Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Global Impact Celebration in the states

As members of Norcross First United Methodist Church in Norcross, Georgia, we were invited to their annual Global Impact Celebration starting on Jan 27.  This is a celebration on how God is working both locally in that community and internationally around the world.  The church brings back the missionaries that they help to support both prayerfully and financially.  We are very thankful to our church and it’s heart for missions or we might not be where we are today – Namibia!  It all started when we went on short term mission trips with our church that we felt called to something more.  We very much love our church family and we were very excited about this opportunity.  Instead of helping to plan the event we would be full time missionaries participating in the event. 

We were also invited to be the speakers at the kick off banquet Friday night.  WOW!  Nervous – Yes.  Excited – YES!  Why the excitement? – an opportunity to tell how God is working in Namibia.  Not just at the Children of Zion Village but in the community and even the government.  We have experienced many miracles since our arrival and we know that God is here and everywhere we go! 

We set up our table with picture books and slides rotating so people could get just a taste or glimpse of where we are.  Then came the banquet and the talk.  350 people attended!!! 

P1200973  P1200976   P1200984

The weekend continued with excitement and energy.  On Saturday morning after a church wide breakfast, a couple hundred of us gathered to put together food packs for the “Stop Hunger Now” program.  In less than 1.5 hours (yes, that is less than one and a half hours) 30,000 food packs were completed!!!  Amazing!!!

P1200997      P1200994     P1200991

Sunday Travis and I had the privilege of speaking to the young children’s group.  They were certainly full of energy and questions.  We let them dance in the reed skirt and carry baskets on their heads as the “African way”.  We taught them how to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in SiLozi, showed slides (of course) and had a great time with the children (and teachers in the class :))

Sunday night closed with a processional of all the countries that were represented.  We each carried a flag to represent where we were serving.  It was a moving time and as we continued to reflect our time here, we continue to know that we are where God has called us to be at this time. 

                   P1210012             P1210013

We also visited The Mission Society and were blessed by our family in Christ there!  We are grateful to each of them as they have played a big role in our life to prepare for the mission field and as we serve. 

                 P1210016               P1210018

We are thankful for our friends that greeted us, transported us, fed us, prayed with us, gave us a place to lay our head each night and sent back gifts with us, and on and on...  You are all a part of HIS team.  We love you and thank you for your partnership, support, encouragement, prayers and HUGS!!!!

Village giving

When we came we found some very cute pillow case dresses in a box.  I don’t know if you ever saw pillowcase dresses but they are very cute!   Some ladies from Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio made them for girls in Africa.  They have a “little dresses” mission to help the girls feel “value and worth.”  We honestly do not know how they got here but we knew they were another blessing from God and that we should pray about how and where to distribute them.  Well, they were either too big or too small for our girls, there were not enough for the girls at Mafuta.  So, we just held onto them and honestly somewhat forgot about them. 


When the Induna (tribal chiefs) came to speak to our children about respect, behavior and importance of an education, we were talking.  A thought came to me that when we delivered some food as a Christmas gift that there were many girls in their villages.  So, we ask them to send the number and age of girls in their families.  Once we had the information, we packaged dresses that we thought would be the right size.  We also pulled out some books that “Real Way Down” brought.  The we took 3 of our children and made our rounds to 4 villages to let our children deliver the gifts.  When they were distributed they were told that we would pray for all the girls that wore the dress and that Jesus loves them. 

P1210093   P1210094   P1210095

Since our children so often receive, we continue to try to teach them that it is often better to give than to receive.  The children were blessed and the families were grateful and very appreciative.  Mateo had a great time standing in the back directing Travis where to turn and swerve to miss the giant holes of mud and water.  We were all cracking up with laughter as we rode (without getting stuck) through the bush!  Thank God for gifts that keep on giving and the joy of laughter. 

We thank God for the ladies in the “little dresses” mission from Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We only hope that someone from there sees this information since we do not have a form of contact.  God Bless you as you continue to serve Him in His mission to the world!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Christmas (after Christmas) at COZV

Since the children go to visit any relatives they have in their villages over the Christmas holiday, they are gone from mid December until mid January.  This means that we celebrate Christmas on Christmas day, but most of the children are not here.  So, when they return, we celebrate Christmas again. 

This year Christmas with all the children was on January 14th.  We all had a nice lunch together with traditional pap, chicken and veggies.  Then the children were sent to their rooms while all the volunteers organized and lined up the gifts under the tree.

P1200706      IMG_6330     P1200722

Once the tree and set up was ready, the children were invited to come to the room and sit on the circle of benches.  Bob and the Mt Zion Team led them is some Christmas songs while Mr and Mrs Claus changed clothes. Then, with the sound of jingle bells, Mr and Mrs Claus came through the door. 


Each child’s name was called and each came to receive their gift.  Smiles and laughter filled the room.


The team from Mt Zion was here and they brought the gifts for the children from their sponsors. Epiphany UMC sent toys and tee-shirts for the children. Dave and Margaret from Australia were here for helping in many ways for 3 months and they brought nice gifts for the children as well. So, the children were very blessed and showered with gifts this year. Thank you to all who contributed in any way to make the day very special for the children.

Merry Christmas from Katima Mulilo Africa!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Children in their villages

Two times a year the children have a month long holiday from school.  Most all of the children here have some family in a village in the Caprivi.  So, it is at those holiday times that they go back to visit their family (usually extended).  A few of them do have one parent living but, at the time they were placed here at Zion, they were not able to take care of them for various reasons.  It is this opportunity that reunites the children with relatives, gets them more used to their culture and their tribal/village language (not English) and allows them the opportunity to meet new people and build relationships and hopefully also share the love of Christ with their family and friends. 

IMG_5462     IMG_5461     IMG_6324

So, we pack up the trailer with the children’s belongings and head out on the road to drop the children.  It takes us 2 days of travel to get everyone delivered. I have to say it is hard to drop them with people that we do not really know and they don’t know them well either.  But, now that they have been doing this for a few times, it seems easier and they are always excited to go and excited to get back:) 

We know it is in their best interest to know their culture and how it is living in a village since that is what they might be doing when they are discharged from Zion.  We also know it is an opportunity for them to go and make disciples.  Most importantly we pray they will make good decisions and let the love of Christ shine through them for others to see and want.

 IMG_6305    IMG_6321    IMG_5463