Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Second Day of Christmas

We had a wonderful church service with God speaking through Travis on the Good Shepherd and how following and listening to the shepherd ties in with the birth and Christ and the Christmas day we just celebrated. After the service the “big boys” went on a long walk so the little boy, Josiah, was not happy so we went on a short walk with him and the youngest, newest baby Liseli. It gave our two staff a quiet opportunity (since Nsala was sleeping) to clean and prepare lunch for the children and gave us a nice opportunity to continue to bond with them.

 We had a thunderstorm in the afternoon. It was loud with lots of lightning and thunder and just some rain. We are thankful when it rains (and not too much to flood the road) during the day instead of during the night. We used to like rain at night but then we are unable to hear sounds that might alert us to people breaking into the house. So, rain in the day and evening and day is best. We continue to work on electrical issues to help light up the property and that may help to keep us safe. We continue to ask you for prayers of protection and peace at night so that we can rest and know that God will keep us and the property safe and quiet.

We also took the children on the first boat ride of the season. We expect there will be several more since the river is high for this time of year and we are told that we WILL be flooded come March. Please pray that the river remains under flood stage for us as we become surrounded by it and become an island. The “sand bridge” we have to cross when we leave each day is the first to go usually. Just watch out for the HIPPOS!!!


There are many new photo albums in our photo gallery on our web site now. We were behind because our web site person had a baby so Congratulations to David and Stacey on their second son, Colin!!! Stacey is great and now has our updates posted so please catch up and enjoy!!!



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day in Africa

This has been a Christmas to remember in Africa! From Christmas celebrations with the children from the feeding center and staff to our staff Christmas party to delivering Christmas gifts of food and toys to the nearby village to cooking Christmas dinner for the children that are still in the village with us and 2 staff.

The two baby girls came of course and they were so sweet.

We shared some stories and we learned some more about African traditions that we can implement next year. Since most of the food was gone, I would say they liked it!

After dinner we played a few games around the table.

 Today was hot but now the thunder is going and it is not raining but it has cooled down. It still amazes me that it is December and there are so many beautiful flowers around our house. I can say I don’t miss the cold and God knew what He was doing when He called me to Africa!


Even the dogs had a taste of Christmas dinner AND took time to smell the flowers!
                                        The girls were really worn out after a big afternoon!

Christmas Blessings to each of you around the world! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

WOW! What a Christmas Present for our first Christmas in Africa!

Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2: 10, 11

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!!

We received our Christmas gift today. A beautiful 3 month old baby girl who we picked up this morning and will be living with us and raised to know and love the Lord! What a blessing for our first Christmas in Africa.


NSala might be worried that she, the youngest at 9 months, is no longer the baby. She will have to share her clothes and that is just not something that girls like to do. Look at this, she is already having to help with the laundry but she is such a happy girl, she just goes with the pace!

We are having the children that did not go back to a village to visit relatives and staff over to our house for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Might be interesting but will be a blessing!

Love from our house to your house for a Blessed Christmas Day!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Celebrations abound!!! Remember the Reason for the Season!!!

There are many exciting things happening here at Children of Zion Village!!! There is never a dull day and we learn several things each day. We are the full swing of Christmas and hope that you are too! To those of you that have sent or posted pictures of snow, we are enjoying them. It is odd to be so hot this time of year but at least we don’t need so many clothes and can still wear our shorts and short sleeved shirts.

From Christmas decorating, cookie baking, food preparation and parties to gathering fire wood, plowing gardens, a bon fire, a safari, a break in, mud in the road, several children leaving to go with relatives in their villages for the holiday, picking fresh corn from the garden for dinner, the water pump breaking, a pipe in the children’s home breaking, snakes on the property, and today the boat went out on the river for the first time in many months.

We had a great time with the children decorating the children’s home and putting up the tree and doing what they have known as tradition. We did the tree, beads, lights and “generic” ornaments. Then they said that we should take one evening to call each name of the child to come an put “their” ornament on the tree. This means the ornament that has their name on it. Also, this is the evening to put on the STAR. So, we did that the night before some of them started to leave for their villages for the holiday. It was a special time and we have learned the tradition of something they have enjoyed from the past.

We then also decorated our own little tree in our house. Since we did not receive our shipment (YET), we are doing without some of our special traditional decorations.
What is missed the most is a nativity scene that Lorna’s father made before he passed away. He was an exceptional wood worker and we have several memories of him and one is the manger scene that he crafted in wood. It will be extra special next year. We even have our first 2 Christmas cards from the states and they are standing next to our Christmas tree. Thank You!

There was a request to do a bon fire so we did that before many of the children left for holiday. Marshmallows were a big hit and several bags were consumed. We could just apologize to the night workers!


We took some time to help Mafuta (the feeding center where we take food each Monday) to gather fire wood so they could prepare the food over the traditional open fire.
Travis drove WAY back in the bush but we were blessed by these wonderful people that volunteer their time to help out children that otherwise may not have food for the day.

One day Lorna went with a few of our girls to help plow their garden to plant Maize (corn). Again, what a blessing working side by side with children and adults.

Torie, a 3 month volunteer had a desire to go on a Safari prior to leaving Africa. So, we took her and 4 children to Chobe National Park in Botswana on our first “official” safari. We saw lots of animals but thousands of elephants!! There were challenges at the border with the people thinking that we were taking the children to the States but, after a few calls, we were successful getting through.



Taking our children was rather difficult. We needed several trips to transport them successfully. Dropping them off with people we did not know and looking at their faces made us apprehensive. The older ones seemed fine and the younger ones were excited but then they just looked scared. We pray they are doing well, having fun with relatives and making good choices and staying safe. We pray they might be a witness to others in the village where they are.

We invited the children and staff from the Mafuta feeding center where we take food each Monday to come and celebrate in a Christmas party.  Without God providing you to support this effort, these children might not eat.  We did lots of cooking, baking and transporting.  The party was great except for the rain.  Everyone had good food and received a gift which they really appreciated.  They had fun playing games outside before the rains came.  What a blessing these children and staff were to us!
After the party with Mafuta we had a party for our staff.  So, we had chicken on the brai, sausages, potatoe salad, maccaroni salad, carrot salad and bean salad.  Then at our staff party we enjoyed the home made Christmas cookies!  It was not a traditional celebration to us but it was very nice and everyone had a great time.  We were exhaused but we know that God blessed us and the people that participated. 

 Next:  who knows.  What we do know:  We will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 25th.  One of the kids has requested pizza!  Stay tuned... 

Wishing you a blessed holiday season, a Merry Christmas to you and your families and a safe and Happy New Year.  Soon to come ---- MANY pictures on the photo gallery!!! 
Love and Blessings from our home in Africa to yours around the world!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Children go home for the holiday.

We just came in from excitement in the river. There were hippos right behind us but in the river, not in our yard (yet). Since it is 9:30 at night, we don’t have a good enough light to see them really well but we could see them some. They seemed to be fighting at times and were very loud with the noise/snort and breathing they make.

When we looked up at the sky, it was like a giant Christmas tree full of while lights. The galaxy is just incredible. There is no white light to dim the glory of each star in the sky. It made us think of the first Christmas and the star in the sky that led the way to the Christ child. We had just finished decorating our little Christmas tree as we are about to celebrate our first Christmas in Africa.

Hippos, bright stars, mosquitoes, heat, rain, and lots of children to love. Our Christmas will be different but the meaning and the reason to celebrate and be thankful will never change.

I do have to back up a bit. We have been so busy I have to catch you up (using the abridged version of the last 2 weeks. The end of school celebration was GREAT! There was lots of shopping trips to buy the suggested food and awards. There was a lot of cooking: chicken and sausages on the Braii (barbeque), potato salad, macaroni salad and lots of homemade cookies by Lorna.   Travis helped by encouraging and tasting each type to ensure that no one would become ill.

We had 10 guests from outside of our village. They were so thankful to be here and said that they had never been invited to anything like this here. There were people from the government offices and chiefs from the local tribes. The children were well behaved and did a wonderful job with their performance.

 We presented certificates for best achievements in academics, behavior and neatness. We did have to have the celebration inside because of the day starting with rain but luckily we are blessed with a big room to make it happen. It was a delightful day and we were very proud parents and we were also proud of the teachers and all of the staff that worked so hard to make the day a success.

Sunday we had a great service with the lighting of 2 advent candles.
After the service the children (along with us) put up the tree and started the decorating process at the children’s home. We had the Christmas music playing and it was a fun time. The tree keeps looking better and better as we make additional/new ornaments to add to the tree.

This week has been full of getting the kids packed up and ready to go to their villages for the holiday. There seem to be a lot of things needed prior to leaving including updates on medical visits. Yesterday and today all of the kids that live rather close were taken to spend time with family (aunts, grandmothers, sisters, brothers and some moms or dads). I have to say that I have only been here for 2 months but it was very hard to leave a child at a place where we do not know the people and you can tell that they are excited but yet scared. One of the most touching times was when one of the grandmothers saw her grandson. She was so excited and kissed and hugged him over and over. She had not seen him for quite a while and it was such a joyous moment. I have a photo posted but it just does not begin to tell the story (as most pictures really don’t).  

Saturday we took a larger than “normal” group of children to town to do their last minute shopping before they leave. The next group will leave either Monday or Tuesday. They go to the western caprivi which is quite far and will take the whole day to transport them and return. We will then be left with only 7 children. WOW, will it be quite. BUT on the 17th we are inviting the children and staff from the feeding center here to have a Christmas celebration including worship, games, lunch and gifts. Yes, there is a lot to do to prepare but we will have a great time and we pray that someone will be touched because of this time together with our staff and the children that are still here. More cookies to bake!! Anyone that wants to come on over and help is more than welcome. You can even help Travis with the taste testing!

Instead of doing a movie tonight, we are going built a big fire and roasted marshmallows. Stay tuned for the pictures.  With only 38 kids left, it seems rather quite. Never thought that I would say it was quite with “just” 38 children.

This weekend our volunteer, Torie, leaves to return to the states. She has been here for 3 months (longer than us) and has not gone on her long awaited safari. So, Sunday we are taking her to Botswana on a Safari and we will take a few children with us. No doubt it will be a great time. We just pray that our car holds up so we can get the kids back and transport them to their villages on Monday and/or Tuesday. There is a new volunteer that is coming in January and staying for 6 months. We are thankful for the help to us, the ministry to the children and any talent or skill they bring and teach to the children that volunteers bring.

Please pray for our children and their families as they visit that they would stay safe, make wise decisions, remember that Jesus loves them and will always be with them.

Please pray that they might be a good Christian influence on their family and can show and teach them about the love of Christ especially during this special season.

Please pray for all of our health and safety as we travel and fellowship.

Please pray for our families as they will have Christmas and for us as we also will have Christmas without our families in the USA.

We pray that you would continue to remember the reason for the season and in the business of this time, stop and remember the promise of Christmas and how much God loves you and that He will never leave you or forsake you!