Friday, April 30, 2010

Clean Delivery Kits

From Ellie Hamby and Zambia Medical Mission:
We would like to suggest a way to give your mother or friend a mother's day gift that will give life to another mother and her baby in Zambia. A gift of $10 will purchase two Clean Delivery Kits (CDKs) for Zambia. We plan to give these CDKs out to expectant mothers during our Zambia Medical Mission and throughout the year at the Namwianga Rural Health Center. We will be targeting mothers who will not have access to a hospital or rural clinic for delivery.

Each year about 60 million women in developing countries give birth with only the help of an untrained attendant or family member or with no help at all. Many of these deliveries take place at home and often in a small hut in a remote village. The infection rate is high with some 1600 women per day dying from complications associated with pregnancy or childbirth, and infection is a leading cause. Around 950,000 newborns per year die from infection, according to the World Health Organization. Many of these infections can be avoided when Clean Delivery Kits (CDKs) are used. Our kit includes the following:

Bar of soap
Square yard of plastic sheet
Razor blade (single edge)
String for umbilical cord
Sealed bag for packaging
Baby blanket
Infant sleeper or onesie
Pain relievers
Two pairs disposable gloves

We are making a special drive for Mother's Day by encouraging family and friends to donate to Zambia Mission in honor of their mother or friend. A personal note will be sent to individuals informing them of this gift. If you are interested in participating, please make checks to Zambia Mission and send it to the following address (Zambia Mission, 658 E.N. 21st St., Abilene, TX 79601). Please include the name and address of the person you are honoring. If you have further questions, please contact Star Ferguson ( or phone: 325-668-0687)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update on Meagan

Several people have asked me about Meagan Hawley, which made me realize that I neglected to keep loyal blog readers updated on her progress. Meagan's doctor agreed to let her return to Zambia as long as she agreed to rest 12 hours a day. She arrived back at Namwianga on March 11 and has been operating on a reduced schedule so she can rest as much as possible. She is training the staff at the newest Haven, Marjorie's House. This is the house where babies and toddlers who have HIV, TB, or other health issues stay. Meagan is doing a great job of making sure that every one of these babies receives the best possible care and lots and lots of love and attention.

Jana Miller and Kelsy Kelly were filling in for Meagan at Marjorie's house for several weeks while she was gone, and they continued living there with Meagan until they returned to the US on April 15. Earlier this year Jana started teaching a preschool class to Jason, George, and two other four-year-olds at Eric's House, and Kelsy was continuing her ministry to high school girls. Meagan's original plan was to return to the US permanently this year, and she will be doing that in mid to late May.

I asked Meagan for an update on Jason and George, and this is what she sent me recently:
Jason won't stop asking me if I'm going to come teach school now because Jana is gone. He doesn't understand I have a few other things to do! Jason came over alone the other day and said, "I want to help you." I asked him what he wanted to help me do, and he just said, "I want to help you do something." SO he followed me around while I let him carry things, deliver things to aunties, etc. Such a servant already! Sunday nights I've been carrying your beaded black church bag, and the boys always say, "Nana's bag for church?"

I miss all of them, but it is great to know that Meagan is healthy and able to finish the ministry she loves so much, and that Jason and George are happy and keeping busy.


Last weekend we went to the HEB Foundation Camp in the Texas Hill Country for the 37th annual Brentwood Oaks Family Retreat. John has been there every single year of his life, and this year he and Leah brought little Jacob along. At three weeks, he is probably the youngest baby ever to go on the retreat!

We enjoyed a relaxing three days visiting with new and old friends, drinking in the beauty of the Hill Country, and being challenged by messages from Randy Harris from ACU. We posed near the Frio River for this family photo on Sunday. Sara and her fiance were also at the retreat, but they left before we could get a picture made with them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gregersenblog in Print

On Sunday the Brentwood Oaks congregation presented us with the first of three volumes of Gregersenblog. When all three volumes are complete, we will have the story of our time in Africa in book form. I told our friends that this really is a dream come true for us.

We have been so blessed to have Brentwood Oaks as our sponsoring congregation. The members have been quick to respond to our every need on the mission field, and their welcome home has been wonderful as well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Namwianga Misssion

This is a guest blog from Roy Merritt giving an overview of Namwianga's ministries and programs.

George Benson Christian College has been going more than 20 years. This school has sent over one hundred local missionaries to Zambia’s outlying provinces. GBCC teachers and students have planted more than 200 congregations.

This is the main classroom block.

Offices, computer lab, the library and more classrooms.
Our newest project is a radio station. They had to limit transmissions to music only for a six month trial period. We now have a broadcasting license and are expanding into evangelistic and educational programs.

Namwianga also has a Rural Health Centre, which we hope will soon become a fully accredited hospital.

W. N. Short built this church building in 1952.

Namwianga Christian Basic school has 612 pupils grades 1-9. The central building went up in 1948, I think. The original school, built by the Leslie Brown family, my parents and grandparents in early 1930s, no longer stands.

About 40 years ago Georgia Hobby planted this Flambouyant tree in the school quadrangle. October/November it’s ablaze with red flowers.

The mission manages several schools, two on our property here and five in other locations here in Southern Province.

The mission is on a cattle ranch, about 5000 acres. We run a herd of Boran beef cattle, have a small dairy, and provide one or two-acre “limas” to mission workers so they can plant maize for their families each rainy season.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New Grandson

Our precious Baby Jacob is adorable--and quite adored by all of us. He's shown here with Leah and John.

Final Sunday at Kasibi

We spent our last Sunday in Zambia with the congregation at Kasibi. Kasibi has been the congregation where we felt most at home, and the leaders there asked us months ago to be there on our last Sunday. Leonard Sichimwa and his son Harold Sichimwa are shown here in front of the building.

I thought I had seen about everything possible happen during a Zambian church service, but this was a new one. I looked down during the sermon and found this cute little kitten curled up asleep on my purse!

After services Leonard presented us with the Farewell Party Cake. The congregation also gave us mugs and gave me a chitenge.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the USA

Last week was a blur. Here are the high spots.
*Monday - Our farewell party at Namwianga; most of our furniture was sold and taken, so we moved into a guest house
*Tuesday - We packed, moved things out, said goodbyes, sorted through papers, and had meetings.
*Wednesday - went to bed at 1 a.m. and got up at 3 a.m. to finish up last minute details. Left Namwianga at 10 a.m. with Rod and Sue Calder. Drove to Livingstone and checked into Chanter's Lodge for our last night in Africa.
*Thursday - Flew out of Livingstone at noon. Four flights totaling 27 hours in the air plus some long layovers took us through until
*Friday - Landed in Austin at 10:30 Friday night. Greeted by Sara and David A. and a group of friends from Brentwood Oaks. Drove straight to John and Leah's house to see new grandson Jacob.
*Saturday - Spent most of the day in the Hill Country at the home of Will Ed and Cynthia Winters. John, Leah, and Jacob were there to visit John's friend since childhood, Jared Winters, and his wife Brynn and their baby Layne. Sara and David A. joined us for supper.
*Sunday - Our first Sunday back at Brentwood, and Baby Jacob's first Sunday at church.

Will try to post photos and more details later this week.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Chicken Finale

My career as a chicken farmer is ending. As we pack up our belongings and say our goodbyes, we have also had to find homes for the chickens, preferably not in a stew pot. My neighbor Mrs. Moono asked me months ago if she could buy some of my chickens. She raises commercial broilers, but she wanted some village chickens as well. So I gave her the best of the lot: Justafella III, the rooster; Petronella, the mother hen who started my flock three years ago; her friend Big Red;and the five chicks that they are co-parenting. That's been an interesting phenomenon. The two hens took turns sitting on their eggs, and when the six chicks hatched, Petronella claimed three and Big Red claimed three. One of the chicks died along the way, and now the two hens keep the five chicks together so it's impossible to tell whose is whose. Soon they'll have a new home next door.

Today it was time to send the other six nameless hens to new homes. We made a deal with Obrien and Brighton that we would let them sell the chickens and keep part of the money as their commission. They climbed in the pen and started grabbing chickens, stirring up a cacophony of squawking as the hens raced frantically to escape. The guys triumphed easily, tied each hen's legs together, and plopped them in the back of our Toyota pickup. David drove the sellers and their feathered wares into Kalomo and headed for the market. One hen sold to a passerby. Then our mission neighbors the Siafwiyos spied the truck and came over. They bought the remaining five, promising to send them to their farm where the fowl can live out long and happy lives laying eggs and hatching chicks.

I will miss my chickens. When my life got too stressful, a few minutes of watching the drama and comedy unfolding in the coop could lift my spirits and soothe my soul. I never lost a sense of wonder at seeing the newly hatched chicks. Petronella's rule of the roost and her faithful mothering of any abandoned chick amazed me. I learned a lot from my chickens, and I'll miss my chicken farming days.

Big Red and Petronella lead their chicks through the yard after escaping the pen


Our first grandchild was born April 2 in Austin. Jacob Robert weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and is 21 inches long. Our son John and wife Leah are thrilled to be new parents. We can hardly wait to hold him, and we are so thankful that we were able to talk to John and Leah and see the baby via Skype.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Going Postal

We decided we would mail some of our books and decorator items back to the US. We knew enough about the Zambian postal system to be a little wary, but we thought it was worth a try. So six weeks ago David took a box of books in to the Kalomo Post Office and asked the postmaster what he should do to mail them back to the US. The postmaster said he needed to put them into smaller boxes that weighed less than 4 kilograms each. So David brought the box home and divided up the books into three smaller boxes, taped them up nicely, labeled them carefully, and went back to the post office. The postmaster looked at him thoughtfully, and said, "Well, maybe you should put them all in one bigger box." It seems that there was a way to trace the larger box, but not the smaller ones, and the price was almost the same.

David brought the boxes back home and repacked them into one. In less than three weeks, the books arrived in the US with no problem. We were emboldened to try again. This time we took in an empty Action Packer to show the postmaster. "Can we mail one of these?" David asked. The postmaster smiled and assured him we could. We took it home, filled it with all kinds of items, padlocked the sides, taped it up carefully, and labeled it nicely. David took the filled Action Packer back to the post office. Now the postmaster says, "No, you can't send that. We must have some place to write on it." David reminded him that he had earlier said it WAS possible to send the Action Packer. The postmaster seemed to have had a major brain freeze and did not recall our earlier visit.

Back to the Mission, where David now enlisted the help of Obrien and Brighton (shown below) to cover the Action Packer. We scrounged for cardboard boxes (a precious commodity around here) and duct tape (even more precious!). We cut, we wrapped, we taped, and then we taped some more.

We ended up with a parcel that is composed of three different boxes and four different kinds of tape. It's labeled and waiting for yet another trip to the Post Office tomorrow. Can't wait to hear what the postmaster says about this one.

Anti AIDS Club

Shown here is the newly formed AntiAIDS Club at George Benson Christian College. This group's goal is to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by encouraging abstinence. The members have developed a repertoire of dramatic skits that they perform for youth events, school groups, and churches. The performances that I have seen are powerful in content and polished in performance.