Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Children of Zion Village 2012

Luke 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. 

We are thankful today for so many things but mostly we focus on the birth of Jesus and what that means for us.  Our Savior, our Lord.  We are thankful to God for His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Today we started our day with worship at the children’s home where all staff joined in the celebration and worship in prayer, word and song.  AWESOME!!!

Travis and I have always cooked for everyone here on Christmas day.  So, right after the worship we start in the kitchen.  We actually had 8 staff working today.  4 outside staff and 4 inside staff, 3 big boys, 5 little ones and us.  This is an increase from NO staff working last year.  The food we can find here is always limited but we can almost always find chicken and sometimes beef.  Well, this year we did not find beef but we found HAM.  It was a first time seeing ham here.  So, we cooked ham, mashed 5kg of potatoes, made gravy and corn.  Some did not eat ham so we also made chicken.  We placed our nice African cloth on the table and all were served. 

P1010849         P1010825      P1010861

After dinner/lunch, Travis and I came back to the house for a while and, yep we got on the computer which is why this can be posted:)  Then I headed back to work on a Christmas bulletin board.  It might be a bit late but it will be ready when the rest of the children return from holiday.  This was a great time for pictures too. 

P1010865    P1010870   P1010887    P1010891

                P1010900          P1010906          P1010908

P1010829    P1010831   P1010885

Merry Christmas and many blessings for the rest of 2012 and into the New Year!!!!  Love, Lorna and Travis


Christmas eve day at COZV 2012

We have grown to love and hate the challenges of the days here in Africa.  When the Christmas holidays come we think that it will be more quiet and we have more time because many of the children are back in their villages visiting family.  But there never seems to be down time and certainly never boring times.  When challenges come we try to find the blessing in them or the reason for them.  On Christmas eve we had trouble with finding the blessings and went to bed somewhat exhausted and discouraged.  But, we still were pumped on the hope of tomorrow – Christmas day.

We started our day saying - “no town trip today”.  The road is very bad from all the rain and we knew from earlier experience during last week that the town is PACKED with people and the queues are 1-2 hours of waiting.  So, if there is nothing really needed, why go?  Well, then 3 children that returned to Zion (when they are not supposed to do that) ask for a ride to town so they could return to their village.  So, we said ok.  Since we were in town we decided to pick up a few things.  We continue to need to shop for school uniforms and school items and if they get sold out, we will be in trouble (or our children will, which in turn means we will).  So, after spending the whole morning and only being successful in 2 stores out of 4, we “gave up”.  After standing in a queue for chicken for 1.5 hours and probably and another hour to wait, we said, '”not needed, let’s go.” 

So we returned to Zion to pack up some food type Christmas gifts for 5 villages.  We do this to show we care and to show Christ’s love and share in HIS blessings.  We take our 5 year old (because he wanted to go) and one staff member to show us the way through the bush.  Well, after the first stop the rain started very hard.  The defrost did not work so the two in the front were wiping the whole time to keep the window clear enough to see through.  We dropped at the second village (the farthest away).  Then we get back on the tar road and the car quit.  Yep, it just quit in the middle of the road.  Now, the road is more busy than usual since people are traveling to their villages for the holiday.  The 2 guys quickly jump out and I get behind the wheel so they can push us off the road.  Thank God no one hit us!!!  So, Travis and Lorna and Josiah (the 5 year old) start walking back to Zion while the staff member stays with the car.  It took us at least an hour to walk back through the mud and rain and we were not close.  We get back about 5pm get the 4X4 and go back out the mud filled road to tow the other car.  So, the car toeing does not have break lights that work and the car being towed does not have breaks that work.  WOW!!!  We are in trouble.  Luckily Travis put his had out the window when he was going to stop so I could start working the break and the hand break.  Almost ran into the back of him but thankfully I never did.  On the only turn to head to the garage, the steering locked so the car kept going to the left the car pulling stopped and my breaks did not work.  HELP!!  Well, just across the road was the garage so it all worked out to finally get the car there.  BUT, there was no one at the garage so we left it outside the gate.  It is never good to leave a car that is not locked in a gate or at least attended by a guard, but we did.  We could not risk towing it anywhere else so we pray it will remain and no one will tamper with it until they open and can attend to it.  OH, I am not sure that cars are a blessing!!  I think God gave us 2 feet for a reason!!! 

So, we were back in the village just before 8.   Wet, exhausted and discouraged.  Three villages with out Christmas gifts.  Maybe by tomorrow the road will be better and we will be strengthened. 

For the 2 villages that we were able to get to, they were so grateful.  Josiah (the 5 year old) was able to recite Luke 2:11.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. 

Love and Merry Christmas from Travis and Lorna and Children of Zion Village!!!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Children of Zion Mission School End of year celebration 2012

On Friday Dec 7th we had a wonderful end of school celebration in town with the children, the officials, the parents of the local children that attend the school and staff.  Our school has grown in many ways over the last year.  Now, about half of the children attending the school come from town.  The other over half are the ones we live with here in the village.  It is only a primary school so the children attend here through grade 7 then they go out to government schools starting in grade 8-12. 

For the first time, we had the children parade starting in the middle of town at the open market to the town hall for the celebration.  We started the transport about 6:30am.  Getting the children all to where they need to be is always a big challenge with our limited transportation for so many.  The same day, the children that are attending government school had to go to pick up school reports.  So, we quickly got the small ones to town and hired a driver to take the older ones to the schools while we attended the celebration. 

The parade finally began once the police and traffic control officials arrived.  The children looked smart in their red and blue and they were even sporting new shoes!  The little ones needed a bit of help to keep up:) 


A few of the children served as ushers and 2 as the masters of ceremonies.  We opened with prayer, the national anthem and the pledges. There were several performances and dances by the children, both younger and older.  Many scriptures were memorized and spoken on stage.  They were awesome. 



Many important people delivered a speech with words of encouragement and words of wisdom and wonderful acceptance messages!  These people included the Induna from the Traditional Authority, the chairperson for the school management board (who is a principle at another school), our principle, one of the administrators for the school (Travis), the Councillor for Kabbe Constituency and Chairperson of the Caprivi Regional Council and one of our very own that has finished grade 11 with very high grades and is looking forward to grade 12. 



The day was a blast (thank God it did not even rain!!!) and we were all very blessed!!!  Thank you for your prayers and support.  God was totally in the day and in the children and in those that attended!!!  It was a day to celebrate children and success and give God the glory.  He reigns!!!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Reflection after 2 years in Namibia...

We are approaching our two year mark at Children of Zion Village in Namibia Africa and our first furlough to see our families.  We guess it is natural to have mixed emotions at this time.  There is the excitement of seeing our families and friends and sadness of leaving our new family and missing 3 months of growth and learning that will take place in our children.  We also know that we cannot just pick up where we left off in the states.  We have changed and our friends have changed.    We are thankful of the memories; the memories from before we left the states and now, the memories of our time in Africa.  

When we first arrived here, it was exciting and new.  Every day we learned something (and still do!)  It was an adventure.  The challenges were big but still the newness kept us going.  Once we were here for a while, the challenges still remained.  Some days we did not know if we could make it another minute.  Some days we were so discouraged because we worked so hard but no one even notices.  They just expect more.  We know we are not here for us and that we are here to serve but we are human and we also get tired.  Sometimes God calls us to our lowest so that we have to rely ONLY on HIM!  And, guess what, He always provides and it is always perfect.  As soon as we would get to our lowest, God provided the most wonderful blessings that boosted us so high we could soar above all of the difficulties.  And, God’s timing was always perfect.  From the border crossings without a work permit to the cars that continued to break down but at reasonable places and not somewhere in another country, to children that hate you because you say “no” and then love you because you just keep loving them to missing family and friends so much and then receiving a care package with goodies just like we were home in America.

We reflect on when we came here and how there was not a connection into the community.  We knew there were many bridges to build because our thinking was that our children cannot be successful without the community and without their relatives that are still around.  Now, the community is coming to Zion.  

They are coming with donations, they are coming to camp with church children, they are coming to see what we are all about and they are coming to bring their children to the Zion Mission School.  WOW!!  God is doing amazing stuff and the bridges are being built and the barriers are being broken down. 

When serving as missionaries, one has the privilege of touching life at most tender points… of walking with discouragement in dark valleys… of proclaiming truth in its purest form… of experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows… modeling integrity through its hardest extremes --- while everyone is watching as well as when no one is looking.  It is no wonder why it requires a God-given calling before one enters full time ministry or why such a struggle accompanies leaving it – even for a short time.    We thank God for the work He has done in us, through us, for us – and sometimes in spite of us!

We are so thankful and so Blessed!  We love our new African family, the staff, and the community. 


We also Thank God for all of you that God has touched your heart to partner with him in this mission in Namibia.  We cannot be here without your support, prayers and love.  We know who holds the future and we thank Him for our past. 
Most of all, we love the LORD our GOD, Your GOD!  We are one in the spirit; we are one in the LORD!

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel form the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 1:3-6
If you are wondering “where in the world are Travis and Lorna?” we have the following schedule (always subject to change). 

We thank you for your prayers during our travel and for the village in our time away and for our families and friends and churches as they receive us stateside.
24 - 25 Aug
Drive from Namibia to Botswana; Fly from Botswana to Johannesburg and Johannesburg to Lesotho.
27 – 30 Aug
Attend The Mission Society Conference in Lesotho
1 Sept
Fly from Lesotho to Johannesburg; Fly from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth
2 – 7 Sep
Tour Southern Coast of South Africa
8 Sep
Fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg Fly from Johannesburg to Kruger
8 - 9 Sep
Safari Camp in Kruger
10 Sep
Fly from Kruger to Johannesburg; Fly from Johannesburg to London
11 Sep
Fly from London to Atlanta
12 Sep – 12 Oct
13-18 Oct
29 Oct – 5 Nov
5 Nov – 9 Nov
10 Nov – 17 Nov
Destin Florida
18 Nov – 23 Nov
24 Nov
Fly from Atlanta to London
25 Nov
Fly from London to Madrid; Fly from Madrid Seville
26 Nov – 30 Nov
Fly from Seville to Madrid:  Fly from Madrid to London; Fly from London to Johannesburg
2 Dec
Fly from Johannesburg to Kasane; Drive to Katima Mulilo (Home)
7 Dec
End of School Celebration at Katima LA Hall
10 Dec
Leave with Children of Zion Mission School for one week education tour of Namibia

 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain.  I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.  Deuteronomy 11: 13-15


Stay tuned for the next 2 year blog and how God continues to use us and guide us and bless us in Namibia and around the world!