Sunday, August 30, 2009

On the Road in Namibia

We saw many of these signs as we drove through the Caprivi Strip in northeastern Nambia.  We only saw one elephant while we were driving, however, and it wasn't close to the roadway.  

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Camping in Namibia

Tsumeb is a two-day drive from Namwianga, so we camped along the way. Nambwa, the campground where we stayed, is part of a conservation effort in the Bwabwata National Park. Nambwa is called a 4 x 4 campground, which means it is accessible only by 4-wheel drive vehicle. In fact, it was 45 minutes of 4-wheeling to get to it from the main road. Our site was right on the Kwando river, and we could hear the hippos and all kinds of other critters during the night.

We had just finished eating dinner and were enjoying the sounds of the river when we heard some crashing in the bushes around our secluded camp site. We couldn't see anything in the darkness, so we reassured ourselves that it was probably just a warthog. The noise stopped after a few minutes, so we walked up to the shower house. On the way back, we heard the bushes rustling again. David shone the flashlight into the woods and the beam caught the glint of an elephant's trunk through the leaves. We very quickly and quietly scooted for the tent where we could safely look through the mesh and watch the elephants feeding in the brush just 15 yards away from us!

The next morning we talked to a guy who was staying at the campsite next to ours. He too had seen the elephants, but he'd had an even more exciting encounter. He had gotten up at 3 a.m. to go to the restroom, and on his way back had seen two lions and four hyenas!

The director of the campground told us they had never had any problems with the animals harming the campers, but he did tell us not to walk outside the tent when the elephants were grazing. We were happy to comply.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tsumeb Men's Leadership Class

David taught the men's leadership class at Tsumeb last Saturday.  As you can see from the photo, the setting was much different than the mud and thatch buildings we are accustomed to in rural Zambia.  And a whiteboard was a real luxury!  The Tsumeb congregation meets in the building used by the Tsumeb Bible Academy, a training institute for preachers and church leaders.   The participants for the class were students and teachers from the Academy as well as members of the local congregation.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tsumeb Class

These are the ladies of the Tsumeb congregation in Tsumeb, Namibia.  I conducted a teacher training workshop with them on Saturday and had a fantastic response.  These participants were enthusiastic, involved, and willing to participate in all the discussions.   Since they all understand and speak English, I didn't have to use a translator and we had more time to actually do the activities.  

Dena is the beautiful young woman standing next to me.  She is married to Michael, one of the teachers at Tsumeb Bible Academy.  Michael is the guardian for 12 family members who are refugees from Angola, so when Dena married Michael, she also became "mom" to Michael's relatives, including the two teenage girls next to her in this picture.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jonathan's Bicycle

Jonathan Kanagoiwa works in the spiritual counseling area during the medical mission every summer. He has a bright smile and a spirit of kindness about him.

One of the Americans who came on this year's medical mission grew fond of Jonathan and decided to get him a bike. We had the privilege of telling Jonathan this news and presenting him with the new Zambike.

I wish I could describe the amazement and gratitude on Jonathan's face when he first saw his new bike. No child on Christmas morning could be more thrilled. He said, "I don't have the words to say to thank you. The bike I have now I bought in 1973."

There is an annual gospel meeting at Dengeza, 50 kilometers from Jonathan's home, this weekend. Jonathan continued, "I have been walking to the meeting at Dengeza, but now I will ride."

Monday, August 17, 2009

How's That?

There are mysteries in life, some profound, some trivial.  This is about the latter.  Our internet went off Thursday evening.  One minute I could send an e-mail, a few minutes later I couldn't.  On Friday David got on Ellie Hamby's system and sent a notice to Coppernet that we had no service.   All weekend we suffered technology withdrawal--couldn't Skype with our kids, couldn't communicate with friends, couldn't post to the blog.  We did use Ellie's system briefly on Saturday, but she left for Lusaka on Sunday, and that was that.  At 11:00 this morning the system suddenly began working again.  And at 6:00 this evening we got an e-mail from Coppernet's customer service rep explaining that our system had been shut off because we hadn't paid our bill.   He didn't say why they had generously decided to turn it back on, but I'm guessing they checked their records and found that not only had we paid our bill, we had paid it 11 days EARLY!  We have to drive 40 miles to Choma to make the payment, so we did it when we were passing through on our way to a medical mission clinic. 

I scanned and e-mailed the receipt for August service dated July 20.   The rep hasn't replied yet.  
But we have internet again!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update - August 15, 2009

Coppernet, our internet provider has been out since Thursday, so we are going through technology withdrawal! Right now I'm connecting at Ellie Hamby's house using her system to get caught up on e-mails and blogs. If you don't hear back from us when you send an e-mail, you'll know it's because our system is still not working.

Today we traveled to Kabanga to do a leadership/teacher training seminar. It was one of our largest ever, with over 90 participants from 10 different congregations. The women were enthusiastic, chiming in with lots of Amens! as I taught.

Kabanga used to be one of our least favorite places to visit because the 70 km dirt road to get there was so bone-jarring and terrible. A few months ago, however, the road was completely redone, and now the ride is not bad at all except for the dust.

The students have gone home except for a few who stayed to take some special prep classes for the graduation exams. The campus is strangely quiet. We are still staying busy getting ready for Harding In Zambia's arrival on September 3. Ellie Hamby and I have been going through the guesthouses making sure that the rooms have the right furniture, linens, fans, lamps, and extension cords. We've also been working on the menus and making shopping lists. This year David and I will be planning and leading a week-long trip with the HIZ students to northwestern Zambia, so we have been making reservations and arranging the details for that trip as well.

Tuesday we are leaving for a week-long trip to Namibia to visit our fellow missionaries John and Martie D'Alton. We will be doing a leadership/teacher training seminar for their congregation and also visiting Etosha Game Park. I'll try to post again before we leave if we get our internet connection working.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Invite the Baboon Next Time

I'm sharing a great missionary story from Brian and Sondra Davis who work at Mumena Mission in Northwestern Province. Enjoy!

Each year we try to provide a “mountain top” spiritual experience for our Christian university summer interns. This year we held our final worship together on the banks of the Zambezi River overlooking Victoria Falls. We sang, prayed, and were sharing our spiritual insights from the summer’s program when I realized that there was another face in the crowd. A large male baboon had decided to join us and was sitting directly behind Jordan, one of our interns from Abilene Christian University. We all froze. The baboon, perhaps sensing that our devotions needed a nudge to continue, decided to come forward. He seemed particularly interested in the sack that Sondra was holding containing the emblems of the Lord’s Supper. I whispered to Sondra, “…drop the bag…” As the baboon began a disorderly digestion of the Memorial Meal, the church at Corinth came to mind…

“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.”
1 Corinthians 11:17 KJV

Fleeing persecution, we huddled in a corner of our hotel in order to observe the Lord’s Supper later that night. Relating this story to David Gregerson, missionary in Southern Zambia, he counseled, “Closed Communion should be seriously considered in certain cases.”

Suffice it to say, due to dignity issues, it is highly inadvisable to try and retrieve unleavened bread from a full-grown male baboon.
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured: Jordan Hanson, intern from A.C.U., falling from our spiritual high.

For more information about Mumena, visit our website at

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Chizunda Outreach

Today we took four college students for outreach. We dropped three of them at the Mabuyu church and then traveled on to Chizunda with one of the guys, plus Rodgers Namuswa and Ellie Hamby. The Chizunda congregation had 75 in attendance today. David posed with the crowd after the worship service.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Chishimba Falls

Another stop on our trip was Chishimba Falls outside the town of Kasama. We sat at the top of the falls and sang praises to the Creator. What other response would be appropriate when confronted with such beauty?

Muwela Cave Paintings

Last weekend we went with Mark and Michele Broadway to Kasama in northern Zambia and visited the rock art sites at Muwela.  According to The Magic of Zambia, "these paintings are considered by archaeologists to be among the most significant on the continent.  The paintings are thought to have been done by Stone Age hunter-gatherers . . . before 1000 AD. " 

Our guide told us that the paint was a mixture of animal blood, egg white, tree sap, and an ingredient the experts haven't yet identified.  Shown above is an ostrich and a bush pig.  

To find the paintings, our guides led us all over the rocky terrain, into caves, and through narrow rock openings. David is navigating one of the trickier passages.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Empty House

Yesterday we took Mark and Michele Broadway to the airport in Livingstone and came home to an empty house.  After over a month of company, it seems very strange to be just the two of us again. 

The only other American on campus now is Ellie Hamby.  The Merritts, Sheri Sears, and Meagan Hawley are all out on the Westreach Medical Mission this week.  Sadly, Don and Laura Oldenburg left on July 28 to return to the United States to live.  They deserve an individual blog entry later, but for now I’ll just say that we will miss them greatly. 

 Today is the last day of classes for the students.  They will all head home tomorrow for a four-week break.  The campus will be deserted and quiet.  It will take a few days to get used to less noise, less company, and less activity, but I know we will be too busy to be lonely.  These quiet days offer us time to get caught up on all the things that we left undone during the hectic days of June and July.  To everything there is a season.