Kudu!?! Where!?!

When I was younger my brother and I would spend hours talking about hunting, drooling over pictures of trophy animals, and sighing with resignation knowing these animals where just out of reach. We were wrong though!
Lyle and I spent three peaceful days in Nkhata Bay, Malawi enjoying the enourmous lake, the slow pace of life in a quiant little town, and the inexpensive dining. We were surrounded by Cichlids (a type of small colorful fish - for those of you like me) on a diving expedition and these same Cichlids can be purchased in the States for outrageous prices. We dremt of catching a few and selling them on e-bay to help fund our trip but figured they wouldn't last in the mail. We also observed fish that swim upside down there entire life, eating algea off the undersides of rocks. Amazing, God's creation is amazing!!
On Sunday, just before leaving Nhkata Bay we went to a local church which involved walking "down town" until we found someone dressed in their goin to meetin duds and following them. We ended up in a Christian church, right faith, wrong language. A helpful young man came and sat next to us, translating the entire sermon. After the service the Pastor and his wife invited us to their house for a visit, drinks, and lunch!! The afternoon was a precious gift, Lyle and I were again able to connect with local people, not of our own effort but God's. I felt just like the Israelites when God chose them and picked them out of all the nations to be His people. We were walking around looking for breakfast when God placed just the right person for us to follow in front of us and the rest of the day He planned for us, a day that focused on Him, His people, and forming relationship. That Sunday I felt like God said, "This day is for Me and I will pick you up out of all worldly distractions and keep you focused on Me." What can you say to that except "Ok, God"!!!

After our rest in Nkhata Bay we headed for Victoria Falls via bus; one full day to Lilongwe, Malawi, one full day to Lusaka, Zambia, and one full day to Livingstone, Zambia and we were there.

Our time in Livingstone was filled with beautiful scenes, hair raising adventures, and lots of water. The shear power and majesty of Victoria falls left us breathless and soaked to the bone. We peddled our bikes in the pouring rain; we learned how to play a Swiss game; we had breakfast on Livingstone Island on the very edge of the falls; we jump off a 111 meter high bridge; and we floated the Zambezi in our rafts gliding by Hippos and Elephants! Our time soon ran out and we headed to Windhoek, Namibia where those animals I thought out of reach suddenly and majestically came within our grasp. Lyle had secretly planned a hunting safari for me in Namibia. Nathan, my hunting partner of old, and Mom and Dad Wilder had made plans to join us. We picked Nathan up first and, with the excitement of seeing family for the first time in six months, I could hardly take it waiting for him to emerge from customs! We rented a car and spent two days exploring the Namib Desert. Nathan kept exclaiming, "Wow, I'm in Africa", it was great to share his enthusiasm. We picked up Mom and Dad Wilder after our frolic in the desert and headed out to the Eland Pro Safaris Ranch.
The hunt started out slow, leaving us with no animals after the first day and a half. But we were hunting Africa, seeing animals I'd only seen in books or wildlife shows. So, no one cared. . . to much. We just enjoyed catching up with each other and sharing experiences. Then things started to heat up. Mom Wilder was the first of us to get her animal. She had never killed a big game animal and she hadn't shot a rifle in 30 years, but she hit the bulls eye with her practice shots and soon took pictures with her trophy. I couldn't have been more proud of her. Nice work Mom!! Lyle was next, then Nathan. We all started coming back to the ranch house with big smiles and lots of whistles and whoops, except me.
The African wild life successfully evaded me for three and a half days of our four day hunt. Then it all came together after Lyle said, "go ahead, shoot it". It was a black wildebeest, an animal I had not drempt of hunting, it was the last day of the hunt and it was a huge old male so I bagged that sucker!
After taking care of the wildebeest Nathan and I headed out with our guide for one more try at the elusive Kudu, the animal I really desired, the animal that had been running through my dreams all week. We headed to a popular Kudu watering hole hoping for the best. What followed could take me an entire entry to describe with all the details and exhilarating emotion. Suffice it to say a beautiful, majestic Kudu bull stepped out into the opening around the watering hole with a commanding air and sense of superiority that reminded me of Bambie's dad. . . then I shot him. I though I would never be able to hunt African animals in Africa. I had come to peace with the fact that I would not go home with a Kudu, but my dreams came true and I was able to hunt with Nathan, Lyle, and Mom Wilder who took their own trophies and make precious memories with family. How spoiled, how blessed am I? I deserve none of this yet God pours out His blessing on me, allowing me to fulfilling my dreams and goals. How great He is!

"There is sand in all my crevices"


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