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
The team arrived in
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
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
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
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
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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Jako, Amber and baby Jakob