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)

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.