Our Vision

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P.O. Box 620170, Kalomo, Zambia
Our vision is to bring the love of Jesus Christ to the children of Zambia through physical and spiritual means.Our hearts longing is to empower the local church and village community to meet the great need of the many orphans and widows through the development of an orphanage.(Psalm 68:5-6a)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update from the United States and passing of Amber’s mom Jill L. finklea

We are currently in the USA and have been for the past few months.  Please forgive our tardiness for these updates but once you read them I am sure you will understand why.  We came over on the 20th of December 2010 to spend Christmas with Amber’s mother (Jill) and family. Amber felt early in 2010 that we need to be here, knowing that after a three year battle with brain cancer, it could be the last Christmas that we spend with her mother. We prayed for a longtime to hear from God if it was from him or our own desires but He gave Amber and me the peace in August and confirmed that desire by providing the means for us to do so.

img032 December and January whirled by with all our time and effort being focused on loving Jill.  While outwardly she was only the shell of what she was three years ago, she was still alert enough to know what was going on, who was who, and gave us all good laughs in the way her mind struggled to process things.  Amber cherished this time tending to even her every need (getting in and out of bed etc.) and will never forget how grateful her mom was of her being here.  Amber spend most of her time with her mother till the day she was taken home to be with our Creator Jesus Christ on 29 January 2011. We thank God everyday that He made this possible for us to be here and to spend that time with loved once and dear friends.  She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery atop of Amber’s father (John Finklea) who passed away in 1992. 

Although we will miss her greatly and really hoped that she would make it to Josh’s wedding her passing allowed us all initial time to mourn our great loss (heaven’s gain) and then refocus on celebrating Amber’s brother’s wedding on March 4th.  what a special gift for us being able to be here for that.  February also found us catching up with friends and supporters, even up in Virginia and preparing for Idlewild’s missions conference next week which we are excited to be a part of.

As per our weekly phone calls with Charles back home, things seem to be going well and they are managing things on their own.  One disappointment and struggle is that the submersible pump stopped working and then as they were trying to remove it the pipes got stuck so that well is now unusable until we get back and I can tend to it.  Praise God that Charles has use of the quad and tractor to make water runs from one of the other wells many miles away.  The rains are continuing at a steady rate and so far the crops are looking good.  Support came in for us to purchase bicycles for the older kids to go to the government school and so far the kids are really enjoying that.  All the babies seem to be growing and the kids all doing well.

Another baby?

On an interesting note, we had stated to the orphanage committee that we were not going to be admitting any new children into the orphanage until we returned from the States unless it was a true emergency. 

On Februrary 14th we received a call from Charles about a new baby that was just 22 daysshalom old.  According to him the mother was mentally unstable, very sick, unable to care for the baby, and abused by men so that the father was unknown.  The only info that we got about the baby was that she was critical and so the committee was asking if the orphanage could care for her.  Trusting their discretion we agreed (to be reassessed when we return)but asked a doctor friend to come out the next day to see what her exact needs were.  Thank you Rob and Christa for braving the muddy rainy season off road dangers to do that the very next day.  What they reported was that baby Salomi (New babynickname Shalom) was under 4 lbs of weight and approximately 2 months premature.  Observing that she needed lots of extra care,  they selflessly agreed to take her to their home, give her daily injections and extra care until she was a bit stronger.   Right now she is doing well and thriving under them.  We are still praying for God’s direction as to when to transition her back.  Please pray for her that God’s grace will shine on her as it did on the other two baby’s. The family can not care for the little one but we will make a final decision on to how long we will keep her when we get back to Zambia. We will keep her or equip the family to take care of her so please keep that in prayer so that God would give us the wisdom that we need.    

Thank you for your prayers and support we love you and appreciate it all.

Pray for:

The children at the orphanage and the mothers that they will stay health and strong

For the three baby’s that God would keep His hand on them.

For the orphanage project that everything will Glorify God and that there would not be any big problems.

For the well that has broken.  That God would help the garden, orphanage and the community get water.

For Amber, Jakob and me that God would guide and direct us so that we do His work and not our own.

That God would give us the wisdom to push on in the busy homestretch of our last few weeks/week in the States.

May our Lord Jesus be with you all and i do pray that you all put your trust in Jesus.

With much appreciation

Jako, Amber and Jakob Joubert

Mission of Love Community Orphanage Zambia

e-mail: missionoflovezambia@hotmail.com

U.S.A. Here we come (Dec 2010)

Things continue to progress here with rain coming almost perfect to this point.  Just the right amount at just the right time.  The roofs have all be leak proofed again and apart from a minor collapse of the chicken coup roof and a larger one of the car port roof, all have held up well under the rainy conditions.  And the few roofs which showed weakness we were able to strengthen before our departure.

IMG_2854_thumb[1] The chicken mansion is now complete and the kids, Charles, and all had a fun time trying to catch and round up all 200+ chicks to relocate them in their new home.  This new place is much larger and has compartments for the different sizes of chicks to keep all of them safe and meet their different nutritional and vaccination needs.  It also allows space for them to run outside and eventually be split between egg layers, and those that we will use for meet so we are all quite excited about this.  Please pray that the chickens continue to stay disease free during this time where lots of illness’ seem to be going around.

God knew that we needed extra help IMG_8670_thumb[1]during this home stretch and so we were so thankful for the extra help that God sent our way.  First, a team from South Africa came to lend their hand with some projects around the orphanage for a couple of days.  They laid electric cable from the generator to the orphanage house (so that there will be electricity there when the generator is running), helped clean up and rearrange thing around the house, and helped me build gates for my new workshop. Thank you guys and girls.

 Gretchen's Photos Dec 2010 216_thumb[1] Our friend Gretchen also graciously gave of her time and talents for a few weeks.  She helped Amber immensely with getting supplies for the orphanage organized, trying to find out how many of each item they will need while gone, inventorying what we have, getting baby clothes and needs sorted and ready for when we are gone (they all needed clothing for the next size/sizes up) and trying to get paperwork in order for the time when we were gone.

We were also blessed with a visit from my mother (Jako’s) and she made it her full time job to love and dote on Jakob as much as she could.  He kept her busy but she was intent on making up for lost time since her last visit.  He took her all over the show and invited her to play in the dirt with him.  All her attention blessed not only Jakob but us as well to get the rest of the tasks done that we needed to give attention to.  All of these people were instrumental in helping and were God’s special gift to us during this busy time.

Orphanage Christmas

Before we left, the childrenGretchen's Photos Dec 2010 249 were blessed with Christmas gifts from the Dutch Reform Church in Livingstone.  The church body put together some some gifts to each child and wanting to take pictures of it we surprised them gave it to them just a few days early. They were so happy and thankful for it!  Each present was tailored for each kid, with the boys getting real tools and toy trucks, the girls getting umbrellas, a purse and knitting yarn, and the babies blankets and clothing.  It was so much fun to see Gretchen's Photos Dec 2010 265 them open these gifts because I think that for all of them this was the first time that they received a gift for Christmas.  Thank you Dutch Reform Church Livingstone for blessing these kids and in turn for blessing us. 

 Where things stand now

Currently all of the orphanage supplies IMGP2076 have been bought, individual roles and responsibilities defined and clarified and everybody is “pumped” for the transition to manage the place on their own.  It’s a bit bittersweet for us saying goodbye to everyone here, knowing how big the babies are going to be when we get back, knowing that Jakob is going to miss his friends and just leaving things in their hands, but at the same time we are excited about getting to spend time with Amber’s mom that side as her condition continues to decline.  I know that Amber’s heart has been there for a while and will not be at true “peace” until she is able to love on her mom in person once again.  Even so there were a few tears at the goodbye knowing all that we were leaving behind, even if just for a few months.

Summer Happenings (October – December)

Things are going well here but busy as well.   Somedays we just feel swamped with all that needs to get done but God is always good to give us the strength that we need for every day. 

Right now we are focused on getting things in order for the rainy season that is fast approaching;  plowing IMG_2749_thumb[2]and preparing several fields for planting (much easier with the new tractor but still not easy ; ) building new cattle and goat shelters, making sure that all the roofs on the houses and storage sheds are still water proof, and making runs to town to make sure that the orphanage is in order for all that it needs during the rainy season while we are gone and local transport is sporadic at best.

Apart from those big tasks we still have the normal tasks of weekly bible studies, house mother trainings, over the counter medicine distributing, bible distribution, discipling, paper work, admin duties such as distribution of orphanage supplies, logistics of overseeing garden management and use/maintenance of the pump, taking people to the hospitals, getting the babies to their vaccination appointments, and just general tasks that come with life in the bush. And then things pop up at the craziest times.

One good example of a typical day here in the bush comes from an e-mail that Amber wrote her brother. 

Oct 30 –2010 “Crazy times here at the camp.  After a full day of work we had just gotten to sleep when Jakob woke up (we think his ears are still hurting him)  then after nursing him the delivery truck came with the tin roof sheets, which is when you called.  One of the guys on the truck was very drunk (and yet still asking for a Bible) and in the process of off loading managed to slice Charles' knee all up wide open and Jako cut himself on his finger pretty bad.  Jako is now busy giving Charles about 10 or so stiches and then still needs to tend to his finger.  and This all after he bareIMG_2493_thumb[1]ly got any sleep last night from driving a 15 year old girl to the clinic who was having difficulty delivering.  They came knocking on our door about 12:30 am and Jako didn't get home until after 4:30 The baby was turned sideways and was 3 months early.  They got her to the clinic to deliver but the baby died about an hour or 2 later.  At least the young lady is doing okay.  And then he drove to town today for supplies so it's been a long crazy day and few nights here in our little corner of Africa : ) .  Hopefully Jako will finish up here in another half hour or so and then we can both get to sleep.  “

Can you tell it had been a very long day when she wrote that?

The good news

Gretchen's Photos Dec 2010 061_thumb[1] The good news is that there is several pieces of good news to report.  Praise God for Charles and his family because they have been a God send.  They really sacrifice of themselves to make the project run well and go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.  Charles has taken on the three boys at the orphanage as his own and often brags of them being “his kids” and Brenda is always so great to lead a hand to either me or the house moms when they get overwhelmed.  We are happy to report that Charles’ house is now finished, complete with roof, and the family is thoroughly enjoying their new place.  Progress on the chicken mansion is progressing as well.

The kids continue to do well and their   IMGP1992_thumb[2] behaviors and attitudes are getting better.  Unfortunately from only half of them passed their school grade this year but the neat this is that God seems to have provided a new member to our team, Alyssa Boles (from the U.S.) who will be joining us in April 2011 to help with the children’s education.  Apart from that we also hope to get some of them into the government school once we have the funds for some bicycles for them (the government school is too far away for them to walk)

IMGP2058_thumb[2] Esther’s father seems to be fulfilling his commitment to volunteer once a week in exchange for his daughters care (formula is expensive!) and he has been sending his 2nd wife to all of the doctors appointment.  This has been good because she really seems to be taking to Esther and continue to bond well, she will e instrumental when she goes back to live with them.

Meeting with the chief

Due to a community difficulties and a few people trying to cause trouble for us (see previous blog) it was arranged for the chief to come and visit us here, to see what was going on, and give a few wise words to the community.  AfterIMG_2526_thumb[1] two missed scheduled appointment (the chief is a busy guy) we were blessed by his presence and even more so when he publically set things straight at a community meeting, telling them that their behavior was unacceptable and that they needed to work together with us for the benefit of everyone.  That really boosted the morale of the do gooders and those for the project while putting some appropriate “fear” into those who thought if they could get rid of us they would automatically inherit all that belonged to the orphanage and project (vehicles, tools, etc) to do with whatever they wanted.  God’s grace and his faithfulness never cease to amaze us.  How he provides not only physical relief and resources at the right time but encouragement as well.

The Community, the Orphanage, and Us

A test run for being gone

Near the end of September/early October we travelled down to South Africa for a quick three weeks.  While there we were able to pick up some important things for the ministry and work here, reconnect with several church’s, friends and supporters and spend some much needed time with Jako’s mom.  Our time there was good but passed in a blink of an eye. 

July Aug 2010 199_thumb[1] On a practical note we were interested to see how the orphanage and community would do without us for these three weeks and thought it would be a good test run for them for when we were gone to the States.  I must say that we were quite happy with the way that the committee, community and house mothers stepped up to their responsibilities and we trust and pray that that will continue so that the community can begin to take more ownership in this “community” project and hold true to the promises and commitments that they have made.

Orphanage Garden and Water

IMG_2444_thumb[3]One example of this is the garden.  Up until this point we have been buying most of the fresh produce for the orphanage such as cabbage, rape, onions, tomatoes, etc… We always had planned for a garden but the plans for us being gone for an extended period of time gave us and the community the push we needed to make it happen.  In early September we cleared land, put up a fence and planted a nursery.  The orphanage committee (who receive no compensation and all has families of their own) was instrumental in helping with all of this work and proved their commitment by the hours of effort they put in there.  My time seemed to be spent on trying to figure out a water solution since the orphanage well has gone dry.  Planting enough vegetables to  sustain all their produce needs while we are gone required quite a sizable garden and hence tons of water.  Approximately 1000 liters a day! 

That’s a lot to pump so at first I July Aug 2010 164_thumb[1] tried a drip irrigation system which proved to be too difficult to maintain with everybody wanting to move and mess with the pipes.  Then we erected a water tower by the well we have been allowing the community to use so that water would be pumped directly into the tank and then flow to the orphanage house (reference previous blog).  And now most recently God gave me the wisdom to figure out a way to hook up the submersible pump and still have the hand pump working for the community.  It took many days of hard labor, building towers, digging lines, taking apart the pump, servicing it, raising and lowering the pipes, cutting new pipes and threads, but now at it is worth it to have running water for both us and the orphanage just by turning on a generator.  However to keep the housemothers and children in touch with the village way of life the still pump their own water for bathing, eating, cleaning etc.  At least they don’t have to transport the water anymore and the pumping that they do do is easy compared to having to pump for all the garden.

Now the garden is looking great and it is time to plant another nursery again so that we can have fresh veggies all year round.  Isn’t it awesome to see the way that God works?

Community Difficulties

Sep 2010 015_thumb[2]Unfortunately these past few months have seen us experiencing some community difficulty lately.  Please keep that in your prayers.  It is difficult and hard on the heart to give of your life to someone (or a group of people) only to feel taken advantage of.  When we came here we came under the premise that the community was going to be working alongside us and more so that we would be working alongside the community but lately that doesn’t seem to be the case.  The area that God has placed us in seems to be a dark place and Satan definitely has a stronghold here.  The headmen are actively involved in witchcraft (if not leading it), and the people steal, lie, drink, deceive, and basically just wait around expecting to be given out handouts.  Obviously this mindset is of the devil and shows even more why they need God but yet it is a difficult task to show love to them in a practical way that will not enable their behavior and wrong ways.  We feel that we would be doing them an injustice if we didn’t do our part to encourage responsibility, doing what you say you are going to do, and living right.  And the sad thing is that many of the locals around here say and confess to be Christians and yet, when you talk to them you see that most don’t even really know what that means.

So in there lies the dilemma, tJuly Aug 2010 056_thumb[1]o be loving, caring and compassionate as Christ called us to be, while at the same time not enabling them in their destructive ways.  Just one of many examples of this was when one villager told us that we HAD to give to him because that Bible says that “you white people must give to us black people”.  When we asked him where we could find that in the Bible of course he didn’t have an answer.  Recently several incidents have happened, of builders running away with money, headmen spreading rumors, people promising to do one thing and never doing it, things being lent or borrowed and never being returned, that make us feel like we are getting slapped in the face.  That has been a bit hard on the heart – especially after all that we have tried to do for them which is why it is so important that we do this in God’s strength and not in our own.  For with man it is impossible but with God ALL THINGS are possible. 

 July Aug 2010 196_thumb[1] Please pray that God would keep our hearts from getting hard, that He would give us HIS heart and passion for the people here and wisdom in how to respond to tough situations.    Please know that there are good people in the area as well but right now it seems like they are too afraid to stand up for themselves and are being influenced for bad as well.  That is where the tribal religion has such a hold on them – those without Christ constantly live in fear of having curses put on them or being bewitched in some way so community pressure plays a big role.  Without Christ they have no strength or protection to stand up.  Pray that God’s light would break through the darkness here in our area.  I really believe that God is still wanting to do a work here so pray that those that need to stand up in the community will and those that need to silenced will.

Orphanage Happenings

We are also having our fair share of challenges at the orphanage house with mothers that not getting along and children running away but in all of this everyone is happy and thankful that God has given them a home. The children now finally seem to be settled in now and while there is still obvious testing of the boundaries (that is normal cross cultures) none of them have run away for a while. Now it is only dealing with the jealousy between the mothers and that might take longer then we would like because this it is so embedded in the Tonga culture (jealousy and not wanting anyone to have more than DSC_0043_thumb[1]they do).  Please pray for this.  The children are really doing good at school and are trying very hard to have a good standing in the class. The local community school that they attend is not the best because most of lack of good teachers, good education of the teachers, and the teachers rarely showing up to school (because of trying to provide for their own family). Currently there are three teachers for over 300 children so you can think what a problem that could be.  Seeing the need we are praying to start a grand A school where we would have a lot more control of the teachers and quality of teaching so please pray for this.  We have experienced first that the role the education plays in poverty and how with out a good school education you can not make informed decisions. 

Zambian family updates

Esther- Tiny Blessing # 2

October 19th another unexpected blessing was brought to our attention.  Tiny baby Ester was born early that morning to a mother who was very sick unable to breastfeed. IMG_2438_thumb[1] Born 3 weeks early she weighed a mere 1.8 kg (barely 4 lbs) but compared to how Genesis was when we first got her, was already much stronger and more stable.  Although we had said that we only wanted to take children who were double orphans, this baby needed formula (which is too expensive for the villagers to afford) and stood no chance of survival if someone didn’t step in to help.  Knowing that her life hung in the balance we asked her to be brought to us until we could decide the best course of action for her.  With the house mom’s now having experience with  Genesis it was easy to hand her over to them and they cared for her like a champ.  Two days later Jako was asked to bring the mother to the hospital because her health was failing fast and after talking to the Father, we agreed to care for this child for the first 6 months as long as the father was willing to come and help at the orphanage with odd jobs once a week and attend all of her medical visits.  This was a hard decision to make because we don’t want to become a drop off center for people just not wanting to care for their own children (and be a bigger burden for the community to support) but in this situation our options were either to refer him to another orphanage much farther away, or try to work with him here so that the family can visit the child and be more involved in her care.

IMG_2442_thumb[1]

Ester on the left next to Genesis that was also premature when we got her.

After 6 months we will reevaluate the situation but our plan is to help her get strong and healthy so that we can transition her back to her family as early as possible when she no longer is so dependant upon formula or milk, most likely at one year of age.  Please pray that the father continues to work with us on the care of this precious little girl and that he will take the full responsibility of caring for her when she gets just a bit bigger.

Family News

Family wise things are going well here.  Jakob is doing well and is as active as ever, wanting to walk and be on the move always.  He continues to thrive in this environment and apart from a few ear infections is doing great.  He loves spending time with the kids at the orphanage and the local villagers are doing a great job at speaking Tonga to him.  Always a personable baby – he loves any attention and brings smiles to anyone’s face.  Easily adaptable, it is easy to see how God has designed him to compliment this ministry, even at such a young age.

Nov 2010 080_thumb[1]

The last few months, Amber’s mom has been weighing heavy on her heart.  After much prayer, we feel as though God is directing us to spend Christmas in the States with her and her family.  Her health is holding up but she has been sicker than ever with the new clinical trials she is on.  Her spirits are still high and she is a trooper despite everything but we just felt it would great to be able to celebrate Christmas all together and to give her the gift of having all her kids and grandkids around for the holidays.  We will then get to attend Josh’s (Amber’s brother) wedding, and a missions conference in Tampa, Florida in March.  We also hope to be able to make it up to Virginia to visit some friends, churches, and supporters up there.  All in all we will be gone almost three months.  Please pray that it will be a time of rest and rejuvenation for us, that we will be able to enjoy some good time caring for and loving on Amber’s mom, and for everything to run well at the orphanage while we are gone.

It was a big decision for us to think about leaving the orphanage so long, especially in the rainy season, but we knew that if God was calling us to go that He would provide for the needs here.  At first we were hoping that somebody would step in to fill our place but the more we prayed it seemed the more God was saying that we just needed to get things in place for the locals to step in and fill the void.  While that idea seems a bit scary (as I guess it is any time we give up our control of a situation) we are also quite excited for the opportunities it holds in forcing the house mothers, orphanage committee and the community to step up to the plate and take on more responsibility instead of relying on us for everything.  And when we started talking to the locals about it, they all seemed up to the task and excited as well.

Pastor Petrus

100_1768_thumb[1] Almost anyone who has been here to visit us has had the opportunity to meet Pastor Petrus and his family.  He was the one who first had the heart for the orphans in the area and took us in as his own from the projects start.   He allowed us to put up tent in his village and we were accepted into the community based on his acceptance and approval of us and his elderly father was the one who gave us one of our first pieces of land.  These past few years have have been trying for him however since he became a headman, and was entrusted with the full time care of his elderly father who really could do nothing by himself.  Because of that he was able to allot less time to the care of the local church and the orphanage project.  Always a humble man, it was hard to see him being torn in so many directions.  In September it seems that God decided that his father had fought the good fight as he went to be with the Lord.  He will be missed but now Petrus is able to start a new chapter in his life where he can be more active leading the church again and taking his rightful role as one of the three directors of the orphanage (Amber and I being the other).

Mid August to October 2010

With the departure of our teams and volunteers, the camp was definitely quieter and more lonely.  It was strange to wake up in the morning and not have to do my “cook-a-doodle-doo” to wake anybody up.  It was nice in a way but we definitely missed everyone, especially their friendship and all their help.  Progress continued but not at the pace that it was when everyone was here.  It seemed that these months passed in a whirl of early mornings, late evenings, and one day just blending into other.  Somedays we felt overwhelmed with all that needed doing  and others it felt like we were just treading water to keep our heads above water (hence the late updates) and yet God gave us the strength needed for each day.

IMG_2193_thumbOne of the main projects that I tackled during this time was the water pump situation. The well at the orphanage ran dry and we had to put up a 1000litre tank up at the main well. I then had to build a metal structure for it and with the locals help, laid all the pipes from the well to the orphanage and the garden (approx 300 meters). 

 

During this time Charles’ new house was completed up to roof height which he as very happy about.  When he took the job as our local foreman/manager/security, it was the beginning of rainy season so there wasn’t enough time to build him, his wife, and four young kids a bigger place than the small 3 x 3meter hut that was there from our previous employee.   Needless to say, after 9 or so months in cramped quarters they were all very excited to see this new “mansion” going up.

  When the local builders  completedIMGP2228_thumb that we got them to lay the foundation for a new larger chicken coupe as well.  At the same time, I was able to get our carport bricked in to serve as a more secure workspace that could be locked when we are gone.  

An exciting new addition to the landscape of the orphanage is a nice big garden. The orphanage committee, house mothers, children and I worked hard to clear the land (trying out the new tractor), erecting a fence, planting a nursery, and then transplanting the small plants to their proper rows.  While we will still have to buy vegetables for the house until these are IMG_2444_thumbable to be harvested everyone is quite excited about the possibilities that the new garden brings, not only in the variety of vegetables that they can plan and harvest but also for the opportunity to teach the kids another important village life skill.