Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 In Review

Wow, let me first start off by saying that this year has been a banner year in the life and times of One Heart Africa!  We are continually blown away by the things that have happened and wanted to do a quick recap so that we can celebrate 2013's accomplishments and start dreaming about the upcoming year.  Here we gooooo!!

I'm going to call this section: Sweet Stuff that Happened Last Year
January 15 - One Heart Africa (OHA) hired two local mothers as teachers and one young adult to cook lunch for the students at Sharing Hope Preschool.  These ladies previously had no opportunity for employment prior to Sharing Hope.   Now, they are able to provide for their families in a way that betters themselves and others!
January 28 - Sharing Hope Preschool opened its doors to 18 students to provide free, quality education for children ages 4-6(ish).
Sometime in March - OHA purchased a 22-acre piece of land (which we call "the farm") in Siteki, Swaziland.  As of now, the land has been cleared, water lines have been run, and five acres of potatoes are growing! Yeee-haw!
Pictured above are the laborers who helped clear and prepare "the farm" for planting
April 1 - You guys helped us raise $1,800 to bring the story of Licilo and One Heart Africa to life - documentary style.  Thank you thank you thank you!
April 20 - Sharing Hope Preschool became an accredited school in Mozambique. Holla!
May 6 - Alice Lee, a fellow Tennessean studying in Botswana, shared her AMAZING photography skills with us while vising the school in Licilo.  Y'all, just look at how amazing she is! This is only a very small selection of her work.
I know what you're thinking... Yes, she's as sweet as she looks.

This one... You speak my language, Licilo.
Side note: I may or may not have cried a little when I saw these.  Again, amazing. Alice, you are such a blessing!
June (or something like that) - We woke up one day, and suddenly had 40 students in the school.  WHAT? When did that happen? No idea.  I can tell you one thing for sure, though... We were (and still are) ecstatic!
June 20something - We bought a truck! Mancoba (our "feet on the ground" in Swaziland and Mozambique) is now able to transport food and supplies to and from the OHA sites.  AND he doesn't have to take that pesky public transport anymore!
If anyone's been in a 15-passenger van with no air conditioning and 25 other people in the heat of the African summer for an eight hour trip to the neighboring country, you know how big of a deal this is.  If you've never experienced such, put it on your bucket list.  It's something you HAVE to experience at least once in your life.
July - Two brave young travelers ventured with us to South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique to visit the OHA sites and film for the documentary.  While we were there, a new classroom for the school was completed and we were given about four acres in Licilo for farming.  The land was such an unexpected blessing!
The completed, two-classroom school

Look at those sweeties!

Accepting the farm land in Licilo

November 9 - The One Heart Africa Film debuted along with our shiny new website! (You can click on the underlined stuff to check them both out.) Special thanks to Max Mospanyuk of Nine Line Productions for the documentary, Rusty Clanton for the film's music, and Jesse Poteet for the website design! You all are so talented!
December 20 - We [FINALLY] completed and turned in our 501(c)3 application to the IRS.  Now, we wait for our letter of determination.  This application had been a long time coming, and we are so thankful to those who helped us with this process.  We will never be able to express our gratitude!

Yeah, I think it is safe to say that 2013 was good to us.  Holy smokes.  Ryan and I (Anna) can't believe how fast things are growing and how blessed we are to be a part of this journey.  Thank you all for joining us!!! We love you!!! And you should know we don't use that "l" word lightly, either. :)

Now, let's move on to the present.  First of all, can I just tell you how excited I am about this year?  Ryan and I both feel like 2014 holds even more growth for the OHA projects, the organization, our marriage, relationships, contacts, donor base, and beyond.  Here's our goals for the coming year:
1. Increase Sponsorships 
On January 27th, 2014, we will welcome 40 more students into the One Heart Africa/Sharing Hope Preschool family.  WE CAN'T WAIT!!! However, with more students comes more of a cost to keep the school running. So, we're looking for 80 people to "Adopt-a-Student" for $20 a month.  The cost of sponsorship includes the child's food, education costs (teacher's salary, books, writing utensils, etc.), and school uniform.  Would you be willing to commit to $20 a month?  If yes, you can set up your monthly gift through PayPal by clicking "Donate" on the right-hand side of this blog, and then clicking the box under "Make This Recurring (Monthly)".  Rest assured the 100% of your donation goes directly to the sponsorship program!
2. Develop Farms
As stated above, we were incredibly blessed to receive a total of almost 30 acres between Swaziland and Mozambique.  One of our main goals this year is to begin the process of not only planting on this land, but creating sustainability.  Basically, we will use this year to teach, train, and employ local individuals who will eventually have ownership of these projects.  In Licilo, the students will begin to tend after the crops not only to learn how to farm, but also to learn what they can plant and eat for the most nutritional benefit.
In Swaziland, we are planning to build a workshop/apartment to house the farming equipment and to provide accommodation for groups and OHA employed farmers.
3. Assess the Medical Situation More Thoroughly
If you have watched the documentary, you know that the health situation in Licilo is horrible.  At least 1 in 4 locals have HIV, water borne illnesses run rampant, and we are sending kids home daily because of malaria.  The need is great.  Currently, Licilo has a health clinic that is government owned and run.  However, the clinic does not have the capacity to treat even a headache.  In addition, the staff that work at this clinic are very very leery of us and don't want to talk to us about their current state or needs they have.  Please pray that this year would be a year of developing relationships so that we are better able to serve them in the coming years.
4. YOU
We want you to come with us!  Ryan and I were changed forever because of our short-term trips in Africa and are so thankful for the opportunities we had to travel and see things that are mostly depressing, but necessarily challenging.  Have you always wanted to go to Africa?  Make this year YOUR year!  Plus, the cute kids and awesome friends and co-workers we have are incredible.  We would love to introduce you. :)

For more information on the trip or to sign up, click here!

We hope that this blog has encouraged you as much as it has us.  We're truly honored to be a small part of a big plan, and hope that you will join us in the coming year.  So, bring it on, 2014! Let's do this. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Because We Love Them

If I had a dollar for every time Ryan and I get asked the question, "Why do you go to Africa when we have so many people here who need help?" we would never have to fundraise again.  It is the classic inquiry that we can depend on hearing during any speaking arrangement, interview, coffee date, or impromptu conversation we may stumble upon.  The first time I was asked this question, I froze.  So, in order to safe guard myself against such embarrassment I came up with a plan: Rehearsal.  I practiced my answers over and over in my head searching for that perfect "zinger" to speak with such conviction that everyone who hears it weeps and flings roses at me - a practical response for such wisdom.  Here's what I came up with:

Get your tissues ready.
1. They need it more. (Horrible answer)
2. There are opportunities to get help in America (food stamps, gov't housing, disability, unemployment, etc.) 
3. We feel called to Africa. (This answer is often met by confused looks, eye rolls, and "Good for you's") 
4. What if Mother Theresa had not gone to Calcutta, or Lottie Moon to China, or Madonna to....? oh wait. Bad example. JK.

moving on...

5. They need people like me. (Ha!)
6. The Bible tells us to. (True... but it also tells us to "love our neighbors")
7. Telling my life story. Not the best, or most time sensitive option.
8. I mean... The better question is, "Why not Africa?"
9. The Lion King is my favorite movie.
10. Crying.

Profound, right?  Hardly.  I can assure you, no one is going to go home, sell everything they have, and buy a one-way ticket to [insert third-world country of choice here] because of these gut-wrenching answers.

Then, lies creep into my head like...
"These people have lived in grass huts for years - that's just how it is and they're doing just fine.  We don't need to barge in and disrupt their culture or way of life.  I don't want to be 'those white people' who hurt more than they help.  No one cares about your stories. Education isn't necessary if you don't know the difference anyways. You can't do this, you're too young and inexperienced."

And if I were to be completely honest with you, more often than not my answer ends up being a big, ego-crushing

I.  Don't.  Know.


This issue is an ongoing struggle for me. We are currently in the middle of planning a trip to Mozambique with a few others (including a videographer) and the process is not fun.  Plane tickets are ridiculously expensive, I can't find dependable lodging prices, we need to apply for visas soon, I hate fundraising, blah blah blah - problem here problem there - whine whine whine.  I've now started asking myself, "Why Africa? WHYYY MEEE?!" I told you I was whining.

Thank God for my co-workers, though.  They are such an encouragement without even knowing it.  While eating lunch with some staff and volunteers, we were talking about our spouses and the chores each of us take on (or don't).  One man started talking about how much he enjoys serving his wife.  He makes coffee for her in the morning, fixes her lunch, heats her car up when it's cold, irons her clothes, prays with her before work, and does all of this hours before he even has to be awake. When another co-worker asked what she does to deserve such special treatment, his reply was, "Ya know what?  I just really love my wife. It's an honor to be married to her, and that's all there is to it." There were no strings attached. No "because she does this and that for me."  Not even a "because that's what husbands do."  He was compelled to serve because of the pure love that Christ had put in his heart for her. 

Why do I always think that my answers have to be earth-shattering?  That every person I talk to needs to nod their head and say, "Yeah, I totally agree." Or, that there even has to be an answer to begin with? Let's get real here, shall we? 

Here's why Ryan and I wake up every morning thinking of our "Mozambabies," the teachers, their families, Mancoba, and Liclo. Why we sacrifice to send support. Why we would move tomorrow if we were given the chance - We really love these people.  Like really, really, REALLY love these people.  We want them to succeed.  We want the little boys and girls to live past the age of seven and be able to write their names.  We want to see households with moms and dads living without HIV/AIDS. We want them to know the grace, freedom, acceptance, and hope that Jesus brings. And you know why we are able to love them so much?  Because Christ loved us first. That's it.  It is only because He has put that love in our hearts.

Even though this answer doesn't completely satisfy the question, it gives me such encouragement.  I pray that daily we will strive to see others how Christ sees them - as his masterpieces - and that that love within us will leave others questioning. And then, when we are asked the famous question of "Why?" our only response is, "Because we love them."


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Perfect Gift

At this time last year, Ryan and I were preparing for our first African adventure together.  We had put together our flight schedules, packing lists, domestic travel arrangements, and accommodations.  However, we were not quite prepared for the encounters with poverty that we were about to come face-to-face with.  After traveling through Dubai, South Africa, and Swaziland, we finally arrived in Licilo, Mozambique.  We quickly realized that a school, which we had started construction on, was only one item on a long list of basic needs for this community.  They desperately needed access to clean water as well.

Previously, the village had been walking around a mile to fetch dirty, smelly, contaminated water which leads to water-borne illnesses and malnutrition.  To put it into perspective, lets "play pretend" for a minute.  Image that you're at the beach on a hot summer day.  The sand is scorching and you've been sweating all day due to the heat.  Needless to say, you're thirsty.  You hear there's a water fountain nearby, so you start walking. When you finally get there, the water you thought was going to be refreshing, ends up tasting horrible and even makes you sick.  Ridiculous, right? That's exactly what we thought.

Immediately upon returning, we started praying specifically for a well for a few reasons:
  • First: We feel like it is an unnecessary tragedy for people to get sick due a lack of access to clean water, which is a basic need that we take for granted.
  • Second: The school would be incomplete and inefficient without water.
  • Third: Ryan and I are 23 and 22 respectively.  I just graduated from college {Hallelujah!}.  We are certainly not in any financial position to pay for the construction of a well.
 Now, on December 21, 2012, we can confidently say that God is faithful!  We received a donation in October for the entire well project, our partner, Mancoba, bought supplies, construction was started last week, and today the village officially has clean water! YAY! Now, enjoy some pictures.

The well had to be dug by hand and is around 30 meters deep! Those are some brave men, y'all.

In this picture you can see the completed well with the water tank and the completed school in the background.

The women of the village started collecting water immediately.

You can't tell it by their faces, but they're excited - I promise!

Word spreads fast!

Check it out - you can see through the water!

As we enter this Christmas season, it is so easy to get distracted by packed schedules, parties, tacky sweaters, and the "perfect gift."  This is something that I am definitely guilty of.  Let me just encourage you guys... Jesus is better.  His story is SO much better than an iPad (again, guilty). It is better than a fried turkey or cute cards or a game of Dirty Santa.  That's humbling.  God sent His son to be born of ordinary, young, and seemingly unfit parents.  How cool is it that he wants to do great things like that through us? Again, humbling.

A few reminders - we are still accepting applications for the July trip to Mozambique and would love for you to join us!  You can email to request a trip application form or to request more information.  Make sure you "like" our Facebook page for the most recent pictures and updates. Also, our IRS paper work is SO CLOSE to being prepared for filing.  So, that means that in 2013, your donations will be tax deductible! Would you be willing to partner with us in the new year?  We would love to be able to provide more opportunities for this village. 

We want to say a HUGE thanks to all who have prayed along with us, listened to us, and partnered along with us.  Really, we are so thankful for you all.  We hope your holiday season is filled with the hope and joy of Christ!

Peace and Love,
Ryan and Anna Carmichael

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moving Forward

Hello Everyone!

    Here's an update for all of you who have supported this project God has been guiding me and Anna on in Southern Africa. We are still moving forward! Doors are continuing to open and God is shining light on what we need to keep being productive for His people to gain opportunities. With that being said, One Heart Africa is now an official, registered non-profit organization! We are still in the legal process of gaining full 501(c)(3) status, but the process has been started.  We couldn't be more thankful! Anna and I got married 2 months ago which was a huge step in this calling. We are happily and eagerly learning about each other constantly. I am so happy to have a partner like Anna to pursue these goals with. I'll try and break this down into a few different categories of progression.

      Since our last trip in January, the school has been painted, all windows and doors were put in, steps built, separate building for toilet was completed, inside walls plastered, and the entire school has been painted inside and out. We have started a contract with a local carpenter to build all of the desks and chairs out of local wood so that they are strong and durable. Recently, we were blessed with a large donation to start building the well. The well is a huge necessity for life there and we are so happy they will finally have clean water! This water project requires us to purchase a generator since there is no other electricity in the village. To reach the water source, they must dig 60-80 meters which we pray to have this finished within the next month. When we were there last time, some of the teenagers were asking if they could take classes at night after the young ones had class during the day. Many people are eager to learn. So, now we will have a generator to light the building at night. Because of the growing demand for classes, we hope to add more rooms to the school in the future. Though we have plenty of land to expand on, we are continuing to pace ourselves for now until we become more established in this village. 

      A week ago, four students from the University of Botswana visited Licilo with Mancoba as their guide.  We were blessed to have them at the school and to receive an update from them. They lead a VBS-ish program with the kids, painted, and participated in the feeding program.  Here are a few pictures from their visit.

The kids playing "Duck-Duck-Goose" outside of the school

Look how far Sharing Hope has come!

Ashton playing with some children in Licilo

Women of the village preparing food for the feeding program

 They love Mancoba!

The village area surrounding the Sharing Hope School
    Mancoba has been taking some classes for business administration through a school in South Africa. We are very thankful that our partner is stepping into his leadership role gracefully. It has been an honor getting to know him and keeping up with all he is doing to keep us organized. He has gotten us established as a non-profit in Swaziland and created many partnerships for us. There is a local church in Mozambique that said they would go into the village with us to translate to the people there. We are very thankful for this generous resource since we are planning to take a team of about 8 people with us in July 2013. This trip is simply meant to build awareness of the needs these people face and to also build on existing relationships within Licilo. We will be having an informational meeting about our trip to Mozambique on Monday, October 15th. If you would like to attend to rejoice or possibly join the team, email us at either or

      Until our next visit, we are trying to gather enough money ($10,000-$15,000) to buy a vehicle for our organization to transport us all and make our projects come together in a more timely manner. We have been depending on public transport in the past, but if any of you have taken public transportation in Africa before, I'm sure you can see the benefit of having a personal vehicle. It would be much easier to transport a group of Americans and our building supplies into a rural village with our own car. I have been working full time in construction to keep this project funded as Anna is working and finishing up her last semester at Lee University. We raised $1,200 through our wedding registry to get us started on the van, so for now we are just working and continuing to pray for this project. We really want to see these people have the opportunity to learn about Jesus and provide for their families in a safe, economically productive manner. Please join with us in prayer for this project so that we can still be making steps forward and spreading the love that we have been so graciously given to us by our Father.

All the best,
Ryan and Anna Carmichael

P.S. - You can now "like" us on Facebook! You gotta love technology.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sharing Hope

Hello Friends!

Well... We're back from our African Adventure! I am sorry its taken me so long to give an update.  Ryan and I were both almost immediately thrown into a whirlwind of school, work, and life in general when we  got back.  I actually just unpacked a few days ago... a little behind, yes. But, better late than never, right? Right!

We had a great trip and were very encouraged by the things we heard, saw, and experienced while traveling. This might be a little lengthy, but I hope you hang with me.  There is A LOT to cover with such little space! So, with all that said... lets just dive right in!

Before getting to Africa, we had a layover in Dubai for one night.  That place is AWESOME! Everything is so sleek and clean.  Even the train stations are immaculate.  As soon as we arrived in the airport, I had a game plan going in my head.  Get through customs, find a taxi, explain where we were going, don't get lost.  However, as soon as we were in sight of taxis, there was a man approach us and offer us a ride.  My initial reaction: He's going to kidnap us and kill us.  That feeling was further strengthened when he led us to his sparkly infinity SUV with tinted windows.  BUT I was wrong (thankfully) and he was probably the best thing that could have happened to us.  He gave us a tour of the city (we got to see the world's tallest building!) and told us places we needed to hit since we only had a few short hours in Dubai.  Here's a picture of us in front of the Dubai Marina and some camels on the beach. 

Ryan with the train station
After our little middle eastern adventure, we landed in Durban, South Africa where one of Ryan's friends picked us up from the airport.  That night we had a South African style BBQ and rested up for the long ride to Swaziland.  We went to the taxi rink in the morning and found a kombi headed to Manzini.  It felt unreal riding through the mysteriously beautiful African landscapes... I kept having to pinch myself.  Was I really back again? Africa just feels like home.  Let me just paint a picture here: Ryan and I were filthy, drenched in sweat, shoved in the backseat of a non air conditioned van between complete strangers with the sun pounding in on us and the ladies refusing to open the windows for some airflow, but so excited and at peace about the next weeks that it was hard not to laugh at the current situation.  

Manzini is a scary place.  This place is a little notorious for theft and muggings so you can imagine how relieved we were to see Mancoba and the crowd of friends he brought with him.  He took us to Logoba which is the town where he lives and also where we would be staying for the next few days. We stayed with the family who had given Mancoba the land in Mozambique to build the school.  This family is so precious and selfless.  It was an honor to be around such great people in Swaziland. 

Our view from the front porch

Mancoba and Ryan

Education and HIV are huge issues in Swaziland.  While we were there, we were able to feed around 100 children (many of which were orphans) in a nearby town.  One woman in this town, Mage Bhembe (MAH-geh BIM-beh), runs a program where she uses her own money to feed these kids and teach them about the Bible.  They can also play soccer, play, and just be kids.  Mage was expressing to us that these kids are now able to go to school from first to third grade for free.  However, many of them have not had any kind of preschool so they fall behind quickly.  They are also so hungry when they get to school that they can't concentrate, are falling asleep in class, and then failing their exams.  It is her vision to build a preschool in this town and expand the feeding program.  The land has been given to Mage, she just needs to give a cow (yes, this is real life) to secure ownership of it.  We are working with Mancoba in figuring out what our role will be in the building of this school in years to come. 

The children waiting to perform their Bible verses and songs for us

Little ones first! 

Okay... now on to the main point of this here blog: MOZAMBIQUE!
We packed up (again), headed to the taxi rink (again), waited for it to fill up and headed to Maputo! The trip went like this - drive, walk through the border, drive, get to Maputo, exchange money, find another taxi, cram in there with 20 other people, get to another taxi rink to find another taxi going to Macia, wait for it to "fill up" meaning 30 passengers instead of the 15 the van was made to hold, arrive in Macia, eat dinner at bedtime, bathe in bug spray, and go to bed.  Travel days were quite eventful. 

 The next day we picked up building supplies for the school and headed to Licilo which is the village the school is actually in.  Its about a hour away from Macia.  As we pulled up to the school, we could see kids playing in the schoolyard.  My heart skipped a beat.  Yay! I was going to get to play with some sweet little children! Nope - wrong.  They were absolutely terrified of us.  I had to whip out the old camera trick to get them to even come close to me.  But after snapping a few pictures and showing them what they looked like, the kids were less stand-offish. 
They're still scared of me at this point...
...but not anymore!

Sweet Reuben

Mancoba told us a little bit about the village.  The majority of men go to South Africa to work leaving the women and children kind of on their own. When the men do return, they bring back diseases like HIV.  There are a lot of sick kids in this community Literacy is not very present... when I showed the kids my pen to have them write their names they jumped back and looked at it like they had never seen one before.  Of the four teenage boys helping us build, two could write their names. Portuguese, the national language of Mozambique, isn't spoken in this village.  Only the tribal language is known.  Witchcraft is also widely practiced in the area.  In fact, while we were there they were holding some kind of ceremony multiple times a day  two huts down from us.  These people need to know the name of Jesus and the love, hope, and freedom He gives.

In addition to the lack of education, the water in this village is filthy! It is white-ish brown and smells like fish. It is the only water for the whole community and they still have to walk about a mile to get it. What??? They drink this stuff??? Not okay. This conversation just confirmed to us that God had led us in the right direction.  We are where we should be. 

Above is a picture of the school! I know that in the last blog there was a picture of what we thought was the school... we misunderstood.  This is the real school made of real bricks, steel, and tin.  There was still quite a bit of work to get done when we arrived.  The roof needed to be completed, windows installed, floor poured, walls plastered and outhouse dug.  By the time we left, this is what the school looked like! OH! And... we got to name it.  Presenting Sharing Hope School of Licilo

Plaster and Windows Done

Concrete Floor Poured

Outhouse Dug
In addition to working on the school, we also got to feed the village one day.  As I said earlier... these kids are sick and their bellies prove it.  It could be HIV, malnutrition, or a number of other things, but all I know is that I saw the biggest bellies I had ever seen on these precious little kids.  One little girl who was no older than two had stretch marks on her stomach because it was so big.  That's simply not okay with us.  Instead of feeding them lettuce, tomato, and bread that day we were able to give them a more substantial meal of pop (a boiled corn flour mixture) and beans. 

So, what now? I'm home in America. I wake up everyday to a really nice alarm on a really nice phone.  Then I take a hot shower with water that I can drink right out of the faucet and put on really nice clothes to go to my really nice school to learn about really nice and useful things. But I can't get these faces out of my mind.  Everyday I see Reuben's sweet smile and know that it is our responsibility to give him clean water.  I can hear the teenage boys laughing as they try to learn English for the first time and replay their request for night classes so that they can learn in my mind.  Ryan and I are burdened for these people. 

As of about a week ago Mancoba called us to tell us that many of the homes in the village had been destroyed by storms/flooding in the days after we left.  They are actually using the school as shelter while they rebuild.  God's timing never ceases to amaze me.  Yes, Ryan and I certainly feel like we are in this place for a specific reason.  Here are the goals we have for the next year:

- Get clean water to this community!!!!!
- Paint the school orange (to represent Tennessee, of course) and provide the desks, kitchen supplies, chalkboard, curriculum, and school supplies for the students.  
- Purchase a car for Mancoba so that he doesn't have to keep taking buses across the border and can also use it as a taxi service to make money.
- Register the school with the government and get a full-time teacher.
- Officiate ourselves as a non-profit organization
- Have monthly supporters who contribute the the building of the well, furnishing the desks, providing school supplies, etc. 

We could not do this without your prayers and support. To everyone that has prayed, sent money, offered supplies, advice, or encouragement - Seriously, thank you guys SO MUCH from the bottom of our hearts.  We simply cannot do this alone but we know that we can do this.  We were born for this purpose.  We were born to share hope with people who haven't heard the name of Jesus and don't know what it means to be called his child.  

If you would like to commit to being one of the monthly supporters of this project, have connections you think would be useful for the village, or would like more information regarding the school, feel free to contact us at

Until ALL Know,

oh... one more thing.  Ryan is no longer my boyfriend - he's now my fiance! We're getting married August 5 and can't wait! Now.... enjoy some pictures :) 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

To Mozambique or Bust

Hello Friends!

Never in a million years did I think that my life would come to this.  Have I really become a "blogger?"  Is my life really that interesting to type about? Hardly.  But, God has been doing some incredibly crazy, amazing things lately.  So amazing, that I can't shut up about them.

Last fall I packed my backpack and headed off to Kenya for three months.  My team was composed of 11 people (that I had never met before) and I had no idea what we were going to be doing there.  Little did I know, that trip was going to change my life and refine my vision for the future.  Yeah, Kenya was cool.  We saw giraffes and zebras on the side of the road, lived with the Maasai tribe in the bush, saw people being healed as we prayed for them, and got to experience the true meaning of community.  But, it was God's voice that changed the path of my life.  It was there that I really got to worship and listen freely to Him.  He called me out. I knew then that things would never be the same.  My heart would forever be tied to Africa, the people there, and the mission that I had been assigned.  I knew I would be back.

Fast forward a few months to another huge life change.  I started hanging out with this guy named Ryan.  We had known each other since 5th grade and he was actually the one who told me about the organization I went to Kenya with.  Our goals, visions, and passions were ridiculously similar... like creepily similar.  The phrase "meant to be" is a little cheesy for my taste, but we simply couldn't ignore how alike we were.  It was encouraging to be around someone who had experienced some of the same things I had and we decided that it was probably best if we stuck together for a while. 

So now, we come to the whole point of this here blog.  Mozambique.  Ryan was in South Africa and Swaziland for 9 months after we graduated from high school in 2008 with Adventures in Missions (the organization we both went to Africa with).  His group was teaching a Bible study of about 50 boys in a boy's high school in Swaziland where he met a student named Mancoba.  Ryan would tell you that this boy was not normal.  He had a fire and passion for the word of God unlike any of the others.  Mancoba was born into a family that practiced witchcraft (which 80% of Swazis do) and was kicked out of his house at 16 when he became a Christian.  The local church let him stay in an extra room they had available.  When Ryan's team left, they put him in charge of the Bible study.  The next winter, Ryan returned to the school without warning to find over 150 boys attending the Bible study.  God was moving in and through Mancoba and had put a dream on his heart - to go to Mozambique.  Through a series of (again) crazy, awesome events, Ryan and Mancoba have been working together to build a school in the once school-less village of Macia.
The school!

The school has been completed for about 5 months now and has around 30-40 kids attending.  Mancoba has been supplying food, clothing, and building supplies for the community with Ryan's support every month.  The food consists of lettuce, tomato, and bread which can hardly be labeled as a substantial meal.  In three weeks, Ryan and I will be going on a "vision trip" to this village.  Our goals are to assess the needs in Macia.  The school, basic needs of the people there, spiritual need, how many orphans are present, and how we can help educate and provide sustainability are some things we will be evaluating.
The kids holding up their "new" clothes.

The lettuce, tomato, and bread that is considered a meal.

Mancoba (green shirt) handing out bread to the people of Macia.

Our tickets, transportation, lodging, and food for the trip has all been taken care of.  However, we are still trying to raise more funds to give the the school while we are there.  We know for sure that this community is in need of a new roof for the school as it is the rainy season and the current roof has been leaking.  In addition, we would also like to be able to buy school supplies for the students.  Would you pray for us? Would you be willing to give $10-$15 dollars towards supplying substantial food, clothing, and school supplies for these kids? I have included a "Donate" button towards the top right of the page that will allow donations if  you feel like this is something you would like to be involved in.  We do want you to know, however, that your prayers are most valuable to us.

Thank you to all who have prayed, encouraged, bought hats, and simply been great friends and listeners to Ryan and I over the past few months. We are truly blessed to have been raised with incredible people.  Please feel free to ask questions, comment, whatever. We need people like you.

Three weeks.  To Mozambique or Bust!

Much Peace, Love, and Africa