Monday, August 30, 2010


We are back from a great weekend in Victoria Falls. There is so much to
write about and it will take some time to write down in detail the great
time we had. Thanks for all those who donated towards the construction of
Ciyanjano. We will know on Thursday what the total amount that was donated.
We all finished the race (I win the prize for being the most sore:) and got
metals to prove it! We are putting together a little video to not only show
us running the race but also hoping to promote it for some of ya'll to come
over and run next year with us. This needs to become a tradition!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A conversation worth having

Well, we head south tomorrow to run a ½ marathon on Sunday.  Why would anyone run a ½ marathon, you ask? Oh, well, we are running a ½ marathon to raise money for Ciyanjano Conference Center.  What is Ciyanjano conference center? Oh, good question.  Yeah, it is our conference center we are developing for camps for children and churches here in Zambia.  So, how are you raising money?  Wow, another good question.  We are asking friends and family to support us by donating tax-deductible money for an eternal-ductible cause.  How do you give? Well, it is easy.  You just follow the directions below… How much do you want us to give?  Well, (blush) whatever you feel you can give. Is $5 dollars to little? No way.  Give $3 if you want. Give $21. Give $17. Give $1093.  Whatever you have to give, we would really appreciate. Can you give like right now? Absolutely. Just aim. Click. Type. And hit send! 



If you want to do it via credit card,  here is the link!


If you want to send in a check, here is the address:

USA Office

c/o Ciyanjano Marathon Fund Raiser
Mailing Address
PO Box 398
Mountlake Terrace, WA


Thanks for asking!

Steve and Stephanie


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Ur to Egypt and through the Red Sea

We witnessed the garden of Eden debacle, saw Cain kill Abel, learned about
the Fall and the Flood and the Tower of Babel. We made a map of the room to
get a feel for how far Abram walked and where Eden was supposedly located.
We now have a feeling for where the major empires, Assyria, Babylon and
Persia reigned. We saw Joseph taken to Egypt and then watched in horror as
Israel was in slavery for 400 years. We saw a cocky Moses humbled for forty
years in the Midian Seminary for leaders. And then we learned how the 10
plagues were a direct attack on the gods and goddesses of Egypt and then
crossed the red sea. We ended at the 10 commandments. It has been a busy

We are also doing a version of the walk thru the bible with hand motions and
the pastors are loving it. But what has really encouraged them is seeing
the bible as a whole, with the focus being Jesus Christ. Through every
story and in every character, Jesus Christ is leaping off the page. I'll
leave you with a great summary of how Jesus is the "better" by Tim Keller...

"Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them
the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." Luke 24:27

"Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and
whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood
now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave
all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither
he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father
on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham,
"Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son
whom you love from me," now we can look at God taking his son up the
mountain and sacrificing him and say, "Now we know that you love us because
you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us."

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice
we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us
up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king,
forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people
and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God's
justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then
intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people's
victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn't just risk losing an earthly
palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn't just risk his
life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that
we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect,
helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He's the true
temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true
sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible's really not about you - it's about Him."

(quoted by Tim Keller at a Resurgence 06 seminar entitled "Preaching the

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We have been missing Mexican food really bad here in Zambia. There are no
Mexican restaurants anywhere. Nada. That was until two weeks ago. A friend
of a friend opened a new restaurant called the Revolucion. They did a
beautiful job making it with adobe and just creating a real oasis here in
Lusaka. It is just 5 minutes from our house and best of all, they built it
with the purpose of helping Zambians. It is part of an organization called,
"Teach me to Fish" or something like that, helping Zambians learn skills to
give them jobs in the future. Their plan is to have it open for Breakfast,
Lunch and Dinner and offer free wireless which is UNHEARD of here in
Zambia... We had a fun family affair with our friends, the Guffey's. Nice
to get out every so often!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In with the Old

I realized I haven't blogged much this week.  I have been among other things, immersing myself in the Old Testament,  in preparation for this upcoming quarter of classes in which I am teaching the pastors.  Where do you start?


Seriously, up this point, a lot of my teaching had a starting point. I taught Ephesians a year and a half ago, and my teaching was the book itself.  Then I taught two quarters of Veritas. I taught on the poetry parts of scripture (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) for one quarter and the Gospels for another quarter.  Each had a manual that I could use as a starting ground.  Then I taught preaching two quarters ago and had a couple of books to work from and the same for this last quarter as I was teaching about the church.


 But, the OLD TESTAMENT?  So, I have been gathering materials, but the enormity of it has been a bit overwhelming.


There were a few things guiding me in direction I wanted to go:

The account from Luke 24 where Jesus says to the two men, 5 "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."


And then I read in Colossians 2:16-17 - 16Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.


There are so many more important verses in the New Testament that speak about how the Old Testament reveals and explains and predicts what will happen in the New Testament.  I wanted to teach the OT with a sense of explaining the reality in all the shadows. There is so much of Christ in the OT from the tabernacle to the Priests, from the characters to the sacrifices.  I want them to understand the thread of Christ from which He is the Word of God. 


I also wanted to do a type of walk through the Bible, giving the pastors something they could teach their children and people in their churches as a way to remember the stories in the OT. I did this as a student with Walk Thru the Bible and with a class at Multnomah Bible College and now I wanted to do it as a teacher.


And I also wanted to hit on key themes throughout the Old Testament that helped build a bridge into understanding the whole theme. There are many key themes, like Covenants, Love, Kingdom and many more.   A big picture, airplane perspective kind of thing.


And, I wanted to cover a bit of each book.


And I wanted to try and think through it with a Zambian cultural perspective.


So, you can see that it is difficult to accomplish all of this in only 39 classes/13 weeks to get all that I want to say said succinctly satisfactorily.   


But, I am making progress, pangono-pangono (bit by bit, in Nyanga), and having a good time doing it.   As any teacher says, we learn far more than the students ever will. 


I just about have the class schedule written up and the assignment ready and the requirements set.   And get this, I am giving them the Final Exam on the first day.  I really want to see where they are at, which will help me know how to teach the rest of the quarter.  I just can't wait to see their faces when I tell them.  I know  it is a bit cruel, and no, they won't be graded for it. It is just more an opportunity to assess and then help them understand what I want them to know at the end of the quarter. 


So, please pray for us and for Tracy, my partner and supervisor as he returns from furlough. 



Steve Allen




Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another visitor

The morning before the short term team arrived, Brad Widman, brother of our
intern last year, Michelle, spent a morning with me via a bus to Livingstone
to spend a month. Brad was in my youth group before I moved to Zambia so it
was great catching up. We visited a pastor friend in the compound that
morning and thought I would capture this picture of him. And yes, he is
wearing my shirt. See the little blond Mzungu in the picture, too? It is a
couple week old (have mercy, it has been a busy two weeks), but still
thought it was a great picture of life where we live.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A full day!

We said goodbye to the Northlake team today. Yesterday, our last full day
together was a FULL day. In the morning we saw two community school projects
that two of my pastors are working on in the compounds where they live. Then
we went to a Lusaka hospital and prayed for children and mothers in the
pediatric wing. After that we visited two orphanages. The evening ended
with a fun campfire full of worship and drumming and smores with the
Ciyanjano workers and their families. We are very thankful for the
investment Northlake gave to Zambia and especially to the AWANA Zambia
group. All in all, they helped start an AWANA program at a church,
participated at an regional AWANA training, met and saw five of my pastors
in action, and were able to learn about our some of the ministries that we
do here in Zambia. Zikomo Northlake!

Truck Woes

We see some pretty interesting trucks (and truck accidents) here in Zambia.
It's why I wanted a phone with a camera so I'll always be prepared:)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacation at Home!

Well, after a busy month of ministry and before another busy month of
ministry, our family decided to take a few days of vacation. I worked on
trying to find some places to go and visit but after working through it all,
factoring in cost, driving time and lots of unknown details, we just decided
to stay home. One of the biggest things we miss here in Zambia are parks
and places to ride bikes. So, we just, you know, make do. So, I thought I
would include some pictures of our early morning bike rides at MICA, a
hardware store at ARCADES mall. We got kicked out and ended up going to
Showgrounds and watching horses. We had a great, restful 3 days eating out
and playing games and having fun together...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moving Day!


We moved our offices last week.  It was a pretty crazy move and thankfully God provided at the last moment.  I’ll try to get some pictures of our new place later, but until then, I thought I would include a blog from our teammate Brent Roberts to give you not only the why but also the challenges behind it!


That being said, let me update you on the most recent happening with ACTION Zambia the office move. I know what you're thinking: sounds boring. Well, I can't promise you it won't be, but I'll try to make it somewhat worth reading.


About a month ago, we found out that our Landlord for our current office space was raising the rent by 35%, an amount we could not afford. I won't get into the details, but let's just say we weren't happy. Real estate here is in very high demand. So, for the past few months, our director has been beating down doors trying to find suitable space for us to move to. Well, at the 11th hour, the Lord provided. Literally, the day we were moving out of the office space we were in, God provided another space and we were able to move our stuff straight in.


Anyways, the day we moved, we had everything out except for the office safe. It turned out that when we originally moved in to the previous space, we brought the safe through a door that was no longer available for use. And to our surprise, the safe was too big to fit through the front door. We tried everything we could to get it out, short of destroying the doorway, but we just couldn't make it work.


So, we were left with two options: leave the safe in the previous office space or alter the safe so we could get it through the door. We chose option two. One of our pastors is a metal fabricator. So, we contracted him and his business partner to cut the safe in half, move it to the new office space, and then weld it back together after moving it in. All that to say, it worked like a charm. But I can't promise that if we have to move again that it will go with us!



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Mocha" Bwanji

Greetings family and friends,

Learning a language is tough business, especially when one is hearing impaired like myself.  So, whenever a Cinyanja word has a similar sound as a word I already know, I capitalize on it… The words for “Good morning” in Cinyanja are” Mauka Bwanji” which is pronounced, almost literally, “Mocha” Bwanji.  And,  as I look out my window at yet another beautiful day, with a hot cup of my decaf coffee warming up my cold body, I hereby shout out to ya’ll in Starbucks America - “Mocha Bwanji!”  And it is possible that many of you will be reading this letter during the morning with a steaming cup of joe in your hands. Maybe you are at Starbucks, or maybe you are sitting at home in front of your computer. Maybe it isn’t a steaming cup of coffee but a mocha over ice.  Whatever your choice, coffee and morning just kind of go, hand in hand. 


Alright, are you sitting down?  I have a question, nay, more a challenge, a type of fast, that I would like to ask you to partner with us in.  Stephanie and I are running a half marathon on August 29th in Zimbabwe to raise money for Ciyanjano, (click for website link) our conference center which ACTION Zambia is building to serve the churches, pastors and orphans that we work with and the greater church in Zambia. We are sooooo close, but we need your help to raise the money needed to complete this project.  There are a bunch of us missionaries (click for website link) heading down for this event to hopefully raise a huge chunk of change so we can build bunk beds, bring in the water line, build a playground and much, much more… 


So, I am on my figurative knees asking you to join with us… 


Here is the challenge! 


Would you give up your coffee for 1 week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes…


Here is how I see it playing out:

7 days x $3.00ish = $21ish…


Would you donate $21 dollars to help us out? 

If 5 people gave $21, we would be in the hundreds.

If 10 people gave, boom, $200’s.

And on and on from there we can go…


So, 7 days with no Mocha so that many Zambians can say “Mauka Bwanji” at their, most likely, first camp they have ever attended. 


Who is with us?


Here is the link to donate online!


Please email me if you are in!

(Now, if you aren’t a coffee person, it goes without saying that this coffee fast can easily be a burger, Blizzard (ah, miss this blizzards), Krispy Kreme, or egg McMuffin fast as well! J


Thanks so much!

Steve and Stephanie



Steve Allen




I'm captionless

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ACTION Zambia Board Braai

Just wanted to show you a few pictures of AZ Team and our AZ board gathering
for a braai last Saturday. We have a Zambian national board who help guide
us in and through all our major ministry decisions. It was great to get
everyone out to Ciyanjano to enjoy a wonderful barbeque but also to help
them get a vision for this property in partnering with churches and
ministries in Zambia.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ciyanjano Bunk Beds

The Northlake team that is here brought a gift from the Northlake kids.  A few weeks ago, the children who attended Northlake Vacation Bible Camp had a fundraiser during their camp where they brought in all their coins to donate towards bunk beds for the chalets at Ciyanjano. These amazing kids raised a total of $1500 dollars, which will help us build approximately 30 bunk beds toward the eventual goal of 75.  I thought it was only appropiate that I show the Northlake team in and in front of the chalets where we will be using the pennies and dimes and nickels that were raised by kids for the kids of Zambia!!! Thanks so much Steve Mason and your awesomely generous kids!!!   

Zambia on Fire

It is that time of year when all the farmers burn their field to prepare for
the summer planting. It is crazy to be just driving along and see a massive
field up in flames. So far no major forest fires but it is very surprising
that it doesn't happen. This fire was precariously close to the power line
pole. One of the first rules for Farming God's Way is to not burn the
fields because you are destroying the valuable nutrients that are in the
soil. But, because it is so embedded in culture and history, it takes faith
to believe and live differently than your fathers and forefathers. Hmm, I
sense a sermon illustration coming on...

Northlake in Action

Our team was helping AWANA Zambia put on a conference for about 70 Zambians
from all over the country to help equip the leaders to implement an AWANA
program in their churches. Randy shared the devotion in the morning,
Sherrill was going to speak on the importance of children ministry and Rob
was going to speak on leadership development later in the evening. Joseph
Mbange is not only the leader of the AWANA Zambia southern region, but he is
also on the board of AZ. It is great to be partnering and helping each other
help each other.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Northlake update

Just wanted to share some more pictures of our Northlake team doing their
ministry thing...

This past few days was great in so many ways:

One, to see this church "Redeemed Church of God" that is bordering our
property (and which three of our workers serve in leadership positions at
the church) have their first Awana children's program. (Pictures don't do
justice of the enthusiasm and fun that was had!)

Second, to see our Northalkers helping out and getting involved was great.
In addition, Sherrill did a great job on the counseling time and Diana was
in her element leading a few games.

Third, to see the many adults and children in the village hearing the noise
and fun-screaming going on, and then coming over to watch what was going on.
Awana is so strategic in many ways, especially in attracting non-church
people in rural areas such as this one.

Fourth, to get a preview of how important a place like Ciyanjano Conference
center is in providing a retreat center for children like these. From the
Nsaka meeting area to the chalets to the football pitch, I am even more
convinced of the blessing this place will be to youth (and adults) for years
to come.

Fifth, what a joy it was to see the bond that happened between AWANA Zambia
and the Northlake Short Term Team. Really cool and I am even more
encouraged and excited about the job that AWANA Zambia is doing in Zambia.
Great to partner with ministries like this one to reach children for Christ.

So, anyway, praise God for all the good that God is doing...

Rumor Mill

One of the Northlake Team members said there was a rumor floating around that we were adopting another child. And a family member emailed me about a similar thing.  It might be because of a previous post where I wrote about my boy, Steve, a little Zambian boy that I was holding. If you wanted to know about the amazing cool story of this little Steven Zulu boy that shows up periodically in my blog, read this earlier post.  So, just to clarify, we are holding steady at five girls and we have no immediate plans to add any boys or more girls to our family anytime soonJ  (The picture is little Steve with my daughter Bradyn during a recent visit!)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Great day yesterday meeting and planning. Today is the first day of training 5 new church leaders in the church bordering our Ciyanjano property. The pastor of this church came by yesterday and shared with us the challenges of his church and how this Awana training is a prayer answered. The training is going great so far. Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Northlake team is here the next two weeks. We are meeting with the Awana Zambia group for the next three days. Nice to have a taste of home, literally. (They brought lots of goodies for us;) More to come. Please keep them in your prayers. Thanks.