Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Next Adventure

David and I are setting off on a new adventure on September 3. We are moving to Mt. Vernon, Missouri, to work with the Church of Christ there. Mt. Vernon is a beautiful small town nestled in the rolling foothills of the Ozarks--just an hour away from the more well-known town of Branson.

The Mt. Vernon congregation is active and dynamic, with enthusiastic leaders and willing members. We're looking forward to seeing how God will use us in this new stage of ministry.

Above: View of the downtown from a hill above town. Below: the Ben Franklin store on the square and the county courthouse.

Extreme Team Reunion

Two weeks ago we traveled to Oklahoma City for a reunion with the Extreme Team who worked with us at Namwianga. In Zambia we shared laughter, tears, frustrations, experiences, and much, much more. We had missed them and it was delightful to be reunited and to reminisce with them and hear about their current life experiences.

From left to right: Betsy Watson is now working as a nurse and will be getting married Friday night. Kelsy Kelly is a youth intern at Park Plaza in Tulsa, and Jana Miller is an assistant producer for an OKC TV station. Next to me is Meagan Hawley who is now teaching reading at an Edmond middle school, and on the far right is Courtney Jenson Hawley. In June she married Meagan's brother and is now teaching kindergarten in Putnam City.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sponsorship Update

When we left Zambia, Rajiv Siamweela, a sponsored student at GBCC, took over the communication and recordkeeping duties for the sponsorship program. Rajiv recently compiled a sponsorship newsletter to be sent out, and I think you'll agree he did an excellent job.

Outreach activities

Outreach activities have been taking place since the inception of the mission. Like in the past terms, sponsored pupils have been very much involved in this term’s outreach activities. On one Sunday I remember seeing almost all the boys leaving the school campus for outreaches to different places.

A New Outreach Wing Emerges

Through his blessings and his spirit, God has brought up another outreach wing called “A Preacher and His Work”. It is basically a group composed of about ten blessed, talented, and energetic men of God who are 1st year students at the college. These men set off for outreaches every Sunday using the CDP (Church Development Program) vehicles and at times on foot.

“ A Preacher and His Work” has done more than just ministering in churches. This year, the Namwianga community has recorded three deaths within a short period of time. It was a hard time, but through the help of these men and the pupils at the Secondary School, things became much easier. They helped to dig the graves, put up shelters for mourners, gave messages of encouragement, and sang. They worked tirelessly at will and not out of command. They are such a wonderful blessing to the community that has come as a gift from our God.

A Former Sponsored College Student Gives Thanks

Thinking that Mrs. Gregersen was still around, Fay Sianjina, a former sponsored student who graduated from GBCC, traveled all the way from her village to come and express how grateful she is for the sponsorship that helped her go through college education successfully. After finding out that Mrs. Gregersen had left a long time ago, she gave me these words to send to the sponsors:

“What I don’t have are better words to use, but using these that are available,

I want to say thank you very much for helping me go to school by paying

for my school fees. Truly I wouldn’t have made it on my own. I am really

grateful for the good work you have done in my life. May the good Lord

richly bless you all. “

Taking a lead in academics

Each and every brand new year that comes there are quite a number of school activities that are scheduled. Just like in the previous years, this year’s calendar shows various activities like Sports, JETS (Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientists), and Debate.

All these activities come in the form of competitions amongst schools within and at times outside the region. On the 4th of June 2010, a district level JETS fair was held at Namwianga Christian Secondary School. In the fair, sponsored pupils represented the school in the categories of projects, paper presentations, and olympiads.

Patricia Machelele, Eugene Kaango, Sebby Siabaswi and Roy Moono are some of the pupils who participated in the fair, and they made the school proud. To be specific, Eugene, Roy, and Sebby sat for Olympiads in sciences and they topped at the school level. At the District level, Roy is on the second position while Eugene and Sebby are on the fifth position in the entire District. What a wonderful performance.

Patricia’s case is a distinctive one. She was in the projects category in village development section. Her project is an interesting one. She made an effective pesticide that can cost a farmer in the village not even a single coin. She is ranked first position at school level and also at District level, and ranked third position in the entire southern region.

Current Affairs

On the 9th of July this year, the blessings of the living God fell on Namwianga Christian Secondary School when the Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (Private Stakeholder) donated a good number of computers to the school. This company is headed by Mr. Sindowe who is the PTA chairperson of the school. On the same occasion, the company also donated a huge sum of money amounting to ZMK75,000,000.00 which is equivalent to about $15,000.

In her speech on this occasion, Mrs. Ellie Hamby thanked the company for the assistance rendered in providing resources to the school. She also encouraged other private sectors to come on board and help in developing the school in various sections.

The College Kitchen Gets Close to Completion

The college kitchen which has been under construction since some time last year is now close to its last stages of construction. The kitchen is an extension of an already existing building that is going to be modernized by putting in electric cooking pots. Currently the outdoor kitchen cooks meals in iron pots over wood burning fires.

This development has brought joy to the students who have expressed their feelings towards the building in different ways. Student Body President Miller Muwelya says that he can’t wait for the day when the kitchen will be completed and in use. Still other students have said that the building is going to change the face of the college, and that they really want it to be in use before they complete their three years at the college.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Helping Teachers

I found this photo today and decided I'd share it even it is old news. Right before we left Zambia in April, I invited all the sponsored college ladies to come over. I spread out all the crafts and Bible teaching supplies that I had accumulated over the past five years and let them select what they could use.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photos of Jason and George

Recent photos of Jason and George sent by Roy Merritt. Note that Jason has lost his first tooth!

Friday, August 13, 2010

African Ingenuity

This link tells the story of a Liberian artist who creates curios from bullets leftover from the long civil war. African resourcefulness is amazing.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Final Zambia Medical Mission Report

LaDonna Armstrong provided this report about the 2010 Zambia Medical Mission.

The 2010 Zambia Medical Mission is coming to an end. Tomorrow we will be placing the remainder of the team on their planes to head home. This has been an incredible mission with a great team! We set all-time records this year. We saw the most patients in one day at our last clinic at Mabuyu...3,740. This brought our overall total to 19,560! These patients were treated with kindness, respect and with the love that Jesus showed to all those He came into contact with. Everyone treated knew that we were there because of Jesus and the example He set. Over 80 were baptized; but more will follow after more study with the Church Development Committee.

As I mentioned before, this year we were joined by SightSavers so we were able to send patients with cataracts to our clinic/hospital at Namwianga for surgery. These surgeries were performed by Dr. Moonze from Livingstone. He worked incredible hours to perform 52 cataract surgeries, 10 lid rotations, and he removed a growth from one lady's eye. He was excited to be able to help those from the rural areas. All he requested was a clean environment to perform the surgeries and an operating table. Dr. Allen Neese searched through the hospital container and found an operating table plus a chair. Dr. Moonze was thrilled because he had never used an operating table that could be raised with his foot to a height more comfortable for operating and the chair made it even easier to perform so many surgeries. He said normally his back would begin hurting from having to bend over to perform the surgeries. He is already making plans to join us again next year. What a blessing he was...and is!

The free wheelchair program has made such a difference for so many people. Sheryl (Hamby) Ramsey initiated this program last year. These wheelchairs are made especially for the terrain in rural areas. Almost 60 wheelchairs were given out during the clinics. It was so wonderful to know that when you saw someone being carried or struggling so hard to walk, that you could call Sheryl on the radio and she would be there with a wheelchair for the individual. The burden that is removed from the family is great, and the patient is thrilled to have a little independence to move about on their own. Sheryl will remain in Zambia for another month to take wheelchairs to rural health clinics all over the Southern Providence.

To all of you who have helped financally and with your prayers, this is also YOUR mission! We are all a part of God's family and we all work with the abilities or blessings that He has given us. Not all of us can go; but for those of us who can, we thank you for all your support and love.

Until next year...