Our Vision

My photo
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)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Life in the Rainy Season (and a Time for Everything)

Ecclesiastes 3 talks about how there is an appointed time for everything and for every event under the sun.  These past few months (and the start of rainy season) have brought many changes here to us in Mukamba.

A time for fire IMG_4370                                                                                 As always during the dry season, in October and November we encountered multiple bush fires.  Most are caused by locals trying to burn away the old dry grass to make way for the new but this year it was all hands on deck to help fight the fires crawling (and raging) towards the orphanage, orchard, and our house.  Jakob even got in on the action shooting the fire with a water gun and then beating it with sticks and leaves local style.  

 And a time for rain

When the rains did start Dec 2012 001coming it made an immediate difference not only to the landscape in making all things new but also to the roads as well.  Local flooding on our “main” dirt roads makes traveling fun and Amber and Alyssa are having to quickly learn how to manage true 4 x 4 bush driving in all types of difficult conditions.  Out here right now it’s definitely sink or swim!  Amber even had to drive back to camp one night during a rain storm with the water being so deep that the headlights went underwater 5 times!  Praise God that the ground underneath was still pretty hard so they didn’t get stuck.

A time to kill

IMG_4350-001 One of the many dangers that comes with the rainy seasons is the snakes.  We praise God for his provision and protection of us because in less than 1 week Jako with the aide of Travis, a metal rake (now in pieces), and a shotgun for backup killed 2 Mozambique spitting cobras.  We had heard that they mated for life and in this case it appears to be true.

And a time to retreat

Like from our outdoor kitchen after hours when the flying ants like Nov 2012 042to swarm and invade like a scene from a horror movie.  The locals (and children here) love eating these delicacies but we instead prefer to just try to adjust our schedule around them and retreat to the safety of our home to the other insects that the rainy season brings out there.

A time to be creative

Aug - Nov 2012 060 One of the blessings of the rainy season here is that it teaches us to be thankful in all situations and appreciate all that we take for granted in the dry season – one of which is laundry drying on the line. While the sun can be bright and shining one moment the heavens can open the next so it forces us to be a bit creative with the indoor space that we have and shows us how we can do nothing to control the forces of nature.

A Time for Growing

Even amidst all the danger, difficulty, and new challenges that the rainy season brings, it is still our favorite time of the year because it is a time of new growth, new green, and making all things new.  It is amazing to see the brown, barren, dusty land start to sprout tiny shoots of vibrant green – first just a sprinkle that your eye barely catches then can’t get enough of, then gradually taking over until you feel like you surrounded by a lush tropical paradise.  As the old gives way to new life, all of nature seems to breathe the promise (and hope) of what is to come.  These last few months we have had the privilege of witnessing this miracle many times in many different forms

Orphanage Garden   garden2

One of Travis’ main jobs these past few months has been to  supervise and work alongside two local men to create above ground contained garden beds for the orphanage.  Since the childen’s home is supposed to be 100% self sustainable in terms of all the vegetables that they eat, the garden is essential in caring for the needs and nutrition of our 18 children here.  Even though the mothers and children were diligently watering and tending to the garden, the soil was very sandy and no matter how much manure was added it was taking a tremendous amount of water.  In response, we decided to a system of making cement walled beds, with a cement bottom (slanted down in the middle to allow excess water to run off) lining the bottom with corn cobs, and then a mixture of soil and manure.  In theory the benefit is minimal water run off and even reusing the excess water.  While it has been a long, tedious job under the hot African skies, the results are looking promising.  Currently half of the garden is complete and we will tackle the other half once we are confident that it is going to yield the results we are hoping for. Travis garden

Plowing the Big Field

One of our other big projects to promote self sustainability out here is the farming of maize (and eventually other crops) on a 32 Nov 2012 030 hectare piece of land about 10km away from the children’s home.  Since this land is virgin (meaning it has never been planted before) it is a huge undertaking to clear the land of trees, remove the stumps and underground roots, till the land with the plow, and then plant.  The children’s home boys, Jako, and Travis and some of the locals have spent many a day trying to get the 1 and 1/2 hectares of the field that is already cleared ready. (We hope to clear and expand on this each year).  They have recently finished plowing and planting so that now we are just praying for plenty of rain and a fruitful harvest in a couple of months.

Future Farmers of Zambia  

Dec 2012 133

Our kids have also been busy during the school holiday break planting many little fields of their own here near the house.  Each are deciding for themselves what they want to plant – from sweet potatoes, to sweet yellow corn, to the traditional white maize, and local vegetables and it is great to see them taking the initiative on their own.  If they can learn the value (and rewards) of hard work from a young age, they can be Precious plantgreat difference makers in their community and even farther.   We are very proud of them and are excited to see what the future holds for these special children.Dec 2012 134

 

A Time To Teach

Children

Travis has been doing a Bible study Dec 2012 242 with our three teenage boys on Fridays nights, talking about how to be a godly Christian man and how to actively live out their faith on a daily basis. The boys seem to be receptive, really enjoy it and are beginning to open up more and more.

Olivia has been doing a Bible study with the girls at the same time  talking about forgiveness and different examples of how much God loves us. The girls specifically asked for their own Bible study and enjoy playing games together when they are through (sardines, spoons, and Uno seems to be their favorite) .

Travis and Olivia have been tutoring some of the children with their school work, especially math and English.  While most of our children are not doing okay compared to their classmates, due to the quality of education here in the village and the fact that kids are often passed to the next grade without having learned the fundamentals, all of our kids are quite behind.  However with this extra after school help, they are all showing great improvements.

House MothersDec 2012 111

The mothers continue to enjoy their weekly Bible Study and training. They have been looking at the books of John and Esther and their times of praying together are especially sweet.  Training has focused on how to care for children that have lived through crisis situations and Olivia has been great at making lots of nice visual posters for the walls for both kids and mothers to enjoy.  The feeling charts are a special favorite and Amber is enjoying being able to attend these sessions instead of having to prepare and lead them as well.  Olivia is doing a great job and all involved are being blessed. 

The Church

Jako continues to teach Bible Studies at two local village churches and attendance at both is doing well.  These past few months has seen him doing in-depth teaching on Abraham, Lot, and Jacob.Dec 2012 189

Children’s church is doing well under the care of Alyssa, Olivia and Travis.  The kids enjoying sitting under the big tree learning a Bible story, singing songs and playing games Recently they have been doing service projects with the class on Saturdays, picking up trash in the community, fixing the church benches and building benches for the kids Sunday School Area.  These past months Olivia has been working with them on performing a Christmas Nativity Play.  The children seem to be enjoying learning their parts as well as learning about Christ’s birth.  They will perform for the Church on Christmas day.  Many of our children have big parts in the drama and I am sure it will be a blessing to all involved. Dec 2012 175

A Time for New Beginning and Old Things to Be Made New

WilsonAug - Nov 2012 012

On Sep 29th, the brother of Salomi was born and we received him here just a few hours later.   Born to a mother who is severely mentally handicapped (pictured to the right) and with father unknown, we had been prepared for his arrival.  Unfortunately this scenario Nov 2012 076has played itself out 3 times in the course of a month (3 babies born to mentally handicapped mothers,  most likely taken advantage of by men in the village) and while space only allowed us to take Wilson, God was so gracious in providing wonderful alternative places for the other two babies to go.  Baby Wilson is a beautiful happy baby with a head full of curly hair and we are so blessed to be the ones caring for him. 

Betty

A true answer to prayers.  After months of looking for a housemother to take the place of Rachel Dec 2012who is still out sick (and unknown as to whether she will return or not) we had no applicant or even hopeful prospects.  Our prayers were turning desperate. Then Betty showed up – a widow, with one grown child and a love for children.  These past few weeks she has taken on her new role here with a passion.  She is well liked by staff and children alike and is willing to learn about the way we do things.  We are so encouraged that she seems to be the perfect fit and we hope that God will bless her, the kids, and us with many happy years together.

Vehicles (and Tractors)

Nov 2012 024Over the past few months, we have really noticed what a toll the roads here take on vehicles and how hard these off road conditions are even on the strongest of 4x4’s.   The Hilux needed its engine re-built, spark plugs changed, crank shaft, bearings replaced, and new hub locks for four-wheel drive. The Land Rover is currently having the engine head re-built because of multiple Dec 2012 157damaged parts as well as a fan being replaced.   Add on to this the repair of the tractors plowing instruments and repairs have taken most of Jako’s and Travis’s time.   While Travis says that he is learning a lot from helping and watching please pray that these vehicles will stay in good working condition for a long time and that God will protect them from any more major maintenance and repairsDec 2012 166 in the near  future.  We know this is a part of life in the bush but when we have to focus so much of our time fixing what should be working it can be discouraging when there is so much else that we would like to get to.  

Painting

 Nov 2012 073 And not just vehicle have been getting overhauled here.  In fact, the past few months the entire children’s home has been repainted – from ouside facets, inside walls, ceiling boards to the kitchen and bathrooms – the only thing left to finish is the touch up of the murals so loving painted there many years ago.  The moms and children are very excited and say they feel like they are living in a new house once again. 

A Time for Thanks and a Time for Prayers

Team Zambia – This Soccer Team Has Heart

Recently a team of 5th and 6th grade girls really touched our hearts.  As part of Idlewild Baptist Church’s soccer league the church decided to name the teams after countries this year.  This group was dubbed Team Zambia and coach Ken Clower decided to contact us, make us official members of their team and put together an 8 week devotional in order to plant seeds in the heart of his girls for missions. Via a weekly coach's challenge he also encouraged the girls to pray for us, the orphanage, and to do whatever they could to raise money for the project. The girls really took this to heart and through making cookies, yard sales and many other projects they blessed and humbled us in a huge way by raising more than $1000 for the orphanage here.  They showed their hard work and dedication on the field and off and made the season more than just about winning. Thank you team Zambia for showing us how anyone can make a difference.  May the world have more world changers like you.

Issac Health Scare

15 months old Isaac has had a chronic cough for many months now.  Recently a doctor friend of ours diagnosed him with Asthma and he seemed to be responding well to two different inhalers however he gave us a big scare a few weeks ago when he suffered from a severe Asthma attack.  He was wheezing, struggling to breathe, and Pulse Ox levels read 76 when they normally hospitalize children if it goes below 90.  Being so far from medical help we were obviously concerned.  Thankfully we had a nebulizer here but after several treatments and only some improvement we decided to take to the clinic in Zimba (3 hours away) where they were able to monitor him for a few days and get him back on the right track again.  Thank you God for your hand of healing on this little boy’s life.  Prayers for continued wisdom, resources for medicine, and protection from future severe attacks would be greatly appreciated.

Prayers for Security and Provision

Dec 2012 081 A couple weeks ago we were very discouraged to discover that about 8 bags of clothing had been stolen from one of our storage sheds near our house.  These bags were filled with clothing for our babies and children at the orphanage as well as orphans in the community.  We suspect that it happened in the middle of the night while it was raining, probably on more than one night and most likely by someone who knew what was there.  What is really sad is that they were filled with much needed clothing (we had yet to distribute the new baby clothing for this season) and some of the stuff that was taken will be very hard to replace (like preemie and tiny baby clothing which is basically impossible to get here in Zambia)  We are now going to be electrifying our fence at night for added security.  Please pray that even though more precautions are being taking, nothing else gets stolen and that God will provide all that is needed to care for those that He has placed under our care.

Schooling Concerns

The government recently made changes to the education system no longer allowing grades eight and up in village schools. While we knew this school year was coming to an end we thought that all our our kids would be able to be schooled one more year here.  Dec 2012 139 However in just a months time we will have to find a way to get  Enest, Pillowhead, and Pamela a place to stay and enrolled in a school in Kalomo.  While this is difficult to do any time, it is especially a challenge this year as the infrastructure in town is not set up to handle the influx of children from the villages on such short notice.  Please pray that God will make a way for us to find suitable housing, supervision, and enrollment into a school by mid January.  A possibility of a house seems to be opening up (along with a possible house mother) but please pray that God will work all the details out and show us His will for these special children.

Volunteers

Lastly we have been receiving a decently amount of inquiries of people possibly wanting to volunteer with us.  Please pray that God will give us and them wisdom to discern His leading, provision Dec 2012 123to follow through, hearts open to God’s leading, and that He would begin to knit our hearts together as one.  We are so thankful for the help that God has already provided here but the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.  Please pray for continued strength, health, love, unity, joy and laughter between us all so that others can see God’s light and love through us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Well Update and prayers for Housemothers

THANK YOU for the tremendous amount of encouragement, support, and prayers that have gone out on our behalf for the well situation here. God has been good and we want to share all tha t He has done.
 
The drillers did come out last Wednesday and this is what happened.
- after a few days of trying to retrieve the broken drill bit from the bottom of the bore hole (well) that they did strike water in, they were still unable to successfully bring it up so they went to
- Plan B and ended up drilling another hole right next to that one which also has 43 meters of water in it and is producing 15 liters a minute (which may increase as the water channels open up)
- This well is now ready to be fitted with the necessary pump equipment and should be great and operational so we are very happy about that.Sep 2012 060
- Unfortunately, all of the hard drilling in this very water poor area (for us and for others) finished parts of the other drill bit and although they were prepared with another one to replace it, there was obviously other damage to the bit so they were not able to remove the old one no matter how hard they tried. 
- So... the second well (which would be for the community) was not able to be dug
- The bad news is that this will now have to wait until 2013 after the rainy season
- The good news is that they said we will be first on their list for next year when they return so the plans, money, and dream to have the second well dug (with water) will hopefully happen then.
 
Until then Please Pray that God would give us wisdom in how to proceed with the one new well that was dug. if we are to temporarily make that one usable by the community with a hand pump only, go ahead and put a submersible (electric) pump down in it for the orphanage use (like the original plan was) and just have the community continue to get there water from our original well (which is also pumped by a generator and very expensive due to fuel), or if Jako can find a way to have both a hand pump and an electric pump on the same well. 
 
We are now deep into the dry season and so the communities need for water is increasing as almost all of the shallow wells have dried up in the area and it will be a while before the rains will fill them up again.
 
On another note, would you please keep our housemothers in your prayers?  These past several months has been an especially hard season  on them with temporary/ part time workers having to fill in for the place DSC_7547of Rachel (one of our full time house mothers who has been out sick for a while now), for the full time mother's annual vacation time (one month a year per full time mom by law), and with moms being at clinics and hospitals for various illness' (especially Ruth who is doing so much better now).  Due to all of these different factors, all of the mothers have been stretched very thin, working more  hours/days than they normally do and often even having to work on their days off to fill in the gaps.  DSC_7597Since we don't know the current health status of Rachel (when she might return or if she will) we are desperately in need of two more house mothers (1 to fill in for a full time mom, possibly becoming a permanent position) and one as a part time worker.  It is not easy to find one who is interested, free, and lives locally so Please Pray with us that God will provide just the right women who will be able to love on these precious children and show them how valuable they really are
 
Thanks so much for partnering with us in this ministry/mission that God has given us.
 
We look forward to sharing more of His workings and goodness soon.
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Please Pray for our Wells

As some of you may know from our latest update we are currently in the process of having two wells dug here by us.   The goal is to have one for the orphanage and one for the community (with hand pump) but we want to ask for urgent prayers for this process.  While the drilling rig has been here since Saturday, they had hoped to drill one hole a day and be gone by Tuesday however Sunday, when they started digging the well by the orphanage they lost the drill tip/bit of the machine 54 meters down the hole they had been digging.  The good news is that they hit good water before then and were hoping to go just a bit deeper so that the water level would remain high in the dry season but the bad news is thatSep 2012 053 the bit that broke off is very expensive and logistically they cannot continue drilling in that hole unless it is removed.  The past two days (Monday and Tuesday) have been spent trying to engineer a tool that will fit down this tiny hole to retrieve this huge bit and while some of the attempts have been close, none have yet succeeded.  Tomorrow they are going to try one last time (with a modification of a previous design) so PLEASE can you pray with us that God will allow this bit to be fished out so that they continue drilling the orphanage hole and then proceed to the community hole.  We are soooo close to getting two functional great wells (the one that they have drilled now is in the area where the other two dry wells were dug and the fact that they hit good water is already a huge blessing) but yet so far in many ways.  We know that God is in control and will accept any answer that God gives to these prayers but if we could get the tip out tomorrow it would be a Great witness to the community of God's power once again.
 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Points for Prayers

Turning away Babies / Need for another house – while we mentioned in the Points of Praise post that we no longer have any babies under 1 year of age it is not because of lack of need.

For the 1st time ever, since opened the orphanage we have had to turn down and refer a baby in need.  Baby Gideon was born to a mother who was mentally ill (from childhood seizures).  The father is unknown and the grandmother was too busy caring for the mom (bathing her, cooking for her etc) that she could not manage caring for an infant as well.  At only 1 day of age he was brought to us but due to only have 3 full time house mothers, 17 children, and 7 age 2 and under all in one house, we did not feel like we could find space for him for a permanent basis.

Gideon It broke my heart to have to refer him somewhere else but God in his wisdom knew and had already made a plan for little Gideon through some friends of ours, Mike and Linda Jones at Mapampi Orphanage.  They have added another house to their site over a year ago and have been struggling to find someone to serve as a house mother but just before Gideon came to us, they found the perfect lady and had space to take him (which they hadn’t had in over a year).  What is even more amazing about this story is that we have had another grandmother in the same situation whose grandbaby is due this month and it looks like they will have space for it as well (bringing them to full capacity)!

But in light of these issues and the fact that the mother of Salomi (the only child at our orphanage who has a parent that is living but is mentally ill and unable to care for her) is also pregnant and expecting again soon we are definitely seeing the need for another house to be built soon.  Money, resources (such as builders, sand, rocks etc) and time are all a factor but if it is God’s will for us to meet the needs of the orphans and needy in this area, then we trust and know that He will provide

Generator Issues and Memories of our White LandyKara 2012 035after many years and good memories of our dear old white Landy (1964- 2012) – of completely taking it apart and rebuilding it bolt by bolt,  taking us from South Africa to Zambia and back many times (put put put), transporting teams, hauling sand and many a brick run….. of plowing through many a deep mud hole, wearing our raincoats inside, freezing in the winter, and burning our feet in the summer, various break downs and leaving us stranded in who knows where – to rescuing and pulling more vehicles than we can count – It has now come the time to say goodbye to our faithful first vehicle. 

Our hearts should not be sad though because his retirement will actually be a rebirth in many ways – his heart (engine) will be used to build a bigger, better generator, axels and diff and chassis – a new trailer, and his body possibly a place of play for children.  So even in this act your legacy lives on.

Please pray for Jako, Steve, and Travis as they have the large task of disassembling it and building the engine on to generator.  The one we have now (for all of our electricity needs) is is really bad shape, spewing oil everywhere and only running by the grace of God.  Please pray that it will last until this new one is to be built and that God will give Jako and everyone else the wisdom and skill to fix/rebuilt it in a timely but good fashion.

Rush to finish work projects before the rainy season As God brings to mind please say a pray for us to  be able to finish all the work projects that God intends for us to do before the rainy season starts (playground, generator, orphanage store room, community school etc).  All indications show that it might start early this year so any prayers for strength, wisdom, energy, provision, community help, and skills of hand would be greatly appreciated. 

Rachel- one of our full time house mothers is sick (possibly with Rachel 1TB) and feeling like she may no longer have the strength to work a the orphanage.  Please pray for wisdom, God’s comfort and healing in this situation and for the provision of the right person (not married, young enough to work with a love for children, and no small kids of her own) to fill in her place in the mean time and possibly permanently. 

 Wells – well 1 Many of you may remember the water difficulties we have been experiencing here in the past few years.  How we have a need for 2 additional wells and how last year when we attempted to drill (after God provided the money) we only came up with 3 completely dry wells.  This year God has provided the money once again (thank you First Baptist Church Woodbridge, Va and Exciting Idlewild Church, Tampa Fl) and we have contracted with another drilling company.  Please pray that they will have Isaacthe time to come out here before the rainy season starts and that they will find good, strong water for use by us, the community and the orphanage.

Isaac – supposedly needs surgery next month to  fix an descended testicle and other complications related to it.

And to God who makes ALL things possible – Thank you and Amen!

Points of Praise (Good News!)

License to Drive – Amber and Alyssa drive Alyssa now both have their Zambian drivers license.  While it wasn’t an easy process (and was quite stressful for Amber who didn’t have much experience with a manual/stick shift) we are glad they did it as it will be a huge benefit to have them be able to drive for emergency purposes, run errands when needed, and free Jako from the burden of being the only one able. 

Ruth – It is with great joy that we report that Ruth has turned a  Ruth 3major corner and is doing such much better!  From the time that we got back from South and our new help has arrived she has been showing tremendous improvement every day.  Before we left we were excited because we had finally found 1 thing that brought a smile to Ruth’s face – bubbles but now…. almost as soon as she sees you and you talk to her she smiles.   She is now walking byRuth 4 herself, interacting with the other children, actively playing with toys and has finished her course of TB treatment.  While it is nice to see the physical healing that has taken place what excites me even more is the joy that is now evident in her face.  I (Amber) remember dreaming of this day 7 months ago when she was a very sick little girl with no hope or will to live so now I just can’t help but want to dance when I see her happy, walking, playing and laughing with others.  Thank you God for your hand of healing once again!

Emmanuel and Isaac turned 1 –Sep 10th we reached an DSC_0369 important milestone with Isaac, our youngest baby turning 1 year of age.  For the first time in over 2 years we no longer have a infant in the house.  Where at one time we had 5 babies on formula at 1 time now we are just loading up on the milk.  Now the orphanage yard is filled with active, moving, curious toddlers who are as cute and fun as can be.

Orphanage Committee – And on another  positive note, I am so thankful to our village orphanage committee who have been working so faithfully and effectively these past few months.Comittee 1  While none of them get paid for their time and efforts, they have given of themselves selflessly to organize work projects, attend monthly or bi-monthly meetings, help assess families wanting us to take their children, or widows/people caring for orphans asking for assistance in other ways.  After many years of struggling to try to get the community involved and the committee to be as active as we hoped it would be we are rejoicing to see the fruit of all that THEY are able to do.  Thank you God and please continue to give them strength, energy and wisdom for the days and tasks ahead.  Please bless them for their service to you and the community.

Hilux Fixed (well sort of)Hilux in half

After over 1 1/2 years of driving our Hilux with a broken chasis (temporarily fixed) it finally received a much needed body job.  With the help and knowledge of Steve (with assistance from Travis) Jako and “crew” were able to completely strip the bed and give the chasis a good permanent weld job.  It is looking so much better now and much more “mean” (aka “bush worthy”) like the way it was when we first got it.  Unfortunately on a trip to Livingstone the other day it stranded us when the crank shaft/crank pulley broke so we are busy making a plan to get that taken care of.  Please pray that once that is fixed it will run well and smooth for many good years.  Thank you that it is on it’s way to recovery hough so that it can be put to good ministry use once again.

Protection from the FlamesWild bush fires are an often  occurrence this time of year and while most are intentionally set to burn the old grass to allow the new to grow – they can sometimes become quite dangerous.  In fact, just Sunday we heard of a family who lost their house and entire harvest from a wildfire that got away.  Thankfully we fared better when a rogue wildfire came our way.  The team here and kids from the orphanage all worked very hard in the dark to protect the property, people, and orchard from the heat and raging flames but God kept everyone safe and we had no permanent damage (minus a few fruit trees).  Thank you God for your hand of protection once again.

fire 2

Short Term/Long Term Help Arrives!

Our small team of three (plus kids) had been looking forward to the month of August for a while now because with it brought the promise of much needed help and volunteers from the States.  Now the time is here and we are happy to announce those that God has sent our way.  Our first four arrived Aug 17th…..

Our Two – Two month Helpers

Kara (Tampa, Fl) –  with a background in physical therapy and a Kara love for helping people, Kara immediately took a special interest in  Ruth –a little girl who we received in February very sick.  She put a lot of time into having fun with her and helping her to develop both physically (walking) and emotionally and now they are good friends.  It is so nice to see the change in Ruth in such a short time (see     blog post for more on her progress).  Kara has also been busy with sorting, organizing, and distributing clothes, helping with the mom’s Bible study, playing with the kids, tutoring them, and taking some of them for vaccinations, painting floors and proving to be a great help in the kitchen.

Steve (Woodbridge, Va) – after Jako’s back injury it was clear that there was a need for some some extra “man” help for all the Steve Jako work various work projects here so when we were blessed with a donation for an orphanage playground we knew just the right man for the job.  Having been on 7 teams from FBCW we knew his skill at welding and are so thankful that he agreed to return to help us now.  Even though the playground hasn’t been tackled yet (it’s almost next on the to-do list) so far the Hilux chassis has be stripped and fixed, the preschool playground has had new additions, the generator has been fixed (again), a hose real for the orchard made, orphanage doors repaired and re-welded and many other things have been fixed.  With all this progress made so far, we are definitely looking forward to what the next month has in store.

Our Two – One year Volunteers

Travis (Tampa, Fl) – at 18 years of age and just out of high school we are so glad to have Amber’s nephew here with us.  Some may remember that this is not his first time here as 3 years ago he spent 3 months here with us.  Travis Jako White Landy Definitely a help in the “man/manual labor” area, Travis is proving to be a determined worker to whatever task is asked of him.   Whether it be clearing trees, unloading or loading fuel cans, helping Jako and Steve with welding or building projects, watering gardens, fixing furniture, or chopping firewood he is a willing and able servant.  So far his biggest task has been to to strip our old 1964 Land Rover – (engine, gear box, exhaust, etc.)  but he is also being intentional about investing into the lives of the teenage boys at the children’s home and has started a weekly Bible study with them.  He also is starting a “boys fun time” as well as a youth Sunday School at the local village church.  We pray that his time here will not only be a blessing to us but also to him as he hopes to get a clearer picture of what missions is like “behind the scenes” and where God might be leading him in the future.

Olivia (Tampa, Fl) –  having just got her degree in early education Olivia is already using her education in working with the moms, babies, toddlers, and children at the children’s home.  With a love for children and desire to be a blessing Olivia has already jumped in with both feet and has been busy leading house mother Bible studies, organizing house mother training, setting up a tutoring program for the older children, doing orphanage stock inventory and handing out weekly supplies, helping with orphanage and management Oliviaoperations and has just been a great “go-to” girl for anything that needs to be done.  Olivia will also be spending time at the preschool with hopes of helping to oversee the grade school (and train the teachers) that the community is hoping we will help them with.  Her humble and sweet spirit are a joy to be around and an encouragement to all of us. 

Our Two unexpected Blessings

Zoe and Nerida (New Zealand) - while in Livingstone we received word from friends that they had met two Zoe and Neri young ladies who were traveling Africa and who were interested in volunteering with an orphanage for a time.  Not long after we were able to meet with them and when we discovered their love for children and experience in working a a day care/preschool for many years we saw this as a great opportunity.  Right from the start they fit right in and have been a blessing to Alyssa at the preschool and a big help at the orphanage spending intentional time with the children, helping the house mothers through daily interactions and training, tutoring the children and helping in whatever other way they can.  The children (and we) love their joyful spirits and we are so glad that they chose to bless us with their unplanned presence here.  We pray that they will feel as blessed by us as we are by them

So a big thanks to all our volunteers spending their time and efforts here and for all those back home that are supporting them (and us) through prayers, finances, and personal encouragement.

We are blessed to be a part of such a team.  Thank you God for your provision, protection, and blessing on each and every one of them.  GO TEAM GO!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick trip to SA

DSC_0095 Just as our individual visitors were leaving to return home we decided to take the opportunity to make a quick 1 week trip to South Africa to get some supplies for the ministry and quickly visit family and supporters.

However, due to plans to have two extensions added to the preschool and concurrent school holiday, DSCN0850 Alyssa decided to stay back to supervise the builder and building process in hopes of having it done before school started again in Sep.  This is the first time that she had stayed alone in the bush since her arrival but we all prayed about it and made sure that there were lots of safety measures in place for her (ie. night security, orphanage committee keeping an eye on things etc).  We left trusting the orphanage and Alyssa into God’s hands. 

The time passed faster than we ever could have imagined (especially with four full days of traveling there and back) but while there we were able to acquire some much needed ministry items (including solar power for the preschool/ primary school that we hope to be coming, a low energy fridge that will work on solar power) and touch base with some supporting churches and supporters.  Thanks to Emmaus Baptist Church for their continued prayers and support of the ministry and to the Dutch Reformed Church of Rooihuiskraal for their generous donation of vitamin porridge for our babies and toddlers here. 

On a personal note it was a june 2012 120blessing to get to see Jako’s grandparents again as both of them are getting older and their health is starting to suffer.  It is hard to be so far away from family, especially when the kids are young and growing so fast so it was a real treat to be able to see them and Jako’s mom one more time.  Jakob loved all the attention from Ouma and Jeremiah got lots of cuddles and love as well. 

Medical Scare Blessing

While in South we decided to take Jakob and Jeremiah to the  Aug 2012 093doctors for a quick check up.  While there the doctor noticed that Jakob had an enlarged spleen and suggested that we get  some lab work done.  Since we were scheduled to leave the next day to head back to Zambia the doctor quickly made plans to   have us have the lab work DSCN0879and  see a pediatrician the next morning.  We could tell from her reaction that this could be  something serious.  After doing some internet research we found that an enlarged spleen could be caused from anything from an infection such as Malaria to something really serious like Leukemia.  With worried hearts but faith in God we got the lab work and waited anxiously for the results.  Imagine our relief when the pediatrician called us in and said that Jakob was fine, he just had a rare condition called Eliptocytosis (basically he has oval shaped red blood cells instead of round ones.  Because of their shape they don’t last as long so the body has to produce them more often).DSC_0167  It’s not serious and will probably not affect him at all growing up or later in life but this quite rare disorder actually PROTECTS him by making him more immune to Malaria.  Praise God!!!  Isn’t that just like Him to take something scary and turn it into something wonderful!  Just another reason for us to love and trust Him. 

We thank God for a good brief trip to South, for favor with travel and gathering ministry provisions, for watching over Alyssa and things back in Mukamba, and for allowing us to see His goodness in the midst of Jakob’s medical scare.