Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Conference Days

I have a conference I am speaking at tomorrow, a pastors study in the afternoon and an all day pastor's conference on Friday... Thanks for your prayers as you pray on May 1st, the national day of prayer!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


When I get back to Seattle, I hope to fully convey the entire story of these two neighbors of ours. They have ruined us... that is, in a good way. It is one thing to see poverty on TV or read about it on a website, but when you are confronted day after day after day after day, any ability to ignore or withstand the frontal assault of poverty on your senses is graciously eliminated. They might be angels assigned to teach us how to be generous and giving and they have provided us daily opportunities to learn compassion.They have given more to us than we could ever give to them. We still have so far to go. But, daily, compassion breaks through our hard hearts, and we learn to care, and be involved and find ways to provide. Every day, we get the same motion of a hand to mouth begging "please can I have some food!" and every day we shake our heads at the bleak future that awaits them. They will never have enough food. They will never have options. Due to physical and mental handicaps, parental issues and just life, we have realized that life will never get better for them. There isn't any satisfaction in knowing that we can ever fix them. It is the purest form of giving possible, in that, there is nothing we can gain, except to learn how to love and be compassionate and yet because we learn that, we gain everything.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another full week!

I (Steve) spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the men in this picture discussing the vision, mission and strategies of Action Zambia. It was a full three days of praying and talking about the future of Action Zambia.

After the three days, the wives joined us at the farm where we had a prayer and worship time and then had a braai (barbeque).

It is difficult to express the unity of spirit that was experienced as we were led by the Spirit. We created a memorial to the Lord as a reminder of our time together. Thanks for your prayers!

After 72 hours

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Bradyn just came running in and showed me a lizard's tale. When they are escaping attack (i.e. Louie) they let go of their tails. Well, Bradyn found it and yeah, gross. I'll spare you a picture because it was a big one.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Things I worry about while running

I was jogging this morning and I found myself continually looking down to the right at the brush alongside the road. It is something I do often, making sure there are no snakes hiding in there. How many of you were worried about a big cobra slithering into the road while you were running this morning?


I saw this on a front of a house at the Cultural Village. I thought it was perfect reminder of everything that is important about life.

Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. [43] Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. [45] For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

an update on a blogless weekend

We had a busy weekend full of ministry and family. On Saturday, I taught a bible college class at Lusaka Theological College. It was a four hour class, again, with no power. So, I used the powerpoint slides off of my computer until the battery died. The ladies went to the orphanage and colored for an hour. When I got home, there was a street kid orphan there, looking for some help to find a place to live. Then we had a braai of some missionaries from different organizations. It was a good time to network and play some football. I am still sore. Then Sunday morning, I preached at church in Kalikiliki. I forgot my camera which really bummed me out. It was a straw hut church, complete with dirt floor and simple benches. It was really cool. I wish you could have been there. Today, I have preparing for my class on Saturday since we have Pastor Leadership Development team's off-site on Wed, Thursday and Friday of this week. I will be teaching again on Saturday and preaching on Sunday in a village a little ways out. The family is doing well. Kamryn and Bradyn are doing afterschool activities three days a week. Stephanie is growing bigger and bigger with her baby and all. Julia is just really cute. Thanks for your prayers!

Long time no write...

Well, I have a good excuse. Power+No Internet = No bloggin'!

We had power off on Thursday and then no internet Friday, Saturday or Sunday and today as well. Now, I am not complaining (because that is sin - Philippians 2:14 - look it up) but I have to share with you this internet debacle. So, Friday it stopped working. I called and then said that they were doing a bit of work on the tower. So Friday, Saturday and Sunday, nothing (I don't think they work on the weekend.) Monday, nothing. I call in. They are almost done, and it should be up. Nothing. Hour later. Nothing. Nothing... So, I call in again, and the customer care guy says, "Hmm... Have you tried rebooting your router? Have you pulled out the cord? Have you tried putting the cord directly into your computer?" Well, I got frustrated and said, "Please tell me what has happened. Have you changed the location of your towers? This has happened to me before (It has happened to me before... They had to send a guy in to turn the direction of the satelitte receiver.) "Oh, yeah, we changed the location from Matero to Manda Hill (which is in the opposite direction!). So, I asked, "Can I have someone come change the direction of our satelitte?" He said, "Yes, I will ask the supervisor when he comes in." So, you can imagine my frustration. There was no word that they changed the location and the whole time he acted as if it was something on my end. It was only because it had happened before that I knew to ask the question. So, I called back in again, and found out that they had a plan to send people out to fix the satelitte directions, and I could find out when my turn will be when the supervisor gets back in. But, before I hung up, I asked if I could change my receiver myself, which he said, "Yes!" So, guess what, I did. And it works great, again. Just thought I would share my story of Africa internet:)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We love packages!

Thanks Magga and Papa and everyone else who has sent us packages this past year!!! We feel the love!

Africa from the hand and mind of Kamryn

The Lusaka National Museum

For our orientation yesterday we took a field trip to the Lusaka National Museum. The outside of the building was very nice for Zambian standards, but looking at the exhibit you knew that you were in Zambia. Much of the information was photocopied newspaper articles, and artifacts that had been stolen from their display. Despite this, we did enjoy seeing more into Zambian culture and history. They had an interesting section on witchcraft which is still very much alive and active here. I (Steph) also enjoyed the political section.

Field Trip

We took a good 'ole field trip yesterday to the Lusaka Museum as part of our orientation yesterday. It was the reverse of the statement, "Don't judge a book by its cover!" The outside of the building was really nice but inside was a little dated. But it was interesting to read about the history of Zambia, the fight for independence and to see the Zambian artifacts. The other day one of our team members wrote a monthly update letter and we thought they did such a great job, we asked if we could plagiarize and personalize their letter as we are going through many of the same things as well... So here goes:

We have also barely scratched the surface in learning Nyanja. We’ve covered five lessons and although we’re making headway, we have a long way to go.

Knowing the culture is another speed bump that slows us down. The newbies on the team meet twice a week for an orientation in Zambian life. Led by Glenn Ripley, we’ve covered topics such as animism, family roles and relationships, money matters in Africa, and expectations of missionaries. These sessions have given us insight into crucial topics as well as knitted our hearts together with fellow team members.

We also are learning lessons on how to make do with just a little. Zambians are very ingenious at figuring out how to accomplish a task without the resources available to Westerners. For instance, a fellow down the road had some mechanical abilities and wanted to open a shop but had no property or building. So he dug a pit on the roadside and lined it with brick. Voila, he was open for business. Customers pull off the road and over the pit to get their oil changed, etc. Any land that is not being used is pretty much open to squatters’ rights. Gardens are planted alongside many roadways and up against the walls of estates. Sometimes you will even see squatters’ huts built on land that obviously belongs to someone with money. Since the land isn’t being used or doesn’t have a wall around it, possession becomes 9/10’s of the law.

We’re also learning that family is very important to Zambians. Family relationships and responsibilities follow a pretty strict code. Your father’s brother’s children are not your cousins. They are your brothers. And your father’s brothers are your fathers. Usually Zambian children are likely to be closer to their uncle-father than they are to their biological father. Fathers tend to rule the home with a strict hand and little affection is shown to the children. Mothers are very affectionate and close to their children. Your mother’s sister’s and brother’s children are your cousins. It is okay to take advantage of a cousin but never a brother. If you have any resources—for instance, kwacha—and one of your brothers comes to you for help, you are obligated to give him what you have even if you were putting that aside for your children or immediate family. The need of a brother is always more important than plans for the future. It’s a system that meets crisis needs but doesn’t encourage much planning or saving for the future. Of course, most of the time Zambians don’t have very much kwacha anyway.

One of the hard things to figure out here is who to help and who not to help. Everyone is looking for assistance.

Pray that the Lord will continue to sustain and keep us in His love and care. Just living life is really hard here. What will take you an hour in the states usually takes ½ a day. You can only plan on doing two or at the most three things per day. If you try to do more you end up really frustrated. Even still it wears you out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ms. Julia in the house

I miss you very much and I will come back in a couple weeks (or 6 weeks). When I come back I will be 4 but I will be 5 in September. I hope that you don't see anything scary. And, we can climb a lot of trees in our yard. And I hope that you won't try to miss us. I am really excited to go to Heaven because we won't have our allergies. And, we have a gate to protect us. And the guard cut down flowers. Bradyn is making every picture for you guys. I miss you very much. And, my daddy and my mommy have a cold. We have a lot of movies. And we like 'em. We love you and we will see you in a couple of days (or 46ish days). We have a big living room. My daddy, he goed to the doctor and took the toe nail off. When we step on it, it hurts. And, we do bible time to worship God. We sing and we look at the Bible and we pray for our friends in our prayer book. And when lizards go up a tree, Louie goes up a tree, too, and he gets stuck. Zorro has flies when he goes to sleep. And thank you for your emails. Bye!

A weekend of insight

I have been feeling pretty sick with a cold over the past weekend, so hence, not much writing. But, I have a moment to write now, so I thought I would catch you up!

On Thursday, we had a Pastor's Leadership Development meeting with the Action Zambia guys. There are six people in our group who are committed to working with pastors and churches. We were assigned a job to interview five pastors with a list of questions. I interviewed five pastors:

PLD Pastor Interviews

Peter Zulu – Garden, Pillar of Truth (PZ)

Jere – Kalikiliki, Valley View Baptist Church (J)

Mark Mwale – Chaisa, Chaisa Church of God (MM)

Bruce Kaunda – Kanyama, Sanctuary of Grace (BK)

Alfred Manza – Garden, Light Eternal Church (AM)

And here were the questions and the summed up answers:

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by Zambian churches today?
PZ – No plots to build churches on and not adequate facilities – Training and knowledge of Bible

J- No adequate structures and lack of finances

MM- Lack of good teaching of word of God and poverty

BK – 1. Lack of materials, 2. Lack of adequate buildings and 3. Materials for training

AM – Progress is a challenge when Pastors have no time to pastor because of no money

How could AZ best help pastors?

PZ – Training and support community schools to help with evangelism.

J – Training in Bible

MM – Teaching us so we can teach in rural areas- prayer for the pastors

BK – Training in Bible colleges, resources and books, financial help and building help and helping families

What challenges do pastors face in building leadership teams?

PK – We need a vision to know how to build leadership teams.

Jere- Lack of training/finances/training other church leaders

MM – Help to have a heart for the world-giving them a heart for the hurting

BK – Discipleship programs to help train our leaders

AM – Training

What aspects of Zambian culture make it difficult for Christians and churches to grow?

PK – Idol worship, traditions

J – Physical needs because of poverty and disease

MM – Lack of correct doctrine – and rivalry among churches

BK – witchdoctors and tradition – looking for power encounters wherever they can get them

AM – different background and cultures make it difficult to understand the Word

We then met with a group of pastors on Friday from Ng'ombe who shared many struggles and areas of need to help them meet the needs that exist in their churches. Struggles like poverty, HIV/AIDS, battles with witchcraft and animism, a lack of education for women and men to understand the word and their own family pressures of trying to make money for the family to live on. Almost all pastors have to work in addition to pastor.

The challenges are incredible for these pastors. In addition, the word is out that a governing body might be requiring pastors to have a degree from an accredited seminary. While this is a good for creating accountability, it is also difficult for these godly, committed pastors who have no formal training. The niche of Action Zambia is to work and train these forgotten compound pastors who can't aafford an accredited bible college much less a seminary. I am seeing that training pastors is a much more holistic process than I realized and it will require networking and lots of prayer. These brothers are sacrificing so much to pastor. I can't even begin to describe their lives. It just doesn't seem possible the commitment they give.

We had a Action Zambia team meeting on Saturday, led by our board chairman, Betsone Chileya. It was a chance to look back and look forward to a new time. We are continuing to refine our vision and our philosophy. There is so much that needs to be done and we are continuing to refine that vision so we can do what God has called us to do. Bestone shared a devotion about Mary and Martha and his challenge to us make sure your soul is serviced in Christ before you engage in service. Great words!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The cobra video

I have been wanting to post a cobra video ever since we saw the cobra, but our internet and power has been shaky at best. But, this morning, it worked. So, here it is...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A date morning

Yes, my wife and I got away for a little date yesterday morning to get an ultrasound of our baby (singular) and study Nyanga in the little coffee shop just down the street! It was everything you would find in America, well sort of!!! The doctor scanning the baby wouldn't have let us know the sex of the baby, even if we wanted to know. He didn't even look. There is something supersitious I guess with knowing the babies sex before the birth, so he didn't even look! As you can see it wasn't the most easy to see ultrasound for Steph. The guy hardly said a word the whole time. We were thankful this was our fourth instead of our first baby. We got an ultrasound picture from a friend back home that was in 3-D? Wow. Technology advances quickly when we leave for a few months. The coffee, I guess, was chabwino (good). I had Manzi (water). That's all for now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Called on account of darkness...

I remember the days when the baseball games went too long and they umps called a game because they figured that when a hitter can't see the fastball coming through, it is an unfair advantage. Well, tonight my first Bible Study Methods class was called on account of darkness because the power wasn't working... No power makes it pretty difficult to read the bible or see the powerpoint, etc. We went for about 45 minutes. So, we are switching classes to Saturday mornings!!! This will be better for everyone!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A weekend of pictures...

Kamryn and Julia made pancakes on Friday morning... So cute to see them working together and bonding like this... Julia, I think, will be the next great cook. She is always in the kitchen. Kamryn likes the kitchen, but I think she prefers a good book over learning to cook.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary on Friday. Our friend, Elise, took our picture as we were dressed up and headed out to dinner. We had a nice evening of being together, had some great talks and reflectioning (is that a word?) It is so great to be loved.

Speaking of marriage, I went to a wedding ceremony of our guard, John Daka and his wife. They have been married, but were not married in the church. So, through their Anglican church, they attended a two month marriage class and they, along with eight others, were re-married in an amazingly African style service. It was really a neat experience, one, to support our worker, but two, just the concept of a packed church supporting couples who have been married a short or long time, either renewing their vows or having their vows blessed in a church ceremony.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A wild life

A couple of afternoons ago, as I was laying on my bed, allowing my ailing toe to rest, my two youngest came breathlessly running into my room. "There is a cobra in our house!"

As I deciphered their words, I looked at their panic expression. Their words caught up with my mind, and I began to panic. The only words that came to me at that moment as I lay helpless in my bed were, "Shut up! There is not a cobra in our house!"

Bradyn was like, "No not in our house but in our yard."

"Really," I said as my my eyes widened.

"Yeah, a big one," Julia said, showing me with her hands, "about this big!"

Bradyn said, "No it was like this big!" as her hands expanded greatly.

"Yeah, and Mom saw it, too!"

"Wow." I said, now believing them, as Mom seeing it is a credible source.

And sure enough, the story was true. A big cobra (about thhhiiiisssssssss big) was in our yard. As our guard tried to kill it, it jumped up the wall and went through a hole into the next yard.

Well, that was a bit wild, especially since it was found right near the guard's house.

So, yesterday, I am in the house getting ready to go our for our 10th anniversary date night, and I hear Miriam say to the kids, "We saw another snake!" I hobbled after them and sure enough, another snake, another cobra, but a baby cobra. A baby of the mommy we saw yesterday!

I can hear you say now, "Yeah, right! A cobra." Well, take a look, my skeptical friend, and tell me this isn't some sort of cobra... It was a baby, yet, but as the guard put the hoe up to it, it struck just like a cobra would do. It couldn't move because it had been hacked by the guard. He could still strike with his mouth though... Really crazy.

And then, a few minutes later, we heard a thump and a bird flew into our living room window. He died. And then Zorro picked him up and carried him away.

All this as we were getting ready to leave for our date. I have found the new advertising slogan for Africa: It's a wild life!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I love my wife.

On the eve of my 10th anniversary, I just thought I would pause a moment and say how much I love my wife. What a year this has been... Who would have thought ten years ago that we would be celebrating our decade anniversary in Africa? You have to wonder where we will be on our twentieth!?! Thank you to you all who have been our friends and family through it all... Here is to the next ten!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


My conference got postponed, so I thought I would blog something edification wise...

I was thinking the other day about some of the landmark verses that are something 3:16... I wondered what they all were and so I looked 'em up and for the books that have a 3:16, here they are:

Pretty amazing lineup and in short, a gospel presentation in itself. Check it out! From the beginning where Jesus is baptized to the end where he exhorts the Laodiceans to be hot or cold, it truly is a flow of the gospel and a call to obedience that I believe is incredible and insightful.

Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Mark 3:16 (NIV)

These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);

Luke 3:16 (NIV)

John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John 3:16 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Acts 3:16 (NIV)

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Romans 3:16 (NIV)

ruin and misery mark their ways,

1 Cor. 3:16 (NIV)

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

2 Cor. 3:16 (NIV)

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Galatians 3:16 (NIV)

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.

Ephes. 3:16 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Philip. 3:16 (NIV)

Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Col. 3:16 (NIV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

2 Thes. 3:16 (NIV)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

1 Tim. 3:16 (NIV)

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:

He appeared in a body,

was vindicated by the Spirit,

was seen by angels,

was preached among the nations,

was believed on in the world,

was taken up in glory.

2 Tim. 3:16 (NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Hebrews 3:16 (NIV)

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?

James 3:16 (NIV)

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

1 Peter 3:16 (NIV)

keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

2 Peter 3:16 (NIV)

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

1 John 3:16 (NIV)

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Rev. 3:16 (NIV)

So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.