Friday, February 29, 2008

Gulp...

I didn't know how else to title this post, but it is what I felt after hearing the story I heard today. Every week, and until this week, twice a week, I would go deep into the heart of Garden compound to meet with about 12-15 pastors and leaders to study Philippians. It has been a highlight of every week. I have written about it quite a bit. Because of the rains, I have had to detour my route and go through some really narrow, crowded roads with my big land cruiser. I have tried to describe in previous posts what it is like to get to this study, driving my big land cruiser, up and down and over these big huge potholes, driving pasts markets and bars and through little streams. This last week when I was driving back, there was a few guys who looked like they were fixing a huge pothole. It is somewhat typical for to see people fixing potholes and then looking for tips as cars drive by, especially Mzungu people like me. Well, I saw this guy walking up to my car, and by the way he was looking, with the smirk on his face, it made me a bit nervous, so I just kept driving as I piled over the rocks that were put in this road. I drove on without looking back and made it home. As I drove home, I realized I can't go that way anymore. I need to walk. Suprisingly, I felt safer walking. Well, I had a meeting and what not this last Thursday, so I had to drive again. I felt uncomfortable, a sense that all was not well. When I got to the meeting, I tried to move the location to a place that wasn't so deep into the compound. The guys didn't really want to move it, but we moved it later so I could have time and take a mini-bus and then walk down. A day later, we got a call that one of our team members who got his bag stolen from his car from a compound near town. As it turns out, the bag was recovered later that day, with half of the money, an IPOD, a camera and a bunch of important files. I heard the full story today. What I didn't realize was that the compound where the bag was stolen was in Garden, right where I drive by every week. After the guy from my team realized it was stolen, he went to the police station and the detectives then went to the scene of the crime. As they asked around, during the questioning and conversations at the bar, according to one of the Zambians with the Action team member, one guy had said that their was this Mzungu who came down twice a week and one of these days we are going to set up a trap and get him, too... As Glenn looks back on it, he feels that he was set up and it was a plan to get unsuspecting cars like him. Needless to say, I was sitting there wide eyed. I know it is always dangerous to go into compounds, especially after dark, which I don't do. There are many bars and desperate people do desperate things. I guess I write all this to just continue to thank you for your prayers for safety and wisdom. I will not be canceling my meeting, but I will be changing the venue.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

(re) orientation

Though we have now been here six months, due to many reasons regarding schedules and furloughs, we are just now going through orientation and language learning with two other families. We are learning everything from how to say hello and goodbye to why Zambians do this and that. The orientation is really well put together and includes cultural insights, finances, philosophy of ministry and much more. In addition, now that Stephanie is feeling better I have freedom to do some more ministry which is going to be fun. I will be teaching a Bible class starting in April. We have some exciting things planned, including a pastor leadership retreat in April as well. Thanks for your prayers and encouragements! We couldn't do it without you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What do you say if you only have five minutes?

Well, we are at the end of our monthly internet usage schedule, and the peak hours which starts at 9:00 am begins in 5 minutes. I am out of daytime hours. At night from 6pm to 9 am, I have lots of gigs left... And so I now have four minutes to write something that you will want to read. What would write if you only have four minutes left of your time? What would your write or say if you only had four minutes left to live? What would you say to someone if they only had four minutes left to live?

Here is a great example of making the most of four minutes or less!
Lk 23:39-43 - 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


May you live well today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Julia - a guest blogger

Julia is going to guest blog today... So, this is word for word from her mouth!!!


Hi! I miss you. I am watching Kamryn horse camp. I like Africa! What is my favorite part of Africa? I like swimming and being outside. I miss you a lot! I love the sunny days! You can go swimming with a sunny day. I miss you. I hope landy-boo (Collins baby) feels better! I know you you know that I have a trampoline. I miss you. I miss you so much I will send a card. I will send some stickers. I know you miss us too. Uhh, i want to send you a hello kitty picture. ANd iwill send you something that is very special. Do you want to see a picture of Louie?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Experience overfloweth...

Living in Zambia, Africa, experience in long, drawn out lessons and life also comes in short, overwhelming expeirences as well. It like the rain. Sometimes it rains, slowly and gently over time, watering the plants and keeping everything green. Other times it just dumps and everything from water gutters to grass to streets overfloweth with water. Over time here I have had my heart compressed and leveled by poverty and disease and despair. Like a slow moving machine, my heart has experienced a transformation in six months that I had never expected. But then there are times like this morning where culture, and poverty and hardship and deadlines hit you so fast that you look back and wonder, what just happened there...

So, this morning, I was going to pick up a new team member Brent and take him to work. I remembered I needed a receipt from a Zambian pastor for a reimbursement. So I called him last night to let him know that I wanted to come by and pick it up. As I was getting ready to leave, Pastor Sakala and his son Wisdom showed up. I had forgotten that I was going to give his son a ride to the hospital. So, picture all of this happening and needing to be downtown in 40 minutes. So, Pastor Sakala and his son got in the car as I rushed out of the house. We picked up Brent and drove on to Pastor Alfred's house. When I got there (I am not doing justice to this story, the bumpy crazy roads, the poverty I am driving by that is just now normal and the banging back door that is held together by rope because it is broken) I saw little Obey (yes, his real name) and picked him up and carried him back to the living room. The pastor told me to sit down (you should see this house, the furniture wouldn't even sell at Goodwill). He came in, I asked how he was, I got the receipt and I was off like an efficient American that I am! When I got outside, Pastor Alfred introduced himself to Brent, the new missionary. Pastor Sakala was talking with Setelia, Pastor Alfred's wife and I was in the car, waiting to go. The little boy Obey started crying. So, I reached in my glove compartment, got out of my car and got some candy that I keep in there to give away. And then the most amazing thing happened. He took his two candies (this boy is five) and walked over to my open door and threw them in with a fierceness I can't even describe. I was stunned. Setelia told me earlier that he asked when I was going to stop by again. So, I gave some candy to other kids standing around. I was just so stunned I didn't know what to do. I got back in the car, closed the door, and sat there. As I sat there, I overheard Pastor Sakala telling Setelia about how he is surviving by the grace of God, and God is providing and they are trusting in Him. His words are honest but the emotion from his voice is thick. Finally all these peripheral conversations end, and as I back up and drive away, bumping and tossing all the way back the main street, I am pushing the rewind button, wondering what just happened.

One thing I realized was that where Americans are experts at efficiency, Zambians are experts at relationships. I should have planned better to pick up something like a receipt and honored their culture by building margin in my schedule to build relationship. Sounds a bit more biblical to me, anyway. Moreover, the little boy. Could it be that that was a great, painful illustration from a boy who can't control his feelings, which helps me understand maybe what an adult feels when he is treated efficienctly in a relationship based culture. I don't know for sure. I did call back later and apologize. I asked forgiveness for my being American sometimes. He laughed and he quickly and easily forgave me.

When I got to the Hospital with Pastor Sakala, I gave him the 20,000 kwacha that he thought the appt was going to cost him. I then gave him 50,000 more saying, "This is from the Lord." And this man, probably 10 years my senior collapsed into me with a giant hug. This is so unlike a Zambian man. After the hug he said, "I have nothing." As tears began to well up in his eyes, he said again, "I have nothing. Thank you so much." This godly, faithful pastor who wakes up many mornings at 3:00am to bake pastries to sell to his market stands to make money to feed his family of six kids is literally out of money. What do you do with that?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A plug for my bloggin' daughters...


So I know that I blog a lot, but I know the Kamryn and Bradyn's blog are more interesting then mine. But they are updated sporadically, and I know that it can lead to someone giving up checking the blog when you check day after day and they don't have anything new up... Well, as their daddy looking after them, I have devised a couple new things. One, we have a plan to update every Tuesday evening. So, Tuesday morning you should have a new post from each of the ladies on everything Zambia. But, if for whatever reason Tuesday does not work out... Like for example, hypothetically, the power going out or something improbable like that, I set up a feed burner email thing. Just put your email in their and whenever we update the blog, you will get the email with the blog and pictures and whatever else. You will never miss another blog!!! You will receive no spam, we will not sell your emails or anything like that. We also have that on the Allen ladies blog which too isn't updated all that often except when Allen stuff happens. Thanks for loving us and following our lives over here in Africa!

I love miracles...


Luke and Elise Whitfield, good friends here on the Action Zambia team, had their baby this week. This was Elise's fourth pregnancy, and her fourth C-section. They had a good doctor, a close and good hospital, and all was good. Well, all except the power. The power has been in and out for a month. (Today it was off from 6 am to 11:55 am and then from 5 pm to 8:30pm...) So, it was a bit of a concern that the power would not be on for the c-section. But the doctor said it would work o.k. to have the c-section without power, but obviously it was preferable to have power:) Well, I so appreciate the faith of both Luke and Elise, and God rewarded them big time! They went into the surgery, like down the hallway about to go in to the room, with no power. When they walked into the room, the power came on. The surgery went really well, a little 5 lb 9 oz baby came out perfectly (with the cord around her neck, but fine other than that). After stiching up Elise, they carried her out of the operating room, and once she left the operating room, as she passed out the door, the power went off. Amazing. Baby, Mom, Dad and family are doing well. The missionaries around town are pitching in meals and stuff. Just wanted to give praise where praise is due! I included a picture of me with baby ____ (they haven't named her yet!) On another pregnancy note, Stephanie is almost out of her first trimester. She feeling much better, except at night. She made her first meal tonight in a month and half. There was much rejoicing by everyone. I am not sure who was happier, Daddy or the kids:) Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A few more pictures of Chaminuka












Just thought you would enjoy seeing the snooker table, a huge pool table, Kamryn going to town, the happy, hungry family smiling, and another amazing sunrise!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A gettway vacation...


Our two night and three days at Chaminuka have been a blessing! We have relaxed, had fun, ate good food and feel rejuvenated. I think one of my favorite things was the early morning sunrises. With the sun rising over the lake, it was spectacular! We went on a game drive. It was especially cool because it has been closed for about a month, and they opened it the day we were there. We saw giraffe, zebra, a monkey, Ostrich, Kudu, super amazing birds, a komono dragon, and a giant eagle bird. We went horseback riding a couple of times as well through the grassy paths. We went for a boat ride in the evening, only to get drenched by the rain. I think the favorite part was eating. After a month and a half with mommy being sick and eating pancakes for every meal:), they gave us some amazing food spreads. One meal we had steak, potatoes, chicken, fish, pasta and this incredible tomato sauce. Bumpa and Boggie left this afternoon and now life resumes... It was nice and now we are back home, left only with some great memories. Here are a few highlights!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A busy weekend...

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It was a good weekend of ministry with the Sig's! We went to the orphanage on Saturday morning and made pancakes for the ladies. It is always great to see them, but my heart was heavy with some history that I learned from some of the girls. So hard. Sunday we had a worker party with our guards and house keeper and their families. It was a great time to serve them and Jay and Carol were HUGE in serving behind the scenes. Lastly, Jay and Carol spent some time with Kelly helping him think through painting and marketing. We are enjoying a holiday away and will update tomorrow with some pics of our times.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our citizenship may be in Heaven, but our hearts are heavy here...

(Note: I copied some prayer requests from Mike Glick, a CAM missionary, in an email that was sent to me. There may have been some confusion that I was going to go to Guatemala which is not true, though I am there in spirit! I have deleted those prayer requests! Thanks!)


I know this blog is mostly about Africa, but I must take a break today to ask your prayer for a very difficult situation. Last year, I led a college team from Northlake Community Chruch down to Guatemela for a 9 day ministry trip. We spend 5 days up in a plantation in Huehuetenango. It was an amazing ministry trip, and part of the blessing was watching the foreman, Carlos, run the plantation, and lead the workers with integrity, skill and faithfulness. Carlos is a father of 8 wonderful children and a husband of an amazing wife. I received an email from a friend today about a tragic accident that took the life of Carlos and his oldest son, Edwin. This death affects so much more than I can even begin to describe in a blog, but I would ask that you pray for his family, the plantation and the Martinez family who run this plantation. May we be faithful and diligent in lifting up our brothers and sisters in a land far from us...

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Here are a few requests you can pray for:
Please be in prayer for:
Carlos' wife and many children and his brother's and extended family.
For the Martinez family, who have been as family to Carlos and his.
For Edwin Martinez as he takes care of all the stuff that needs to be taken care for the family and also for the plantation, it is harvest time and very busy there.
For the Group of 16 from Maple Valley, WA that are in the middle of this.
For wisdom for me and for Edwin and the group leadership as we pull together this week
That God's light will shine through this dark time, and He will be glorified in the outcome.

Friday, February 15, 2008

TIA, JAY and JOY

MORE TIA

I don’t think I was home today when the power was on. Apparently there has been another problem that Zesco is working around the clock to fix. We were going to have a family dinner here but no power so we went to a hotel restaurant. We were the only people there on a valentine night as we were a bit earlier than those to come, but it took probably an hour to get our food.

TIA is alive and well in many ways every day. But, a cool thing happened on the way to complainville. Today I had a good conversation with Peter Zulu. As we sat in the church amidst a massive rain storm, he shook his head and said, “Ministry is hard.” I asked why and he went on to share a struggle recently. He has been trying to build a church, literally, but he has run into problem after big problem. He had bought a plot of land, bought some bricks and began building. He got kicked off the property but the settlement was that he would get a bigger plot of land somewhere else and they would build what he already built. Well, they didn’t do a good job building, and so he had to tear it down and now though he has a new plot of land, he has no bricks to build. And then an older man came and said the plot of land that Peter is on is his. More discussion that I didn’t quit understand and the new settlement is that Peter now has to build this man a one room house on a new plot, which means about $500 dollars and lots of labor. You can imagine how discouraging this must be to someone who makes maybe $5 dollars a day. The conversation was so amazing though because he shared how this old man has gotten bounced a bunch of times, he is disabled and has no ability to have anywhere to live. And so, the normal thing would be to blow this guy off as I guess has already happened two other times, but Peter is committed to doing the right thing, even though it is going to push back the construction of his building and cost his family money that they do not have. He already has given up half of his house to build a church. I went into their “half” house today and I was blown away by how hot it was and how small it is and how much faith this man has to be forced to go one mile and yet walk two so he can honor the Lord by loving this man this way. I may teach the Bible study, but he certainly shows me how to live it. The study went really well, as we dug down deep into Philippians 1:19-21. Now that they are really getting the inductive part down, we are getting into great discussions. Nelson, one of the elders, led the entire meeting. It was great! I walked back with Joseph, and we continued to dig into the passage of scripture. Good stuff...

And then tonight at dinner, as we waited for an hour for our food, when it finally came, they got it wrong, putting sauce that we knew we couldn’t eat where we couldn’t eat it. And I was just so proud of my girls. They did their absolute best not to complain, to be happy, and they were patient. It was cool because in the midst of our time in Africa, we have had lots of opportunities to practice patience, in just hard situations where you are just stuck, and you have to just grow in character and they have. (I am not so sure I have, but at least they haveJ)

Bradyn is feeling so much better. I am, too. Steph is during the days. At night, she feels awful, still. I was just hoping that with the blogs that we write that you haven’t gotten a complaining spirit out of them. We run a fine line of being honest and sounding like whiners amidst the hard and overwhelming.

Today Jay spent some time with Kelly the painter, teaching him about marketing, sales and talking through all things painting. It was so cool to see Jay using his gifts of sales and knowledge of marketing to impact this young man. Jay has brought some great ideas and will be a huge help in doing for Kelly what I just don't have the time or expertise to do. You could see that Kelly was eating it up. They are going out on Monday to knock on doors and meet business owners… It was so encouraging to watch how God used Jay's gifts to really help Kelly. It just really confirmed to me that missions is for everyone with every kind of gift in every situation. God wants to change the world through us and use the world to change us as well...

Tomorrow we are going to the orphanage to make pancakes and spend time with the girls!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TIA and/or TIL

In Africa we have this saying, TIA means This is Africa... It is kind of like a coping mechanism that helps you deal with the myriad of life difficulties that come your way in Africa. As I was laying in bed in the dark (because our power was out, again), I was framing my day in a blog. But, I realized it was more that just my day, it was TIL, this is life. It is the day to day difficulties where we choose joy that makes the normal, eternal. But, saying that, I thought I would give you a little snapshot of my day to see if it warranted such a title and whether or not I am justified in feeling victory just to make it through the day.

This morning I picked up Graham to get to the office to get a check to pay for some Bibles. It was the worst traffic jam I have had since going downtown. Than I got downtown and after going to the AZ office and remembered that I forgot some documentation. There are two lanes of traffic and both are one ways. So I crossed the first one way and then looked right when I should have been looking left (the opposite driving patterns can mess with you), and took one step off the curb, as I looked back to my left just in time to jump back and narrowly (I mean, narrowly) missed getting hit by a speeding car. Literally, I could have been in a blog, not writing it right now. This morning we were going to go as a family to Adventure City Water park. It was a beautiful 82 degree morning. Bradyn came down with a fever as we were getting ready to leave. Than the power went out. We had lunch made, so we were thinking about maybe going for a picnic. There is really only one place picnic worthy in Lusaka, and we called to see if we could bring our lunches there, but we were told we couldn't. So, we decide to do some errands. Jay had to mail some a package back home and went to the mailing store, but they didn't have any boxes. I went door to door in the strip mall looking for boxes. I found one! The power is out all morning and early afternoon. The power comes on and so we try the internet so the Sigs can call their son. The internet won't work. After a long time of not working, I call Iconnect. He says it isn't working. He restarts it. He says it should work now. It does work, a little later. Bradyn is feeling worse with a 103 degree temp. We take her to the doctor. Turns out she has a throat infection and a stomach infection. (yeah, that was as specific as a it gets.) We get home, and the power goes out again. Stephanie goes with Carol and Jay and Kamryn to dinner. I stay home and try to make pancakes over a brazier fire. They don't work well. Bradyn feels sick and crazy. Julia decides she is going to be whiny and crazy, too. And then I try to give medicine to Bradyn. She starts crying. Julia starts yelling I want mommy over and over again. I finally lie to Julia that mommy is coming home in five minutes (is it wrong for missionaries to lie if the end justifies the mean:), finally get Brady the medicine and get them to bed. The power stays out from 5 until 10pm. Kamryn calls from her grandparents wanting to come home at 10:00pm. She can't sleep. She misses us.

I was wondering if Jay and Carol were going to get a taste of true Africa living and I think they are... I don't mean this as a whine, but just to share what it is like to just get to the end of the day and just feel exhausted just living. As we lay in bed in coma-like positions, we started quoting scripture, trying to lead with truth instead of emotion... Rejoice in the Lord, always. Blessed is the man and woman who persevere under trial for when they have stood the test, they will recieve the crown of life... Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding... And then Stephanie said, "And I want to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier..." Bible humor from our memorizing of Philippians:) So, we go to bed, with Stephanie with bad stomache, tired and a little more joyful. May we all choose joy in the big and little, hard and easy, fun and boring so that God may be glorified eternally in our temporary. Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's different out here...


We had a great morning picking up Brent and Kerry Roberts, the newest and last missionary family to come in for awhile... They were so thankful to be here and reminded me of us, just 5 months ago. Please pray for their adjustment! I am sure you will hear lots more about them when we begin to include them in the blog!

After breakfast with the team, I went to get oil and an oil filter. Back home, it is called "Jiffy Lube" or if you are really good, maybe the local Shucks. Well, here it is drive way, way over here to buy oil and drive way, way across town for the oil filter. But, I did another first in Africa, I changed my oil. Well, sort of, Graham Melville showed me but I am still feeling pretty cool. Just to give you a little cost comparison: 10 liters of oil cost k200,000 kwacha. I know, isn't that outrageous! And the oil filter cost k123,000 kwacha. So together, k323,000 kwacha and I still have to do it! (Just so you know, the oil came out to be $54 dollars and the oil filter, $38 dollars - crazy, huh? Graham didn't charge any labor:)

It is great to have Jay and Carol here learning and loving as we learn and love. Jay went with me to get some mosquito nets for the pastors, thanks to a friend's donation! We bought 21 nets and Jay joined the fun and bought 3 soccer balls. It was great fun giving them out and they LOVED the soccer balls. Jay was so great to have in the class! He participated, made some great points and if you know Jay, his smile is infectious. It was great having someone be part of a group of pastors and leaders that I have come to love as brothers (and a couple sisters!) Alfred preached today and as Peter Zulu said afterwards, they are all getting better, bit by bit. Each class, someone else preaches and we talk about it afterwards. It is really rewarding!

Tonight Julia is at Bumpa and Boggie's (Jay and Carol's hotel) for a special grandparent trip complete with a story, games and cereal in the morning! Brady is next and then Kamy!!!

Please continue to pray for Stephanie that she would feel well and be able to enjoy this time!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A big family welcome!






It was great to welcome in Stephanie's Parents, Jay and Carol, into our homes and lives here in Zambia. I had three very excited little girls just ready to love on their grandparents. They made these cute signs, Jay went to see Kamryn's horseback ride and Carol went to Bradyn's music class, we enjoyed a great dinner out and then all collapsed into bed!! On an interesting note, their plane was delayed an hour because of the president of Zambia boarding a plane. This frustrated Kamryn to no end who said, "I don't care about the president. I want to see my Boggie and Bumpa! " Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, February 08, 2008

update on "I went walking and what did i see..."

This morning, Miriam, our house help came into our kitchen and the first thing she said was, "I saw you walking yesterday." I didn't quite catch all that she said, but, as I pieced it together, I realized that the time I was walking home from Garden, yesterday, she was on the mini-bus coming from our home to Garden where she lives. "Oh, you saw me walking! Wow. Where was I?" As she explained where she saw me, she shared some interesting thoughts both from what she said and heard and also by how she looked. She said that the people in the mini-bus (who didn't know that I was her boss) were saying out loud "Wow, there is a Mzungu walking!" There were basically saying things like, I wonder why he is walking and why is he walking... Miriam said out loud that he wanted to be more like us (without revealing who I was to her.) She looked somewhat proud of me. She kept saying, "That is good. That is good." Hmm... I better get my walking shoes on I guess.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I went walking and what did I see...hear...smell...feel

Today Stephanie needed the car to go down to to Makeni, so she dropped me off on the main road outside of the compound of Garden so I could walk to my Pastor's study. Now usually I drive in my car, so I am virtually senseless, except the air conditioning, the music playing and the bumps of the road. But today, I was walking. I didn't have my camera, so my words will have to do.

It was about 1.5 miles from the main road to the "church" where we meet. The walk down this road was full of senses. First, the rains have made this road literally one big mud puddle. No, actually first is just what I see when I walk down a compound road, which is everyone staring at me. I compare it to like if a mouse were to walk down a row of cats. Now, don't take the illustration to far, because I wasn't afraid they were going to jump on me, but, just if you have ever known what it is like to be stared at, you know what I mean. I was the only Mzungu (white person) I saw the entire walk there and back. I never felt afraid. It isn't dangerous during the day. O.K., so this place was a huge mud puddle and literally I am on the side with the Zambians moving, bumping, smiling as we all try to maneuver our way through the limited dry space on the side. During the first two hundred yards, I walked through an open market which has everything from electrical wire to mealie to sandals. I saw a few interesting sites, including goat leg meat with the hair and hoof still on it as well as this dried fish with bonus flies or maybe you can buy the flies and the fish is bonus. Either way, I passed by a bar, and then I was through the market. Next I saw a huge "sewerage" truck stuck in this mud puddle, with a huge truck being loaded with little kids trying to weight it down and to pull it out. Next, I ran into a pack of little kids yelling "Mzungu, Mzungu!" While walking you hear and see so much more. You get into the lives of the Zambians as they bathe their kids, carry large loads and stare at tall, skinny Mzungus walking through the compounds. It was a beautiful sunny day today, the first in months. I turned right at the church to see four little kids playing with a big rubber band jump rope thing. They smiled. At the church, I was a bit early. I talked with Peter for a while and then the rest of the group arrived. When we got there it became apparent, that three of the students were suffering from Malaria. Two others couldn't make it because their wives had Malaria. We prayed for them right then. I asked the question, "Do you have mosquito nets?" Some had one, but not enough for the family. For example, Pastor Alfred just recovered from malaria, his daughter had it and his wife has it now. With all the rains, the mosquito's have plenty of breeding grounds. I asked if anyone needed one or two, and all the hands went up. I realized tonight that what they need more than a Bible study is a mosquito net. So, I promised I would bring some on Tuesday. They only cost $12 dollars. I want to buy a bunch. We had one of the best studies ever as we cruised through the inductive study and then did the expository study. I am so proud of how they have understood and are really getting it, and I think it may be time for me to step out and let them continue on without me as much as I will miss them. On the way out of the church back to the main road, I saw a baby come out of a house crying. I just was touched at how real it is to just walk through these streets. Kind of like when you are camping, and people walk the trail right by your tent, but this is life for them. Pastor Alfred's wife was at the study and she was one of the one's with malaria. I asked her if she had medicine and she said no. We passed by MC Medicine shop so we stopped and bought some. Guess how much? 1500 kwacha which is about .35 cents. We continued on to the main road and down another road, where loud music play out of the bars and people continue to stare. I had a great talk with Pastor Alfred and Setelia. They walked me through the compound to the main road. There a drunk young man wanted to talk to me. He saw my Bible and wanted help. He said he was lost. I said where are you lost? I am drunk. Why are you drunk? Because I have problems. And we had a good conversation. I prayed with him, introduced him to Alfred. I am pretty sure he just wanted to talk to a Mzungu, but it was a good conversation to have in light of the study which was to preach Christ in all situations, to be ready in season and out, to be ready to give a reason for the hope that you have. After I said goodbye to them, I met Graham and borrowed his bike. I rode the rest of the 5 miles home. It was a good day and I think I will be walking more often now.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

life as we know it...

I went and saw the neighbor girl at the hospice today where she has been taken to receive proper care. She recognized me and waved a little. She was wearing Stephanie's green fleece that Stephanie gave her. Bradyn gave me to give to here a stuffed animal dog. She doesn't speak any english and very little Nyanga. I just sat there and it was awkward, but worth it. She has a long way to go to recover. Please pray for her as you think of it. We hope to go as a family tomorrow to visit her.

I visited a place called House of Moses today. There are 32 children there, from birth to 6 months... It was quiet when I was there but I can imagine it would be loud during certain parts of the day. It was a place where Laura Bush visited in 2007 and a place where our friends in previous blogs adopted their child as well the founder of this ministry. It was heartbreaking and yet hopeful for these beautiful little babies. It is a very nice place. I hope to take the family back.

I studied for a part of the day on Philippians 1.15-18 for our pastor's study. Just really encouraged by Paul's attitude of rejoicing in the midst of being in chains and others accusing him, stealing his flock and preaching to spite him. All he cared about was that the gospel is being preached. May we have this attitude that our circumstances and our reputation and our careers and our ambitions mean very little in light of God using us to further the gospel for His glory!

Realized I haven't finished the inductive study... Application, Part IV will be tomorrow!

Lastly, I had to include this cute picture of Julia on the back of Miriam, our house help. Priceless...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A week's worth of news...


Because either the power or the internet was down it has been a while since I blogged... So, here is a compilation of things that have gone down here in life of the Allen's...

A Crab in our Driveway
The context: The nearest ocean beach is 625 miles away.
The story: Last week, I was looking out my window and I thought I saw a huge something crawling near and then under my car. I thought it was a spider. So, I grabbed the camera and headed out! But, when I got closer, I realized it wasn't a spider, but a big crab. I have NO idea where this thing came from, how it got in our yard and where to put it. But, we put it in the drain outside our gate. Crazy weird.



Our Cat is a Dog
Kamryn has taught our cat how to chase a bouncy ball and return it to her. Louie is a great cat. All we have to do now is just teach him to bark at the cars when they come through the gate like Zorro does.











Original and creative business names
We went bowling at the only bowling place in Lusaka (Zambia?) The name is really creative... It is called, "Let's go Bowling!" I wonder how long it took them to come up with that name. It was great fun with Daddy taking the honors in the adult division and Kamryn taking honors (and almost beating daddy) in the kid division.











The joy of a husband when His wife is feeling better after a month in bed:)
Not sure how to fully emphasize that other than just post a picture expressing my exuberance!
Looking back, I have realized how good this time was for me and my relationship with the kids. As a result, I have been involved with the homeschooling and understand it enough to teach it. I have gained confidence in leading my family, and it has led to some great, promising changes. I have learned to cook pancakes like a champ. It has been one of the hardest months of my life, but some great things have come out of it. Here's hoping that the lessons have been learned though!

And then a hard one:
The heartbreak and humbling of loving your neighbor.
The following blog is an edited letter from Stephanie to her mom about the hard day we had a few days ago regarding our neighbors which I have mentioned before. The father is an alcoholic, the mother has bedridden from many years due to stroke. The daughter (in the picture) is what the blog centers on:

Today has been hard. I think we've mentioned our neighbors before, the squatters, anyway, their daughter is so sickly, her legs are the size of my wrists, maybe smaller. Her bones are protruding everywhere, she is the sickest looking person I've seen in all of Zambia so far, and she's right next door. Yesterday she was outside our gate, as she often is, begging for food. She had a horrible cough!! Anyway, I just came to a point where I said to myself, "this is not right. I am responsible for being Jesus to this girl." Who is else is going to?? She needs so much, we had been giving them food, but I knew she needed to see a doctor. So last night the Lord impressed on my heart that we needed to get her to a doctor. I had no idea if her parents would let us or not. I didn't sleep much at all last night, and this morning I woke up, ate a LUNA bar and hoped that I would feel strong enough to do what I needed to do. I was going to take Miriam with me because they speak no English. Miriam and I went over this morning and talked to the father and he was very pleased that we wanted to help and take her. Then he went into the "house" and got the girl and when she came out I was so overwhelmed with everything I knew I was going to pass out. I sat down and asked Miriam to go get Steve. Steve came and helped me walk but when we got out to the street I did pass out right in the road. Luckily, Phil Stevenson, a pastor from Whidbey Island, had just arrived at our house and he knew what was happening, Steve had never seen me pass out before. They laid me down and I was okay in a few minutes and able to walk home. I got home and just lost it emotionally and physically. My heart felt like it was breaking inside of me. She is one of Jesus' children, his heart must break every day when He sees her. So, it was decided that I was not the best person to accompany her to the doc. so Steve and Miriam took her. Steve just called and said that she is very sick. (We are not including all that is wrong with her on this email.). They are getting her set up on home based care which will hopefully be good. She's obviously not entirely there. My guess is that she is 16 but when Miriam asked her her age she said she was 4.

Kamryn was so sweet last night, she came in and we were talking about it, and she said, "Mom, she really needs to know Jesus so if she dies she can go to a much better place." It hit me how desperately I wanted her to know Jesus. If she doesn't know Jesus, the awful life she has lived her will only be worse. Yet, heaven, oh, what that would be. So, along with her health, this is what I pray for."

I was very proud of my wife for taking the lead on this, and though it was scary, especially the fainting episode, things are going well. This girl, we still don't know her name, is at a hospice care facility. We are going to get the younger brother in a school. The plan is to take the parents to a clinic soon. I am so thankful for organizations who have the expertise and experience to help care for these kind of situations. I know there are millions of kids who need this help, but again, there is joy and peace in doing what God has given us to do, today...

Monday, February 04, 2008

The giants won but Zambia is losing...

We just finished watching the Super Bowl with some missionary friends on VCR tape delay! Crazy good game and crazy weird watching it in Zambia... Another first! Internet is still very shaky but thought I would just try to send a quick message out!

You need to read this letter to get a heartbreaking account of how things are going south of us in Zambia...
Dear Friends

We thank you for your prayers - we need them. If you don't have time to read
all of this now....then please just cover us with prayer (and print it out to
read later:-)) At the end of this report you will find a section "IMMEDIATE
PLAN OF ACTION"....please don't skip that part!!!

Yesterday (Thursday, 31 January) I met with Mr Apuleni (the District
Commissioner of the Southern Province of Zambia) and Mr Sokoloku (the District
Assistant Commissioner). They were able to give me information on the state of
the collapsed road at Sinazeze, as well as a report of the "Flood Disaster".

1. Update on collapsed road:
Mr Apuleni was himself stranded on the other side of the collapsed road when he
traveled from Lusaka to Sinazongwe late Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure
where he spent the night, but on Thursday morning he "swam" through the river
and then got a lift to be at the office for work - impressive, eh!!!! (He even
phoned me on Thursday to postpone our meeting from 10h00 to 14h00, because he
first wanted to get "cleaned up"!)

Work has started to repair the road temporarily. He thinks it will be okay for
us to travel to Lusaka by Sunday. He said I could phone him today (Friday) to
get an update again.

There is very little mealiemeel in Sinazeze, Sinazongwe or Maamba townships and
the Zambeef trucks transporting the new consignment of mealiemeel could not get
through. This is a miniature crises in itself, since it is month-end and people
want to buy food. There is no other road out of the Valley except this one....

We understand that some people are carrying bags of mealiemeel across the river
and selling it to desperate buyers at a very high price........

2. Report on Survey of Flood Damage 24 Dec 2007 - 31 Jan 2008
Some areas are still inaccessible due to roads and bridges that were washed away
and heavy rain that has continued on and off.

Continuous heavy rains for one solid week (from 24 Dec - 31 Dec) caused rivers
to flood, major soil erosion and extensive damage to houses, livestock, fields
and newly planted crops.

A total of 1,900 households were directly affected. Working on a conservative
average of 6 people per household, it means that at least 11,400 individuals are
directly affected.

Area of Survey:
Muuka; Mweemba; Malima; Nzenga; Nkandabwe; Sinazongwe and Mweezya.
(The most severely affected is Nzenga area (where BaJohn, our cook, lives) with
889 households directly affected. Second is Mweemba area - where Tessa's (our
evangelist and missionary) mom lives.
85% are now living in makeshift shelters;
70% suffered food crop loss;
90% suffered livestock AND food crop loss.

Pledges of Relief received:
* Zambeef - 200 bags of mealiemeel not yet delivered because of road collapse
* Anglican Council of Churches: 320 bags of mealiemeel and blankets.
* Satwat Transport: free transportation of goods to affected areas
* Red Cross: 100 tarpaulins (plastic sheeting to make tents) & food
* Christian Council of Zambia: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* Women for Change NGO: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* World Vision: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* Government: Repair of infrastructure e.g. rebuilding of the roads and
bridges, health facilities and schools that have been damaged.

Most Urgent Needs:
* Relief Food (Mealiemeel and Relish since there are no food gardens left)
* Blankets
* Mosquito nets
* Chlorine & Disinfectant - as a health precaution to prevent cholera etc.

3. Preliminary report on Flood Damage affecting our staff and pastors known to
us:
A. Komena Pastors/Students in need:
* Ps Siambede of Harvest for Christ who oversees the work at Bump. His house
at Kanyemba collapsed. Ps Albert bought plastic sheets to make a temporary tent
shelter for him and his family. (20 houses in this area collapsed)
* Gentive Siandogo of Harvest for Christ is a student at Komena. His house and
field were washed away.
* Ps Charles of Harvest for Christ works with Ps Oliver at Lusithu. His house
collapsed. He is living in a tent with his family.

B. Staff & their relatives in need:
* BaJohn (Longezia Cook); houses of his two wives and his little grocery store
collapsed. The house of his married son also collapsed. He has made a temporary
shelter with the iron roofing sheets and poles. They are 14 people living in
this shelter. The ground remains wet and damp and all their clothing is being
damaged by mould.
* Tessah (Evangelist & Missionary): her mother's house at Siabiaswi in the
Mweemba area collapsed; she moved in with her eldest daughter whose house also
collapsed. They are now living in a make-shift shelter. (30 houses in that
area were destroyed)
* Fanwell Malauzi (Evangelist & Missionary: his mother's house collapsed. She
has moved in with Fanwell and his family.
*END OF REPORT*

IMMEDIATE PLAN OF ACTION:
Our first priority will be to help our staff and the church leaders and Komena
students with whom we are in relationship. We are waiting for more reports to
come in through Ps Albert & Oliver and other pastors.

1. We ask that your prayerfully consider making a financial contribution
towards the "Zambian Flood Disaster Fund".

In the USA: please contact Nancy Long at nlong@mvusa.org
In the UK: please contact Rob Carter at rob@mvgb.org.uk
In South Africa: please contact Coralie Roets at croets@mvrsa.org

This will help us provide for the most urgent needs:
a. Food (mealiemeel & vegetables to make relish)
b. Blankets and mosquito nets (there is an increased risk of malaria)
c. Tents or plastic sheeting to provide temporary shelter

2. Please contact Elizabeth Ratliff at ear4africa@hotmail.com if you are able
to send a parcel with second hand clothing for adults, children and babies;
blankets; sheets; towels; toiletries.

3. Rebuilding of a "house" for BaJohn and his family: This cannot be done
immediately because of the continued rains. However, any financial contribution
will be welcomed! Our builder, Mr Nevvy, estimates that to build a 3 meter by 8
meter home will cost almost 1,000.00 $US. That will include a cement
foundation, all roofing sheets, brick, brick force, soft wire, timbers, roofing
nails, etc.

* PRAY THAT IN THIS DISASTER PEOPLE WILL TURN TO THE LIVING GOD!
* PRAY THAT WE WILL BRING A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND GIVE A PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION
OF GOD'S LOVE IN ACTION, AS WE ASSIST WITH THE PHYSICAL NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE.
* PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT AS WE DECIDE WHERE AND HOW TO
HELP!!

Thank you!
Yours in Christ
Theuns, Karin, Michelle, Daniel & Missionary Staff at Longezia

Thanks for the encouraging emails! We are blessed!

More to come!
Steve

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Internet blues...

First it was the power and now the internet... More opportunities to rejoice:) I am at the cafe for a few minutes downloading emails and posting this... You may not hear from us again for a couple of days (weeks?)! But, we will be writing you back and sending when we get a chance...

A couple of Headlines to read about in the next couple of days:
Some funny ones:

A Crab in our Driveway
Our Cat is a Dog
Church as they know it

And then a happy one:
The joy of a husband when His wife is feeling better after a month in bed:)

And then a hard one:
The heartbreak and humbling of loving your neighbor.

I'll write them and then upload it in a couple of days!

Thanks!