I was bit by some fire ants today, but thats ok.

Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
Trip End Apr 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, August 23, 2010

I've arrived! The rest of my traveling went well. I’ve captured a bit of the Smoky Mountains for you all. It was so nice to get off the beaten path (aka: I-75) and drive trough them, a sincere treat. I considered my windshield too small for these divine works and wished to replace the whole car with that glass elevator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Something which I will look into for my next trip through any sort of mountain region…

My first day at ECHO has been going great. We’ve got a great group of 16 people taking the course, which is really a perfect number for learning… not too many so that you feel intimidated to ask a question, but also just enough so that diverse back grounds are represented and people are asking questions that don’t enter your own mind.

After Breakfast, we had devotions and took a tour of ECHO. It was so neat to see how they have emulated the different growing areas from around the world. I’ll attach some pictures so you all can see some of the very unique growing they have going on. I’m sure there will be more to come too.

Going into this, I’d been feeling quite over whelmed by the enormity of my task: learn tropical agriculture applicable to Zambia. "I don’t know ANYTHING about it, there’s too much to learn", I thought as I doubted God’s grace in the matter. However, having toured the grounds, taken my first two classes and heard commentary about the farm here, I believe God has equipped me quite well for the task at hand. I’m not going to get everything in three weeks, but I’ll just go into “sponge mode” for the time being and do the best I can. Each staff member has been knowledgeable and I am excited to have them and the other resources (books / hands-on experience). After a very animated class on Transformational Community Development it reoccurred to me what a total geek I am – and how much I love to be fed such applicable knowledge. If only I had been this way those first couple semesters of college!

Tonight I found out that my dad was in a motorcycle accident earlier in the day. He “doesn’t think anything is broken” but “may have to go to the hospital tomorrow if he’s not any better”. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as I am not able to decipher what his exact condition is.

Also, please pray that I wouldn’t be so distracted by my new surroundings and information that I forget the heart of why I’m here. In a similar fashion, please pray that my brain’s sponge like qualities would be extra spongy when studying and sitting in on classes. We have had some very deep, educational, and insightful conversations (especially the six ladies, as we hang out after class). I do hope that this would continue for the remainder of this week.
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Natasha (and Craig) on

I love this blog!! Thanks for taking the time to update us on your journey. We're definitely excited for you as you're discovering all these new realms about yourself. You are close in our hearts and prayers!! Take good care (:

Sarah on

I have full confidence in your ability to absorb the new information...you've always been good at learning - especially when it's something that interests you. And now you're in something with the added passion given by God; so I'm praying, but I'm not worried, I know you'll come out prepared in exactly the way He needs you to be.

Kathleen Slakes on

Thank you for the update! You are in my thoughts and prayers as is your Dad...

terraleep on

Thanks Craig and Natasha! I must confess that my mind often wanders back up to Michigan... How are things going with your youngster? Is he going to be "a soccer star"? or Has he been relatively calm in there?

terraleep on

Thank you Sarah.

Alisa on

Yay...prayers for a spongy brain! I love it. I used to say this all the time in college! You'll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as well as your dad. Blessings dear friend! =D

Dee Dee Rose on

Hi, Terra! I've been thinking about you often the past few days hoping your journey to Florida was a safe one. I was going to send you an e-mail because I hadn't gotten anything from you, and then I happen to check my spam folder and found your invitation to this wonderful travel blog! Sounds like you had a pleasant trip down, and I have no doubt you'll be at the head of your classes at ECHO. I look forward to sharing your journey with you through this blog, and pray that the knowledge you gain will be a blessing to those you will be teaching in Zambia. Hope and pray all will be well with your dad. Take care, sweetie!

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