Sunday, July 31, 2011


"Over and over, when I ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the Spirit whisper to me, “You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet.”"
—Shaine Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution

Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries.

In 2004 it's said that 54% of the people were under the poverty line.

Malawians deal with hunger and malnutrition on a daily basis. According to USAID 45% of the country’s children underage five are stunted due to the lack of adequate nutrition.

Major infectious diseases include but are not limited to typhoid, malaria and hepatitis C, and the degree of risk is very high.

In 2009 there were estimated to be about 920,000 people diagnosed and living with HIV AIDS, and I've heard from a number of different sources that that number is also estimated to rise higher (the highest I heard was 2 million).

Worldwide, 16 million children have been orphaned by aids, and 14.8 million of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa, where Malawi is located. In 2009, 650,000 children were orphaned by AIDS in Malawi, and I've heard that number by another source to have gone up to over 1 million in our present time.

This is where I'm leaving to go early Wednesday morning on a missions trip to help repair a Bible school, paint, work, put on services, pray, go to orphanages, bring supplies, evangelize, do outreaches, and anything you can probably think of doing to help out overseas.

From the time I was very little I knew I would someday go back to Africa. I was born in Ivory Coast in 1992 in the middle of a revolution. Going back always seemed like a very far off and distant dream, not really something that would be a reality for a while. I can say that growing up I always felt immensely comforted by the sound of an African speaking English with their accent. It had a soothing effect on me. Although I will not be returning to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire this time I travel in Africa (I will go back someday), I am extremely excited about reconnecting with part of a culture that I was born into.

I'm Ivorian. I was born in this far away continent, and this will be my first time returning. I am not exactly sure what to expect, and I already know many people have said they've gone to Africa and left their heart there. That once I go I'll never be the same.
I don't want to be the same when I come back, but honestly? I think I was created with a heart for Africa when I was born during that revolution 19 years ago. I think I've always had it and I think that going back for the first time, after all this time, I'll discover it was there all along.

What can you do to help me? If you have a digital camera that I could borrow that would be fantabulous since mine broke :) But really? Pray. Pray hard. Just because we're going, doesn't make it safe, but we're going anyways. There's something about looking adversity in the face and saying "My God is bigger" that empowers you. I can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It's like photography and blogging put together! What a fun word.
Who's taken a break from photography? 
Who got an opportunity to jump back on the bandwagon again with a shoot though?

Obviously I jumped. 
I forgot how much I love taking pictures.
It's an opportunity to let someone else see something that you see. 
Honestly, I think of photography and videography as capturing moments that are meant to last longer then they do. Moments should be remembered, and I think there's even something special about taking pictures purposefully and claiming memories. It's exciting and captivating. 
I don't have all the fancy equipment and honestly, I really don't know a lot about the technical side of it all because that's never what it was about for me. It's just something that I really, really, really enjoy doing for fun, for free, and not just for you, for me. (Yup, it rhymed).
And you might be thinking for this pic, "hey, it's not that great". You're probably right, but that's only because this is one of many and I thought it accurately represented the feel for the shoot. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Warning: I am now forming an opinion about my life.

One night I pulled over to the side of the road on my way home. It was dark out, probably around 10:15 pm. I pulled over for a number of reasons: I was crying. I couldn't focus. I couldn't stop crying. I needed to calm down. I needed to focus. I needed to pray. I needed to hear anything from anyone.
That's a pretty dangerous place to be if you ask me.

But I knew who to call, and I called them. Whoever they are isn't really the deal, but I am very, very grateful to the people whom I call when I'm in crisis. The particular people that I called this night I was not expecting an answer. Not because they're mean or rude, unreliable or a judge of bad character, but because they're busy and a family, and I respect their time and schedules. Just because people get busy and schedules get hectic doesn't mean that I don't still call them when I'm having a hard time.

And amazingly, they picked up. Not only did they pick up, but they offered to get in their car and drive to the other side of the city where I was (a twenty plus minute route, I'm sure) and find me.
I knew instantly I had called the right people.

They guided me in the conversation, let me talk, and gave feedback when needed. The thing I enjoy most about these particular people is that they understand me in a sense where I can just listen to them talk and that's ok. I don't have to do all the talking. It's comforting just to listen to people who know you, you know?
Why am I blogging about this?
Because they asked me something. After hearing my story and my thoughts, feeding back here and there, and stating that they clearly understood, they asked me to evaluate and take time to think about a
question: "Tab, what do you want?"
I stopped for a moment. "What?" I asked. They repeated the question.
I took a moment to think and then quickly stuttered: "I don't know. Honestly, I really don't know."
I think that a lot of times I take what other people say so seriously, so close to my heart if they are close to my heart, that what they think about my life becomes what I think about my life. It's not bad. These people are wise. I trust these people who I allow myself to listen to, but at the same time what I was reminded of in this conversation is at the end of the day, at the end of my life, it's my life. I'm the one who lived it the way that I did.
No one else.
This is my life. I choose to give that life to God, but God also chooses to let me live it out.
I'm not saying to go out and make bad choices and justify it by saying it's your life to live, I'm simply mentioning this story to you because I forgot for a while that the life I'm living is the one that God gave to me for me to live. I will held accountable for it. You can't let everyone's opinions become your opinion.
I have a brain too. Honestly, I know it's in there somewhere. I can think too.

I think I might need to start forming my own opinion about my life.

What a statement.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I can't believe my time in Ireland is coming to a close. Really? I've learned so much, been around the greatest people you could ever imagine, and seen God in a brand new way. I've loved it! 
This week was the I ♡ Derry festival and Kids Week, which to say the least made a very hectic week. All the same, it was amazing. I had the opportunity to help a band do music for the kid's services and it was so much fun! I really enjoyed it. About 300 kids showed up each day and with a group of over 100 Americans helping out, the place was pretty full! Here's a glimpse of the service atmosphere:

One of the main things that God has really grown in me this week (and month!) is a love for kids, kid's ministry, and just a new appreciation for being around them. It was therapeutic for me in many ways (also, living with five kids might have helped too). I know that's weird to say, but I think I see it now as necessary and God saw it as necessary and knew exactly why. Isn't He just the best? Some of these kids just really captured my heart. I had this awesome opportunity to speak in kid's church last Sunday in enough time to tell two stories from my life. I knew the kid's really understood and listened because even today I had them coming up to me and talking about the stories, and even asking me questions about them! One of the little girls wanted me to tell them to her again! 

Well... a quick farewell, Ireland. It's been class. I'm scared that if I think about it too much I might get too sad for my own good. See you on Monday, America!