Thursday
Sep112014

Continuing Education

         For years our staff in Zambia have always loved any books or manuals I can get them that helps them do their jobs better.  I love taking over Bible Studies, books and sermons on all sorts of topics such as depression, anger, loss, grieving, healing from physical or sexual abuse, how to work with children who have been abused etc... Unfortunately in Zambia those resources are not available, it is something that we take for granted in America.

      This year in an effort to help us grow and have deeper of an impression Arise Africa has decided to go more in depth in educating our staff on how to do their jobs to have the biggest imapct.  Even though food, shelter, and education is at the top of our list to help these kids, the bottom line is we want to impact their hearts and teach them about the Lord's love for them.  If we aren't training our staff how to work with children in really difficult situations, than we aren't working to our maximum ability.

      Furthermore, we have started the Arise Home and thrown children in a living situation they have never experienced before.  They came from living on the streets, living with distant relatives who didn't care for them, and their lives have had major trauma and abandonment.  The transition to living in our home isn't easy, and they had to learn the basics of living.  They didn't know how to use running water in a home and the toilets were new.  Figuring out what goes in a refrigerator was a new concept.  Everything was new to them.  Imagine how hard the change was for the kids in the home, and now imagine how hard the jobs are of our house moms!  They are helping 10 kids figure all of this out!  They are helping with school work, and cooking, and dealing with every single part of that child's life - times ten!   It isn't fair for Arise Africa to not fully equip and train our house moms to know how to deal emotionally with children they work with.

      Arise Africa has partnered up with a Dallas Counseling practice, Nikao,

 

to work on manuals and plan a training workshop for our staff.  Nikao has been very very gracious with us in this process and their counselors are working hard to make manuals that our Zambia staff can use for many years down the road.  We are meeting regularly as these manuals are made and it is awesome to see how in tune Nikao is to learning about the culture in Zambia and the children we work with.  They want to know about our staff and working situations and every aspect of how we operate and reach out to children in Zambia.  This is a daunting project that they have fully embraced. 

        We are also planning to go to Zambia in 2015 for a week of training with three Nikao counselors to fully educate our staff.  Words cannot express the excitement that both our Zambian staff and myself has over this!  This will not only help us minister and help reach kids on a deeper level, but also help Arise Africa as a ministry work together and grow in a positive and healthy manner. I just hope Nikao knows that they are getting themselves into when you put all Arise Africa staff in one room together! 

 

In Him,

Alissa

 

Thursday
Jul312014

Megan Megan she's our girl!

Today is a very special day for Arise Africa because we are celebrating Megan's Birthday!

 Happy Birthday Megan!

For those of you who haven't been to Zambia you might not know Megan.  Megan is our (ONLY!) American living in Zambia and does just about everything you can imagine on the ground.  From chasing kids down who are in trouble to handling finances and running mission trips she can do it all.  If you were stranded on an island you would want Megan with you because she has done just about everything you could ever need to do already!  (and she is a good cook) Megan has lived in Zambia for 8 years and has been one of my best friends since 2008.

I am not sure Arise Africa would still be in existence without Megan.  YEARS ago as I dreamed about Arise Africa and when we started, Megan was my "sounding board."  She worked for another ministry at the time and we met through friends in Zambia and always chatted about my ideas.  As time went by and I dreamed and bounced thoughts off Megan, she was always quick to give advice and listen, two things I desperately needed.

Fast forward a few years and Arise Africa was up and running and Megan was ready for a new ministry to call "home."  She threw out the idea on a visit to see me in Dallas and as she remembers we were standing in my garage at the time.  I really didn't know what I was doing when I said "yes" that Arise Africa would love Megan to come on board and the massive impact it would have.  There is NO way we would have grown or accomplished so much in such short time without Megan!  The only way this story could have happened was through the Lord.  Without him how does a girl from Chicago even get along with a girl from Texas?!  The blessing Megan has been on Arise Africa is immeasurable.  And personally the blessing and advice and support she has been for me as a friend is priceless. 

Megan puts up with alot from me and I don't deny that.  Heck she is from Chicago and deals with Texans on every single mission trip.  She might make fun of how we have everything monogrammed and are obsessed with Texas A&M and love fireworks and guns and Mexican food but we know she loves us deep down.  Megan deals with me when I am stressed on the phone or have an absolute crazy idea.  She has a way of telling me "no" in a way I need to hear.  She will do anything when I ask her even as far away as I am.  She is ALWAYS looking out for others and willing to serve. 

Megan is willing to do the trust fall with kids she barley knows when she is deathly afraid of heights:

She is the one that thinks up all the kids Bible Camp Curriculum and comes up with fun ideas like dressing kids up in aluminum foil as soldiers of the Lord:

God put a friend in my life when I needed one most.  As I started out on this Arise Africa "venture" I never dreamed it would turn into the ministry it is today.  And there is no doubt the Lord had a plan for both Megan and I and all who have been involved.  God has used Megan within Arise Africa in ways we all can tangibly see on earth, just imagine what it looks like from heaven!

Megan as you celebrate your birthday I hope you know how much you are loved by ALL of us within Arise Africa.  There is no doubt that hundreds of children are being helped daily because of your efforts.  You are selfless, loving, motherly, a best friend to many, a servant, a Christ follower, a leader, a great sister, a great aunt, a great daughter, and an incredible person on this earth.  You make Arise Africa what it is and we thank you for ALL you do in the Lord's name !  WE LOVE YOU MEGAN!

Love,

Alissa and ALL of Arise Africa staff and Arise Home Children

Thursday
Jul312014

Ebola Outbreak

In the past week I have received quite a few emails from individuals asking about the Ebola virus and if it is affecting Arise Africa.  We currently (Thank the Lord) are nowhere near the Ebola outbreak.  In fact, from what I have heard it isn't being discussed much in Zambia mainly because most people don't know it is going on in Western Africa due to no news and lack of communication. 

Our staff however does and Arise Africa is watching the outbreak very very closely. 

Here is a map to help you understand where the outbreak is compared to where Zambia is:

Although we currently are not in harms way it hurts us so much to see this outbreak happening. And it is scary enough even as far away as it is!  It hits close to home for us in that the community of Americans serving in Africa is close knit and we know and have ties to both US aid workers who have contracted the disease while working to help stop the spreading. You can read more about them here.

We ask you to join us in praying very hard for this disease to be stopped and controlled.  Pray for the countries in direct warfare with Ebola right now.  Pray hard for there to be supplies and clinics to not be overwhelmed.  Pray for the people of that country to become educated as fast as possible in understanding how this is spread and the precautions that need to take place.  Pray for Dr. Brantley and Nancy Writebol to recover and for their families right now during this difficult time.  Pray for the aid organizations who are trying to evacuate their missionaries and aid workers before they are affected.   (Samaratians Purse, Serving In Mission, etc...)  Pray for those who have Ebola and are in isolation that they feel comfort from the Lord. 

We will continue to monitor Ebola in West Africa and try to be as ready as possible if it were to spread towards Zambia.

I can't imagine if this were happening in Zambia right now what we would be doing.  I know we would be in trouble and I ask you to pray for all the aid organizations and people who are trying to help in these affected countries.  They need our prayers right now! 

 In Him,

Alissa

Thursday
Jul032014

Alissa's Turn...

Hey everyone!  Wow what a month in Zambia we had!  I wanted to write a blog post of my own since the interns took control of the blog for June which was a major help to me. 

So this blog post is all about our interns. ha ha ha I bet they are scared right now reading this!

I was hesitant to start the Arise Africa intern program because of concern of taking care of college kids for a long period of time in Zambia.   Boy I am so glad I took the challenge and had the interns with us this month. It was amazing!  They were awesome!

From leaving DFW airport with them over a month ago to now it has been such a blessing in my life and Arise Africa's.  We couldn't have had a better group of girls to do life with over there.  Although they didn't know one another beforehand (or very little) they all instantly bonded and were willing to work together for anything.  They fought through not feeling great at times, anxiety, pressure, fear, confusion, and many other things to work to selflessly and hard for those around them. 

So here is MY list of lessons learned from having interns in Africa:

1.  Malaria medicine can cause anxiety, take someone off of it if this or any other weird things are happening to them!

2.  Taylor Swift is apparently a really good song to sing to while on a road trip in the middle of the African bush

3.  Leggings and super big extra large t-shirts are the total fashion statement right now. In fact that is all you need in your wardrobe.

4.  If interns live on Nutella and coke and goldfish for the entire month, they will be fine!

5. Don't forget to remind them when going to Vic Falls and on the game drive that large African men wanting to take them on a walk to see rhinos with AR 15 rifles is actually normal and nothing to be concerned about. 

6.  Explain on day 1 that all water sitting in compounds could be sewage and to avoid it

7.  Disney Movies are great, no matter what age you are

8.  Everyone can all talk at once and somehow hear every conversation happening and still keep talking

9.  They are really good at organizing donations and doing child sponsorship letters

10.  They will make friends with everyone

11.  Having 5 American college girls in your car in Africa draws attention and you get to be known around town as "The Landcruiser with the Texas A&M bumper sticker and hot girls."

12.  Do not trust them with Remy the night guard

13.  They can't cook at the beginning of the month, but they will learn and take care of themselves!

14.  They are willing to help in any way, including manual labor, holding babies that pee on you, coralling kids at Bible camp, cooking and many other things.

15.  Hand them over to your Zambian staff at 6AM and say good luck and don't worry about them until night.  They will manage the mini busses, compounds, and everything else just fine!

16.  When you ask them if they have talked ot their parents back home and they say no but the parents are fine with that, the parents are actually not fine with that and I should expect an email!

18. They are pretty good drivers, even in Zambia!

19.  You can beat them in a NERTZ card game any day so make sure you make them do ridiculous things for losing.

20.  They have hearts of gold and are great Godly girls!!

 

I am so thankful for their help with our staff and Bible camps and everything else.  We were able to accomplish so much this month and the interns were the reason why!  I had so much fun seeing the girls work in new environments and trust the Lord on a daily basis.  I loved watching the Lord's work be done through them.  They were calm and patient when needed and were willing to work so hard. 

To our 2014 summer interns, you guys did GREAT!  You have no idea how much God used you this past month and how thankful we are.  God has a great plan for each of your lives and has uniquely made you, just hold on and keep going after Him! We love you and Arise Africa is always here for you! Don't be a stranger!

Oh yea and I've paid for Millie/Annie the dog to be shipped to America, who wants her?!

In Him,

Alissa

 

Monday
Jun302014

Final Words from your favorite interns

Hey y’all!

 

Wow, we cannot believe that the end of the month is here! It’s been an incredible month and it is very bittersweet to say goodbye to the country and people we love so much. We have experienced and learned lessons that we will never forget. Thank you to everyone who supports Arise Africa; whether it’s through the child sponsorship program or other ways, we have gotten to see firsthand the impact Arise is making here in Zambia. We have seen God work in powerful ways and have experienced His abundant faithfulness during our time here. As this is our last blog post, here are a couple of lists that we wanted to pass on to our favorite audience!

 

Funniest moments of the month:

-Paying our security guard, Remi, to fill up water balloons for bible camp

-When Ellen and Hailey lost a bet and had to go across the cold pool in a raft

-Laine telling a little boy she likes his pants… which means underwear in Africa… oops!

-Eating the entire supply of guacamole at Taco Hut

-Successfully putting all 5 interns in hammocks in one tree

-Hailey touching the electric fence

 

Things the 2015 Interns should do to prepare:

-Learn how to text on a Nokia 80’s phone

-Accept taking cold showers

-Start liking Coke

-Accept limited resources in the grocery stores

-Don’t bother bringing a watch, you’re on Zambian time

-Hope you like eggs…

-To prepare for your first mini bus experience

a. don’t shower for a week

b. cram yourself in a cardboard box

c. blast reggae

-Find the dullest knife you can and start cutting vegetables with it

-Start stirring cement to get used to stirring nshima

-Get used to turning down marriage proposals

-When someone tells you the price of something immediately start bargaining from half that price

-DON’T IGNORE ALISSA’S EMAILS ABOUT WINTER WEATHER. IT IS REAL.

-Avoid eye contact with homeless men at your car window

-Download the sound of a rooster and listen to it every hour of the day

-Look up the word “muzungu”…. that’s your new name

 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers! In the wise words of one of our favorite movies, aka Frozen: “OKaaaayyy bye”.

The Summer 2014 Interns