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Five months into our assignment here in Namibia, we want to share with you the people God has put into our lives and other little news bits.
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Hazels in Africa

Hello everyone. We have been living in Tsumkwe, Namibia four months now. God has brought the poem below into our lives in two different ways recently in leadership and transformational development training.

Go to the people,

Live among them.

Learn from them.

Love them.

Start with what they know,

Build on what they have.

But of the best leaders,

When their task is accomplished,

Their work is done,

The people will remark,

“We have done it ourselves.”

 

This is our goal. At our Africa Base Orientation in February, we were given 5 values: having certainty of God's sovereign power, being a lifelong learner, language learning for a lifetime, becoming a belonger in your community, and becoming a part of the AIM family. These values are becoming who we are now.

So many times we view missions as doing something for the Lord. This is good but at this time God has asked us just to be. What does this mean? Each day we open our front door and ask God to lead us to be a part of our neighborhood. In order to do this we spend hours a day trying to learn new words in Ju/’hoansi through language lessons, listening to our recordings of words over and over then the most important part is sitting with our neighbors. While we sit with them, we watch and learn, listen a lot and say very little. We need to be the learner. We are not here to bring our ways to make their lives better. So many times we start a project or embrace an idea without prayer and patience to understand the true needs. To learn the true needs we need to be with them to hear their dreams and what is important to them. By just being, we will be able to lay a solid foundation of trust. Only with a good foundation, are we able to do anything that will mean something to them. Only then will our words mean something. Only then can we share Christ with them in a way they understand.

We wanted to share this with you as you journey with us through this process. Below we highlight the people with whom we are building a foundation of trust. They are our neighbors, those just outside our door, and who we share life with daily. We hope this will give you a glimpse of our focus and the people whom you can join us in prayer.

Uncle

Daqm is his actual name but we call him by his nickname Uncle. I, Jeremy, call him “the agent of peace.” He is unlike most other men in Tsumkwe. He quit drinking several years ago. Our house is built on his land. The neighborhood water tap is in his yard. He gave me his name shortly after we arrived. Uncle and I spend a lot of time together.  Most of the time he is talking and I’m just listening as he speaks very little English. But he is constantly teaching me new words. We go into the bush and gather firewood a few times a week. When we are in the bush, he is telling me about the land, digging for roots, gathering berries and bugs and showing me animal tracks. We build a lot of things together as he tries to improve his house and land. He has shown me how to build a proper fence to keep the goats, chickens and cows out of our garden. He has taken me to his village and introduced me to family. When we are away, he pulls thorn weeds out of our yard, waters the garden and makes sure the gate stays shut to keep out the cows. When the drunks come into the neighborhood, he tells them to leave. To say we are blessed is an understatement. If I was born a bushman, I often think I would want to be like him. He has dreams which I haven’t been able to ask about yet but can’t wait to hear them. I have too many stories to share here but most of my Instagram post are about him. 

Tsaba

Tsaba

Tsaba is Claudia's busha which means she gave Claudia her Ju/’hoansi name. Tsaba speaks no English. Most days I, Claudia, just sit with her and listen to her talk to the other ladies as they make ostrich egg beads. Recently, I have been able to join the ladies making the beads (I have the blisters on my hands to prove it is hard work). She is a patient and an understanding teacher. She knows I don’t know anything and is willing to show me how to do everything from making jewelry to cooking pap to sewing a skirt. She is the wife of Uncle.

I have several other ladies in my life: Baqu, N/hoakxa, N!ae, Tele, and a couple older ladies I can’t say their names yet so have no idea how to start to spell their names. I sit with these ladies daily. They are kind to teach me and take me out into the bush to gather food and collect fire wood. None of them speak any English. It is forcing me to learn Ju/’hoansi to be able to communicate anything.



 

N/aisa and neighborhood kids

N/aisa is an energetic 3ish year old. She is the daughter of Uncle and Tsaba. She plays constantly. She loves to sing and dance. She is learning to speak Ju/’hoansi herself. It is a blessing to sit around the fire at night and learn with N/aisa our body parts and how to answer questions and how to follow directions. She has 4 cousins about the same age that she runs around the neighborhood with: /usha, Baqu, and others I can’t say yet. They are a handful when you have all of them wanting to sit on your lap at the same time.
 

Language Helpers: /ui and N!ae

Jeremy's language helper is /ui. He is early twenties and married. No children yet. He is a tour guide at the Living Museum north of Tsumkwe. He is very smart. He is able to speak English very well and even read and write Ju/’hoansi which is rare among the San. He has great dreams to do farming as a business. We are excited to share Farming God's Way when the time is right (hopefully in the next growing season, November).
Claudia has had two different language helpers. Her first was Elfriede. She has left Tsumkwe for now to go to nursing school for the next 3 years. She hopes to come back and serve the people here. She is not San but learned Ju/’hoansi at school here in Tsumkwe. Claudia's current language helper is N!ae. She also goes by Veronica. She is 20, unmarried with a 15 month old baby boy. She is very smart. She speaks 5 different languages. She speaks Ju/’hoansi but is unable to read or write it. She dropped out of high school but is working on finishing it on her own. She is so encouraging to of us both as we learn. She has dreams of marrying, having her own house and having an administrative type of job.


 
A brief video by AIM about our team arrival and houses.
Current Prayer Needs:
1. For our brains as they continue to process this very difficult language as we move further into the language.
2. For the people we just shared about above and our daily interactions with them.
3. For wisdom as we start praying for God to reveal to us how and where we need to spend our time and effort in future ministry here.
Stay connected with us:
Facebook: We have an App on our phones that allows us to post even in Tsumkwe with limited internet. We post pictures several times a week. We both have our own Facebook account and post different things impacting us.

Instagram
: Jeremy has an account and posts pictures several times a week.

Bl
og: We share what God is teaching us, our struggles, fun facts, etc. When we post from Tsumkwe there are no pictures, just text. This will be the main way we communicate in words how God is working among the San. You can subscribe and receive posts in your email. http://hazelsinafrica.aimsites.org

What's App: You can download this App to your smart phone. You are able send a text message, photo, and voice message. This has been a wonderful way friends and family have been communicating with us and sending us encouragement. Add us to your contacts using these numbers:  Jeremy+264817395232  Claudia +264812247189

and we will appear on your What's App contacts.

Mail:
                   To send a letter or package to us in Namibia:
P. O. Box 29257
Grootfontein, Namibia 9000 Africa
(make sure you put Africa in the address otherwise it could go somewhere like Bermuda)
 



 
Copyright © 2016 Jeremy and Claudia, All rights reserved.


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