Monday, August 19, 2013


What a precious day to be a part of in Mongu, Zambia.  For the past few years Mike has traveled just about 2.5 hours West of Kaoma to the Provincial Capital, Mongu.  We have two colleagues who have spent over 10 years working in that area.  One of those missionary ladies had a dream of starting a Bible School in the Western Province.  She had a church who agreed to send their pastor many times a year to help train these students.  Along with this pastor, Mike and another missionary from the area trained these students over the past three years.  Mike would return home after a week of teaching and share with us about the students and their testimonies.  Even though on this day of graduation I had never met any of these men, I couldn't have been more admiring and proud of them.  The first graduating class of Mongu Bible School.  As I watched these men take a stand before the audience that day, my mind was set on arithmetic.  Sometimes, when I am out sharing all the stories and bible studies I work hard to prepare with the ladies at our weekly studies, I think "How on earth will I ever get this completed? How will I ever have them trained well enough that they might tell others?"  Then, God reprimands me in my heart and reminds me to just do what He says and he will take care of the arithmetic.  The "Math"!
Sorry this picture is a bit blurry.  The first graduating class of Mongu Baptist.

Sending out 6 trained men to various parts of the Western Province.   Praying for the Multiplication!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Old Words Forgotten

I stumbled upon an older journal of mine in rearranging some things in my storage.  I flipped it open just to be sure that it was the item I was thinking and my eyes quickly started to read a note I had jotted down.  It is not dated on the exact page of this note, but is somewhere roughly around December, 2009.  It is funny how we will read our old words and think, hmmm, I do not remember writing that, but I am glad I did. 

December, 2009

"You know some days I just think random thoughts throughout the day.  Many are poetic in nature and that I want so desperately to put down on paper, but will not take the time to sit down and write for my personal fear that I may appear lazy or not using my time wisely.  That thought alone makes me consider how many others in the world be it poets, painters, writers, scientists even, have appeared to waste time to so many around them only to end up authoring words that became famous in every culture and language or discovered a cure for a disease we need not worry about battling today due to their efforts.  I have always enjoyed forming poems in my mind, but, next to never, get them down on paper.  A shame!  The thought of writing a book seems so noble, yet quite overwhelming and out of reach.  I sense in me that somewhere along the line of my life that someone said something to make me believe that certain things would always be out of my reach.  A shame!  I say this not to boast in myself that I would have discovered some great cure or been a Nobel peace prize winner by any means.  But, to say I think of all the talent that God so richly blessed His children with that has been stifled by the words of some down-trodden soul who needed someone else to join him in his own muck and mire.  A shame!  Criticism can many times cause you to feel violated and is often hard to forget.  Life can get pretty scary when you step out to use the talents you possess.  It is the start of destruction when you cannot recognize the gift He has given you to share.  The road to destruction can be long and full of pain.  God places those on that road who can help you from those detours in the road that stifle your courage.  They are gifts, but we can't always recognize them in the forms of opportunities given and people who speak into our lives.  We should guard our hearts and tongues in every aspect of our lives.  It is easy to sit and size up other people's attempts at greatness without evaluating whether we have made any attempts.  It is easy to criticize others attempts and failures without ever having attempted any on our own.  Whether we attempt great things or not, should we not be ones who will "cheer on" or applaud the achievements of others.  For to do anything else is to show our true lack of self-esteem and to lack compassion for the abilities and gifts God has blessed on each and everyone."

I continue to seek and try with all my heart to use the talents God has given.  It has taken some time to figure them out and I know that I still have time to spend in figuring them out in their fullness.  However difficult they may be at times, I am learning to be grateful for them and to use them as much as I am able.  There is one ability that we all have if we can reach down and rip out each of our own selfish-pride.  It is not a talent, but it a great weapon that can hinder other's talents.   There is one characteristic that we are ALL able to do and that is to hold our tongue's when necessary and to use if for building up instead of tearing down.  As a brother or sister in Christ may we not give Satan one toe-hold in our lives to damage any other human - be him Christian or not.  In this American-Idol world, may we remember, yes, that life is a stage, but it is an audience of one (God alone) and not of man.

A prayer I say many times when I hit the floor:  May God be glorified by my words and deeds today and that those around me may be loved as He would love them.  Let nothing I say or do to someone bring about their demise or take the wind from their sails, but lift them up and encourage them on their way.

Hold your tongue - edify others - I DARE YOU!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Power of Darkness!

Catherine and her son with a friend from church.  She is always ready with a smile and something that will inevitably bring laughter to all those around.

There are days when I am so prepared to receive some outlandish news from our national friends.  Days that I am just not surprised by the "goings-on" within the dynamics of the people that I live life with here in Zambia.  However, when I am least prepared, some news will come that catches me so off- guard with a story that makes my heart sink for the people that I love.  I have a dear friend that is a strong lady and has been faithful in church and with the Women's Bible Study.  She is always so encouraging to me as I teach.  She shares things that she doesn't understand that I may better prepare myself for them to know and understand the scripture that I share.  She also will be the first to express that the way I have prepared has helped her have a clear picture of what God is giving to us in scripture.  She will tell me how she has taken previous scripture and applied it to happenings within her own life.  I am always pleased to see how she has used God's word to help her make the best decision for herself, her family and her witness.  She doesn't ALWAYS make the best decisions, but she is always upfront with me about those mistakes.  We are faithful in Bible Study to lift these areas of struggles within each other's lives up to God and ask for wisdom.  This dear friend met me on the road yesterday while I was on my way to Bible Study in a village.  Even as she approached the vehicle I sensed a great distress in her walk and body language.  Her face showed signs of a woman in such a state of grief.  I was immediately burdened and as soon as she was at the window I put my hand on her arm asking, "are you okay Catherine?"  She could barely contain her voice and her face quivered as she tried to tell me what had happened.  For months, the church has visited with Catherine's husband trying to encourage him in different areas of his life.  He doesn't keep Catherine from coming to church, but he will not come with her even after she faithfully asks him to come and prays for him.  She always ask the women to pray for him.  So, as Catherine began to tell me what had happened, I could barely contain my own emotions.  I immediately felt the fear and dispair she was feeling.  Her husband, father to three of her children, had an affair and the lady with which he had had an affair was pregnant and had needed surgery.  So, because of this distress in his and his mistresses life of needed surgery they have begun to place suspicion and guilt upon Catherine as being a witch who has caused this issue to arise in this mistress's life.  As you read this, with a Western-Cultured mind, you may say, well, that is just silly.   However, I share this story with you from the third-cultured perspective.  This is a very real threat to Catherine's life.  Many that are threatened here in similar situations will end up dead from some unknown cause of death or become sick from some unknown cause that brings about their death.  I sat in my vehicle with two other friends who are also friends with Catherine and we began to pray for her and this terrible situation.  Catherine I continued to hold forearms tightly and I could feel her tremble and felt tears drop onto my arm as she stood there by my vehicle.  It felt so unofficial, so unreal, my friend standing outside my vehicle leaning against it as she might as well been to weak to stand.  All I could find words to say to her as I looked up from praying for her was, "be strong Catherine, be STRONG!  This is time for the armor we have discussed in the past."  If you visited here and met Catherine, she probably would not share this struggle in her life unless you directly asked her about it and you would not know to ask.  Though it is a great burden to carry when a friend is struggling with such a truly difficult situation, I am grateful to be in her life at this particular moment to help her pray and encourage her in her walk.  Please pray for my friend.  Pray she will put on that armor of God and take up her shield to stand during this time.  Pray for her protection and for the true evil to be brought into the light.

Ephesians 6:11-12  "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."


In December, I rushed home to attend the funeral of my maternal Grandmother.  The members of the Baptist Churches in our area came to visit me and give their condolences.  I cannot tell you how touching it is to have people walk 3 hours from their homes together and bring gifts to you at such a time.  Gifts that are a precious sacrifice from them and their families.  To be accepted as their's, into the family.  To you and myself that read this blog and are my friends, the amount of money handed to me to help with the funeral expenses may not seem like much in comparison to the cost of gas, airplane ticket, meals, etc., but it spoke volumes of their acceptance and love for me and my family.  In the years I have been here I have spoken to the ladies of our Bible Studies about my grandmother "Mammaw".  I have shared the things she taught me about how to take care of myself, my family and people.  Growing up country, I have shared her cooking, by my hands, with them and they have enjoyed.  In those times of sharing I have expressed the example we are for generations to come through the people that are in, or even pass through, our lives.  When my Mammaw was in the hospital suffering from the last severe stroke and was not awake, I was sitting in a little village church with my feet in the sand and sharing biscuits, Mammaw's Biscuits, with a faithful group of lady friends and their children.  We talked about the recipe and what happens when you leave out the most important ingredient.  During these precious hours of sharing jelly biscuits, Mrs. Njapau, advised the group, "I haven't tasted jam since 1969."  I have learned not to be astonished when my national friends tell me such things.  I just thanked God with a smile in my heart to share such a moment.  Then before I could invisibly compose my self, Mrs. Njapau continued, "I am not sure why you love us this way, sharing your special food and knowledge of how God loves us.  Then she paused, but with respect we waited and gave her time to continue.  I do not think I or we have ever been loved this way."  

Members of Katunda Baptist Church
Mrs. Njapau, Sharon, Kennedy and Reuben

At that moment, my Mammaw's heart and mind were fighting with her body to stay in this world and I was there juggling with emotions of how God has so greatly blessed me by the wonderful people He so intricately placed in my life that have shown me the very love that Mrs. Njapau was so grateful to be receiving.  One of those people being my Grandmother.  How many times had she prepared those biscuits for me?  How many times had she taken the time to be diligent to show me each step?  How many times did she allow me to try as she watched and guided?  I grew up next door to her so the answer is MANY!  The members of these churches have shared their lives with us and fed us at their homes for years.  They have given us chickens, ground nuts, pumpkins, cassava, and more from their fields.  "Why do you love us this way?"  "Oh' Mrs. Njapau, because God in his grace has allowed me to be loved this way and in turn He is loving you this way as well."  We as believers hold within ourselves the very reciprocation of God's love.  Love people and they will feel His love.  Do not be discouraged by the statistics of those who will not accept or receive your love or those who only use your friendship.  We too, were users and abusers of love given so freely to us.  Romans 5:6-9 "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We were given the greatest gift and sacrifice by one who was perfect and without sin.  May we continue to recognize that to the fullest each day in hopes it may overflow from us in such a way that others feel it as well.

The ladies of Kaoma Baptist Central visiting for the funeral after my return.  They came to pray with me and bring me a new citenge and a set of drinking glasses.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I suppose I will never get used to the knock at our gate or the call that brings sad news of another friend dying.  Some we are prepared for and some are so tragic.  There are an endless list of stories I could share regarding these struggles.  There is a little village I have known since the first time I stepped foot into Zambia known as Katunda.  We have spent much time with the families of Katunda.  Met with them under a tree and carried bricks with them to build their first church.  We have camped with them and woke together on Easter morning.  And, yes, we have grieved with them much at the loss of a loved one.  I have observed many families go through this difficult time of mourning and have been allowed to be considered enough family to know all that is taking place around me at and during a funeral.   At the funeral house there is grieving, wailing, many tears and the story of death shared over and over to each visitor or group who have attended the funeral house.  But, yet, there is a real study of human behavior taking place the entire time.  The family members close to the deceased must maintain a certain level of grief and despair during the funeral to not arouse suspicion that they themselves might have caused this death.

I have stood at a funeral house looking at the members of that family and wondering just what all was going on inside their hearts and minds at that time.  Were they actually mourning in freedom or was it a constant performance to assure that no one would question their innocence?  Because no one is left out under the umbrella of suspicion at a time of death.  It has to be someone's fault.  Therefore, many times a funeral is more like an inquisition or an investigation going on under the guise of a time of remembrance and condolence.  When so many want to grieve without any fear at such a great time of loss in their lives.

The rains begin in Zambia around mid November.  Throughout the next 6 months the rains will come regularly with many great storms that will seem to last for days.  The rain will pool up in our yard and make huge ruts in the road.  Each year our house will shift a bit during the rainy season and cause large cracks throughout our home.  These rains and the damage they cause to my own home has always led me to ask questions about the homes in different areas and how they would withstand such a great regular force.  I have been told of stories of people's entire home collapsing during such storms.  The walls to these small mud-brick huts have only a foundation of river clay and sand.  After on-going rains some times walls will become weakened.

We would receive a call from a leader in Katunda that a family near the church had lost their son.  Late in the evening as the Mom sat by the fire outside, her two young sons ages 4 and 7 were just inside the hut sleeping.   Within seconds, the entire long wall of her home would give way and collapse crushing her young sons.  With screams for help many around the village would come to help her dig the boys out.  Imagine the helplessness she felt knowing these, her babies, so small were underneath the rubble.  There would be praises as the 7 year old is discovered alive, but with a great injury to the leg.  However, there would great chaos and question as the youngest is found dead.   Katunda Baptist rallied and served this family during this terrible tragedy.  The mother had recently started coming to the church and the grandmother has attended my women's bible study for more than a year.  As the family would share the story of the accident, I would hear questions about the injuries and it would always end with what happened to the young one who died.  Because there were no external signs of injury on the young boy, this would leave a question in everybody's mind as to what actually killed him.  They have begun to trust me in my helping them understand different medical instances of the way tragic things can happen.  I have explained that there can be great head injury without a significant external sign on the body.  Yet, even as I know and understand what happened that night and I can explain to them what the most likely occurrence was, there is still that underlying suspicion.  My heart yearns for them to be free from such great captivity in their lives.  That they could have the freedom to mourn without fear.  My heart grieves as I have shared in times of death with close national friends and never to know all that they are dealing with during these great times of heartbreak.  Please pray that this veil of darkness that shadows this land will be removed.  Please pray God continues to put words in our mouths that shed a great light on the truth for them.

"For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another."  Galatians 5:13-15

Friday, March 22, 2013

The First Step

The church had only been meeting for a short time at its new location and still only a few months old of meeting together at all on this day.  But, we had spent much time in Bible Study together.  I have spent countless times in various places as a message from God's word has been shared and sang through many choruses of "Just As I am" or some Zambian Hymn.  This day it would be a young man to lead.  Kebby is just a teenage boy, but he stepped first, opening a gate for the others to have freedom to do the same.  He was busy fighting his own battle, standing there in a crowded new church among new people.  Nonetheless, he stepped and went to the front.  He knew there was sin in his life and he wanted to be forgiven.  He wanted to give his life to Christ.  I wondered as he stood there speaking to the leaders if he realized just how many stood behind him, that had followed his lead.  I later told him that sometimes there are so many wanting to make that step, but are in such fear.  So many that yearn to have someone else make the first step.  I told him that God had not only changed him that day, but he had already used him for his glory by giving him courage to take the first step not just for himself, but for so many others.  He smiled when he realized what I said was true and how God had already shown Himself by using him.

Even though just a young boy, he does an excellent job when the choir director puts him in charge of the entire performance.  Even I cannot help but beam with pride as I watch him take control of this beautiful group of Zambians and lead them in a sound as wonderful as what I imagine heaven must sound like.  We are privileged to watch this young man being transformed by God and the changes in his life.

Kebby following his heart and being baptized before the crowd at the Luena.
In true Kebby fashion, unashamed, he went first before the crowd that gathered that day at the Luena River.  I stood there knowing the pride of his family as we watched him tell the world, "My life is the Lord's".  Now it is easy to say he is as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside.

After a long day at our second baptism, Kebby was still all smiles.  Never have I greeted him that I have not been met by this precious smile.  Pray for Kebby as he works diligently to catch up on some delays in school and as he continues to walk down this path God has for his life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


 While serving here, Mike and I have been questioned often by Zambians.  One of their top questions is, "Where is your church?"  We live in the town (boma) of Kaoma.  It is in the center of the Western Province of Zambia and is the largest district in the country.  We can drive for hours and still actually be in Kaoma.  We have touched several places in Kaoma and there are four with active Baptist churches.  There are many, many "churches" within the boma.  Church denominations are very territorial among the people here in Zambia.  Baptist is a very new church within the Western Province.  Lusaka, the capital city, the East, and in a few other areas there are a large number of Baptist churches.  Most areas that we visit, much of what will be said in whispers among the village people after we leave, is that the Baptists are Satanists.  They will base this on absolutely nothing, only fear from other local churches that the Baptist denomination will come in a take over as "church."  We have prayed about a church in the boma.  Several months ago a man came to us just wanting to start a Bible Study.  After many discussions, he opened his home as a place to meet and he began to invite local people.   
This was the first Sunday afternoon of Bible Study.
It grew bit by bit (kamendende kamendende).

It wasn't long before discussions at the Bible Study each week would lead to "where are we going to put this church?"  The discussions would always include the "rains are coming soon" and "no one will take us seriously just meeting at someone's house."  These concerns would be true.  The rains will return in October and we wouldn't be able to fit everyone in Austin's home.  Also, and on a much more serious note, is the fact that no one would take them serious without a permanent structure as a meeting place.  I have sat in many of our churches and felt the great concern of the members to show their community that they want to be serious followers of Jesus.  To them this includes a permanent structure representing them as a body of believers.  As we began to pray about this situation, the answer found us.  Austin was approached by a lady asking about our church and she recommended a place.  Within a few days we were able to secure the school room to meet in each week.  We decided to kick off our first Sunday by setting up a viewing of the "Jesus" film the  night before.

Mike, David and Evie prepare the film screen.
When Evie wasn't helping, she was busy confusing Chipango with sign language.  Evie is enjoying learning sign language.  Sign language is as confusing to Chipango as speaking Mbunda is to Evie, so it is all fair. heehee
(Imagine our surprise to find out that this school building we are now renting is also a school for the deaf children of Kaoma.  Evie is pleased!)
The make-shift screen is up and ready.
Kennedy Ciyesu, the choir leader from Katunda, was excited about leading the combined choirs.  Not to mention how he enjoyed hearing himself through the PA system.
Chipango, Evie and Alice are ready.  Even though you cannot tell by Evie's attire, it was terribly cold.  Evie has given Alice her coat to cover her legs.
You know you must be special when I allow you to use this blanket.  A close friend of our family, Kakoma,  was freezing and was just wearing a lightweight shirt.  Good thing he didn't mind leopard print, much less that it is pink.

There was much singing and dancing before the film as people began to arrive.

The prayer of salvation was on the screen during a time Mike spent speaking to the crowd.  Later when he went to visit a man who attended the church the next day, that man said that he memorized the prayer and wrote it down when he arrived back at his home that night.  That same man came forward the next day and gave his life to Christ.

Though it is hard to see in this photo taken in the dark, nearly 300 people were present.
... and the next day.  The room we have found to rent for the beginning of the church was already full on the first day.  We say "GOOD PROBLEM".  The disabled school located behind the hospital has allowed us to rent this room for the beginning meeting of Kaoma Central Baptist Church.  It is a wonderful location and building.  It even has indoor toilets.  We have to carry water to use them, but they are actual toilets that flush and are indoors.
Grace Muzala has been instrumental in working with members of the Bible Study to form the choir for Kaoma Central Bible Study.  The choir is an integral part of the Zambian church life.
Several members of Katunda Baptist Church, a three hour walk away, came to celebrate in the first day of their new sister church.  What a special time for believers spread across this province to come together and realize they have each other.  The members of their choir came before the new group to lead them in song.  What a privilege to see them united this way.
Tyler and Kasenya undertake the biggest game of Duck, Duck, Goose I have ever seen.
In true fashion, the handshake line!  Such wonderful day to see the fellowship of new believers.

There you have it!  The first Sunday of Kaoma Central Baptist Church.   

Monday, July 30, 2012

More to it then just "Brick by Brick"

Katunda Baptist Church, the building, is a work in progress.  Katunda Baptist Church, the people, the body of Christ, IS GROWING!!! 

Tyler and his mud-mixin feet.
Faithful to the work, the members gather for several days to work on bricks for the walls of the new church.  Tyler was very excited to go each day and help with this work.  He sacrificially gave up schoolwork to go play in the mud.  Actually, he did the labor and then made-up the work for school as well.

Kaiphus, Reuben, and Tyler
Duncan Kakoma has been a part of every construction project of Katunda Baptist Church.  Several years ago he helped carry bricks from another location to the present spot to build the walls of the former church building.  He was so small and it would take all his strength just to carry one block.  Today he stands taking a break from shoveling the remains of the old bricks he carried to make mud for new bricks.

Do not judge them by their size.  These young boys carried their weight throughout the day.  Hands of all colors and sizes would form those bricks throughout those days.

Much water is needed.  The water had to be brought from a nearby stream
and carried to the church.

I remember sitting at the meeting as they discussed what preparations needed to be made for the molding of the bricks.  It is quite an undertaking and if one thing doesn't happen or they are missing one necessary supply, the work comes to a halt and the days can be lost until they get what is needed.  Sometimes, getting what is needed, can be a little more tricky then you might think.  They do not have a Lowe's or Home Depot to run to and pick up any necessary forgotten items.
However, if you need more "cement", you just tear more of the "old church building" down and make more. Tyler likes "DEStructing" almost as much as CONstructing.  The people outgrew the original building quickly.  I remember some of the last few Sundays in that small building with children sitting on my feet to make room for each other.  We were all welcoming a new building where we could have enough room to stand and sing together.

Everyone plays a part in a days work, whether they lay a hand to the forming of those bricks or not.  The wonderful women of Katunda, when they weren't carrying water, would be found preparing food for all those working.
Bertha, Mwangolita and Pana.
Just another pot of nshima.

 Even me, whom they will not allow to stir the nshima pot, get to hold the babies while their Mamas cook.  

I mean holding the babies is an important job. Otherwise, they end up eating dirt like little Kaiphus does until I capture him.
But the work goes on and after three days there are over 600 bricks for the new walls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Evie and Chipango have been the greatest of friends since the day they met.  Chipango is one of Reuben Ngusulu's daughters.  Their family lived with us here on our compound.
 When we first moved here Chipango and Evie would be out of the bed and outside before anyone and usually up the tree behind my room just chatting until they woke me up.  They would check the garden and play before Chipango had to leave for school.  They have made many memories together over the years and look out for each other just like sisters.  Between what southern draw Chipango has picked up from Evie and what Zambian English accent Evie now carries, you can barely tell which one is talking outside.  At Christmas this year Evie wanted something special for this special friend.  She had been working and buying Christmas since July knowing exactly what she wanted for everyone.  Which included buying for her brother first - WOW!  She came to me and said, "Mom, I know what I have for everyone, but, well, would it be ok if I spent more on Chipango?"  After discussing what she wanted to buy, I watched the look on my 10-year-old daughter's face as she contemplated how much money she had and how much money it might cost.  Did she have enough?  As I thought about it, all that I could hear was how my daughter wanted her friend to have just a little of what she has in life.  Not necessarily fancy clothes or the best food.  Not better health care or schooling.  Just a nice place to sleep.  As Evie tried to convince me why this was just necessary, I heard as she felt for her friend.  Chipango has slept on a concrete floor of a crowded house for most of her life.  Not because her family doesn't care for her or provide for her, but that was not a possiblity within their lives at this point.  Evie didn't talk about it much because she never wanted Chipango to feel bad about it or to feel that she was looking down on her and her life.  Mike took Evie into town, with an advance in her allowance that she was happy about working to pay off.  She returned home with her gift and kept it hidden in her room until Christmas.  She didn't want to wait until Christmas Day to give Chipango her gift and wanted her to have it Christmas Eve.  Late Christmas Eve we drove to the Ngusulu's new house and there in the front yard, by the light of the truck, called the family out to watch Chipango receive her gift.  Evie's excitement was as if she was awaiting a surprise, not giving one.  It was a delight as a mother to watch.  So, there the family stood, Chipango in the front with all eyes closed.  Imagine, being 11 years old and opening your eyes to find that you would not sleep on a cold concrete floor tonight.  Imagine seeing your best friend standing there holding a gift, just for you, because she loves you and wants you to have all the wonderful things in life.  I thank God for this moment and being able to be just a part of it with our families.
The rest of us stood and just enjoyed such a wonderful event!
At first, I thought they were both being silly and not letting go of each other and hugging FOREVER!  But, then after a few quiet moments I realized that Chipango was overcome with emotion and could not let go of Evie.  She was moved to tears and not wanting anyone to see her crying.  So, they just held each other for a bit and it was as if time stood still.  One of those moments in life that is etched onto your heart.  It was not a camera I even need to hold onto this one for forever.
Just a mat my friend, just for you!


Katunda Baptist Church
Just a handful of these people met under a tree several years ago along with a volunteer team from the states.  Not far from that tree, every Sunday, that handful of people and many others gather at this place, Katunda Baptist Church.  It has not been without growing pains, but nonetheless, growing all the same.   I have watched them work through difficult issues facing the church and the community.  I have seen how God has used them to encourage each other, as well as, reaching out to those in the surrounding villages.  They press on though rumors abound as to the belief that they are all Satanists.  They press on though the other churches in the area believe them not to be serious because their building is not substantial enough nor does their choir have uniforms.  They press on though visitors may come and go.  They delight in the Word of God and its truth.  They delight in a grace given to them freely.  I have shared so many wonderful days with them as a church and as friends.    Pray for them as they continue to grow as believers and as they work together to establish the church.

Kasenya Ngusulu and one of his many guitars
fashioned from a 10 ltr oil container and wood.
If you have ever met this young man, you are most likely never to forget him.  He, and you are welcome to quote me, is the most genuine, sincerest, humble, gracious, and kind young men I have ever met.  He is the oldest of the Ngusulu siblings.  He is 18 years of age now and in Grade 12 at Kaoma High School.  His ingenuity has always delighted me.  His humble spirit, I have always admired.  I have been thankful to share in his life and he in mine and my family.  I have had the privilege to watch him live out a life before God and man in truth and honor.  Often he is quiet in the presence of adults and only speaking if spoken to or if someone needs assistance, but has much to say if given the opportunity.  He is humorous and gracious all at the same time.  Being the oldest of the brothers in his family, he stayed in the small house next to ours with the other brothers.  It was just a room that was used as the kitchen and as the boy's house.  One of my many fond memories of Kasenya is one of the many times I went to the door and knocked only to have Kasenya come to the door with Coke bottle-caps pinched into his eyes, looking like he had red bottle-caps for eyeballs, and smiling from ear to ear.  Another is one that includes my children.  He is ever watchful for their welfare and safety here in Kaoma.  We were attending a funeral of a member of a dear family to us.  It was such a very hot day here in Kaoma and we needed to walk far into the bush for the burial.  We had already been busy the entire day helping with the funeral and waiting at the home with the family.  Evie, not being to partial to the hot sun in Africa, was already tired for the day and we still needed to walk to the grave.  We had not been in Zambia long and she still had trouble keeping herself hydrated.  When the time came to leave for the burial, I was busy getting the family and the church choir into the truck with the coffin.  By the time the truck was loaded and Mike pulled away, I realized that I was alone and that Evie and Tyler had left with Melody and Reuben for the grave.  I wasn't concerned for their safety because the Ngusulu's consider Evie and Tyler family and treat them as such.  As I walked and walked into the bush in the hot sun, I began to worry about Evie and trying to do get there at this time.  I was so exhausted from the heat and the day filled with such great emotional stress.  I could only imagine how Evie was feeling and dealing with the same.  When I arrived at the burial site I looked over and realized she appeared to be doing okay and just a little flush.   Later, when we returned to the funeral house, Lulu, Kasenya's sister, and I were sitting and chatting about the day.   She expressed that they were worried for me after the truck arrived at the grave and they realized that I had put the family members in the truck and walked.  They realized that I was alone and walking.  They were happy when I arrived.  I just smiled and expressed how I had been so concerned for Evie the whole time I was walking.   I said, "I do not know how she made it this far in this heat!"  Lulu smiled and with a slight grin and quiet voice said, "It was Kasenya.  He carried her the rest of the way."  Evie was 8 years old and though she was just a thin little thing, I knew that wasn't easy for Kasenya.  
There are too numerous of stories to share about the spirit of this young man.  He does all things well.  I could only hope for those who read this that they may have the privilege of meeting him some day.  

Annual Mission Meeting 2012

Luau 2012 at our Annual Meeting
Every year we travel to South Africa for our annual mission meeting.  We are always excited to see many of our friends each year.  This kids try to squeeze in a year's worth full of fun with their mission family to make enough memories to carry them to the next year.  Each year a different church from the States will come and facilitate much of the activities for us and our children.  We travel 3 days through several countries to attend this meeting and, needless to say, there is always some excitement along the way.  This year we were turned back at the Zimbabwe border.  We spent a whole day traveling and ended up right back where we started.  In the midst of being turned back we wondered why do things like this happen here so often and why does everyone need to be bribed to do things they are already being paid to do correctly.  There is always frustration when you feel violated by corruption.  As you look into the eyes of a national and wonder how they do not see the wrong in what they are trying to do.  You want to pull your hair out and throw a tantrum at the terrible inconvenience they have caused costing you time and money.  Then days later you thank God as it was His hand turning you back and had nothing to do with evil or corruption getting in your way.  After returning to Lusaka on the same day we left, we needed to change vehicles and acquire different paperwork for that vehicle.  We left early the next day to cross a different border.  Success!!  The rest of the trip was without incident.  After arriving in South Africa we called our logistics coordinator and he advised us that another missionary in Lusaka had needed to use our vehicle (the other which we had originally planned to drive to South Africa and had to leave in Lusaka before trying to cross another border) and the transmission had completely messed up and had to be taken to the garage.  We would have been in the middle of Zimbabwe and broken down.  See!  I am reminded to listen to God even when I think He is not speaking.  Do not let the evil of this world bring you to compromise, even in the smallest of things.  We arrived at our annual meeting and shared a wonderful week together.  The wonderful members of the Perryton Baptist Church team were so giving to us and our children.  They made it such a memorable time with our mission family.  Already looking forward to next  year.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nkoya New Testament Launching Ceremony

* Please note that this post is a little out of order.  Upon a change within the blogspot it rearranged this post and wouldn't let me edit.  So, sorry for this mix up.

Many of you know that a people group we serve here in Zambia are the Nkoya.  They were the original owners of this land Kaoma, formally known as Mankoya.  I love when I meet an older Zambian in the Eastern, Northern or Southern part of Zambia and they refer to it as Mankoya.  The Nkoya Bible  has been in process of translation for many, many years.  The New Testament has been completed and the project is presently working to complete the Old Testament.  It was quite a day as we all came together to celebrate  the arrival of 10,000 copies of the New Testament in Shinkoya. 
Mike presenting a New Testament to the Chief.  It is quite a friendship that his been built between them through the process of God's call to this project.  We value his trust of us to work so closely with the people.

They continued to arrive throughout the morning.  Many having traveled from far places just to be in attendance today. They amaze me!

Yes, this is often what I will end up seeing through my camera lens.  People taking pictures of me taking pictures.  Always makes me laugh!

They marched in the street all the way through the town and arriving at the assembly hall rejoicing and singing all the way.  I was unable to capture a photograph of just how large this group was that had just arrived, but I was moved to tears at their arrival.  As this project has steadily marched on, its incidental days can begin to overshadow the great desire the people have for its completion.  In this moment God comforted our hearts for the call to this project and allowed us to see just how many were standing with us.  

Chief Mwene Matondo attended the New Testament Launching Ceremony.    Years ago, as a younger man, the Chief worked as a translator himself on the New Testament.  It is a great desire he has to see this work come to completion in his lifetime.  

It was a sweet time as the crowd watched the video messages sent from churches in the States.    It appeared to give them such a feeling of acceptance.  That these groups of people in the States pray for them specifically, know who they are, and reach out to them to help with this project.  I loved sharing this time with them.  

A very important group in attendance are the reviewers.  This group is faithful to spend many different weeks throughout their year to come together and work in all-day, week-long sessions reviewing books of the bible.  They are such a behind-the-scenes, committed group.  They even have their own choir and performed at the ceremony.  Their hearts are so committed to this project.  You can even see it in their time of worship.  Without them, the Bible could never be completed.  We are so thankful for them.

Many choirs came to attend and perform during the ceremony.     No sound system needed.    They put everything they have into a performance which can be easily observed by onlookers.  The amount of talent is amazing.  I could sit and listen to them all day.  You will be taken into the rhythm of their choruses and then be overwhelmed by the translation.  Powerful words from scripture!
The Kaoma High School Assembly Hall
People were beginning to gather for the launching ceremony of the Nkoya New Testament.  
It was a long, hard, and HOT day!  Stacey took a moment to meditate on the day!  I mean, afterall, the toughest job is having to be CUTE ALL DAY!  She does well at that task!

It was a special time as Mike gifted New Testaments to all the local pastors and the project translators.  Many of them have heard about this project for years.

Tyler is usually always helping behind the scenes to help make sure things happen.  He is getting bigger all the time and I, as his mother, am glad that he has some muscle.  He does alot of the lifting now and leaves Mama to stand and watch.   He was moving all about on the day of the ceremony to help his Daddy get things where they belonged.