January/ February 2021 Update
As mentioned in our previous update another family has joined us here at Mission of Love. Let us introduce them to you a little more.
Nathan and Melanie Sweerin come from Cedar Falls, Iowa with their four children Natalie (8), Clayton (6), Lilly (5), and Hannah (2). They have a long history of involvement with Mission of Love serving here short term on several occasions and being actively involved in praying for us and supporting the ministry and school during their time in the States.
Melanie has a background in elementary education and will be assisting with the oversight, training, and training of the school here. Already she has helped with the implementation of a spelling/ English program, and has facilitated many days of training and encouragement for the teachers. We are blessed that the teachers have such a close bond and Melanie is building strong relationships with them. Even though she is also busy homeschooling her own children she has been helping in ways that Amber does not have the time and availability to do.
Their children are blessings to be around and have overcome some large hurdles in their transition here, such as not being around large dogs before, and they are adapting well with eating the local food and handling the bugs that come along with being here in the rainy season (ie. insects and worms). They are a joy and all the kids at the children's home love having these new friends around that are always eager to play.
School Has Started
After much uncertainty about school reopening dates due to the new COVID outbreak in South Africa/Zambia school has officially started. The teachers have been more than ready for the past month and after having missed more than 5 months last year, both pupils and teachers are very happy and eager to have this opportunity once again. The children at our home were extra excited to receive their Christmas gifts of new backpacks, school supplies, and small treats.
One change we had was Sanford, our oldest at the Children's Home in Mukamba who made the big transition to our home in Kalomo for schooling. While he will be missed here, town will give him more opportunity to pass his grade 7 exams and get exposure to English in school and in the town. He is a bright young man that we wish God's best for in terms of schooling and developing from boy to a teenager, to a young man.
What a difference this rainy season has been from last. Already we have received more than 750ml which is tons for this area! That's great news for the 5 hectares of maize, 6 of sunflower, and1/2 a hectare of sweet potatoes that we planted are all are looking great. We have had to work extra however to prevent a big army worm invasion this area is experiencing and to keep the weeds from taking over.
The rain has also been great for our mangoes, increasing the water levels here and filling up the local dam that Jako and villagers have been working hard on, the rain is starting to prevent big challenges with the roads.
Currently they are still "travelable" with great skill and the right vehicles but as the ground underneath these clay and mud roads continue to soften and the flood rivers continue to rise, we would appreciate prayers for continued protection over the vehicles as getting stuck, especially in a flowing riverbed, can have severe consequences for the vehicles.
Maintenance on these vehicles this time of year is a lot and very expensive but without one there will be no supplies for us, the ministry and the children's home, no way to bring oil and other grains to town to sell, no vehicle to help with medical emergencies, and no way for us to have "contact" with the outside world. Sometime we are the only vehicle running in the area.
God has been so good to us these past few months and as we celebrate all that God has done please pray with us for the following
- for the right amount of rain that will produce good crops for us and the community (too much at the wrong time could cause everything to rot or go bad)
- for protection for the vehicles and wisdom for the drivers, especially Jako on these roads
- for the preschool and primary school - for the community to work hand in hand with the teachers and the ministry to make the school the best it can be
- As we all adapt to being a larger community of 11 here at the missions base, please continue to keep them and all of us together as we get used to this normal of doing daily life and ministry together.
Steve, Jako and Theuns preparing some of our home raised meat
Happy Family Visit for one of our babies
Thanks for all your love, prayers and support and for joining us on the journey. Our God is Faithful!