Monday, November 28, 2011

Our 999th post - Graduation and Baptism and Safaring and Goodbyes

We had a very busy weekend... Thought I would shove it all into one worthy of your time post.  We had a great final lunch with our two faithful workers and friends for the past four years. We shared stories of the girls and laughed a lot and even cried a little. We are/were so blessed to have a two great workers who really cared about us, were honest and faithful to the end... Thank you Lord for Mwape and Mirriam!
We enjoyed a family dinner after graduation.

Graduation was a looong day but a great day.  The graduation was dry inside but what a torrential downpour we had leading up to it. We all got soaked.

The first part of the graduation was combined with Twin Palms Baptist Seminary.  It was a service of much pomp and formality and it added a real, official feeling to the graduation of our 15 guys.

A picture with my buddy Patson.
After the first ceremony, we had our own reception which included lunch, and a 1.5 hour program which included handing out diplomas, sharing about each student, watching a video, and sharing about the program. We gave away four awards, including faithful pastor award to Manuel Simuyemba and faithful disicipler to Anderson Jere.   In this picture below, Tracy is sharing some really kind words about me and Stephanie.

We gave the wives a degree; a PHT (putting honey through) to thank them for their faithful support.

It was special to give half of the pastors a diploma and to share a bit about them. 
I got one last group picture with the pastors in their snazzy graduation robes.  I actually did this whole process, of getting the design, finding a tailor, buying the robe material, getting the money and guess what, nothing went wrong. They were done on time, for the agreed price, exactly how we agreed.  This was a serious and first ever TINA (this is NOT africa) for me.
The next day was another busy day for the Allen Family.  Stephanie led worship, I preached, we were sent out with prayer by the elders and friends at the church and Kamryn and Bradyn were baptized by me and the pastor Chris Henderson in the pouring rain. Whew... A great morning.

Monday was Chaminuka Safari Lodge with the pastors and their wives as a way of celebrating the last three years. We had a great time, mostly because they had such a great time. Another TINA, the bus that picked them up was on time, didn't break down and well, amazing.  It really was amazing seeing elephants, giraffe, pythons, buffalo and much more.  For many of them it was the first time ever seeing wild animals, riding in a boat, or even eating at a restaurant type setting.  So many smiles and lots of laughter was all the evidence we needed that they were having a great, great time.  And, to top it off, one of the pastors said, "This was the best day of my life."  What a blessing to be a part of something like that.
  It was emotional saying goodbye the pastors... Lots of hugs and almost tears which  is saying a lot for guys:)  It seemed surreal to say goodbye. I have seen them at least three days a week for the past three years.  Thank you Lord for this life changing experience... 
The last post for the blog will be on December 3, the day we leave Zambia. It will be a video recap of the past four years. If you have 7 minutes and 33 seconds, come back this Saturday... Thanks again for your many prayers and support this work in Zambia... 

Zikomo Kwambili! 

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