Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sponsor Florence...

Meet Florence Zulu! Florence is 16 years old and in the 9th grade. She lives with her grandmother (who is not very good to her) and her 12 year old sister. Her mom lives far away and she does not know where her dad is....she has not seen them in a long time (she is considered a social orphan). Her parents divorced when she was younger. Florence is not in school right now because her grandmother cannot afford to pay her school fees. She really wants to return to school soon so she can become a lawyer one day. Florence prayed to receive Christ at Camp LIFE this summer!! As you can see from her pictures, Florence is a doll. Full of JOY and so much fun to be around. She is a natural leader and very loving and thoughtful towards others. She definitely holds a special place in my heart! I just love that smile! If you are interested in sponsoring Florence for $40 per month, please email me at mindyrives at gmail dot come. Since Florence is in the 9th grade, her sponsorship with increase to $60 per month beginning September 1st (when the new school term begins) to cover 100% of her school fees. School fees dramatically increase once kids enter the 8th grade. Because of the increase in cost, most kids in Zambia do not continue their education past the 7th grade.

Read more about the Father's Heart Child Sponsorship Program here. FAQs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sponsor Tina...

Update 7/26: Tina is sponsored!!! I'll post about 3 more of my girls who need sponsors this week....so keep checking back!

Meet Tina Kasongo. Tina is 14 years old and in the 7th grade. She is a precious young lady...so kind, gracious and loving. Mom and I were so happy to have her in our group at Camp LIFE this summer. Tina's mom died in 2002. Her dad has also passed, but she doesn't remember when he died. She lives with her grandmother, aunt, 2 older brothers and 2 younger cousins. Her aunt is extremely abusive to her, both physically and verbally (this is very normal in Zambia). Right now, Tina is not in school because her aunt cannot afford to pay her school fees. Through sponsorship in the Father's Heart Program, 100% of Tina's school fees will be paid for so Tina can go to school everyday and receive a quality education. Mom and I had the privilege of leading Tina to Christ during our one on one time at Camp LIFE....it was amazing! If you would like to sponsor Tina, please email me at mindyrives at gmail dot com and I will send you info on how to start her sponsorship. The cost is $40 per month.

Read more about the Father's Heart Child Sponsorship Program here. FAQs.

Here is how the $40 is allocated each month...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

28 Weeks...Hello 3rd Trimester!

I can't believe that today marks 28 weeks and the start of my 3rd trimester! Wow...the days and weeks are passing by way too quickly! I am LOVING pregnancy and enjoying every minute of it. Truly, it's been a joy. Thank you Jesus for this incredible experience and for showing me how miraculous you really are. I can't wait to meet our little one in October!

Here are a few things I want to remember from my 2nd trimester with Baby Rives #1...

-Spent 8 weeks of it in Zambia, Africa (weeks 18-25)!
-Felt the first flutter on May 17th. We had just landed in Lusaka and were waiting for our luggage. I think it was baby's way of saying "I'm happy to be in Zambia, mom!"
-I really started feeling (and looking) pregnant around week 22....my belly finally popped and I felt baby kicking daily, especially at night. He or she is very active in there!
-Experienced the fastest (and largest) amount of weight gain in my life between my doctor's appointments on May 14th (the day before we left for Zambia) and July 12th (a few days after I returned from Zambia). It's worth every pound though!
-I've quickly come to realize that my belly is now public property! And it really doesn't bother me.
-I still have a hearty appetite. Biggest craving in trimester #2....CEREAL with whole milk (yes, you read correctly, whole milk). In Zambia, I also ate my fair share of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...had to get my protein somehow!
-Sleeping (well) has become more and more difficult. I'm still waking up 2-3 times a night to use the bathroom and it usually takes awhile for me to fall back asleep after each potty break. It's extremely hard for me to sleep past 7am, even on the weekends. Night sweats went away towards the first part of my 2nd trimester, but they are definitely back with a nasty vengeance. Leg cramps during the night are becoming a new regular as well...I'd rather have the night sweats any day than the cramps!
-Still no names picked for baby girl or baby boy Rives.
-Started planning the nursery with mom and working on my registry during week 26....this has been a very fun (yet overwhelming) process. It has made baby and parenthood become more of a reality than just lovely thoughts.

Since my baby's daddy and baby bump photographer is still in Zambia (he gets home on FRIDAY!), this lousy iPhone pic will have to do for week 28.

12 weeks to go!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sponsor Sarah...

7/19 Update: Sarah has been sponsored!! Praise the Lord!

Mom and I have more girls from our group that need to be sponsored...I'll be posting about them soon. Sponsorships for these girls in the Father's Heart Program are either $40 or $60 per month, depending on what grade they are in. In Zambia, once kids pass the 7th grade, school is more expensive.

Meet Sarah Banda. I first met Sarah in 2008 when she was in my group at Camp LIFE. I was instantly drawn to her vivacious personality and passion for the Lord. In 2008 she was living with her mother and younger brother. Her parents are divorced and she couldn't remember the last time she had seen her father. She was in school at that time as well. Her family was struggling like every other family, but they were getting by (her mom washed clothes for a living). I was so pumped when Sarah was in mom and I's group this summer....it was so good to see her after two years. At first I could tell that she was the same Sarah I remembered in 2008...full of energy and life! On Tuesday of Camp LIFE mom, Alice (our Zambian partner) and I sat down with Sarah to have some one on one time with her. Sarah quickly opened up and shared with us that her mother was very ill and had moved to "the village" (the bush basically) with her younger brother about 6 months ago. Sarah's mom had no other option than to leave Sarah with her two older male cousins. This immediately worried us...as no 15 year old girl should be living with only guys. Sarah said she felt safe in her home environment, but mom, Alice and I all felt like she was not telling us the truth. Sarah also shared with us that she is no longer in school, which makes her very sad and tears rolled down her face when she talked about how much she missed her mom. It was heartbreaking. On Thursday of camp, we decided to take Sarah aside again and see if she would open up more about her living situation. Sure enough, she did. She shared that the younger of the two cousins had attempted to rape her three times since she has lived with them....and both of the guys bring women home on a regular basis and make Sarah sleep outside until they're "done" with the women. The Lord was still pressing on my heart that Sarah was ashamed to tell the entire truth....due to the culture in Zambia, the likelihood that she was being raped on a regular basis by her cousins is extremely high. On Friday of camp, when we were saying goodbye, Sarah ran into my arms and started weeping uncontrollably. I knew she was so fearful to go home and it was literally breaking my heart into a million pieces. The Lord was speaking to me loud and clear that I needed to do something about this situation.

Family Legacy has 19 Community Resource Centers (CRC) throughout Lusaka (there are plans to open many more in the near future)....they are basically safe havens for kids in our program to go to when they are hungry, scared, have no place to stay, etc. The CRC's are staffed 24-7 with Zambian Discipleship Leaders who pour into the kids, feed them, offer bible studies, fellowships and other activities. The CRC's are vital to the ministry of Family Legacy, providing ongoing discipleship to the children of Lusaka throughout the year. They also provide permanent housing for extremely vulnerable children, like Sarah. Each CRC has 6-8 children who live full time there (their care-takers sign over parental rights to Family Legacy). Quite a few of the kids living at the CRC's were selected to move into the Tree of Life Children's Village this summer (three new houses at the Tree of Life were opened while I was there), so there was room for new kids to take their places. I immediately filled out the necessary paperwork on Sarah to have her considered for a CRC. Thanks to the Lord's faithful provision, Sarah was selected, and moved into the Matero CRC (Matero is the name of one of the compounds in Lusaka) two days before I left to come back to the states. The day before I left, Josh and I were able to visit Sarah at the CRC and help her get settled in to her new home...and life! It was an absolutely incredible experience. I've never seen a bigger smile on a child's face than Sarah's that day. Her eyes were filled with freedom and hope! Sarah will now receive three nutritious meals a day, proper clothing, discipleship and will attend a private school 5 days a week (Sarah is in the 7th grade)!

The cost for a child to live at a CRC is $100 per month. Here is the breakdown of how the money is allocated...

In order for Sarah to be considered for the CRC, Josh and I had to start her $100 monthly sponsorship. We were more than happy to do so, but unfortunately, we cannot commit to continuing the sponsorship. We already sponsor two kids (Karen in the Father's Heart Child Sponsorship program and Agness at the Tree of Life) and we just can't afford to do another, especially with baby on the way. Believe me, we would sponsor them all if we could! So, that's were YOU come in my friends and fellow blog readers! Be a part of changing a child's life forever! If you are interested in sponsoring Sarah, please leave a comment with your contact info or email me at mindyrives at gmail dot com and I will put you into contact with the appropriate person at the Family Legacy office to get Sarah's sponsorship transferred over to you. Family Legacy allows a split sponsorship too...meaning you could do $50 per month and one of your family members or friends could do the other $50. Please, please prayerfully consider this...you will not regret it...and neither will your rewards in heaven! And maybe one summer soon, you can join us in Zambia and meet sweet Sarah!

Mom and Sarah at Camp LIFE 2010...

Josh and I outside of the Matero CRC...the house has a gated fence for security.

Sarah's new home!

Her new room...

Sarah and I making her bed....she was thrilled to have her very own bed, sheets and blankets! She use to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Sarah and I with Susan. Susan was my Zambian partner in 2008 and is now the Matero CRC Coordinator, which means she lives there full time. Sarah was more than thrilled about her new "mom"! Susan is an extremely Godly woman and will do a phenomenal job at pouring into Sarah!

Josh and I love Sarah so much! We are committed to praying for her and have complete faith that the Lord will provide the perfect sponsor(s) for her!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the FULL!
John 10:10

Sarah is finally experiencing the fullness of JOY!! Praise the Lord!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Rector and Baby Rives...

I know Karen posted these pics on her blog yesterday, but I had to put them on PB&PT too! It only makes sense that Karen and I are pregnant at the same time....we do a lot together! What a blessing it will be to watch our little ones grow up with one another. And I can't wait to share the joys of motherhood with my best friend...I know we're in for a wild ride! We'll be able to laugh and cry together as we figure this whole parenting thing out! Baby Rector will be here any day now...I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!! Karen and I are both having surprises, so it will be interesting to find out if the Lord blesses us with 2 girls, 2 boys or one of each! Any guesses??

Baby Rector (37 weeks) and Baby Rives' (26 weeks) first pictures together...

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and Baby Rives is doing well. My tummy is measuring where it should be and baby's heart beat was nice and strong. I have my glucose test and another sonogram on August 2nd. I'm anxious to see baby on the big screen again! I'm 27 weeks tomorrow!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1 Goal: Education for All

This video was shown during World Cup commercial breaks in Africa. It's powerful. If you have 2 1/2 minutes, watch it. Unfortunately, so many of the kids we serve in Zambia do not have the opportunity to get an education. Family Legacy is fully committed to change that.

Minor Adjustments...

Tomorrow will mark one week that I have been back in the good ole U S of A. This week has been so good for me...I've had a lot of time to myself to reflect on the past 2 months and to get my life here in the states back in order. I'm finally finished with all of the laundry, unpacking, going through all of the mail, paying late bills, etc., which is a great feeling. I think I'll be ready to return to the office on Monday and really get back into my normal routine. Mom and I have started making some decisions for the nursery and my darling friend, Mel, was so kind to help me get my registry started (that is a daunting task!) yesterday. I've spent quite a bit a time on the computer doing research on baby furniture and products....it's so overwhelming, but fun!

Adjusting to life back in the states has been interesting! Here are a few minor things that I've to get use to again...

Driving (I didn't drive for 8 straight weeks....and they drive on the left side of the road and right side of the car in Zambia.)

Using a dish washer (Not an option in Zambia...but I quickly got use to hand washing, and to be honest, it's not that bad.)

Drinking skim milk (I have a new appreciation for whole milk! They have low fat milk in Zambia, but it's more expensive, so whole milk it was. At first it was a little thick and full flavored, but I must admit that I'm missing it! Next time I'm at the grocery store, I'm probably going to by 1% or 2%...I need a little more than skim now!)

The HEAT (Good gosh....it's hot here! The weather in Zambia right now is quite chilly and dry...I miss that so much!)

Long days (The sun goes down around 6pm in Zambia, so having daylight until almost 9pm has been different!)

Being by myself (There was very little alone time in Zambia...I was always with other people, so being by myself, especially at home, has been really weird. It's sooo quiet. I've found myself feeling a little lonely.)

TV (The only TV I had the option to watch in Zambia was a few World Cup games, which I really wasn't that interested in. I really enjoyed the break from the tube, but it's nice to have it back!)

I know these are all silly things, but life in Zambia is so different! I definitely miss it...and most of all...I miss my hubby. Sharing the experience with him was so amazing! Two more weeks until he is home!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

There's no place like home...

Home...sweet...home. My flight from London was a breeze. I landed at DFW around 4pm yesterday....all my luggage arrived and I had no problems getting through customs. Mom, Julie, Kalie and Cole were at the airport to welcome me home...it was so fun to see them! And Cole did a fantastic job of pushing all 4 of my bags to the car for me...he's getting so big! It felt a little weird walking into our house for the first time in 8 weeks. But, thanks to the lovely couple who stayed at our house while we were gone, our little home was spotless and in tip top shape. All of the lamps were on, food in the fridge and our mail was already sorted into categories....what a blessing! Chloe and Kaci were very excited to see me....I think they were a little confused at first, but we got back into the grove very quickly! I managed to stay up until 10pm last night (it was rough) hoping that I would sleep late this morning and ease the jet lag a bit. Unfortunately I'm wide awake at 5:30am as I write the blog post. The pups are looking at me right now like I've completely lost my mind!

There's definitely no place like home. I'm so thankful to be back safely and praise Jesus for his protection over me. Along with the excitement of being home and looking forward to all of the changes that are around the corner, I'm also filled with some guilt, anxiety and fear...a bit of culture shock, I guess. I feel guilt over the fact that I came home to a nice house and slept in a warm bed last night when some of my girls in Zambia probably slept outside in the cold. I'm anxious about returning to work next week, preparing the house for baby, figuring out our finances and who is going to watch the baby when I go back to work....the list could go on and on and on. I'm fearful that I will quickly return to the selfishness and the hustle and bustle of American life and lose perspective on what really matters. Life in Zambia is just so much simpler...and because of the simplicity, life just seems easier and more manageable there. God seems bigger and more real to me there. I feel useful there....like I'm actually doing something with eternal rewards, not worldly ones. I know that all of these fears and worries are not from the Lord....they are tactics that satan in cleverly using to distract me...I haven't even been home for 24 hours and I'm already falling into his sneaky traps. I am not going to let the devil win this battle!

Whether in Zambia or Dallas, I'm clinging to God's promise that "the Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound..." Isaiah 61:1

I will proclaim that "The JOY of the LORD is MY strength!" Nehemiah 8:10

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In London...

I landed in London about 2 hours ago....my flight from Lusaka was long (10 hours), but good. It's nice to have the hard part of the trip over with. Baby did great on the flight...constantly moving, as usual! And thanks to my extremely tight compression socks, no swelling! I'm staying at the Sofitel Hotel at the airport tonight and fly out tomorrow at 11:40am London time. I'm about to enjoy a fabulous shower and hop in this gigantic and fluffy bed for some much needed rest! Talk about culture shock coming from Zambia! Thank you for your prayers as I travel.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

25 Weeks...

Well, today marked my last belly pic from Zambia! It's hard to believe that I arrived at 18 weeks and going home at 25 weeks. Baby has definitely done a lot of growing over here! Today was picture day at camp...all of the kids get their picture taken with their American and Zambian counselors and on Friday they get a certificate with the picture on it. I thought it was only fitting that baby and I had our picture taken today too! I really can't believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Zambia....the time has flown by! Next time I'm in Zambia, I'll have baby Rives (or more like toddler Rives) with me!! I am truly grateful for past 7 1/2 weeks that I have spent here...especially with baby on board. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be pregnant in Africa, but God had different plans! My faith and trust in Him has grown leaps and bounds through this experience. I praise Him everyday for his shield of protection over me and baby. Thank you, Jesus....thank you!

I was certain that I flew out tomorrow (Wednesday), but I was checking my flight itinerary on Monday night and realized that my flight doesn't leave until Thursday morning...pregnancy brain at it's finest! I fly from Lusaka to London...overnight layover in London (in a nice hotel room!)...scheduled to arrive at DFW at 3:40pm on Friday. Please pray for safe travels!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wishing everyone a Happy 4th from Zambia!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays....and here I am again...2 years in a row not in America on the 4th. Last year I was in Turkey....this year in Zambia. I know I shouldn't be complaining...I've been very fortunate to get to travel the world. BUT...I LOVE AMERICA and I love celebrating our great country!! I'm really missing home today. My family...friends...cookouts by the pool...and, of course, the FIREWORKS!!! They are my absolute favorite and I'll definitely be dreaming about them tonight. Happy 4th to all of you back home! Celebrate a little extra for me!

Proud to be an American...and wishing I had a hamburger and sparkler in my hand right now,
Mindy :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Celebrating the first half of the summer...

This week we've had a break week from Camp LIFE. We've been busy doing other ministry projects and preparing for the second half of the summer. Week 5 of Camp LIFE starts on Monday. There are 8 weeks total. I leave on Wednesday and will be back in Dallas on Friday. Josh is staying until July 30th now....he still has a lot more work to accomplish while he's over here. I'll be sad to go home without him, but I know the time will pass quickly while we're apart. I have a lot to do when I get home! Last weekend we enjoyed a fun dinner out to celebrate the success of the first half of the summer....here is a picture of the staff and 1st half summer staff crew (minus the Knight family who were in Victoria Falls for a little get-a-way). The second half summer staff girls and guys arrived this week. We're ready for week 5!!

If you haven't seen Josh's blog lately, you need to check out his Zambian haircut he got this week!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visiting the Simbya Family...

I just got back from visiting Gertrude's family. They were very grateful that I came and were very excited about the clothes, toiletries and food items that I brought them. There were quite a few people at their house so it was fun meeting some of their family and friends. The family was definitely saddened over the loss of Gertrude. Gertrude's parents were doing well and very thankful for all that Family Legacy has done to support them during this difficult time. I brought them pictures of Gertrude and Junior at Camp LIFE on shoe day and a picture of their family with Josh and I when we took them food last month. They were so very happy about the photos as they don't have any pictures of their family. Unfortunately, Junior, the middle child is sick right now and was sleeping while I was there. Family Legacy is going to try and get him into a Community Resource Center (the ministry would have full time custody of him) so we can make sure that he is getting proper nutrition and taking his meds. We don't want the same thing to happen to him like it did to his big sister. My heart is still so heavy over the loss of sweet Gertrude, but seeing the family today did help with the grieving process tremendously. Please, please keep this family in your prayers....especially for their health and salvation. I prayed over them and their house before I left today. All I can do now is pray....and prayer is a very powerful thing.