Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fighting Malnutrition in Zambia

The article below is from the Imagine Zambia web site. I was especially interested because we had planted some of these moringa trees in our yard at Namwianga. One of our Zambian friends told us that an aid organization (NOT Imagine Zambia) brought moringa trees to his community several years ago and gave them away to the villagers to plant. However, no one bothered to tell the people how to use the trees for water purification or nutrition! Yet another example of aid improperly implemented and therefore ineffective.

Special Project: Moringa Trees for Zambia

Helping Zambia Fight Malnutrition!Moringa Dried Powder

Planting Moringa trees across Zambia

Imagine Zambia hopes to plant 20,000 trees for Ngabwe and 20,000 for Ministry of Education of Zambia (with 5 trees for every school at about 4,000 schools across Zambia.) We will plant a variety of trees including Moringa and fruit trees at locations across Zambia so that communities and students will learn about nutrition.
Moringa nutritional valueMoringa, which can be made into a powder, tea, or oil, provides significant quantities of potassium, calcium, protein, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Moringa water purificationMoringa truly is the miracle plant: by using the dried seeds you can even purify drinking water overnight and kill 90-95% of bacteria in the water.
Across Zambia, we can also use these trees to provide nutrition for orphans, vulnerable children, expectant and breastfeeding mothers, and other people in the community who need immune boosters and access to clean drinking water.
Moringa plant nurseryThese nurseries will also provide local farmers with seedlings for their own needs and propagation of diverse species of trees, herbs, and vegetables. They will be able to process the seeds and leaves and seedlings and sell them all over Zambia.
The nurseries will also restore vegetation in areas that have previously been cleared. This will increase overall production of food in the area, increasing food security. This will also exemplify good agricultural practices like composting and companion planting.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Graduation Ceremonies

This is another excerpt from the 2010 Term 3 Sponsorship Update. This report was written by Rajiv Siamweela, the assistant sponsorship coordinator.

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

GBCC 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

Graduates Minister in Mporokoso District

This is an excerpt from the 2010 Term 3 Sponsorship Update. This report was written by Rajiv Siamweela, the assistant sponsorship coordinator.

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.

Japhet Ndaliiba
Royd Kalonga

Friday, December 17, 2010

Students Helping Others

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

Lauren's Baby

If you're a long-term blog reader, you may remember Lauren, the young woman who lived and worked with us at Namwianga in 2006-2007. We grew to love her like our own daughter and had many great times with her.

Lauren moved to Dallas a couple of years ago and married Travis DeSisso in November of 2009. Last month Lauren had a very premature baby boy who was born at just 25 weeks. Kynian is in the neonatal ICU and will be for many more weeks to come as he struggles with a myriad of complications. Lauren and Travis would love your prayer support. You can read Lauren's blog by clicking here.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ophan Co-op

This story from Roy Merritt brought tears to my eyes. I hope it touches your heart as well.
Roy Merritt and his wife Kathi oversee four orphanages at Namwianga Mission. Roy writes:

Have you ever heard of an “Orphan Co-op”?
Neither have we. Till now, anyway.
Orphans in Zambia are often an unwanted burden, so relatives and peers mock them and tease them.
Kanyameza Church of Christ took an interest in local kids whose parents are dead. To give them a pleasant, accepting time, they decided to gather them a couple times a week for group activities.
They would sing together, have Bible study. Sometimes they could even share gifts of food or clothes. They selected Cecelia Siafwiyo, in the red dress, as their chairman. (Cecelia is the housemother for Haven 1, the infant orphanage at Namwianga.)

The group declared December 4 as “Orphan Day”, so Cecelia invited them to Namwianga for a party.

Forty two kids came—and soon put our playground to the test.

This sixteen year old girl, Chrisensia, is raising her twin brothers Charles and Andrew. One of the dozens of child-led households in our community.

We ate lunch together.
After lunch the kids sang, recited poems and quoted memory verses.
This is one little girl’s poem
It killed my mother,
It killed my father,
I am an orphan.
No-one is left to love me.”

Then we shared out gifts – toys and clothes YOU have sent over here!

This little fellow got a grip on his “stuff” and wouldn’t let go!

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

Guest Blog - Tires and Toilet Tissue

From Brian Davis, missionary at Mumena in Zambia's Northwestern Province:

Man seldom seems to be content with God’s ways. We seem to think that we can “improve” on divine will. As we are traveling south this month to encourage the church plants with whom we used to work in South Africa, I experienced a poignant reminder of this trend yesterday. I noticed that two of my tires kept losing air around their rims. After wrestling with this for 2000 kilometers, we finally had some time in Namibia to stop and have a tire shop look at the problem. As the men removed the tires from the rims, they kept pulling long strips of something from the inside of the tire. I couldn’t imagine what it was. I finally asked, and the workers replied, “It’s toilet tissue.” Dumbfounded, they explained to me, “Your tire shop must have used wet toilet paper to get the tire to seal. Shops with poor air pressure will use this technique.” Becoming annoyed, I asked, “Why?!” To which they responded, “Because it fixes their problem of not having the proper tools to do the job, but it leaves the driver with a slow leak in his rims that - as soon as the paper dries - can become a very big leak!”

In our relationship to God, I wonder how many “good ideas” we try to use (in our own understanding) that may result in a complete “blow-out” down the road: confusing gender equality with God created differences, confusing entertaining worship with spiritual worship, confusing efficiency with God ordained leadership pattern, confusing “what most people are doing” with what God wants done…
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 NIV
It’s worth considering,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured above: Can’t afford to have a flat with this many people wanting to go to worship! (picture by Ellis Smith, one of our campaigners in 2010)
For more information of our mission, visit our website at
To contact our overseeing congregation, visit

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Exactly the Holiday Inn

We found some very unusual signs in Zambia, and this was one of my favorites: the City Hope Butchery and Guesthouse.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Western Province

Andrew and Shadreck Sibwaalu recently took a trip over all of Zambia to visit GBCC graduates who are planting churches. They were also finding places for new grads to teach starting in January. This installment tells about their time in Western Province.

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.

One of the new churches meets in this building. Lozi people are famous for being good thatchers. We have thatched buildings on the mission that were roofed by Lozi men more than 20 years ago—and they still don’t leak. The youngster in the pink shirt thatched this one

Pearson Choonga is another of my former students. He now is teaching at Lukulu. The school gave him one of their better houses. The headmaster says he wants five more missionaries like Pearson!

Pearson’s kids have learned to play soccer in that Western sand.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keeping Up With The Blog

In Africa, I always felt so guilty when people told me that they checked my blog every day to see if I had posted anything--because I didn't post every day and I hated to waste people's time. And I often forget to check for posts on blogs I want to follow.

Now there's an easy way to know when new posts are added to a blog. Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, recently provided a detailed description of how to set it all up so that you automatically are notified. Click here to learn all about it.

I have decided that I will continue to use the blog to post news about Namwianga and interesting happenings in Africa. I'll try to post once a week or so.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Road Trip - Western Province

A first report on Shadreck and Andrew's road trip (see previous blog).

Shadreck and Andrew travelled to Western Province first. This is where "Westreach" wants to place most of its graduates from George Benson Christian College. We do not have many churches in Western yet. During the civil war in Angola next door it was dangerous for strangers to travel in many rural areas of Western Province..

Rattly pickups are typical of Western taxis and this sandy road could be any Western trail.
This man is Fleming Kaango, a GBCC graduate who has worked hard to build the church in Sichili District. (Fleming also has a sister and brother in our sponsorship program.)
Travelling in the west is more challenging than it is in the North. Even bicycles have problems with sand and swamp. Below, a local ferry.

Kanyimba church meets here (see photo below). Andrew in the red shirt is greeting Peter, a church leader who said Allen Avery baptized him decades ago.
Kids in the bush are keen to go to school and make tremendous sacrifices to do so.
Often school is too far for kids to walk each day, so they live in mud huts near the classrooms.
This small boy in grade two looks after himself and two younger brothers hiding in the hut.
These kids live without supervision, doing all their own cooking and laundry.

Girls live in unofficial dormitories as well.

Sichili church saved enough money to put a tin roof on their building. Western province is
**HOT** -- so open-sided buildings are better at welcoming breezes.

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.

Road Trip Report

On October 12 Andrew and Shadreck Sibwaalu left on a month-long tour of Westreach and Northreach church planting projects.
Their goals:
a. to find mission places to plant college graduates in 2011
b. to encourage the young GBCC missionaries already out there
c. to make a census of new congregations
d. to send daily picture reports on progress and challenges

Andrew and Shadreck have been sending back reports to Roy Merritt via their cell phones, and I'll be posting those reports in coming blogs.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Visit with Mavis

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

Flat Tire

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.

Jennifer's Wedding

Last Sunday (the 17th) was Jennifer Merritt's wedding. Jennifer is the adopted daughter of Roy and Kathi Merritt, and since George and Jason have grown up in the same house, she is also a sister to them. I volunteered to take George and Jason to the wedding, and we went with the Harding In Zambia group.

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!"

Harding in Zambia Blog

Shawn Daggett posts a blog with photos and news of the Harding In Zambia group. Here is the link if you are interested:;

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday at Gwangwazu

Rodgers Namuswa arranged for Shawn Daggett and me to do a leadership seminar at Gwangwazu on Saturday, October 16. It turned out to be quite a trip--over an hour on the Kabanga Road and then another hour jolting through the bush on bad roads and cow paths.

We arrived to find a large crowd already gathered under the trees, singing as they waited for us

. I took the ladies to the nearby church building for our sessions, and the men stayed outside. This turned out to be one of the the largest groups I ever taught in Zambia--over 120 women from 12 different congregations! I had warned Rodgers that I only had 7 Beginnners Bibles because that's all I could fit into my luggage. He passed on that information to the leaders who were organizing the seminar, but the bush grapevine spreads quickly, and additional congregations came without invitation. Now I have to figure out how to get additional books to Rodgers in Zambia, and Rodgers has to figure out how to get the books to the congregations in the bush. Zambians are patient people, and I trust it will all work out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back in the USA

I left Namwianga on Tuesday morning and arrived back in the USA on Wednesday. The trip home was uneventful in all the right ways. I had three seats to myself on the long 16-hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, so I stretched out and slept several hours.

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

The Cat

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.

Mexican Food

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 Rocks

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.


The Zambikes crew served us a traditional lunch after our tour. Then we had some great fellowship with them as we sang for them and listened to their songs.


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

HIZ Group

Our HIZ group posed in front of the yellow bus that carried us all over Zambia. School buses like this are extremely rare in Zambia, so we got many surprised looks as we drove through the countryside.

Sunday's Child

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this adorable child who was wandering around during Sunday's worship service. Zambian children are so beautiful.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday in the Village

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!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Our transport for the Mumena trip was a yellow school bus--without air conditioning. Those of you enjoying the chilly days of fall in the US need to remember that we are in the middle of the hottest time of year here. Our afternoon highs approach 3 digits.

So the first thing the students did when they boarded the bus was to try to lower the windows to let some air in. Buster, our driver, saw Zach struggling with the window latches and handed him these nifty tools--two forks with bent tines. And yes, they do work to get the window latches to release.

Zamgenuity at its best!