Sunday, December 30, 2007

Into the New Year, Into Costa Rica...

Happy almost 2008! Have big plans for celebrating? I am absolutely beside myself. I'm all packed up and ready to go. Looking to your right, you may see that I have darkened my hair in light of my move. Well, it turned out a little darker than expected but I'm counting on it to fade...I hope! :) I've put together this 2-minute goodbye clip for you to watch. Please don't be scared of some of the pictures, no humans were hurt during the filming of this montage. Enjoy, Happy New Year, and I'll post another entry once I'm settled in Costa Rica this week!
video

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pictures from Christmas Day. Enjoy!








Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas is knocking at our door.

Christmas 2007, could it really be here already? The Christmas lights, Holiday music, and gifts under the tree tell us that it has arrived. Since I'm little miss planner, I've had all of my Christmas shopping finished for several weeks now. Heehee, I wonder whose side of the family I get that from? We'll be having a family Christmas in Atlanta this year and I'm feeling quite sentimental as it is possibly my last Christmas in the States for a while. I am focusing on my blessings this year and remembering what all the Lord has done for me to get to this place.

The following is from a journal entry this past week:
...I've been learning that all of this is simply not about me. First, its about God. Second, its about His plans for the people of Colombia that I may come in contact with. And third, well, there is no third. And there is no "Zoe." Sure I will do more growing and learning than I can imagine. And I pray that I will be used to the fullest. But my goal is not some search for self-fulfillment and an attempt to feed my hunger for adventure. No, its not about me. We are truly a team! This team is made up of all the people who read my blog and emails, all who remember me in prayer, all who support me financially, and all who believe that we can be used of the Lord to make a difference in Colombia! So I would say to my team, let's run the race and not grow weary in doing good!

Remember this Christmas that the Lord is using you. As you read this entry and as you open your gifts, the Lord is blessing somebody in Colombia as a direct result of your prayers and generosity. Merry Christmas dear friends. You are someone's gift this year.

Below are the pictures from the Colombian moms' Christmas party. WE provided those baskets of goodies for them!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Heart wrenching stories!

Dear friends, I know that often times we get wrapped up in our world...especially with Christmas around the corner. I know that I have been busying myself with last-minute plans. I often stress about the little things: "Do I have everything for Costa Rica?", "How much more support do I need?", "What should I get Dad for Christmas?" There just aren't enough hours in the day!

Well, the other night I received an email from a dear friend in Colombia. Her name is Lucy and she is the pastor's wife of the church that I will be attending in Bogota. For more than a year now I have been supporting their church monetarily. They have a ministry for single moms and I try to help provide them with some extra resources to better serve the women that need some help. Sometimes its frustrating to log on to the internet and send money every month. I often have bills that could more easily be met if I hadn't committed to sending them money every month. Sometimes I even forget and I have to play catch-up the following month. But then I get an email. Something that hits my heart like a brick, brings out the tears, and reminds me of why I was led to ever give and to stay committed.

I am including some excerpts from her email because it directly effects you. This is one of the ministries that I will work hand-in -hand with once I'm there. I hope that it ministers to you the way that it did to me. This is the reality of thousands of Colombian women. I was very discouraged at first. Full of questions-"how can I have so much, and they suffer so tremendously?" But the Lord has turned it into encouragement. The road is clearly in front of me, I will do all that I can to alleviate some of the burdens, and trust God to do the rest! I end with this: (please note that they call me Danielle since they cannot pronounce Zoe)

From Lucy Sativa
Bogota, Colombia
November 30, 2007
I want to share with you that this Sunday we will give out invitations for 35 head-of-household women and their children. We will prepare a typical Christmas dinner for them and their children and we will hand out baskets containing wine, cookies, tuna, chocolate, canned sausages, packs of filled candy, cheese, jello, a box of buñuelo mix (fried buns), a box of natilla(custard) mix, fruit cake, sardines, etc. etc. and with a cute little Christmas card, made by the women leaders, and at the end, it will say your name.....Danielle.
I also want you to know that from the "Zoe" fund, every Sunday, we give 20,000 pesos to the family or the mother of the young man who died in the car accident (the ones that you prayed for that day). We give them to her like this because it is what she needs every week for her business now- selling arepas con chorizo (arepas with sausage).
and to another girl, whose husband is in jail, and who is being sought in ORDER TO BE KILLED BECAUSE SHE WITNESSED THE DEATH OF HER BROTHER, we gave $150.000 pesos to help her out with her rent, she had to move to another neighborhood. We have also helped her out with groceries.
Well, thank you, because this is how we have been able to help other women, a little bit at a time. Like the 2 young widows who were helped with groceries.
LUCY

Monday, November 26, 2007

Colombia Times

I'm so happy. For those of you who are not aware of the happenings in South America regarding Chavez, this may be confusing for you and believe me, you don't want me to go into detail. In short summary, The Venezuelan president, Chavez, is a dictator who has gone as far as changing Venezuela's constitution to make himself president for life. He is a dominant player in Latin politics and there is good reason to keep an eye out for him. If not watched, Venezuela and other South American neighbors could become communist nations.

The reason I am happy is because, for some time now, Chavez was brought into Colombia to work as a mediator between the rebel groups and the government to negotiate the hostage situation for thousands held captive. This was just one more way that Chavez had a major foot in the door to a neighboring country. No doubt, his intentions were all but innocent. Well, after breaching several of Uribe's (Colombian president) requests for privacy, along with some other invasive methods, Colombia has cut Chavez off! I'm so thrilled. I have been keeping a close eye on Colombian news lately and was in fear of their relationship with this dictator. It always seems to go down hill when somebody like him becomes a hero to the people. There is no stopping tyrants who gain public favor. For now, he has to keep his paws off my future home!

For more info, head to www.colombiantimes.com That is the website where I get most of my info.
Blessings
Zoe

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day and more.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that yours was as enjoyable as mine and that you have been filled to the brim with love, family, and lots of yummy food. I certainly enjoyed sitting around the table and dining with my loved ones. Since this may be my last Thanksgiving in the States for a couple of years I tried to soak in every moment and every flavor.
I want to make you aware of a new feature on my blog. If you look to the top right corner you will see a link to view my "Web Gallery." I have discovered that I can load about 100 pictures onto that sight in the time it takes to load about 8 on here. Plus, you can see some fun video as well. I'll still be posting pictures on here occasionally, but you'll be able to really experience things with me by visiting the gallery every now and then.
On to the big news now....the following pictures are of my temporary home that awaits me in Costa Rica. I have decided to live with a local family in order to enhance my language-learning experience. My Big Brother and Sister at the language school graciously took the time to check out a couple of locations for me and this is what we finally decided on. There are pictures of the outside, inside, host mom, and the park accross the street. I will have my own shower (in my room), and will share the toilet located just outside of my bedroom door. Enjoy!
Oh-there are brand new pictures and video of the Thanksgiving feast that we just shared only a few hours ago. Those are on my Web Gallery. Check em out!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday fun

So, I think I'm definately in my MID-20's now. I guess that's good. I enjoyed the day thoroughly. My long time mom #2, Kay, came down for a visit. We did girl stuff like shop the mall and eat a yummy lunch out. Saturday was the little brithday get-together and that was nice as well. Mostly, I just had a quiet birthday and got some great gifts. Dad-a recorder that I need for language school, Patrice-a really cute jacket and red shirt, Tracy-a $24 gift card, Kay-a great watch that I picked out and some cute purple jewelry, and Nicki-tickets to see Brian Regan and a delicious dinner. Tomorrow is back to work but to see some fun pics from the various events head to my Web Gallary-link is located at top write of the page. Here's to my 24th year of life!
Zoe

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fresh off the Tarmak!




Friends and family! Miss y'all!
Well, just got off the plane from my trip to Arizona. I went out there for Farrah's wedding, my cousin. What a beautiful bride! Mrs. Farrah Silva...you go girl!!!
So, I came home to a most delightful surprise...a phone call from Costa Rica! WOOHOO. Could it really be that soon? So, their names are Mike, Erin, and their daughter Madison. They are the Pettengills and are my big brother and sister as are assigned by the language school there in San Jose. Would that make Madison my big/little sister? O-well. It was so exciting. So real! January 2nd is going to arrive faster than I can say Continental Airlines. Anyway, I spoke with Mike and he informed me that they are lovingly (my translation) searching for the perfect place for me to live while I'm there. So thoughtful! The Lord is taking care of me and I'm not even there yet! The Pettengills are studying Spanish as well and intend to move to Honduras next summer for missions. I have linked their blogs on this site, so take a peek if you can! This trip to Arizona was the last big thing before my departure. Well, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming, and I'm excited about that. AND....my birthday! Woohoo! 24 on the 13th of this month!
In terms of support, I'm on the final leg here folks! But I'm waiting patiently for some churches to give the final say on whether or not they will support me. I have total and complete peace about everything! Know anybody who wants to get a foot into missions but can't take the full plunge? Supporting a missionary is an AWESOME way to participate in what God is doing over seas! Be checking your mailboxes as well for my fall newsletter. Until then, happy holiday planning!
Bendiciones!
Zoe "Daniela"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some new pictures


Long-time friend MaryAnn and I at her grandaughter's wedding.


Fishing in Shreveport-I name it kitty kitty catfish


Uncle Lowell and I eating a yummy snack


My Aunt Martha and Uncle Lowell (mom's oldest siblings)


A precious little sister at church

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Greetings from LA!

Well, I wish I were dishing out greetings from LA, California. Though this might be almost as good....I'm currently here in Shreveport, Louisiana spending time with my mom's side of the family: the Shoemakers. Things are going very well and I should get some pictures up soon of that.
In other news, I have an official departure date!!! I wish the internet was emotion-capable because if it were, you would all be hearing squeels of joy. Nevertheless, I am very excited to be heading out on January 2nd. Yes, its a bit later than I had planned but I'm happy with God's timing and the fact that I have the holidays in Atlanta with my family. Who knows when that will happen again.
So I leave on the 2nd for Costa Rica-language school. I'll be back to Atlanta on April 26th for some last minute planning before heading off to Colombia mid-late summer of '08. Things are just speeding along. I'm looking forward to sharing the details with you as things unfold. Blessings and please keep in touch!
Zoe

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Holding loosely to the plan!

Lately I have been struggling with sleep. It seems that I was so wound up about my plans and future that I would lay awake and wrestle everything in my mind. Trying to answer my own questions, wondering all the "what ifs". I have always been a planner and have been dissapointed when things havn't gone my way. Those of you who have a personal relationship with me can vouch for that.
Well, I received some very wise council one evening not too long ago and was reminded that whatever you try to control, will always end up controlling you. So I have had this "3-year" itinerary in my mind for Colombia. I've been clinging to it. Not anymore! God's timing is the most important thing and since He hasn't sent me His itinerary for my life, I'm going to hold loosely to the plans. I take care of them and and responsible for them, but I don't squeeze the very life right out of them.
I only say this to, one, possibly be an encouragement for those of you who may be clinging to a dream or plan to a point where all the joy is lost from it. And, two, to explain that instead of always knowing how and when and how long, I'm going to go with what God is doing. If I end up in Colombia for 5 years, so be it. If I end up there only for 1 year, I'm ok with that. It isn't the amount of time that matters, its what God does with the time I'm given that is important.
Many blessings to you and yours as we head on into the fall and the joys that come with the approaching holidays. Keep in touch!
Zoe

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Latest news...

Well, The origional departure date I had planned has come and gone. August 28th was not what God had in mind I guess. So, I'm left with two options...sit around a pout, or keep pushing forward. I'm definately still making active plans to go. My biggest prayer right now is that I'll be able to leave before the end of the year, or at least have a ticket booked for January before the end of the year. But, God already knows the exact date of my departure.
Right now I'm waiting to hear from a church here in the Atlanta area as to whether or not they are going to support me. I should know in the next 2 weeks. If they become a supporting church, I'll be able to leave this year. If not, I will begin to get very creative in my support raising. I have already contacted friends and family and most of them are supporting me already. This is all part of the process and I'm having to trust God more than ever. It is easy these days to feel that I have come to a complete stand still in this process. It's easy to wonder if I'll ever get to go. But then I read the latest news in Colombia, or make contact with my friends there and I am reminded of why I'm doing this and that the passion is still VERY MUCH there.
Please keep me in your prayers and feel free to contact me via email or phone. Blessings!

For information on how to give, please see the bottom of the page for instructions. Also email me at zdmac@mac.com

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

While in Colombia!

Just got back from a nice visit to my future home of Bogota, Colombia! It was incredible! Here are some pictures. I'm in the process of contacting you to tell you details of the trip but please enjoy the pictures and their explanations! Looking forward to talk to you!

Me-having some fun with a Colombian Flag and traditional costal hat. Viva Colombia!


A small view of the city. Mountains in every direction!


The UCU office where I'll be working every day! It's close to the center of the town and in an awesome location.


At a Wednesday night bible study with some of the university students.


This is Grace Morillo, one of the women at UCU that I'll be working with.


Another view of the city...more mountains. This was taken from Grace's apartment.


This is the church that I will be attending. Sunday morning service.


Me-praying with a woman and her children in the single-moms' ministry. Her husband died last month after being hit by a bus on the street. This is only one of hundreds of stories that will pull at your heart.


The women and their children at the single-moms' meeting. Their stories are alive in my heart. Join me in praying for the hope that can be theirs.


A family I visited. A women, with her 4 children, live in ONE room. Her husband left her to take care of them by herself. Again, heart-breaking. But she loves the LORD!!!


My pastor's wife and wonderful friend, Lucy. A huge blessing in my life!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In route...

Presently in: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
In route to: Colombia!!!
Yep, I'm very excited to be on my way to Bogota right now. Just going for a short visit. Looking forward to meeting my future team as well as re-uniting with old friends. I'll post some fun stuff when I get back. Keep me in your prayers!
Chao

Monday, July 16, 2007


Happy sisters just hangin out...

dad's car had a flat tire just as we were getting ready for the ride back home. UHOH!

Our friend Max who is staying with us...he's french, can you tell? heehee

My handsome dad walkin on the dock by the lighthouse. Isn't he handsome?

The MEN.

Hair blowing in the wind, the beach was beautiful.

The whole family in Savannah, GA.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Feliz Julio! (happy july)

Well my friends, its July. I woke up and realized that we have made it half way through the year. I'm not too sure where it went, but before we know it, 2008 will be here. I know you older and wiser folks would tell me that it only goes by faster the older you get, and I'm sure that's true. But honestly.....Vooom, it flies! So, here's the scoop for this month, I'm going to be VERY busy:
First, we have a guest coming to stay in our home for a while and I'm picking him up on Wednesday. He's a French guy who has been a missionary in Colombia and I'm looking forward to picking his brain. Heehee. Then, on the 8th, my family is going on vacation. That's right....the WHOLE family. It is possible that I may need a vacation from vacation by the time its all over, but I'm definately looking forward to a week at the beach. So, we get back from that on the 14th and then I'm off to Colombia for 10 days on the 24th. Needless to say, I'm sure that this month will also just zoom past us and before we know it we'll be trailing school buses again and adding that 30 extra minutes of driving time to and from work. Gotta love Atlanta! Thanks again for all of your generosity and support, I'll update when I can!
Enjoy your summer everybody,
Zoe

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A little postponed. No worries!


(a picture of my pal Felice and I on our recent cruise)
I have decided that it is necesary to express some important realities concerning my departure date. At this time, not all of my support has been pledged. For very understandable reasons, I cannot leave the country until I have reached 100% of my goal. Now I havn't cut into stone yet with this, but there is a high chance that my departure date will be postponed a few months until the rest of my support comes in. I struggled with this a bit at first, wondering why I would continue to be held back from something that I've been waiting for for eight years. But after prayer and wise council, I recognize that it was God who planted that calling into my life and heart, and it can only be He who decides my exact departure date. I have placed it in his hands. Meanwhile, I continue marching on. I'm making more contact with potential financial partners and trusting that everything will be done according to His will.
If you are a financial supporter at this time and have any questions that you would like answered, please do not hesitate to call me. I'de love to chat. Many blessings and a happy hot summer to ya!
Zoe

To donate, please follow the instructions at the bottom of the page. Thank you for your generosity!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Daddy's Day!

Happy Happy Father's Day to all you dad's out there! Its a day where you get a portion of the credit that I know you actually deserve. The more appropriate gesture would be to celebrate dad's every day because I know you guys do so much for us kids! And, if I do say so myself, my dad is winning the race for best dad of the year.
So many people ask me on a regular basis "how does your dad feel about you going to Colombia?" The truth is, he's my number one supporter and fan. When I get discouraged or nervous about the big move, HE'S the one that's right there showing me God's truth and encouraging me to press on. We've been through so much together and I am so thankful that God chose me to be his daughter.
For all those who have lost their dads like my grandfather this year, or my precious step-siblings whose dad died before his time, I hope you will find your strength and encouragement in the arms of our heavenly father. I love you all!
Zoe

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pack your bags!

Well, I'm headed to Colombia in July! No, not for good...yet. I'm going back for a visit to meet the team that I will be working with once I live there. I'll be gone for 9 days total and will get back only 3 weeks before I'm supposed to officially leave for good. Not only is this trip going to serve as an introduction to the UCU team down there, but I'm very excited to be refreshed there by God's promises in my life.
I was talking to dad the other night and was remembering the story of my last trip to Colombia in summer '06. A few days before I left I had a very intimate time with the Lord. I felt that I would be back to Colombia but that the Lord had a lot to do within my life first. I kept feeling a time frame of about one year. I could never have guessed what all would take place in that year. It has been filled with ups and downs. Mostly, it has been God breaking and rebuilding me in a way that I know will allow my time in South America to flourish. But the breaking of oneself, in any situation, is painful. I do recognize the necesity and privilage of this process and I am seeing changes within myself daily. It is a journey. It certainly will not just end the moment I move down there. Of course not! But I am looking forward, with great excitement, to this new season in my life!
More later!
Blessings to you all,
Zoe

To donate, please see instructions at bottom of page.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

News Brief. Read all about it!

I'de like to take this blog opportunity to inform my readers of the current happenings in Colombia. Things seem to be taking a slight turn for the worse over there. Here's what The Independent has to say about the drug situation: "...the Colombian capital city, Bogota, that the "war on drugs" is seriously falling apart..." "...As a model recruit into the "war on drugs" his country has received $5.4bn under the so-called Plan Colombia from Washington for drug control..." "...Yet Colombia is estimated to be producing nearly 800 tons of cocaine every year and it has been an open secret for years that senior politicians and the armed forces are deeply mixed up in drug dealing and the right-wing death squads - coyly referred to as "paramilitaries" are also involved in the trade..." "...More than a dozen senators, congressmen and political insiders have been arrested. This month, two police generals were sacked...." because of how curropt the government is.
And now about the president: I won't quote the articles because they are entirely too long. However, president Uribe of Colombia has been under investigation for his political ties in his earlier days to the right-wing paramilitias who, along with various government officials, have been found guilty of taping phones and apartments of various national and international officials. Also in news...a hostage has escaped from one of the guarila camps, which has been quoted as having similar/worse conditions than the concentration camps of the holocost. Many prisoners have been kept in such camps for over a decade. Don't get me wrong, the camps are not NEARLY the size of those of the holocost, it is their conditions that are similar. They are comprised mostly of x-officials. Not civilians.
I hope that you will join me in prayer for Colombia as its new-found peace seems to be slipping away as quickly as it arrived. This means more potential danger for me while I'm there and it breaks my heart to think that Colombia hasn't seen the end yet.
More info at www.colombiatimes.com

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The 2-Mom Special!


THIS IS A VERY LONG ENTRY, BUT I TRULY HOPE YOU WILL TAKE THE 5 MINUTES TO READ IT...IT WILL BRING YOU INTO A VERY INTIMATE PART OF MY LITTLE WORLD!
Ok, its mother's day weekend. Last night we had my grandfather's memorial (the one who passed away in February) here in Atlanta. My grandmother is in town along with my uncle and cousin from AZ and a host of family from Tennessee and Florida. Of course my new not-so-mom was sitting beside me at the service and my sweet newly widowed grandmother was infront of me. (they were married for over 65 years) AND...we were at this great gathering of all those who knew my grandfather. That, in turn, means that most of them knew my mom Marie. It hit me ya know, I am so blessed: I've had two moms.
That may seem like a twisted way to look at it. And trust me, this phenomenon often has its difficulties. But not only have I been blessed with the beautiful qualities of Marie, I am also now being shaped by mom Patrice. For those who knew Marie, this can be hard to swallow. So think of it like this...Most of us go through life having one mom. Once we get to know her, well, we know her. Her personality doesn't change. It is unlikely that her opinions and viewpoints will change significantly. And though we know her well, and the relationship takes on different roles as we mature, we will still only ever have that one reference of "mom." What a blessing to know somebody so well. To have that steady person in your life through thick and thing. It is also, however, a tremendous blessing to have two experiences like that. Mainly because mom Marie and mom Patrice are so very different. Not only have they been present for two very different time periods in my life, but they have had two unique personalities, viewpoints, and strengths to enrich my life with.
Does this make sense? Those things that were present in my mom that have forever molded me, are things that Patrice does not carry. In the same light, the widsom that Patrice instills into my life is often a strength of hers that mom did not have. I have the benefit of being mothered by two very wise, God-fearing women. For this, I can only thank one person. My heavenly Father, in His infinate wisdom and planning, knew exactly what He was doing. Sure, it came at a very heeavy and painful price. But isn't it true that He does everything for a reason and that ALL, ALL, ALL things work out for the good of those who love Him and obey His commands. I pray sicnerely that you will be blessed this mother's day. Whether you are a mom, have a mom, or both...never under-value your place or your mother's. Love on her, be loved. Enjoy and cherish your moments together.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

*Keep on Keepin on*

Happy May to you! Summer is here and I'm just that much closer to my goal departure date. I've had a very busy few weeks regarding the support raising and team building. My dear friend Felice put together a support-raising party for me with my Latino family at New Birth and it proved to be such a blessing.
I also got to speak at the church that dad teaches at, God's Rolling Thunder, here in Woodstock during this past Sunday. My response there was equally as warm and the congregation is happy to be sending me as their first supported missionary from the church. An added blessing is that one of the members has built up hundreds of sky miles and is giving me a ticket to Colombia...and just in case that wasn't enough: it's 1st class! Wow. What a treasure!
Well, I'm just gonan keep on keepin on and continue down this adventurous road that God has me on. Thank you so much for keeping up with this site and for taking interest in all that is going on. Please, double please, keep me posted on the happenings of your life and any way that I might be in prayer with you about. Blessings!

to pledge, go to www.lam.org

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

!sUnnY flOriDa!



I'm on my final day in the Tampa area and have had such a wonderful time. I spent the first part of my week in Sarasota with friends doing some visiting and resting. I got to spend some time with my pal Michael and his parents Barry and Kay. I then sang and set up my missions display at their Saturday evening service for which they lead worship. Then I headed an hour north to Tampa where I have spent 3 days with my cousin Heather and her husband and three children. Tony and Heather pastor a church, Morning Star, and their congregation is filled with the most welcoming people. All in all, I presented my mission to two churches and have been delighted to see the interest that people have shown towards my calling.
I am headed back to Atlanta this evening where I will begin to prepare to speak with the people who attend my church as well as the biker church that my dad helps lead. This "team Colombia" is really coming together. Well, till next time folks!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Christ has Risen!


Just a note to all, as we hurry about in our Easter festivities to not forget what it is we are celebrating. I say this because I have had to pinch myself a couple of times this weekend and remember what its all about. We're so used to the Easter plays at church, the egg hunts and baskets for little ones, and the big family lunch on Sunday. But as i sat yesterday, a little sad for no particular reason whatsoever, I reminded myself of Christ's sacfrifice and that there is nothing in the world that I should let dampen my spirits. His sacrifice is the cause of a joy that lives in my heart which no man can put out. Be blessed this Easter.