JASON & ERIN STEWART

LilypieExpecting a baby Ticker

Friday, April 29, 2005

Phone call number 3

Hello Friends
I just want to say a big thank you to all of you sending emails, writing comments, and praying for me. Everytime I come to the internet it's like a hug from home. I feel so much love here even being so far away! It's awesome! God is good.

Just a quick blog as I am short on time. Yesterday I recieved call number 3...YES! Although it was 2 am here it was still awesome to talk to people. The 3rd call came c/o International teams. A missionary who just returned was doing a presentation and as part of the evening they feature a special "Live from Rwanda" with yours truly. I was so happy to be involved and to talk about what God has been doing in my life and in Rwanda. I hope that I was helpful!

Alright well that's it for now...time is ticking away.
I love and miss you
Erin
ps. I was talking to a friend today(Fowler) who told me she showed Dale (my vball coach) how to access and read the blog...so a very special "HALLO DALE!" goes out to you coach. Now you just have to figure out how to make comments;)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

BIG steps!

Yesterday I took some major steps here in Rwanda. Jen and I came to town to do internet and then she left for lunch with a friend and I was in the streets of Kigali alone! I was kind of excited to be independent and alone. I easily managed to find myself something to eat and find my way to the bus park. And get on the right bus to meet up with Jen at Marion's (women's shelter type thingy). I was proud of myself and being able to get around even a little bit gave me a lot of confidence. I was even early to the woman's shelter and stopped for a coka (coke) at a near by store. So I sat eat my food, enjoyed some coka and watched a very staticy chanel on TV. I am very happy with how I did.

I am excited for tonight because I will be getting a phone call although at 2am, still cool. I talked about it in my blog yesterday.

Jen and I have been at meetings today. Discussing the different ministries I will be involved in. So far Sundays will be sunday school in the morning and teaching English to children in the afternoon. Tuesdays and thursdays I will be doing a kids type program in the afternoon and Fridays I will be teaching english in the afternoon. So my week is coming together nicely.

I must say that I have enjoy reading the comments so much lately. Vanessa thank you for telling me about your nice shower..grrr;) Oh well I will just go suntan:). Funny Ed that you asked what brings me to Rwanda. Yesterday Jen spoke at Marion's and after the service we sat around talking. Across the room from us a woman held her small child 1-2ish yrs old. I caught the little girls eyes and smiled, she returned the jesture and I waved. She began to wave so hard and kept smiling at me. I went over and held her. Her mother was HIV+, so it is likely that she is too. She was small and light and almost fragile, but had this look. A look I can't explain. Children are incredible and while I was holding her, the answer to that question was so clear. I am here to glorify God through serving these people, through holding a child, through caring for their needs, through loving these people.

Anyways I must be off we have some more meetings. I hope this blog finds you well.
Love, Erin
"God is love."
check out 1 John 4

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Banter is great!

Can I just say how much I enjoyed reading my comments about yesterdays blog! I think I laughed out loud on more than a few occasions. Ed I am glad you are reading my blog I will definitly be checking out your. A reminder that comments are welcome from everyone...even people I do not know. You are all welcome to share your comments.

So not too much new to say since yesterday. Today we are going to a women's shelter type thing. I taught sunday school at the same place this past sunday so I hope I will get to see some of the same kids again. They are so precious.

My bites are increasing. And they are starting to itch. I have been taking my Vit B since I got here and I never wear perfume or stuff. I guess the next thing would be a mosquitoe net.

I still dislike Speedos...just my stand on things and I realize to that culture often dictates what people wear.

I hear also that Sudbury and the Sault got some snow...It's beautiful here and you'll be happy to know that my tan is starting to come along:)

I do have some things you could pray about. Evelyn is the woman I am living with, and her children Deborah(15) and Daniel(13). They are amzing people with a hug heart for God. Several years ago someone broke into their home and killed their husband and father. They have all been affected by this terrible event and as Evelyn's other daughter Diana's wedding is approaching, stress is increasing. Because she is marry a muslim it makes things even harder. Please keep them in your prayers as they are all struggling right now.

My purpose driven life is going well and I am sticking to it...Angie I am sure I will actually finish this book;)

On thursday night I will be getting a phone call for something...hahaha wow my information astounds me! It Windows on the World??? I am excited to get a call. And I can't wait to talk to people and answer their questions. It's supposed to be about 10 minutes but I am kinda hoping it's longer. So for everyone who was rushing to call me on thursday night, perhaps it might be a bad time. I am accepting all other calls at any other time though:)
Alrighty I am off. Until we met again stay safe and focus on God.
Peace and love,
Erin

p.s. for those of you doing the bath challenge I commend you, you are doing a great job. For those of you who aren't...shame on you! Actually if I had the chance I would be showering right now too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Speedos, Mosquitoes, and Teaching

Yesterday I spent most of my day at the Novotel. It is a hotel here in Kigali where you can go hang out and swim and just relax. I was so needing that yesterday, as the past few days have been tough. During my time at the hotel I noticed an alarming amount of Speedos. Now being a lifeguard I have seen many Speedos in my life, yet that doesn’t make me like them any better. I do think there is a purpose for them, like if you’re Ian Thorp (Australian Olympic swimming) and you are competing or training then yeah go ahead. But when you are just lazy around the pool, please for the sake of your fellow humans swimming shorts are better! Perhaps your comments will double as a petition against the dreaded Speedo! As I was leaving the hotel I over heard some people talking. I am sure they were North American as they sounded much like me. They were talking about the news and I found myself suddenly craving information from the rest of the world. I wanted to watch the news and see what life is like back home. It's funny how much you long to hear from the things that are a comfort to you.
Coming out of the Novotel was a surreal experience. Going from this place of comfort and slight reminder of the things of home back into the poverty of Rwanda, was almost as surreal my first trip into Kigali from the Airport.

All my life I have been blessed in not having to worry about mosquitoes. They never seemed to bite me while my sister was always covered in bites. The mosquitoes here are different. They like me. Lying in bed at night it sounds like an airstrip. Here they come at you like a 747. They are so loud!!! But you can feel them biting and the bites don’t itch too much. It just looks like you have a flesh eating disease cause they get red and swollen.

One of the ministries I will be doing here is teaching English. This scares and excites me and so I am asking all of my friends who have taugh English as a second language, who are teachers, really anyone with any ideas for me on some teaching techniques that might be useful. I would appreciate any and all advise you have for me!

Just a note. International Teams Canada has updated their website and there is some stuff on me in there. If you click on the ITeams link on the right hand side of the page you can check it out for yourself!

A CHALLENGE:
To bring a bit of the Rwandan world to you I thought I would offer up a challenge. This may be one of many or one of one challenges I bring to you. haha! In Rwanda there are no showers and no hot water from the taps. So bathing involve boiling you water and washing yourself from a tub. So here's the challenge can you for lets say 3 days to 1 week bath in a tub. All you can do is get hot water and add some cold to it. Then you have to wash your entire body including hair with that small amount of water. I am getting better at this but I still feel that I may not be entirely clean until I get back to Canada! That's a disgusting thought.

Well I am off, I pray you are all well and safe. Thank you for you support during this time of heartache. I am feeling better but it is still hard being here and not at home.
With much love,
Erin

p.s. there has been a WONDERFUL amount of emails sent to me which I love and appreciate and I do intend on writing you all back, but this will take some time. But know that I LOVE hearing from you.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

Monday, April 25, 2005

Nana

On saturday afternoon I got a phone call from my mom. Normally I would be happy for such a call but the news I recieved from the other end pierced me like a dagger to the heart. Sometime between the night of Thursday April 21 and the morning of Friday April 22, my Nana passed away.
This news came as a shock. It is so hard being so far away from family at this time but the people here have been so incredible supportive! I can't express how gratefull I am to them and their love. Also as I was checking my email and blog this morning I was reminded of how many people love me and care about me back at home.
While I long to be with my family, I feel a comfort here that brings some peace to my heart.
My Nana was a funny one. Every time I came over Nana would ask me if I had a boyfriend. Haha it makes me laugh thinking of it. She always had the best freezies too. It little things like that, that I have been thinking of, but pehaps the thing I remember most about Nana was her love and pride for her family. I know she loved everyone so much and was always so proud of us. She talked about us all the time and always aske how we were doing, being feel of joy when we were doing well. She was a great person and I will miss her alot.
I think about my family and how they are coping. My sister Amy is working on a cruiseship and will not be able to get home either. I pray that everyone is doing ok. Please keep them in your prayers.
I think I will end this blog short as it is hard for me to write right now. Please know that your prayers are appreciated and felt. And for those of you who commented or sent me emails, I will reply when I have more time, but for now I just need some time to think and pray.
Thank you for everything!!!! I can not express how much you mean to me!
Love Always, Erin
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. "
-Psalm 34:18

Friday, April 22, 2005

Kigali week 1

Today marks my first week here in Kigali. Among that first are many other first like....drum roll....MY FIRST PHONE CALL!!!!!!! And my first international phone call too. The wonderful person who now has ownership of Erin's first phone call(in Rwanda) is THERESA BIRNIE!!!! It was one of the best conversations on the phone I have ever had. And it TOTALLY made my day!!! I love you Theresa!!! You are the coolest. I loved talking to you. Let's have a race now to see who the second caller will be;) haha I am such a scammer. BTW Angie and anyone else who was wondering my contact information is in a previous blog called "Contacting sperin in Rwanda" or something to that effect. If it's not in April then it is at the end of march. Let me know if you find it. And just for your information Theresa got a phone card and can have 45 minutes for get this $5.00 !!!

Yesterday we had 3 very special treats. Lasanga(so good btw..Jen ROCKS)and Banana Cake (which I had 2 big pieces of)which Jen made them in the coal heated oven...and get this ICE CREAM...it was SO good. We had it at the Legalett(sp?) the european shop where you see other Muzunga's (white people). That's one of the few Kirwandan words I know.
Muzunga - white person(I hear it ALL the time)
Kimirungho - that is the area of town I live in
Rackosay - thank you (i have no idea if i am spelling these words correctly)
Mamoogi - town
Oiya - No (i hate this word because I have to say it so much to people selling stuff or asking for money)
Yeago - Yes
I think that's most of them. Hopefully my vocabullary will grow. And most of those actually probably all are spelt wrong, I just spelt them how they sound.

2 days ago we had a visitor in our room...a big disgusting (D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G for you Vanessa) cockroach. It was sick...good thing Jen was there she beat that thing with her shoe while I hide on my bed!

Yesterday we went to the market. It was an adventure. They see the muzunga's and are all over you like a fat kid on a smartie! There was the cutest boy there who saw me and came over and grabbed my hand! I just stood and talked (well tried talking with him) and kept on holding his sweet little hand. He started to walk with me as we turned to leave but then ran to his mom. I could have easily taken him home...he was cute!

I am getting used to taken the sardin can, I mean bus. When you are at a stop with lots of people you just gotta push your way in...literally!

Well I have a meeting to go to today at a women's shelter where they take in girls off the street. I think all of them have AIDS or are HIV+. I think on fridays I will be teaching english at Marion's. She is a woman who takes in all kinds of street kids. She gives them a home and pastors them. She is an incredible woman. On sundays I will be helping with sunday school there.

Well I think that's about all for now. Thank you so much for your comments and your emails, they are a constant source of joy!
With much love,
Erin
Colossians 1:16b
"everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." (the message)
p.s. By the way I started "The Purpose Driven Life" yesterday and that was the verse of the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Shaking Hands with the Devil

"Shake Hands with the Devil" is a book written by Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the leader of the peace keeping force during the time of the genocides in Rwanda. Aptly named, it tells of the horror of the Rwandan Genocides, throught the eyes of a man who tried so desperately to help but could do little due to the restaints of the UN.
Yesterday I was able on some level to graps the pain and suffering that the people here endured, when Jen and I went to visit the Rwandan Genocide Memorial Site.
Overwhelming to say the least. This site was a beautiful memorial to a dark and ugly time in these peoples history.
There were 2 levels of the building. The bottom dedicted to the Rwandan Genocides and the top to the genocides that occurred in other places all over the world.
There were 4 hallways on the bottom floor that formed a circle. The sections were divided into, Rwandan History, Pre-genocide events, the Genocide, and Post Genocides. As I walked through each hall I couldn't help but be moved but the pain and suffering that these people have endured. I couldn't help but wonder how people could do this to there fellow man and how we the 'superpowers' of this world did NOTHING! Which is worse...to kill...or not to care??
To be completely honest I had never heard of the horrifing events that took place here 11 years ago until I decided to come to Rwanda.

In early April the president's plane was shot down and soon after the killings began. Perhaps more worse than killing someone is the inhuman way that most people were killed. Being shot was a nice way to die where other people were literally hacked to death with machettes, bludgeoned with clubs or any hard object, stabbed, thrown into septic systems, and burried alive. Entire families were completely destroyed, leaving no record that they ever even existed. People who were once friends turned to kill there neighbour or else be killed themselves. The propaganda on the radio fuelled scared people into killers. Fearing for there own lives and the lives of their families, they took the lives of others.

After passing through the 4 hallways I came we came to 3 other rooms. I was overcome when I walked into the first room that was full of pictures of victims. Wedding pictures, smiling faces, happy times, taken away in an instant. Through out the tour they were video clips from victims, you could see the pain in their eyes.
The next room housed scull bones and long bone from arms and legs, I didn't stay there long. The last room was particularly impacting. There were displays of clothing that the victims had been wearing. As I walked by looking at the clothes I came to one shirt that hit me like a slap in the face. It read "OTTAWA" and "I LOVE CANADA". Somehow seeing that shirt gave me some ownership. The country I love so much did little to help. I was somewhat ashamed. I realized why these people looked so apprehensively at me. Trust is a luxury that they can not have. They don't trust anyone.

As we moved from the bottom floor to the top floor I saw images on the walls from WW2 and the Holacost. From Bosnia and Cambodia. So many places around the world have been ripped apart by hatred. I thought of my grandparents who fought in WW2. I thanked God for being born in Canada, to a family that loves me and provides for me. For close friends who I trust. For every blessing that I don't deserve.

The last room and probably the hardest to walk through was a room dedicated to the children lost in the genocides. There faces so young and sweet and their lives so violently and unjustly taken from them. There were about 10-15 blown up pictures of beautiful children and below each picture was a plaque stating thing like their age, fav. food, toy, the last or one of the last things they said, and how they died. The brutally these children saw made me sick to my stomach. Beaten with club, stabbed in the head and eyes, burned alive, hacked with machettes. It was unbelievable, yet I know it happened. I am not telling you this because I was to gross you out or make you sad, but to help people become aware of how we had a part in this. We didn't even look saddly at them and say oh no, we completely turned our backs and forgot about them.
The one saving grace from Canada was Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who in the face of evil did everything he could to try and save these people. He still suffers today from post-traumatic stress.

It seems so clearly to me that both Dallaire and the people of Rwandan need to find the freedom that comes only from a relationship with Christ. Please continue to pray for me as I try to share that with these people.

I love you all.
Many blessings,
Erin

"Dear children, don't let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. Those who have been born into God's family do not sin, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they have been born of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God's commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God."
1 John 3: 7-10

"Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."
1 John 3:18-20

Monday, April 18, 2005

A wee more detail

So the last blog told you almost nothing. Well let my tell you that electricity is a luxury. I had written a very long detailed blog about some of my experience thus far and as I was about to send it we lost power! So this is the second blog of the night and hopefully no more than this! Since I have been here we have only lost power 4 times. Jen tells me that this is REALLY good. It doesn't seem to bother me much as I don't really need it for too much.

Wow so yeah I am here! The flights were actually good and dare I say.... Fun!!! I know I know your all like what hte heck was she on? Well I did take some homeopathy stuff before flying but on every flight I somehow managed to get a window seat. I think that helped or at least I got to see some BEAUTIFUL scenery. Besides flying the flights went well I was able to find my gates without any problems. In Ethiopia there was a man who basically took care of me the ENTIRE time untill we arrived in Kigali. That was a huge blessings as I am sure I would still be in Addis Ababa(Ethiopia) trying to figure out what the guys wanted me to do. In Ethiopia we had a 14 hours layover so when our plane arrived at night we were taken to a cute little hotel for a couple hours rest. Resting was hard and I couldn't figure out why...then I looked at the clock. It was 3pm at home and that's why I couldn't fall asleep. Jet leg can be rough. In the morning we headed out into the bus to head back to the airport to catch out flight. It was on this drive that I first saw and understood the word poverty. People sleeping on the street, children begging, and blank stares of hopelessness could be seen all over. At times it was too much and I had to look at my feet.
Arriving in Kigali I know that Ethiopia will not be the only place I see poverty. Already I have seen many people mostly children begging me for food or money. Because I am white to most think that I am abundantly rich.

Being white in an all black culture is very new and weird to me. People stare ALL the time. In church we had to sit in the front as guest of honor and stand up so everyone could see us. That was interesting but at the same time welcoming. As one of the men said we are different on the outside but have the same spirit inside. The children will whisper and giggle to their friends and often they wave. I wave back to them. I feel a sense of apprehension from some people, and this is understandable as they have little trust due to the genocides of 94'. Today I met a guy about my age who had lost both his parents and 6 of his brothers and sisters in the genocides. His one surviving sister lives in Paris so he is alone here. Jen tells me that this is normal.

I am living with a Evelyn and her children Deborah and Daniel. They are a local Rwandan family who examplify the word servant. They are great people and I feel very welcome. Also I am lov'n the food. I was really worried about that but I really like most everything I have tried. And they have the BEST baby banana's EVER...oh my goodness they rock!

I haven't done too much over the past few days other than trying to orient myself and get over the jet-lag. It is hard at night I find because I want to sleep but I can't seem to fall asleep till late at night well early in the morning. Jen says a day per timezone so after a week I should be into the swing of things.

I want to make sure that I remember to thank you for your prayers. They mean SO much to me and they are much needed and well recieved. Also your emails are a great encouragement to me. I will do my best to reply but I think blogging will be the easiest way to communicate. But do know that I was full of smiles reading about you and your lives back home. BTW congrats to Angie and Cody soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Cody and Angie McEwen:)

Whatelse Whatelse, there is so much that I know I could never write it all down. Please know that I love you all and that being here is where God wants me to be. Your encouragement is much needed and appreciate and never goes unnoticed. Thank you thank you thank you.

I want to post this before we lose power again. Thank you for your love and prayers. I love you very much and pray that God will keep you safe until we can met again.

With much love,
Erin

p.s. and just a note of humour...we were sitting in the car today and now I have one really red arm and one really white arm....hahaha. Jen was laughing at me, well I was laughing at me too.

Zephaniah 3:17
"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

In AFRICA

Hey the power went out 3 time in trying to post this blog so I just want to let you all know that I am safe in Kigali the captial of Rwanda.
Thank for the prayers!
Love Erin

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Last day in Canada

Hello friends
What a whirlwind of activities and emotions this past weekend! I was so touched by the love people showed me as I prepared to leave sudbury and now as I prepare to leave Canada (that sounds so weird). Sunday night I said goodbye to Stephen and Dale and Vanessa. 3 people I love deeply, but I managed to keep the tears at bay and not cry. Yesterday was another story as I had a rough day with emotions, having to say goodbye to the Verduyn's, hi and goodbye to a secret visitor(can I say yet??), and a goodbye to Angie and Cody after they dropped me off in Waterloo. That was an incredibly long run-on sentence!

Things are still kinda sureal. I fly out tonight from Toronto at 10pm, a nice 8 hour red-eye flight to FRANKFURT, GERMANY. when I arrive I will have a 3 hour layover before I depeart for ADDIS ABABA,ETHIOPIA. I arrive in Ethiopa at 23:05 their time. I have a 14 hour layover there and will go to a hotel to try to catch some Z's. My flight leaves Ethiopia at 13:15 their time and arrives in Kigali, Rwanda at 16:05 rwandan time. By the way just for your knowledge Rwanda is 8 hours ahead of the eastern time zone(ontario). It is 2 hours ahead of the UTC/GMT. So if you are elsewhere in the world and want a goodtime to call(first of all any call at anytime would be awesome and I will wake from the deepest sleep to talk to you) you can figure out the math.

Well I am just chill'n at International Teams right now, counting down the hours till departure!

Please know that your prayers and support has been a great comfort to me as I leave my comfort zone and head out into the unknown. I pray that God will watch over you and bring me back safely so that I can thank you in person for your prayers and faithfulness. May God bless you!
With much love!
Erin

Monday, April 11, 2005

Contacting Sperin in Rwanda

Just for your information there will be 4 ways that you can hear about my adventures and trials in Africa

Mailing Address:
Erin Nisbett C/O Evelyn Zimulinda P.O. Box 7219 Kigali Rwanda East Africa

Phone Number(this is my personal phone, but I don't know how I will remember all those numbers!):
011 250 0867 1337
*apparently using phone cards is the best method and the "CiCi" card is supposed to be the best. And how cool would you be if you were like "oh I just gotta call AFRICA!" I know you all want to

Email:
championchester@hotmail.com
And of course the blog:
www.sperin.blogspot.com

I’d love to hear from you and I will do my best to write back.
Peace and love!

SURPRISES!!!!!

Let me start out by saying that every person should have a friend as awesome as Vanessa. On Friday night as per the usual I headed to GPS, this week was at All Nation’s for the Edge. It was a great night and Lansing lead a great worship service. Half way through the evening I realized that I could not find my keys anywhere. Unknown to me my sneaky youth group had STOLEN them. Now I know your thinking ‘what kind of horrible unappreciative kids do that?’. Let me explain...under the direction of Vanessa the kids stole my keys to distract me from the real event of the night...my surprise going away party! While I was freaking out about my keys, Vanessa left to ‘pick up Dorothy’, where really she was setting up for the party. Tim C kept me at All Nations until he ‘found’ my keys. He some how manage to make me believe I had invited him to the Jakola’s, sneaky Tim! I didn’t suspect a thing, until I drove onto Aberdeen court and saw more than the regular amount of cars. I walked into the house to find a surprise going away party waiting for me and Kelly on her hands and knees cleaning Israel’s puke. It was awesome, well not the puke, the party! I was totally caught off guard. Sneaky Vanessa had been planning this rock’n trip for a long time and I was so impressed with her first throwing of a surprise party and my first surprise party. I had so much fun and it was great to hang out with my awesome GPSers. Vanessa you are the rock’n-est friend ever and I love you so much!

Saturday I left for Bruce Mines to meet my parents and drop off my car at Angie Brohart’s house. It was great that I got to see my parents again before I left. We had a nice visit, then we had to say goodbye. Even though I didn’t get home to much to visit I will still miss my parents. It’ll be different because here, I know that if I ever needed them my family would be there physically, but in Africa I can’t just pack up for the weekend and go home.

After my mom and dad left Angie, Cody, and I headed to Sudbury. After visiting with numerous family members on the way we ended up at Josh and Jess, and Emma and Matt’s for an intense game of pit. Great times!

Sunday morning arrived and I knew I would be in for some tears as I said goodbye to my church family. Another surprise came up on Sunday when Kelly and Vanessa sang a song for me for special music. “Your just a prayer away” was one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard! Kelly and Vanessa touched my heart with their song and their love for me. I cried like a baby! Literally sobbing! Then I had to go up to the front. I composed myself rather quickly and spoke briefly about the trip. Vanessa, Kelly and I had a good laugh after when they both said that they couldn’t even look at me while they sang because they would have cried, and the reason they sang before I went up was because neither of them would have been able to sing had I gone up front first!!! Hahaha it was all good and their song was BEAUTIFUL! Such amazing voices! Saying goodbye to the people at church was harder than I thought. I was looking hideous with my nasty tear stains, red face and blood shot eyes!
After church I hung out at the Jakola’s. I had so much fun and I really needed that hang out time with Vanes. God has blessed me with some many amazing friends, and Vanessa has always been there for me. She gave me a going away gift that was along the same lines as her Taiwan journal that I had done for her last year. Among some snack and treats was a journal with jokes and poems and pictures and letter from friends. I cried when she gave it too me. I LOVE IT!!!! Vanessa you are my best friend and I love you so much. I am going to miss you like crazy and I don’t know how I can go that long with out having a conversation with you. You are always in my heart!

Sunday night after church (Eric spoke at church GOOD JOB ERIC!) we played games at the Jakola’s and I had another surprise...a nice ice cream “WE’LL MISS YOU ERIN!” cake. There were quite a few people over and Settlers and Quiddler were brought out for a classic Jakola house games night. I know that I will miss those GREATLY! After those games ended, most people had to go home, but Vanessa and Tim and Simone and myself started up a game of Pictionary. It was a good game but Vanessa and Tim came out on top. Although they rolled 6’s and had easy ones plus we always landed on all-play. None the less quite a SUPER fun evening.

Today I have been hanging out with my sistah Kelly. I love it. I am going to miss Kelly and Steve and the boys so much. When I think about not seeing them I can actually feel my heart sinking and I have to fight back tears. Tonight I will say goodbye to Vanessa, Stephen and Dale. I think they are my final big goodbyes before I leave tomorrow. Waterworks here we come.

Tomorrow Angie and Cody are driving me to Waterloo and I will chill there till my flight leaves on Wednesday night at 10pm. Yeah planes. Blah! Apparently there is a surprise person and story for me tomorrow...SO many surprises!!! I LOVE IT!

Well I guess that is it for now. Peace and love. God is awesome!