Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off to South Africa

David and I are leaving on Sunday afternoon to attend a missionary retreat in George, South Africa. The Oldenburgs are going with us, and all of us are looking forward to a week of relaxation, renewal, and fellowship with other missionaries from all over this part of Africa. We do not anticipate having internet access during that time, so I'll be taking a Blog Break until April 6.


On Monday FOUR trucks rolled onto the mission bringing four box-car size containers full of supplies. The rest of the day was spent unloading, sorting, moving, and storing everything from bicycles to baby formula to books.

I had a good laugh when I caught sight of this bench being unloaded. It seems we imported several years worth of Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, and Double Bubble along with the auditorium seat.

Sunday at Magrimonde

Last Sunday David was invited to speak at the Magrimonde congregation in Kalomo. Richard Musolo, shown here with his family, was instrumental in planting this congregation several years ago and is one of its leaders now. Richard graduated from Manzini Bible College (now African Christian College) in Swaziland. His training there has prepared him well to serve here in Zambia. We found the congregation to be organized, welcoming, and very evangelistic. They are growing numerically and spiritually and are having an impact on the community.

A pleasant surprise during our visit was finding Miller Muwelya. Miller graduated from Namwianga Christian High School last year under the sponsorship program. On Sunday he directed the Magrimonde singing group as they shared some songs with us after the assembly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CBH and Haven Toddlers

Last Friday the CBH group made one last visit to the Haven to say goodbye to the little ones they had grown to love during the week. Meagan Hawley coordinated their work at the Haven and is shown on the far right.

Monday, March 23, 2009

CBH at Kasibi

I just found these photos on my camera. A week ago on March 15 we took the Camp Blue Haven group to Kasibi for Sunday worship. Leland Rose preached the sermon that day, with Mr. Simoongwe as his translator. Then after the service our CBH group sang for the congregation (below). They did such a good job on their first two songs that the congregation begged for another. We encountered several people from Kasibi during the past week, and every one of them commented on Leland's sermon and how much they enjoyed the CBH group.

Update - 23 March

We said goodbye to the Camp Blue Haven Counselors on Saturday. We had spent a fun 24 hours with them in Livingstone as we tried to squeeze some sightseeing in before they left. They were able to experience a ride on the Zambezi, a visit to Victoria Falls, and a game drive at Mosi-O-Tunya before heading to the airport.

On Friday night we had a de-briefing session and told them that our goal for their week with us was to create an Africa-shaped hole in their hearts so that they would always have a desire to help in the mission efforts here. I think that was accomplished, and we look forward to seeing how God works in their lives. Certainly their servant hearts and great attitudes were a blessing to us this past week!

While we were in Livingstone on Friday, we got word that John and Beth Reese had arrived at Namwianga a day earlier than planned. They had tried to call us but had our old number, and they couldn't get their e-mail account to work to send us an e-mail message. Well, our house was locked up, and the keys to the guest house were in our house. Louisa and Meagan saved the day and welcomed the Reeses to stay with them on Friday night. We were glad to see them and enjoyed getting caught up with their news of World Bible School as they stayed with us Saturday night.

On Saturday evening we got a call from Bart Bruington saying that he and Douglas Siampango were on their way from Mumena to arrange for a container to be transported and would be arriving some time during the night. We changed the sheets on a couple of beds and left a key for them with the night watchman.

As we often say, the welcome mat is always out!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update - CBH Counselors

We've had a wonderful week with our six Camp Blue Haven counselors. They have tackled every task with enthusiasm and have endeared themselves to all who meet them.

On Tuesday they spent the day at the orphanages, dividing their time between the infants in Haven One and the toddlers in Haven Two. Tuesday evening the Heavenly Echoes choir came over to give us a personal concert on the verandah. I'm guessing one or two of the songs they shared will be added to the Camp Blue Haven repertoire this summer.

Wednesday morning was again spent at the orphanages. Wednesday afternoon they visited Namwianga Christian Basic School and taught lessons in the first and third grade classes. The children loved it, and some even followed the counselors home to our veranda. The photo shows Micah, Kathryn, and Britni learning some unique hand claps from their new little friends.

Laura Oldenburg enlisted their help at the clinic Thursday morning where their task was to sort and organize supplies. Thursday afternoon they joined Rodgers Namuswa at the Kalomo Hospital. They visited the patients in the wards and then conducted a devotional for the residents of the Family Shelter. Also on Thursday we had a visit from Deb and Karen, two of our favorite Peace Corps Volunteers who are heading back to the United States. The CBH group enjoyed hearing about Deb and Karen's adventures.

It's been our pleasure to watch these young adults as they go through these experiences. We can see a love of Africa and its people growing in their hearts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Camp Blue Haven Counselors

This week we are enjoying a visit from six Camp Blue Haven counselors. Last summer we spent a wonderful week at CBH. We took the opportunity to do a presentation for the counselors, encouraging them to consider ministry in Africa. These six accepted the challenge and are spending their spring break with us.

They arrived on Saturday. Sunday we took them to Kasibi for worship with the congregation in the village. Leonard Sichimwa's family prepared a traditional meal of chicken and nshima for us, and then the Kasibi village band gave us a fantastic concert with their homemade instruments. The CBH group agreed with me that this was a "National Geographic Moment."

The above photo was taken this morning as they headed out for Simpweze village. There they met Supper (pronounced Soo-pah), a disabled man who became a Christian during last year's medical mission. They did some work in Supper's mango orchard and spent some fellowship time with him.

Tomorrow they will be spending the day helping Meagan at the Haven I and II orphanages.

We are having a great experience with these young adults. We've had great times reminiscing about Camp Blue Haven, we've had some deep talks about mission experiences, and we've had lots of laughter and fun together.

Pictured from left to right are Nathan Goodnight, Chad Baker, Leland Rose, Kathryn Warder, Britni Johnson, and Micah Bayles.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cobra in the Kitchen

"That's not good," David calmly announced last night. "A snake just went under the stove."

He had left the kitchen door open when he went out to check on the chickens. As he came back in, he caught sight of the snake slithering under the stove.

I left him to keep watch on our unwelcome visitor while I drove over to college to recruit some expert help. Several college guys were standing around in front of their dorm, and five of them jumped in the vehicle when they heard about the excitement.

Japhet held up his six-feet long stick ready for the kill as two of the guys warily pulled the stove away from the wall. No snake. Perhaps it had crawled up inside the stove? We turned on the oven and the burners to try to force it out. The guys banged on the sides of the range. We cautiously opened the oven door and the stove's lower storage drawer. No snake.

No snake should be good news. But David knew the snake had gone under the stove, and he knew the snake hadn't come out. There was a snake in the house somewhere.

The guys were convinced the snake had crawled behind the kitchen cabinet next to the stove. The cabinet is nailed to the wall and has a wooden backing, so I wasn't so sure.

Then one of the guys found that he could slide a long, thin, piece of wood into the narrow space between the base of the cabinet and the wall. If the piece of wood could get in there, so could a snake. Besides, the wooden backing stopped about three inches from the floor. There was open space under the bottom shelf behind the front cabinet facing.

"We need fresh milk," Japhet declared. "Milk will drive out the snake." When pressed for his reasoning, Japhet just repeated, "Snakes and milk don't go together. If you'll pour milk around, the snake will come out."

How do you argue with logic like that when there's a snake in the kitchen? The guys poured milk on the floor and tried to splash some behind the cabinet. We waited. No snake.

Next step: Pull the cabinet out away from the wall. David and the guys carefully pried the cabinet loose and pulled it back. Japhet took the flashlight and and peered underneath. "It is there!" he announced. He jammed a stick against the back of the facing board a few times and then pulled out the mangled reptile.

Our snake experts identified it as a cobra and cheerfully posed for a photo on the back veranda--but they wanted David to hold up the snake!

We rewarded our brave rescuers with a bag of candy and sent them back to their dorm. I mopped up the milk and the cobra blood, grateful that David had seen the snake go under the stove and wondering where it might have turned up if he hadn't seen it . . .

Jack and Steve

Jack Bayles (right) and Steven Anderson were our house guests for the past three weeks. Jack is a regular visitor to Namwianga, but this was Steven's first time in Africa.

Both Jack and Steven are mechanical engineers, and their skills were put to good use in many areas. They supervised the construction of a new water system at Sinde Mission--a project that has been in the planning stage for years. As in the past, Jack checked on water projects at Namwianga and other locations in our area and did tests on many drinking water sources on the Mission. Steven assisted Jack as needed and also patiently helped me learn how to do some new things on the computer, repaired broken appliances, and did any other task around the house that we asked him to.

Jack has been hooked on the work here in Africa for many years. Steven now shares that passion. We were blessed by their visit and hope they will come back again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Graduate Gives Back

Humphrey Syamate, a 2008 graduate of George Benson Christian College, exemplifies the best aspects of our training and sponsorship programs. An orphan with no one to support him, Humphrey came to GBCC under sponsorship and quickly distinguished himself in academics and leadership. Namwianga Secondary School recognized Humphrey’s potential and hired him to begin teaching math and science as soon as he finished his college courses.

In addition to his teaching duties, Humphrey now coordinates a math tutoring program for sponsored high school students. Humphrey trained George Benson college students to do the tutoring and then organized all the logistics of location and scheduling for the sessions at the secondary school. The college students are getting valuable teaching experience, and the high school pupils are thrilled to get some extra help in what for most is a difficult subject. Humphrey manages it all beautifully.

The training that Humphrey received at GBCC is now blessing the next generation of sponsored students at Namwianga.

Humphrey (far right) with the GBCC math tutors he trained

BIG news!

The big news in our area is ELEPHANTS! Small herds of elephants have been sighted on farms adjoining the mission. Last Sunday we visited the village of Kasibi where David preached for the morning service. Mr. Simoongwe, one of the elders, served as his translator. He told us that he had been late arriving for church that morning because he had been out inspecting the damage that elephants had done to his maize fields. This morning in chapel it was announced that elephants had been seen in Namwianga's back paddock. Schools are warning children to be careful when walking to school, and everyone is advised to be watchful.

The elephants in the photo above were seen in South Luangua's game park. I'll be quite happy if I don't have any opportunities to take photos anywhere else!