Sunday, June 29, 2008

Divine Appointments

This is a story that my husband, Kevin, wrote last week. I don't always include these stories or our prayer requests for our team on this blog. If you are not on our email list and would like to be, just send us your email address to and we will start sending you those things.
For those waiting to hear more about the vol. team I have no way of communicating with them while they are out. They will be back to our house Tues. around lunch. I'll update as soon as possible.

We all know that God is sovereign and that He controls our lives and the circumstances of life. However, we often go through our day to day lives as if we are making it up as we go along. Sometimes, more than anything, we need a reminder that God is in control and that His kingdom is bigger (and more real) than what we can see, touch, taste, and feel with our limited senses. This is exactly what the Lord did for me a few days ago. I was up a bit early on this particular day and already dressed and moving around the house, when I heard a knock at our gate. It is odd that I even heard anything, because the dogs weren't barking too much, and most folks who know us now come to our back gate and not the front driveway gate. When I got out to the gate (the time was about 7:00 or 7:30 AM) I saw a man that I had never met. He was dressed nicely and spoke good English and I did not recognize him. This usually adds up to someone trying to work a scam. I remember a check in my heart as the Lord reminded me to not be so critical and jump to conclusions. You know when you have lived here as long as we have, and when everyone is looking to you as the answer to their emotional, spiritual (and most often) financial problems you begin to get quite skeptical. However, after that gentle admonition from the Lord I just listened to the man's story. His name was Paul Mukabe Mashala and he was traveling from Mozambique to Solwezi in Northwestern province. Apparently he had grown up as an orphan in Mozambique but was from Solwezi originally. He had been back to Mozambique to visit and was on his way home when he fell ill on the bus in the Chongwe area. He suffers from TB and from HIV/AIDS and when he collapsed on the bus they took him to the clinic here in Chongwe. As people were helping him, they were also rifling through his possessions (this is not uncommon) and took his cell phone and money. He spent a few days recovering in the clinic and then was released, but had no way to get home. He went to the police and tried to find out if there were any Baptists around, because apparently he is a Baptist "church member" in Solwezi. They know me and sent him to my house and that is how he found me. As I listened to his story, I became convinced that this was probably a true story and decided to help him out. As I came out of the house with the money back to the gate (he wouldn't come in for fear of our dogs) I felt the Lord gently nudging me to witness to him. "What a shame," the Holy Spirit seemed to say, "if he was brought here and you helped him financially but he went away lost." As I talked with him, I asked him what made him to leave the Catholic church in 2006 and become a Baptist. He shared that he had realized that he was just a Sunday Christian and felt like he needed to really serve God. He met a Canadian missionary once on a bus who talked with him about his faith and encouraged him to find a good Baptist church. He had taken the man's advice and was now worshipping in this Baptist church in Solwezi. Yet, I asked him if he had ever repented of his sins and been born again. He said that he knew he should do that and he wanted to do that, but he never had. When I asked him why, he answered "we don't have a pastor at our church and the people said I should wait to receive Christ and be baptized when we have a pastor who can help me." To be honest, this is one of the most tragic things I have ever heard, and it lets you know just how much work and training we have to do here in Zambia, even among our own churches. I explained to him what salvation really was and told him if he wanted to he could pray and receive Jesus right there on that spot in front of my gate. I asked him if he would like to do that, and his answer really touched my heart. He began telling me the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch (I guess he had heard it in church) and how the Eunuch had said "here is water what would keep me from being baptized?" He said, that guy recognized his chance when it came and he was not willing to pass it up... "this is my chance," he said, "I would not want to pass it up, yes I would be grateful to receive Christ right now." And that is what he did... I shared the gospel with him in detail, made sure he understood, and then he prayed a prayer of repentance and faith right there in front of my gate with people walking by and staring. After he prayed, I prayed for him and went on his way. After reaching Solwezi, he borrowed a neighbor's phone and let me know when he had reached home safely, and has since called again to thank me for helping him and showing him how to know Jesus. What was so amazing to me is how he recognized the "divine appointment" in that Ethiopian Eunuch story all on his own, and was not willing to pass up his own "divine appointment." Maybe there are more of these divine appointments out there passing us by every day and we are just too busy or too blind to see it, and realize that God is really in control.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Volunteer Team

Today, Kevin left Chongwe with 4 volunteers from the state of Arkansas. They will be traveling by car for about 2 1/2 hours and then by boat for about 20-30 min. They are going to try to start two churches along the Lunsemfwa River where we did the feeding project a few months ago. After they arrive they will put the boat together. Then Kevin will have to make several trips by boat to get these four guys, two translators, their back packs, and a little bit of food to the first location that they will be staying at for 4 days. This will probably be the toughest trip that Kevin has ever taken any of our volunteers on. "Why is that?" you may ask. Remember, we went there and gave out 2 bags of mealie meal to 100 families a few months ago because of flooding that had ruined their crops. These bags are all finished now. The people replanted along the river but the crops will not be in until July so they are in hunger once again. The team has brought MRE's to eat for lunch while they are out doing hut to hut evangelism but at night they will be eating whatever these people can provide, which may not be much of anything. Kevin did take a few things but because of space could not take that much. They are also going to be sleeping on the ground. Some of them brought those one man mosquito netting tents that they will set up under an open air rondoval. They will be drinking water taken directly from the river and then filtered through this little hand held filtering system that someone gave us. On Sunday afternoon they will pack up and get back on the boat and go back to where the truck is parked and have a crusade at that location for two nights. They will be doing hut to hut evangelism during the day and showing the Jesus film at night in both locations.
Prayer Requests:
1-Each of these men left their families in the states. Please pray for their families back in the states to not worry and to trust that God is going to take care of their husband/father.
2-Pray for physical strength and endurance for this team. They will be walking a lot, eating little, and probably will not be sleeping comfortably.
3-Pray for good health for the team as they eat little and drink from the river.
4-Pray that the team will clearly communicate the gospel to many people and that they will hear it with open ears and hearts for the first time. Pray many will come to see the Jesus Film and that many will receive Christ.
5-Pray that two churches will be started as a result of these men taking time out of their lives to come and volunteer in Zambia.
6-Pray for their safety. There are crocodiles and hippos in this water. They are also a long way from any medical care. Pray for God's protection among all these on this team.

These are the 4 men that came all the way from the States to Zambia to tell people about Jesus. Their names from left to right are: David, Daniel, Terry, and Jimmy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

End of day update

Thank you for praying for our power situation today. It ended up being off for almost 6 hours but came on in time for me to do the preparation for dinner and get about half way finished with cooking dinner before it went off again. I just trusted and prayed that since we had been off for so long today that it wouldn't be off for too long tonight. So we just waited 1 1/2 hours until it came back on and then finished cooking dinner. Well, we had to eat at 7:30pm but that was ok, the vol. teams body clocks are all off anyway. Thanks again.

Don't stop praying

A couple of blogs back I wrote about how God had been answering our prayers concerning our power and water situation. That doesn't mean you can stop praying about those things though. Monday our power was off for 13 1/2 hours, boy that sure was a long day. Today, we have a volunteer team coming and the power went off about one hour ago. Please pray that it will not be an all day outage like the other day. I have called our power company and they said that they were doing maintenance work which usually means all day, but hey, prayer can make them move faster, right?

Friday, June 20, 2008

"My testimony is...."

For three hours yesterday I had the privilege of listening to 7 women share their testimonies. We began our meeting with singing and prayer. Then they said their memory verse that they learned for that week. We reviewed last weeks lesson about Paul and talked about testimonies. Then I had them break up into twos and practice telling their testimony with one another. After about 20 min. we came back together as a group and each one proceeded to tell me her testimony. Each time the women started by saying, "my testimony is....." It was very interesting to me that all the women had been in at least 2 other denominations before becoming baptist and one woman had been in 4 different ones. She had gone from Jehovah Witness, New Apostolic, African(in Malawi), Pentecostal, and then Baptist. I was also amazed that several of them told about how before they became Christians that they made beer and sold it. As one woman, Amai Chanda, shared her testimony she began sharing that she was not walking with God, basically she was saying she was back sliding. After the meeting Amai Betty and myself began talking with her. She said she was a lazy woman and that her husband always brought home beer and she drank it. She said that on Sundays she will sometimes plait hair instead of going to church. We didn't believe that she was truely born again so we began to share the gospel with her. She said she felt sure she was a Christian but was just back sliding. So, we switched gears and talked about that for a while. We committed to pray for her and then did so right then. Please pray for Amai Chanda to get her life right with God, whatever that means, either being saved or either letting God be in control of her life.
I was very encouraged after leaving the meeting. There is just something about hearing how God has worked in so many lives to draw them to Himself. Even though it was after 6:00pm when I got home it was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon.
We have a volunteer team coming next week so I will not be able to go to these two churches for the next couple of weeks. Oh, I didn't go to Silver Rest yesterday because they had a women's meeting in Lusaka that they were going to. So, pray for the women of Chainda II Baptist church these next two weeks as they do their home work assignment of going out and sharing their testimonies with at least 5 other people. Pray that as they share, it will lead them into being able to share the gospel.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Answered Prayer

Last week, I wrote about some of the struggles that I have living overseas. Two of which were our power and water situation. Well, I guess some of you reading those must have prayed about those situations because both have improved, even if it is for a short time, I am thankful. Our power has only gone off a few times and then just for a couple of hours. Then the water people went and looked at one of the pipes leading to our house. They noticed that when people had burned the grass that it had burned that area and our pipe had some small holes in it so they repaired it Zambian style. They just wrapped some grocery bags around the pipe with some rubber strips. Now, our water sprinkler can swirl around about 3 feet. We are so excited because we can now water our grass even if it takes a few days to do the back yard. I don't know how long their repair job will last but for now we are happy. Thank you to all who prayed!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Tribute

"Honor your father and mother.” This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing.” And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. Ephesians Chapter 6 verses 2 - 4

Fathers are the biggest source of strength for a child. The innocent eyes of a child perceive father as the all-powerful, most knowledge, truly affectionate and the most important person in the family. For daughters, fathers are the first men they adore and fall in love with. While for sons their fathers are the strongest person they know and someone they aspire to emulate. Even for the grownups fathers are someone whom they look up to for the most experienced and honest advice that is always in the best of our interest. For this great figure in our life that we know as father - it becomes our utmost duty to pay our humblest tribute on the occasion of Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day!

Kevin, thanks for being the great father that you are to our children. We all love you very much!

This is my Dad, Bill Mann. Daddy, thanks for being a great dad to me growing up and even now. I love and miss you a bunch!

This is Kevin's Dad, Roy Rodgers. Roy, thanks for being such a good father to Kevin and building into him qualities that have made him into a good father.

Here are some famous quotes about Fathers. Enjoy!

Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!
Fathers Day Quote by: Philip Whitmore Snr

"The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother."
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Fathers are angels sent from heaven.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Fathers, be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.
Fathers Day Quote by: John Mayor

"Father I will always be
that same boy who stood by the sea
and watched you tower over me
now I'm older I wanna be the same as you"
Fathers Day Quote by: Yellowcard

A father is someone that
holds your hand at the fair
makes sure you do what your mother says
holds back your hair when you are sick
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy
lets you eat ice cream for breakfast
but only when mother is away
he walks you down the aisle
and tells you everythings gonna be ok
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jim Valvano

I've had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.
Fathers Day Quote by: Bartrand Hubbard

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.
Fathers Day Quote by: Bill Cosby

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.
Fathers Day Quote by: Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Clarence Budington Kelland

A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The worst misfortune that can happen to an ordinary man is to have an extraordinary father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Austin O'Malley

He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he who has a great deal left him does to his father's care.
Fathers Day Quote by: William Penn

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
Fathers Day Quote by: Charles Wadworth

Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
Fathers Day Quote by: Confucius

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Fathers Day Quote by: Sigmund Freud

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jewish Proverb

You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.
Fathers Day Quote by: Stanley T. Banks in the movie 'Father of the Bride'

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Chains are Gone!

On my weekly visit with Silver Rest Baptist Church I taught on Baptism by telling the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch and Phillip. There was one woman there who had been saved but had not been baptized. Catherine is supposed to be in Baptismal classes at church but she has to work on Sat. and Sundays so she misses out on them. Please pray for Catherine to be able to somehow go through these classes and be able to go to church on Sundays even if that means a new and better job.
After finishing at Silver Rest I continued on to Chainda II Baptist Church. I taught the story from Acts 26 about Paul. We talked about what Paul's life was like before he met Jesus, when and how he met Jesus, and finally, what his life was like after he met Jesus. We used these 3 steps to learn how to share our testimony. I shared my testimony with the ladies and really focused on how we are to repent of our sins and not just say we are sorry. Repentance involves turning away from our sins, not trying to continue on in life dragging our sins along with us. They kind of thought it was funny as I was demonstrating carrying a lot of sin around with me but a lot of times that is what Christians do including many Zambians. These women struggle with their traditional beliefs and trying to mix it with Christianity. It just can't be done. These women like a lot of us have to break those chains that bind us. I got a little into sharing my testimony with these women and took a little too long so next week we will continue by allowing them to practice sharing their testimonies in small groups and then in front of everyone. Then we will go out and practice in their community.
As I thought about Paul's testimony, it is amazing to me to see the lengths that God took to draw Paul to Himself. Paul was a pretty wicked man but God changed all of that. He repented and he was then a changed man. He even became one of the greatest missionaries of all times.
I wasn't too great either before I decided to walk with Jesus and I am so thankful that God sought me out too. If you think about it, it is only by God's Amazing Grace that any of us can have a relationship with Him.
Here are some words to another Chris Tomlin song that I listened to on the way home. Hope they touch your life like they have mine.

First they sing the first two verses of Amazing Grace then the chorus which goes like:
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

3rd verse: The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

last verse: The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Please pray that the women, men, youth, and children of Zambia would allow their chains of sin to be broken in their lives and that they would trust in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Pray that these women I'm teaching would catch a vision of how God wants to use them in their villages by sharing their testimonies and the gospel.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How can I keep from singing

As I was coming home yesterday I was listening to a Chris Tomlin CD. As I listened to the words of the song I was reminded of all that I have written this week about struggles. As Christians when we go through tough times we should still praise God as hard as that may be at times. I wanted to write the words to this song down as an ending to "Struggles".

There is an endless song, echoes in my soul, I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come, I am holding on, To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes, In the darkest night, For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You, Knowing You'll see me through, And sing the songs You give.

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing cause you pick me up
Sing cause You're there
I can sing cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Struggles....Part V

I think this will be my last entry for a while about struggles that this missionary goes through. I hope that this has helped you see that we are normal just like you. I also hope it will help you know how to better pray for us and other missionaries around the world. I know earlier I said these weren't in any particular order but this one has got to be the biggest struggle of all. Enjoy!

Struggle 7: When we are in the states going around and speaking in churches people often comment about how much we sacrifice as missionaries. To be honest, many missionaries do have to make many sacrifices but I feel like there is only one sacrifice that we have made and that is being away from our families. Anytime there is a special event or a get together we are missing out on it. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, dance recitals, gymnastics competitions, etc. just to mention a few. We are called to be here in Zambia but it sure is hard to miss out on times with family. I believe our families sacrifice a lot too by us being here. They have to miss out on seeing their children and grandchildren. They missed out on hearing their grandchildren read their first books, watching them learn to ride a bike, etc. This term we will be on the field for 4 1/2 years before we go home. Can you imagine how much our children will have changed in that amount of time? Zach will be 18, Justin 15, and Hannah will be 9. That makes me sad just writing it down.
It is tough too when someone in your family is sick and you can't be there to help. Like this term when my mom was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. Everyday I had to pray and give her to God because I was just worrying too much. I couldn't see her or touch her to know that things were ok. Yeah, internet helps to stay in touch and I am thankful for that but at times like that you just want to be near them. During that time God really taught me about trusting in Him and He showed me that He loved my mom even more than I did. I knew that whatever happened it was part of God's plan.
This past Aug. Zach started going to a boarding school in Kenya. This has been a struggle for us too even though we know we are doing what we should in this situation. I better not talk about this one too much or I won't be able to keep writing. So, this last struggle that I talk about is just being away from family whether it be on this continent or across the sea. I'm sure every missionary would say this is a struggle that they face. So pray for missionaries that you know, especially during the holidays and special events that you know of that is going on in their families that they may be missing out on. Love your families and enjoy the moments you get to spend with one another. Don't take each other for granted.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Struggles......Part IV

Struggle 5: We lived in Chipata for one year studying the language Chichewa. Chipata is about 6 hours east of where we are now. Our boss thought it would be better for us to learn there than to try to learn where we were going to be living because he felt like the people would be wanting us to do so much and we wouldn't have time to learn the language. We had a good year in Chipata and came away having gotten a good foundation in the language and culture of Zambia. However, when we got to Chongwe Kevin went one way to the east and started teaching TEE, Chronological Bible Storying, etc. in the language and getting practice everyday. He began to grow and learn more so that he is now very efficient in the language. I started going west to take the kids to school in Lusaka every day and would spend most of my day there. So I didn't use the language as much as he did. I did teach on Thursdays to the women and go to church on Sundays and was able to get out a bit but mostly my life was with the children and in our home. I say all of this to tell you that it is still a struggle with me not feeling like I know the language like I should. Oh, if I could just communicate like my husband does. I know that at this time in my life this is how it just is and maybe in the future that will get better so that is what I'm praying for. I have noticed that on Thursdays now that I'm going out twice to teach in one day I can see that I am improving more and more which is a good thing. If I was out everyday I feel sure I would get it but at this time in my life it just isn't possible. I know for sure that when I go out and speak it is not because of any talent that I have but only because God is helping me. Yeah, people laugh sometimes at some of the things I say but they also help me and teach me along the way too. Zambians just love it when you try to speak their language so I won't give up even though I feel like it at times. I will keep striving to learn.

Struggle 6: Like most people across the world Zambians have many problems and struggles that they face every day. It is hard to live in a Third World Country and not be effected by all that you see. The poverty, malnutrition, drunkeness, orphans, beggars on the street, people with and dying from HIV/AIDS. It is just tough. You know we don't even get the news at our house from the tv we get it from our friends and neighbors. Almost daily we get reports of people in our churches that are struggling with this or that. This past weekend we heard news that one of our pastors 4 year old little girl had fallen into a well without anyone knowing. It was sometime before the mother realized what had happened. When she got to the well and didn't see her daughter she just happened to look inside the well and saw that the bucket was below. She immediately went down into the well and sure enough her daughter was at the bottom of it. She brought her up and took her to the clinic. She was still living but was not awake. They rushed her to the hospital in Lusaka and pumped her stomach. The next day she returned home and even went to church. This story turned out good but a lot of times we hear stories that don't turn out so well. It is tough when you have poured your life into someone for a few years, they become the pastor of a church, and then they die of AIDS. Or you see that in a family the parents have both died and the grandparent has taken in those children to care for. Everyday we see how people try to survive and just get by. This is a struggle that we have to deal with in our own way. Our whole family experiences it and I feel sure that we are not the same people that we were when we first came. When I look at our children and see how they have done with this I am very proud of them. It is hard enough for us to see these things as an adult but to see it through their eyes is another thing. May all of our eyes be opened to the suffering and hardships that surround us if we will only see it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Struggling......Part III

Struggle 4: Just so you will know these struggles are in no particular order, it is just what I feel like writing about at the moment. Today, we have been without power for 7 hours. This leads me to another struggle of mine, NO POWER! For the last year and 1/2 Zambia has been experiencing problems with their power situation. We have had to deal with load shedding throughout the country. You may wonder, what exactly does that mean. Basically, it means that certain areas are without power for part of the day and supposedly on a rotating basis. For several months our power went off every day for 6-12 hours/day. This can really wear on you after a while. Finally, Zesco(our power company) came up with a schedule that we could look up on the internet so at least we would know when our power would be out. I know that might sound funny, but it does help us if we can kind of know when it will go out. It just helps us to prepare better. Our area for the last couple of months has been scheduled for Monday, Wed., and Fri. evenings only for about 4 hours. Well, I'm not sure what happened but they are not following the schedule. Our power is going off just about every day. Why make a schedule though if you are not going to follow it? This is a frustration when you home school and you need power for the dvd player. It also always seems to be off when it is time to eat. Thankfully, we were able to buy some cadac propane burners so we can now cook when the power is off. I realize that probably 95% of the people we work with do not have power at all but they never had any to begin with. We have been use to it and now it has been taken away. Sometimes, I think I have gotten use to it and then there are days like today when you just don't know if you can take anymore of it. This has got to be one of the hardest struggles that we deal with just trying to live in Zambia. It is amazing how comfortable you get with your stuff at home, your power, your water, etc. but then when it is taken away, whoa it knocks you for a loop! I think I will request prayer on this one, it has been tough on our whole family. I am thankful that we do have power sometimes because there are missionaries that have it worse than us. When you pray for missionaries remember to pray for their physical needs as well. Sometimes we have to spend a lot of time just trying to make it day to day. One good thing in all of this is that I know that God is trying to teach me something and that He is molding me to hopefully become more like Him.

Struggling.....Part II

Struggle 2: When we first moved to Zambia back in 1997 we lived in the capitol city of Lusaka. We lived very close to the local hospital and also in a house where missionaries had lived for a long time. Daily we had people coming to our gate asking us for food, money, blankets, transport money, etc. In Zambia, it is fine to ask for anything but it ok if you have to say no. As Americans we struggle with that because in our culture you try not to ask anything of anyone but if someone does ask you for something it is almost impossible to say no. I remember one particular day hearing someone knock at our gate and I just couldn't make myself go out there. I had become angry at the people who were demanding so much of us. The very people we had come to tell about Jesus, I didn't even want to see. Why did they come to our gate everyday? We couldn't possibly help everyone. Their needs were too great for us to handle. I remember sitting on my couch that day crying(literally) out to God and asking him to help me love these people. God showed me that day that we don't have to help everyone, only those whom He lays on our hearts to help. I learned how to say no and not feel guilty for it. I also learned to say yes when He told me to with joy. Now we live in Chongwe and we still have a gate but it isn't knocked on as much as it was when we lived in the city. We have been asked for many things over the years such as: a watch, clothes, food, a bicycle, a car, water, medicine, books, bibles, toys, shoes, transport, money, cell phones, transport for a deceased child from their home to the clinic, and a computer. If I sat here longer I'm sure I could come up with a longer list. It is amazing that they will ask for anything and I mean anything but it is ok to say no. I'm not here to be their Jesus, I am here to just point them to Jesus.

Struggle 3: Since we have been in Zambia our internet service has always been a struggle. We have had to pay for a long distance phone call everytime we wanted to check our email and pretty much just getting on the internet for browsing was unheard of. Just checking our email was costing us about 170.00/month because our service was also very slow. Recently, we were able to get wireless all the way out here in Chongwe but it is still pretty slow. Now we don't have to pay for a long distance call each time, we can surf the net, and we have unlimited time on the internet for about half the price that we were paying. Amazingly enough, this past month when Kevin went to pay our bill they gave him a letter saying that because so many people were joining with them and the service was even slower than when we originally got it that they were going to reduce our cost to just $15.00/month until they could upgrade their system. Wow! We were stunned! This has never happened to us in Zambia-to have a bill reduced because the service wasn't good. Sure wish that would happen with some of our other bills.
I can't imagine being a missionary before internet and having to depend on letter writing to stay in touch with family, friends, and prayer supporters. That is why it has been such a struggle for us because we were having a hard time and having to spend so much time just to stay connected with home. Thankfully, we can say that this area has definitely gotten better just this past year.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Struggles of This Missionary

A few years ago a friend of ours wrote us and commented that we always write about the good things that happen in our ministry and life. She wanted to know if we ever had problems of any kind and wondered why we didn't share those things with people. I have thought about that from time to time over the years and just thought that it was always best to have a positive attitude when sharing about our life overseas. However, in the last couple of months, God has been showing me that I need to be more REAL. You know sometimes I have a bad day too even though I am a missionary. Missionaries are real people just like you (whoever reads this blog, if anyone). So I thought that over the next few days I would share some of the things that I struggle with from time to time.

Struggle 1: We have lived in Chongwe since 2001 and since about 2004 we have struggled with having enough water. We have a bore hole at our house so inside our house our water is plentiful. We use Chongwe towns water for watering our yard which we may get one bucket a day if that much. So during the rainy season our yard looks pretty and green but during the dry season our grass begins to dry up and disappear in sections. At one point, we even paid Chongwe town to run separate pipes to our house and our neighbors so that we could have water. This worked for about one month but then stopped for some reason. However, we still get a bill for 50,000 kwacha each month(which is about $15.00) that we are expected to pay when we only get about 1 small bucket a day of water. Well, the other day I went out when the man from the water company brought us our bill and told him that we were not going to pay this bill until we start getting water. He said they are working on the problem which is what they say most of the time, but my goodness it has been years since we have had good water. As I talked with him I found out that it was not just us and our one neighbor right now without water it was all the homes below us also which is quite a bit. Now, I don't think they have been without water the years that we have because I think I would have heard about it by now. However, I realized after talking to him that I should be thankful that at least we have water from our bore hole so I can drink water when I want to, I can wash clothes, take a shower, etc. I know it probably sounds silly to want your yard to look nice, but I do.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Women's Meetings

Thursdays are the day that every women's group meets from various churches and Baptists are no different. They even wear a uniform of a white head covering, a purple blouse, and a navy blue skirt. So as you go along the road you can see women in a sea of colors going to their meetings. I'm going to two different churches now but we start off the same in each one. We always sing some choruses together, we sing the "Women's Song," and we say together 1 Cor. 3:9 then we pray. At Silver Rest Baptist Church I taught the story on the Good Shepherd to 12 women who by the way were all waiting on me today. I usually have to wait for all of them to get there so it was exciting to see their eagerness to come and learn. I asked Amai Tembo if she had been having any more dreams and she had not, so thank you to those who prayed(see previous blog). After finishing with them I went on to Chainda II Baptist Church. Here I taught the story of Cornelius in the book of Acts. We talked about how we can reach out to our families and neighbors to share Christ with them-reaching their circle of influence. Also, the mother with the little girl, Loveness, was not there. I asked about her and the women told me that the child was doing a bit better but was still sick. When the mother took Loveness back to the clinic the doctor just gave her tylenol. Please continue to pray for this child to heal.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Great Weekend!

This was taken down at the river with an automated timer. It took us about 3 times to actually get Zach in the picture and not in motion. It was funny.

Zach, Hannah and Kevin at Itopi Baptist Church.

Me and Hannah down by the Chongwe River.

Kids taking a little rest on Caveman's Couch(that's what they call this big rock).

We went back to Itopi Baptist Church on Sun. This is the place where there is a big Baobab tree that Justin likes to climb. He gets higher each time he goes!

Birthday Fun!

Friday, May 30th, was my birthday. I had a great day celebrating with my family. Yes, Zach, even came home for his mid-term break this weekend. We picked him up at the airport, went and ate pizza for lunch, and then went to see the Indiana Jones movie. That night when we got home we had boston cream pie for desert. It was a fun day! This Wed. I'll get to go to lunch with some of my friends in Lusaka to celebrate also.