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.