Sunday, March 30, 2008

Taking a week off...


I (Steve) leave for Chicincata, a remote village about 2 hours south on Wednesday morning through Friday for an off-site planning retreat for our Pastor Leadership Development team. In addition, my wife and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary on the April 4th. Our friends, the Whitfields, are giving the girls a slumber party and giving us a night off from parenting:) So, I thought it would be a good time to take a break from blogging. I'll be back next week with some pictures and a report of our trip.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Conference - No power but powerful...


I am so encouraged by today's conference. I did a expository conference in Kanyama compound. There were somewhere between 150-200 people there. Many of them had been at the conference that I did in December in Kanyama about inductive study, so that was encouraging to see many of them come back. I made a great powerpoint presentation that would have wowed everyone had there been power. But, the electricity was off all morning, and my powerpoint went for naught. Well, not totally for naught. It was helpful to put it all together and continue to refine the the approach to make expository preaching attainable for all pastors.

Anyway, it was powerful, but not because what I did. I brought three of the pastors from my Garden Pastors class. And, that made it all worth it. Peter Zulu was my translator, but I might as well have not been there. He took my word and made it twenty and had the crowd laughing and yelling and it was priceless. After 5 months of weekly studies, these pastors know the material so well that they can teach it and they loved it as well. I had a pastor get up and share a testimony of how expository preaching had helped him. And another shared an analogy of the process of inductive study and expository preaching. Overall, it was just so satisfying to see my students (all of them significantly older than me) now understanding and valuing this way of studying the Bible so well that they can teach it and do it with genuine enthusiasm. I was hoping to have pictures yesterday to show you the process that I am refining and teaching, but the internet is not agreeing with me last night or even now. I don't think I will even get one picture up tonight
( I got two up:)

At the end of the time we gave out Bibles that our good friends had donated and shipped to us. Unfortunately there were more people than Bibles and it was a bit of a mob environment afterwards. These were NKJV Bibles that were I think a few dollars a piece, and I just don't think I fully appreciate or understand how desperate people are for Bible and how hard they are too get. It really is beyond my comprehension and you would have to be there to see it with your own eyes. We had some money donated awhile back for Bibles and we look forward to giving those away at another conference in Chaisa in April.

Overall, it was a great conference. On the way home, Peter Zulu said he had a vision of starting a Bible College in Garden that would teach Inductive Bible Study and Expository Preaching. I just smiled. What a blessing to be part of this. Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another conference coming up!

I will be teaching an expository preaching conference out at Kanyama. From Saturday, 8:00-1:00pm, I will be teaching how to take an inductive study and turn it into a sermon!
Thought I would post some more thoughts on this tomorrow!

Monday, March 24, 2008

We interupt this blog for a short video

Just wanted to let you know about an amazing little video just to your right... There is a picture of Kobe Bryant but don't let that deceive... It is a great video from the ministry of Francis Chan that really sums up a lot of what I have been thinking about these days. Having been in Africa now almost seven months, my eyes are open to to how little it takes to affect so much. What keeps us from living like there really are hurting people in the world and that I not only can make a difference, but I am called to make a difference? Yesterday, a pastor was talking about how the first service had no power because of what people in Zambia call "load sharing." I have been thinking about this term the last two days (how is that for preaching? It wasn't even a part of his message and it is the thing that has stuck with me:) Load sharing is an involuntary sharing of electricity. Now, I am thinking about voluntary load sharing as Christians... What would that look like if we would sacrificially share our load so that others could have some? I think it is easy to get so overwhelmed with the need that we do nothing. It matters. You matter. Your gift matters, not only eternally, but to the one you help. Don't forget about the world because of you are in your own little world. Don't miss out on the joy that comes from the truth of Jesus... it really is more blessed to give than to receive!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

A good Easter Sunday as well...


Easter Sunday blog (I have a cool photo slideshow at the bottom of this post. Check it out! This unedited picture here was taken by Bradyn on her 1.3 megapixel camera:) I thought it was an amazing picture!)

This morning, I was talking with Kamryn and Julia in my office. I think I said something like Happy Easter and explained that today was the day that Jesus was risen from the dead. Julia had been tracking the last couple of days that Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday. She understood his death, but when she heard that today was the day that Jesus rose again, that Easter was celebrating His new resurrection, her eyes got really big and she said, “Today is the day that Jesus was risen again?” I said, “Yes!” She then yelled, “Bradyn, Mommy! Bradyn! Mommy! Where are you?” I sensed what she was going to do so I followed after her to confirm what I thought she was going to do. She found Bradyn in the back of the house and said, “Bradyn, today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead!!!” Bradyn, of course, had to let this sweet, innocent daughter of mine know that she already knew that. But, when Julia found Mommy, well, Mommy, shared her excitement and then Julia came and gave me the biggest hug. It was so sweet, so amazing to witness that enthusiasm and joy!!! May we never forget the blessing that Easter is…

Today was a good day. We enjoyed a great church service and then prepared for the orphans. We had a a great time with them. We played some games, like a killer game of bucket ball! We also did a few relays. We then watched a movie on the resurrection of Jesus. We had an easter egg hunt, had a great dinner and then hung out. The Whitfield’s and the Robert’s joined us which was great to share ministry with them and their children.

It has been a busy, full weekend. But, we head to bed, satisfied and thankful. Thanks for your prayers!

I hope you enjoy the video slideshow!!!
video

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A good Saturday, too





If you read yesterday's post, you saw that we had an outdoor theatre in the middle of the compound in Kanyama. It was as surreal as you can imagine. Tonight went even better but it was a bit more of struggle. The biggest problem happened when I forgot the remote control for my DVD player. I couldn't get the subtitles up and so the movie played in the Aramaic language that it was originally in, but without any explanation of what was being said. So, I asked the Pastor to find another DVD that we could play. Eventually another one appeared, but the remote control had no batteries. So, we couldn't access the menu of the movie to put subtitles on for either DVD. So, we prayed, and then on the new DVD player, all of a sudden the words appeared on the screen. But, not only words, but narration, maybe for someone who is blind. So, there was not only narration, but English words being spoken over the Aramaic and subtitles. Something for everyone:) I am not sure how that happened. It was pretty funny though that at times a woman would speak for a man's part and vice versa. Needless to say, it made a huge difference. People started engaging and watching and absorbing. One pastor was telling me about two young guys standing near us. One guy was interpreting what the subtitles said to another guy, and they were so engaged in the story of Christ, that they were actually in the story as if it was happening live. One guy said about the Jews who were beating him, "They don't know who He really is." It was interesting having that translated. They gave an invitation for anyone who wanted to know more about Jesus, and about 20 adults came forward to a room to talk about spiritual things.

As far as numbers go, there were a whole bunch more of people there tonight. I don't want to exaggerate and I had no way of actually counting the numbers, but I would say, maybe 10,000 to 20,000. Well, maybe more like 300-400:) They had kids and adults and everyone in between. Brent came down with me to help out. It was great having him along. I am convinced after this weekend of the value of showing these kinds of movies and I look forward to doing some more things like this.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Good Friday...





We had a full day today. The first thing that I loved about today was that it was a national holiday. Good Friday, Saturday, Easter and Monday after Easter are all holidays. Our housekeeper spent the night at the church from Thursday night to Friday morning worshiping God and praying and singing. I thought that was a great idea.

Anyway, for the morning we went to the Farm, the Action Zambia property, about 30 minutes from our house for our bi-weekly prayer and worship. It is a time when the team gets together to just focus on the Lord. It was especially meaningful today being Good Friday.

This evening I went to Kanyama, where I met with Pastor Bruce and his wife and we showed the Passion of the Christ to about 200+ Zambians with a video projector and a white screen. I smiled at the irony that the last time I showed an outdoor movie it was for a summer camp. And now here I was surround by hundreds of Zambians. It was pretty funny how they connected the electricity to my power strip. They wired the electrical wire around the plug. You can get the idea in the picture. We had problems with the speakers, but no problem with the power!!! The things I learn make me shake my head. I am feeling tired and so detail escapes me, but it was a very memorable Good Friday. Luke Whitfield and I went together and we laughed at the realization that we were probably the only white guys for miles around. We were deep in the compound and I guess what I was thinking was that everyone should have this experience. It was surreal as the many raised their hands to receive Christ, and a handful came forward and talked with the pastors and leaders. It was surreal to watch the people react to the beatings of Jesus and to see visually the wrath he bore for our sins. And it was surreal that I was in the middle of it, witnessing many Zambians hearing the gospel, maybe even for the first time.

I am encouraged.

Tomorrow, we go back for part two of the movie, as it was too long to show at one time. I would appreciate your prayers. Also, Sunday afternoon, we have the orphans over for a dinner, a movie and some fun!

Thanks for supporting us on this busy Easter weekend!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Passion Week

We haven't blogged much this week. But, I have done a week worth of Passion Week sermons at asermonaday.com. Listen and be blessed this special Passion Week with some amazing sermons by a wide range of preachers! Have a great Easter Weekend. We love you!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things we don't see every day

Steph again....The other day I told the family that I had seen three things that I haven't seen before in Zambia. The first thing was a female on a bicycle. I saw her riding while wearing a chitenge (a long straight confining wrap). I thought to myself, "it must be difficult to ride a bike in a chitenge." It was then that I realized that I had never seen a female riding a bike before. Then, I was on my way home from a friends house and I saw a Zambian walking a little fluffy white dog on a leash. I call these types of dogs "Yipee dogs..." First you rarely see anyone actually walking a dog, and for sure not a fluffy yipee dog. Then, right after that I saw a Zambian couple pushing a child in a nice stroller. I've seen this down at the shopping mall, but never in a compound area. The streets are not very "stroller friendly." (Even for our 4X4 strollers that we have in the US.)
So now, the kids have a habit while we are in the car of saying, "I just saw something you don't see everyday." It kind of cracks us up because it's like they have become used to all of the crazy things that we see every day, and now they can pick out the things that seem even crazier and more unusual. Today, they spotted a boy with a baby on his back in a chitenge. Normally, babies are only worn by women or girls.

Alive and Kickin'


Hi friends, Steph here. It's been a while. Anyway, I just wanted to make a quick post to say "hello," and to say that our baby is "alive and kickin." Over the past few days there have been some definite baby moves in my abdomen (different from the permanent gas bubbles that seem to reside there as well.) I've had several people ask if my belly was poking out yet so I thought I would send you a picture so you could see for yourselves. This was taken this weekend at a Braai (BBQ) with Kerri Roberts (newest Action Zambia team member.) Tonight Steve and I had a date night and we went to the movies, toward the end of the movie the baby was moving and Steve felt it as well. Even though this #4 it's still very exciting!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something happened on the way to church.

Today was Palm Sunday. I was driving through Garden going to Kanyama to preach this morning when we ran into a nasty traffic jam. I was already running a bit late, so I was kind of getting frustrated. Until I could see at the very top of the hill a bunch of people in the road. There was a group of people walking in the streets waving palm branches... As I watched them walk by us, I noticed our very own John Daka (in the suit jacket) walking with the church. Cool timing to see him, but even more impressive because he worked the guard shift the night before, getting home, changing and then walking with his church... Pretty cool...

We saw another group walking and we got another picture....












Well, after that we drove without any major problems to Kanyama, the orphanage. To set the stage, I (Steve) need to say that I had to go to bathroom really bad. To make matters worse, we drove probably a good two miles on bumpy, bumpy roads. Then I get to the turn off and I can't remember if it was the first or second left. I chose the first (it was the second). But, it is o.k. I know where we are and we will get there just fine. We go through a few mud puddles and then we come to a big puddle. Stephanie says, "I would put on 4x4 and lock the wheels." She says it again. Kamryn says, "I wouldn't do it daddy!" And I had this flashback, to the time when I was trying to get out of the compound and I was going to turn down an alley and she said, "I wouldn't do it" and I did and I ended up deep inside a huge mud hole. Well, my hesitation lasted for a moment. I decided to drive on the side where it looked dry. Needless to say, big mistake. We drove, we slushed and we stalled and then we stopped. We were stuck.

Well, I didn't know what to do, but I knew that it was going to take awhile to get out and I knew that I had to go to bathroom, so I left my wife and kids stuck in a ditch and took care of my issues. When I got back the car was now surrounded by a bunch of curious little kids, checking out the blondies in the back seat!




Well, I am not sure how to fully illustrate what went on for the next hour.

We had about 8 guys trying to push, and then dig and then put rocks down all the while talking in Nyanga about how to get this poor Mzungu out of this ditch.

It was hot and I was a bit stressed. I tried to be thankful in all situations. Well, Bruce, the pastor from the church I was preaching at called and then walked over to help us. He was kind of the supervisor on site in his nice suit. Though we managed some progress getting out of the original ditch, we actually got stuck even worse. It just wasn't working with the guys and the situation appeared hopeless. Until, one Zambian said, "Does this winch on the front work?" Oh yeah, the winch! So I trodded through the mud on the back and got the winch out, and then hooked it up. The electronic winch did not work. I tried again and again. Eventually, it worked... I got it locked up and we pulled it out and tied it around a conviently located electric pole. So with the guys pushing and the winch pulling the car, guess what happened next? The electric pole came crashing down on top of the car. Well, actually, no it didn't, but I was afraid it would and I am glad it didn't. Actually, this worked. I didn't think I would ever get out, but I did... In fact I got all the way to the pole, and then I was stuck because the pole was in my way. I asked if they could move the pole, but they didn't do it. I thought that was a bit rude:) Well, the last problem was that I didn't have any kwacha to thank these guys. So, I asked Bruce to tell them in Nyanga that I would be back on Friday to give them money and to invite these guys to see The Passion of the Christ movie that we are showing for our outreach on Friday. So, it ended up cool. He was able to invite a bunch of guys to this gospel outreach, who obviously were not in church because they were busy helping a crazy mzungu out of the ditch.



So, after we were out, we took a picture of the ditch for memory sake.





The morning preaching went well. They sang our favorite Nyanga song and I preached again on Philippians 4.6-7. It was a fun group to preach to because this was my third time and their were some familiar faces.






Afterwards we took a tour of their new school they are opening on May 10! I am really proud of what they are doing! Any teacher looking for a job? I took a picture of the prices of education to give you some perspective. It cost k65,o00 for one term, which is about $20 dollars. Amazing, huh?

Anyway, it was quite the day and we got home exhausted, but thankful. All that to say I thought I would share a bit of my failures, because I have learned to take humbling opportunities as a gift!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Parenting and eternity...





We went to the orphanage again today. We played puzzles and painted toenails and fingernails. It was a good time:) One person asked why I work with an orphanage if I am supposed to be working with pastors. We go to the orphanage on Saturdays which is my day off. So, the ministry is like bonus ministry! I was thinking today as I watched the kids interact with their Zambian friends how thankful we are that we doing this. It is always so tough to get motivated to go especially on a Saturday morning. I know they appreciate us but I often wonder does it really make a difference. But, it never fails, that when we finally do, it is so worth it. Next Sunday, we are having the orphans over for an easter dinner, movie and play time!

I had a thought today when I was thinking about the ministry to these orphans. Honestly, I love these girls, but we are doing it more for our girls to have exposure and ministry opportunities than for us. It was cool that the other day both Bradyn and Kamryn said they want to run an orphanage when they get older. Those kinds of things make it all worth it.

This got me wondering about how strategic we are in preparing our kids to serve and minister when they get older. We have soccer and horseback riding and music class and this club and that club which are great. But, I just wonder how will they learn how to love the poor and serve the hurting and minister to the world if it isn't a priority of our family growing up. If all they have ever known was serving the poor, being uncomfortable and watching God work through them, I think they would be adequately prepared to live out Ephesians 2:10!

I was challenged by this because I think sometimes I try to entertain my children and give them opportunities when I should be not only giving them lots of opportunities to serve but also showing them how to do it as I serve right alongside them. I then started thinking about this in the context of America, where there are no orphanages down the street. What then? I think that is where one needs to be intentional and strategic. I guess it comes down to what we want for our kids and how we want them to live once they are out of our homes. This could affect not only the activities that our kids are in but also where we live, how we use our time and where we go to church. Anyway, just some things I am wrestling through here in Zambia as a parent to three lovely little ladies who God has entrusted to me on earth.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Humbled me...

I just wanted to bring in a guest writer today with some thoughts on humility... Smokin'!

(Author: John Piper)

If humility is not compliance with relativism and is not sophomoric skepticism, what is it? This is important, since the Bible says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5), and "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11). God has told us at least six things about humility.

1. Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Christ.

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. (Matthew 10:24)

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)

2. Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got.

If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malignthe members of his household! (Matthew 10:25)

Therefore humility does not return evil for evil. It is not life based on its perceived rights.

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps; . . . while suffering, He uttered no threats, but handed [his cause] overto Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:21-23)

3. Humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or with triumphs in debate, but as service to Christ and love to the adversary.

Love rejoices in the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

What I [Jesus] tell you in the darkness, speak in the light. . . . Do not fear. (Matthew 10:27-28)

We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

4. Humility knows it is dependent on grace for all knowing and believing.

What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

5. Humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and learns from it; but also knows that God has made provision for human conviction and that he calls us to persuade others.

We see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

A wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men. (2 Corinthians 5:11)

6. Humility is to believe in the heart and confess with the lips that our life is like a vapor, and that God decides when we die, and that God governs all our accomplishments.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Flexibility


I was asked to speak at conference for five churches today. As it turned out it was for 10 churches, but it was for the leaders, deacons, elders and pastors. And, I prepared one message, but they wanted me to give two. And they wanted something on giving. This morning as I was washing the dishes, I sensed a premonition from the Lord, a word, something that I should speak on servanthood. I had already prepared my lesson and I had nothing on servanthood and it was to a mixed group, not leaders.

Well, I was prepared only in that when I found out they wanted me to speak to messages, I at least knew what I was to talk about. The first message was on anxiety. They second was on servanthood... The first was leading in Christ and the second was leading like Christ. The morning went well despite the audibles called for me. After I gave the second talk on servanthood, and I had some questions and answers, one man said, "Thank you for your talk. I believe this didn't come from your mind or your heart, but from God!" I was blown away, but it was encouraging to me, because this idea that God would give me the words actually came true. Now I believe in preparation and study and hard work, but it is cool in these situations to see God come through.

The funniest memory of the day when I was talking about learning to be a servant. I told them about how God has led me to speak on servanthood while I was washing the dishes. In Zambian culture, washing dishes is woman's work. Never would a traditional man wash dishes. So, I said, "Washing dishes is good humbling. I think more men should wash dishes." I have never seen so many women whooping it up and hollering. The guys, well, about half of them clapped. It was priceless. I wish you could have been there. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Do not be anxious...

I am preaching tomorrow to five churches who are gathering together for fellowship and teaching... I will be teaching on Philippians 4:6-7 which is fitting as I am trying to finish my message without feeling anxious that it isn't quite done yet and I haven't quite nailed it yet!

I came up with five answers on why anxiety is bad.

1. Jesus said not to do it. (Matt 6:25-31) So, any worrying is sin. Period. (Need I go on?)
2. When we worry, we are saying that God is not in control and by worrying we are trying to take control of a situation that is obviously outside of our control which explains why we resort to worrying.
3. You can't change anything by worrying. All it does is waste your time, life, heart and mind.
4. Peter says to cast our anxiety on the Lord for He cares for us. Why would we hold on to something if the one who can actually fix the problem truly cares about us and our life?
5. If we are anxious, we miss out on peace which guards our heart and our minds so that we can stay in the grace, holiness, joy, wisdom, righteousness and peace that is in Christ Jesus.

Anxiety should just be a little warning light in your life that lights up warning you that you need attend to something by prayer.

Don't worry, be happy. (Maybe you can't find that verse in the Bible but it sure is a great song!)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The 100,000 mark


As a missionary in Zambia, my primary responsibility is to work with pastors and churches and I have spent most of my time doing that. This month alone, I will be speaking at two conferences, preaching at a church on Palm Sunday, helping with an Easter outreach, preparing for a college Bible course on Bible Study Methods and organizing a Pastoral resource library. A full schedule and I'm loving it!!! But, in my free time, I have enjoyed some fun entrepreneurial ministry with Kelly, he starts his first job on Saturday, and now Daka (pictured), a night guard at our house. He has been wanting to start a grocery business outside his house. Well, with some severance pay, and some help from Graham organizing costs and profit margin, we got him up and going last week. I took him to the wholesale market and he bought a bunch of food and household items and opened the store last week. His first day, he brought in 50,000 kwacha, (4000 is almost equal to a dollar) and the second day, 80,000 kwacha and then 90,000 kwacha and today he broke the 100,000 mark!!! We both rejoiced like little kids... I made him a sign on the computer and some flyers to pass out. I hope to check out the store tomorrow. If I do, I'll post a picture!!! Thanks for all your encouragement!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Accents and Ants and Africa





The Roberts just moved here about 3 weeks ago. While they bring to us a wonderful southern accent, I guess we bring them something, too. Tonight Caleb, the oldest kid in the family, made a comment about how he couldn't understand Bradyn because she was from Washington.

I thought that was pretty good.



Speaking of Bradyn, she made her debut at Lusaka International Community School today. She was part of a circus, where different classes and after school activities present their talents for all the parents to see and enjoy. Brady's after school activity sang the song, "The Ants go marching one by one, hurrah!!!" Well, she was ant #8 and she was I am pretty sure the cutest one out there. You can judge for yourself.













On a different note, it was interesting observing this circus with kids and parents from all walks of life, all united by money. The school is a private school, not unlike the many in U.S. (The after school activities have been the right price for us: free!) It just struck me that having now having spent so much time in compounds, I couldn't help but think about the other countless number of kids outside those walls that have no money to go to school, don't have the opportunity to learn, be creative and celebrate talents and gifts. It is hard not to be influenced by what you see most everyday when you drive through the compounds. I am not sure I know that answer, but I at least now know to ask the question. Ignorance was bliss, I am afraid, and now I am responsible for what I know and have seen, and I feel the burden of responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless, to continue to equip and encourage pastors who are investing in students through providing community schools. That is why I love community schools that compound churches start because it is school for the most needy at the right price and most of all, the students are not only hearing the good news but also experiencing the love of Christ as well... We at Action Zambia are currently working with four community schools. Though I don't work directly with these schools, I am a cheerleader on the sidelines rooting them on!!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Our 6 months in sixes...


We spent the dinner reflecting a bit back on the last six months of our time in Africa. So we thought we would share our six-sixes (in no particular order in category or numbers in each category! They were written how they came out the mouths of our babes!) It was cool to reminiscence a bit by linking each memory to the blog... So, stroll down memory lane with us!! Just click and be whisked away into some great, good and hard memories... Thanks for all your support and encouragement! It has been a full 6 months!



The six coolest things:
1. Seeing the elephants tromping through the forest
2. The giraffe practically looking in our window
3. The sunrise and sunsets and the sunny days
4. Seeing Victoria Falls
5. Enjoying the time at Chaminuka
6. The orphan Christmas party...

The six funnest things we did:
1. Boggie and Bumpa visiting
2. Safari(s)
3. Chaminuka
4. Swimming in the Pool
5. Adventure City
6. Trampoline

The six most memorable moments (both good and bad):
1. Kamryn's concussion
2. Finding out we were pregnant
3. Getting Louie Back
4. Kamryn screaming after seeing a rat on our first morning here.
5. Our first Sunday preaching at the compound church
6. Driving past the Livingstone turn off and getting to the border of Zimbabwe

The six funniest things:
1. Finding a crab under the car
2. Mommy and Daddy getting soaked in a rain storm
3. Watching the orphans doing a get dizzy game
4. Funny dinner times together where everyone ends up laughing
5. Laughing with our workers at our party
6. The girls being goofy...

The six scariest things:
1. Seeing the ugly Luwie Spider
2. Kamryn's concussion
3. Bradyn's malaria
4. Driving on the Zambia highway to Livingstone
5. Getting stuck in ditch in a compound
6. The rodents and snake incidents

The six highlights:
1. Having the Stevenson family and group here
2. Bumpa and Boggie
3. Giving food and medical attention for our neighbors
4. Pastor studies and pastors conferences
5. Meeting some good friends on the Action team
6. Receiving packages from friends.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The tooth fairy would be proud!

We got a package today from our good friends, the Larsen Family! THANK YOU! Amidst the yummy treats of Panda Puffs and Fruit snacks and granola bar were these two letters written from Blake, 8 and Caroline, 6. As you may have seen in past blogs, we have some neighbors who basically live in total poverty. They are squatters on an abandoned plot, living in a make shift shelter. (Click here to read the blog about how God has helped us help them.)

Anyway, so in this package, we got two letters...
Here is the first one from Blake:







And here is the second one from Caroline:








With these letters, we got three $1 dollar bills.

So, today we exchanged the three dollars for 12,000 kwacha (we gave them a good exchange rate:)


We then walked down to the neighborhood corner store, and bought 12,000 kwacha worth of food. We bought three tomatoes, a bag of sugar, salt, rice and brown nuts. We bought 2 buns for each family member, a box of matches and an onion.








We then walked down to our neighbors house, and found the lady of the house sitting outside in the abandoned plot.

(You can see the door to the house in the very middle of the picture in the back.)







We gave her the food and she was very thankful. She shook each of our kids hands and put her hand to her chest, the Zambian way of expressing gratitude. After we left, we saw Miriam. So we came back a second time with Miriam. She was able to talk with her and we are hopefully going to take her to the doctor tomorrow for a check up.




Thanks Blake and Caroline for sacrificing your money to bless our neighbors a world away from you and for reminding us that it only take a little to bless a whole bunch! May you continue to grow in generosity and find ways to bless others with the money that God has blessed you with and may you always remember this verse: Ps 41:1 - Blessed is the one who considers the poor!



Sunday, March 02, 2008

Preaching fear...

I preached today. It had been quite awhile with Steph being sick and all... I have really missed it, and I really appreciated being up there again! I preached on the story of David and Goliath. My main point was Fearing God leads to a fearless life! It was great getting to see the church and many people in the church who I haven't seen in awhile. Brent Roberts, a new Action Missionary, also came with me as well as Kelly, the painter guy. They asked Brent to share a few words on the spot. He was like, "I, uh don't really have anything to say." But I whispered, "You need to go. The Spirit will give you the words." And wow, did He ever!! Brent was clear and powerful and honest. It was really good. Afterwards, Brent joking said a funny thing to me: "I am from America. We don't speak by the Spirit." Who knows what God would do if we spoke more by the Spirit! Brent took some video, so I will be trying to get a video clip up soon!

I thought I would answer the question, as I did in the sermon, on why fear is bad...

What is fear? Fear is what we feel when our greatest values are threatened. We all hold things valuable, like our family, or friendships, or our health or our money, our dignity, our lives… When these things are threatened, that is when we fear. Our fears look a lot like Goliath…Our fears look big, strong, intimidating…

It is good to take a step back and ask the question: Why is fear bad?

Fear is the opposite of faith. Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. If it is impossible to please God without faith, then it is possible to please Him with faith. But, because faith and fear are opposites, it is possible to say, "With fear, it is impossible to please God." That is a difficult statement, but I believe it is confirmed by Jesus.

Mark 5:36 Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." In this scenario, Jesus is saying that you can fear or you can believe… You have two options, and the better one is to believe.

Perhaps this is why God tells us over and over again, “DO NOT FEAR!” There are a lot of commands from God to man, but Do Not Fear is the most often quoted commandment in the entire Bible. The phrase “fear not” is found at least 365 times in various forms throughout the Bible. That is one for each day of the year. He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t think we would have situations where we would fear something and would have trouble believing Him.

We say God is the most powerful, but when we fear, we are saying that something has more power than our God. We believe evil will win. That is why fear is so bad. When we fear we are basically saying to God, “I know you say don’t fear, but I don’t think you are more powerful than my fear.”

Why is it so wrong? Because there is no power greater than God’s power. Other people who do not know God have reason to fear witchcraft or death or tragedy, but not us… Our God is always in control.

Fear doesn’t believe God in his promises or in his power. The Israelites felt that God’s promises were not believable and that Goliath was bigger than their God and so they were afraid and would not fight. They were paralyzed and they did not act.

But David feared God more than he feared anything else and we will see how fearing God leads to fearless living…

It is important for us to realize It is one or the other. Either we will fear God and be free of fear of anything else. Or we will fear something else and be free from the sanctuary that comes when we fear God only. We can’t fear something and still fear God. We can’t fear God and yet fear other things.



I have been doing a blog devotion over the past 100 days on all these kind of fear (not) verses...
If you want to do some more studying on this, click this!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Puppets and preaching...

Tonight the girls did a little puppet show using their fingers and playmobil wigs and hats as their props. It was as normal as any play, about a king and a queen and peasent, but all the conversation within it was about nshima, kwacha, mealie-meal and africa stuff. It was so cute.

Tomorrow I am preaching at a church in Chaisa. I will be telling the story of David and Goliath and how fearing God leads to a fearless life.

We enjoyed a good day at the craft fair, buying presents, eating food, drinking drinks and playing with friends...