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)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Good News and Looking forward!!!

Introducing Betty, Our Newest Housemother

Thank you to the many people who have prayed for a Godly un-married woman to take the place of Rachel and be the new Betty housemother to her precious children,  Knowing that they had lost so much (even more so now with the loss of Rachel) we knew that this was crucial to them feeling safe, secure, and loved.  We prayed (and asked you to pray along with us) for many months and in just the right time, God provided Betty.  She is young, energetic, hard working, often laughing, and has had a very teachable and humble heart.  The children and housemothers love her and so far she seems to have been the perfect fit.  Please continue to lift her up as being a full time mother to so many precious children has a lot of challenges.  Please continue to pray for her heart and energy to be filled by God so that she can be giving out of her excess to help heal and restore these precious children.

Side note – Ruth Update

Little Ruth continues to amaze ruth us every day.  She will be turning 3 at the end of the month and has just about fully caught up with her peers in all areas of development, – physically, she is walking, running, jumping, and even climbing the rock wall at the preschool, she is loving her new housemother Betty and is showing great attachment there, and emotionally is dong great as well.  What an encouragement to see a life so transformed and changed by the grace of God.  We feel privileged and truly honored to have been chosen by God to be a part of it. 

Another Family to Join us!!!

We are so happy to be able to finally announce that Natalie19-8x10Nate and Melanie Sweerin (along with their infant daughter Natalie) joined our MOL family here in April.  They have committed to spending a year with us and we are very glad to have them back here with us again.  Many of you might remember that Nate spent a total of 6 months with us here over two summers (in 2009 and 2010) and Melanie joined him for his time in 2010.  They were such a huge blessing to us then – Nate with his ability to fix vehicles, strong back, enthusiastic hard working spirit, and general handiness and Melanie with her love for people, servants heart and service of helps.  In fact they were both here when we arrived our first newborn baby, Genesis, born 6 weeks premature at only 2 kgs (4 lbs).  We didn’t know if she would make it but Melanie took her on, keeping her body warm by kangarooing her and waking up to feed her every 2 – 4 hours!  It is largely in part a tribute to Melanie’s care that Genesis is a happy active 2 1/2 year old now!

Now we eagerly look forward to what the next year will hold for them as they come to help us and the ministry.  The goal for the year is for Nate to help Jako with all of his tasks from fixing and maintenance of all the projects here, management of the projects, discipleship, friendship evangelism and community development while Melanie will be taking over the task of overseeing the community preschool (Twana little school) and helping the community with their goal of building (and opening?) a community grade school for grade 1 and 2 next year.  On a personal note, since the work out here can often be very lonely and tiring (always being on call 24/7) we look forward to having another couple around to bear the load, help prevent burn out, for friendship and support, and for the freedom that it will give us to be able to leave for various reasons (getting supplies, business, visiting the States the later part of this year).  We pray that God will show them clearly during their time here if they are to serve here longer with us or not.

Please pray for this courageous young family as they sacrifice the comforts of security of home to come and serve along with us here. For more info on them and their journey please visit http://nathanandmelaniesweerin.blogspot.com/

Another 10 years (and more) !!!

On a personal note, March 8th Jako and I (Amber) celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.   family 1

While our marriage has been anything but typical - from the way we met, to our mix of cultures, to where we live and the way we live our life, we have come a long way.  From borrowing vehicles, traveling from South Africa to Zambia, living out of a tent with barely anything to our name, to all that God has blessed us with now – an orphanage with 18 wonderful kids, a house, vehicles, and so many other blessings God has been soo good.  Our life is still far from easy but we think the song “Just another day in Paradise” by Phil Vassar describes it perfectly.  We are so thankful for all of God’s blessings these past 10 years and can't wait to see what the next 10 will hold!

School Updates

Our Children in Kalomo

In February we had a big surprise when we were informed by the landlord that they no longer wanted us and our kids going to  school in Kalomo to be the renters of their house anymore.  We were dumbfounded as we had gone to great strides to pay the agreed upon rent on time and were given no reason for their change of heart.  It was sad for us because kids and housemother had spent countless hours cleaning and preparing the house, making it sparkling and Jako had fixed several things so the house was in much better shape then when we first received it!  Since the children were doing well in school and houses were hard to find this became a matter of urgent prayer.

Amber 007 Thank you to all who prayed with us and Praise God because He provided us another great home that we moved everyone into at the beginning of April.  It is in a new location so the children have to walk a bit farther to get to school but everyone seems to be adjusting well and we are thankful for God’s provision once again.On a side note it was great to have the children home for a visit during their school break in the end of April/ beginning of May.  All looked well and everyone was happy and smiling.  Purity, our Kalomo house mom is doing great and is well loved and adored.  

Community School Progress?

We are also happy to report that the community seems to be keeping up their end of the deal with building school toilets, hauling sand, bringing stones, and doing whatever they can in Amber 010 preparation for the community school that they have requested that we help them with (after the success of the preschool and all that they have seen their children attending being able to learn.  The hope at this moment is if the community continues to do their part, that God will provide the funds for us to start building in the next few months and hopefully open grade 1 (and possibly grade 2) in January of next year.  There is a lot still needed to make this a reality so please pray that God will continue to move the hearts of the community to make this a priority, to provide all that is necessary to make this come to be (including funds for the building itself) and lead us in every step of the way.  Thank you Lord for the hope and commitment of the community so far. 

Changing Seasons

Isn’t it funny how life imitates nature sometimes?  Just as we are experiencing the changing of seasons in the land around us - (the grass is withering and starting it yearly progression from green to brown, maize is being harvested, and colder night and morning air is replacing the heat) MOL seems to be experiencing a change of seasons with our ministry and staff here as well.

Travis Returns Home

After serving with us for 9 month, Amber’s 18 year old nephew, Travis, returned to the States on the 21st of April.  He was a Travis 1 great help and while he spent a lot of his time under vehicles and covered in grease (helping Jako keep the vehicles in working order during our difficult rainy season), he also helped lead community Bible studies, was also deeply invested in the boys at the children home’s and enjoyed his weekly Bible study with them and tutoring of some of the other children.  He was well adored by the locals and as the youngest member of our team was affectionately nicknamed “Madala” (aka old man).  While he will be missed we look forward to seeing what God has in store for this young man with a missions heart and thank God for the privilege of being able to serve and live with family for the time he was here. 

Alyssa’s 2 year commitment finishes

Another BIG change and sadness for us is that Alyssa Bolles, 2 year commitment with us has finished and she will be returning to Amber 001 the States on May14th.  Many of you may remember but Alyssa is the one who came here with the task of starting a community preschool way out here in the rural village bush.  When she first arrived there wasn’t even a complete school building and in the time since then she has been involved in every aspect of the school from roofing, overseeing building, painting, building furniture, finding and training teachers, developing a curriculum, teaching styles, teachers manuals, teacher contracts, teaching herself, building the playground, designing art projects, decorating the walls, organizing donations, and impacted over 150 students in the preschool so far. 

On top of that the community has seen such just how much the children are learning (they say even more than the older children at the community schools) they have begged MOL to help start a Alyssa teach 2 community grade school.  Alyssa has been instrumental in working with the community to see the community start building bricks, bringing sand and stones with hopes to start building and possibly open a grade 1 (or 1/2) next January.  We held a surprise going away party for her in the village (that was greatly attended) where villager after villager Alyssa teach 3 shared how much Alyssa had meant to them.  She even has 2 village babies here named after her!  While she has been a big blessing to the ministry, the preschool, and the children and mothers at the children’s home, she has also been a big blessing to us as a family.  Jakob and Jeremiah are going to miss their special friend and while we wish great things for her in the States, she will Amber 003definitely be missed here more than she will ever know.

Please pray for Medis (the local villager) and Melanie as they help the preschool transition from the season of Alyssa’s leadership to the season of more indigenous leadership and self sustainability.

Rainy Season Recovery and Hardly a Harvest

rainy roads dryingOn our last two notes of the season the  GOOD NEWS is that the roads have finally begun drying up and we can now take our regular road to and from town instead of taking the tricky bush diversions that extended our drive from 2 – almost 3 hours,

The BAD NEWS is that due to the heavy rain and our decision not to waste money on fully fertilizing   the crops that were most likely going to drown our harvest this year was  extremely minimal at best.  It was hard to see the total of 3 1/2 bags of unshelled maize that was collected compared to Maize 2the approx 200 bags that we had last year however last years harvest was so plentiful that we still have some maize left over to get us through a part of this year.  We will have to buy for the remainder.  As unfortunate as this is for us, please pray for the many villagers who we fear will suffer from hunger this year because much if not their entire sustenance is based on their yearly crop which was poor all around this year. 

A sad loss for our Mission of Love family

It was a day of sandess  on March 8th as a young teenage boys came to deliver the news of the passing of one of our beloved house moms - Rachel.  While she was Rachel Genesis never able to have any biological children of her own she spent the last few years of her live deeply investing in the lives of the children at the orphanage - raising Genesis from the time she was born, taking in Mainza when he was a very malnourished 14 month old who couldn't even stand with assistance, and selflessly loving on and caring for Precious, Junior, Cecelia, and Pilohead as if they were her own.  In fact, it was because of Rachel that we were able to take in a very sick RUTH.  Even though she already had 2 young children to care for she was the one who agreed to take her in and who loving nursed her back to health, carrying her on her back constantly and even spending weeks with her in the hospital.  She loved meeting new people and was always eager with a smile and a laugh. 

We were saddened to her of her getting sick 5 months ago although we will miss her greatly at least her suffering on earth was ended.  There were many tears as we heard the news but we hope that she believed the WORD and that she is singing and dancing and worshiping and Jesus feet now.  We did hold a private memorial service for us, the housemothers, and the children where we sang, shared our fond memories of Rachel, and together grieved over our loss while remembering that she was now no longer suffering.  It was a stark reminder of how temporary this life really is and Jako used it as a time to remind everyone that this is not our home and God’s plan for life in this world and in the next.  Please pray for the children as the deal with the news of yet another loss and for her family in the village as well. 

Rachel family

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Perishable vs. the Imperishable

These last few months (and especially this rainy season) there has been a truth that God is making more and more real to me.  The truth of the Perishable vs. the Imperishable. 

In Matthew 6: 19-21 Jesus says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourself treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal: for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

These past few months we have witnessed first hand just how perishable the things of this world are….

Roads in the Rainy Season

With the rains being so bad this year (probably the worst in over 20 years if not more) many of the roads here have become non-existent and not driveable.  With us being 2 hours bridge road from the nearest small town (ie fuel, food, local markets etc) this is a big concern for us.  Every time we need to drive to town now is an adventure and the roads are only getting worse.  In this picture, the water is flowing OVER a concrete bridge that normally towers at least 7 feet over the small flowing river.  Definitely different from the “great street of the city of pure gold, like transparent glass” mentioned in Revelations 21:21.  While I don’t know if there will be driving there I am looking forward to it either way : )

To see more pictures of the road conditions that we have had to drive through lately visit https://picasaweb.google.com/missionoflovezambia/RainySeasonRoad2013

Vehicles and Tractors 

Obviously these roads take quite a toll on the vehicles (and other motor vehicles like the tractor, quad, and work trailer) so in the past month most of Jako and Travis’ time has spent trying to keep at least one vehicle working at all times.  Just in the past two months the toll has been heavy for us – for our LandRover - a prop shaft, the transmission and bearings in the transmission, and a snapped rod in the back diff (necessary for 4 wheel drive).   It has also cost us the IMG_2041 transmission of the Tractor, a new axel (and hubs) for the work trailer, as well as numerous draining of diff oil for both the Hilux(fixed front locking hubs, ball joints, centre bearing and universal joints) and the Landy to rid it from all of the mud and grime that these flooded roads bring.  Just in the past month we have had to spend over $300 on diff oil to keep the vehicles running and even now the trailer, tractor, and Landy is still broken!  In fact the other day the only thing operational was the quad that you have to pull start and has no headlights.  And on one rescue mission (to retrieve one of our vehicles that was stuck, the other one got stuck resulting in Jako, Alyssa, Travis and Rachel walking 22km back to the house carrying 3 year old Jakob on their back – 4 hours walk getting home past 9pm).  It is times like this that we are thankful that God has blessed us with two vehicles and a such a handy man in Jako so that hopefully at least one vehicle is operational at all times.   Please pray for us though in these trying times.

Clothing

As many of you may remember from a previous post – thieves broke into one of our store room and stole some much needed clothing donations. Upon DSC_0238 further investigation of what was missing we have discovered that a suitcase full of shoes, all our youth and children’s shorts and pants, adult and youth skirts, and all of our Mice12 month, and 0 – 3 month baby clothing is gone (including all of our newborn and premie clothing).  This last one is the most heart sore as many of our babies that we have received have been sick premies (4-5lbs or 2 kg babies) and it is extremely difficult to find clothes for small babies in Zambia.

Mold Mildew

And if that wasn’t enough – recently we discovered that the place where we had been holding these donations (for when our children need them or when we get enough to distribute to Alyssa May 2011 079 orphans in the community)  had a very bad leaky roof – not good during the rainy season that we have been having.   When we discovered it many of the clothes had already been wet for a while and had started to mold and mildew.  Not wanting these precious donations to go to waste Olivia and Amber spent hours soaking, scrubbing, washing, and drying the affected clothes and praise God most of them were able to be saved.

But the clothing isn’t the only place where we are struggling with mold and mildew.  Because of all the rain and the deep waters we have had to drive through (and sometimes had flowing through the vehicle) our vehicles have also been sprouting some nasty green and black growth on the inside of them.  Our now almost daily routine is to open the car doors when it’s sunny and then quickly shut them again when it starts to rain or at night.  Not fun! 

Mice, Moths, Ants, and Rust

It seems that no place is safe dead_mouse around  here to keep things “safe”.  In the house or store rooms, stealthy moths or sneaky mice chew holes through anything and everything they can get their hands on and outside, rust attacks anything metal and ants anything wood. 

Not that we are complaining.  We love life out here in the bush but it does just go to remind us that the things of this world are temporary and perishable.  No matter how hard we try to be good stewards of what God has given us- one day it is going to be gone.  Physical goods are not meant to last, but eternal treasure is.  As we work so hard at managing the physical things that God has provided and entrusted to us may we also work just as hard (if not harder) to make sure our focus is eternally minded because as Mark 8: 36 says “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 School Starts

Twana Little School (Preschool)

The first week in February was a busy week for Alyssa and Medis as the school started it’s 2013 year.  This year several changes took place in an attempt to make the school more self sustainable and transition the leadership and running of the school to Medis, (the local teacher that Alyssa hired last year and has been training ever since).  Sadly, Alyssa’s two year commitment to us is almost complete and  she will be leaving here in May.  When Alyssa leaves, Medis will need to take on all of her responsibilities but without her expertise and direct leadership.  In order to make that happen they decided that this year they would only allow two classes of 30 children each (instead of 4 classes of 20+).  This means that children would come mostly in the morning leaving Medis time in the afternoon to clean, prepare lessons, and plan.  Even with the higher school fees to assist in making the school more self sustainable (K15,000 instead of K10,000) classes filled up fast with eager 4,5 and 6 year olds and school got off to a great running start.  For more information on the school visit Alyssa’s blog at http://alyssabolles.blogspot.com/

Dec Jan 2013 264-003

Why Isn’t There a Grade 1 yet?  The only complaint that we had (which turned out to be a big one) was that the parents wanted their 7 year olds able to do grade 1 there this year.  Supposedly there are over 110 children registered for grade 1 at the nearest community school (probably with only 1 teacher) and because the parents of the kids at the preschool hadn’t worked at that community school last year they were not allowing their kids to attend.  The parents complained that they were working for the preschool (about 4 days out of the whole year) and so they should make a grade 1 for these kids here.  Jako and Alyssa Dec Jan 2013 265 promptly reminded them about the discussions and agreements from last year – that we would help them build a community school IF they did their part for the work – all the bricks, digging sand, stones, finding a builder etc.  We would help with doors, windows, window and door frames, metal roofing etc but that they had to do their part first.  They had the opportunity to do so last year but choose not to and as sad as it is that some of these children may have to miss out on a year of school, the responsibility (and blame) lays on the parents and not on MOL.  While some were not happy with what we said, most understood and agreed that they were the ones that had failed and recommitted to working to get a school up as quickly as possible.  So far the community seems to be pulling together with many villages digging stones and trying to make a way to get sand in the middle of rainy season so please pray that this commitment stays for the sake of the community and the children.  There is a tremendous opportunity for MOL and the community to partner and impact many more children so please pray for God’s wisdom, guidance, and provision over it all. 

Our kids in the village

Nov 2012 033 Meanwhile, our kids here were excited about another year of  school.  Millium and Otavia are still attending the local community school due to their age and the distance from us while Cecilia and Sylvester (aka Junior) got to join Precious at Nguba Government school about 8 km away.

 Our Kalomo Kids

Thanks to God’s goodness and wonderful provision we were able able to find a house to rent, a good Dec Jan 2013 263-001 house mother (Purity – the daughter of our Senior House mother Ennie), and register 4 of our  older kids in Green Acres Basic School in Kalomo (a small town two hours drive from us).  It was a lot to  accomplish in just a few weeks but God showed once again that He can make a way when it is difficult.  The kids are adjusting to city life very well (some I think are enjoying it a bit too much) and we are happy about the opportunities that the good education will afford to Pamela (grade 9), Enest and Dec Jan 2013 256 Pilohead (grade 8) and Bridget (grade 7). It has been impressed on these children that they are being given a once in a lifetime opportunity and that they must study hard and take it seriously.  So far they seem to be doing great. Just look at the pride on their faces! 

Tutoring

Our goal next year is to have Precious and Junior join those four as they are older and need to continue on in their education as well. Unfortunately Precious is very DSC_0011 far behind in school (she failed last year and cannot read) and this is Juniors first year in a government school so we felt that it would be best to keep them here for one more year but allow Olivia and Travis to intensively tutor them 5 days a week on Reading and Math.  They are starting at the basics and doing great so far, even sacrificing after school sports to get home early and make the most of this opportunity.  We are very proud of all of our children here. 

Please Pray

-that God will continue to provide the funds for the additional $700 per month that it will cost us to have these 4 older children in school in town (school fees, supplies, housing, food, house mother etc)

- that God will grant the children wisdom and knowledge as they study hard to do well in school and provide any additional resources (such as tutors) that they might need

- Please pray especially for Precious and Junior to be able to be caught up and that God would grant them grace and encouragement for all the extra effort they are putting into learning

- that the villagers in the community would come together and work hard to do their part for building the grade school (ie. digging sand, rocks, building bricks etc) and that their commitment to the project would continue and not just be words for the sake of the children and their education.  Also for God to provide the funds for our part of the building (Cement, doors, windows, roof sheets etc…)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Reunions and Happy Smiles

Alyssa (and Rachel) Returns100_1724

January 21st was a happy day for all of us here as Alyssa returned from 6 weeks in the States and along with her friend who volunteered for a few months here last year, Rachel Villafone.

The smile on the faces of the children and housemothers was priceless as they ran up to hug and great them with wild abandon.  100_1510One thing that the villagers here know is that life is precious and that when  someone leaves (even if just for a short time) it is never guaranteed that they will return, even with the best intent.  This makes their joy and the welcome all the more real when they do.  It’s always a time for celebration and is amazing to witness, never getting old.

Unfortunately neither had much time for rest with less than 2 weeks before school opening to get the preschool ready for the 2013 year.  It was all hands on deck and there was lots of cleaning, painting, building of furniture,DSCN1628 fixing doors, hanging shelves, and organizing to be done but God answered Alyssa’s prayers to hold off   on rain during the day and we actually had our first week of sunshine since the rainy season really started.  After many long hours of work (and many late at night or early in the morning) the school was ready and it was well worth it.  There were many happy kids at school on opening day.  To read more about the preschool check out Alyssa’s blog at http://alyssabolles.blogspot.com/

P.S.  True to God’s nature – after the week of sunshine that Alyssa prayed for the heavens opened once again and have barely stopped : )

Children’s Christmas Blessing

Thanks to the Dutch Reformed Millium and Otavia Church of Livingstone, our children at the children’s home were blessed with Christmas gifts again this year.   Since the presents only arrived in January, no one was expecting them and so the kids were even more surprised and excited.  The older children loved their different gifts of backpacks, school supplies, umbrellas, face cloths and body spray and the younger children and toddler loved the toys that they received.  Thank you DRC of Livingstone for all of your practical help over the years and for bringing such joy to the lives of these precious children.

For more pictures of the children receiving their present please visit  https://picasaweb.google.com/missionoflovezambia/DRCLivingstoneChristmasGiftsJan201302

The Joubert Family

Our family is doing well and both Jakob and Jeremiah are growing Dec Jan 2013 184 like weeds.  Jakob loves playing in the dirt and the mud of the rainy season and playing with all of his friends at the children’s home and Jeremiah is now walking and wants to do everything that his older brother is doing.  They are loving life in the bush and we are so happy for God’s watch care and protection over both of them.  On a personal note if anyone wants to see some fun current pictures of them you can visit https://picasaweb.google.com/missionoflovezambia/BoysFunInTheMudFeb2013

We were blessed with a visit from Jako’s mother over Christmas and cherished every moment that we got to spend together.  The boys especially loved all of her hugs and special attention and we enjoyed getting to make new traditions of our own for our first Christmas here in Zambia.

And then in January we were blessed with a visit from Pastor Harry Davies from Emmaus Baptist Church in Centurion, South Africa.  This was the English speaking IMG_1761 church that Jako and I attended after we got married and Pastor Harry is the pastor that did the baby dedication of both of our boys.  Despite all of their dedicated prayers, support, and encouragement over the years, this is the first time that anyone from the congregation has been able to visit.  It was such a blessing to be able to show him the ministry here in person and all that things he had only heard about or seen in pictures previously.  He was a great encouragement to us as a couple, family, missionaries, and fellow workers for the Kingdom.  Thank you Pastor Harry for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and check in on us and for all that you and the church have done for us over the years.  We are blessed and so grateful to God for providing for us and allowing us to be here.