April found us busy with harvesting, harvesting, and more harvesting. The first crop we harvested this year was the maize (corn) and we were blessed not only by a truly good yield but also by the number of orphanage committee members and community people that showed up to help us harvest it. It was a real team effort with some building the maize storage shed, some cutting grass to line it, some helping with harvesting, loading and unloading and even the kids from the orphanage got involved. We have found that when given the chance (and a one month school holiday gives a great one) the children not only learn another life skill about how to provide for themselves out here in the bush but also that they can prove to be very hard workers. And working together as a team reaps greater benefits than working alone.
Then we moved on to harvesting the sunflowers. Last year when we planted and applied fertilizer the villagers laughed at us saying that we were wasting the fertilizer because it isn’t worth it to put it on sunflower. This year, the villagers received a lesson straight from nature and were amazed at the size and yield that we received from the small portion that we planted. Of course we also attribute the good yield to God’s favor and blessing but we have already heard several in the village saying that yes, fertilizer for sunflowers really does work.
On a happy note, the children at the orphanage are all doing well. The babies are growing and getting bigger by the day, and the kids are enjoying their month long holiday from school. With their free time they have been busy with the harvesting, helping the mothers with the garden and other spring cleaning chores but also enjoying the extra time to have fun as well. Thanks to previous donations the children enjoyed getting a few new coloring books, crayons, books, toys, and games to play with (and see how they do with taking care of them). With all of the older kids having been at the orphanage more than a year now, all seem to be settled in with less behavioral issues and feeling more comfortable in their “new” home. Sylvester has stopped wetting the bed in the evenings, the children are more obedient, and even Millium and destructive behavior has gotten much better. It’s hard to recognize some of these kids as the same ones that came just over a year ago. The moms are also more confident and settled in their roles and things seem to be falling into a nice routine at the house.
School wise, the kids seem to be doing pretty well this year. While we have only received reports back on 3 of the 8 that are in school of those three, Pillohead is first in his class at the government school, Enest is passing, and Sylvester (who failed last year) is now number 1 in his class at the community school. What an amazing boost of confidence that has given him as He has learned that if he tries hard he can accomplish almost anything. His goal next year is to be able to attend the government school which he seems right on track for. We are still awaiting the rest of the grades for the other children but fear those might not be as good as the boys. We even wonder if Precious might have a significant learning disability so pray for us as we try to assess and help her with that. Thankfully help has come!
Help is Here
Thursday the 21st Alyssa Bolles and Ben Shaer (both from the States) arrived to lend us a helping hand. Ben will be with us for two months helping Jako wherever possible (like fixing the car in Lusaka) and Alyssa will be joining us for two years, focusing on helping the orphanage children with their education and hopefully helping us to establish a community preschool which may eventually lead into a grade school.
Although their first week with us was spent in Lusaka picking up our work permits (PRAISE GOD WE HAVE BEEN ALLOWED ANOTHER 2 YEARS IN THE COUNTRY!) and filing for Alyssa’s they have been real trooper and have already proved their benefit in many ways. The children have enjoyed hearing their Bible stories on Sundays, working along side them and Alyssa has already begun helping the children with their math, teaching them their times tables, and assessing where each of the children are at educationally. Please pray for them during their time here, that God will guide and direct them in all that they are supposed to do, give them peace and comfort as they are separated from friends and family and that God would give them strength and wisdom for each day.
One day as Charles (our local foreman/manager) was going to get paperwork signed from Salomi’s family we were wondering what was taking him so long. After dark he showed up apologizing saying that he had accidently rolled the quad going over a hill too fast. Not only was the quad inoperable but in the process Charles had hurt his hip and his jaw. While we trust that the quad can eventually be fixed (although it is definitely an inconvience at the moment) we are just thankful that he was not more seriously hurt because according to the speedometer he was going at least 35 kph (21mph) after he slammed on the brakes upon impact. Charles now respects any moving vehicle (tractor and quad included) saying that they are “like a lion” and need to be respected as such.
Please pray for us as we have a few busy months ahead of us. Not only do we hope to get the education center and Alyssa’s two room home built but we also need to prepare for the two teams coming our way in June and July. May or June should also see us returning to Lusaka in hopes of getting Alyssa’s work permit. Please pray that her fingerprint clearance from the States gets back to us before too long so that we can continue with her application process.
We look forward to ALL that God has in store for us these next few months. With praise and thankfulness for His provision and faithfulness. To God be all the glory.