Tuesday, September 8, 2015


To affect (someone) strongly

To cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with

To defeat (someone or something) completely

To overspread or crush beneath something violent and weighty, that covers or encompasses the whole

It seems an eternity has passed since I last ventured in to this blogging world. I know I have composed a hundred posts in my mind, and I even sat down at least three times and started typing. So much has changed so quickly.  We have been so many places and seen so many loved ones. We have been to America and are resettling back here in Zambia. Before we flew out from Chicago, I remember thinking the same word over and over: overwhelmed.

Now, I don’t want you to think that this word is all full of negative because that is simply not the case. When we hit American soil and the customs agents told us, “Welcome home,” I nearly burst into tears. I realize he wasn’t anticipating an emotional female on his hands by simply welcoming a fellow citizen, so I whispered thank you through my teary eyes and gave him a wobbly smile.  We quickly proceeded out of the line and around the last corner to where our family and friends were waiting. And I was overwhelmed. I was able to see a niece and a nephew I had never met before, blubber over in laws I hadn’t seen in what felt like forever, hug a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in over 2 years and exclaim over her children who had grown taller than me! I think I may have been weeping.  Security personnel continually tried to push us onward toward the exit, but we had too much to say and too many hugs to give!

We began to reconnect with things that seemed familiar. We ate foods we had dreamed and talked about probably every single week. We hung out at places where we had made so many memories and in the process filled our hearts full of new ones. We spent time in sweet, sweet fellowship as we renewed friendships and caught up on each other’s lives. We were filled to overflowing. Overwhelmed.

Erik and I had the opportunity to fly to California to learn more from the great people at Plant Sciences. We reveled in majestic mountain views, devoured fresh sea food, gorged ourselves on ginormous strawberries, avoided seasickness as we enjoyed deep sea fishing, surveyed beautiful fields from one of the most fertile valleys in the nation, watched the sun set over the ocean, hiked through the cathedral of redwoods, spent time thinking, dreaming and planning about the next few years ahead…and felt overwhelmed.

After we had spent about a month in the States, we received a big surprise.  

Obviously, again, overwhelmed.

We spent time at grocery stores and shopping malls, simply to see the amazing selection of things for sale. We meandered down aisles, shocked at the cereal selection and the varieties of chips and crackers. Even the pretzel choices were overwhelming! Twists, sticks, rings, waffle-shaped, honey-mustard, plain, not to even mention brand choices!

We packed all the activities we could in to the amount of time we had. (a fish fry, camping, cookouts, swimming, canoeing, tubing, bowling, baseball games, biking, long walks, long talks, late night get togethers, 4 wheeling, fishing, shark dissection session, church family camp, sleepovers with friends, just to name a few.) And we couldn’t believe it when departure day approached. As we hugged my parents goodbye, the tears began to flow. I can’t even drive by an airport now without shedding a few tears. Our hearts and minds were full of so many things shared, yet the knowledge of so many things we would miss. Again. Overwhelmed.

Upon arrival on Zambian soil, our kids felt some elation! Ah yes! They felt better than they expected to be back. And I was oh so thankful. In the first week we were back, we were reminded of the grip that Satan still retains on the community through the practice of witchcraft. It was a swift reminder for us of the battle that is still raging here for the souls of many.

In the month that we have been back, it has been oh so sweet to reconnect with the ones we love here in this place. Sharing the Word is always a blessing. Light always dispels darkness. Our girls enjoy helping with English classes. Last week, they pretended to be storekeepers as the ladies visited and “bought” fruIt, vegetables, and bartered, all in English. And of course, holding babies. There is a small baby boom in our area among the people we know. But, it hasn’t all been rosy. We have had some malaria (2 cases), a very serious bee attack, and a couple of cases of giardia (an amoebic intestinal infection). Overwhelmed by all that is our normal here.

Erik and I are both gearing up to take on more daily responsibility; myself with accounting for the school and farm and Erik with marketing.  Caleb Hoerr is training us to take over for him. He has blessed us this past year by doing all the marketing and accounting. Harvest is in full swing. Since June, our workers have harvested around 12 tons of strawberries. More ground is being broken to plant in 2016. We are preparing beds under tunnels so we can continue to harvest in the rainy season. Blackberries should be ready to harvest in December. We continue our orange tree trials.

Lifesong School began a new term this week. Lots of students are returning to receiving regular meals and reliable healthcare, something they don’t always receive at home. Our teachers covet your prayers as they seek to disciple and teach.

The kwacha is weakening. Zambia’s economy is a little shaky. There is a shortage of electricity so we experience daily power outages, usually 8 hours. Sometimes less, sometimes more.   

Yet through it all, He proves Himself ever faithful. The Spirit brings this verse to mind:

From the ends of the earth will I cry unto thee when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
Psalm 61:2

And we are at peace.

Thanks again for loving us so well. We are truly humbled again and again as you show us His body in action.


Olivia Blunier said...

Carrie, It was so good to see an email come through with your blog update!! :) Know that we have been praying and are so thankful we were able to be a tiny part of your trip back home!

love you so much, and thanks again for sharing such poignant thoughts! So True!!
Kurt & Livy

Rachel Zimmerman said...

Beautifully written! How God has bless you and your family...though the days are not always easy. May He be right by your side :)

Thanks for posting!

Rachel Z.

Nichole said...

miss you, sweet friend. thanks for posting :)

Marilyn Unsicker said...

So happy that this came up on my phone today. Think about all of you every day and miss the sweet faces of all of you. Happy to hear from Christy and Julie that Erik survived the bees {had him on our prayer Chain and people are still asking about him} Latest here is Janel's pore Dad. Praying daily for him. Wondering if Great #16 is growing strong and healthy. Wished we could have called Jo on his birthday and have conserve on the phone and mail. Love all of you More than you will ever know.

Natalie and Luke said...

We love you Wiegands. Crying a little bit here, knowing we share similar experience and I'm excited and hurting for us both at the same time. Love you.