Friday, March 27, 2009

Something to think about

"I make a daily decision to trust that this new life I've been given is God's plan for me. He is for me, not against me. He can make this life good, even though it's different."

- Gracia Burnham
In the Presence of My Enemies

This semester, I'm required to read a missionary autobiography for my seminary class. I chose the story of Martin & Gracia Burnham, New Tribes missionaries serving in the Philippines who were captured by terrorists and held captive for more than a year in the Philippine jungles. Martin was killed in crossfire between the terrorists and the government and Gracia was rescued and reunited with her family in the States.

The Burnham's story captivated me and reminded me how missionaries and Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith. In the end, after Martin's death and Gracia's rescue, she reflected on how greatly her life has changed as a result of their captivity and the struggles in her faith during their time in the jungles.

The above quote spoke to my heart, though. When we answer the call to serve our Father and make disciples of all nations, we begin a new life and it's not easy. We miss our family and friends, we miss all things familiar, we miss life events of those we love but we do it with great joy amidst other emotions.

This life in South Africa is a new life for me with new people, new culture and new way of life. But this new life, although different, is a good one. In fact, it's a great one. Gracia's life changed drastically, more than most of us on the field. But as she said, "He is for me, not against me." Perhaps the thing that brings me the greatest joy is knowing this is God's will for my life...what a humbling thought!

I praise the Lord for bringing me to South Africa to serve here. It's not always easy but it's continues to be a blessing. I encourage you to learn more about the Burnham's story by reading In the Presence of My Enemies. It will surely touch your heart. For more information on Gracia's new life, visit

Friday, March 13, 2009

25 things you may find interesting...

So I enjoyed reading 25 random things about people on facebook but refused to jump on the bandwagon...until now. In my logic, though, I don't think I'm jumping on the bandwagon since it has passed and I'm blogging mine. So yeah, hope you find some humor in my life. Enjoy!

1) It took me 12 years to finish my bachelors degree (I took a break from college…twice)

2) I lived in the same house, in the same town (Bryant, Ark.) from birth until I moved to Virginia last July and then to South Africa last October

3) My jobs in life include (in no particular order) being a gopher boy and other things at the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept., a substitute teacher, assistant sports editor at a local newspaper (I HATE sports), portrait photographer, freelance writer, office manager, asst. director of a Boys & Girls Club, after-school day care helper and now, serving in South Africa

4) Disney World might be my favorite place in the world. I went four consecutive years (2001 – 2004) and plan to go when I come back to the states – Space Mountain….WOOOHOOO!

5) Beth Burnett Loggains (BB) and I (Big W) can quote just about every line to Scream 3

6) Daniel Campbell and I can quote just about every line to Don’t Be Menace to South Central While Drinkin’ Your Juice in the Hood

7) Becky Barnes (Beckith) and I (Blaketh) used to go to Refuge at Ouachita Baptist every Thursday night, eat at Weng’s Chinese buffet before we left and jammed out to the likes of the ODB going down to Arkadelphia and sometimes on the way back

8) Candy Freeman Millwood (Cadence) and I (Blakemous Welchie) wrote three chapters of a murder novel titled “The Mulcher” in creative writing. We left our classmates captivated and hungry for more

9) Nick Dorsey (Tookie) and I have been to Jamaica, Hawaii, Philly, New York City, Colorado, Chicago, San Francisco, Thailand, Nambia, Las Vegas, Baltimore and probably some other random places together over the course of five years

10) As our Hawaii trip was concluding and we had been flying all night, Nick and I got in a fight (verbal, not physical) at the Minneapolis airport and didn’t speak to each other until we got back to Arkansas

11) If you can’t tell, I have lots of nicknames. They include – Blaker, Blue, Big W, Big Dub, Dub, Dubs, Grape Juice, Welch’s, Blaketh, Blakely, Blakers, Big Double-V, Blake-ums, Blakemous Welchie, Poppy…

12) I was in a school musical in eighth grade called “Nickelodeon.” I sang, I danced, I wore a cummerbund and bowtie

13) I’m not getting married. Ever.

14) I love to sing

15) I love rap and hip hop (I’m ghetto at heart)

16) In kindergarten, I chased the crippled boy in my class on the playground…yeah, I was mean

17) Jeff Norton (Tanker) and I have the BEST bathroom stories EVER from when we stayed in the African bush in Zambia….the Roman Basillica…

18) When I was 19 or 20, I was jumping on my trampoline (which we got for Christmas one year when we were kids) with Heath Gober and I came crashing through the mat and hit the ground…hard

19) When my sister (Keilani) and I were kids, we used to play a game called “toot practice” where we made fart noises on our arms and then would give each other prizes like a piece of toilet paper for whoever made the best fart noise

20) Tracey Campbell and I had the FUNNIEST weekend in Paris when I went to visit her and Paul in the UK in 1998. One night we laughed until we cried because of all the stuff that was happening

21) BB and I used to do cheerleading stunts in her swimming pool every summer and I learned to do a backflip off their diving board

22) I’ve seen Milli Vanilli, Young MC and MC Hammer in concert

23) I met the cast of Saturday Night Live in New York City in 2001

24) I laugh at my humor more than anybody else

25) I voted for Bill Clinton when I was old enough his second term and I STILL don’t regret it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My animal friends

One of my favorite parts about Africa are the animals. I've always been an animal lover and Africa has some of the most incredible animals on the planet. Over the weekend, I visited the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, just outside Roodepoort. I pet an adult male cheetah (who decided to clamp down his mouth on the inside of leg) and got to play with some Bengal Tiger cubs (who like to play rough and jump on people's backs). I've visited several game parks and nature reserves but I've never witnessed a pride of lions enjoying a meal...until Saturday. It's quite a sight! Here are a few picks from the day...enjoy!

Green Mambas

Black Mambas

Pigmy Hippo

Lion cubs

Me and Eddie the cheetah

Ed tasting my leg

This tiger cub likes the element of surprise

Much nicer when they're sleeping

Lunch time for this white lion pride