Saturday, January 29, 2011

Don't make me pull this car over

So now that we have two more kids in the family, things in the back seat of the truck have gotten a little too close for comfort. Lucas pretty much can't keep his hands off the girls. He is constantly poking, petting, swatting, licking (I'm not kidding), pinching... you name it. Poor Mutale is in the middle and so she gets the lion's share of the harassment. Anyway, we had to finally banish Lucas to the VERY back seat to try to calm things down a little bit. Driving in Lusaka is hairy enough without all this drama. Now Lucas just periodically finds things to throw at the girls like peanuts, sun shades, tupperware... whatever he can find.

But in the past couple of days we have found an amazing trick that completely subdues our troublesome trio in the truck: Nyanja lessons! Mommy sits and reads through our Nyanja vocabulary and then reads the English translation. The girls find this exercise completely fascinating and hilarious. At the same time, Lucas is learning more Nyanja and the girls are learning more English. And, it is excellent review for us. Everybody is happy... at least until this gets boring for them. And then? I guess it will be time for Bemba lessons!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Everything is Illuminated pt. 2

So after thinking about light I got to thinking about the Church and about community. Why does God like to find us in community?

We talk about being "lights for Christ" and that our life will shine like a light for Jesus. That somehow with Christ shining out from us, people will see the sin in their own lives and see the grace and mercy and forgiveness that Christ offers, and they will want that.

I think the focus of the Church then, within itself and then extending outwards, is relationships. Here is why. The light of Christ shines when I am in relationship with another person. I mean, maybe it shines when I'm all alone but then it's just a little light for me to read by in bed. Do you know what I'm saying here?

Let me explain. I think that God gave us marriage. Why did he do this? He didn't have to. I think he gave us marriage as another kind of light for us to see by. When I think of my life and the things that 1) show me the sin in my life, 2) remind me that I need forgiveness, and 3) bring me to the feet of Jesus to ask for forgiveness... well marriage is at the top of the list. Being in that kind of relationship daily shows me the darkness and ugliness in my heart. My marriage is a big ole' light in my life.

And then of course there is parenting... Shows me the sin in my life? Check. Reminds me that I need God and his forgiveness? Check. Brings me to the feet of Jesus to ask for forgiveness and strength? Double check. I mean I have never felt like such a big giant fat sinner than I do now trying to parent these three kids. God is using these relationships to show me the stubborn veins of darkness. My impatience. My selfishness. My unrighteous anger. I mean it is ugly, people, believe me.

And that is just my little nuclear family. I haven't even begun to explore the light that shines from friendships, teammates, spiritual authorities in my life. Not mention my relationship with Holy Spirit himself, the Father himself, and Jesus himself. I mean, I think the reason that relationships and conflict are so difficult is for this very reason. Each one of these relationships have a way of shining a light on our own shortcomings. And every single one of us is falling short of God's standard.

So why do we need to be constantly reminded of it? Because it brings us right back to what I was babbling about yesterday: God's grace and mercy. The shortcomings we see in ourselves by being in relationship remind us every moment of God's amazing grace and mercy toward us. Because of Christ's sacrifice and triumph over death, we can find forgiveness and extend it toward others. We can live enjoying a constant flow of grace from our Father in heaven. Blessed be his name!!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everything is Illuminated

Today I've been thinking a lot about light.

We've had a couple power outages this week and it is rather annoying. Primarily, I was feeling pretty cranky to go without coffee this morning. But secondarily it is difficult not having lights around the house... especially for the kids. Fortunately we have a lot of flashlights and lanterns we can use that give varying degrees of light and we get by.

We attended Rivers of Joy this morning and the pastor has been preaching a lot about grace. Today he really focused on how God's mercy triumphs over judgement. It was a wonderful message. The beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ is completely indescribable and I have been relishing this time we've spent focusing on God's grace and mercy. Our God stands ready to be merciful. He is abounding in love.

But anyway, this brings me back to light. I had a fascinating conversation with a friend after the service about grace versus truth, mercy versus judgement. We talked about the old covenant and the laws that God gave Moses versus the new covenant of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. She brought up how Jesus said that he didn't come to do away with the old law, but to fulfill it. I have always found that statement to be completely interesting. And so this is what I think, and what it has to do with varying degrees of light.

When light comes into a room the darkness gives way to it, and we can see more clearly. If we have a flashlight, we can see a little. If we have a nice camping lantern, we can see a lot. If it is midday and we open all the curtains and the sun shines in, we are dazzled and we take a deep breath and there is no darkness at all.

The old covenant along with the ten commandments that God gave Moses, well that was like God's flashlight shining on the world. It gave the Jews enough light to see by that some of the darkness gave way to it. God's light penetrated the darkness of their chosen family and the law showed them that they were sinners. They couldn't keep from breaking God's laws. The ten commandments gave them enough light to see that they themselves were not God and that there was nothing they could do by their own efforts to reach God themselves. They needed God's mercy and provision.

But Jesus Christ coming into the world and giving himself for it, that was like God opening all the curtains and letting the sunshine in. God said, you need to see the way to me, here is all the light you need to see by, my own Son. You need light to root out the darkness within you, here is my own Son who will show you the dark parts of yourself and also give you the means for forgiveness by dying for you iniquities. This is why Jesus said he didn't come to condemn the world but to save it. The world was condemned by its own darkness. Jesus came and shined the light so that by seeing our own darkness, we would trust in him and find forgiveness.

I think this is what Jesus meant by not doing away with the law but fulfilling it. The law was a small light to see by, a handy little maglight. But then Jesus Christ came and opened all the curtains.

I am so thankful for my Savior. The Author of my salvation. I pray that I would better understand his grace and mercy everyday and extend that same grace and mercy to others. Our pastor said today that people who don't extend grace and forgiveness to others have not really experienced God's grace and mercy in their own lives. Amen! Jesus I want more of that. Thank you that I am forgiven. Thank you that you don't hold the sins of yesterday or tomorrow against me but that I always find forgiveness at your feet!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bragging about Church

Look, I know there are church-haters out there, people who have been burned and have had all kinds of lame experiences with Christian churches. Well, I'm not going to go into defending the Church or all the millions of reasons why I think it's a great idea to be part of a church family. What I do want to do right now is just completely GUSH and BRAG on how awesome our home church, Oikos, is...

Okay, Oikos family, here it goes. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!! You are so amazing!!! We Huckabys can't thank you enough for the way you have supported us from the very beginning of this journey that began over two years ago now. We know that you are praying for us and thinking of us. And we know that you support us with your hard-earned cash when you don't have to. And we know that you try to Skype with us even though it's unpredictable and hard to get a hold of us.

Of course I want to give God the glory because we are all loving him and serving him together and he gives us the heart we need to love each other and be there for each other even when we would rather not. Thank you, God, for Oikos church.

And thank YOU, Oikos, for the super RAD Christmas box that came to us today via the Allens' safe return to Lusaka from the States. Whoopee!!!! We were so stoked. All of the presents and cards were such an encouragement. You guys really know what we like and what we need. We really can't thank you enough. The generosity of you people is really off the charts, and I am not just sucking up here. I MEAN IT!!!! It really blows us away.

If you sent us something in the box, and you don't receive a thank you email from us, it means it wasn't labeled in the box. Please don't be offended. Feel free to email us and tell us what you sent so that we can properly thank you. But in the meantime, THANK YOU!!!! And a special thanks to Jess for packing it up right and tight.

This is Tricia, on behalf of the Huckabys

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Propitiation

Today at Rivers of Joy our pastor went into the most interesting detail about the ark of the covenant. For those that aren't familiar with that, the Jews kept a special box in their place of worship that held the ten commandments, a jar of manna, and Aaron's staff which had budded. Anyway, the ark had a gold covering on top... you might remember this from my favorite Indiana Jones movie. But anyways, our pastor was talking about how the gold covering of the ark covered over the items that represented Israel's sins of rebellion against God's law, God's provision, and God's authority. The gold covering represented Christ, who covers over our sin.

Anyway, he went into quite a bit of detail about it and though it might sound rather boring to you right now, it was FANTASTIC. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was crying with joy at the thought of all of the rebellion that Christ's death and resurrection has destroyed. I really feel that I fell in love with Jesus all over again this morning. Needless to say, I am enjoying our new church. The current series on grace is something I needed to hear.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Hair



Today I had the most delightful experience with my new daughter. I decided it was time to take out Ethel's braids. For all of you m'zungus out there who know as little about black African hair as I did, here is a little lesson. Ethel's braids in these pictures are not her hair but only black yarn that has been braided into her hair at the roots. Her hair is about an inch and a half long and then it's just yarn after that. Braids like this look very nice and last in your hair for months if you like. Here is the problem I found, they can start to get a little smelly. Even if you are rinsing them and putting hair cream on her scalp, I noticed they get very dirty and begin to be rather unpleasant in my opinion. So, even though I could have left them in longer, I really wanted to take them out today.

While Mutale and Lucas took naps I had Ethel sit in front of me in my lap as I snipped off the braids and started to undo them. After about one minute I heard a big yawn. After another minute she started doing that head-nod thing where you fall asleep for a second but jerk back up. It was adorable. So, I had her lay down on the couch with her head in my lap and she just konked out while I took the braids out of most of her head. When she woke up I just had to finish the ones she had been laying on.

It was a very quiet and pleasant time for me and a great opportunity to pray for this girl who is my new daughter!!!! Thank you God for naps. And thank you God for good hair!!! I must admit I love Ethel's and Mutale's hair! Now I just need to learn how to plait it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Turning Point

We have reached an important turning point today, basically our six-month anniversary of living in Lusaka. Yesterday we dropped off our friend Katy at the airport. Needless to say there is a palpable hole around our house today. We had such an excellent visit with her. But her leaving marks the end of a number of things... the holidays, our wooing of Mutale and Ethel who are now officially our foster children, and our orientation period with ACTION Zambia.

Today was a major turning point for us Huckabys: it was the beginning of "real life" here in Lusaka. Kelly went off in the morning to work out at Ciyanjano (buying plumbing supplies for a water tank project, meeting with our Director and the workers out at the center, and going over policy changes). I stayed home with my three kids (huh?)Two of these crumbgrabbers I barely know and the last is like some shadowy defiant monster version of his former self.

In addition to just making sure the kids lived through the day, I started "school" with Ethel. Actually, that was probably the high point. Mostly I just passed out time-outs like they were going out of style. So on one hand we can't help but have thoughts like, "Is this really my life?" And on the other hand we are feeling excited to actually get settled into this completely new Huckaby experience.

I have never felt more certain that I need to totally depend on God's grace than I do right now. How awesome that God freely gives that grace to whoever trusts in him and believes in his son. So I've got that going for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bugs bugs bugs

Today I spent a crazy amount of time cleaning out my pantry and trying to decide if I should throw things away or not. I had a major infestation of bugs. In the states I used to just throw a box of whatever away if it was full of bugs, but here it seems like a real offense to do so. And this hot weather means things just don't last as long. Buying in bulk is starting to seem like a real waste.

It's a struggle because every part of me is just so totally grossed out. I found worms in my big bag of rice and these nasty little boogers in my rolled oats which had found their way into other things. I took the box of rolled oats outside and when I came back out to decide what to do with the oats, a billion of the little bugs had made a mass exodus from the box and were crawling up the walls of our house. It was freaky!!!

Later in the day I came outside to check on my wash to find that the utility sink was completely overflowing everywhere on the patio with dirty water. Why?? Because a huge dead cockroach was plugging up the drain. Yes I had to stick my hand in the dirty water and pull out the huge cockroach. Ugh. Blech. I love Africa!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Girls: IT'S OFFICIAL + (pictures!!!)


It's official; we're foster parents! In three months we'll be able to finalize the adoptions of Ethel and Mutale!

ethel (5)
Mutale (3)










they did this pose with their ring popsthen they cracked up when they saw the picture


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rivers of Joy

So after a long search around Lusaka, which was quite informative about church life around here, we've decided on a church: Rivers of Joy. It is located in Nyumba Yanga (my house) compound across town from us. It is kinda far from where we live but we've decided it is worth the drive each week. We attended Sunday morning and I felt confirmed again that we are making the right choice. Perhaps when we move out to Ciyanjano we will find ourselves re-thinking it but so far so good. The preaching is solid Biblical teaching and the pastor obviously is gifted by God for this purpose. His wife is actively involved in the ministry.

Other reasons we chose this church... well. Around here it seems like you are either a Baptist or a Pentecostal. Sure there are other denominations but it seems like the Christian population here is either all about the Word OR all about the Spirit and there seems to be not a lot of middle ground. Well, in my humble opinion (this is Tricia by the way) a sincere Christian that is following the Lord should be all about the WORD of truth from the Bible AND all about the Holy Spirit. Walking with Jesus means relationship with God through him as the living Word, through the written revelation of the Bible, and through relationship with the Holy Spirit who lives in us and counsels us. I don't claim to have a deep understanding of all of this, but Rivers of Joy fellowship is one church we attended that we felt reflected this more comprehensive approach to worship.

Also the church runs a ministry to street boys which is located out by Ciyanjano. It is such an awesome ministry and we want to belong to a church that is actively serving the Lord in the community.

Another positive for us is that this is a Zambian church. We don't want to go to a church made up of just Americans and other expats. We love attending a church that is run by Zambians for Zambians. However, there are a couple American families that attend there which is nice for us because the congregation is already used to m'zungus and so, we are nothing special which is good.

Also, the praise and worship time is very Zambian. Praise the Lord! I didn't move to Africa with the intention of singing only high-pitched hymns. I want to shake my booty for the Lord. I love the spirit of worship here and Rivers of Joy, as the name suggests, has lively and heart-felt worship in Zambian style. I know there are quiet ways to worship Jesus but I love a church that can hoot, holler and dance for the Lord. Um, yesterday the youth and the street kids performed two raps they prepared for the congregation. I'm not kidding, it was amazing. I actually started crying seeing those little boys off the street very aptly rapping about Jesus. Yes I really am that way. But I gotta tell you, it is very moving to see these kids praising God in a way that means something to them.

I could go on but that is just to give you a bit of perspective of where we are at with church. We are ready to get settled into a church and eventually begin serving. There are a lot of opportunities to serve the children and youth in this church. And there are a lot of gorgeous Zambian brothers and sisters that we'd like to get to know. Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for us about a church home. Please continue to pray as we become part of Rivers of Joy!!!