Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008 (NOT 2004)!


It is 10:45 pm and the New Year is just around the corner. I have been reflecting a bit on the year that was, and I still shake my head that I am writing this in Africa. Is this a dream? Am I really living in Africa? I am looking forward to this new year. I love new. It is cleansing, freeing and full of potential. But before I move to quick forward, I thought I would add a photostory of the year that was... Have a great new year! Thanks for journeying with us!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our Livingstone Adventure on video

I just wanted to share with you our adventure in Livingstone. Despite a kid sick, we made the most of it and God blessed us with some amazing animal sightings... Hope you enjoy the video, despite its shakiness... Not the best edited video, but it will have to do:)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Muslims and you...

I saw this blog on Desiring God. As Zambia is reported to become a Muslim nation in 10-12 years because of their aggressive evangelism, reaching Muslims has been on my heart. I thought this was a great opportunity for the rest of us to help reach Muslims with the good news of Jesus. Click on the 50 churches link to get the rest of the links.


50 Churches for Unreached Muslims

December 28, 2007 | By: Abraham Piper

Most of us are not called to leave our home and move our families around the world to minister to unreached peoples. But that means we are called to support those who do.

Frontiers is currently raising money to send 50 new teams to unreached Muslims. Their U.S. director, Bob Blincoe, writes in his latest newsletter,

In partnership with churches across America, Frontiers' goal is to send, in the next five years, new church planting teams to 50 "unengaged" Muslim people groups of 100,000 or more. ... By unengaged, I mean they are not only unreached, but entirely without any effective church planting work.

The money they raise will cover the costs of "recruiting, training, deployment, on-field supervision and coaching, member care, technology and communications support, and other vital services."

Any gifts given by the end of the year will be doubled by a matching grant.

Back home from Kitwe...


Kamryn and I made it back safely. The CT scan went really well and it shows what we hoped for, which is, nothing problematic!!! What a two day adventure. My little girl slept all the way up and part of the way back. It was sweet spending some time with my little girl. She is such a sweetheart. I think that is what hit me the hardest when all this concussion stuff is how much I take health for granted. It was just snatched from me and I just felt like, "Wait, this wasn't supposed to happen like this."

The scan went pretty smooth, and though Kamryn was a little panicked when they told her "Don't Move!" (They might as well have said, "Don't think of a pink elephant.") I ended up telling her a story and that helped her focus less on her and more on me which she later said helped her not to think about not moving. It has been a chaotic two days and I am glad to be home with a healthy daughter. It was a crazy trip north. I was stopped by police three times. The first I just left the hospital and was worried about my wife because I needed to leave her there. I was trying to call for a ride while stopped at a stoplight. It is against the law to talk on the cell phone will driving but I thought it would be o.k. if I talked while stopped. Not O.K. but I sobbed my story and I got out of it. I was stopped again as I drove north passing on this hill going down on a white line. There was only one white line instead of our two white lines and I didn't think it applied to me because I could see for miles that their was no car coming up. But, I again was wrong. I shared my sob story and got out of a second ticket. Then on the way home (as I neared Lusaka, I slowed down, cleaned my car, threw my cell phone out of my window and straightened my hair) and got pulled over, anyway. A speed trap caught my car which was going 95 kilometers (5 under the speed limit) for going 112 kilometers (doesn't make sense to me either). It was the same second ticket people and I showed him the CT scan pictures and asked him how fast I was going. He said, 112. I said, "There was no way I was going 112. No way." He let me go, again. So, all in all, getting out of my tickets paid for my diesel. Not bad. Kamryn said, "I know the reason he didn't give you a ticket. He felt guilty for just wanting your money:)"

One of the blessings of the trip was meeting the Walker family. If you remember a few weeks back showing you a picture of Karen Hartman who is the teacher for this couple who have nine kids. Anyway, we stayed at their house and it was great for both Kamryn and me! I got to meet Bob and Candance and hear about their ministry to street boys and their construction of the Nehemiah House. Kamryn loved playing with their kids and was bummed to come home this morning. One of the Walker girls said yesterday, "I only just met you and I am already used to you." All's well and it ended well and for that I am very thankful. I can't say thanks enough for your prayers. I am convinced that the prayers healed her quickly I am convinced. It was just too quick and too thorough. I know that all kids aren't healed this way, and I believe God is sovereign either way. But, I won't be shy to give Him the glory that is due in this case. Praise God!!!

The last thing that this whole ordeal brought out was the oprression of healthcare in Africa. It wasn't that their wasn't health care available but just how unjust it all is. We have money so we can go to the doctor. Others do not and they suffer. This isn't just an Africa problem, but it is so magnified here and it is overwhelming and heavy to bear under. Our guard Mwape is suffering with Malaria and is still out. We gave him some medicine, but only after things were bad. I had a good conversation with Candance Walker about this and I think all missionaries go through this sense of "How do I fix all the hurt in the world? and "How come I can go to the doctor when I want for what I want and others can?"

Thanks for walking with us.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kamryn update


I wanted to do a blog to update those of you on how Kamryn is doing. (I don't know how to do the bulk email thingy and Steve isn't here to do it for me...so a blog it is.) For those of you who aren't on our prayer list you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. I'll fill you in. Yesterday evening, Kamryn was playing in a tall skinny cardboard box which fit right around her body. She somehow got knocked off balance ( I heard someone pushed her, but I didn't see it) and the next thing I knew she was crying. I couldn't figure out why she was crying and she couldn't tell me and at first I just walked away thinking it wasn't anything serious since she wouldn't tell me what had happened. Then, a minute later I came back in and tried to find out again what had happened and then I realized that she was very confused, she couldn't see me, she was very disoriented. We rushed over to a hospital. Steve and I were both very shook up with the fear of her losing her sight. When we got there she was still very upset, disoriented, couldn't see, etc. It was then that the huge shiner on the side of her forehead was starting to appear. They got an IV in (with 4 of us pinning her down since she was so afraid and confused) and gave her a steroid of some sort. They took some x-rays. They then wanted to keep her overnight. As the hours went on she started to calm down, she could see us again, but asked us many, many, times where she was, what was in her hand (IV), what happened. She was so frustrated that she couldn't remember what I was saying and she kept saying, "I just want my mind back." They had a neurosurgeon come and look at her in around 9 pm last night. He did an exam and said that she appeared to be okay but when he heard that she had had head surgery as a baby he said that she needed to have a CT scan. It was an unwritten rule that anyone who has had prior surgery and then sustained a head injury of some sort needed to have a scan. The only problem was that Lusaka's CT machine has been broken for quite some time. The closest machine is in another city about 5-6 hours by car away. He wanted us to make arrangements to get her there the next day. I spent the rest of the night trying to do that. In the end, it's a really long story, we decided that Steve would just drive her today. So, as I write this they are having the scan done. They will stay overnight with some friends of a friend, and head back tomorrow. Kamryn seems to be doing fine, she's irritated that she had to leave the IV in her hand, just in case. She really just wants to be home. But, we are praying the scan shows no blood clots or damage to vision. I'll keep you posted.
One cute side note, last night as she was trying to fall asleep she asked if I could read her a Bible story. I asked which one she wanted and she said, "I don't care, just pick one about someone who had to face their fears." I thought that was so sweet!!
I just want to publicly thank God for all of the ways in which he protected, provided, guided, and sustained us through these last 24 hours. I could list all the ways, but I'm not feeling so good and think I should head to bed. I'll keep you posted on the scan.
Thanks for your prayers, they were heard and answered! Praise the Lord!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Louie


Not sure if you heard, but our little Louie is back home after a rain-drenched 2 nights away in the wilderness of our neighborhood. Our guard and another guard found him wet, limping and hungry. He had crawled up into an engine of some friends who came to visit and apparently must have been stuck and then fallen out as they were driving away... He spent some time at the vet during our trip to Livingstone and now seems to be his cute little self. Not exactly earth moving news, but, it was to us!!! Now I understand why people get attached to animals:)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas at home with those who have no home...






We spent the morning at the Orphanage. It was a great time once we got there. I say once we got there because getting to this orphanage is always incredibly full of spiritual battle. I am not sure if you believe in Spiritual battle, but I do, especially now. Whenever we go to spend time with these kids, everything always goes wrong. Today, the car wouldn't start, the kids were fighting, it was pouring down rain, people didn't feel good... It is like this EVERY TIME we go. It is like clockwork. Anyway, that is encouraging because it means we are doing things that Satan does not like. (Again, I am not sure if you believe in Satan or even God or whatever, but I am just calling it as I see it, and being honest in the process.) We did make it there in a borrowed beater truck with no suspension and no defrost in the pouring rain which made it impossible to steer this car or see out it. We sang a song on the way over, "Who gonna win? God's gonna win. God's gonna win. AMEN!" God did win. We made pancakes which the kids in the orphanage had never had before. We videotaped a reenactment of the birth of Jesus, played twister and hung out... We gave away some more presents. It was pretty laid back. It is good to be there as a family, as there is really no male influence at all in that place. Julia warmed up and played with some of the kids. We press on!! The rest of the day was quiet and relaxing watching movies and cleaning up after our kids:) We love you and thank you for your needed prayers!

We feel the love... Thanks Crossroads group!!!

We wanted to share this digital card we received from the college group at Crossroads Bible Church... Made our day!!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Back home...










We decided last night to come home early today. With Bradyn sick yesterday and Kamryn looking like she was coming down with something as well, we decided to come home early. We did make it back to Victoria Falls so Stephanie could see what we actually went down to see. It was amazing, again. The trip home was light years better than our way down. We didn't get lost and made it home in 6.5 hours. It was wonderful. With Christmas music blaring, we laughed and slept and made it home with a weak battery and all... (I am writing this blog as I am watching a recorded football game - Seahawks vs. Bears!!! The Seahawks are getting killed, they look horrible, but it doesn't matter because I know that we won:) Thanks Jayson for mailing it over!) It felt great to get home, and we cleaned the house, had waffles for dinner, opened presents, and got the kids in bed. Tomorrow we are going to the orphanage in the morning to make pancakes and hang out with the kids. Tonight I went to the grocery store to get food for tomorrow. It was crazy. It was like a high school football game. All these upper middle class high school age boys and girls dressed to the hilt and flirting and and the entire shopping area was packed. It was this really weird feel being Christmas eve and all. There were loud fireworks until after midnight last night. It felt more like 4th of July than Christmas.

Thanks for your prayers for Bradyn. She is feeling much better. Malaria is easily treated and does a good job of removing the symptoms. The problem with Malaria is that the ones who get it, usually children in poor areas, do not have the money to buy the needed medication. This is why Malaria is such a killer. It is so humbling to realize that medicine will heal and it isn't that expensive, and yet is killing 3000 kids a day in sub-saharan Africa alone. So much going through my mind about the hurt in this world...

Thankful for your support and prayers and love as we head into Christmas!

God bless you all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

David Livingstone, Victoria Fall, Malaria and Dr. Bradyn





We found out today that Bradyn was sicker than we thought. She has malaria. We had a doctor come to the room and diagnosed the culprit for her maladies. It was a very rough morning for little Brady. She was in so much pain. So, in order for her not to whine and yell so much (she seemed to wail louder when we are all here), I again left Bradyn and Mommy in the room while we went exploring the falls. I volunteered to stay behind, but Stephanie was also dealing with her little medical issues in that half her face was red and puffy and itchy and she wanted some help with that, too. The falls were incredible. I can't really even describe it, but it is a thing of beauty. Sheer cliff expanding many hundreds of yards, and the loudness of it all, and the mist coming up and dropping rain was amazing. It was cool to see this waterfall and now wonder what Dr. Livingstone must have experienced when he saw this for the first time. Stephanie is reading a David Livingstone biography at night to the girls. Talk about legacy... I bet he didn't have little monkeys trying to steal food from people or vendors saying they have a good deal for me. We hoped Brady would be able to make it this afternoon to no avail. She felt really bad. So, I was bummed this afternoon, stuck in our little lodge... We made the most of it, doing some swimming, playing Yahtzee, reading a book, and watching movies. We had a nice dinner and than watched a little of Polar Express. But, what made the night for me was what Bradyn said before she went to bed. She said, "I want to be a doctor and help people here in Africa." I was blown away and I was just so encouraged by this statement in light of trying to find something to redeem her sickness during our vacation. I believe that God works all things according to His will, well, at least I try to believe that most of the time... Comments like these help encourage the weary soul:) I was talking with Kamryn the other day about Nyanga (our language) and Africa and life... It was just encouraging to me to think about them learning to think about serving the poor with their lives and having a worldview that includes more than just America... I was just thinking about our legacies as parents and what we want for our children. Anyway, please pray for Brady as you think of her... What a trooper she is...

Whose glory?


Kamryn is growing up. She is getting more and more fun to have conversations with and in turn, I am having more fun pushing her buttons. This morning we were talking about how cool it was when we saw the Elephant. She recounted more than once (way more than once) the story of her seeing the Elephants and then letting us know about the elephants that she saw. I told her that I had written in the blog that I had seen the Elephants and let all everyone know. She looked at me with a face that was borderline crying, "You can't say that... That is lying. I was the one who saw the elephants." I looked at her with a shocked face and told her that, not it was I who saw the elephants. She responded, "No, I saw them. You are committing adultery. (I let that one slide - I didn't really explain to her that I didn't commit adultery). I asked her why it was wrong that I wrote that I saw the elephants and she said, "Because I saw them." I then saw an opportunity for a bible moment and said something like, "You must feel like God when he does something good through us or for us and we take the glory that is rightfully his." She didn't seem super into my analogy but I thought it was good enough for a blog.

C.J. Mahaney calls it "cosmic plagarism" and I thought that was a pretty good illustration of what it is like when act like that God actually did is from us. If you consider that every breath we breathe is from God, and every dollar we have is from God and every beat of our heart is a gift from God, it is difficult to find a place where we can take credit for anything. So when we become prideful, we are doing what I "did" to Kamryn, in that, I am stealing the glory that is rightfully hers. If repetition is any indication of the importance that God places on not stealing the glory that is His, than we ought to tread carefully. Six times these words are written in scripture from three different writers:

Ro 11:36 - For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Eph 3:21 - to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

2 Ti 4:18 - To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Pe 4:11 - To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Pe 3:18 - To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Re 5:13 - Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

This last verse sums it all up:

Rev. 4:11 (NIV)
"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

God is worthy to receive the glory because he created all things and sustains all things... What then can we take credit for?

So, how do we humble ourselves so that God gets His glory? C.J. Mahaney in his book on humility states that we just need ponder the cross of Christ. We can't be prideful when we realize the suffering that our Lord Jesus had to go through to pay the penalty for our sin. It is hard to be prideful in our goodness, or our talents or our successes when we realize that it took death to give us life.

So, with that we turn our eyes toward heaven and pray as Jesus taught us, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is heaven..."

May we not rob our Father of His glory that is rightfully His, but instead be one who practices transference of anything good to the only who is Good.

So, just to clarify, that it was indeed Kamryn who saw the Elephants and it is indeed God who is responsible for anything good that I have done or will ever do. I don't mind give credit to One who is so gracious to allow me to do good.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Safaring

















What a day! Not to rub it in, but we safaried today in a big way. In the morning, Bradyn was not feeling very well and so Stephanie volunteered to stay home with Bradyn. So, Kamryn, Julia and I ventured into the wildness of Mosi-O-Tunya drive yourself safari. It was a great morning as we saw a giraffe and Kudu and monkeys. During our exploration, we saw a ranger outpost and in asking some questions, saw the that man was reading a Bible. So, I asked if He wanted to learn better how to study it:) I shared the inductive Bible study principles in a few minutes. It was a cool opportunity. On the way out of the park, we passed by two giraffes on the main road and got so close we probably could have touched them. On the way out we stopped and gave some skittles to these cute little Zambians.


So, we came home super fired up!!! But, we had to temper it so Bradyn and Stephanie wouldn't feel bad. After lunch, we decided to go back again as a whole family, since you pay for a 1 day pass. Brady was still feeling pretty bad, and I was feeling pressure to find her something quick. I prayed to see something good and quick. Well, we didn't find really anything. We turned down one road, to no avail, and then as we were driving off, Stephanie yells, "Giraffe" and sure enough just across the grassy way there were three awesome giraffe. As we sat and took pictures and looked at the giraffe, all of a sudden, Kamryn yells, "Elephant." We were like "What? Where? There it is!!!" And sure enough, a herd of 5 elephants were walking through the wild. We quickly turned around and witnessed probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. There were five huge African elephants walking. It was majestic, awe-inspiring and breathtaking. It was very rare to see the elephants. The lady on the way out said that we were the luckiest because hardly no one sees them. I wish I would have told her that I had prayed. I know that it wasn't the most noble of requests, but I'll still give God the glory. We followed the giraffe down the road until a huge mud puddle scared us away. (We got stuck in a mud puddle a bit earlier and didn't want it to happen again!) We saw some wild boar and some giraffe and the cutest little monkeys. It was an amazing time and if Bradyn and Stephanie hadn't missed the morning safari, we probably would not have gone back in the afternoon and we wouldn't have seen the elephants. Bradyn is feeling better now... We are off to see the falls tomorrow if the Lord wills... Thanks!

Friday, December 21, 2007

We arrived at Victoria Falls/Livingstone...






They (or someone) says that life is not in the destination but in the journey. Well, if that it is the case, we made sure that the journey was extra long. In short, we crammed a 6-7 hour trip into 9 and a 1/2 because of a missed right turn. We were warned not to miss a right turn after the second police post, but we missed it. After driving 1.15 hours past the turn through winding hills and beautiful scenery right up to the Zimbabwe border. After looking at the map, we realized we missed that turn. Aughh.... Well, on the way back we saw the sign for the people coming back from the direction we just came from 2.5 hours in the wrong direction, but there was NO sign coming our way. Anyways, we stopped at the famous Tooters rest stop and our good friends the Whitfields stopped on the way back from the Victoria Falls. Luke was a bit miffed because he just got a ticket for not having reflector stickers on his front bumper. It cost him a cool 54,000 Kwacha which is about $12 dollars. We laughed, er, I laughed at how he could get stopped for something so small, especially in light of the looks of many of the cars that would go through the police stop. Well, my laughing didn't last long, because at the same police stop, I got a ticket for having a front obscured licence plate. Yeah, the black on the letters was a little rubbed off. How much was the ticket? Yep, 54,000 Kwacha and now I was miffed... First, because that was such a dumb thing to get a ticket for, and second because the lady writing the ticket tooookkkk fffoooooorrrreeeevvvveerrrr. She kept asking me random questions like my name, (which was on my Zambian Licence) and my age (which was on my licence) and my address (which was on my licence). And then, as I am waiting, Mike Hawbaker shows up. He is with another mission but is in Lusaka quite a bit. I see him smiling and shaking hands with this police officer. I walk over and say to the police officer, "You know this guy!" as I am shaking hands with Mike. I told Mike that I got a ticket for an obscured license plate. The police officer was a bit taken aback that I knew Mike and said to me, that he told me last time that my car has obscured licence plate and I didn't fix it. But, I told him I had never down here before and Mike attested for me. So, I then asked what the police officer's name was, shake his hand, and said, "See, I am a good guy. The next time I come through here on the 26th you won't give me a ticket for anything, right?" He smiled and away I went... I think I would have gotten free from it if Mike had come earlier. But, to no avail, I paid my ticket and away I went... We made it to Livingstone without any car problems for which I am so thankful. I had driven past 100 kilometers/hour only one time since I have been here because Lusaka is basically a stoplight city.

We made it to our lodge, Chanter's Lodge, in Livingstone, took a drive around and saw our hotel that we will stay on Christmas Eve and Day. It was a bit nicer, and we saw a hippo from the dock in the river. That was cool. There was a sign that said, "Don't feed the monkeys!" Tommorow, we will head to see the Falls, so check back tomorrow for an update!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

13 ways to bless your missionaries this Christmas without paying postage

I saw this at the Desiring God blog by Tia...

I am sending this not so much for us, but for all of us missionaries. Having been a pastor for many years, I have a new outlook this Christmas. I know how much it blesses me to be rememebered and how it takes so little to bless so much.

Maybe this will help you this Christmas to bless a missionary throughout the world!!!

Were you unable to send a Christmas present or care package to some missionaries you love this season? It's okay. You can still bless a missionary this Christmas.

Here are 13 post-office-free ideas to get you started, most of which you could do right now from your desk:

* Pray specific Scripture for them and their ministry, and then email it to them.
* Call or email their parents—Christmas might be just as lonely for the ones at home as the ones away.
* Purchase phone minutes for an international calling card through an online service like OneSuite and email them the account number.
* Donate frequent flier miles to them.
* Purchase an iTunes gift card for them. Have it sent to you and email them the account number.
* Commit to pray for them on a specific day of the week for a year.
* Write a song or poem or story for them. Email them the text and a recording of you reading or singing it.
* Get friends and family together to create a holiday video greeting for them using Google Video or YouTube. Include lots of people you know they miss.
* Make a year-end gift through their missions board or agency.
* Western Union—the fastest way to send money.
* Call their local florist (not everyone is in the jungle these days) and have flowers delivered, or their local Pizza Hut and have pizza delivered—with corn and shrimp as toppings!
* Donate to a charity that means a lot to them.
* Make a monthly commitment to support them financially.

Video Highlights of the Christmas Party

A huge thanks to those of you who sent over pictures and for those who prayed and gave money towards the Orphanage Christmas party. It was a great time and after watching the video over and over again, I am even more grateful for the time we had with these boys and girls. I had to limit the video to 8 mbs because of my download capabilities, but hopefully you will see the sheer joy of these kids. It was a privilege to be there!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Missionary living...






Being in Lusaka is a great thing when you have the queen of all hospitality as your partner... Today we hosted 2 single gals who are missionaries in Kitwe and are going traveling around Tanzania for Christmas break. Karen, who we have had before a couple of weeks ago and her friend Keisha lavished some serious love on our girls... And then tonight we had the Murphy's over for dinner. Their girls and our girls hit it off!! They are planning on coming back to Zambia to be missionaries but are in the process of adopting a double-orphan baby, Lord-willing! They weren't really looking to adopt but God opened all the doors. I learned a lot about adoption and one thing came up during the conversation was about HIV/AIDS babies. One thing I learned during our conversation among other things are about HIV positive babies. They shared that if you take ARV's regularly and balance it with good meals, etc, the babies will live a normal life like anyone else. They can even get married and have kids just like anyone else. If babies who have HIV from their mother can get on a regular dose of ARV's, they can reduce the virus dramatically. What was particularly striking was that if the baby were to stay in the orphanage, he would probably die within a couple of years, due to the amount of sick babies in the orphanage and the lack of good care. Pray for the workers because the harvest is plentiful... God bless the Murphy's and all the rest who sacrifice to give orphans a chance at life!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Amazing life change for only $26 dollars.


My friend Calin Popa sent me a 12 CD sermon series called the Pineapple Story. Wow, talk about life changing... I wouldn't recommend this if I didn't covet this for everyone to listen to... It cost $26 dollars but it will reap riches to come... This amazing story teller is funny, touching, convicting, and encouraging... He talks about surrendering your rights to God which is the story of the Pineapples. It is worth it just for that. Than I just finished one on rejoicing. You have to buy this!!! It will change your life!!! It is great for the whole family. Kamryn and Bradyn like it... Here is the link!!

Let me know if you take me up on this!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Horizon's Christmas Party










Well, we are exhausted. I have to be honest and say that the hours leading up to this party were very difficult. We just sensed much spiritual battle. But, the party arrived and it was a really great time. I can't tell you how fun it was to be with these kids. Some memories that stick out:
  • Packing our car full of little Zambian kids. There were supposed to be two other cars helping us, but it didn't really pan out... Needless to say, our car made three very crowded trips in our Land Cruiser.
  • Doing ministry with the Whitfield Family. What a blessing it was to have this ACTION family plus their parents helping out in every way.
  • Watching the kids do this relay race where they had to turn around 5 times and then do a somersault and then jump on the trampoline.
  • Watching them eat and drink all scattered out on the lawn.
  • The shouting and dancing and singing that happened after we told them that they were going to receive a present from someone in the U.S. who knew their name and was praying for them. They sang an African song that went something like "All good gifts come from the Lord." So cool that my friends could be used of God to bring such joy to these kids.
  • Watching the pure exuberance of each child and adult that received a present.
  • One lady after receiving her presents kelt down on the ground and led the group in prayer.
  • Seeing them open the cards and pictures of my friends and family who had given them these presents.
  • Watching Kamryn and Bradyn involved in giving presents and helping these girls.
  • Now Steph's highlights:
  • Seeing a young teenage girl who is normally very withdrawn and reserved stand up and jump her way up to the "present seat" when it was her turn. Everybody was just as shocked as I was because they all burst out laughing and applauding.
  • Being blessed by their servant hearts. The living room was a disaster after all of the presents had been opened. I was in the kitchen putting away some leftover food items when a few kids walked through with big arm loads of trash, brought in extra dishes to the kitchen and one girls came and asked for a broom so she could sweep the floor. I had nothing to clean up. (Miriam will have a few dishes to do in the morning though....:)
  • Also, you may be interested to know that Zambians open the card last, after the gift.
  • Seeing how perfectly the food worked out. We had spaghetti, garlic bread and fresh green beans. There was about 1/2 cup left of spaghetti sauce (Julie Turner's recipe was a hit, except they came and asked for the salt), a few noodles, no green beans and no bread left. Everybody was able to have as much as they wanted before the food ran out. This was a blessing because I really had no idea how much to cook for 50 people. (Lorraine Clegern you would have been proud of me.) (I had great fun cooking the sauce over this charcoal cooker thingy). Miriam came in for the morning and helped out with all of the food prep. Man am I getting spoiled!!!!!
    Having all of this help sure make entertaining easy.
It was a great evening and it couldn't have been possible without your sacrifice of time and money and prayers. God bless and thank you for partnering with us. You have no idea how blessed they were by this evening.

If you sent a gift we did take individual pictures and will get those to you as time allows this next week. There were about 9 kids who were not able to make it tonight due to going away to visit family for the holiday break. I will keep those gifts and make sure that they are delivered as soon as I see them.