Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Ladies of Sichikwalula

The Sichikwalula congregation was planted in 2004. The six women shown with me here were baptized during Zambia Medical Mission in July of that year. Rodgers Namuswa followed up and helped them start meeting. Soon one of the husbands was converted, then others in the community. It's now an active congregation with elders and deacons. Read more about these surprising ladies in an earlier post.

Love That Goat!

The ladies of Sichikwalula prepared a delicious meal of nshima, chicken, and goat for us. We sat in small groups eating with our hands from communal bowls. Shown here with me are Katie, Erin, Niki, our translator Rachel, and Haleigh.

Sunday Outreach - September 27

We traveled to Sichikwalula on Sunday for an outreach. This was a special occasion for the congregation as they were ordaining their first elders (shown here with their wives during the ordination).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

HIZ - Update

Sunday Rodgers Namuswa took us and the Harding University group on an outreach to Kauwe. The students got to experience a real bone-jarring Zambian bush road on the almost two-hour journey. HIZ student Daniel led the meditation at the Lord's Supper, and Logan preached. Both did excellent jobs and had the attention and enthusiastic interest of the congregation--evident by the "Um-hmms" and nods of the Zambians.

Some of the Harding students taught the Kauwe children's Bible class.

The entire HIZ group sang for the congregation after the service.

We exited the building and gathered in a circle for the traditional custom of shaking every member's hand.

The Kauwe congregation prepared nshima and chicken for our lunch. The guy in the middle is holding the chicken that will soon become dinner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend Outreaches

For some reason I cannot upload photos to the blog any more. I have spent hours sitting here trying to make it happen, but I am finally going to give up and just write the story!

This weekend we sent 47 students out to nine different villages for outreaches. They loaded up in the big yellow bus on Friday night, and then a small group was dropped off at each of the villages. The students spent the weekend visiting church and community members and holding Bible studies.

Sunday morning attendance at most of the congregations doubled. Many people were prayed for, and the students gained valuable experience in outreach activities.

Students loading their supplies for last weekend's outreach. They take the mattresses off their beds to sleep on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Family News

We're excited to share our family news--we're going to be grandparents! Our son John and his wife Leah are expecting a baby in April.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Two-year-old Katherine's life changed this week. She had crossed eyes until Tuesday when Meagan took her to Zimba Hospital. There an American opthalmologist on a volunteer mission fitted Katherine with glasses. Within two days her eyes were focusing almost normally.

Katherine had a rough start in life. She was brought to the Haven when she was a month old, weighing only two pounds and covered with syphilis patches. She is now a healthy and happy toddler with a bright future!


Our strawberry patch is prolific this year! Last night the Extreme Team (Meagan, Kelsey, Betsy, Jana, and Courtney) came over and enjoyed strawberries with melted chocolate. Yum!

New Chicks

Petronella recently hatched a brood of 10 new chicks.

The advice we received about hens was to replace (euphemism for "stew") them when they were two years old. We don't know how old Petronella was when we got her, but we've now had her two and a half years. She's still going strong and still definitely rules the roost.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Look What's Hanging Around!

These fruit bats were hanging in a tree just down the road from our house. We hear them squeaking through the darkness at night, but this was the first time we'd seen them roosting. Those of you who know about the children's book will understand why my first thought was "Stellaluna!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

HIZ Update

The Harding In Zambia group has been here only a week, but they have packed many experiences into that week.

Their classes have started, and they are learning the Chitonga language and the history and customs of Zambia from GBCC lecturers.

Some HIZ students are working at the Namwianga Clinic and others are caring for babies and toddlers at the Haven orphanage.

Harding students attended chapel with the GBCC students this week and have begun making friends with GBCC students.

They attended a Wednesday night Bible study with the Wasawange congregation, and then David took them up to the meadow for some serious star gazing.

A stomach virus swept through the group on Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday everyone was well again.

On Thursday they had their first traditional Zambian meal of nshima, chicken, cabbage, and soup. A few were brave enough to eat with their hands Zambian style.

Friday night we had singing and refreshments with the Extreme Team (see last week's blog) at their house.

Tonight the GBCC students are hosting an event to welcome the HIZ students.

Tomorrow we will attend church here at Namwianga in the morning. In the afternoon we are all invited to a wedding and reception for a GBCC administrator's daughter.

David and I feel truly blessed to spend time with these wonderful students!

The People at My Door - Choolwe

Choolwe was one of the first sponsored students I worked with when we arrived in 2005. He graduated from high school that year and then was a student of mine the following year in the business school. Choolwe was part of the group that recorded the Namwianga Sings! CD in 2006, and he went on several outreaches with us. He was always an impressive young man.

Now he is in his third year at Copperbelt University where he is studying electrical engineering. While he was home for a break, he came to see me. He described his current situation and the competitive nature of his program. There are nine students in his engineering class, and only four of those have earned their way--the others are placed there by their employers.

I asked Choolwe if he felt he was well prepared by his time at Namwianga. Without hesitation he answered yes, specifically pointing out how much the spiritual background he received at Namwianga has helped him face the temptations of college life.

It was a blessing to see how God is at work in this fine young man's life, and I know there are great things in store for him in the years ahead.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday Brunch

These bovine beauties are feasting on our front yard flower bed! There were about 30 cattle tramping through our lawn on Sunday morning. After they moved on, we found they have a fond taste for floral treats but don't care much for ferns.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Update - 6 September

Last week was a whirlwind, and there were some happenings that didn't make the blog. Here are a few of them in very brief form.

Sunday the Allisons arrived for the marriage seminar and were here until Friday morning. They were busy with classes during the day, but we were able to enjoy visiting with them in the evenings.

Monday morning David left for Lusaka to take the Harding vehicle for repairs. I took Rodgers Namuswa into Kalomo to buy food for the marriage seminar. As I was putting groceries into the back of our vehicle, the liftgate on the camper shell fell on my head, and I ended up with a split upper lip. Krista, a new American doctor in Kalomo, used super glue (yes, plain old super glue from America) to pull it together. It held pretty well and should keep me from having much of a scar.

David took the bus home from Lusaka on Monday night, and then drove back to Lusaka on Wednesday with Roy Merritt. They met the Harding group at the Lusaka airport late Wednesday night and brought them back to Namwianga on Thursday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had all kinds of workers at the Behnke/Estes (Bestes) house next door trying to have it ready by Thursday. Wednesday evening at 5:00 we got word that there had been a serious accident with fatalities on the road from Namwianga to Kalomo. A small truck carrying construction supplies had three riders in the back, plus the driver and two passengers in the cab. The driver was drunk and lost control as the vehicle crossed a bridge. The riders in the back were thrown out, and two of them were killed when the truck landed on top of them. One victim was Melvin, the 14-year-old son of Esther, a dear friend of ours and a co-worker on Zambia Medical Mission. Esther's young brother was thrown clear of the vehicle and survived, but had serious injuries and was taken to Kalomo Hospital. The driver and passengers in the cab were not seriously injured.

My neighbor and I went to visit Esther on Friday afternoon. The furniture in her small house had been taken outside in the yard, and there were mattresses on the floor. When we entered the front room, there were several other women sitting on mattresses with her, plus her her sister Georgina, who also works on the medical mission. We greeted everyone quietly and then just sat. It reminded me of the story of Job when his friends came to comfort him and sat in silence. Outside there were many other mourners sitting around quietly or tending to the cooking fires.

The funeral was Saturday afternoon with the burial at Namwianga's cemetery. As is the tradition in funerals here, various groups were called forward to place flowers on the grave. Esther's family is well-known in the community, so there were government officials as well as teachers and administrators from Melvin's school and the school where Esther had been a teacher. An especially touching moment was when Melvin's classmates in their school uniforms brought their flowers.

The Harding In Zambia group has kept very busy since their arrival on Thursday and has had a variety of experiences. The Namwianga community hosted a reception for them on Friday night, and the HIZ students impressed the crowd with their singing, especially when they effortlessly belted out "Wabota Munzi Waba Jesu." Saturday they attended Melvin's funeral service, learning how this culture mourns. This morning we took them to the Tumango congregation for worship, and they experienced a village church service. On Monday morning their classes begin, starting with Chitonga lessons at 6:30 a.m.

George Benson Christian College students have been on break for the past four weeks, but they are due back tomorrow and we will begin teaching our classes again on Tuesday. After last week's hectic pace, we are hoping things slow down a bit!

Marriage Seminar

After two days of trying, I was finally able to get this photo to post! Shown here are Fielden and Janet Allison and some of the couples who participated in last week's marriage seminar. They came by our house to say thank you to us for helping to organize the program and thank you to the Allisons for the great lessons.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Marriage Seminar

This week we Fielden and Janet Allison conducted a four-day marriage seminar here at Namwianga for seven Zambian couples from all over southern Zambia. Our hope is that the participant couples will strengthen their own families and also teach others in their home congregations what they have learned.

The Allisons stayed with us, and we had many delightful conversations with them. They have been missionaries in Africa for 37 years, so their stories and perspectives were interesting and enlightening.

Friday, September 04, 2009

HIZ Greeting

The Extreme Team (see previous blog) organized the neighborhood children, mission staff, and Haven toddlers to welcome the Harding in Zambia students on their arrival. The children are holding a sign that says "Mwapona Harding" (Welcome). We also sang several songs in Tonga--a traditional greeting activity in the villages.

Shown above are the Harding students during the welcoming activities.

The Extreme Team

Here is the team that pitched in and got the Bestes house ready on Thursday. Four of the young women are newcomers to Namwianga, having joined Meagan Hawley this summer. From left to right: Courtney Jenson, me, Betsy Watson, Kelsey Kelly, Jana Miller, and Meagan. They have already been a tremendous blessing to Namwianga Mission and to me. All are graduates of Oklahoma Christian University, and each one brings unique gifts and talents to the work here.

Courtney is working with the babies at the Haven, specifically in language development. Betsy is a nurse who tends to the health/medical/development needs of the Haven babies. Kelsey's interest is working with the high school girls at Namwianga Secondary. Jana's field is education, and she teaches elementary children in an enrichment program.

They devoted Thursday to helping me get the Bestes House ready. I was amazed at their energy, efficiency, and enthusiasm! I had a two-page list of jobs for them, and they had everything checked off in no time at all. They even had extra time after getting the house ready and had energy to sing and play games with the neighborhood children who came to greet the Harding students.

More Bestes House Photos

Here is the Bestes House kitchen at noon on Wednesday:

And here it is at 3:00 on Thursday.

Extreme Home Photos

The new house where ten of the Harding coeds will be living is called the Bestes House because the two people who are financing it are Dr. Behnke and Dr. Estes. This is the house that several of us worked this week getting ready for the HIZ students. The above photo shows what the living room looked like at noon on Wednesday.

And here is what it looked like at 3:00 on Thursday afternoon--just an hour before the students arrived!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

HIZ Arrival

Just a quick post to report that the 2009 Harding In Zambia group arrived today.   We have spent the week getting ready for them--David drove the HIZ vehicle to Lusaka on Monday and left it for repairs.  He rode the bus home Monday afternoon and then rode back up on Wednesday.  The HIZ group flew into Lusaka late Wednesday night, so he was there along with Roy Merritt to meet them. They spent the night in Lusaka and drove to Namwianga today.

My major project this week was overseeing the finishing touches on a new house next door to us that will house 10 of the Harding girls.  After today I have a new appreciation for the crew on Extreme Home Makeover--there were a few times in the past couple of days when I really wondered if we were going to pull it off, but we did, and the house was ready a full hour before they arrived.

More details to come . . .