Monday, December 28, 2009

Nachowe Communion Tray

The Namachowe congregation has the most unique communion tray I have ever seen! It is a cardboard box covered with potato chip bags. The lid has holes cut out for individual communion cups. The top is edged with a ruffle made of candy wrappers. Practical and decorative--now that's what I call Zam-genuity!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Dinner

David cooked our Christmas chicken outside in a Dutch oven. Delicious! We also had corn, black-eyed peas, and strawberries, all from our garden. And the electricity stayed on all day so we were able to talk to our kids in the US.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Namwianga Christmas Day

I thought I'd post some scenes of our Christmas Day.

Backyard Greenery - Mango and banana trees

David on Christmas Morning

Copper Bushes in front of the house

The garden

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Namwianga Christmas Eve

David and I just came in from a moonlit stroll around the campus. The stars are incredible, and lightning provided a spectacular display far off in the distance. We couldn't be much farther away from a white Christmas--ours would have to be called a green Christmas. The rains have come at just the right times to make the landscape lush and verdant. Flowers are blooming everywhere, and our garden is approaching jungle status.

The campus is eerily quiet with very few people around. The students are long gone, and many of the teachers have gone to their farms to work or are traveling to visit relatives. We have been busy this week entertaining friends and enjoying a change from our usual schedules. We're planning a restful Christmas day with a few friends. If my Christmas wish comes true, we'll have electricity all day so we can contact our family members and cook dinner. If not, we'll be satisfied with the really important things: Peace on earth, good will to men.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Road to Namachowe

Sunday's outreach took us up the newly graded road north of Kalomo. The road work ended just 7 kilometers from our destination at Namachowe. The last part of the journey was on this rugged narrow lane through the hills.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Lily

This gorgeous day lily was blooming in our garden this morning.

Going Postal

Zambia consistently has double digit inflation, so we have gotten used to steep price increases. But we were not prepared for the recent postage hike. For quite a while we had used the stamp on the right which sold for 1,500 kwacha, or about 35 cents, for mailing letters to places within Zambia. Starting this week we have to add another stamp (left) worth 1,000 kwacha to all our intra-Zambia letters, and now it costs 56 cents to mail a letter. To put that in another perspective, a day laborer in Kalomo makes around 7500 kwacha, or $1.66, per day. Yikes!

Update - 19 December, 2009

We have had electricity most of the time this week, with just a few outages that lasted less than three or four hours each. Kind of took some of the excitement out of cooking. I had grown used to having menus for Plan A if the power stayed on, Plan B if I had to cook outside and Plan C if the food started out on the electric stove and ended up on the propane burner when the power went off.

Last Sunday we went on an outreach with Rodgers Namuswa and six guys from the community. We dropped the guys off in pairs at three different congregations along the Kabanga Road, and then Rodgers went on with us to Kanchele. The main road was in great shape, but the side road to Kanchele had some huge waterholes to cross. We were again very thankful for 4-wheel drive in the Land Cruiser.

Tomorrow we’re doing the same type of outreach, taking local evangelists with us to drop off at congregations along the way, but this time we will be heading north of Kalomo and ending up at a village near the entrance Kafue Game Park, one of the largest game parks in Africa.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Power to the People?

What a power-challenged week this has been! The electricity has been off more than on. Seems that a transformer in Choma was struck by lightning. The new one has to come from far northern Zambia and won't be installed until next Tuesday or Wednesday. Until then, we are "load sharing" with Livingstone and all the communities in between. The past three days we have had power from midnight to 8 a.m. and then a couple of hours in the afternoon. I'm hoping my freezer full of food survives the off/on cycles and that I can get my Christmas music fix before the holidays are over. At least the students have all gone home for the holidays, so the lack of electricity isn't affecting their studies.

Read All About It

I found this chaotic scene in the college library last Monday. Our librarian's usually neat desk area looked like the aftermath of a tornado. The cause of this mess? A cobra! Someone spied the snake slithering into the reserve section behind the desk. The librarian and students pitched in to pull the shelves out and dispose of the unwelcome intruder. All in a day's work for a Zambian librarian.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Calendars for 2010

Once again my friend Mary Ann Melton has created a calendar featuring Zambia's children. The calendars are great gifts for anyone who has a love for Africa. All proceeds will go to the orphanages here at Namwianga. The cost is $20 for the calendar and $1.73 per calendar for mailing. You can order through PayPal online or by e-mailing Mary Ann from her web site. Here is the link to the blog post where you can see the calendar photos and place an order:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Beautiful Sight

This worn out, falling apart Beginner’s Bible is a beautiful sight to me. I found it in the hands of a Bible teacher at Nazilongo last Sunday when we went there for an outreach. Nazilongo was one of the first congregations to receive a Beginner’s Bible at a training session way back in 2006. The women of Nazilongo immediately began using the book to teach their children in Sunday School classes, and they have worn out their copy. It’s not stained, torn, or water-damaged—it’s just falling apart from good use. I sent a brand new copy to Nazilongo this week, because I want to keep this one. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Happy Current Event

I was in a classroom giving an exam on Thursday when a messenger came to the door. “Someone is here to see you, Madam.” I stepped outside onto the veranda and saw a 12-year-old boy standing there on crutches. But this wasn’t just any 12-year-old; this was Current Hangoma--who was sitting in a wheelchair when I last saw him in January. This was Current who couldn’t walk when he was sent off to school. This was Current who was carried on his Uncle Laiford’s back or in his uncle’s arms for the first ten years of his life before we found him a wheelchair two years ago. And now Current stood there proudly outside my classroom, his uncle beaming by his side. I fought back tears, not quite believing the sight in front of me.

Laiford and I started searching for a school for Current way back in 2006. Last December we finally found a school, and I located a sponsor for him in the US. Now after a year at the special boarding school for children with disabilities, Current no longer needs the wheelchair and is able to get around on crutches. Laiford showed me that Current can even stand alone without the crutches for a few minutes.

Current’s report card reflects great progress in his verbal ability as well. He had a vocabulary of only a few words when he went off to school in January. Now he’s ready with a quick “Fine!” when you ask, “How are you?” He and Laiford can communicate with each other in Tonga, and Current’s English is also expanding. His big smile and Laiford’s obvious pride are pure joy to watch.

When I wrote about Current in January, I said I hoped for a happy ending. In a way, this is a happier ending than either Laiford or I had dared hope for. And yet, once again, this not just an ending; it is another beginning, the beginning of a life of new freedom for both Current and his uncle. A happy ending and a new beginning—I’m very grateful to be part of this story.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Peace Corps Volunteers

Kapree, Christa, and Brittany are three of the Peace Corps Volunteers who joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and stayed on through the weekend. We love hearing their stories of life in the villages, and they love my cooking. It is great fun to have them visit us.

Farewell Tea

Sheri Sears and I hosted a farewell tea for the graduating college ladies on Monday. We enjoyed hearing about their plans for the holidays and for next year. Several are part of the Westreach effort and will be heading to schools in remote areas of Western Province where they will work with newly planted congregations. At least three of the 26 ladies are planning weddings in the near future. Several who are married and have children are looking forward to being home again after three years of being apart from their families.

As always, the end of the school year is a bittersweet time for teachers. We are happy for these fine young women, but we will miss them.

Dedication of New Women's Dorm

Last week we held a dedication ceremony to officially open the new college women's dorm. The dorm was funded by Ross and Leota Davis of Austin, Texas, in memory of Joann Merriman Davis and Leon Clendenen. During the ceremony David shared the history of the Davis and Clendenen families and their desire to honor their loved ones by providing the dorm. The Zambian Board President Goliath Sikute and Mission Superintendent George Phiri expressed their appreciation to the donors. Shown above are the residents of the dorm in front of the decorated entrance. This blessing was given at the close of the dedication: May this building always be a place where students prepare to serve the Lord as teachers and Christians. May the conversations that take place in these rooms build up the women who live here and glorify the Lord. May the friendships that are formed here become bonds that will last through eternity. And may the memory of JoAnn Davis and Leon Clendenen live on in the service that spreads forth from this place.

Oklahoma Christian Alumni

At our Thanksgiving meal David had five fellow Oklahoma Christian University alumni. Kellsey Kelly works with high school girls at Namwianga Secondary, Betsy Watson is a nurse who takes care of the Haven babies, Meagan Hawley coordinates orphan care, Brittany Freitas is a Peace Corps volunteer, Jana Miller is a tutor for elementary children.