December 20, 2011

Did God call Me? (Thoughts from a new MK)

Mommy and Daddy talk about being “called” to go to Africa.  But I am wondering God, did you call me?  I was sad when we had to pack the big yellow truck full of all our things and say goodbye to my neighbor friends.  The plane rides were exciting.  I loved seeing lions just sitting outside our car at the Lion and Cheetah Park.  The car ride through bush and over bumpy dirt roads, slowing for chickens, cows and goats was a thrill.  But now I keep wondering, “when are we going back to home where my toys and my friends are?” 

Mommy talks with me about Abraham and how he went where God “called” him even when he didn’t know where he was going.  We talk about Jonah and when he didn’t obey God “calling” him.  I don’t see any whales around here!  

It’s very hot even at night and we have to sleep under mosquito nets or we’ll get lots of bites.  There are a lot of neat bugs I’ve never seen before, lizards with blue heads and yellow throats, and some really big spiders.  I do like wearing only underwear all day and shorts when I go outside.  I love climbing the “tickle tree” and playing games with Uncle Jon and the staff kids on Fridays.  But sometimes I feel sad because I can only talk to my grandparents on the phone and see pictures of their homes and the fun things I got to do with them.  I miss them and I tell mommy many times that I’m ready to go back home.  I don’t know how long 2 years is.  Did God “call” me to Africa too?

There are many sick kids in the hospital where daddy works.  We are going to sing for them on Christmas Day.  Every time I go outside to play, kids come around and want to play with me and talk to me but I can’t understand what they say.  Maybe God wants me to be a good friend and tell them about Jesus.  So maybe God called me too, because He loves me, He wants me to have many adventures, and learn more about Him.  I want to obey, but it may take a little while for this to feel like home.  Daddy says we are in this together as a family and I know that is true, so yes, I guess God did call me to Africa too, because He called our whole family.

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  ~Joshua 24:15b

*Uncle Jon is a fellow missionary here.  The kids call all the fellow staff aunt and uncle, because we are a family here, in a unique sort of way!
*The tickle tree is a beautiful short tree with sweet smelling flowers.  That is just our nickname for it.

 Beating the heat in our makeshift pools!

Our Christmas branch!

The boys in the "tickle tree".

December 7, 2011

Karanda Pictures

We'd like to share some pictures of Karanda: our home and the hospital.

The Guesthouse (our temporary home)

The front view of the guesthouse with a flamoyant tree in the foreground and a nice little gazebo, to escape from the sun, in the back. 

This is the guesthouse livingroom. You can see the deep freeze in the back where we store a lot of our groceries each month. It also is very helpful with power outages so food doesn't go bad.
The kitchen with both an electric and gas stove (once again for power outages) and even a microwave!  The silver container by the fridge is our water filter.  The structure on the wall (over the sink) is the water heater for nice piping hot water!

The boys' bedroom with mosquito nets as malaria is a common problem out here at Karanda.  We have enjoyed living in the guesthouse but do look forward to settling into our own home and getting competely unpacked.


Sunday morning church in the chapel on the hospital compound.  We all enjoy the lively singing and clapping.  The entire service is in Shona.

The Hospital

The center courtyard. The Female Ward is on the left, the Pediatric Ward is directly in front and the Outpatient Clinic is on the right. The Male Ward is below the Peds Ward.

The side courtyard with the Maternity Ward on the left and the other side of the Female Ward on the right.
The Female Ward. The hospital's "ICU" consists of the first four beds on the right side.
The main operating room. It is one of three at the hospital. The lights and most of the equipment are relatively modern.

November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We have been in Zimbabwe 2 weeks today.  On Sunday, Nov. 20, we came out to Karanda after having completed a grocery shopping trip to last a month.  Dontie was exhausted after going to a dairy shop (called the Cheeseman), butcher, fruit and veggie mart, and finally a grocery store.  The car was filled to the brim and Dontie hoped she had not underestimated the family needs on her list. 

 Karanda Mission Hospital is 2 ½ hours or 3 ½ hours (depending on rains) out of Harare.  A fellow missionary drove us down a main road, turned off onto a smaller road, then turned again onto a very bumpy road.  Finally we turned once more onto a dirt road that led to a very wide riverbed.  The boys were fascinated with the passage over going through water and up the other side of the riverbed.  In the rains, we have to go an alternate route as the river completely fills and is impassible; thus the extra hour to the journey.  At the top of a small hill sits Karanda Hospital.  Among a vast landscape of thorny bushes and dirt, sits a little semi-green area with brightly colored flamboyant and jacaranda trees.  Welcome to our new home! 

A little gazebo and flamboyant tree outside the guesthouse.

It is really hot here.  Thankfully, the electricity has been more consistent out here, and we have been able to sit in front of fans to find some relief.  Cold showers feel good too!  We’ve had a couple of days of short soft rains and we are praying along with the surrounding villagers for more drenching rains.

Christopher is learning the ins and outs of the hospital as well as trying to learn names of the staff.  There is a lot to do and people come all the way from Harare to be treated at Karanda because of its care.  Dontie and the boys have been discovering all kinds of interesting creatures that live in and around the guesthouse (where we are staying until our house is ready).  These include various large spiders, gekos, blueheaded lizards, storks (in a tree right outside our door), guinea fowl, and goats.

The boys outside in Harare with their new sunhats!

Our presence is certainly known by all.  We pray that it is a presence that brings glory to God.  Please continue to pray for our nesting and adjusting.  We are thankful for all of you who make it possible to do what we are doing!  Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2011

We are in Zimbobswe!

After 47 hours of weary travel, we arrived in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Thank you for your many prayers.  Our trip was fortunately, uneventful and ALL 13 bags arrived unscathed!  It took about half an hour to get our VISAs and collect our luggage. We were then escorted right through customs without even being checked (that’s amazing). The boys were exhausted (as were we) and had reached the ends of their ropes by the time we arrived.  But in the van heading to the guest house in Harare, they seemed to perk back up as they took in all the scenes around them: people carrying things on their heads, animals and trash by the road, different trees with beautiful flowers on them, and yes, they even had diggers and dump trucks working on the sides of the road here too!  As we arrived at the gate to the TEAM compound, where we will be temporarily staying for orientation, little Christopher leaned out the window yelling to some Africans, “Hello everyone, my name is Christopher!” Whatever our weary minds were thinking, this little burst of excitement put our minds back in the right place. 

We were greeted by no electricity, and have had it on only at nights (after we are in bed) and then it goes off again when we wake up.  Welcome to Africa!  It is VERY hot here, even at night. The heat is the biggest adjustment we are currently trying to cope with.  We are meeting with different people each day to learn things about the Shona culture and language.  Please continue to pray for our adjustment and health, especially as we head out to Karanda at the beginning of next week.  They say it is even hotter there!  This Friday we will get to be a part of the Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution to street kids here in Harare.  We are thrilled to get to experience this!  We are so grateful for the kind hostess we have here, Sue Rousseau, from TEAM (the organization Karanda Hospital is under).  She has been an enormous blessing to us in these jet-lagged days.  We pray our hearts will join little Christopher’s words as we face each new challenge, “Hello everyone, we are the Kidwells!”

Our tired, tired little boy just couldn't make it a minute longer waiting to board our final flight from Johannesburg to Harare!

October 27, 2011

Packing and Farwells

We have our tickets flying out of Atlanta on November 8th and arriving in Harare on the 10th.  We are traveling via London and Johannesburg, South Africa, which will take a good full 2 days of travel.  In these last weeks in Greenwood, we've been trying to sell our cars, sort what goes with us and what we store, and fitting in a few fun activities with the boys so their world doesn't feel completely turned upsidedown! 

Little Christopher turned 4, so we had some buddies come over to help celebrate:

We carved our pumpkin and toasted and ate our seeds:

Please keep us in your prayers as we have a long time of travel and then a quick time to adjust and begin making our home.  Pray that we will be flexible and patient with one another as we all go through this transition time in various manners.  Next post we'll be in Zimbabwe!

October 9, 2011

His Timing

Welcome to our blog about the adventures God has in store for us over the next couple of years.  Our family is headed to Karanda Mission Hospital, in northern Zimbabwe.  We have been "headed" to Zimbabwe for several months now, but one thing or another has prevented our departure.  Selling our house was a large hurdle about which many people have joined us in prayer.  We have tried to seek God's best and finally felt He was leading us to lease our home.  Now after several months of showings, and much prayer, we finally have a renter!  We trust that there are reasons why God is having us leave now and not when we had first intended.  His timing is always perfect.  Now we are in the throws of packing, storing, and preparing ourselves to leave the second week of November.  If you are one of our prayer supporters, this is the time we need to be bathed in prayer as we go through the next several months of transitions and trials.  We have our work cut out for us as we land, try to quickly learn about the culture and language (Shona), and create a new home for our family.  So in the words of Little Christopher (our 4 year old), "we are off to Zimbobsway!"

The boys on one of our 10 pieces of luggage