Monthly Archives: August 2015

What’s In a Name?

Most American names are difficult for African nationals to pronounce. Therefore,  on my first visit to Africa, Hamsetu christened me with the African name of Waseela. My sister was given the name Miriama which might be considered a version of the name “Mary” and another teammate was called Nadia or “delicate.” When I asked the meaning of Waseela, I was told it was a common name for a servant. My posture became rigid. “Servant?” I questioned. And she nodded.


Later that evening, we were having dinner at the home of our host missionaries, and I met a kind man helping in the kitchen. His name is Hama. The missionaries we were visiting don’t have a household of servants, but there is desperate poverty, and they do their best to help others by giving them work. Hama’s face brightened when I said, “My name is Waseela.”

Hama clapped his hands together. “My sister’s name is Waseela.”

It shames me to tell you of my prideful heart. I was offended because I’d been given a common name for servants. Shame on me. Perhaps a better name would have been “Arrogant Ostrich.”

Through the week of working with children, God removed a few scales from my eyes as I played with children and cleaned their beautiful faces. One little girl, in particular, touched my heart. Her name is Nafeesa. If she said “Waseela” once, she said it a thousand times.

I had taken fingernail polish to paint the little girls’ nails in VBS. What I hadn’t realized is that nail polish won’t stick to dirty nails. Being the germaphobe I am, I’d carried an excess of hand sanitizing wipes. As I cleaned Nafeesa’s rough hands and calloused feet, I was reminded of Jesus cleaning the feet of his disciples. “Father, forgive me,” I prayed. I painted her nails a bright shade of orange, and the look of joy on her face will stay with me forever.

I believe one of the reasons God has burdened me to return to Africa time and again, is so that he can complete the work that’s necessary to change my prideful heart. At least He’s helped me understand that Hamsetu honored me when she called me, “Servant.” Please pray that I can live up to my African name in the coming days. My name is a Waseela, and I am a servant of the Lord.

#Africanmissions #Nigermissions



Do Your Own Thing

This weekend my community hosted our annual Garden Spot 5K walk/run. What I love most about this event is that I see many people I know, but with whom I rarely cross paths. It’s a time of fellowship and fun.


I walk most days with my dogs, but I rarely push myself, so I knew winning was unlikely. But when the starting horn blared, my competitive nature kicked in, and I was in it to win it! At least for my age category.

When I crossed the first mile-marker, my head was up, and I was pushing forward, with everything I had, knowing that no one in my age bracket was ahead of me. Then an old schoolmate, Jane, passed me. I was huffing, but and Jane was smooth and in the groove. She was barely sweating. I called out to her, but she couldn’t hear me because she was listening to music. In fact, she couldn’t see me. She was focused on the road.

As the gap between us lengthened, I slowly deflated. I finished the race in good time, but I didn’t push myself after Jane passed me. After the race, my husband patted me on the back and said, “You finished great. You still had gas in the tank.”


As I considered what he said, I was disappointed in myself. Not because I didn’t win. But because I didn’t do my best. I’d forgotten something important — to run my own race. Comparison is crippling.

I congratulated Jane for placing third and teased her about passing me. She was a gracious winner and said, “This morning, Mickey told me, ‘You’ve got this! Do your own thing.’” Mickey, Jane’s husband, gave her good advice.

Maybe next year, if God continues to bless me with the ability and health to be in the race, I’ll remember Mickey’s words. Perhaps, when I cross the finish line, no matter where I place, I’ll feel good because I’ve done my best.

Comparison is crippling. “Do your own thing.” Push yourself to do your best, and you can have a smile as bright as Jane’s.



#doyourownthing, #runyourownrace, #doyourbest

The Benefits of Being Covered by Prayer

As I count down the final days before my mission trip to Africa, one might think I would be nervous. After all, earlier I started having panic attacks. I am definitely outside my comfort zone with this adventure for many reasons. Travelling in a huge truck over rough terrain is daunting. If it rains, the roads will become muddy. We are going to be camping. Many of the people we will meet have never seen a white person. The food will be unfamiliar. It is impossible for me to control the sanitation of the water or the food that will be packed for us. There are countless other things that have caused me to lose sleep. But I’m now in the period that I like to call “the period of prayer.” I feel confident, excited, and hopeful. And I know this is not because of my faith. It’s because of you and your prayers. Many of you have already started praying for us, and I am grateful.

a woman is praying to god with hope

Some of the ways God has answered your prayers this week is by providing VBS material featuring people of Africa that included language written in Swahili. I’m a librarian with skilled researchers available, but I came up short. I’d given up and was resigned to using a children’s Bible written for children of color. On Monday evening, my sister reconnected with a friend who has travelled on many mission trips to Tanzania. She discover he had the material we needed. Lifeway discontinued a line of posters featuring people of Africa. However, they gave him the material in PDF format with permission to reproduce it for mission work in Africa. Talk about a needle in a haystack? The material is being printed on laminated posters for the team “Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!” Psalm 126:3


Another resource God provided this week was language help. Our library recently subscribed to a service called Mango Languages. While reviewing the tutorial yesterday, I discovered it includes Swahili, and there’s an Ap. for my phone. I had a sheet of common greetings, but I wondered about the pronunciation.

I serve a God, who meets my every need. Thank you prayer warriors. God has answered your prayers. Please keep praying for our team. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive it, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22