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)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Otervia

A few days before the team left they got to witness the process of how children come to be admitted into the orphanage.  You never know the day or the hour when something like this happens around here but 6 times in this past 12 months it has… and often it goes something like this….

We are told that we have visitors.  Upon asking what we can do to help them they explain that they have a double orphan that they would like us to take at the orphanage.  We then ask some questions to see if there is any way that we can just help with food, clothing, or educational assistance in order to help the child stay with the family they are currently with or if the child’s needs would be best served by being cared for in the orphanage.

IBC June 2011 395 In Otervia’s case – this is what we found out.  Born to parents that were both HIV positive, her father passed away around the time that she was born (in 2002).  While her mother lived until last August she was only on ARV meds for 6 months before passing away.  Apart from having two older siblings that died at or shortly after birth, she has one older brother (age 12) who is living with grandparents and one half sister (age 1) who is being cared for by her own biological father.  After her mothers death Otervia came to live with her Aunt and Uncle.  The uncle is married with two wives and between them there are 4 other children that live in the village (3 of which are age 4 and under).  Both wives are still young so most likely more children are on the way.  Not long after receiving Otervia they realized that she was constantly sick.  A few months ago they took her to the village clinic where it was determined that she was HIV positive (most likely contracted through breastfeeding).  She was started on ARV’s in April of this year and although she appears small for her age and her skin looks as though she was bitten by 1,000 fire ants, she is a sweet, beautiful little girl with a shy smile that lights up the room.  Due to her HIV status and the family feeling like they did not have the resources to care for her we agreed to take her in.  The children and house mothers accepted her immediately and though it has only been a few weeks it is nice to see her thriving and getting stronger through proper medical care and good nutrition.

Alyssa June 147 Please pray for her as she continues to adjust to a whole new living situation and for wisdom for us in how best to care for her, especially for her educational need.  Although she is either 8 or 9 (her exact birth date is unknown, only her birth year) she has only ever had a few months of community schooling before the school that she was attending shut down.   We tried to enroll her in the community school near us but it seems that her body is not strong enough to handle the walk there while it is still adjusting to the effects of the ARV’s.  The time we did try it she came down with a high fever afterwards and the doctor suggested letting her heal a bit more before attempting the long walk again.  In the meantime Alyssa is planning to help her with some basic education there at the home.  We praise God for her improving health for for bringing her to a place where she will be well looked after and well loved. 

The Idlewild Team : )

Saturday June 4th was a happy day as we received the team of 10 from Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. What made this group even more special was that not only did it consist of 5 returning team members but also Amber’s brother Josh and new sister-in-law Katie. We got to camp early Saturday evening, and on Sunday, while Jako was busy helping to get Amber evacuated to Livingstone for her foot injury the team got to experience their first day of local “village” church. IBC June 2011 271 While Buff, the pastor of the team, got to preach, several of the team members helped to organize a children’s sunday school lesson, and all participated in vocal worship, regardless of the language of the songs being sung. IBC June 2011 446For many it was a sweet welcome back into the culture while to the “newbies” it was a great immersion into the culture and people that they came to serve. Sunday afternoon was spent getting to know the orphans, house mothers, and Charles, gathering firewood and other “camp” duties and catching up from several days of travel.

Monday through Saturday were spent in a flurry of different activities. The team worked hard at all they did whether it be IBC June 2011 024loading, unloading, and transporting bricks, working on the education center roof, or digging a big deep drainage tank for the orphanage run off water (often having to dig/chip through thick layer of difficult barash/solid rock conglomeration). They were also busy doing lots of small “one-day” projects as we call them (one day – meaning – one day I hope we can get to this….) such as filling in the trench all around our house (still there from the building process),Alyssa June 078 clearing the orphanage soccer field, fixing our annoying ankle-twisting small front step, hanging up an extra swing for the babies at the orphanage, organizing all the wonderful donations that they bought (clothes, medical supplies, baby toys and kid games), and chopping the tons of firewood needed for all the bush cooking and nightly campfires where we would have debrief in the cold winter night air.

Steve, one of the men on the team, a welder by profession, was IBC June 2011 156 able to build Jako a nice solid metal work table (his old temporary wood one was barely standing due to termites). Another exciting project that got tackled (mostly the women) was to finish organizing and labeling the books in our community library. The guys were able to help add additional shelves, make wooden book ends so that the books didn’t keep toppling over, and finish the task that was started more than a year ago. Just cleaning the librarIBC June 2011 440y from all the dust and rat “evidence” that had accumulated over the past year was a huge job. Thanks ladies for being willing to get “down and dirty” here in Zambia for us and the sake of the gospel (many of the books are Christian and preaching resources/references).

The Idlewild team part 2

IBC June 2011 418 On the spiritual side the team was able to teach bible stories to the orphanage children every night and do daily prayer walks around the property here. It was neat to see the joy in the children’s faces as the team played, loved on, and taught the children IBC June 2011 405 the truths of God’s love for them, power, and protection. It warms my heart to think of the spiritual foundation that these children are being IBC June 2011 426 exposed to and the faith that they are beginning to exhibit. For them to have this kind of knowledge, and security in the love and power of God is so different from the traditional ways of living in fear and bondage to the many local spirits and always trying to find a way to appease them or keep them from being angry. IBC June 2011 416The hope is that as these kids grow up they will have the truth and foundation of Christ to fall back on when times get tough, that they will be able to stand up to the community pressure of witch doctors and family members, and be able to be the leaders and light in an often “dark” community here.

EverIBC June 2011 097y day one meal was eaten up at the orphanage, cooked by the orphanage house mothers and the house moms really enjoyed the encouragement and love that they received from the team, especially from the laIBC June 2011 406dies of the team who were often invited to help cook with them. The babies definitely received lots of extra love, hugs, and attention and the kids especially enjoyed the weekends when they were out of school and had more time to play soccer and games and read with the team members.

The Idlewild team part 3

 IBC June 2011 447 Sunday June 12th the team was able to participate with the local village church again.  Mark was able to preach, the kids were loved on and taught in Sunday School, and team members were able to share testimonies and worship with the local congregation.  It’s amazing how physical differences such as language, skin color, socio-economic status, and age can disappear in the midst of true worship.   

 IBC June 2011 451 The team continued to work hard both that next Monday and Tuesday to finish up as much as they could and even though   some were up until the early   morning Wednesday finishing the roof, it was nice to be able to see it IBC June 2011 427covered and mostly completed!  There were many tears  as the team said goodbye to the kids and locals that they had fallen in love with over the past 10 days (and year for many of them).  During their few  days of debrief and sightseeing in Livingstone, the team was able to witness a rare occurrence of a lunar eclipse and lunar rainbow at Victory Falls at the IBC June 2011 711 same time.  The team headed back home Friday, June 17th,  tired from all the work and activity but hopefully satisfied in their hearts for all that they were able to do and the impact that they were able to make.  Thank you team members for being willing to serve and sacrifice and to Idlewild Baptist Church and all the supporters who helped make this trip possible. 

When the team left for home, the remaining three of us headed to Lusaka for a few days to submit Alyssa’s work permit and do some errand running while we were there.  We returned back to camp Wednesday June 28th.

3 months pregnant and a broken foot

Just the other day Jako was commenting on how our blog updates didn’t seem to be as exciting as they were several years ago before the orphanage was established – back when we were in little rubber duck boats, praying the waves on Lake Kariba didn’t capsize us and feed us to the hippos and crocodiles that were everywhere.  Back when we were traveling from South Africa to Zambia every month or two, in borrowed vehicles, then our own 1964 Land Rover that Jako built (praying that it would make it because it was never really designed for the open road), putting up tents in the pouring rain and praying over difficult border crossings 6 or more years ago……. Well, I don’t know if God has a sense of humor or what but only a few days after Jako said that something “interesting” happened. 

We had just finished picking up the team from Idlewild Baptist Church in Florida (which incJUNE 2011 019luded Amber’s brother Josh and new sister in law Katie) when at a mid-road trip stop, Amber went to go and stop Jakob from picking oranges (bright balls) from a friend’s tree.  After picking him up to direct him somewhere new, she accidently stepped into a trench that was covered by grass and subsequently twisted her foot and ankle.  Since we still had another 2 hour bush drive left before we got home Amber didn’t mention much and just hoped it would feel better in a bit.

Unfortunately when we got back to camp, it was evident that the injury was a bit more serious than originally thought.  Not only did she have a nice swollen ball on the side of her foot but she could put no pressure on it.  Not wanting to take any pain medicine due to being 3 months pregnant (surprise – now the word is out!) she tried to tough it out but woke up in tears because of the pain.  Fearing that the strain that she was under would be worse for the baby then a bit of medicine she did eventually took 1 tylenol and with a a bit of good ace wrapping from Jako she was able to make it through the night.  Praise God that that was all the pain meds that she needed to take the entire “adventure”.  The next morning, due to the pain we figured the foot was broken and decided to call our local African insurance company to see what they would suggest doing.

JUNE 2011 024 They were great to us and after looking at all the logistics (a four hour ride to the nearest good x-ray place, Amber being pregnant and not able to take pain meds etc.) they decided that the best course of action would be to fly Amber out via helicopter!  We were definitely surprised but weren’t going to complain.  Jako quickly got to work making sure the local soccer field was cleared, that they had a flag visible from the vehicle as a marker, and making sure they had the correct GPS coordinates in order to find us.  You can only imagine what tJUNE 2011 021he villagers were thinking as they saw the helicopter land, load Amber up and then take off.  There was definitely a crowd around the soccer field as many had never seen anything like this before.  While the helicopter ride wasn’t Amber’s favorite part of the whole trip (thank God for doggy bags) she did get to see a nice ariel view of their home, the orphanage and mission, and it did cut her travel time down from four hours to half an hour. The insurance company was great (thanks SES) and got her to x-rays and a doctor in the time that it took Josh (Amber’s brother) to do his first solo drive out of the bush and meet her in Livingstone.  Jako stayed back to help with the team and Alyssa picked up the slack of overseeing the cooking and other responsibilities that Amber normally handled. 

In the end the x-rays revealed that her foot was broken but we praise God that it was a clean break, with nothing out of place, only requiring a good cast and crutches for about a month and that the pain was greatly lessened once the cast was on. We were quite relieved to hear the news as we feared that if anything was out of place (as often is DSC_0191with foot injuries) she would have to be flown to South  Africa for surgery, and didn’t know what that would mean with her being pregnant.  Amber and Josh returned to the camp the next day and apart from almost daily visits from villagers wanting to see if she was okay, life went back to normal – well as normal as life can be when living on crutches.  The Lord knew the timing of everything though because the team was great at helping to care for Jakob, and taking over most of the “big cooking being on the feet a lot of the time” responsibilities and making sure that Amber had enough time to rest and recuperate.  Now Amber is looking forward to two dates.  July 3 when the cast finally gets to come out and mid December when the new baby is expected to arrive.  Praise God for his wonderful provision and watch care over all of us.

 

 

 

Monday, June 27, 2011

What have we all been doing? (At least in May)

WELL OH WELL……

Jako and Ben have been attempting  to remove the water pump Alyssa May 2011 100 from the dry well by the orphanage.  Despite their best effort (pulling and winching with a pulley system and the Land Rover, and then a brand new 3 ton block and tackle etc), the pump proved to be stuck so severely that it’s future is unknown.  It is likely that someone from the village intentionally sabotaged this well meaning to do it harm.  So then men then tackled plan B – uncovering the second previously dry well which now seems to have water in it.  The hope was that the hole was still clear and open and that by inserting plastic piping they could put the new pump down it and get it working.  Unfortunately they found it full of sand and after creatively trying to drill/flush it out with water, they concluded that this hole was May 2011 149probably purposefully sabotaged and filled as well.  Bad news – they couldn’t get it working.  Good news – there is water down there and it seems it is just sand filling it (not solid rock like before) so maybe God will provide another way for us to remove that with a smaller/local drilling rig.  Please keep this situation in your prayers.

Ben has made himself useful in helping with various other work  projects going around here and has formed quite a friendship with Charles our local security guard/foreman.  Many days found him ben haircuthelping Charles with brick runs, digging trenches for running electricity to the tent’s new location and to the outside shower and toilet area, fixing the doors for the team toilets and showers, helping with the tent move- digging and relocating tent poles, distributing clothes to the orphans, cutting the kids hair (and encouraging them to try a new hair-do – the one pictured didn’t last), and helping Charles with harvesting his personal crop so that he would be free sooner to keep helping us around here.

Jako’s “Chief” Issue

Apart from all the general maintenance and fixing that Jako has had to do around here, (not to mention laying electrical lines to the outside shower, tent and toilet, May 2011 171 rebuilding a completely new tent door, getting two lights installed in the house, and hooking up the generator electricity to the orphanage house) May has found Jako traveling back and  forth to the chief (2 hours drive one way) and the district council in Kazungula (4 –5 hours away) in order to sort out land issues that arose a few weeks back.  Thanks for all of the prayers that went out on the matter.   In short, it seems that the Chief has been hearing lots of rumors, lies, and villagers complaining about us (due to promises that were made from visitors of ours many years ago that didn't follow through on things) and in the end God brought Truth to light.  Not only did the chief promise his protection once again, he also straightened out those that were spreading the rumors and allowing them to circulate.  The headmen that went with Jako were very supportive of the project as are most of the villagers and community around us.  It just goes to show how a few people, spreading false witness, can do a lot of damage.  The Chief, headmen, and Jako had a good heart to heart talk and in the end the Chief ended up going with to the district council in order to sort out the situation of who is in charge of the land and make sure that we are not being taken advantage of.  That meeting went much better than expected and now everyone is on the same page, with unified support of the project and understanding of what we are doing and where we hope to grow and expand.

Please continue to keep the Chief in your prayers.  While he confesses to be a Christian and seems to be trying to follow after God's way he is under tremendous pressure from the community and his council to continue in the traditional ways.  He seems to be at an important crossroad where he is surrounded by people trying to help disciple and lead him and many trying to lead him in the ancestral and traditional ways as well.  We continue to pray for him and as we believe that, at least now, his heart is earnest.  In fact, his comment to Jako was "Don't worry - God will work everything out for you".  We pray that the truth will continue to deepen and take root in the Chiefs heart so that he can influence many more for God's kingdom.

Alyssa teaching already…

Alyssa has been active teaching  the kids at the orphanage  math, reading and English.  In fact, when the moms saw what a benefit she was to them, they asked her to help them with their English as well.  The mom’s now enjoy their twice weekly Alyssa teachmeetings with Alyssa and the hope is that as she teaches them English, the mom’s will in turn teach her the Tonga equivalent that she will then teach to us : )  The kids are really enjoying the nightly reading program that Alyssa has set up with them, being able to borrow and “read” different books which is a true rarity out here in the bush.  On top of all of this Alyssa was able to visit both of the local schools that the kids attend and talk to their teachers to hear how they were doing and what areas they most needed to work on.  Did I also mention all the work she spent sorting through the donations and organizing new clothes for the kids at the orphanage?
 May 2011 206
One exciting thing that Jako and Alyssa were able to do on those visits was bring a  huge smile to the teachers and kids at the two local schools by surprising them with a donation of soccer uniforms and a new soccer ball (Thanks Idlewild Church in Tampa, Fl).   We can only imagine what pride and sense of self worth it will bring to the kids as tMay 2011 211he compete against other teams in their “new” uniforms and we pray that every time they see them they will be reminded of their father’s love and provision for them.

Part time Eye doctor?

May also found Alyssa busy acting as “eye doctor” for the chief and his entire counsel.  During one of the meetings Jako had with the chief, he noticed that the chief was having a hard time reading some of the paperwork.  Jako asked him about it and soon after Jako was offering the services of Alyssa who had been trained last year with the eye-doc-in-a-box program.  Two days later both of them went back to the chief where she promptly examined him and all three of his wives.  All but one needed and received glasses.  On another visit, the chief requested if there was any way that they could come to look at the eyes of all of his chief council memberMay 2011 035s.  With all that he had done for us, we felt we could hardly refuse so a few days later, they took the few hour trek though the bush to examine all of them.   In the end more than 15 pairs of glasses were distributed and plans were made to have the team from Va come and do the full eye program for the entire chief’s area the end of July.  The neat thing about this opportunity is that along with many receiving the physical gift of sight through eye glasses,  all that are examined are given the opportunity to hear the gospel and look at spiritual things in a way they might not have “seen” before.  We look forward to seeing what God will do through this program in July and ask for your prayers in the preparation process of this. 

And what about Amber?

Apart from not feeling very good lately (more on that in the next Alyssa May 2011 034update) Amber has been busy keeping up with Jakob (the best missionary around here we still say because of the way that the  community is always drawn to him), handling all the admin work of finances, correspondence, and documentation, general supervising, encouragement and training of the house mothers, food and toiletries stock and weekly distribution for the orphanage, plus taking care of the household duties of cooking, cleaning, laundry – that allow the ministry here to continuAlyssa May 2011 060e on a daily basis.  Much thanks to Alyssa for  stepping in and helping in almost all of these areas on the days that Amber was not feeling too good.  She has proved not only to be an excellent cook, caretaker for Jakob (who absolutely adores her), great multi-tasker, but also a wonderful friend in the process.  Thanks for being so flexible Alyssa and for standing in the gap.  God knew what we needed when he sent us you. 

May 2011

DSC_0022 This month found many projects happening, all at the same time at what seemed like lightning speed.  Probably the most visible difference to the landscape was the building of the education center (left) and Alyssa’s flat (below) but Jako was especially excited about the floor to his covered work area being cemented and completed.  It was exciting to see the dreams becoming reality every day as the buildings grew higher and higher, brick by brick.

Although we were able to hire local builders to do most of the brick work that does not mean that it was wiDSC_0058th out effort on our part.  Apart from the general supervising to make sure things were being built to correct standards, bricks and rocks had to be transported, water had to be pumped more frequently and tools had to be borrowed out, assigned, and accounted for.

Moving House (or tent so to speak)

We decided that Alyssa’s flat would best be built on the slab where our first permanent home stood (our permanent tent).  The foundation there was quite strong and larger than necessary and a few years back an additional slab was built next to it to accommodate a different, more temporary shelter tent to house extra wood.  That second tent didn’t work out as ideally as we had hoped with the wind and the rain and so although the open slab worked great for sorting and processing the harvested sunflower and soya beans, when we measured it we realized that with a bit of extension on the front end it would fit our permanent tent perfectly.  So the process to move homes started : )

After removing all the cemented metal poles from their old location, digging and replanting them in their new location, and rebuilding new A-frames to fit the new angles, we were happy to have the help of the local soccer team (who lately have decided that it would be a good idea to help around here and the orphaMay 2011 065nage once a week in exchange for assistance with a soccer ball and team uniforms) to help move the tent.  While they have been mostly hard at work digging bigger beds for the trees in the orchard, having all of them on hand the day of the big “tent” move made the move much easier and kept us from having to completely break the tent down and set it up again.

Unfortunately in the deconstruction process, it was discovered that the wooden door frame that was built 2 years earlier had been badly damaged by termites.  While the initial plan was just to replace the damaged parts that quickly changed when the local kids accidently knocked it over directly onto a wooden stool that shattered the supporting wood and shredded the metal mesh attached with it.  So…. onto plan B – building a termite resistant metal framed door.  While the effortMay 2011 177 required in building it will reap it’s rewards in the long run, the extra two days required to build it, when it seems like 1000 other things need to be done and everyone is needing your time and attention, often seem the straw the breaks the camel back ;)

Daily Interruptions or God appointments?

It sure does seem like we have had a lot of these lately.  Apart from the tasks that we seem to be busy with on a daily basis, there always seems to be something else that “pops” up and requires our immediate intention.  While some of these things we are happy to help with, other’s we wish we could just close our eyes and have God miraculously “fix”.  All of them take time and energy, we are also learning that God doesn’t allow anything to happen without his permission, authority, or just by chance.  With this in mind we are trying to see our often daily interruptions through God’s eyes, trying to lean on Him for understanding and wisdom in how to proceed, and what He wants us to learn from it.

DSC_0052 Some examples this month included… tending to villagers medical needs (including giving stitches), fixing the generator, fixing the fridge, blown tire on the Land Rover, redoing the lights on the Land Rover because of an electrical short somewhere, tightening loose bearings on the trailer, unexpected visits to the chief and Livingstone, villagers requesting Bibles, having to move clothes lines several different times due to building around here, and receiving a new baby at the orphanage

Baby # 5

On May 31st we received our 5th baby of the past year.  At two months of age, we were surprised at how well he looked considering that he had only survived on a mixture of cow and  goat milk since his birth (due to mom being so sick and then subsequently dying).  Given the name Mapenzi (meaning trouble) at his birth, we asked the family to choose a new for him and everyone agreed on the name Nchimunya (meaning normal).   While I was a bit unsure whether this name was any better the house mothers and Charles assured me that yes, this was a good name and so little Nchimunya came to be DSC_0045under our care that very day.  With a father that was  unknown (thought to be a relative of the deceased husband), Nchimunya has two siblings age 3 and 5 and two others that passed away at age 1 and 2 due to hunger.  The husband had passed away a few years ago and the mother has been sick  for a while.  The family that brought him was a relative of the mom but felt that they were already strapped to provide for his two siblings and their own 2 year old daughter.  It was a special time when we were able to pray and dedicate him to God (in the presence of the family) and remove the charms that had been placed on him from birth when he was dedicated to the spirits.  He is a sweet precious baby boy (the older boys were more than happy to add another male to their numbers) who has taken well to his new environment and just thrived on formula.  We praise God for sustaining his life up to this point and look forward to seeing what will become of this precious life.   

Another full time house mom

Unfortunately, the addition of the 5th baby to our orphanage house brought forth a staffing dilemna for us.  While the first house is equipped to hold two families of ten kids each, we all recognized that 5 babies between two mothers would be a bit too much for them to handle with all the middle of the night wakings, bottle feedings, and nappy (diaper) washing.  We had to make a decision on what to do and quick (we often have no warning as to when a kid or baby will come).  After some time spent in prayer and weighing all our options we decided that we would hire Belita (one of our part time helpers) as an additional full time mother for at least 6 months (when baby Esther will be returned to her father at 1 year of age – IBC June 2011 078she is the only baby that has a living parent and that we made an exception for when her mother died).  She will either go back to her part time hours after that or stay on depending on if we get more children in the mean time or not.  That now brings our total to 3 full time moms, 1 part time mom and the need for a possible second part time mom.  Belita has done a wonderful job adjusting to her new role (and everyone enjoys having her around more) but please pray for wisdom for us and the logistics involved in whether or not to hire an additional staff worker.

Clothing and Shoes donation

Praise and thanksgiving to God (and a group called runners for Africa) who provided quite a large donation of clothing and shoes  to us in May.  Alyssa spent many hours sorting and organizing them, as well as inventorying the clothes that the orphanage childrenMay 2011 104 have so that we could determine what their current needs were.  Every year tattered and torn play clothes get turned into rags, last years nice clothes become this years play clothes, and each child receives at least one “nice/church” outfit.  In trying to keep with the standards of community living we try to make sure that the kids don’t acquire “too much” and that any excess that they do acquire get’s redistributed to other orphans in the area.  We were happy to find that this year, we have received enough donations so far to distribute to some of the 30+ double orphans that we are helping to support in the community and another 30+ that May 2011 037 are single orphans, many being raised by widows struggling to make a sustainable living.  We believe that if we can help support these families to care for these children on their own then not only the children, but the community in general will be the better for it.  Our goal for the orphanage is only to accept those children who have no one that is willing and able to care for them.  While we are still praying for enough donations to provide blankets, clothing, and educational assistance to most of these children, we are so blessed by what we have already received.  We pray that God will continue to bless those that have given and that He will continue to provide for ALL the needs of those living in the community as well as those in the orphanage.