Friday, December 4, 2009

Any Saturday we are in Bamenda, the Jacksons and I drive over to a Cameroonian boarding school about 45 minutes away from our house to host a Bible Club for the kids who live there. These kids are so excited to see us. Their eyes shine with delight as we greet them, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such huge smiles as the ones these kids have on their faces. We basically do the same Bible Club as the one we do with our neighborhood kids. We sing songs, I tell a story, we talk about the story, and we give them a page to color. The main differences are that instead of sitting on rugs, most of these kids are sitting in wheelchairs, instead of jumping up and down to the songs, many of them can only raise their hands or just their voices to the songs. And instead of just telling the story with my voice, I am translating the story into sign language as I talk. The school is a boarding school for handicapped children.

The first time I started signing as I told the Bible story, one of the deaf kids, Jallal, opened his eyes really wide in shock, then started making happy noises and nodding his head up and down. He was my most active participant in the post-story discussion! I got to sign with him a few weeks later, and he introduced me to a deaf friend of his who works near the school. I then got to help Jallal share the gospel with his friend! It is so amazing how God prepares us for the work he has for us, even in something as seemingly insignificant as taking American Sign Language as my foreign language in college. It has opened up doors to forming relationships that I never would have dreamed of!

Last week I especially saw God making these kids more comfortable with us. I had them help me act out a skit of the Good Samaritan, and they loved it! It was a hilarious commotion of redirecting the Samaritan to come on after the religious leaders walk by, trying to prevent the religious leaders from rolling over the injured man with their wheelchairs, helping the fallen innkeeper back up on his walker, concentrating on using simple language to tell the story, and translating it into sign language at the same time.

Wow. As I write this, I realize how good and gracious God is to work within so much chaos! Because of their active (and unique) participation in the story, I saw some of the older kids really opening up and being more willing to participate during the post-story discussion. I could tell that they were really thinking about how God wants us to treat our enemies.

A few weeks ago, we were able to go to the handicapped school for their Sunday morning church service, and it was so beautiful to see these children, who have such intense personal struggles, praising God with everything they have. The kids whose legs are crippled were using their hands to beat out drum rhythms, those who are paralyzed from the neck down were lifting up their heads and voices in praise to God, and the down-syndrome and deaf kids were leading the dancing in the front of the room. They were belting out their thanks to God for being so good to them and for showing them His grace. It was so humbling. How can I not praise God with every fiber of my healthy body when these kids, who, from a worldly perspective, have every right to be mad at God for their disabilities, are crying out glory and honor to God for his goodness?

Every time we have gone, I have been so astounded to see how these children can be so joyful as well as so caring of each other. The kids who can walk push around the children in wheelchairs, and a girl with no arms sits on the table and helps other kids by using her toes. I have seen her feeding paralyzed kids and helping them color their pictures! She’s better at drawing and coloring with her feet than I am with my hands!

It is so humbling yet exciting to be used by God to show and speak love and truth to these kids. What a privilege to develop relationships with them and to tell them about who God is and what He has done for them, especially for the deaf kids, who might not have any other way of learning about Jesus.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For the Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Such as These

It’s Wednesday, and the Jackson girls and I are frantically cleaning up our house, moving chairs around, and laying mats on the floor. As soon as we give the word, about thirty neighborhood kids stream in our front yard, then immediately commence playing with the scooters, balls, sidewalk chalk, and swinging from our guava tree. We then let them in to pick what books they want to borrow from our “library” for the week.

After everyone is glowing with excitement about their new books, we start Bible Club with singing, much to the delight of the little kids, who start jumping all around, screaming out the words. My favorite is “Jesus is Our Winner-man,” because it sounds like they’re saying, “Jesus is our wiener-man!” Apparently, Jesus is not only our Savior, but also the hot-dog hero. J After praising Jesus, I tell them a Bible story, usually accompanied by a pantomime skit performed by the older kids, we talk about what the story means, and then they get a page to color. They love showing off their coloring page to anyone who will look and praise their decorative and delightful scribbles. I often hear a chorus of “Auntie Catherine [pronounced “Catreen”]! Look!” echoing throughout the room.

I love Bible Club, because I love seeing the excitement these kids have about everything, especially Jesus. It has been such a wonderful experience to share Jesus with these kids, because as I teach them about what Jesus has done for them, I get to see their acceptance of it, as well as develop a deeper understanding for myself of just how wonderful God is. I think that is one of the main things God has been teaching me since being here: After filling my head with theology and philosophy at college, then filling my life with new experiences, I am better equipped to go back to the basics of who God is and what He has done for me. I have developed a greater appreciation for the Gospel and a deeper love for God. It helps that since most of the kids speak Pidgin, which is a simplified dialect of English, I must really focus on making the lessons simple and direct, so they can understand.

Bible Club is not the only children’s ministry in which I am involved. A few weeks ago, one of our Bible Club kids looked up at me and declared, “Auntie, I want you to teach me to read. And my small brother wants you to teach him too.” Another older kid overheard this statement, and echoed his request. Thus began Thursday reading classes. Every Thursday at 3:00, about seven neighborhood kids come over to hear a story, learn a letter of the alphabet, and play some letter and sound games. It astounds me that I kids as old as nine-years-old need instruction in basic phonics. But they are eager to learn, and they are committed to coming every week and doing the homework I give them.

At 4:00, I send the small kids home and my second group of kids comes over for more advanced word-decoding skill instruction. These kids range from ten to fourteen. I read them part of a chapter book and give them some comprehension instruction, then teach them about word parts so they can figure out how to read long, difficult words. I also just started teaching them some spelling rules, at their insistent request. They love working on the worksheet pages I give them, and these kids are just as committed to coming and working hard as my younger kids. I am really enjoying getting to know these kids in a small-group context.

It has been an interesting challenge to balance the different skill levels of all my students, since I’m only teaching two classes. Sometimes I get discouraged at seeing how much help they need in order to be reading at their grade level. But then I remember that any instruction I give helps them immensely, and I get excited thinking about how specifically God has prepared me to serve these kids in this way. Not only do I have a teaching credential, but I also taught reading classes all summer, right before I came here! Wow, God certainly knows what he is doing. I am excited to watch how God uses these classes to help improve their skills as well as build up the relationships I have with them.


*God has led me to some wonderful ministries here in Bamenda. I get to be a part of God’s kingdom work, and do what I love to do!

*Even when the needs of these kids discourage me, I know that God has equipped me for what he has called me to do.

*We are really seeing God working on the hearts of the kids who come to our house regularly.

Prayer Requests:

*That God would continue to provide me with the stamina and creativity to continue giving my all to everything He has called me to do here, even when I am tired or discouraged.

*That God would continue to keep our whole household unified and focused on God, so as to be the best witness to all the people who come into our home.

*That God would continue to bless the families of the Cameroonian girls who live with us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A "Typical" Day in the Jackson Village

6:45 I wake up to the sound of my alarm, as well as the roosters and babies next door. I roll out of bed, shake the ants out of my clothes, and get ready for the day.

7:10 I stumble into the kitchen, groping for the coffee, while avoiding opening up any drawers that the mouse likes to jump out of.

7:15 Breakfast. We watch as Chris mercilessly pesters Lum in an attempt to see if she is awake. 80% chance he gets her to smile.

8:00 Doorbell rings. It’s Lillian and Pa, our Cameroonian househelp (it’s culturally very common to have Cameroonians work for people in their home. It’s actually a very respected position). Lillian and Pa are amazing—Pa is friendly in a shy way, and he can get anything spotlessly clean! Lillian is sweet, a master seamstress, and an amazing cook. I love helping her in the kitchen.

8:15 School starts. I turn on the energy to keep Katelyn and Lum engaged. I often resort to wild antics like acting out vocabulary words, performing “stick figure dramatizations” on the whiteboard for history lessons, giving poetry-writing assignments about monkeys saving the world, and using numerous “Gilmore Girl” references to help explain concepts in any subject. I really enjoy teaching the girls. They are enthusiastic, quick learners, and we have a great time together.

9:00 Doorbell rings. Usually it’s someone who comes to work with Chris or Karen.

10:15 Break time. We spend most of our break playing with the new kitty.

11:45 Doorbell rings. We often have visitors come for lunch.

12:00 Cameroonian lunch on the veranda! Time to get excited about almost anything Lillian cooks. The peanut stew and curry rice are my favorite. But I am still getting used to eru, a bitter leaf that looks like grass, and achu, which, honestly, makes me gag.

12:30 We go back to the dining room to finish school, and then I finish prepping for the next day while Katelyn and Lum do homework.

3:30 Doorbell rings. Fadi’s home from school.

3:45 Doorbell rings. The person/people waiting at the gate depends on the day:

Monday: Nothing’s planned for this afternoon, so sometimes a friend of Katelyn, Lum, and Fadi comes over, or Katelyn and I go for a horse ride to some waterfalls. Dreams really do come true!

Tuesday: Elizabeth, a neighborhood high school girl I tutor, is the doorbell-ringer.

Wednesday: Every other week, hoards of neighborhood kids are at the gate, jumping up and down in excitement for Bible Club. The other weeks, a group of ten to fourteen-year-olds comes over for Bible Study. Those two activities need a blog post all of its own. More to come soon…

Thursday: Two sets of neighborhood kids come over for the reading classes I just started. I’m teaching the alphabet to kids as young as six and as old as nine, and I’m teaching word-decoding skills to kids between the ages of eleven and sixteen. I just finished my second week of teaching them, and I love it, but seeing their lack of reading skills breaks my heart at the same time. More on that to come, as well.

Friday: Nothing on the schedule, so we can usually expect the girls’ friends to come over, or Katelyn and I go for a horse ride, or we just watch a movie to wind down from the week.

5:30 All the kids leave, and we start evening chores and dinner prep. Usually one or more of the girls in our house is belting out Taylor Swift or Mandy Moore songs. But this is not just confined to the evenings. The lyrics of “You Belong With Me” or “Only Yours” float through the house at any given time of day. J

6:00 Doorbell rings. Caroline and Sherry, our neighbors who also work with Wycliffe, come over for dinner.

6:30 Dinner. Last week, we had a Japanese-Cameroonian meal to go with our unit on Japan. Horray for sushi with baked fish, rolled in cabbage! Regardless of the meal, we're usually rolling our eyes at Chris’ bad puns. Example: “Tomorrow I’m going to Bafut. But I can’t get there by foot. Ahahaha!” Our dinners are frequently filled with just as much laughing as eating.

7:30 We clean up dinner, wash the dishes, and set the mouse trap—again. I’m convinced that our kitchen mouse has a higher IQ than most. He’s evaded capture way too many times to be a normal mouse.

8:00 I help Fadi with her homework while Chris and Karen read aloud to Katelyn and Lum, then Caroline and Sherry hike back to their house.

9:00 All the Jacksons go to bed, and I start entertaining myself with e-mail, Facebook, and any book I can lay my hands on. I think I’ve read a couple thousand pages since getting here. I love it! My late evenings are filled with adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, drama from the English town of Middlemarch, intrigue with Amelia Peabody in the pyramids of Egypt, and the tragic family dynamics of the Karamazov family.

10:30 Lights out. During the rainy season I get to fall asleep to the sound of rain on our tin roof, and now, during the newly begun dry season, I am lulled to sleep by the croaks of frogs and the chirps of crickets.


--School with the girls is going really well

--We’re finally getting settled in our weekly ministries, and I’m really excited about the privilege of partnering with God in the Bible Club, Bible Study, and Reading Class ministries!

Prayer Requests:

--Continued wisdom as I teach Katelyn and Lum and lead the Bible Club and Reading Classes.

--That God would constantly remind me that He is sufficient, and He has equipped me for everything He is calling me to do, even when I get discouraged by the huge needs of this community.

--That God would bless the families of both Cameroonian girls who live with us.

Friday, October 16, 2009

…And Then It Rained

The water pipes that brought water to the Jacksons’ house had been broken for several weeks before I arrived in Bamenda. Fortunately, it was rainy season, so the rain kept the water tanks full, and it didn’t really affect our lives for a while. However, two weeks ago, it looked like the dry season has begun. Each day without rain we took shorter showers, dealt with less water pressure, and lived by the rule, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Chris kept trying to get the people in charge of fixing the pipes to actually do their job, but there was not much progress.

Then, Friday October 2, we turned on the faucet, and nothing came out. The next day, we were expecting a group of seven guests who were going to stay with us for the week (it was our October Break), increasing the number of people in our house to thirteen (not counting house-help and visitors), and we had no water.

All day Friday, Chris continued to talk to the people responsible for fixing the pipes, as well as carried out his ingenious plan of hooking up a very long hose to a neighbor’s water tank and refilling our tank. There was still no rain and no pipes, but we had water, at least temporarily!

We didn’t allow the minimal water flow to affect our October Break plans, so Monday, the eight ladies of the house and I went into Bamenda to go shopping. I had so much fun bartering, and I made a few friends with the sellers I bartered with. We finally gathered all our purchases together, braved the Bamenda traffic, stumbled into the house…and then it rained. It rained all night, guaranteeing full water tanks while we waited for the pipes to be fixed! I guess God decided that it wasn’t quite time for the dry season. He is such a faithful provider!

For the next few days, the thirteen of us went on a hike a day, and got soaked every one of those days! Tuesday, we drove up to the Fulani village where we had celebrated Sala, and hiked to the edge of a cliff and to a natural mudslide. On the way back to the village, it started pouring! Wednesday, we hiked to a huge rock formation to have a picnic lunch, and just as we spread out our food, the rain began to fall. Thursday, we hiked through a beautiful tropical jungle to a waterfall, explored for a couple hours, and just as we were about to start heading back to the car, the downpour began. We ended up wading through a creek, for the rains had flooded our trail!

Our adventure group after the hike to the waterfall

Not only did the rains spice up our adventures and give us extra exercise as we tried to outrun the storms, but it kept our water tanks full to the brim! In addition, by the middle of the week, all the new water pipes had been established and connected! Thank you so much for all your prayers—it was so exciting to see how God uses the intercessions of his people to make his faithfulness and power that much more evident. He showed his abundant provisions to us last week.

October break was a lot of fun. After we wore ourselves out with all our wet adventures, I got to introduce all the girls to the wonders of the Gilmore Girls show, and we had a Gilmore Girls marathon for 4 days straight! During our endless hours with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, we got our hair braided, our toenails painted, and our energy renewed. It was so enjoyable to slow life down for a while and to spend some time with Karissa, who’s usually at school in Yaounde, and get to know the Naines, who were visiting from Yaounde for the week.

Gabby, me, Katelyn, Karissa, and Lum after we got our hair braided. :)

For a photo story of the first part of our week, you can go to this link:


--The obvious one: we have water! Praise the Lord for providing for our every basic needs

--A fun, restful break

--Feeling loved and accepted by the whole Jackson clan

--Katelyn and Lum enjoy reading more than ever before! Reading is their favorite part of the school day, and Katelyn is reading a book that’s not a school book, which is a huge accomplishment!

Prayer Requests:

--Continued wisdom regarding teaching Katelyn and Lum—I want to maintain their love of learning, increase their skills and knowledge, as well as be a good role model outside of school.

--Restful sleep—I’ve been having some trouble with disturbing dreams lately, which throws me off when I’m trying to wake up and start my day with joy.

I am so grateful for all of you, and am praying for you as well. May you each continue living in faith of God’s provision and steadfast love. May you be content in all circumstances, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barka de Sala!

I joined the circle on the mud floor of the hut, peering at the bowl that was passed to me and straining in the dim light of the lantern to see what the bowl contained. It looked like a white blob resting in a mucus-like substance. I searched around the floor for my silverware, and heard a voice in the dark inform me, "You eat it with your hands." In disbelief, I looked again at my bowl, reached in, and pulled off a piece of the blob. I struggled to hold onto it as I tried to scoop up some of the sauce with it, but the now-slippery blob refused to stay in my hand! Karen explained, "Use your hand as a spoon and just scoop it all up at once." I boldly dunked my hand in the soup to attempt this method, but to no avail. I finally was able to shovel the meal into my mouth, but I was obviously the last one done. The other missionaries around the circle laughed at my awkward situation, exclaiming, "So much for a smooth cultural transition!" and "Her first real African meal, and it had to be corn fufu and okra soup, in the dark, with no silverware!"

Yes, so much for a smooth transition. But I thoroughly enjoyed the experience! I love trying new things, even if it means scooping up a snotty blob into my mouth for sustenance. Fortunately for my sense of adventure (but unfortunately to my tired and jet-lagged body), the whole weekend was full of new experiences! The Jacksons and I were spending the weekend in a village of Fulani people, to join with them in their celebration of Sala, the holiday at the end of Ramadan. (Because of our slow internet, I couldn't upload pictures of the weekend. But I did manage to get pics up in a facebook album, so you can see highlights of the weekend here:

The night after my "first real African meal," I woke up to the sunrise and the crowing of roosters, and entered a day that included many greetings of "Barka de Sala" ("Happy Sala"--one of the 3 phrases I now know in the Fulanis' language), hiking to the top of a hill with a spectacular view, visiting with the most hospitable and beautiful people I've ever met, and blowing bubbles with the most adorable kids I've ever seen!

The next day was preparation for the Sala celebration. The Fulani women slaved over their "one-burner stove" (a small campfire) in the cookhouse all day, preparing food for the dozens of Fulanis who were celebrating at their compound. I got to go visit other compounds and pass out Sala gifts for the kids--toothbrushes, toothpaste, and crayons. As I met all the different Fulani people, I was astounded at the joy they had in inviting strangers into their home, as well as the sparkling cleanliness of their mud huts! I am sure God truly enjoyed creating these people in all their beauty and hospitality. We even have one of their girls, Fadi, living with us in our house so she can go to school in Bamenda!

To my delight, the Sala festivities often last for more than one day! We feasted and celebrated for two whole days! The second day of the celebration, I got to see a freshly-slaughtered cow be butchered by expert hands, and throughout the day, I got to eat beef from that same cow!! We also all wore traditional Sala clothing, which was a lot of fun. The other thrilling parts of the day were watching a dancing horse show and dancing late into the night! The Fulani actually told me I was a good dancer! Ironically, their dancing consists of bouncing up and down in beat to the unvaried rhythm of the drums, so I didn't need many dancing skills to get that kind of compliment.

The following morning, exhausted from all the feasting and dancing from the night before, the Jacksons and I, along with the other three language workers who were there celebrating with us, wearily gulped down Cameroonian tea, leftover rice and beef, and headed home (for pictures of our home, go here:

Although there were several times during the weekend that I felt overwhelmed by all the people and the cultural experiences, I had a fantastic and extremely memorable time. Since Fadi is now living with us, we will get to visit the village numerous times throughout the next year, which I am really looking forward to doing.

This week, Karen helped me start teaching Katelyn and Lum. I've only had two days of teaching, but I'm really enjoying it so far, and I'm looking forward to bonding with the girls more and learning how to best teach the two of them.

My good health, even after entering a new place and being surrounded by dozens of people all weekend
A smooth and enjoyable transition
New relationships with the Fulani

Prayer Requests:
Continued health and smooth transition
Wisdom and continued excitement for teaching the girls
That God would bless Fadi and her family

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. It has been so wonderful to see God provide in every way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Egg Sandwiches, Djino Soda, and Marriage Proposals

Egg sandwiches, Djino soda, and marriage proposals: only a few of the new aspects of Cameroonian life I have encountered in the last two days. My flights went smoothly and pleasantly, albeit the lack of sleep. I got to sit next to a Russian owner of a fashion business (she was my age), a Texan pastor, a Belgium missionary going back to the Congo, and an American grad student coming to study malaria in Yaounde.

The Jacksons (along with the humidity of the rain forest) were waiting to greet me as I emerged from the last plane into the Yaounde airport. They drove me back to the Cameroon Training Center/Rainforest International School, and on the way back I was met with my first waves of sights, sounds, and smells of Cameroon. Yaounde is a very busy city, with people walking and working all over the edge of the road. There are no lanes on the road, and cars are veering around people and other cars constantly, with lots of horns honking and French phrases darting through the air. To add to the visual stimulation, all the booths, shops, and restaurants are right on the edge of the road, with beautifully lush vegetation filling in all the gaps. I couldn’t even talk, I was so focused on taking it all in. It was so different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The closest association I can think to make is that it is slightly similar to Mexico or downtown Los Angeles. The smells are also unique, but again, slightly similar to Mexico or LA. The mixture of burning trash, car exhaust, and body odors gives the air an interesting aroma of smoke and spices.

After picking up Karissa from school, we ate dinner with one of the missionary families, who were delightfully hospitable, and then I crashed back at the CTC apartment where we’re staying for a couple days.

Yesterday, I got to spend the day with Karen and her friend Wendy, who were wonderful about keeping me active and caffeinated, so as to help me recover from jet lag. They introduced me to more of the missionaries at CTC, as well as the school libraries, my first African skirt, yummy egg sandwiches (basically like an omelet in a roll), and my new favorite citric soda, Djino.

Today I got to go shopping in Yaounde with Karen. We went to an amazing warehouse of beautiful African materials, where I got some material to have dresses and skirts made. We also went to a grocery store and bakery, and everywhere we went, Karen would tell me that the French phrases I kept hearing yelled in our direction were marriage proposals or declarations of my whiteness or my beauty. It was a really interesting and exciting shopping trip.

After a quick rest to recover from the excursion, the Jacksons and I went out to a local restaurant, where we had roasted chicken, plantain chips (they tasted kind of like sweet potato fries), and lots of laughs. Tomorrow we leave early to go back to Bamenda, where we’ll prepare to go into the Fulani village for the celebration of the end of Ramadan. I can’t wait to see Kaitlyn, Lum, and the new addition to the family, Fadi.

I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my experiences these first couple days in Cameroon. I really like it so far, but I am still in process of just taking everything in. I’ve posted a few pictures of the landscape outside our CTC apartment, and am looking forward to sharing more photos with you after we get to Bamenda.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers over these last couple days—I know they have made a difference.

Praises: I had a smooth traveling day, and all my luggage arrived safe and sound; it has already been wonderful to be living with the Jacksons; the people here have been very welcoming and hospitable; I haven’t been too exhausted to enjoy my first few days; and God has proven to be faithful to remind me that He is constant, and he has wonderful plans for me here.

Prayer Requests: A safe trip back to Bamenda, continued recovery from jet lag; wisdom next week as I prepare to teach Katelyn and Lum; and continual reminders of God’s presence and good plans, especially as it hits me that I won’t come back to the states for almost a full year (it hasn’t quite sunk in yet).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

After hours of packing, teaching my last classes, and visiting coffee shops and sushi restaurants with my closest friends, I said "Goodbye for now" to La Mirada and "Hello again" to Grass Valley. It was so hard to leave my La Mirada community behind, but it is also so good to be back at my GV home. I am really looking forward to spending the next couple weeks with my Nor Cal friends and family.

This weekend I get to lounge on the deck drinking iced tea and playing card games with my parents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandpa. We'll probably also visit my favorite used bookstore, where I'll let the smell and atmosphere of Ames' Bookstore roll over my senses, logging them away in my memory to keep safe until I'm in Africa, searching for a familiar memory of home. My friend Isaac asked me a few weeks ago what I will miss the most when I'm in Africa, and I have decided that after missing my friends and family the most, I think I will next miss the availability and variety of books I have here. I might need to sacrifice some clothes or other "necessities" in order to fit my favorite books into my luggage. Who needs toothpaste when you have G.K. Chesterton?

Regarding financial preparation, I have seen God abundantly provide in only a few weeks! My tiny home church in Grass Valley, the one I went to since I was five, took an offering for me, and raised enough to cover all of my up-front expenses! Also, right now the monthly pledges add up to about $200/month, which was the minimum we were hoping for. I am so grateful for the Lord's provisions as well as my church family's generosity. It gives me affirmation that living in Africa for a year is the right thing to do. Thank you so much to everyone reading this right now, because this is made possible because of your prayers and your gifts. I am overwhelmed by the encouragement and support you have given me, and can't wait to tell you how God's kingdom will be furthered because of your partnership with me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I wish I was more blogger-savy, but I can't figure out how to attach a word file. So here's my support letter, cut-and-pasted (minus the cool Africa picture, since I couldn't figure that one out, either):

Dearest Friends and Family,

I am so excited to tell you about my upcoming year in Africa and how you can partner with me in this adventure! On September 14th, I will be flying to Cameroon, Africa, where I have the privilege of homeschooling Chris and Karen Jackson’s two seventh grade daughters. The Jacksons are dear friends of mine, and they have been missionaries in Cameroon through Wycliffe Bible Translators for the last fifteen years. I will be living with the Jacksons in Bamenda, a small city that’s a six-hour drive northwest from the capital city of Yaounde.

There are many reasons I am looking forward to going, and they all come back to God’s amazing work in my life and my heart. My passions have been focused on the needs of the inner city for the last several years, so I hadn’t seriously considered overseas missions until I heard from the Jacksons. Though I pursued and received my teaching credential so I could teach in a low-income school in California, God had other plans in mind.

After praying about the Jacksons’ invitation to partner with them in Africa, God brought me to a place where I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my year! I am thrilled to live with the Jacksons and teach their girls, and based on my recent experience teaching reading development in Los Angeles, that excitement is now joined with a strong desire to support what the Jacksons are currently doing in Bamenda. This includes a literacy program for the African children and a children’s ministry training program for the church in Cameroon.

I am also exited to partner with you in this ministry. The most important way you can support me is in prayer. Specific prayer requests are listed on my prayer bookmark. I’ll also be posting updates on my blog,, about my time in Africa and how you can pray for me. Another important way you can support me is to contribute financially. I need $3000 for my plane tickets and other up-front expenses, and I need approximately $500 a month for 10 months for living expenses. I can only raise this money by the grace of God and your generous contributions. Even if you can only give $10 a month, or give a one-time gift, it will help. I encourage you to pray about how God is leading you to support me, and fill out the commitment card enclosed. All your gifts are tax-deductible.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about this next journey of faith in my life and for considering how you can support me.

With love and gratitude,


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This blog will be where I post updates about what's going on in Africa. I'm flying out September 14th, which is only 6 weeks away! Right now I'm finalizing travel plans, and mentally preparing leaving California. I could use all your prayers as I prepare for this transition. I am so excited about this opportunity, but I'm also pretty nervous to leave for a year.

I am trying to figure out how to attach my support letter, so you can learn more about what I'll be doing and why I'm going. If you'd like to give financially to my trip, please send a check to Grace Bible Church, P.O. Box 355 Cedar Ridge, CA 95924. Do not include my name, but put account #006 on the memo line.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support! I'm looking forward to keeping you all up to date on this next journey of my life and my faith.