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, December 30, 2014

Updates on our Children : )

IMG_2092  We are very happy to say that while we have had some challenges and changes this year, ALL of our children are doing well.

The start of 2014 was a very interesting year in that it was the first time since we got our first baby (Genesis)in June of 2010 that we have not had a baby under 1 year old.  Our youngest Wilson turned 1 in September of 2013.  How quickly it seems that we went from our first original 8, to a whole nursery of babies, to now a whole crew of toddlers, quickly growing into preschoolers. Chipo


God  did however bless us with two new baby arrivals. Chipo born August 29th of this year – born perfectly healthy to a mother who is mentally ill and an unknown father.  He is such a sweet baby with adorable dimples all over his body and the girls as well as the mothers love to dote on him.  He is growing fast\in so many ways!


Next came Baby Moses in early November of this year.  Born on October 30th to a mother who was very sick Baby Moses with HIV and a father who was also sick with the same disease, we received him at 3 days of age and he seemed to be doing okay.  The mothers were given the blessing of naming him  but not long after he started to get sick with diarrhea, and did not respond to the medication given to him at the local clinic.  Despite the best care from his housemother Belita. God called him home on Nov 8th in transit to the hospital at only 8 days of age. His mother's other three children all passed away at the age of 7 months, 4 months, 3 weeks, and now Moses at 1 week. This was definitely a difficult first that we never wished to experience but we rejoice that we were able to dedicate thifarming 032s precious baby to the Lord at his arrival and that we had the privilege of loving him and getting to know him for the week that he was with us.  While we miss him greatly, we look forward to seeing him again, one day on the other side. 


                                    Wilson, the 1/2 brother of Salomi turned 2 in September and is now finally able to keep up with all his big brothers and sisters and

                                     wants to try to do Isaaceverything that they do.


Then comes our three and four year olds…..      

By looking at Isaac you would never guess that he was once the really  sick baby that he was.  He is now a nice, healthy, muscular size and is our rough and tough boy, although with an extra soft spot for him Mommy, Ennie.  His struggles with asthma seem to be well managed by daily medication that he is on. Emmanual


Emmanuel has an easy smile and is turning out to  be the adventurous tree climber of the group.  It seems that if any of the moms look away for a moment and he disappears, all they need to do is look up into the nearest tree.  He has beautiful skin with no evidence of the eczema that once affected him so severely. 



 Nchimunya is one of our more temperamental boys and while he is quick to be shy or to raise his shoulder at you but he can also laugh bigDSCN1030 and when he smiles, it lights up the room.


Salomi is still small and quaint by stature but her personality is starting to show her to be a sweet independent little girl who loves to look all pretty and is easy go with the world.



GenesisGenesis  is thriving under the care of the housemothers here and her  difficult “different” qualities have calmed down quite a bit.  She doesn’t ask for attention in negative ways like sage he used to and is now quite easy and peaceful and loves to have fun, although still with a bit of a mischievous streak : )DSCN0891  She is also turning out to be a great little momma loving to tie baby Chipo on her back and carry him around. 



Ruth has come out of her shell to stay with no remnants of the sick, no will to live “failing body” that we first received.   Her HIV status is being managed well and she has such a bright, beautiful, sunny outlook.  One of the first to smile in any situation, laugh loud,  and to run up and give you a huge genuine hug, she is such a beautiful blessing and we thank God for the tremendous healing that he has done in her.  Even her bow legs are straightening out to the point that you rDSCN0990really have to look to notice them.



   Mainza,who just turned 5  in Nov.  is Jakob’s best buddy and both enjoyed starting preschool this year.  Mainza’s smile (and spunk) is much bigger than his small stature and while he has the sweetest, most innocent face and smile, watch out for his mischievous streak as well – he is definitely all boy : )  We had a bit of a scare with him earlier in the year when his face and lips began to swell dramatically in a matter of minutes in what appeared to be a severe allergic reaction to something.  We rushed him to the clinic where they treated hiJan 2014 116-001m for “mumps” but all symptoms pointed to a severe allergic reaction to something that we can’t identify.  We know that God saved and preserved him and just pray that God will IMG_1213-002continue to do so, and keep him away from any danger that might cause that to happen again.



Sanford, having turned 7 just finished his last year at preschool.  His English is doing super great due to his years at the preschool and he  has really taken on the role of being the oldest boy in the children’s home now that Sylvester has left.  His shyness is being overcome by confidence and he seems to be finding his place at the home as the Biggest of brothers.


DSCN0972 Millium and Otavia are best of buddies and turning into beautiful young ladies.  They are enjoying school, taking good care of their younger brothers and sisters and being a big help in the kitchen and the garden.  They still have a lot of little girl left in them and they LOVE to jump on the trampoline or take a splash in the small kiddies pool that we set up.  Millium still has a lot of spunk and personality but the extreme wildness that we saw in her when she first came to us is now under her control and Otavia and Isaacbecoming a beautiful thing.   Otavia’s HIV status is also being monitored at the clinic but her health this past year has been wonderful, even when she (and Millium) got their turn at the chicken pox.   They are excited to transfer to Nguba, the bigger government school in January and to be the oldest girls in the house at the same time. 


Otavia seemed quite sad earlier in the year, especially when it came time for home visits and no one came to pick her up.  God showed her love to her though by providing alternative places for her to visit on school holidays - visiting the older children and Purity in Kalomo once and another time visiting Pastor Petrus and his family.  Then one day (after dropping her at the Children’s home 2 1/2 years earlier) her grandfather showed up and wanted to see her.  Funny enough she gave him the cold shoulder saying that she didn’t know him but things  got better however and next visit he came to fetch her and has been Jan 2014 120-001keeping close contact ever sense.  It is hard to feel like you are not wanted and it is great to see her now becoming more confident and more life in her eyes.


Cecilia is growing  up fast also.  She works hard with her studies, is shy and cute at times but also farming 036determined and strong willed when she wants to be as well.  She is a great help in the garden and is looking forward to moving and going to school in Kalomo with her brother Sylvester in January.


Precious is still as sweet as can.  When she first came to us she was very far behind in school and struggled to read , write or do even basic math.  During Olivia’s year here with us she spent much time with Precious tutoring her one on one and encouraging her in the studies.  After Olivia left we hired a tutor for her at the school and we are happy to report that she is now reading and able to do good practical math.  Her grade 7 test results this year were an improvement from the year before but due to her struggles with school and her turning 18 next year we have decided to pursue means to teach her a trade – tailoring.  Currently the plan is for her to go to Kalomo with Cecilia where she will receive personal instruction and an internship with a tailor in the town, while staying under the care and guidance of Purity there.  She is very excited about this opportunity and we are very proud of how hard she has worked to get to this point, how far she has come, and what a sweet special young lady that she is. 


And as for our children in Kalomo and the housemothers – Stay tuned….. Updates on that soon to come : )

From Many to Few, God’s Grace, and the Blessing of Teams

Just the Two of us : )
I apologize for these posts and updates being so late in coming out but this year has been a very different one for us and the ministry – one of the main reasons being that for IMG_0583the first time since Sep 2009 and the children’s home opening in March of 2010 – it has been just Jako and I here, without the help of any long term volunteers. Those who have followed our ministry remember that in 2009 and 2010 we had Jenny Mass with us, then Alyssa Bolles from 2011 – 2013, as well as Olivia for a year in 2012, Travis for 9 months at the same time, and the Sweerins for a few short term trips and then for 7 months in 2013.   That is not to mention the many teams that we have been blessed by through the years.  The height of our volunteer “boom” came in Mid 2013 when I think we had 11 different volunteers here at one time (not part of a “team”) and what an exciting time that was!
So after years of having help with Bible studies, the preschool, work projects, clothing distribution, tutoring DSCN1044of children, and help in many other areas – this season of it being just us has been quite an adjustment to say the least. Mainly because the project has grown tremendously in these past 4 ½ years and now trying to keep everything running well and fulfilling the task of what used to be many, sometimes seems to take all the energy and strength that we have. Praise God that His Grace and strength are always sufficient for the task and day ahead but sometimes (and often during this past year) we feel as though we have been burning our candles at both ends, with early morning hours, and collapsing into bed at night.
So what have we been busy with you may ask ?.......
Jako has been managing all the projects related to the cattle, goats, sheep, crops, tractor,  vehicles, Feb 2014 004generator, water wells, community Bible studies, supplies and materials needed from town, while Amber has been busy trying to stay atop of the many admin duties needed to keep the orphanage open and happy in the eyes of both the US and Zambian government (ie. reports, record keeping, finance, e-mails etc), as well as managing the care of our 19 children in our children’s homes (plus Jakob and Jeremiah), the house mothers, the orphanage committee, assisting with the needs of those in the community caring for orphans, and the locals coming for medicine or medical assistance.
While this new “season” has been good for us and our family in many ways, allowing us extra time to spend together, establish family routines, and just time to be a family, we have definitely been praying that God will send short term and Long Term volunteers to help us once again. If you or anyone you know might be interested please contact us to see how you might be able to be a blessing in this way.  We are especially praying for God to send us someone to help with the school projects and to assist Jako with his many different responsibilities.
And the blessing of Teams : )
While we did miss the stream of individual volunteers this year, we were blessed with the help of 3 teams as well as well as two very special individuals.
Our first team in June was a group of 6 from a church in  Florida.  While the original plan was to have them help put the roof up on the primary school, God had other plans.  The dogs that we have here for security started to eat the goats and sheep we had recently acquired so operation “Electrical Fencing” became top priority and this team was great at being flexible.  Considering that the fence spans 800 meters it was great to have their help especially with the generator and vehicle breaking at the same time.  With all of this their time quickly turned into help with many projects, including finishing a crush pen to help with the Cattle’s vaccinations, and building a frame for the solar panel going up at the Children’s Home.  The mothers and children were very happy to have Olivia return with the team and to have her presence leading Bible Studies with the housemoms while the other ladies entertained the children.  When not busy with that they were hard at work helping to sort and organize donated clothing, distributing new sizes of clothing for all the children at the Children’s home, and mending many of the clothes that they returned.  During that time Ken was even able to draw up professional blue prints for the Kalomo house that we are in the process of building (more about that exciting news later : )  When the team left many things were fixed, new things working, children were clothed, hearts were encouraged, and there were smiles and blessings all around. 
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IMG_1729We were happy to have Alyssa Bolles join us for a week in July to do some teacher training with our preschool teachers.  Having started the school in 2012 and seeing it through it’s first 1 1/2 years it was great to have her back to see how the teachers and students were doing and to encourage them all while giving them tools to continue to make the learning experience fun, engaging, and exciting.  Of course the moms and children all loved having her back and we were thankful that her church, Grace Baptist, allowed her the time off to share her talents and giftings here. 
As she flew back, we were blessed with a team of  7 from a Church in Va. With both  new and returning team members it was a joy to have their mix of experience and excitement and their “strength” to help clear about 2 hectares of land, cutting up big trees, stacking them around stumps, and burning them.  Difficult work to say the least, especially day after day after day,  but they were troopers and now we have been able to plant extra crops this year for our children on that very piece of land!  The ladies continued the Bible Studies for the house mothers,  looking after  all the children so that the mom’s could concentrate on the study and finishing the job of sorting through and organizing various clothing donations.  Of course there were always the odd jobs of helping vaccinate animals, tending to wounds of animals, and children (including our Cecilia who just somehow managed to get a fish hook stuck deep in her finger), chopping fire wood, cooking, and just loving on the children, housemothers, and people of the community.  Both teams were also able to bless and encourage the local church through preaching, teaching the children, and just worshiping together with the local church on Sundays.  We and the community were blessed in so many ways.
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Thankfully, Steve Rainwater was able to stay another two weeks and helped Jako with various projects such as finishing the roof on our permanent tent, and finishing the clearing of the 2 hectares for planting. Having visiting us every year since 2006 he is always such a blessing with his friendship and practical skills.  The kids love him too!
Lastly in October, we were blessed with a new team of 18 from the a Church in Rooihuiskraal  South Africa.  Due to having to fit the trip into their short holiday time, theirs was the shortest trip, at just 5 days with us – they got TONS accomplished – installing ceiling boards in 2/3rds of our house (something we have been hoping to do for the last 5 years but just haven’t had time), mending a large pile of clothing for orphanage and community use, and then laminating, cutting and organizing hundreds and hundreds of educational work sheets and material for the primary school (loving prepared by Melanie Sweerin in 2013).  With the primary school hoping to open soon (and our own Sanford needing to start grade 1 in January) this was one project that we just haven’t had time to get to and the woman, and teenagers on the trip helped us immensely with this.  Of course Jako enjoyed having his “Afrikaans” brothers and sisters around once again and we thank the church and the team members for all their hard work, including the donation of 6 tire swings for use by us and the Children’s Home.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Long time since last post and so much has happened : )

004First off let me apologize for it being so long since our last update. We have been meaning to write for a long time now but since it has been pretty much just the two of us since our return from the states last November (with a few exceptions of teams and other short term helpers) the daily demands of running the ministry have kept us super busy and left us a bit overwhelmed at times. God is giving us the strength that we need for each day but if God leads you to pray for us please pray that He will also provide for us wisdom, strength, provision, encouragement, joy, and extra hands for the work that He has so wonderfully allowed us to be a part of.


Because we have so much to update on – I will try to send  out an update a week (or every few days  or so as to spread out the news and allow readers the opportunity to take it all in without being overwhelmed with too much at a time : )


For the meantime though – let me say that things are going well here and while we have had some serious ups and downs these past months, that God is good.  The children are growing (and running all over the place with now 8 toddlers between the ages 080of 2 and 5), we’ve had two new arrivals (unfortunately one passed away a week after we received him), moved Sylvester one into the house in Kalomo for higher education, seen families visiting children that hadn’t before (and the smiles on the children’s face because of it), experienced water and well struggles and then miraculous answers from  God, helped many at risk children in the villages with blankets, one with formula, and two with educational assistance.  The children’s garden is doing well, we had a great harvest of maize, and with the help of a team and local help, cleared much more land for us to plant this year.  We have acquired some larger goats, some sheep, cattle, and a dairy bull and have been “learning the ropes” of raising them in the process.  When we lost 2 part time mothers to relocations God provided 2 wonderful replacements.  The preschool is doing well but we really need someone to help oversee it and the community is continuing to work on the primary school but with the rainy farming 045season fast approaching it’s date of completion is far from known.  Jako’s three Bible studies are going well but the displeship with villagers has shown mixed results.  We were blessed with 3 teams this year, and 2 extra individuals to help and encourage us.  One of the more surprising events however was that we were blessed with a large grant to purchase land and build a house for our older children in Kalomo going to school.  Land has been purchased, the plans almost done with the approval process, and we are excited with the possibilities that this holds.  Along the way, despite medical difficulties (for us and our MOL mothers and children), the earthy loss of our first child (heaven’s gain), large vehicle breakdowns, and other difficulties, God has done amazing things and we look forward to filling you in, in more details in the next few updates.

Thank you for the prayers and support from so many and for all of those that partner with us, encourage, and bless us in so. Thank you for your continued prayers and to God be the glory, great things He has done : )