Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rebuilt

I feel like I should preface this next statement by saying I am pretty emotional in my normal circumstances. Meaning at home in normal everyday I'm emotional. I've never cried more in my entire life than when I was in Africa. I felt like in three months I cried more than I have the rest of my days combined. Near the end of our trip I asked God what was up with all the crying? He responded that at one point I had asked Him to break my heart for what breaks His. He did.

We left for Africa broken from ministry and a recent miscarriage, but clinging to the hope that we have in Him. When we got there God told me there wouldn't be anyone to hold my hand through this experience- except Him. Be ready. 

Africa changed so many things for our family.


Our perspective was now skewed from our American culture. We learned a new and stronger dependence on God. As a family, we relied and leaned on each other more than ever without our normal cushion of family and friends. We watched our five year old share the Gospel and wash feet. We embraced a love for people greater than our comprehension. Spending time with people and just getting to know them with irrelevance to time was crucial. Showing them God's love and their importance and value to Him. While also learning that no matter where you go people are people. We are all just broken and in need of a Savior. The message we take is the same no matter where we go. 

We loved the people, the place, and the ministry. It truly is the dream job. We went to Africa thinking we were going to the field right after that. However, God called us home for the time being. We felt as a family that God wanted us to finish our commitment of Joe completing school, then we would go back to field, and finally returning home for Joe to be a senior pastor. Taking family mission trips every year so we don't get too comfortable until we go to the foreign mission field.

I was sad to come home- I won't lie. What I was sure of though, was that the same God that called me to Africa was the same One that was now calling me back home.  

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." 
Isaiah 55:8

Going changed our ministry as a family. God rebuilt us in Africa. He redirected our focus. We couldn't be more excited about it. Not to mention what is still to come! 

Beauty from ashes. 

In His Amazing Love, 
Jennis


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One

So, its been a month since we left Africa. Crazy, right? It's been great to be home but we miss being there.

Since we've been home there were things we had to get used to. Obviously, the time change was a killer! A/C froze us out after not having it for three months. Africa was dry so the Florida humidity is well, humid! Soda, seriously American soda is terrible. We don't drink it anymore. Being time oriented again instead of event oriented. I loved it because I was never late! 

More than anything God gave us this incredible love for the people that we got to minister to. 

Being a missionary is the dream job. We were blessed to do it for three months. 

In honor of that we're sharing the video we made for our time there. So here's a small peek into our time in Zambia! We hope you enjoy it! 

Please pray for missionaries around the world and the people they're reaching with the Gospel!

Thank you all for journeying with us! 


video

In His Amazing Love,
The Hennis Family


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Until then...

If you're reading this then we're in the air somewhere and our season in Africa has come to an end for this year. It's bittersweet to leave. Actually, I don't want to. Africa has a way of getting under your skin and into your heart. Really, it was probably always there because God put it there.

The things I've seen and experienced I'm still processing. God has done amazing things in the past three months. Not only in the lives of the people we've met but in our lives individually as well.

I can't possibly describe to you the love that God gives you for people you've just met. They are nothing like you and yet it doesn't matter. People who know little to nothing about Him. A love I've never known before. It's all encompassing. I couldn't help but hug many of the women after we left to go to the next village.

I didn't expect it to be so hard to leave.

It is though.

At the same time I'm excited to go home. I'm looking forward to seeing loved ones and having the comforts of home.

We feel like we know what steps God has next for us. Then we'll back.

So, until then Africa, I'll be missing you.


In His Love, 
Jennis

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Somehow It Felt Like Home

When your from Florida you become an expert on things like sunshine, rain, flip flops, beaches, theme parks, fishing, etc. At least in my opinion...

For instance, during the spring and summer months you can expect rain at 3:00 in the afternoon. We generally have summer all year long. We expect rain all year. Sometimes seasons like "winter" in Florida are a sprinkling of cold days or weeks over three months, if that.

Seasons in Zambia go something like this from April to October it's dry and cold and November to March is hot and rainy. So one thing that NEVER happens in Zambia during dry season is rain. If you hear rain during dry season it's probably a baboon urinating on your tent.

I never expected to miss rain. Until, you go to a place where there isn't any rain for six moths out of the year.


I have rain withdrawals. I may or may not miss home a bit. Just sayin'...


When we went to Victoria Falls the other day the mist from this thunderous waterfall was amazing! For the first time in a few months there was green everywhere I looked! It was humid! We had on rain jackets and we were drenched! Kendall and I danced in the mist! It felt very similar to a torrential downpour it certain spots. Joe and Kendall jumped in puddles! We spied more rainbows then we could count. We loved every second! You never realize how much you miss something until it's not there anymore. I enjoyed the view and the mist so much I walked through it numerous times.

Somehow it felt like home...


In His Love,
Jennis


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fallin'

We had the absolute pleasure of going to Victoria Falls a few weekends ago. To say it was amazing would somehow be an understatement. It was gorgeous!


And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. Ezekiel 43:2



His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. Revelation 1:15



It was a beautiful sight! I'm so excited that I could share it with you! God is such an amazing artist! I hope you enjoyed the "view"! 


In His Love,
Jennis

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Come Back Alive


So imagine yourself just finishing a hard week at work, there is a sense of accomplishment, a satisfaction to all that has been done and now you are ready to rest and reflect when all of a sudden something major happens. This is how it was for us who are here serving the Lord in Zambia. We had just finished up a major welding project as well as leadership training when our instructor informed us that we had 5 minutes to run to our tents and grab 1 personal item. What we had thought was that we were going to have a cookout and reflect on our week but in reality it was the next test in our time here. 


Overland provides a unique aspect of hands on training in the field in the case of emergencies. The time was now, we huddled as a team and discussed what the 1 thing we each needed to grab and returned within the 5 minutes. When we got back, our leader informed us that now we had to condense these items down to 4, so we went from 17 to 4. What do we need in order to SURVIVE AND COME BACK ALIVE!!!??? 

We were handed a GPS and our journey started. We had to follow our coordinates to our camping site in the middle of the bush. We had an axe, string, matches, knife, and headlamp, our instructor showed us GRACE in giving us 1 more item. We had an 1 hour and 30 minutes til sundown. We got to camp, gathered upon ourselves the things of the creation and built a shelter for the night, it could fit about 8 people and we got a fire started. (It is in the 30’ s-40 at night) 

After this was done, our leaders came to us and instructed us that we needed to go meet someone who was going to give us some more supplies. It turns out that it was our food: nshima, water (20 liters), and a live goat, no utensils just the knife that we had. So we had to kill our dinner as this goat is yelping out, conserve our water, and eat the local nshima. So we proceeded to kill our goat, his name was Bob. We have to cut the skin and pull it off, hang it up, drain the blood, and then take out the insides and cut it into pieces. (Doing this with the supplies that we have) We washed it down and then cooked it over an open fire. As well as our nshima, which used water, remember we have to conserve. The food came out great as we have goat on a stick. 

The big test was passed now it was on to the night. We have 12 hours to withstand the weather, which is freezing with what we had on. We slept outside the shelter because it was warmer near the fire. We used rocks for pillows and soft brush for some comfort. It was extremely difficult for even those who did this back at home during hunting season. Conditions were the way it would have been if we had gotten stuck out in the wilderness and we have to know what to do. I ended up with 1 hour of sleep that night and couldn’t wait 'til morning. We passed the test and walked back to base, completed our task with hope of never having to do it again. 

Living out Faith in real life!!!      

In Christ,

Joe Hennis

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes


From the time our daughter Kendall was born she was at church.


We made it a priority that as a family we were in church.
  •         When she was 10 months old we dedicated her to the Lord.
  •         When she turned 1 we started disciplining her using scripture.
  •         When she was 2 Joe and I went on our first mission trip.
  •         At 3 she was memorizing scripture.
  •         At 4 she was praying actively for those she loved when they were sick or needed prayer. Many times reminding us to pray for them.
I don’t say any of this to boast in us or in her for that matter. I say it to boast in the Lord. When Joe and I dedicated Kendall to the Lord in the spring of 2009, we took it seriously. We didn’t want to raise her in church but in Christ.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

The day before we left for Africa Kendall prayed to receive Christ. Joe told her she had to pray on her own and she did.


She did excellent traveling to Africa. The first couple weeks and over the first expedition Kendall was ready to go home. She wanted to eat garlic bread at Sonny’s, rangoons at Panda, quiche from Caffe Chocolat, sleep in her own bed, and play with her dog. It was a normal adjustment for an American kid. Life was drastically different for her. There were times she loved what we were doing and she would tell us bible stories while she sat in a tree. Then at other moments she would say absolutely nothing to anyone.

The adjustment has been slow. After the first month she stopped saying she wanted to go home. Now she just tells us everyone she misses. At the top of her list is our dog Gracie, her cousins, and her grandparents.

While we were in Sekute we watched as Kendall came out of her shell for the first time in a while. If you want to reach Kendall’s heart you do it through music. She just loves it. She doesn’t really discriminate to any music style, yet. If she can dance or sing to it she’s happy. We watched her open up as she led worship with our translator Concilia. Trying her best to pronounce all the Tsonga words.

Then in the last village of Manono, for our last bible study that day, Kendall shared the Gospel with 30 women and even more children from my lap. There are no words to describe that feeling. I only wish I had been able to record it for Joe. Telling him in words will never be enough.

  •        At 5 she was sharing the Gospel in remote African villages and helping to lead worship. 
In case you feel we’re putting ourselves on a pedestal I’ll also share here that when Joe preached at the first Jesus film she whispered loudly for him to not preach too long. She’s a pastor’s daughter for certain…

I’m amazed at all that God has done with this precious girl in her short time on Earth. I am humbled that God chose us to be her parents. I can’t wait to see what God has for her. She is God’s girl.

When you share God’s Word with anyone it never returns void.

Love knows no bounds.

In His Love,
Jennis