Sunday, October 24, 2010

Church Adventure

It is really HOT here! It feels like we are in Africa!! Oh, we ARE in Africa!!! Well, it’s ok then! It is 100+ during the day and even in the evening it is 90 in the house. Thank goodness for electricity (most of the time) and fans!

On Saturday we were invited guests at a nearby Seventh Day Adventist Church. We ventured out on foot. Then we came to a small body of water that was too large to walk through so we had an escort transport us in the mukolo (boat).

We wore the traditional dress and entered into a beautiful service.
We were in a basic brick building with benches and plastic chairs. There was beautiful singing and no accompaniment. They actually had the visitors stand and they sang a welcome song and several people came to greet us. It was a touching celebration with translation in both English and the local tribal Lozi language. After singing and announcements, we were dismissed to go out under a tree (don’t forget your chair) for a type of Sunday School. We were in the English group which was the smallest (about 9 of us). I would guess there were about 130+ adults and children in attendance. After the lesson, we returned to the service. One of the tribal elders (who is on our staff) gave the message. We ended this part of the service with prayer and singing. We moved back outside where they served us chicken, rice with catsup and mashed potatoes made with sour milk. It was a HUGE plate of food! After the lunch they proceeded with more worship and dancing but we did not stay. The celebration was to end about 4:00pm (it started about 7am).
Since the girls were frightful of the mukolo ride in the water, they opted to have us walk around the water to get home. Then, there were screams when the herd of cattle came!
We were walking in the hot, dry and dusty bush with cattle to dodge. I really felt like I was in Africa.

Saturday night was movie night at the Children’s Home. It is also traditionally a treat night so they enjoyed chocolate bars from Dave. Dave has volunteered his time here as interim director for 6 months. He has done a great job keeping the facility going. He will be returning to the states this Friday so I hope and pray that we are ready and able to “carry on.”

 Travis delivered the message on Sunday morning. He spoke on faith and giving our best to God. The scripture reading was Hebrews 11:1-6.

In everything that you do, (singing, sweeping the floors, school work, serving, sports, child care) do it to the glory of God.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My First Birthday in Africa!

OK, sometimes we go out to eat for our birthday, sometimes we receive gifts, sometimes we go see a show, well, I went to Africa for my birthday this year! How was it you ask? It was Great!

I received hugs from children and many handmade cards. Many of you also sent me electronic birthday wishes and I thank you greatly for them. Travis took me to dinner at a local restaurant and we had a nice meal. The day actually started with 2 very long meetings that lasted until about 1:30. Then I went to town with one of the staff to look for curtains for the house parent side of the transition home for the oldest children. They have not yet moved in but we are hoping and praying that we are getting very close.

Wednesday and Thursday morning we had a training to review the law and the standards for the children’s home. It was very informative and Sylvia, the trainer, really blessed our lives and we are looking forward to more meaningful interaction with her. God does not set up these meetings for nothing. We know that she is a part of this ministry and will be helpful for us and the children and staff.

She lives near the capital which is several hours away but she is certainly interested in these children and this area (the Caprivi Strip in Katima). She invited us to come to a local pastors meeting this afternoon where she introduced us and we had the opportunity to talk a little bit about why we are here and how we got here and what our goals are. It is so exciting that in the 9 days that we have been here, we have already been to the royal establishment and attended a local pastors meeting.

Remember, this has NOTHING to do with us! It is ALL GOD!!! He has prepared the way for us and continues to pave the path.

Exodus 23: 20 See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”

Yesterday afternoon, I took my second child to the hospital. It is always an experience at the hospital and I hate to see our children sick or in pain. Please continue to pray for Isaac (who was on last weeks hospital run and is feeling better but still not well) and Berina.

OK, that makes 3 trips driving to town “independently” for me!

Next week we have lots of visitors so please pray for their travel and time here. Ray is coming from Maryland. He and his wife Deb, served 6 months here as the interim director prior to Dave (who is here with us now). Darrell and Richard are coming Tues from The Mission Society (our sending agency). They are currently in South Africa attending a conference so they are close enough to come and visit to both see the site and check up on us We are excited to see all 3!

Saturday we plan to attend a local village church with some of the children who have been going there some. The service is from 9am until about 2pm. We will still have our traditional service here on Sunday morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The weekend in the Village

Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 We are still learning!!!!

We have both driven the big van now (just on our sand road however). Talk about everything being different… You drive on the opposite side of the road, sit on the opposite side of the car, shift
on the left instead of the right and the turn signal is on the opposite side of the wheel. I just keep thinking that I (the driver) has to be in the center of the road, otherwise there will be a problem! As our friend said, “when you turn, your trouble comes from the right, not the left.” I think that we passed the test so I guess we will know this week if Dave lets us drive on the paved road :O

I have been walking to the garden to get fresh vegetables many of the days. Right now we have carrots and spring onions but it looks like we will soon have a lot of tomatoes and some corn, squash, pumpkins and mangos. The banana plants are not doing so well after last year’s flood. We also lost most (or maybe all) of the lemon trees. We are blessed with what is there and plan to plant some more soon.

We took 13 children to play a soccer match on Saturday afternoon but the other team never showed. We waited about an hour and then left. We were excited to see them play but there will be other opportunities.

Saturday afternoon and evening we spent time at the children’s home interacting with them and trying to get to know some of them a little better.

We led the Sunday morning service and had Disco help with leading the music on his guitar. We greeted the children and staff that were there and thanked them for our warm welcome. When we arrived there were “Welcome Home and We love you” signs taped up all inside our house. It was really neat and made us feel at home and blessed.

We did a little more organizing and unpacking and making our house feel a little more at home this afternoon. Then we took our new chairs that Lisa and Craig got for us out to the back yard and watched the African sun set. BEAUTIFUL!!! We heard the hippos but still have not seen them.

BIG PRAISE: Thank you TRISH!!! The car is sold! The only thing left is the closing on our house on Oct 27th!!!

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Tomorrow morning we have devotions with the staff at 8. Then we head to Mufuta – a place where we take food that provides a meal for the children that come across the road from the school. We have a very busy week with a lot of meetings.

 Now, for the receipt for the day out of the Zambezi Traveler: Listed in the article called “How to keep an elephant out of your garden.” Chilli Dung Balls:

Fresh elephant dung – still steaming essential

Hottest fresh chillis available

Old potato or onion sack, or netting
Giant size pestle and mortar

Method: Mix the dung and chilli in the pestle and mortar, pounding well, then pat into a hand size ball. Scoop out a small cavity in the top of the ball, and place the ball in the sack of netting suspended in a convenient place to dry thoroughly. Enjoy!!!

Our favorite phrase: TIA (This is Africa)

Most missed: family, friends and for Lorna only – pretzels

Challenge: Not being able to run the toothbrush under the facet water or drink out of the tap.

Frustration:  Technology 

Annoyance: Ants, Ants, Ants, Flies, bugs, bugs.

Blessings: The people: children, staff, community and volunteers, sunrise and sunsets.

Biggest adjustment (as of now): driving and money exchange rate(s).

Thankful: God, our prayer partners, our supporters, our families and our friends!!!!

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

News from Children of Zion Village Day 3

Greetings and love from Katima Mulilo, Africa!!

We have had a busy few days here and it has been very hot (90-100 degrees with a cool 80 in the house at night) and dusty/sandy. At the end of the day, I have a scalp of sand because of the way it blows everywhere. Sometimes I think I have a tan where by sandal straps come but, no, it is dirt!

Let me also tell you that the spiders here are really BIG! One was under my towel this morning. Guess he was keeping warm since it went down to 80 degrees.

We have been many places in town and continue to learn the processes and meet people/make connections and build relationships. We have paid the taxes (both income taxes and SS taxes). We must do this each month and you must pay in cash and with the exact change. Only one person at the window can take the money so if he is not there, you must come back or wait.

We have been to the hospital to pick up the children's meds. People are lined everywhere. In Africa you move from line to line (and sometimes back again) and it is called a que.

We have been to the grocery store. Yep, there are a couple of things that we miss but are not craving (yet). We also went to the market. We went to the phone store to buy time and we went to the telecom store to try to get a new modem but we have not yet been able to connect to the right person. We will try again tomorrow. Once we get the modem we will hopefully have better communication back to the states and will maybe even be able to send some pictures. Right now that is not an option as the connection is really slow and it costs us per minute to be on line. We do have some great pictures so I can't wait to ask Stacey to post them on the photo gallery so you can enjoy them as well. Lots of cute children!!!

We have been to the vocational school where some of the children are attending and learning a particular vocation.

We spent a couple of days taking the village elders to a rather faraway place to attend a meeting. The first time we left about 8am and were back about 1pm. Today we left at 6am and got back at 1:50pm. We were at the Mafwe Royal Establishment where they have like a court trial. Today we waited all morning while they had a meeting to be invited in. Once you are invited in you must be in the proper dress: Men in long pants and shirt, women in the traditional shatangi (skirt) and blouse and head cover. Prior to entry to the building you kneel and clap. Then they clap back and you enter. The clapping show respect and you do this when you meet someone. There is a particular hand shake then you clap twice. We then entered and sat on a bench. We did not understand the language so I cannot tell you everything that was going on. The first man that was on trial was there because he wanted a cattle catch on his property. That took about 30 min total. When it is your turn the representative goes to the middle of the floor and sits with his legs straight out in front. He first kneels and claps. There is lots of talking and clapping. We spent all of this time there to find out that the person/persons involved were not there because the letter for the meeting date just went out yesterday so they did not know to show. Well that does mean that they will have to go back, and we are the transportation (which is really the only reason we were there). On the way out we all had to kneel and clap then it was repeated outside.

While there and waiting I was trying to figure out how to use my time. You know in the states we would be feeling like we were wasting so much time. So, at first we Americans were sitting in the van and the rest were sitting outside on the ground. The men were in one place and the ladies in another. So, I went to sit with the ladies. I quickly found out they did not speak English and I did not speak Lozi. So, I just sat there. Then I saw all these small twigs around on the ground in the sand. So, I started making crosses. At first I could not find the right kind of stick to rap around the cross to hold it together because it kept breaking. I almost gave up but then I thought, what else are you going to do? Just stick with it. So, then I determined how to make it work. After I finished 2 I gave them to the ladies next to me. We ended up sticking 4 in the sand before we left. Might be a unique way to witness but it was all I could do at the time. Hopefully in some way it started the building of a relationship that will grow in love and partnership.

We have not spent as much time as we would like with the children but we have to take advantage of Dave while he is here to show us around and introduce us to important contacts. We will hopefully have more time with the children this weekend. I do know that we are taking the girls to a soccer match Saturday afternoon and we have the church service on Sunday morning.

Love and prayers to you back in the states!!! We are so blessed with your love, support, prayers and encouragement. Our prayers are with you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First twenty four hours

After we arrived yesterday, of course we greeted the children and staff that were here.  It was great to see everyone and they all seemed excited to see us as well.  We talked with them until dinner and then we hung out while they ate.  Holding the baby (Nsala) was awesome.  She is soon to turn 6 months.  Josiah, the next youngest at about 2.5 is talking up a storm.  He will tell you a story: "Once upon a time there was a hippo."  That is the end of the story.  So cute!
We do not really have internet access (long story) so we have not been able to read or respond to any emails. 
Today we spent from 8am - 1pm with the village elders taking them quite far to a meeting and waiting until the meeting was done to bring them back. We had the opportunity to visit with them some (part of building relationships). 
We needed to stop at the hospital on the way back to pick up the medications for the children.  When we returned we had lunch and then headed back out to take the older children to vocational school (from 2-4). 
While they were there we went and picked up 50 new mosquito nets for the children's beds.  This is a big praise as they were donated and are typically quite expensive.  The staff will hang them tomorrow. 
We visited the telecom place to try to get a modem to get on line but the "right person" was not there so we will try again tomorrow. 
We also visited the immigrations office and spoke to a person about getting our volunteer visas.  Another long story. 
Then we ran to the grocery store to pick up food for dinner. 
I cooked curry chicken, corn on the cob and we had left over rice that Tori cooked last night.  We ate with Dave (the interium director who is here for about another week and a half) and Tori (one of the volunteers that is here until December). 
In spite of how excited we were to unpack, we still have not accomplished that task.
What is the weather like??  VERY HOT!!!  VERY HOT!!!  Everything is very dry and the sand is very dusty and since there is a breeze (thank God for even a warm/hot breeze) it is rather dusty. 
No snakes sighted.  No crocks sighted.  Heard the hippos and went out to look but did not see them. 
The 9 puppies are, of course, real cute and Lydia (the mom) is very busy! 
Everyone has been super nice and we are already learning a lot!!
Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is knowing what you hope for and being certain of what you cannot see. 
Love to all!! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goodbye Johannesburg, Hello Namibia!!!

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Well, we thougth we were on a journey, and we were.  But, honestly, I think that our journey really begins tomorrow.  A journey filled with joy and blessings, challenges and sorrow, questions and answers, mistakes, and, well, more mistakes, fulfilment and loneliness, praises and praises...

I wonder how long it will take to hug 59 children??  Stay tuned, we are about to find out and we will let you know!

Goodbye Johannesburg, Hello Namibia!!!
Psalm 18:30, 36, 46, 49
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
The Lord Lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Savior!
Therefore I will praise you amoung the nations, O Lord; I will sing praises to your name! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Johannesburg and the Lion Park

We have had a couple of nice days here in Johannesburg.

Friday we did a tour of the city. We saw from the very rich neighborhoods to the very poor.

We saw the stadium where the world cup was played earlier this year. We saw the house of Nelson Mandela, the Hector Peterson Museum and had a good traditional South African lunch.

Today, Saturday we went to a loin park. We saw many other animals besides lions but playing with the lion cubs was most likely the highlight.

Visit our website in the photo gallery to view photos albums of these two experiences.
We have one more day here in Johannesburg and the we travel home to the Caprivi Strip in Namibia. 58 kids to hug and love. What a joy that will be! "Here I am Lord, send me."

Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We Have Landed in Africa!

We signed a contract on our house Monday and it will close on October 27th! BIG PRAISE

We left for Africa on Tuesday and arrived today in Johannesburg. We are staying a few days at a cute place to debrief, rest and refresh our hearts and souls after a very busy several months.

Here is proof that we have arrived:

We have spent some time with Lisa and Janice who have just been at the Children's home for 2 weeks so they have the lastest information for us. They are here with us and will head back to the states tomorrow.

We have been so blessed being on the road and staying with so many different people and meeting new friends and building relationships but we are looking forward to unpacking and moving in. We are almost home!!!