Friday, March 26, 2010

Children are a blessing

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3
Children can bring their parents much joy. They are a special blessing which God usually gives to marriage. If God does not give this blessing, the marriage can still be complete. If he does give this blessing, we should remember that children are a gift from God. God gives us our children, but he wants them to serve him. God does not give them so we can keep them for ourselves to use. He gives them to us to raise for his glory. Yesterday, I taught on this subject at my women's meeting that I went to. Our children really belong to God. Of course, we want them to be healthy, to learn well, and work well with others. I think most people would agree with those goals. But as Christians God wants us to have two goals for them. 1-to recieve Christ as Savior, and 2- to follow God's plan for their lives.
In some tribes parents think of their children as their own riches. They think of what they will receive from their children. They send their children to school so they will get money from them later. Their goal is that their children bring riches to their parents one day. That is why many Africans will have lots of children because they know that some will die and some will not be rich but then some will have enough and help provide for the parents as they get older.
Please pray that Zambians, who are believers, would raise their children to receive Christ and to follow Him.

I am so excited because my two sons, Zach and Justin, are coming home from boarding school tomorrow! Kevin will get home tomorrow night. So we will all be together as a family under one roof for a while!

I slept through it all

When Hannah and I got up this morning we found a big branch from our avocado tree had broken off during the night. I'm not sure why it happened, there wasn't even a storm. What is amazing to me is that I never heard this happen. You would think that it would have made a loud noise but I just slept through it evidently. We are so thankful that it didn't fall on our house or the rondoval.

This is where it broke off.

The kids enjoyed picking all the avocado's off the tree branch that fell. In all, there were 50 from this one big branch. They are excited about going out to sell them today.

Hannah, Dorcas, and Deborah.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

There is a first time for everything

Today I had a first time experience for me. I carried a deceased person in the back of my truck to the mortuary plus had a few more stops along the way. As a imb missionary we are here to plant churches, disciple, and lead others to Christ. However, because we live in Africa relationships with others is very important. To be a part of the community is essential. Sometimes we are called upon to do things which aren't pleasant but necessary so we can be part of the community. There are also many benefits to being part of a community but today was one of those days when I was asked to do something kind of weird and unpleasant for me but necessary. Kevin has done this type of transportation many times and it has always been difficult for me to just hear about it afterwards. He has been out of the country this week at a meeting. So today when our friend came and told me that one of his relatives had died during the night I knew that I would need to help and do something for the family. His request though was for me to go to the village and pick up the person who had died and take him to the mortuary. I think my friend could tell by the look on my face that I was surprised because he quickly added that I could just stay in the truck the whole time and wouldn't have to look. So as I start off on this first time experience I began to pray that God would help me with this task. I get to the village and I just couldn't just sit in the truck. I got out and greeted everyone and sat and waited for them to prepare the body for transport. Then they brought out this man wrapped in blankets and put him in the back of the truck. Well, they left the tailgate down and the back window open and several people climbed behind with the body. I asked my friend, "aren't you going to close the tailgate?" He said, "no he was too tall and we can't." Well, all I can picture is this man falling out of the back of my truck as I'm driving down the road. Can you imagine??!! He assured me that this man would not fall out. So we start off. However, when we get into Chongwe we first have to go to the police station because a report has to be filled out since this person died at home. If he had died at the clinic we would not have needed this report. Then we proceeded to the clinic to get a doctor to check him out and make sure he was really dead. He also had to sign a paper saying as such. (Sidenote-it was kind of humorous to me to watch in the rearview mirror this doctor climb up in the back of my truck and get out his stethoscope and listen for a heartbeat on this man-but I guess it was necessary) We then proceeded to the mortuary where we dropped the deceased off. It was such a small building maybe just the size of my den and kitchen. They don't embalm people here. The mortuary is just the place they take the bodies to keep them cool until the family can come and cleanse the body and prepare it for burial. The family comes to do that on the burial day. After they have prepared the body they then take it to the church or to wherever the person will be buried. Anyway, after leaving the mortuary I took all the family that had ridden with me back to the village. I quickly made my way home and ate a quick lunch so I could head out to teach this afternoon. I'll write about that tomorrow. As I have reflected on the events of this day and this first time experience I see that it was good for me to do this. Yeah, it was a strange experience but it made me feel good that I could help a family in their time of need.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Special Day

Today was Caleb B. 9th birthday and we went into town to help celebrate. First, we went to Adventure City for the afternoon. Then we all went to Mike's Kitchen(restaurant) for dinner. Then we ended the evening back at the mission for cake and ice cream. I thought Hannah would be worn out from the day and fall asleep on the way home but she talked all the way home about her friends and the fun she had today.

from left to right: Trent, Caleb, Hannah, Hadassah, Abby, Anna, Zoe, and Levi

The Birthday Boy about to blow out his candles!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trust in the LORD....

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the LORD: I have got to trust in the Lord in all circumstances. Whether it is with my children, my husband, my marriage, my mission(work), my friends, nationals, extended family, etc. I have to trust God to take care of all of that. When I start trusting in myself and get my eyes off of God things go south really quick. I know I can trust in God because I have faith that He is in control.

and do good: I need to do good no matter who is watching. God always sees my actions and my heart! Oh, how I pray that I will know when to help others and that God would use my gifts of mercy and helps to minister to others. Help me God, to do whatever you call me to do with all my might! Help me not to always try to please others but be more concerned if I am pleasing God.

Dwell in the land: To dwell means to live as an inhabitant: reside, to exist in a given place or condition, to focus one’s attention, to treat at length. Am I dwelling in the land that God has brought me to? Or do I have one foot in this land and the other in America? I feel like I am dwelling where God has called me to. Lord, help me to be comfortable with who I am in Christ, with the calling and gifts you have given me, and please use me to minister to others.

and enjoy safe pasture: The best place we can be is right in the center of God’s will no matter where that is or how tough it is. I am safest when I am in the center of His will. However, I think this is mainly talking about spiritual safety. Surely God protects us a lot from physical harm but I don’t think He wants us to not experience any suffering along the way. Even Jesus experienced physical suffering and death. Throughout history, many righteous people have tragically lost their lives. God did not always rescue them. We also know that members of the early church were tortured and died cruel deaths. Though the reasons behind life’s tragedies often remain a mystery, by faith, we can know that God will not abandon his people. Thank you God, that no matter how tough life can be sometimes, you will always be with me and walk through life with me.

Delight yourself in the LORD: to delight means great pleasure or gratification; joy; something that affords great pleasure or enjoyment. I need to make sure I’m delighting myself in the Lord every day by spending time in His Word and by growing closer to him by communicating with Him through prayer. Is it a duty or a desire? Is it boring or pure fun?

and he will give you the desires of your heart: Will God give me anything I desire? No, I don’t think so. But he will give me my desires when they first are shaped by a delight in the Lord. To receive this promise I need to love God above all else and my desires will become what he desires for me. Then my greatest desire will be to conform my life to his will. God is so patient with me!

Commit your way to the LORD: would this mean commit my life or my path? I think sometimes we commit our way to ourselves. We do what we want to do and not necessarily what God desires for us to do. We do what we are comfortable with or what we know. We don’t like to get out of our comfort zone. However, when we do get out of our comfort zone God stretches us and uses us like we can not imagine.

Trust in him and he will do this: Here again we have to trust in him and he promises us the next statement.

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.: So if I will just commit my way to the Lord and trust in him He will make my goodness shine like the dawn(beautiful image) and the rightness of my mission will shine like the noonday sun(that is bright!) Lord, I do pray that I will be a light that will shine for you where ever I am and in whatever I do. I have realized that I am not alone.. that Christ can and will accomplish all the things that He purposes to bring about within my life…in the right season. Praise God!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So they may be won

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
2 Cor. 6:14
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1-2
In Zambia, you will find many Christians that will be married to a non-believer for different reasons. Perhaps he or she received Christ after being married. Perhaps the unbeliever only pretended to be a Christian before marriage. Perhaps the Christian willingly married an unbeliever. Either way, we see this alot here in Zambia. Also, there are many times that the husband will go to one church and the wife will go to another. As you can imagine this can cause a lot of conflict in the home and the family is not united. Many women have come to me in the past and asked me what they can do in this situation, so that is why I decided to teach on this subject this past Thursday at the women's meeting. A Christian wife should respect, obey, and love her unbelieving husband because this may bring him to Christ. If she will live her life in a good way and pray then perhaps one day her husband will trust in Jesus. I had a friend once that told me that her mother had been praying for her husband to come to Christ for 20 years and finally he did. God is faithful and answers prayers! What I learn from that is that we should not give up on anyone coming to Christ. We need to be diligent in our prayers for our lost loved ones.
Please pray for Zambian families to be united in the Truth of God's Word and desire to worship together as a family.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saying Good-bye

Wed. I went with Kevin and Kenny out on the boat along the Lunsemfwa River to visit 3 of the churches there and say good-bye. This was Kevin's last trip along this river in the Luangwa area. We will be going on furlough in July for about 9 months and then when we return we will be shifting to Lusaka which is the capitol city of Zambia. This past November Kevin started a new job as ACSL(Associate Cluster Strategy Leader) for Zambia and we feel like we can do the job better from Lusaka. It is very important here to say bye so as you can imagine we will be doing a lot of that in the next several months.
There was no rain on this day and the river was even down quite a bit from a couple of weeks ago when we tried to go. The sun was shining and it was quite hot. We had 3 different villages to go to so I have pics. below from each church. I just chose some of my favorites, sorry there are so many.

This was our first stop at Lupenga. This is where Kevin has been teaching the last couple of months. Today he finished up here by teaching on the Lord's Supper. There were only a few in attendance because most of the men were out on the river fishing because they said there was an abundance of fish now that the water had gone down some.

The children that was there just stared at me the whole time which was fine with me, I have gotten use to it after all these years. It mainly just happens when we go so far out that the people are not use to seeing white people.

Those in attendance followed us out and back to the boat.

This is the headman and his wife heading back to their home. Kenny with some of the young people. They love to have their pic. taken and then look at it.

One down, two more to go! Now, we are back at the boat and just have to get started off again.

Just a couple more pics. to take before we head out. This is the group of kids that followed us to the river.

This man was coming in as we were about to leave. This is a tiny little dug out canoe that most Zambians use to go up and down the river in and to fish.

What are all those children doing? It almost looks like they are making their plans in a huddle. However, you can't see Kenny, but he is right in the middle of this group showing them a pic.

This is us leaving. It is never easy to say good-bye especially when you have worked in an area for so long.

This was our second stop at Lisongwe Baptist church. Here again a lot of the men were out on the river but many women and children came to say good-bye. While we were here we picked up another passenger. A woman had a very sick child and needed a ride to the nearest hospital which was about an hour ride in the boat and then another hour in the car. I really think the child would have died if we had not been there on this day and taken them to the hospital. There is no place for these people to go to for medical help because they live so far out. It is no wonder that so many turn to witchcraft.

Even though it was not raining it was quite muddy along the river bank where we parked our boat. When we arrived my feet and tropicals(flipflops) were so muddy I just left them there and walked barefoot through the village. I just want to add that the sand was very hot, but have you ever tried to walk in tropicals with wet muddy feet??!! After we finished we had to walk down a steep bank to get to the boat and of course I slipped and fell on my bottom-quite gracefully though. Kenny even got a video of it!

This was our last stop at Nyamkhumba Baptist church. We had to walk quite a bit to get to this church but when they rang a bell we were amazed at all the people who came so quickly. There were at least 70 people that showed up. We sang some songs and then the choir sang a few songs and we danced. Then Kevin told them that we would not be coming back. This church will do fine. They have grown so much over the years. In fact, this was the first church that was started in this area many years ago.
Please continue to pray for these churches to grow and multiply even in the absence of a missionary.

We had to walk through a wet muddy area to get to this church.

Kenny on our way back enjoying the ride.

We did see a few hippo's but I only got this one pic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chishimba Falls

On our way from Luwingu to Kasama we stopped at Chishimba Falls. It was much bigger than I had imagined and it was quite beautiful. Enjoy the pics.!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Northern Province of Zambia

This past Monday we embarked on a long trip to the Northern Province of Zambia. We had never been that far into the Northern province before so this was exciting for us to go and see how it compared to the rest of Zambia. It took us about 12 hours to reach Isoka which is where the Kimbrough family lives and serves. We had a great time with them and hearing all that God is doing in their area. It is especially fun to see what others lives are like so that we can better pray for them. They have 4 precious children that Hannah really enjoyed playing with also. Kevin went out with Blake and I was able to go with Dawnya to their market and meet some of their friends.

Hannah reading a book to Isabelle, Abigail, and Isaac.

Isabelle is the oldest of their children and a big help to her mommy and daddy.

Here is the Kimbrough family: Blake, Dawnya, Isabelle, Abigail, Isaac, and Amos.

On Wed. morning we left and traveled on to Luwingu to visit the Bowman family. I have pics. below of how bad the roads are in this province but nothing could have prepared us for the bad road from Kasama to Luwingu. It took us 2 hours and 45 min on this long road. It was raining and there was road construction on most of the road. I couldn't get any pics. mainly because I didn't want to get out in the mess. We had to drive in four wheel drive most of the way. However, on the way back there wasn't any rain and the road had dried up in most places so it was a bit better.

The Bowmans also have 4 precious children. While we were there Anna learned to ride her bike without training wheels. When she finally got it she just took off. We were all so proud of her!
Kevin went out with Josh since he had a teaching time and he really enjoyed that. He couldn't help bragging on how well Josh is doing in the language and in his work. I was able to go with Amy to the market and to a womens meeting. We enjoyed seeing them in their place of service and the people that God has called them to minister to.

I love this pic. of Luke getting in the truck. We were on our way to see the Bowmans cows. They have 4 cows plus a calf.

Josh and his son Caleb milking one of the cows.

Uncle Josh taught Hannah how to milk a cow. She is smiling in the pic. but she said it felt weird and gross.

Here is Hannah with Caleb, Anna, and Abby with their little calf that was born a few months ago. Her name is Star. Hannah even put her hand in his mouth like Abby is doing in this pic.!

Here are their cows.

After leaving the Bowmans we headed back to Kasama and spent a little time with Fequierre. We went to a meeting that afternoon and had lunch with many of the church leaders in Kasama. It was good to hear from them and their vision for doing community work there in Kasama. This is the church we met at. Unfortunately, I didn't get any more pics. in Kasama.

Like I said the roads are pretty bad in this province. There were so many potholes and what seemed like craters in some parts. I had to take a few pics. of the road and the beautiful mountains that we passed along the way.

The Northern Province is beautiful with lots of big mountains and plenty of trees, especially this time of year after so much rain.

We spent many hours on the road traveling. Thank goodness for portable dvd players that help entertain a certain little girl. She had just drank an energade and it turned her tongue green.

Please pray for these missionaries that we visited in the Northern Province of Zambia. The Adairs live in Kaputa but they are in the states now and then the Schwarz family is in Mbala. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit with them on this trip. So you can pray for the Kimbroughs, Bowmans, Fequierre, Schwarzs, and Adairs as they share the gospel among the Bamba people.