Hello again from Zambia,
Yesterday was a good day. We went to The John Wesley UMC in Chimwemwe, about 15 minutes from the NLC. What an experience!! We arrived at 10:00 and the music had already started, kind of like our 9:45 service. When we got there only about a third of the church was full. People kept arriving over the next haf hour or so until it was full.
The service was wonderful. Much different than I've seen before. The music was done by only about a dozen choir members but it filled the church. The energy was contagious. Clapping, dancing, hand motions, whistles, all to honor and praise the Lord. Our group was drawn into the dancing by the people around us. They grab you by the arm and you can't help but join. And I have pictures to prove it! It was a wonderful experience. One of our folks called it worshiping with your whole body. And they do.
During time of prayer, you don't listen to someone pray, you pray out loud at the top of your voice. Everyone is praying at the same time. At first it is kind of distracting, but then you start to hear the prayers. Someone said that must be what God hears. It was amazing. Delbert said if you listen you realize that they are not just praying, they are also confessing their sins. And that is with their friends and family standing next to them. Imagine doing that at Heritage.
The sermon was delivered by the associate pastor, and it was high energy and inspiring. He spoke on the language of love is Pentecost. It came out of the theme for the Zambia conference. The general conference had just ended and he was pumped up to share the message.
At the end of the service, the choir leads people out dancing down the main aisle. They line up on each side of the aisle and everyone files through them in single file. When you get outside, the first person starts another line and shakes hands with everyone behind them, and you do the same until the choir comes out at the end and goes through the line. When they have shaken everyone's hand, the service is officially over. The service was a little over two hours long, but it went by fast.
The rest of the day was spent going out to lunch at a local restaurant, and then back to the NLC to rest up and try to get on Zambian time.
So what did I learn today? Zambian people know how to worship God. They do it with their whole mind, soul, body and spirit! That is what God calls us to do. You go to a service like this and you wonder why we are not so energized by worship that we want to be lifting our hands and dancing in the aisles. Why are we so embarrassed to be outgoing in our praise? I'm no different. It's something I need to work on.
Today we start work. Some will be painting, some working on assembling PET's, some in the print shop. We did find out that the luggage did arrive so a few will be going back to the airport to pick it up.
Keep praying for us,
Your Zambia Mission Team
Yesterday was a pretty productive day. We completed the collating of the 500 copies of the book in the morning. Delbert also printed the covers for the book. The painting on the house continued with more still to do. At lunch time, we ate with the all of the people that work here at the NLC. For lunch we had sausage, chinese cabbage and nshima. Nshima texture is kind of like a mix between grits and mashed potatoes. Zambians typically eat with their hands so we did also. You take the nshima in your right hand, never the left (I won't go into why here), and roll it into a ball. Then you use it to pick up the other food or sop up the sauce. It is made from corn and it is very good, but eating without utensils is odd. The sausage and the boiled chinese cabbage were great. The sausage was locally made from beef.
In the afternoon, the men in our group were forced to do local ministry on a golf course!! While the course wasn't up to the standards of the ones around us in Clearwater, it was still fun. This is their winter so the fairways were brown and lots of leaves on the ground. Here you have to hire a caddy and walk the course. The caddies we had were all real nice guys. One of them was barefoot, and he walked through everything; deep grass, rocks, twigs, leaves, and a lot of dust and sand. Delbert mostly had a day at the beach, he was in a lot of sandtraps. But everyone had a great time. It's kind of neat to be able to say that we played golf in Zambia.
Meanwhile, the women went back to the United Methodist Church in Chimwemwe to join the women of the church for their weekly women's meeting. Chimwemwe means "place of joy". We again were able to experience this joy as the women sang and danced their praise songs. Some of our women already know the songs and are able to sing along, while others are still learning. Jean gave a wonderful devotional talk, encouraging the women to be witnesses of Christ in their community. Then, we shared a craft with them--building little birdhouses from kits and painting them. We all had a great time and were happy to show off our creations. After the craft time, we had a little snack and fellowship time. The women were encouraged to bring a friend, or two, or even three, back with them for our next get together on Thursday.
We all got back about 6:00 and the Groves started dinner. They served us mashed potatoes, roasted and sauteed summer squash, corn on the cob, salad and T-Bone steaks. Turns out, hamburger is $6.00 a pound and so it T-Bone steak, so it was an easy choice. We have wanted for nothing
What did I learn today? I found out that 1/3 of the copper reserves in the world are here in Zambia. Mining is a huge industry here. Water is used in the mines and is held in a reservoir. The gates that hold the water back are electronic. If the electricity fails, the 2,000 people working in the mine have 90 minutes to get out before the mines are flooded. Anyone left there will drown. Think about trying to get out of a cave with no light except if you have a flashlight, and no electricity to run elevators. We didn't find out how deep the mines are, but no matter how deep, that is a daunting task. I also learned that running a print shop is very difficult. None of this print shop is computerized so everything is prepared by hand. The setting up of the printing presses, the creation of the plates used to print, the addition of the ink to the rollers on the presses to the binding of the covers and pages. It took Delbert three tries to get the plate done correctly, not because of errors made, but just so that the final product was right. So after about 3 hours of set-up, about 15 minutes to run the covers, and 15 minutes to clean out the press, we had the covers made. All of the small adjustments that have to be made are incredible and just knowing what needs to be done takes a lot of knowledge and experience. But Delbert has been doing this for more than 45 years so it comes naturally to him now.
Today we will be going to a childrens feeding program and helping serve the food. We hope to be able to complete the binding of the books and also help Delbert install a rack on the top of their minivan. We are all having a great time.
Your Zambia Mission Team
Hi to all,
Yesterday we had a full morning and a fairly light afternoon. In the morning Marsha and Jean worked on more painting of the cottage. It is a tough job because it is oil based paint and it seems like it's a much stronger odor than our paints in the U.S.. They've had to take breaks just to get fresh air. Headaches seem to be common in that kind of environment.
The rest of us went to a local church where they have a feeding program for about 50 kids. To be eligible, the children have to be 5 or under. They can bring brothers and sisters, and if there is enough food, they can eat also. The base food product is a porridge that is pretty tasty (we did get to try it). They get a good size bowl of that and water. This may be the only nutrition they get all week. There is usually enough so that all the kids, even the brothers and sisters and sometimes even the adults, get food. For the kids that are in the program, they also get an apple and a hard boiled egg. It was wonderful to see the kids sharing with each other, the older kids feeding the younger ones, and no one arguing or fighting or pushing to make sure they get their share.
The kids love to get their pictures taken. While I was taking the picture of one on the boys, I was making adjustments to my camera and the whole time he had his mouth open with a spoonful of food holding it just outside his mouth, posing, waiting for me to take the picture. It was pretty funny. But most of the kids posed for the pictures. They loved being able to see them and their reaction to the pictures was priceless. You would start trying to take a picture of one kid and all of a sudden six more would be in it. It was great.
There was one mom there with a child that was about one year old. The baby actually looked much younger because of the malnutrition it was suffering from. When Sandy asked the woman in charge about it, she said that the woman had just had another baby recently and she had stopped breast feeding this one because she didn't think there was enough. Sandy talked to the woman and counseled her on having to feed the baby and they gave her some canned milk. It was very sad. But the overall time we were there was great and very worthwhile.
An interesting thing is that a lot of the buildings are made of brick that the people make themselves. There are a lot of very large termite mounds, most at least six feet tall, that they take the soil and turn it into mud to make the bricks. They form the bricks and let them dry and then they stack them into a mound about 8 feet high. But they way they form the mound is to create multiple tunnels through the bottom three or four layers of brick. They then fill the tunnels with wood. They cover the top of the mound with grass and light the wood. When the grass starts to smoulder, they cover the whole mound in mud creating a kiln that bakes the bricks. It is amazing how people have come up with processes like these and have handed them down from generation to generation and they are still being used today.
In the afternoon, Tim and Jake worked with Delbert on binding the books we'd been collating over the past couple of days. This was another proces that took a lot of time to set up. We worked at least four hours on getting the machine ready. The first step is to heat up the glue that is used to bind the books. Once the glue is heated, we had to cut the covers more closely to the final size. Then you have to make adjustments on the binding machine to make sure that everything lines up correctly, the right amount of glue is applied, the spine of the book lines up with the title and more. That took most of the time. Once we got all that done, we bound four books. Someone that is experienced in this can produce one book in about a minute. We have 500 to bind!! And with out experience we hope to see you all sometime in September. After you do the binding, you go to a cutting machine that trims three sides so you have a completed book. By the time we got the set-up done and the four produced, it was time to call it a day and head in to get cleaned up for supper.
The women began preparing the childrens ministry that is going to start on Friday. They were putting together the materials, creating name badges, and planning the music. This is going to be a wonderful program for the kids and we are all excited about being part of that.
What did I learn today? Kids are kids no matter where you go. They love to laugh, they have best friends, and they live in the moment. That's something we all need to do. Another thing that I am learning here is that, while we think mission trips are about the work, missionaries don't think that at all. To them it's about the relationships. The work is a way to get you involved with the people of the area and to build relationships so they can see Jesus working in your life. For us, sometimes it seems that we are not working hard enough, that we may have to much down time, but that is what is expected. Having gone on multiple international mission trips now, it is the same everywhere except in the U.S. In the U.S. it's about getting the job done and feeling like you accomplished something. In other parts of the world it's all about showing the people that we love them because we love Christ. For us Americans, that can be a hard thing to learn. But what would happen if we had that attitude about everything we do? We just might change the world.
Today we will continue to do more binding of the books and also will be working in the P.E.T. shop assembling PET's. The women will be holding their second women's ministry at the UMC in Chimwemwe.
We are having a great time and seeing God working, not only in the people around us, but also in ourselves.... Keep praying,
Your Zambia Mission Team
an't believe that we have been gone for a full week already. We have been so busy most of the time that we have actually had a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Yesterday was no different.
In the morning, Timm and Jake worked in the printshop binding the first 100 books of the 500 total. It took about two hours to do that, and that was after about an hour and a half of waiting for the glue to liquify. They turned out great. The name of the book is "Road to Freedom in Zambia" and is for a seminar that is coming up in October. It is going to cover a lot of topics like what we believe as Christians, how sin affects health, the spirit world, occults and much more. We have had a chance to read some of it and it is very interesting. It is being led by a pastor from the Orlando area, Wendell Knight.
The ladies did a number of things in the morning. Marsha and Jean continued preparing for the women's ministry in the afternoon and the children's ministry starting today. Nancy, Sherri, and Casey went to the market with Sandy to get food and supplies. Not an easy task. First you stop off at Mama Africas to pick up the bulk of supplies like the flour, salt, oil, cookies and snacks for the camp. We then moved on to the butcher to buy the sausages and mince (ground beef). Next it's on to pick up some vegtables. We aren't done yet, we need to get milk and yorgurt and that is a completely different stop. It made me appreciate my Publix so much more! I can now appreciate the saying "One stop shopping."
Sandy also took us to visit a preschool in Chimwemwe. The building consisted of two small classrooms and an office. Much like our preschool classrooms, there were pictures the children had made and the room was decorated with the alphabet, shapes and numbers, however these were not manufactured like ours, they were very basic and done with crayons and white paper. The rooms were very small, dark and dusty, and full of benches for the children. I can never complain about having a small classroom again. However, the preschool office was actually bigger than ours!
In the afternoon, Delbert, Jake and Timm went into town to a couple of hardware stores to get some bolts for the rack that they are putting on top of one of the vans for the trip to Lusaka, and to get a couple of replacement faucets. When they got back, we put the rack on top of the car and Timm spent the next hour and a half bolting it down. Most of the time was spent talking with one of the locals that work here. That's the ministry part. Jake worked on the music for the kid's camp.
We once again were able to visit with the women at the John Wesley United Methodist Church in Chimwemwe. It was nice to see some familiar faces. Marsha gave a moving testimony about how our lives are so similar even though we are from different sides of the world and from different cultures. We have the same fears, need, and problems. Thru all of these problems and difficult situations Jesus is there inviting us to sit on the throne with him.
So, what did I learn today? I learned that your Zambia mission team is very strong. No matter the situation, someone is stepping up to the task. Whether it's speaking to a group of women, working with the children, putting programs together, working in the print shop or in the PET assembly area, sharing their lives with the locals, or just supporting one another, this team was meant to be together and to be here in Zambia. And a very strong and effective ministry is the result. I also learned how valuable our faith promises are. None of this ministry could happen without our commitment to give of our bounty to those in need. To see so many lives changed because Heritage has made the commitment to support Delbert and Sandy and the New Life Center monetarily is very encouraging and makes me committed to do more. There are so many expenses that are being covered by our giving that enable them to continue to minister in all of Africa, not just in Zambia. PET's are going all over the continent and a lot of them come right from here, and transporting those is expensive. So please continue to support missions and be faithful to your faith promise. Lives are being changed and the kingdom is growing.
Today is a big day because it is the start of kid's camp. We expect about 200 kids that will be participating in the two day camp, with them all spending the night here at the NLC. Should be exciting. That starts this afternoon. This morning there will be more preparation for the camp and work in the PET shop.
Hope everyone back home is doing well. We miss you all but we are really enjoying our visit.
Your Zambia Mission Team
Yesterday was a very busy day. In the morning, preparations were continuing for the kid's camp starting about 2:30. Everything is "about" because people are traveling from all over to get her and most of them walk, so you start when you can. Timm and Jake worked in the PET shop cutting out foam for the seats of the PET's. Not a real challenging job, but very time consuming.
After lunch things really picked up. About 120 kids arrived and the energy level in the camp went up about a thousand percent. Kids ranged in age from about 3 to 13 or so. Pastor Kenneth got things started by singing songs with them that got them fired up. He then did a prayer and had Sandy welcome the kids and get our part going.
It started by teaching them a song. That was a bit challenging considering the song is in English and very few speak it. But they were able to do that and the kids loved the song.
After that they broke into 3 groups to do the activities. One group blew up small Beach balls and then decorated them with markers. The second group went to hear a Bible study, while the third group headed outside to play soccer, throw the frisbee, jump rope, blow bubbles, or just run around. No doubt about it, the beach balls were the hit of the day. Each group alternated between activities so everyone did everything.
After a couple of hours of that, we gathered them all together for the closing, and I've got to tell you, we were ready for the day to be over. The kids did spend the night but by 9:00 , you could not tell they where there.
For dinner Sandy and Delbert took us to a very nice restaurant where we had a great meal. If you ever think of going on a mission trip, Zambia is one to strongly consider. Sandy and Delbert take exceptional care of you and you want for nothing.
We were all wiped out so when we got back almost everyone went right to bed.
What did I learn today? While I was working in the PET shop, Dixon, the guy that runs it, and I got to talking about a bunch of thing; family, government, and other stuff. He said something that was unexpected. He said "there are two great countries, heaven and America". That really surprised me because of how we hear how everyone hates us. But what he said was that the only good things they see in Africa is what comes from the U.S.. Clothing, food, medicine, all comes from America. He also said that he loves the white man and even though he is a black man, we are all the same under God. So what I learned was no matter what, if you keep doing what is right and loving people, the people that mean the most, the ones that need our help, they appreciate it more than we could ever imagine.
Yesterday we gave each kid a beach ball. That's a real small thing to us, but Delbert said that this might be the first thing anyone has given them in their whole life. If that doesn't move you, I don't know what will.
Today we have two sessions with the kids, morning and afternoon. While we really get worn out, seeing the faces on the kids makes it easy to keep going.
Keep praying for us and the people of Africa.
Your Zambia mission team
We are learning some Bimbe!!
Yesterday was a very full day. We had a morning and an afternoon session with the kids, and then a bonfire after dinner. The sessions were great. Each one had an opening sing-a-long led by one of the chaperones, and then we taught them a song in English. Some of the kids speak English, but most do not. But they caught on quick and we all had a lot of fun.
They then broke up into their groups for a craft time, story time and then a time to play outside. The kids all loved the crafts. In the morning they made crowns out of paper plates and colored them in. They wore them the rest of the day. On Saturday, Marsha took individual pictures of all the kids and on Saturday afternoon they were given the pictures and a foam frame that they mounted the picture on and then decorated. They loved them.
The story time in the morning was on the woman at the well. The afternoon time was on Joseph. The kids were great, but we've even wore some of them out and a couple fell asleep in the afternoon session.
Play time was mostly group things like Duck, Duck, Goose and Simon says. Try to get the concept of Simon says across to kids that don't speak English!! But they had a great time. A lot of laughing.
Pastor Kenneth and some of the chaperones put on a skit about Saul. One of the chaperones, Joseph, was Saul and he was great. Really got into the role wailing about being blind and then rejoicing when he could see again.
After a great dinner of Filet of beef, yes, that's right, we went and joined all the kids at a bonfire. Joseph took the lead in getting the kids singing and dancing. He is incredible with them. Plus he has an unbelievable story himself of escaping from the Congo as a child, living on the streets of Zambia, and then being rescued by Pastor Kenneth.
What did I learn today? Praising God has no age requirements. We have a 22 month old boy that when we would start to pray, he raised his hands. When we said amen, he put them down. It was pretty neat. You also see that the kids here are very well mannered. They watch out for their siblings, they make sure others are part of the action, and last night they brought chairs out for each of us and then put them away when things were done.
The kids love this place. They talk about sleeping on a mattress. How good the food is. How they wish there were more days. We kind of do too.
Today we have a morning session with the kids and after lunch we go into recovery mode. Tomorrow is our last day at the New Life Center. We then will be heading for Lusaka, about 5 hours south, to work on a church.
Your Zambia Mission Team
Well yesterday was great and sad all at the same time. It was the last day of kids camp. It was a great time with singing, arts and crafts, stories and outside activities. We also had church. Pastor Kenneth and Pastor Groves did the service with Kenneth doing the sermon and Delbert doing communion. Kenneth is a very inspiring preacher and yesterday was no different. He had a message that the kids seemed to really absorb. It was about taking Jesus into their hearts and they will be changed.
Delbert introduced communion, but then he had two of the older kids that were attending actually serve communion along with Casey and Timm. The kids were great. They each were given what to say, in English, to each person that came through. They did a great job and it was pretty moving to see them out there.
We ended the time with our theme song, "Run To Win", and a closing prayer. The kids then had lunch and got ready to leave. When they arrived, the NLC sent a large flat bed type of truck to pick them up. They all piled in the back and every kid had a place to sit. Well, unfortunately, the truck was not here yesterday so we had to use the 25 passenger bus and a 15 passenger van. Picture this, more than 50 kids piled into the bus, with luggage, and 30 plus kids crammed into the van, again with luggage. There were six kids sitting in an area that was meant for two! A lot of them were small so it wasn't quite as bad as it seemed, and no one complained. In fact, when they left the camp, they were singing "Run to Him". Delbert said they sang it all the way home and when they got closer to home they upped the loudness so their families could hear them. Delbert drove the bus and Pastor Charles drove the van. That took care of most of the kids. When Delbert returned he still had another group of kids to transport, but there were only about 30 so they were in relative comfort in the bus.
One more thing, each child was given a T-Shirt, two types of crosses, one wooden and one like we have on Easter Sunday, and a little bag of stickers, lollipops, toothbrush and toothpaste and pencils. We gave them to them as they were getting on the bus and they all immediately opened them and took out the lollipops. While this seems like a small thing, most of these kids have never been given anything in their life so it was very special to them.
It was sad to see them go. We've grown to love these kids. They have had great attitudes all week and the biggest smiles. We will miss them.
The "morning session" ended about 3:00 after all of the transportation issues and we were starved. Sandy took us to a place where we got Shawamas (Schwar-mas). They are a wrap that is kind of like a Gyro. You can get chicken, beef or vegetable. They have pulled meat with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise. They were great.
We then returned back to the NLC and took a much needed break for a few hours before joining with Delbert and Sandy for their traditional Sunday dinner of popcorn. That's because they typically will go out and have a big lunch so they really aren't that hungry at dinner time. Sandy also made a great apple cake. Each night we've had devotions and singing and we get a chance to reflect on the day and what we got out of it. This weekend was special to each one of us in so many different ways, but the bottom line to everyone was that the kids had a great time and met Christ this weekend. Delbert shared that Pastor Kenneth was on the very first kids camp when he was a kid 13 years ago and now he is a pastor. Joseph, who I wrote about yesterday, also attended kids camp when he was in his teens. It's just possible that we have begun the journey of more Kenneths and Josephs this weekend that will end up affecting Africa for years to come. What an honor.
So, what did I learn today? I've mentioned before how well the kids have gotten along. In fact, on Saturday night a little girl got up to say how grateful she was that everyone got along and there was not fighting. Delbert explained today that these kids all come from different tribes. There are always battles going on between tribes. Not all out wars, but in-fighting between them. So having the kids be so well behaved with each other, considering their tribal backgrounds, was very unusual. Hopefully what they learned this weekend will carry over to their everyday life and will stop the patterns that have been established. Only time will tell.
Today is our last day at the New Life Center. It will be mostly resting up, doing laundry, and then going to the market in the afternoon. The market is the place that I mentioned was like the Oldsmar Flea Market on steroids. Don't know if I'm looking forward to that or not. We will try to bind another 100 books before we leave though.
All for now,
Your Zambia Mission Team
FINAL DAY IN ZAMBIA
Well, yesterday was our final full day in Africa, and it was very special. In the morning we went to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world, and there are really no words to describe how beautiful and huge it is. We came in on the Zambia side and were only able to see about 1/2 of the falls because the other half is on the Zimbabwe side. In fact, the main part of the falls is on that side and we were not able to cross over there. The full falls are about one mile long and is fed by the Zambesi River. But what we saw was magnificent, and this is the dry season. There is no way to describe it except through pictures so you will have to wait to see those.
The afternoon was spent going to the Mukuna village. This is a native village that is over 700 years old. We parked under this very large tree. What we did not know, but learned soon after, was that this was a very special tree. When David Livingstone came to visit this village, the people had never seen a white man. They thought he was a ghost so they had him sit under this tree and wait for three days before he was able to visit with the people. I find that kind of funny because if I thought I saw a ghost, I don't know if I would be inviting him to sit.
The chief of the village is chosen from one family, so for 700 years this family has been ruling the tribe. And that person is chief for life. The only way to replace him is if he dies, or if you poison him! And the only ones that can be chief are his brother, his son or his grandson. The tribal council selects who the next chief will be. The chief has to swallow a stone that they call the stone of life. It is the same stone that is passed from chief to chief and I don't want to know how they get it out of the prior chief. The stone is in the chief for life.
There are 7,000 people in this village, and each family has a kind of compound in that they surround their huts by a fence. The parents have one hut, the sons have another and the daughters have another. They are typically made of straw and thatch and closed in with mud. There are also mud huts and some that are made of clay. We had a guide that came along with us and explained everything about the village.
They also have a market where visitors are supposed to visit and they hope will buy. It is the main way they raise money to support the village. We went through and made some purchases ourselves, but they did not get rich off of us. One of us was looking for a souvenier elephant and mentioned it to someone else very quietly. By the time we reached the first shop, everyone knew we wanted an elephant and all of them were holding them up as we approached their shop. It was a wonderful experience to visit this village and see how people live even today.
One funny thing, one of the mud huts with a thatch roof had a satellite dish on top!!
So today we leave for home. We have a 1:15 flight out of Livingstone and get into Tampa at about 1:00 on Tuesday. So that's 30 hours of travel. We have a 5 hour layover in Johannesburg and a 3 hour layover in New York. So pray for safe travels and we will send a final update once we get home.
Your Zambia Mission Team