Proverbs 9:10 The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Since we last wrote we have been so blessed with all the people that God has sent our way to help in the task that He has given Amber and me. We are so thankful that God is in control of this because I do believe that if it depended on us and our emotions and feelings we might not have made it this far. Travis, Ethan and Mark worked very hard in the two weeks before the team from
arrived. They had to load and off-load lots of bricks for the building of the permanent team toilets and the showers. We decided this was better than struggling to build temporary ones every one to two years. They helped in mixing mortar for the laying of the bricks and also had to pump a lot of water for day to day living of camp life. They cut more wood than woody wood pecker cut in his life time. We also started and finished the slab for Jennifer’s tent so that she could have a permanent home when she arrives here to join us full time in September. It was not as easy task (as they soon found out) and they had to dig and cut out three big deep tree stumps and no there is no machine that you can hire to do that. It had to be done the old way of digging and axe cutting by hand. The ground was not soft and it took a lot of pick axing, shoveling, and sweat. They also build good relations with the local people that they worked with and ministered to on Sundays in church. Thank you guys that you showed love to the Virginia people and that your lives testified that Jesus is your King and Savior. That will have a life long impact on their lives. Tonga
The team arrived in
on the 24th of July. We did our best to rush to get to camp early but as things often go in Zambia it ended up being 11.00 at night when we finally arrived. Even though they had been traveling for more than 2 days, they had great attitudes in putting up their tents and cots (that they brought with them) in the middle of the night. By 2 am we were all in bed and slept in on the Saturday morning but some of us were up early to get water pumped and get the fire going to start making breakfast. We started a bit late that day with work and decided to tackle the main job for the week- to lay and dig the foundation for our own permanent home. Now that God is blessing us with a little boy that is on the way it is time to move out of the tent and into a home. We knew that this task would not be easy, especially with one big tree standing in the way so we cut it down and then while some of the guys started to measure out the area, other’s tackled the stubborn tree stump, and others helped get the camp and kitchen organized for the week. The woman on the team went to the orphanage house and started to clear a piece of land of grass and bushes for the orphanage school house/tutoring center. Later in the week a few of the guys started cutting and plane-ing wood for the orphan’s bunk beds and Mandie proved her artistic skills in painting beautiful children’s murals in the orphanage kitchen and shower rooms. They worked hard on these projects (even digging the foundation for the school house) the entire time they were here. It was a great witness to the Zambia people of God’s love for us because the locals are always eager to know why so many people would come so far to help when they don’t get anything from it. Tonga
The work projects were not without difficulty however. We had so many things break that I had to take care of and fix, and one on top of the others. You know how they say when it rains, it pours – well that was true in our case. In the course of a week both of our generators broke and left us stranded without power to pump water and cut wood for the bunk beds (our small solar panel cannot handle those loads) and our only air compressor breathed it’s last as well. The generator that blew up, blew the conrod though the engine block so we had to cut the generator part off (for those technically challenged - not an easy task as it was not designed to come apart like this). With a lot of prayer however, God gave me the wisdom to do this and build new parts to have it run off of the tractor engine. Even though I thought it would work theoretically, this was the first time I had ever attempted something like this so there was lots of rejoicing when we got it running (and on wheels) so that the bunk bed project could continue. With that one fixed, we turned our attention to the next generator (a fixed unit which runs our household power and work projects there). For some reason even though the engine was running the generator did not want to convert it to electricity. After a full day of working on it, taking the entire generator apart (and late that night) Ryan saw a small wire that was broken inside. After tending to that and testing it to see that it worked, the whole “fix it crew” did a victory dance. No worry that it was after midnight and everybody else was sleeping. This was something to be celebrated! God was so good to us. Through these difficulties and challenges I learned a lot (again) - to trust the Lord for the wisdom to do things and to be grateful for the challenges that He puts in my way.
Of course there were also vehicle issues to tend to as well (aren’t there always!) but this time thankfully less than normal. All we had to do this year was change the front and back brake drums and the brake shoes of the Land Rover, change a flat on the Land Rover and on the quad but compared to how long the other things took, this was done in no time. The children were blessed by the time the team spent at one of the local schools entertaining them and teaching them more about Jesus. The kids laughed, danced and had so much fun interacting with their new American friends. They also blessed the local village church by joining them for two Sunday Services. They sang with the locals, sang special songs for them (some even in their own language), preached the sermons, and even took the kids (that can never sit still) and kept them busy outside with some more teaching and fun things. We showed the Jesus film one night about an hour’s drive from us. Praise God that we were able to show the whole film without technical difficulties and that it was not as cold as it was the previous years. The next day Johan Beukman (who had driven all the way from
to help us), Pastor Petrus and Richard went back for a follow up discussion with the people that came forward the night before and that was a very blessed time. They said that the people were very responsive to the teaching that they did and the talks they had with them. We praise God for this and for their willingness to go. South Africa
By the time the team left our house foundation had been dug, leveled, and filled with concrete. They also finished digging and leveling the footing of the school house so all that all we need to do now is mix the concrete and fill it in before the rains come in November. Even with all the “power” difficulties the wood team worked overtime to plane and cut all the wood to size for the 10 bunk beds so that all that is left to do is to assemble them. The murals that Mandie had painted looked wonderful and not only made the place look more kid friendly but made it look more like a home as well. The team had done numerous sand runs for building, watered the orchard numerous times, helped Amber with all the cooking and kitchen duties, and collected and chopped lots of firewood for us during the rainy season. The team gave their all each and every day and their exhaustion and blisters at the end of the day proved it. We were so blessed with all the progress they made while here as we never could have even done a fraction of all of this ourselves before the rainy season. Now God willing we are still on track to have the kids in soon! So exciting!
One Sunday, while relaxing after church, the team surprised us with a surprise baby shower and boy – what a shower of gifts it was! They had obviously made a announcement and taken collections in the States because we were blessed with everything from a camping cot/ play yard, baby sling, baby carrier, maternity clothing, baby blankets, bottles, cloth diapers, and tons of cute baby clothes. What made the whole occasion even more fun was having the guys present the whole time. At first I wanted to leave thinking this was more a “woman” occasion but after tons of objections from the team members I was forced to stay. The guys helped me out with lots of fun joking and baby related “MANness” to counter for all the ladies “oohs and ahhs” over every thing. It’s crazy to think how many things a new little baby needs but it definitely made the whole pregnancy experience more real for the both of us. Thanks to everyone who donated and blessed us so. After the team left we headed back to
and had our first sonogram and for those that haven’t heard – it’s a healthy boy! To date Amber is just starting her 6th month of pregnancy with the little guy expected to arrive sometime between Dec 21st and Dec 26th. South Africa
Before the team left we enjoyed spending a few days with them in Livingstone doing some sight seeing and relaxing. After 6 months of hard every day work it was nice to have some down time with the team just relishing in all that had been accomplished. Once they left we headed back to South Africa with Travis (Amber’s 15 year old nephew) to spend some time with my brother and his family from England (it had been 3 years since they had last visited). Travis flew home on August 10th and we were so proud of him and all that he accomplished while here. There are not many young men his age who would be willing to spend 2 months (his whole summer) working as he did. We look forward to seeing all that God has in store for him. Since then we have been busy spending time with family, sharing with churches and supporters here in South Africa about all the progress, running all around getting things necessary for the orphanage that we can’t get in Zambia, and trying to get a bit of R and R in between. We will be in
South Africa only one more week before we pick up Jenny and head back to early morning Sep 6th. Zambia
We are thankful for God’s provision in Jennifer for she will be with us permanently as long as God calls her to be with us. She will be in charge of the orphanage school house/ tutoring center, starting an adult literacy program (so more people can access the community library), and doing weekly community Bible Studies which she started when she was with us previously. Of course she will also be responsible for from helping us with the all the daily “living” operations of the projects as well (ie. Fetching water, chopping firewood, etc). Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to head back to
and tackle all the work that lays ahead of us before the rainy season begins in November. Our goal is to have the orphanage house finished with kids in it, the library complete, land cleared and crops planted, and bricks laid above ground level for both our house and the school house. A lot to do but it is exciting to see so many things close to completion. Zambia
Please Pray For:
Our first born boy that he would be healthy and strong
For the officials that they would give the approvals to get the children in the house.
For Jennifer, the work that the Lord has called her to do, and her transition from the States to full time missions work in
For strength, energy, and perseverance for all the work that lies ahead in the next few months.
For local villagers to come alongside and help in all the various projects.
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You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jako, Amber and baby Jakob