I Chronicles 4:10
“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm…and God granted what he asked.”
In the past few months, God has enlarged our family from me(Jako), Amber, Jenny and baby Jakob to 8 children, two fulltime house mothers and also two part time mothers. Yes the day has finally come that we have CHILDREN in the ORPHANAGE!!!! But before we get to that let me give you an update on the rest of us….
We were not sure when we will be leaving South Africa to go back home to Zambia with all the paperwork that needed to be done for Jakob John (he needed both his South African passport and an American passport). God was faithful and we received temporary passports and left SA on January 12 2010. It was not too hard with Jakob for he sleeps every time the vehicle moves and the drive was easier than what we expected. Not only did he experience his first border crossing, elephant sighting, and first time being stranded in the hot sun during a roadside vehicle maintenance stop, he also did his first camping night in Botswana.
Jill arrived on the 11th of December 2009 a day after Jakob was born. Jakob came two weeks early so despite her best efforts to see Amber pregnant God (and Jakob) had other plans. She spend the first month with us at my mother in South Africa and then the second month she came with us to Zambia. She helped us a lot around the camp and especially Amber as she adapted to being a new mom and our changing live styles in Zambia. She helped with cooking, washing, tending to Jakob, camp maintenance, and even helped with painting our new house. There were many more things that she helped us with that we are very thankful for and we cherished the special memories that were made. After getting to share in the first two months of little Jakob’s life Jill returned back to the States on the 10th of February 2010. (A few weeks later she was hospitalized with seizures related to her brain tumor but she appears to be doing better now. For more information on her health visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/jillfinklea Thanks to all of those who have remembered her in your prayers).
Amber is the best mom ever, facing challenges of being a bush mom every day, carrying on with her roles as Orphanage Director and wife, and keeping the camp up and running as well. She was changing diapers on the side of the road while I was changing tires.
Jakob’s first months in the bush have been full of bush riding (vehicle, quad, and off road stroller), breastfeeding, cloth diapers, night bathing, bottle feeding from daddy on Valentine’s Day, immunizations at Kauwe Clinic here in the bush, fever from the immunization and a cold, and tons of locals coming to see the white baby (I think that make him a better missionary than us!). With all our traveling we counted that Jakob had slept in 10 different places in the first 8 weeks of his life! At least he is now moved into our “new” house after living in the tent for one month so that he can also say that he lived in a tent with his parents. But more about the house later as well….. We did have to make a necessary trip (actually two) to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, for Jakob’s immigration paperwork but praise God we now have all of his permanent paperwork sorted out. He is an official South African citizen, U.S. citizen, and has been added onto Amber’s Zambian work permit. Thanks to the Barnes family for so graciously hosting us while we were there. Unfortunately as we were getting ready to leave, I had to repair the right back wheel bearing first before we could go back home. Thankfully God helped with getting all the parts and after 1 1/2 more days of working on it we were back on the road. Thanks again to the Barne’s for letting me use their vehicle to go everywhere to get the old bearing pressed out and the new one pressed back and praise God that this happened while we were in the city and not in the middle of the bush.
As for me – the past few months have found me busy getting the orphanage house ready for kids and house moms, getting our house ready for us to move into, playing catch up on maintenance from the month we were in in south Africa, fixing generators and vehicles, chopping wood, running back and forth to town for supplies, leading Sunday Bible studies, bathing,diapering, and playing with Jakob and just working hard on all the projects that needed attention.
Jenny has been hard at work both physical and spiritually somehow finding time to put in all the window glass in the house and painting between all her teaching responsibilities which are greatly increasing. Now besides the community Bible studies that she leads on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and the children’s Sunday school she has also started to give English lessons to some of locals. Plus, now that there are orphans in the house she has been busy spending time with them, trying to assess their educational status. It is not easy trying to start so many things from scratch but she has been doing a great job in her role as “teacher” here by us also while being a great help with the physical part of everything. Amber appreciates her extra hand with Jakob and in the kitchen and Jenny is really turning out to be a good cook. She was actually the first person (along with Amber’s mom) to move into our house and finally get out of the small tent that she had been living in for so long. They stayed in it the first month while Amber and I were in our tent till the 14th of February and then moved in to the house. I know that Jenny is looking forward to moving into the big permanent tent as soon as her bed is finished so that she can finally have a decent sized place of her own to call “home”. Learn more from Jenny’s perspective at www.jennymaass.blogspot.com
And speaking of our own house. It has been exciting to see the progress made there. All of the windows are in, most of all the painting is done (we tried the floor but it kept peeling due to the high humidity level of the rainy season), basic electricity is wired (run by generator and solar power), and guest bunks have been built. It is still not completely finished but after many years of living in our permanent tent we decided that it was done enough to move it … on February 14th. (I bet you guys didn’t build a house for your wife for Valentine’s Day!) That was an exciting day for us and although one of the biggest benefits it provides us is added security when we are gone, boy does it feel nice to have solid walls around us.
AND NOW FOR THE REALLY EXCITING PART!!!!!
The Orphanage is up and running!!!!! After seven years of praying, planning, drilling wells, clearing land, breeding livestock, building relationships as well as buildings, and working hard from sun up to sun down the day of us actually having orphans in the the first orphanage house has become a reality!!! The past few months have been filled with community committee meetings, child and house mother applications and interviews, sorting through donated curtains, bedding, linens and blankets (thanks to those who so lovingly made so many of them for us), purchasing pots, pans, and household necessities, buying food stock and clothes for the the kids and finishing all the plumbing.
Then on Friday, February 12th, 2 full time housemothers moved in and on Monday and Tuesday, 15th & 16th, 8 orphans moved into their brand new home. The house mom's are front right Ennie and from back left Rachael and also part time Silvia. The orphans are front left: Cecillier(8yrs), Silvester(12yrs), Pilohead(11yrs), Enest(12yrs), Briget(9yrs), Millium(5yrs). The Back is Precious(13yrs) and Pamela(14yrs)
We were a little bit worried about how the kids would adjust being moved into a new and unfamiliar place but we were surprised to see that most of them were all smiles even the first few days. I don’t know if it was maybe sleeping in a proper bed for the first time in their life, or living in a house with luxuries such as windows and a proper bathroom, or having more food than they had been used to but most of the kids seem to have adjusted very well. The house moms have definitely taken them under their wings and made them feel welcome, cherished and loved and they have been a blessing to have around. It is so nice to hear their laughter every time we drive into and out of our place.
Please pray for us and them as we work through getting each child placed in school, settled into their new environment, and getting their health status assessed. Already one of the boys has needed to get a tooth pulled and be on antibiotics for a possible infection. Please pray also for the house moms as they adjust to their new roles and try to discover the different needs and personalities of each of the children.
Just a week or two ago, I fitted a water pump that works with the hand to one of the dry wells that were drilled by the orphanage house. We noticed that with the rainy season there was some water in their and even without the pipes going the full length of the drilling depth we are getting about 200l of water a day out of it. We do have plans to extend the depth of the piping but please pray that God would open the veins of it to yield more water. This pump can pump into the air up to 15 meters and now we are filling above ground water tank that we have put up for the running water that the orphanage should have.
Other news from the bush….
Our library resources continue to increase. Just recently we were blessed to receive another 57 boxes of donated books, study materials, and school supplies. We get excited every time we are in there, looking at the boxes and are so eager for the day when the shelves will be up and organized and it can officially be opened. We pray that will be in the next few months but right Jenny is enjoying digging into it for her teaching purposes and the building itself has been an God send as a place to hang up drying laundry during the rainy season.
We have been blessed with our first overseas visitors (that weren’t family) that we put up in the guest room of the house God blessed us with. The senior pastor and missions representatives from First Baptist Woodbridge came and we had a very blessed time with them being there. Even though their visit was very short we still had allot of fun and were glad for them to see what God is doing in the area where we are. Thank you for your visit and you are more than welcome to come back. Also thanks to Abbie who came for a week to help with all the painting in the house.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our health. A few weeks ago we had a situation with Amber getting quite sick (she kept spiking a 104.9 fever). It appeared to be Malaria but didn’t seem to respond to the treatment until she was put on antibiotics (which probably meant it was something else). It didn’t make it any easier that Jakob then just started screaming and crying all day long and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him or if he was sick as well. He is normally such a happy and easy baby. I definitely had my hands full trying to care for both of them at the same time. Praise God for a wonderful Christian doctor friend in Kalomo who treated us (Jakob seemed to be having stomach problems related to the medicine Amber had to take) and nursed us back to health at their place for a few days. Everyone is doing great now but it just reminded us again how important the power of prayer really is.
Currently in the USA!
We are now currently in the States for a very quick two weeks for Idlewild’s Global Impact Conference. We fly back on March 19th and although this time is much shorter than we have ever had before (we need to get back to tend to the needs of the orphans and the orphanage) we are so thankful for the opportunity to be here at all and especially to show Jakob off to all our friends, family, and supporters. We look forward to sharing all the exciting news of what God has been doing in person and look forward to seeing new and familiar faces at the Mission of Love booth!
For more picture go to www.picasaweb.google.com/missionoflovezambia
Thank you all again for your continued prayers and support.
With Grateful hearts serving our Lord,
Jako, Amber, and baby Jakob
Mission of Love Community Orphanage Zambia
P.O. Box 620170