Monday, March 19, 2018

What's Happening

I have turned into a not very faithful blogger! Sorry about that. The last week and a half has consisted of me being sick. I'm convinced our February team brought us some of the flu from the USA! ;) OK, maybe not, but man I have been DOWN with chest symptoms! So I've spent a lot of time at home, starting to go through things in my house. There are a few New Day projects that I'd REALLY like to tackle before we leave in August, so I'm trying to get my house in order first so I can move on to that! Here are some pics of what life has looked like lately!

Standing in line at the bank.... When Blu text me this pic, I text him back, "See you in 4 hours.."

Blessing got married to Trevor ("Shaba") this past weekend!

So sweet!

The bridge is still there - barely!

Cambree doing her thing ;)

The Easter dresses my Mama made for me & Dawni years ago - getting them out of the box and putting them to use!

Lulu & Edna - gorgeous models!

Blu taught the Discipleship class last week since I was sick!

On Youth Day, we hosted a soccer match!

The game was called due to rain, and we lost 1-0 - a tough loss, but the other team got the grand prize of a cake and were very happy!

Steven with his new "friend" - tell me this isn't the creepiest picture ever!

A Sunday Settlers game - when a 7 is rolled and Blu was holding 12 cards..!

Trevor & Blu went fishing in the fish pond!

Terry & David showing off their fish!

Prince ready for supper!

Trevor & my dad - we're going to miss this guy!

He and Blu went golfing in Choma today and found the shawarma shop!

I found this cross-stitch I had made for my Grandma, whose name was Verna. This is one of our housecleaners/nannies, also named Verna, so I gave her this as a gift. It was bittersweet - I miss my Grandma so much, but seeing Verna's smile was awesome!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The "Goodbye" Blog

It is Christmas night, 2017. I’m not sure when I will post this blog, but I wanted to get down the thoughts that have been swirling in my head this furlough. People keep asking if we are ready to go back to New Day (at this point, we are 3 days from leaving), and I am hesitant. It’s not the heat, the exhaustion, the hard work, or the frustrations that await that make me hesitate. It’s the fact that we are going back knowing that this is the last chapter for us in New Day’s story.
In January of 2017, we began to sense that it was time - that God was calling us to step out of leadership at New Day. My first thought was, “How can we leave? How can we walk away from a ministry that we have poured blood, sweat, and many tears into? How can we let it go?" Yet, the more overwhelming question facing both of us at that point was, “How can we stay?”
We committed to pray daily and fast weekly for the entire year of 2017 for our future. Our biggest fear in life is doing something that will not bring honor and glory to God, or being disobedient to what He is calling us to do. But we knew that if He was truly calling us to leave, He would confirm it. And wow, how He has confirmed it. I could share my fleeces that I put out to God, and how He answered each one overwhelmingly, and how He is still confirming this calling, but some parts of this journey are just for us. But here we are, December 25, 2017, knowing that God has confirmed without a doubt that this will be our last term in Zambia.
We realize that many will assume that we had an amazing furlough, we got a taste of “American life”, we are burned out, we have conflict we can’t resolve, or we are throwing in the towel. Though there may be some truth to some of those, none are completely true. If God wanted us to stay at New Day for the next 30 years, we would, without hesitation. But we want our life to be about where we can bring the most honor and glory to God. And we know, at this point, that it is no longer in Zambia.
The next months will be difficult for our family. There will be goodbyes I can’t begin to think about, the packing and selling of almost everything we own, and the leaving behind of a life that we have created together in Africa. But a missionary couple gave me advice I am holding on to: Go with joy. Leaving New Day does not have to be an emotional tragedy for our family, for the New Day kids, or for anyone else. We can choose to go out rejoicing. Rejoicing that God planted His vision in our hearts. Rejoicing that for 9 years, He gave us the strength to share Him with others. Rejoicing that 37 children’s lives are forever changed by Christ. It doesn’t have to be devastating. We can choose joy.
We know that many of you are very invested in New Day and will express concern for the future. Of course, we have a direction we would like to see New Day go, but we are not in control of New Day. New Day has been God’s from the very beginning - not Blu’s and not mine. We are leaving New Day in His hands and trust that He who began a good work at New Day Orphanage in Mapanza, Zambia will complete it.
I am forever grateful to those who walked beside me in 2017 in deep prayer for our future. We ask now that you pray that we will finish our race strong, go out with joy, and most importantly, that Jesus will shine through us during the remainder of our time in Zambia.
Blessings, Darbi, Blu, Caedmon, Cambree, & Cason
Sidenote: It is March 8, 2017, and we shared with our staff and kids today. Sharing with the staff was brutal, as Blu shared stories about our first year at New Day (a time he, Hildah, and Mulenga all pushed a generator up onto a truck when there was no power, driving out onto the land for the first time, etc...) With the kids however, we kept it lighthearted, and something they said made my heart leap. When Blu told them we were going, he asked them, "Do you know who is going to be staying here?" Instead of the answers you would think they would give (Wes & Laurie, houseparents, teachers..) they instead started yelling out each other's names. "Sibasiso!" "David!" "Kefbert!" My heart melted. They are a bond of 37 kids that will never be broken, and we are so blessed that God allowed us to be apart of bringing them together as one family.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Keeping us busy!'s been a nice relaxing week/weekend after we got back from Durban! It was nice to take a breath, not plan anything, and get back into the groove of things at New Day!

Every Sunday afternoon, we take a break and play 3 games of 42 with Mom and Dad!

Blu has been playing his guitar a lot lately - I love singing praise music with him!

And his daily power nap...

The bridge today...

Cason made steak fajitas for supper one night last week, with Cambree making homemade tortillas! Tidwell kids for the win! (Caedmon said he'll stick to his specialties of scrambled eggs and cereal...)

Another year of 6th grade Math = another year of Teacher Darbi's diner to teach ordering from a menu and making change!

This year, I had a hot chef named Sugar Bear!

I put him to work!

I love this group of kids! (Cason comes in 3 days a week during his free period. But I love him too.) :)

That hair though...

My 3rd period class is these three - PreAlgebra for Caedmon, Texas History for Cambree, and 4th grade Math for Cason!

A Monday lunch selfie just because!

Durban - home!

I know it's been awhile, but I'm finally catching you up on our trip home from Durban!

This is how we all felt about getting a 4:30am taxi to take us to the airport...

Hildah must have been telling me how Yolantah got up at 2am to take a shower with all the lights on and tv blaring! :)

Landed in Johannesburg and made it through immigration and security! On to Zambia now!

And now...lots of airport hang out time!

I died when I took this picture of Aubrey collecting rand to exchange back into kwacha for everyone - he looks like a street beggar!!

Mirriam, Laurie, and Mulenga

Liz and Yolantah - they didn't think much of airplane food!

Mama Loveness and Hildah - our two giggliest for sure!

Mama Tembo and Mama Catherine - ready to head to Livingstone!

Last flight!

Somehow Mirriam was assigned a first class ticket - VIP!

After a 30 minute shopping trip in Livingstone, we settled in very squished for the 4 hour bus ride back to New Day!! What a trip!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Durban, Day Five!

Today was our last day in Durban! Whew, that went fast! Kinda. ;) Today was a built-in free day so that the staff could get all of their shopping done (things in South Africa are much cheaper than in Zambia! Hildah's backpack is filled with lotion, cosmetics, and earrings!!) That meant a free day for us as well (translate = I hid so nobody could ask me to change money!) Unfortunately, on our ONE day to sleep late, I was awake at 6am!

I enjoyed our last breakfast with a view!

We can't get enough of the Durban beachfront view - I love this little town! (of 3 million people..but it seems small where we are!)

We cashed in our kids' airline miles that expire in March for $150 at a VERY nice spa and got couple's massages! 9th floor overlooking the Indian Ocean!

Pretty sure heaven will have a tub like this...

We then hopped in a taxi to head up to the Village Walk market for some shopping for our kids. I told Blu I"m an easy wife - 15 minutes and we were done and at a cafe for lunch!

Fish & chips and a chicken halloumi wrap!

We had just a little time left in our afternoon to hit the beach one last time!

Before supper, Blu took some of our staff to the beach - they'd been too busy shopping to enjoy it!

Mama Catherine

Mama Loveness


Don't get those boots wet, Melvin!

Melvin helping Mama Loveness back up - I love this picture!

We all had our own supper at a local mall, so we opted for some shrimp and steak and calamari at John Dory's with Mark & Sheila! Yum!

When we got back, there were still a couple who hadn't been to the ocean, so Blu did a late night trip for Mama Zelly and Cecilia!

Cecilia was convinced that rubbing salt water on her arm would help her pain!

Love the smile on Mama Zelly's face! Blu said they were like little kids jumping back as soon as the water came near them, yelling, "It will sweep you away!"

Those of you who donate to New Day - thank you. You made this once in a lifetime trip possible for our staff. Every single one of them will tell you that their favorite part of this trip was the teaching we received during the retreat sessions. It blessed us all, and we are returning to New Day refreshed and ready to do the work God has called us to...with a few funny stories to share! ;)