early for me anyway and I have worship rehearsal, teaching SS, then service and the day just keeps going like a locomotive...

We had a good service and Sue and I testified in both Sunday School and service for just a few minutes. I will post more once our video is ready. The people seemed to really love the brief video footage we shared and our testimonies.

After church Larry took us to Pizza Villa which is one of my favorite places. I was in the mood for pasta since I haven't had it in so long. I had a salad and some manicotti which was sooooo good I just inhaled it.

Sunday afternoon I took a nap and it was so difficult to wake up. I was looking forward to the Thanksgiving Dinner that night at church however my body wasn't. I went and everyone remarked how tired I looked even though I was trying to hide it. We had a wonderful evening. They were also celebrating pastor appreciation that night and giving thanks for us. After the dinner I led a few songs from the grand piano in worship and then the board members had a presentation with people expressing their thanks for us and then they gave us cards and took an offering. It was a lovely evening.

I came home Sunday night and immediately went to sleep but the night's sleep was not enough to feel rested. I went to work yesterday but was still dragging. Although I slept the majority of the 30 hour trip home, I was still so in need of rest. I can't even express how little sleep I got the previous 10 days while on the trip. Maybe 2-3 hours a night and that was about it, coupled with giving out so much of myself all day long. So right now is catch up time. Somehow I made it through my workday yesterday. We laughed about the first day back to the office and how it's difficult to ease back in. The phone started ringing off the hook immediately and I had a blast of e-mails and people wanting to know, "did you get my mail?" (Answer: yes, but it takes time to answer them.) And also requests for meetings. I am so tired and have so much in front of me to do for Thanksgiving that I have had no problems saying it would have to wait until the first of next week.

There was no food in the house so Larry said we absolutely had to go to the grocery after work. We did but I was honestly too tired to go in. I laid my chair back in the car and slept while Larry did all the shopping and then slept all the way home on the drive, and then came inside, took my clothes off and without even washing my face or brushing my teeth I collapsed in bed and went to sleep. I did wake up at 12:45 am and washed up and brushed my teeth quickly and then went back to sleep until 5 am today, getting a total of 11 hours sleep last night. I'm hoping I'm now caught up and rested and able to get on with the remainder of my work today and thanksgiving preparations. We are having some folks over as usual and I have to get the house and the meal in order. Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, however the last 2 years it's been a real challenge with being away in Africa til' just days before.

We have a funeral today. While I was in Africa the young adult son of one of our beloved church members was hit by a car here in Tampa and was immediately killed. It's such a sad situation. My husband had texted me in Africa about it and I had been praying there. The young man's father was one of my prayer warriors for Africa and I knew he had been praying for me. It just broke my heart to hear this had happened.

I am hoping to post a few more photos of the Africa trip here as well as ultimately the edited DVD that we do. Stay tuned...I'm just easing back into life in the USA and it's taking a while longer than I expected.

Since I'm up an hour earlier than usual, I think I'll go make Jordan and Savanna something special for breakfast. Toodles for now...have a great Tuesday everyone...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Conference Highlights

Tuesday Night Opening

I was not supposed to preach on Tuesday night. The opening was scheduled for the General Superintendent and Mama Taifa, (pictured at right with her husband, and me), however as I was walking to the tent for the service, Mama Taifa said, “Deanna, would you be willing to preach instead?” I was a bit stunned for a moment as I didn’t expect it however I’m always ready. The question was…would Sue be ready to give her testimony on the opening night? I really wanted her to give it the first time I ministered. She agreed and was a real trooper about it. She did want to go back and change into another dress and Mama Taifa graciously gave us some extra time to get ready since after all she did ask me to preach 5 minutes beforehand!

Mama Taifa introduced me and I was so excited to greet the women again. I poured my love out to them and told them how much I have missed them. My heart really has longed so much to be there and it was almost surreal when I was.

I preached the message, “God of the Turnaround” based upon the life of Joseph of the Old Testament. It was about God moving miraculously in difficult situations and God turning around circumstances for our good that the devil meant for harm. I could hardly wait until the altar time, mostly for what would happen in these precious ladies lives, but also to see the reaction on Sue’s face when she saw how the people there respond. True to form, it was amazing. She was shocked at the intensity of the atmosphere and how hard they go after God.
I tried hard that night when I went to bed not to think about the fact that in three days it would be over.

Wednesday Highlights

You need no alarm at the Kenya Women ‘s Convention. The roar of them praying at 5 am does the trick every time. I always feel like a pitiful lazy American standing there putting on my make up or doing my hair and listening to them cry out to God. But I do it every time. Honestly I can’t keep up with them. Their prayer and praise is the backdrop of my taking a shower, getting dressed, and doing my hair and makeup each morning. I hum along with them, or say, “yes” and “amen” when they do.

There were different speakers during the day – Mama Taifa, the General Superintendent, and Pastor Jane Tembu. All were very powerful and we so enjoyed their messages. I preached the general session that night which was, “Take God at His Word.” We were believing for signs, wonders and miracles. Earlier in the week I had purchased a very dressy African outfit that I saw that I thought was totally “me” and I asked Pastor Jane Nuthu if I could borrow some jewelry. She hooked me up and it looked great. Everybody was amazed and said, “Deanna, it looks like that dress was literally created for you!” I must admit I loved it and was very comfortable in it. Speaking of Jane Nuthu I had put in a special request that she be my interpreter for everything I did this time. There is just no one like her. She truly has a gift of interpretation, not merely the spiritual gift but also with human language. She’s amazing. When I preach and she interprets, it’s like a hand in glove fit. She moves when I move, gestures when I do exactly…it’s like twins and she does it effortlessly. The message rolled along well under the power of the Holy Spirit and then I had worked with Jane ahead of time to help give special instructions for a healing line, with the Mama Sections (sectional WM leaders) and Mama Districts (District WM leaders) and myself laying hands on the women and believing for healings and miracles. Even though we presented it in an organized fashion, that’s sort of an impossibility in this setting because the altars get so jammed every night and you just have to do what you can do to lay hands on as many as possible and move among countless people who are crowded in for a touch. I love hearing them pray and cry out to God. It’s like the sound of a waterfall when they pray loud, and when they are all praying softly such as during communion it almost sounds like thousands of bees. Hopefully the video footage we took will help to show others just how miraculous it is. Once we edit I plan to post here on the blog.

After a great service, I did eat dinner with the leaders (we ate late night each night) and socialize a bit but needed to get back to my room to the quiet so I could study and pray in preparation to be the first speaker the next morning. Right after we ate, however the electricity was out on the campus so Barb gave me a flashlight to study and pray by.

Again I looked out the window as I sat in my room, out towards the big tent where the conference is held and realized…two more days and it’s over.

Thursday Highlights

Again we woke up to the sound of prayer. I was so excited about the morning’s message as I was getting ready and listening to them go after God. I knew the Lord was going to show up that morning and literally out-do Himself.

I preached a message called, “Not Without My Sister.” All heaven broke loose. Really indescribable unless you were there, or unless you watch the video we’re going to edit and put on in a week or two’s time. The place just got so overwhelmed in the Spirit of God. I turned it back over to Mama Taifa after leading the altar time and she was just weeping into her handkerchief and could not speak for quite a while. It took a long time for the place to simmer down and stayed intense for so long. What a morning we had. It’s one of the best memories of my life remembering what God did. Sue video taped that entire altar time and captured it beautifully and I can’t wait to share it.

On Thursday night after the last session which was the General Superintendent preaching and him leading in communion, they honored me and Sue. First they gave Sue an authentic African outfit and she put it on with the headpiece and they went bonkers. I was so delighted and I know it absolutely blew her away! They thanked her for sharing her testimony and told her how powerful it was and how it made such a difference in many women’s lives. Then they called me up and said how much it meant to them that I came back and what a family member I have grown to be, and how powerful the time of ministry was…also thanked my family and church for sending me and a bunch of other things…it becomes surreal when they start talking like this and I just get so emotional. They presented me with a beautiful African dress and headpiece. Mama Taifa helped me it on and they went crazy and then Mama Jane presented me with yet another outfit – this time a three piece outfit with headpiece. They put that one right on top of the other one, and they went a little crazy again. By this time I was wearing three outfits on top of one another. They were clapping profusely as they are prone to do and I was getting ready to exit the platform and one of the ladies from the Masai tribe ran up to the stage and held out a necklace and said, “up to the General Superintendent!” and I looked at her puzzled. I didn’t know what she wanted and felt awkward about going up to the Gen. Supt. I didn’t want to be out of order. I kept standing on the edge of the stage with the Masai woman and then Mama Taifa realized what she wanted and came running over with the microphone. She said, “Pastor Deanna, this is a special presentation from the Masai tribe! They are presenting you with this gift they made you and want to present this to you with our General Superintendent!” The whole place erupted in massive applause and I really started crying. This is a very special thing for those who may not realize it. I was so touched. After church that night a pastor from Buru Buru came up to me and said, “we must give you a new African name that reflects that you are accepted into the family by all. He renamed me, “Deanna Ole Wanjiku (Ole is Masai, and Wanjiku is Kikuyu). Everytime somebody said it or I introduced myself that way everyone would double over laughing but said, “that’s right, you’re part of the family now so we can call you that.) Jane’s maiden name is Wanjiku so she was especially tickled by it and said, “hey, we are sisters even more than we thought before…)

That night we had a lot of time for eating dinner together, socializing and sharing precious time and some tears as well. I knew in the morning we would all be going home and didn’t want to think about it.

Friday Highlights

Sue and I woke up and got showered and ready and just as we were almost ready Barb knocked on the door and said that Mama Taifa was on the bus ready to leave. Evidently her bus came a little early. We walked over to the bus and she wanted us to come on and say goodbye to her. I went in and she hugged me and started crying and just saying, “Oh Jesus…oh Jesus…oh Jesus…and praying.” Then I started crying and then all these women on the bus were crying and were saying, “we love you,” and “we’ll miss you” and I stood there and was crying all my make up off that I had just put on, thinking about how much I hate goodbyes.

After sobbing on the bus with the women and taking a few more pictures we headed inside to the leaders room where we ate breakfast and talked with Gladys and Ruth, and said goodbye to them as well as to Jane Tembu. Then Peter and Moses had come to say goodbye. Moses had a gift for me. I thanked them for the necklace they got me with my name on it. Then both of them said, “you are our mother.” (As if I wasn’t broken down to tears already!) I know Pastor Jane is their spiritual mother in Africa but I think they consider me their momma in the USA. I had the hardest time saying goodbye, of course but I know in faith I’ll see them again soon.
We left at that point and went to the Masai market with Bonnie, Barb, and Heather. It was a lovely day spent there eating and getting some gifts before going to the airport. After Masai market we went back to the compound to take a quick shower before our flight and Barb helped me pack just as she did last time. She is an absolute expert packer.

We said our tearful goodbyes to Bill and Barb at the airport and then headed in to get our boarding passes, go through immigration and security and then to Java House for our final bit of Africa fare before flying out. It was a 30 hour journey home and I slept a majority of the way but still don’t feel rested. I hardly slept the 10 days we were gone – it was just super packed and I was maximizing every moment. It was unforgettable.

I’m going again – as I’ve been invited again however we are in the process of hammering out the details. I’ll know more soon. I can’t wait to get back back to my African family. They are in my heart always and with each visit the bonds between us strengthen and I am determined to give a great part of my life for their growth, increase and encouragement.

Thanks so much for all who stood in the gap with us and believed for miracles. They happened!
I am going to start answsering emails again on Monday or Tuesday once I ease back into the routine again but for now, signing off is…Deanna Ole Wanjiku…

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're home!

We're back in Tampa but our luggage isn't. Oh well, I'd rather be missing it at home rather than in Africa. Much easier to deal without having my things here than out of the country. It's supposed to be delivered in the middle of the night, so we're praying that it comes before I have to get ready for church in the morning.

I'm going to post the highlights from the conference on Sunday. Very tired and headed to bed right now. I slept on the plane a whole lot on the 30 hour journey...some of the first real sleep I have had in a week however I am still tired. This trip really took a lot out of me but of course it was so worth it. It is going to take me days to catch up but I'll get back on track soon.

I am not answering any e-mails until Monday so if you write, thanks for your understanding. Just need a while to get acclimated back to the routine.

Thank you to all of you who fasted and prayed for us. Your pressing in brought great results!

Love to all,

Friday, November 21, 2008

I hate goodbyes!

Pre-scheduled post:

Today is the final day here in Africa...then plan is to go to the Maasai market with Bill and Barb and have lunch there and then do our final packing to come back home. We don't leave until 11:30 PM Kenya time so we have the whole day and evening with them before we have to get to the airport at about 9:30 pm.

Last year I cried profusely leaving Barb at the airport (she cried too) and even the security guard was touched watching us and asked us if we were okay. After she left and I went through security, I sat in the airport with my Java House coffee I cried for 2 hours still trying to come to grips with leaving. And...I did a lot of crying in the days to come as you who are close to me know. My husband thought I needed counseling at the time but I told him I wasn't the strange one, a lot of Americans are upside down and I'm the one who's right side up! (On this issue, at least!) Pastor T asked me the other day before I left if I thought I would come back as "depressed" this time or something like that. (Nothing wrong with him asking me that, nor was I upset -- it was a natural question that was asked in a caring spirit.) I explained to him I wasn't depressed -- I was changed. My tears were not depression after my trip last year, they were because of a life-changing experience and a love in my heart for the people and the nation.

Well, getting back to the schedule, we leave on our first flight to London at 3:30 pm Tampa time today. Please be in prayer for us! Please pray against the turbulence on my behalf again...thanks! I will text to the Twitter when we land at London Heathrow, and then again when we land in Philly, and finally when we land in Tampa. This time the trip will be a few more hours, totaling 27 hours and 6 minutes. (Last year one of my trips was 33 hours!) Again we'll be traveling for a total of 8,718 miles.

And yes, I'll be in church on Sunday morning...of course. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Women's Conference - Final Day!

Pre-scheduled post:

Well, this is it -- the last day of the conference.

By now I guarantee you I am trying to wrap my head and heart around the fact that I am going to have to leave these ladies tomorrow. Last year I cried myself to sleep until 3 am just trying to come to grips with the departure. I am going to try my best not to do this but please understand, Africa has a way of getting in your heart and changing one's life forever.

Please believe with me for a mighty move of God in tonight's service. The message I'm preaching is entitled, "Not Without My Sister!" I believe the best is yet to come. Pray the price with me for what God wants to do!

p.s. check the Twitter. As if you have to be reminded again... :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Women's Conference - Day Two

Pre-scheduled post:

We are expecting a blockbuster day today! I just can't wait to see what God will do! I'll be preaching twice - once this morning, once this evening.

This morning's message is, "God of the Turnaround" and tonight's is, "Take God at His Word"! I can't wait to unleash this word!

Thank you for your prayers that this whole day/evening will be absolutely saturated in the anointing God!

p.s. check the Twitter. Are you getting tired of me saying that? :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

General Conference Starts Today!

Prescheduled post:

Today is the opening day of the National Women's Conference! I am so excited I'm about to burst! It feels like this moment took forever to get here, but at the same time it seems like yesterday that I was just here.

Today I'm going to be re-united with thousands of people I dearly, dearly love!!! "Mama Dustin" is back in the house! I'm wearing my pink African dress today with all the pieces. You can read the story on the link there to see how I received this awesome dress.

Remember to check the Twitter later...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Long live update from Kenya - Monday

Today started with monkeys on our roof. It was quite delightful although it did scare us to death at first...myself more than Sue. She actually had the courage to open the door to see who our intruder was. It ended up to be several monkeys who were throwing things down on the roof of our house, and even hit a power line and knocked our lights out for a moment. At first I was angry because they scared us, but then I thought about it and told Sue that I think this happened just for me. In retrospect I thought that people or animals come near those they know they love them. I know those monkeys came for me. I am only half kidding. But Sue is almost fallling over laughing while I'm reading this to her as I write it.

On a serious was nothing short of amazing. I don't know what else I thought it would be but amazing however God is always exceeding my expectations or imaginations of what might happen.

This morning the first thing we did after dealing with our intruders was go get Sue a pair of shoes to wear and throw away. I know that sounds crazy but the shoes were only $1 and rubber and we wanted them for the slums. Being that we would be walking around in raw sewage and absolute squalor for several hours, and unimaginable filth, we planned accordingly. We were so excited!!! Yes folks, I do get excited about walking around in filth for hours, believe it or not because on these occasions behind the "filth" are beautiful people who are some of the most special to me in the world. I couldn't wait to see them. But first, we had the leaders meeting...

When I came in they all got excited and gave a great applause. Keep in mind this is a team of leaders who feel like sisters to me and really...we are. :-) This is how God's family should we should be. I did see Mama Gladys outside the gate as I came in before even going in and we had a great "reunion" together as we hugged. (Several of them were ones I spent more time with and these reunions were even more special...people like Mama Jane (both Mama Janes, Mama Gladys, Mama Joshua, Mama Taifa) I came in and hugged a few (though not the meeting was in process) but I did go up and hug Mama Taifa (the national women's director) and she held me in an emotional embrace for a few moments and just thanked me for coming, and thanked God for bringing me back from America. After a few moments they introduced me and started by asking Sue (who was also introduced with me) to give her testimony. I told Sue that "anything can happen" including being asked to spontaneously speak and so this was such an occasion. She did an absolutely phenomenal job. They were very touched by her testimony and many shed tears as she talked. Then it was time for me to speak...

As I stood to speak, the first thing I did was let out a shout of victory!!! They all laughed and cheered with me. I said, "Ladies, you have NO IDEA how long I have waited for this moment and how much my heart has just longed to be back with you..." and just expressed my love to them for a few moments time. Then I got into my message which was about the God of the Breakthrough. I just bore my soul to these ladies, and shared some things I've gone through in the time since we were last together, and what God has taught me through it. I didn't hold anything back.

At the end of the message I said that I was sure some were in the situation I was in during previous months where I needed a miracle breakthrough and in a desperate place. My altar call for this meeting was for those people to simply stand and lift their hands to heaven, and the rest of us were going to lay hands on them and prophesy to their situation. I thought I'd have a prayer team of about half the room helping me who were already in victory. Imagine my shock when every single one of them stood and lifted their hands to heaven and loudly started crying out for a miracle. It ended up to be myself, Barb Kuert and Sue who laid hands on all of those women and cried out for their breakthrough and prophesied (spoke to) their miracle. However keep in mind they pray so loud, passionate and hard, you have to really shout to keep up with them. :-) Sue was amazed at their intensity like I knew she would be.

Jane Tembu was next to me when I gave the altar call interpreting and as I said stand and lift your hands to heaven she turned to me and said, "Pastor Deanna, I'm sorry, I can't stand anymore...I am so affected by your message because it's everything I've been dealing with in the church. I have to get down on the floor..." and with that she went down on the floor, seeking God. They cried out to God for a long time and then Mama Taifa started singing in Swahili, "There's not a friend like the lowly not one, no not one" and they all started singing it along with her, with everyone weeping and praising God.

At the conclusion of that time of worshipping she said, "Ladies, there was no way our speaker knew everything we are all going through, in addition to the violence that has torn up our country in the past year, many of our churches have been affected and also torn up and the majority of us are so weary it is indescribable..." then she went on to say that what we talked about was 100% tailor made by God for the leaders today and everyone was very tearful and just thanking God for what He did for us today. It was so amazing.

We were headed to minister in the slums afterwards but they asked that I stay and have lunch with them so we did. Of course it was a traditional African meal and they treated Sue and I like gold and waited on us like we were royalty which is always a bit uncomfortable however to say that their love warms and overwhelms me is the understatement...

After lunch Pastor Jane Nuthu told me that she had a team of people waiting to take Sue and I into the slums. She said, "I've asked Peter to be one of the people assisting you." (Peter is one of the Mathare "big boys" that I just bonded with so much last year - Peter, Moses, Christopher, and then one of the Mathare big girls named Gladys.) College age kids are called "big boys" and "big girls", by the way. Anyway, she told Peter I was coming last week and he could hardly wait. I couldn't wait either!

Two missionaries, Chrissy Bass and Stacy Whitman met Sue and I and drove us to Mathare church. Peter was at the gate waiting to let us in. When the car came to a stop I got out and ran around and he ran to me and grabbed me so hard he lifted me up off the ground and we embraced and were quite emotional, both of us. I thought, "boy if people didn't understand the love of Jesus and how two Christians could very purely relate to one another they might really think this is kind of strange, our reaction..." but I didn't care. I was just so glad to see him. He said, "I missed you so much!!! I couldn't wait for you to come back!" I said, "me too...I have been praying for you too all year long and I also have a huge surprise for you!!!" He said, "what?" and I said, "hold on..." and went to the back of the land rover and pulled out the gift bags, and said, "Peter, these gifts come for you with much love from some of my church people in America...these are new clothes for you." And he just looked at me with tears running down his cheeks and said, "thank you...thank you so much..." I don't think I was ever so happy many times in my life as I was to present him with those clothes. (Thank you Candy Rivera and thank you Alex Rivera! You have made an AMAZING difference in a young man's life.)

For the next few hours we walked through the Mathare slum, (which in a few hours you can't even cover the whole thing - it's huge) and as we walked with the group Peter and I talked and he showed me the slum house (or I should say hut - it's just a few feet big) that he grew up in as a small boy and then he took me to his house that burned and shared with me the news that he has just taken in two orphan boys who lost their parents in the post-election violence. He is sharing his little slum house with them that is only probably 8-10 feet big. He is such an amazing young man that while in desperate situations himself of trying to survive, he has taken in these two children to try and help them, and they are now a part of the Mathare Valley church. Much of the time Peter was talking to me I was fighting back tears. I asked him, "what is the ultimate dream for your life, Peter?" As he shared with me his goal of getting in to "next level" type of housing arrangement still in the slums and way below the poverty level, and then graduating to another home in Buru Buru and hopefully having enough to marry and start a family, I was just so humbled and moved to tears.

He led us to several slum houses of people he knows and we went into them and spent time with some people -- a single Mom living in a little space with her two kids that was probably about a 4 x 6 foot space. There were no lights inside the little shelter. It was pitch black in broad daylight. Stepping into her little space we had to wait a few moments before our eyes adjusted in the dark and we could even make out where she was sitting in the room. Her children were lying down napping on what I think was a piece of styrofoam next to her. Everything she owned, mostly papers and broken things were lying around her in the little space. Stacy stepped in and then stepped back out almost immediately in tears upon realizing the situation inside. Even missionaries don't get immune to the conditions these people are living in. In sharing with Peter, I have realized that the system really traps them into staying in these situations. Although his little few feet of shelter was burned down in January he still has to PAY FOR IT! He pays two thousand five hundred shillings a month, which is $20. (Huge amount for somebody in the slums) So he pays $20 a month even though the thing was useless. In trying to escape they also charge them astronomical amounts to try to break free. I was amazed to hear all about it and my heart was heavy riding back to the compound just digesting what I had just heard. We stepped inside another lady's little home (again a small space just a few feet by a few feet) and learned she was a single Mom raising three children, in a little cramped space and now her brother died of HIV and she also has his children in this tiny space, just trying to survive. Stepping out of her little hut Peter said he wanted to show me the local toilet those in this vicinity use. He pulled back a dirty blanket hanging there and what was behind it was a pile of rocks that people had people had used the bathroom on. Raw sewage runs everywhere in between the little shelters, and into the streets and the smell is overwhelming. Even though we got much of this on tape, the missionary said, "no matter how much you take back to America on video you can't possibly capture the stench for people to comprehend just how bad this is..."

Another lady asked us to come in and greet her elderly father who was lying in on a little cot in her shelter. We stepped in and I held his hand and said, "God bless you" in Swahili and Peter interpreted for me as I told him how honored we were to have come to his home.

Sue and I began to give out candy to all of the children and pretty soon it was like a mob scene. After one or two realized we had candy, hundreds of them came running, pushing against us, thrusting out their hands, and many saying, "don't forget me, please don't forget me." I wanted to just burst out sobbing right there but somehow held it together. When we would walk through another area behind a fence in the slums they would push their little hands through the fence and shake their hands and plead for a piece of candy. One sentence they have learned to say in English is "how are you" and over and over again they would chant together as we passed out the candy, "how are you? how are you?". I find this totally ironic. It just amazed me that in a slum these little kids, some of them just barely old enough to walk were asking Sue and I how WE were doing. Also everywhere we went the children would point and shout, "Muzungu! Muzungu!" which means, "white person" as they ran to us. It is so cute. They are amazed by us white folk and actually love when we come's not a slam, it's sort of an announcement, like, "hey cool, the white ladies are here..." I don't mind beind called a muzungu at all, I consider it a term of endearment and have asked everyone to start addressing me as an American African, anyway. :-) lol

As Peter led us back with our little entourage to the Mathare church and school, we brought the remainder of our candy for the kids there. When they saw us coming they started spontaneously singing a song for Sue and I called, "Welcome, we're glad you're here!" (Again we did get this whole thing on tape. When I get back to the USA we're going to edit it and take the best clips and I'll put it here on the blog so you can see it yourself.)

Saying goodbye to the kids who were following us everywhere and not wanting us to leave was really hard. With a lump in my throat, I hugged Peter and said I'd see him tomorrow at the conference, and then got into the land rover with Sue and Chrissy and Stacy to get back to the compound. As we drove home I said to Sue, "no one will ever understand this as much as we try to explain it..." She just solemnly nodded and said, "I know."

I try as best I can though, and I hope you've gotten just a glimpse of what it's like to be with God's precious people in what is one of the most desperate places on the face of the earth.

*just a reminder I will be at the conference site the next four days and unable to blog. I will twitter occasionally but probably won't have a place to blog until we are in an airport. When we leave to come home I'll be back with details about the rest of the week, photos and video! This time I was determined to capture the "sound" of Kenya and share it with my friends. (Sound=the prayer, the worship, the voices of my friends)

I'm so excited about this day...can't even adequately describe it!

Live update from Kenya:

Today we will start our day by going to the East Africa School of Theology where we will be for the next four days ministering.

Before all of the ladies arrive for the national conference, their executive and national leadership women come together for meetings. I will be speaking to them this morning, teaching and sharing on leadership.

I absolutely fell in love with these ladies last year. Seriously, I'm going to scream with excitement when I see some of them that are especially dear to my heart. Couldn't wait to get back to them. Among them are national executives, district superintendent's wives, pastor's wives and women's leaders. Today, I'm going to bare my soul to them in my open, honest and candid way...and I know God is going to move! Before I do all that we're going to give each of them some beautiful gifts from the people of Northside Assembly of God! Yippee! They are going to be so excited. We also have some awesome gifts to give to each of the missionary women here. I am just beside myself with joy. We are giving away 778 hundreds of pieces of beautiful jewelry, scarves, books, my "Breathing Room" CD's (to those who speak English), cool sunglasses, make up, lip balms, clothes, and the list goes on. I have been so excited at times I couldn't sleep just thinking about it.

Although I could not go to the Mathare church as I was in Buru Buru on Sunday, arrangements have been made to go to Mathare Valley slums tomorrow afternoon when I'm done speaking at the leadership meeting. We're going to tour the slums, minister to people, give candy galore to the kids, and reach out to them with all the love we've got in our hearts. Sue and I can't wait! We'll have photos for sure...can't wait to share the amazing day with you. Gotta go's scarce lately. :-) But it's all good. I'm savoring every moment of tihs beloved place and these people I love so dear.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Amazing live update from Buru Buru!

This morning was nothing short of amazing at Buru Buru AG! God changed up all our plans as He's so good at doing! I was supposed to preach the morning service at Buru Buru and then quickly head to the orphanage in Limuru for the dedication. However things changed. The Spirit of God fell so mightily in the first service at Buru Buru and we had such a breakthrough that the pastor asked me to stay to preach for the next service! I was not scheduled to do that since we were going the orphanage. Understanding what God was doing and wanting it to continue in the church this morning Dr. Kuert said he would be glad to release me to the church for the day and have them take care of Sue and I and bring us home to the missionary compound when all of the ministry was done at the church.

What a time we had!!! I had 45 minutes to preach in the first service because we needed to end right on time so that the second service people could come in. I gave the service back over to the pastor to conclude however it kept moving in such a great way that the pastor handed me the microphone and said, "please keep going." The presence of God came in such a great way and I have to confess I hardly knew what to do or how to even conclude such a thing standing there just watching what the Lord was doing, but the second service did need to start . Finally I somehow brought it to a conclusion and gave it back to the pastor and went down to seat thinking I was leaving in the few moments to travel to Limuru, however plans quickly changed that I was staying over. Pastor Tembu said, "Church, our guest is staying to preach the second service. I encourage everyone to just stay and hear it again and if there was absolutely anything you did not somehow get from God in this first service, you need to stay and let him finish his work in this next service!!"

We had the second service....again a phenomenal response however it was it's own unique move from the first service. At the conclusion one of the deacons rushed over and said, "Pastor Deanna, the Lord has moved so mightily this morning...I am going to talk to our pastor and suggest you come here for a 3-day city wide crusade." At that very moment, Pastor Jane Tembu (the co-pastor) ran over and said, "Pastor Deanna, after this morning's service my immediate thought is that we want you to come for a 3-day crusade!" She and deacon both looked at each amazed in realizing that both had thought and said that without talking to each other about it! Meanwhile when they said this I was standing next to Sue and said, "I am so excited I want to scream right now but I have to save my voice..." (GRIN)

We went up to the pastor's office afterwards and some women in the church had brought in some food to feed us since we missed lunch with the Kuerts, and had been at the church all day and afternoon. We sat in the office with the lead pastors and ate a traditional Kenyan meal. Some of the staff served us. There are 8 pastors on staff. In between the two services the staff also served the lead Pastors and Sue and myself tea, and traditional kenyan breakfast pastries . These are such amazingly loving and hospitable people.

We are all so excited about what God did this morning and what He wants to do in the future. They are also still wanting Larry and I to come and do the marriage conference for their pastors as well. So much to do and only one lifetime!

Being back in this city and in this place today only strengthens my bond and love for the African people and passion to do all that I can to help them. If I had to leave Kenya today I could already say that God has done an amazing breakthrough!!! Today was worth it in and of itself. But I'm so glad the best is yet to come...we still have the women's conference. Please be in prayer, as I am believing for even greater breakthroughs from our miracle working God. Sue is absolutely amazed at this place and she has fallen in love with the African people just like I knew she would. I told her I'll be there to put my arm around her and let her cry as long as she needs to when it comes time to leave them and in the days when she is longing for the fervency that we have experienced in this place, in America. At this moment I do not have photos of the service as we are back at the compound but Dr. Kuert is not and he did all the photography this morning at the service.

Tomorrow morning I speak to their leaders at 10 AM. That's 2 am EST. Be in prayer for a great refreshing for these wonderful servants of God.

Love to all...

Buru Buru

I prescheduled this to post before I left:

This morning I am preaching at Buru Buru Kenya Assembly of God led by co-pastors Pius & Jane Tembu. They are not only very well known pastors here, but also serve in local and national leadership for the AG there. Pastor Pius is the Secretary General of the Kenya Assemblies of God and the Nairobi District Superintendent. Pastor Jane is a powerful preacher in her own right and on the executive leadership of the women's ministries also on the national level. They invited me to preach at their church this morning and I'm so excited. From what I hear they have a 4,000 seat sanctuary and 3 levels (tiers as one article I read called it) and multiple morning services.

I'm preaching on Pentecostal Power! (Did I mention I can't wait?)

After ministering at the church this morning, and having lunch this afternoon we are traveling to Limuru to dedicate a children's orphanage. I can't wait!!! Sue has bought these kids a zillion pieces of candy. Think about how your kids here in the USA get bags full of candy for every holiday and think it's nothing...and then imagine how these African children are going to go bonkers over it. Seriously, it's going to be amazing to see their faces light up.

By the time you read this it will all be over as we're eight hours ahead of you, so it's too late for you to pray that we have a great service or orphanage dedication, but pray for us as we're traveling back to the missionary compound in Nairobi. As soon as I'm able to I'll give an update and some photos I will. It may be possible to get on the internet tonight if we can get a connection at the compound. Sue is video taping a lot too, by the way!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Photo from Nakuru

Dr. Bill Kuert, Barbara Kuert, Sue Flint, Me, Heather - Bill & Barb's niece

I have updated all of the photos below with the photos that I actually took in Nakuru today. I have lots -- these are for now.

Today Sue and I got all the gifts for the ladies lined up and counted and we have about 778 or something like that. We also have gifts for the missionaries and the African women's leadership. Very exciting!!! We are now at the missionary compound getting things ready for service in the morning in Buru Burn. I have studying and praying to do tonight long for now. Priority is...amazing service in the morning. Keep checking the Twitter for updates!

Love to all...

Still in Nakuru - UPDATED

I replaced the photo that was on there earlier with one that I actually took in Nakuru. This is the place where millions of flamingo are 24/7. It's beautiful.

I scheduled this to pre-post before leaving for Africa:
Lord willing, we are still in Nakuru today, and by the time you read this we will more than likely have begun our journey back to the missionary compound.

We'll get a good night's sleep and hopefully be adjusted better now to the time change. I am preaching in the morning! Can't wait!

Please keep checking the Twitter on the sidebar to see what's going on...I've got unlimited texting so I'll do it liberally.

* This photo is one someone took in Nakuru. The area we are ministering in is so needy and one of the most poverty striken in the world, but at the same time there are parts of the nation that are so beautiful! Once I have my own photos of some of the sights, I'll be uploading them for you but posted this in case I don't have any yet to show.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nakuru - Updated Photo

Pre-scheduled post:

God willing, the plan today is to go with our host missionaries Bill and Barb Kuert to Nakuru. I will blog about from there it if I'm able to get internet but it's doubtful we will have internet out there which is why I have pre-scheduled these posts to clue you in as to where we are day by day . We will spend the night there in Nakuru and go back to the missionary compound tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind we're 8 hours ahead of you who are on EST. We have probably been in Nakuru for at least 8 hours by the time you read this. (Some took this photo in Nakuru. I'll post my own pics once I have them.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here safe and sound

If you have been reading the Twitters I've been leaving, you know all the main details of our days the past 2 days. We got here just fine. Thank you for praying! I know the prayers of my friends worked several times when it came to us getting seats together, and having no turbulence. Quick testimony:

We were waiting to take off from London to Kenya, and the pilot came on the intercom and said, "folks, I need to warn you we are definitely going to have turbulence on part of our ride today especially when we go over Rome." He went on to say there was a lot of rain and wind there and just wanted to prepare us so we would not be surprised.

A little bit later the flight attendant came by and asked us if we wanted a drink and I kiddingly said to Sue, "man, after that announcement maybe I need a shot of whiskey!" We both cracked up. OBVIOUSLY I was kidding. But seriously, I was kind of disheartened about the announcement but told Sue, "we have a lot of people praying..." and pulled out my bible and read some Psalms and just trusted the Lord as the ride started. Well, later on I fell asleep. When I woke up, I said, "Sue, have we gone over Rome yet?" (The airbus plane has a GPS tracker you can see on your screen and know exactly where you are plus lots of other stuff.) She happily said, "a long time ago!" I said, "really?" She said, yes we went through it and you slept, and there was absolutely NO rain or turbulence!!! God is so good and prayer does work.

Sue's doing great! I think she's loving far. God is going to do amazing things and I can't wait to see it unfold.

We are now at the missionary compound staying at some missionaries house who are on furlough in the states. It's real nice and even has a piano. I'm loving it. But in the morning we go to Nakuru! I wil have no internet, however I will text the Twitter and be back God willing with a quick update Saturday night when we return.

Thanks everybody for your prayers. Love you much,

Hello from above the clouds...

I prescheduled this to post before I left for Africa...

God willing, Sue and I should have arrived in London by now, and boarded our plane at Heathrow to leave for Africa at 5 AM Tampa time. (EST) We are going to be on the plane ride this morning/afternoon for about another 8 hours and 20 minutes. If you will check my Twitter on the sidebar, you should see that I've posted that we landed on the second flight. I probably also texted what we did during our layover at the airport so check it out.

In particular, I was looking forward to eating breakfast at what is both mine and Bill & Barb Kuert's (Kenya missionaries) very favorite spot at London Heathrow Airport. It's called Pret A Manger and they have THE MOST yummy croissants in the world.

By the time you read this, God willing we are on our plane and should arrive in Africa at 1:20 pm this afternoon, Tampa time. This will be 25 hours and 20 minutes that we will have traveled, 8,718 miles. When we arrive this afternoon it will be 9:30 pm in Africa and as soon as we get to the missionary compound it will be time to go to sleep to prepare to leave for Nukuru in the morning. As you can see, the time change is a little bit of a challenge but we will get adjusted.

If you are interested in keeping up with our journey in real time and not just this pre-scheduled post, just keep checking my Twitter to see where we are at. I plan to update it often especially if my internet access is very limited.

Thanks for your prayers! Only a little bit left to go if you're reading the blog this morning, so please pray it will be a very smooth ride one with NO TURBULENCE. (Remember how much I hate it, so please pray it away.) I'll text when we land in Africa.

Update from London

Right now I'm on line at London Heathrow...we got here safe and sound at 2 am EST. We ate at Pret a Manger and freshened up and in a little bit we'll board our next flight to Africa which will be about 8 and 1/2 hours long.

Coolest thing happened yesterday...I seriously believe in divine appointments on a daily basis and am always preaching about it. Many might think I exaggerate these experiences with ministering to people I don't even know in airports or on planes or in stores, but truly I don't. It's always nice to have a witness with me to see how this really does always happen to me!

We got on our first flight to Philly and it was totally full and not much room for stowing carryons. Sue and I had to rearrange our overhead compartment to fit our stuff and a lady got all in a tizzy that we touched her bag. She was a little overwrought about nothing. Well then comes the last person on the plane, a man who had the seat next to us. His carryon never did get in the overhead and they had to check his bag. He was so angry, cussing under his breath, and just really mad for quite a while.

About 20 minutes before the flight ended, he started asking us some questions and we told him we were headed to Africa for missions. He said, "you mean, like...Christianity and that kind of stuff?" We said yes. Then he says, "this is very wife has just become a Christian and is taking our 4 kids to church. I don't go at all. But some people have been talking to me about it in her church and as a matter of fact right before I got on this plane, they gave me a Bible. Then he pulls out this beautiful NIV Message, leather bound with his name engraved on it. I said, "oh my, that's a very nice Bible, they must care about you very much to bless you with that Bible..." and he said, "yeah, I don't know what I'm doing with it..I read a few pages, started at the beginning but don't understand a lot of it." I suggested he start in John instead. Then he started telling me he wasn't quite sure about all this but was seeking. I said, "Keep seeking...because the Bible says if you seek Him, you will find Him..." and then I shared with him about even those who don't believe in Him at all who seek with their whole hearts (famous ex-atheists like Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel) find the more they study, the more real they discover He is! I went into talking with him a little bit of what I'm teaching in my SS class right now in apologetics. He was extremely receptive to it. He's a hispanic man named Henry...his wife and kids are in Tampa full time but he commutes 3 times a week to his job in Pennsylvania. He said he had tried a church but not felt comfortable with it, and said to me, "can you give me information about your church?" (This entire conversation was him asking us -- we didn't have to bring up anything about God or church to start with...he just poured it out...) So I said, "as a matter of fact I have a card right here..." and gave it to him and he said, "where in Tampa are you?" and I said, "do you know where Bearss Ave is?" He said, "Sure, right off of 275...." and he said, "well, I'll be seeing you there..."

I said, "Henry, I'll be praying for you. Keep seeking. God is going to make Himself real to you..." He smiled a big smile and thanked me and said what a pleasure it was to meet Sue and I.

As we get off the plane and go to the next gate Sue exclaims, "Pastor Deanna, that was amazing how that happened!" I said, "Sue, I've told people a million times you just wake up in the mornings and pray God will open up opportunities, and HE WILL if He knows we will be faithful to walk through the doors."

God is amazing! I told her just this morning before we even boarded that I believed God would give us divine opportunities...and He did. He's going to keep doing it so just get ready to hear more, because we have a bunch more flights before this whole thing is over!

Just had to share that testimony. It's almost time to board our gate...we will arrive in Africa at 1:30 PM EST, God willing. As you can see I have updated the Twitter all along since we began our trip. Just keep checking.

Much love to all from London!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

unabashed chick post

Prescheduled post:

I wanted to do a few special things with the kids before I left for Africa. Savanna asked if we could get our nails done together yesterday morning before I left. She got a manicure and had her nails painted bright orange with designs. I'd take a photo now to show you, however she's asleep. lol

For me, I like to get something unique as far as design when there's a special occasion in my life ~ holidays, a ministry trip, etc. Most times I just have a solid color with a small design on only my ring finger. (I usually get all my designs, repairs, etc. for free since I'm a very loyal customer, which is wonderful...) So Africa was in the "special" category and I asked Lisa for a design I've had before and really liked. Here it is ~ I just love it and wanted to share it with you...

As I've mentioned before in my posts, I'm particular about my hands and taking good care of them. I want them to look and feel good as I pray with someone, shake their hand, hold their hand or reach out to comfort them.

I think it's kind of funny that one of the first things people notice or remark about my blog is the way my hands look in the blog header, holding Larry's face! If this ministry gig stops working for me, maybe I could be a hand model. lol JUST KIDDING, of course! (About the ministry being a gig, first of all, and second -- I do think my hands look nice, but not sure about model quality...I'm sure there are many more stringent requirements for it than what I do.)

Okay folks, keep checking back with Twitter for exactly what's happening in real time! Also please note if you are commenting the next week, the comments may not appear for a while time since I may not be on the internet to approve them and post them. :-) Thanks.

Today's the day!

This morning we leave for Africa!! I can't believe the day has finally come although I have been racing against the clock to get ready. Sue has as well. Some of you have asked me, "who is this Sue person who is going with you?" I take for granted that everyone knows and has been reading here forever...sorry. Sue is one of the key leaders in our church. She is our our core leadership team, women's leadership team, and is one of our Fusion small group leaders. However her main role is Aprile's Hope Ministries which is a support group for women dealing with domestic violence or significant loss, which falls under the umbrella of our women's ministries. Not to mention, she's one of my dearest friends. I did a blog post about her last year that you can find here.

We will take three flights (one short one and two extremely long ones) and arrive tomorrow night in Africa. I wanted to show you the giant plane (airbus) we are traveling on in case you have never been in one. They are absolutely huge. I was amazed last time by it. Here are a few photos. The thing I like best is the fact that aside from reading my Bible and studying, sleeping, and shutting myself off by wearing my headphones and praying -- there's also non-stop 24 hour entertainment with first run movies playing constantly that each individual can choose for themselves. Everyone has their own TV and remote as you can see in the photo. There are a large selection of movies, television shows, and 24 hour news, although as previously mentioned I'm not watching news right now. There's also a GPS that constantly shows you exactly where the plane is at and how many miles you have left to go. It's so cool. I'm glad there's all this to keep a person busy on there because first, I get a little nervous when flying that long (I hate turbulence no matter how inconsequential or normal they say it is... ) and second we're just on the plane for so long. This time I'll have Sue with me so I won't be shutting myself off quite as much as we'll be talking a lot, I'm sure.

Pray for us! Pray specifically today and tomorrow for safe travel and on time flights not to mention our luggage arriving with us. Last year my luggage arrived 3 days after I did! Thankfully I had my Bible and message notes in my carry on as well as a skirt and blouse to preach in on Sunday, however I had to lean on Barb (missionary) to help me out with everything else for 3 days. She was great about it. I'd really like to have all my stuff this time though. We are getting there and leaving for Nakuru on Friday morning so I'd really like my suitcase with me for that 2 day trip.

Sue thought she had some kind of satellite thing she got from ATT that was supposed to guarantee us e-mail capability from the four corners of the earth, however it was a disappointment last night at to find out this is not the case. The ATT employee who told her it would work was incorrect. That means that I will not be able to post live updates as I had previously planned to, however I will text to my twitter which is on the right hand sidebar of this blog and will post short update messages. The two places we can definitely get on line are in the airports and at the missionary compound. However, during the four conference days (Mon-Thurs) I do not think we will have internet, therefore I'll catch up asap when I get a connection. Note that I will text right away each time we Philly, London, and then Africa. So friends and regular watching and praying! I am ever so grateful for you!

With internet not being possible at all times, I have prepared and scheduled posts to publish while I'm gone each day telling you where we are scheduled to be and what we're doing. When and if I'm able to get on, I'll give additional updates. I'll signify each time whether it's a pre-scheduled post or an update in real time. If you are on the prayer partner list and I am not able to get on to do emails, just keep checking the daily schedule here and the Twitter in the sidebar. Keep in mind whenever you are praying or thinking of us...Africa is 8 hours ahead of us in the USA, on Eastern Standard Time. Love you all...