Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Graduation ceremonies for George Benson Christian College and for Namwianga Christian Secondary School were held on two different days of the year, but each of them was a unique and great day. The ceremonies were a source of motivation to the sponsored students who are still in school/college and the graduates themselves.
NCSS Sponsored Graduates
At each graduation ceremony, awards were given to outstanding students. During this time the auditorium was saturated with applause as the names of the sponsored students were everywhere in the air. As in years past, sponsored students received many of the top honors for scholarship and leadership.
College Award Winners
The following sponsored students won awards: Royd Kalonga – The spirit of the school; Abishine Mainza – Best student in academics; Japhet Ndaliiba – Best student in Bible studies; Rodwell Moono – Sportsman of the year
Secondary School Award Winners
These sponsored pupils scooped the secondary awards (shown below left to right): Cheelo Sikumbali – Leader of the year; Clifford Kabanda– Most responsible leader of the year; Viola Siangandu – Sportswoman of the year; Hassam Siamunomba – Third place in academics; Kenny Kasipa – The spirit of the school award.
All this success is made possible by the sponsors. In an interview with Kenny Kasipa about how he felt when his name was called, he said, “I cannot say anything without recognizing the good hand behind this success. It is a dream come true made possible not by me, but by my sponsor who really cares.”
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Each year men of high integrity are sent out from the sponsorship program into the field as soon as they finish their courses. Two of these former students are Japhet Ndaliiba and Royd Kalonga who completed their studies at George Benson Christian College of Education in 2009. They were placed in the Mporokoso district in Northern Province—at different schools, but close to each other.
As is always the case, Japhet and Royd were sent out specifically to preach the word of God, and this they began to do as soon as they arrived in their new communities. Unfortunately, in the area where they were to serve, the local people had never heard of the Church of Christ. This status gave them a hard starting point.
At the earliest stages of their ministry the local people regarded them as Satanists who were there to cause confusion in the existing denominations. Sometimes they were threatened with beatings if they did not stop their preaching ministry. In one of his statements, Japhet said, “We have been termed as Satanists, and threatened to be beaten, but we will not cease.” With the power of the Almighty, they were able to stand firm and speak the truth even when they were initially rejected.
Now the church exists and is growing in the communities where Japhet and Royd teach. This achievement would have never been possible without the sponsorship program.
Japhet and Royd are only two of many former students who are spreading the gospel in remote areas of Zambia. At least 200 churches have been planted by GBCC graduates in the last 20 years, and many more congregations have been strengthened by the good influence of self-supporting leaders trained at Namwianga.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Jean Kadonga is a GBCC student who is leading other youths as they reach out to help others. Jean writes about her efforts:
The Tumango Church of Christ youths felt they had a task in God’s work and had to do it as God wants them. The youths agreed to form a club which was given a name Tumango Church of Christ Youths Alliance.
The goal of the Alliance is to motivate people to establish an eternal relationship with God and to help youths to possess an intense desire to get outside their comfort zone and go to uncomfortable places to help the vulnerable, aged, widows and orphans. The Alliance is also there to strengthen, encourage, and build the youths spiritually and develop their talents and gifts so that they can find God’s plan in their lives.
Every Saturday from 14:00 to 16:00 hours all the youths gather and divide themselves into groups of five to eight. They go to help the people by washing dishes, fetching water, collecting firewood, sweeping, and helping with gardening. They also encourage people spiritually by talking to them about God, His works, and His mighty power.
At the end of every month, the youths buy things like cooking oil, washing and bathing soap, mealie meal, and foodstuffs to give to the needy ones. The orphans who are at school are given pencils, pens, and paper.
The youths in the Alliance do all these things because they have allowed God to work in them. Since the Alliance started in January of 2010, many people who had stopped worshipping have come back to the church. This is because of what they have seen us doing.
The vision of the Alliance is to reach outside our zone to other places like hospitals and prisons and to have an influence that will go on even to the next generation.
Jean is sponsored at GBCC and is training to become a math teacher. Many other students like Jean are making a difference in communities all over Zambia.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
May we never forget "the least of these" and the compassionate people like Cecelia and the Merritts who minister to them.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Crossing the river was a challenge--no engine, no pilot, no oars. They used a people-powered pontoon. The cable stretches right across the river. People who want to cross have to walk or drive on, then haul on the rope till they reach the other side.
The deep sand created challenges again and again. This time the tires were so deep that it took two hours to dig the truck out. The guy in the glowing red shirt is a GBCC missionary, Bright Hamuyayi (one of my former students--and his name is very accurate!). His head teacher (the school principal) wants more people like him.
We have never had a church in Senanga, so Shadreck and Andrew spent some time there praying for a contact to help them. This lady noticed the Namwianga sign on the truck door, and invited them to start a congregation using her. She grew up at Kabanga Mission.
Later in Senanga market, a young man smiled as he walked towards the vehicle. He is a son to Ba Kabisa, a strong church member who used to live at Mutala ranch—a property right next to Namwianga Mission.
The boy is at Senanga high school doing his grade 12. He told Shadreck that he knew people who really want open a church of Christ. They met and talked at a guest house that afternoon. Chances look good for a new congregation in this town.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Girls live in unofficial dormitories as well.
Fikoloma, a George Benson Christian college graduate (and one of my former students), built this house for himself right next to the church building --to guard the roof against midnight thieves.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
A highlight of my trip to Zambia was re-connecting with some of my former students. Mavis Chibbunu Phiri and her husband Louis made a special trip from Choma to see me at Namwianga, and it was a great joy to hear about the latest events in her life—a life that earlier had been filled with challenges and difficulties.
Mavis lost her mother in 2005 during her first year of college. Then the next year her father became ill. In her last year of college, when Mavis was ready to do her student teaching, she found that her father had lost the family's house because he could not work and had no income. Mavis's four younger brothers had been sent to live with friends and relatives, and Mavis had no house to go home to. A friend of Mavis's mother invited Mavis to live with her in return for helping with child care, and Mavis did that in order to complete her student teaching.
Mavis finished her courses successfully and graduated from GBCC in 2008. She accepted a teaching position in Lusaka and found a place to live for herself and her two youngest brothers. She got them started in school again and got them the medical treatment they needed for health problems. Her father died the next year, and two of her brothers were still separated from the family and working on a farm in northern Zambia.
Last February, Mavis got married. She and her husband are both teaching in Choma and doing well in their jobs. All four of Mavis’s brothers are eligible to start tenth grade next year. Mavis and her husband plan to have the two younger brothers live with them and go to high school in Choma, and they are trying to find sponsorships for the other two brothers to attend Namwianga and be in the boarding school.
Mavis and I had a delightful conversation. It is obvious that she has a heart for teaching and for helping students. She and Louis are active in a local church congregation. Even though her life has been filled with problems, Mavis considers herself blessed to have an education, a husband, and a church family. She is confident that with God’s help her brothers can overcome their past difficulties and have a bright future.
As our visit ended and we had our final hugs, I shared the thoughts of 3 John verse 9: “I have no great joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Monday, October 25, 2010
On the way home from the wedding the Land Cruiser had a flat tire. We had just picked up some college students who needed a ride, and one of them jumped in and helped change the flat. George and Jason supervised the work.
The wedding was an interesting blend of Zambian traditions and Western influence. Jennifer was lovely in her white dress.
Some of her attendants danced down the aisle in carefully rehearsed steps. Later at the reception there was more of their footwork.
I wasn't sure how much Jason and George were getting out of things, but they proudly announced, "I had fun at Jennifer's wedding!"
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I left the heat and dust of Africa and came home to the cool autumn beauty of southwest Missouri. The trees are vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold now. Mornings are crisp and chilly, afternoons are warm and pleasant. I am a world away from my other home in Zambia.
I'll try to get caught up on the stories of my trip that didn't make it to the blog yet.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Some of our long-time readers may remember our cat Makua. When we left Zambia in April, we gave the cat to the Merritts. They took him to their house at Eureka, about a mile from the house where we had lived. Makua immediately went back home. They tried again, but as soon as Makua had a chance, he made a beeline for our then-empty house. They thought that surely if he just stayed a night or two with them, he would get used to his new situation, so they brought him back to Eureka again, and this time they put him in their bathroom for the night. The next morning--no Makua! He had torn a hole in the screen with his claws and escaped again. This time they gave up and let him go for good.
Webster, our security guard, is now employed by the Mission to watch over the area of the campus where our house sits. When we lived there, Makua always liked patrolling with Webster, and Webster is one of the few people who actually like our temperamental cat. Now he feeds Makua what he can manage, and I'm sure Makua gets a pretty good diet of mice and lizards as well.
Dustin McBride (see earlier story on Zambikes) told us about his newest business venture: a Mexican restaurant in Lusaka! Half of the profits from the restaurant go to benefit a program called Teach To Fish. We couldn't pass up Mexican food in Zambia, especially when it helps a good cause. On our last night of the trip we enjoyed having dinner and relaxing in the beautiful outdoor courtyard of the Revolucion Restaurant.
On the outskirts of Lusaka we passed an area where gravel is made and sold. It was sad to see old women and children sitting amid the piles using hammers to break the rocks into smaller pieces. The day was beastly hot, and I could only imagine how difficult their lives must be.
The woman and child managed to create a makeshift shelter to protect them from the sun. Many were not so fortunate.
We stopped in Lusaka on our trip and visited the warehouse of Zambikes. Dustin McBride, one of the founders of the company, shared his story with our group. Dustin and a friend visited Zambia in 2004 while they were students at Azusa Pacific University. When they went back to college, they used their knowledge of Zambia and its needs to develop a business plan to fulfill an assignment for one of their classes. But their assignment didn't end with a grade at the end of the semester. They put their plan into action, and by 2007 their plan had become a reality with the creation of Zambikes.
Zambikes' aims are to provide jobs and training for Zambians and to produce a quality bicycle that can withstand the rigors of bush life. Recently they have begun making bamboo bike frames--shown in the background of this picture.
The HIZ students enjoyed hearing Dustin's story and seeing the good things that God is doing through Zambikes.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
On Sunday we divided up into small groups and visited some of the 13 new churches that have been planted in the Mumena area in the past four years. Dr. Frank Black from Indianapolis is with the Harding group this semester, and he taught the Bible class on Sunday morning. Dr. Black and his wife Lou Ann were missionaries in Tanzania for five years and are still very involved in medical missions. I loved being back in a village congregation meeting under a thatched roof!