Saturday, January 29, 2011

Match Made

I heard some great news this week!

This is Namatama Hamusankwa. (Try saying that three times fast!) She graduated from George Benson Christian College in December of 2010. Namatama trained to teach secondary math. She's smart, articulate, and a very dedicated Christian.
This is Brian Siakuba. He graduated in 2008. Brian trained to be a secondary math teacher. He's smart, articulate, and a very dedicated Christian.

The good news is that Brian and Namatama just got married! It's the first marriage of two of our sponsored students, and I couldn't be happier!

Brian and Namatama will make a great team! Brian moved to northern Zambia after graduation and is working with a church and supporting himself as a teacher. Namatama has now joined him. I know they'll be a blessing to the church, school, and community.

Sigh. I love a happy ending.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Look Who's Going to School!

These adorable scholars from the Eric's House orphanage just started going to preschool last week. Jason is the tall one in the back, and George is peeking out from the back as well. The others are Benja, Luke, Bright, and Shane. George and Jason are five years old, and the other guys are in the three and four-year-old range.

When I was at Namwianga in October, I could tell that Jason is very ready for school. He is fascinated with letters and words, and he couldn't get enough of writing and "reading" words. George could care less about that stuff, but he'll love the socialization!

I'm so happy for these little guys to have this opportunity. I'll bet their teacher will have some interesting stories to tell!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mumena Mission Report

Brian Davis from Mumena in Northwestern Province sent out this report today. It touched my heart, and I wanted to share it with you.

We were able to experience a rare and wonderful missionary moment Sunday. In 2000, we were privileged to help plant the Road 68 church of Christ among the Congolese refugees of the Mumena Refugee Camp here in Northwest Province, Zambia. Yesterday as we worshiped together, I noticed that the young man directing the service was Bro. Toomba. As I reflected, I realized that in 2000 Toomba was a little boy on the front row with the other children. I remembered when he was baptized by my nephews Jeremy and Jason Davis during their visit on a campaign in 2006. (By the way, Jeremy and Jason along with their brides – Whitney & Erin - have just arrived to work for 2 years with our team along with Sam & Ellie Rodriguez who have signed on for 5 years!)
As I thought of Bro. Toomba’s history, I felt a tug at my trousers. Looking down, I saw his little girl, Grace. She was making her way forward to sit with the other children… where Toomba used to sit. As I watched her make her way to her seat, I noticed Toomba’s wife sitting in front of Sondra comforting their baby boy, Caleb. The church had asked me to teach on the attitudes of Christ-like leaders from 1 Timothy 3. As I remembered Toomba’s father - one of the church leaders – and as I looked at Toomba and his son Caleb, my heart was filled with hope for this little congregation of 45.
Missionaries often just get to see the bare fields and plant the seed of the Word. Every once in a while, God lets us see a little fruit too! What a blessing!
“For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.” Zechariah 8:12&13 KJV
In Him,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured above: Bro. Toomba and Bro. Jean, two faithful teachers of the Road 68 church of Christ.
For more information about Brian and Sondra and Mumena, visit their website at

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Dung Beetle

Here is a fascinating article on the dung beetle, a common critter in the area of Africa where we lived. It's amazing how God's creation works!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This morning I was reading a blog by Jon Gordon on Nine Ways to Beat Negativity. In the first comment after the article I found this gem: He with the greatest flexibility wins!

I learned many wonderful things from my years in Zambia, from deep spiritual truths about God to disturbing deficiencies in myself. But one of the life skills I learned and treasure most is flexibility. Since I never knew what disaster was going to happen to my careful plans on any given day, I got pretty good at just going with the flow and using Plan B and Plan C . . . Plan Z when necessary.

So here's to flexibility. I hope I never become so set in my ways that I can't roll with the twists and turns life throws my way.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Inquiring minds want to know these things.

1. What happened to your house in Zambia?

Brentwood Oaks built the house for us in 2005 knowing that when we were finished with it, the house would go back to the Mission. When we left, we recommended that the house be divided into a duplex and used as housing for teachers--a desperate need right now. The administration agreed and eight months later, the house is ready for new occupants. Parts of the verandas on both the front and back were enclosed to create additional rooms. Two small bedrooms were added onto the original living/kitchen/dining area. With one existing bedroom and bathroom, that side is now ready for a family to move in.

Our master bedroom became a new living area and kitchen on the other side of the house. The huge guest bedroom was extended onto the front veranda and then divided into three smaller bedrooms and a hallway. That side will now house three single male teachers.

I hope the new occupants love that house as much as I did. It will always be my favorite.

2. Who took your place(s) at Namwianga?
I guess we'd like to think no one could take our places, but that's not the case. Mr. Muwele took my ed psych classes (sniff, sniff), and Mr. Phiri took my English classes. Rod Calder is teaching David's Bible classes.

Rajiv Siamweela, a GBCC sponsored student when we left, now serves as assistant coordinator for the sponsorship program. He's very smart, computer-savvy, and ministry-oriented--the perfect guy for the job. Rajiv finished his college work in December and is now teaching math at the secondary school. He deserves his own blog post, and I'll try to do that soon.

3. What do you miss the most?

That's a tough question. I miss the gracious Zambian people and their warm, accepting ways. I miss the breath-taking sunsets and sunrises. I miss Sundays in the bush, sitting on logs in a thatched-roof mud brick building and singing Tonga songs. I miss George and Jason and their antics. Right now as I sit looking out my window and seeing the snow-covered landscape, I miss warm weather! I miss wearing Tevas and flip flops every day. I miss our American co-workers who blessed us so richly. And I miss the adventure of never knowing what crazy, dangerous, or hilarious circumstance was going to pop up that day. I miss Peace Corps volunteers who loved my cooking. I miss the simplicity of life without all the things we Americans think we need. Which of these I miss the most changes from day to day.

4. What do you NOT miss?

Grading term papers. Unrelenting requests for my time, my money, my advice, my possessions. I am thrilled that I can be a part of my grandson's life and see my children often, so I don't miss that loneliness and heartache of being too far away to share their lives. I don't miss the scariness of illness when medical care is unavailable. And I don't miss cobras, mambas, or puff adders. Or scorpions. Or wall spiders.

To be continued . . .

Thursday, January 06, 2011

House Hunting

I'm posting random stories that didn't make it onto the blog when they were fresh and new--mainly because it was so hard to post with our slow internet. In fact, the last few months we were in Zambia, I couldn't post any photos on the Blogspot site. I e-mailed my posts to Michele Broadway and she posted them from Austin. It was a hassle.

But I digress. Our daughter Sara was visiting us and took pictures of us shopping for chicken roosts. We saw these interesting chicken houses/coops for sale on the roadside between Mazabuka and Lusaka, so we stopped and got out to look for new digs for the hens.

There were large apartment-style roosts.

And long row houses.

But we finally settled on the duplex shown here. Sadly, our hens didn't like it very much, and it fell apart after a couple of weeks. Oh well. At least the coop had some temporary style.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Gregersen Family Photo - Christmas, 2010

Lately I have concentrated my posts on Namwianga news. But I took a look at my loyal blog followers and realized many of you are our friends and would like to know what's happening in our family. So that, plus the fact that I am ridiculously crazy about the people in the photo above, prompts me to give you a look at the Gregersens and tell you about our recent life events.

Son John and wife Leah are shown on the left with baby Jacob. John is handsome, thoughtful, and has the second most gorgeous set of blue eyes in the world. He's also very sweet to his mama, in case you're wondering. Besides being a great son to me, loving husband to Leah, and devoted dad to Jacob, John works for Border States Electric in Austin. He's also loyal fan of the UT Longhorns.

Leah, my absolute favorite daughter-in-love, may just be the best mother ever. I'm sure having a degree in family and consumer science and a masters in early childhood helps, but she also has an innate ability to relax and enjoy her baby while she efficiently manages a household and a challenging job. Leah works in a school district near Austin. She teaches parenting classes at two high schools and also goes to the homes of the young moms after they've had their babies to keep them up with their courses.

Baby Jacob has the most gorgeous blue eyes in the world, and of course he got those from his dad. He is now nine months old and practically perfect in every way. He is happy almost all the time and can melt my heart just about anytime with his adorable smile. His recent accomplishments include crawling, clapping with delight, and playing peek-a-boo with his grandfather.

David Anderson became the newest addition to our family when he married our daughter in June. He is my favorite son-in-love, thanks to his great personality, good looks, and how sweet he is to me. He also adores my daughter, so that gives him a few points too. David works for Suddenlink internet and is a devoted Aggies fan. We try to forgive him for the latter and seldom miss an opportunity to say "Hook 'em Horns."

David and our daughter Sara now live in College Station. Sara works as a technology specialist for the Bryan ISD. That means she helps teachers use Smartboards in their classes and assists them with all things computer-related. I'm counting on some one-on-one help from her when I go back to teaching. She's also taking online graduate courses through A & M. As if that's not enough, she works with the college women at the A & M Church of Christ. You go, girl.

My David, or First David, or Bwana--whatever we choose to call him--keeps busy as minister for the Mt. Vernon Church of Christ. He loves small town life as much as I do and looks forward to things like the Monday morning breakfast with the not-so-young guys at the Courthouse Cafe. He drives a Silverado pickup and hunts deer when he gets a chance.

Right now I'm unemployed and loving it, although I'm going to be applying for jobs for next year and hopefully will be substitute teaching this spring. I'm still coordinating the student sponsorship program at Namwianga via e-mail and Skype. I also teach a women's Bible study here and work with a Monday night girls' class. All of that plus re-adjusting to life in America has kept me occupied and pretty much out of trouble.

I loved being with my family at Christmas time. Leah and John hosted all of us at their house in Manor, just outside Austin. It was the first time David and I had been with our kids at Christmas since 2006, so it was extra special for us. And having a baby there to enjoy--well, it doesn't get much better than that.

Now that we have fast internet, I promise to post and respond to blog comments--something I had trouble doing in Zambia. So I'd love to hear from blog readers about what you would like to see on the blog and what you enjoy reading.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Remembering Christmas 2009

One fun part of our Christmas in 2009 didn't make it onto the blog, so in the spirit of Auld Lang Syne, here it is. We had a marvelous group of twenty-somethings at our house for an early Christmas dinner/party and gift exchange. The rule was that the gift had to be bought in Kalomo for less than $5.00. We had some great ones--note the lovely neon pink mirror with rhinestone trim that Meagan is holding. That was a hot item, along with Courtney's styling plastic apron and Jana's Winnie the Pooh bag. These young adults were so fun to be around--and fun to cook for!
Their current status: Betsy and Thomas (between David and me) got married in August. Mary (far left) spent last semester in Vienna with Oklahoma Christian University. Jana and Meagan (behind me) are living and working in Oklahoma City. Courtney (far right) married Meagan's brother Ben in June and is now teaching in OKC.

Update on Meagan Hawley: Meagan went back to Namwianga for Christmas this year. I can't wait to hear her stories!

Auld Lang Syne

Ah, New Year's Day is a good time to reflect on times past. I found these photos of Christmas in 2008 that brought back some good memories, so I thought I'd share them with you.
Richard and Sue Krogsgaard are from Canada. They spent several months in Zambia during 2008 and 2009. They have wonderful servant hearts and lots of energy for helping others. We loved working with them and watching them at work.

Dr. Jerry Templer and his wife Claudia are from Columbia, Missouri. Claudia grew up at Namwianga, the daughter of early missionaries J. C. and Joyce Shewmaker. She and Jerry lived in Zambia for several months in 2008 and spent Christmas with us. They were delightful guests and became dear friends. Claudia taught me some great card games. We now live just a few hours away from them and are hoping to renew our friendship on this side of the ocean.

Our Christmas dinner in 2008 was at the home of Rod and Sue Calder on Seven Fountains Farm. There were 50 or so of us--a delightful mix of Zambians, Canadians, Americans, and South Africans.