Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ciyanjano Water Project (update)




Moving ahead with replacing the infrastructure at Ciyanjano. The raised slab will hold a 12,000 gallon water tank which will help increase water pressure and feed water to various parts of the property. Our director is showing where the water will enter the tank. The welder is building a tower for the 5,000 gallon tank.

Kasupe Road (Reason #31 to Give Towards Our House Project at Ciaynajno)




Kasupe Road is a real mess. We were so excited to see a large grader and the materials needed to pave the road out there last week. Then we found out they are only doing it for the first kilometer or so, just to reach a Chinese factory. The majority of the road will remain a swimming pool in the rainy season and back-jarring nightmare in the dry season. Moving to Ciyanjano will mean less driving to and from Ciynajano and hopefully reduce a lot of wear and tear on the truck (and my back). Our team leader was kind enough to get these pics of me driving through some the deep stuff.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Diesel Prices (Reason #26 to Give Towards Our House Project at Ciyanjano)

People in the U.S. are complaining about the price of gas these days. I heard it's all the way up to $3.60 a gallon. I wish the prices were the same here!! Our diesel prices went up about 20% this week. I filled my tank yesterday and here was the total - 570,668 ZMK (that's about $120) which works out to about $6.40 a gallon. Talk about sticker shock. Lusaka is big and spread out and driving is absolutely necessary. Moving to Ciyanjano would mean less driving to and from Ciyanjano!
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

witchdoctor handbill

In Zambia witchcraft is still very prevalent. In the bush witchdoctors hold positions of power over entire villages. We've heard of people being able to fly and change into animals, less supernatural but more disturbing are reports of infanticide and cannibalism. In northern Zambia and especially in Tanzania there are lots of reports of gruesome murders of African albinos – their body parts are used in various types of charms, potions, and other magic. Some of our teammates have seen this type of stuff but thankfully we've only heard of it. Here in the city the use of magic and charms is still very prevalent and when the local witchdoctors hand out flyers like this you know that they are reaching out to a large number of people. Many, many Zambians live in constant fear of the power that other people’s magic has over their lives. They fear upsetting the spirits and worry constantly about pleasing the dead to keep them from returning to cause bad events in their lives. If there is sickness or death in the family, a loss of employment or marital trouble, many people assume that the reason is due to a curse or hex that someone has paid a witchdoctor to put on them. So even in urban Lusaka you can see that the fear of bad juju, charms and other magic can lead to many troubles including revenge, murder, suicide, infanticide and worse.Witchdoctors also began and continue to promote practices such as widow cleansing and the "virgin cure,"(click here or here for more) two things that promote the spread of HIV/AIDS and the rape of women and children. Here’s a little sample of what your local witchdoctor might offer.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Raise my Ebenezer

A couple nights ago I had an intense dream about sharing my story with a person, the full story of what God had done in my life, and then again with a second person and we were surrounded by many other people. It was a strange and exciting dream. I woke up feeling excited to share what God has done, or what most Christians would call "my Testimony." I also felt sad to think that I don't share this often enough, even though I have a lot to share.

One of my favorite hymns is called Come Thou Fount and there is a line that says, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer." The name Ebenezer means "stone of help" and it is a word used to describe a memorial stone that is raised up to remind people of what God has done. So, here is a bit of my story, my Ebenezer of what God has done in my life... this is Tricia by the way ;)

Even though I am not Catholic, my mother did me a kind service by bringing me to Catholic services and confirmation classes as a child. I learned about who Jesus was and as a child I really fell in love with Jesus. My kind Savior who gave himself for me. I also learned about the wrath of God that awaited all those who relied on their own goodness and quality to save them, and about right and wrong.

I was very rebellious though and by the time I was sixteen years old I was smoking, drinking, using drugs, having sex, and regularly using pornography, all of which my parents knew nothing about because I was lying to them all the time (sorry mom and dad!). I was basically living a double life because I was also maintaining high grades and hanging out with the "smart kids."

I was dating an older guy and he had become God to me. I really felt that my life depended on him. I was so insecure and anxious all the time and sought security most from the approval of other people, whatever it took. Whatever it took for someone to like me, I would do it. I was miserable and I knew it. I would try to quit drinking or quit smoking pot or this or that, but even though I could do things in my own strength for a time, it wouldn't last. I would find myself back in bad habits eventually. Let's just say that list of bad habits was growing longer and longer and I wasn't getting any happier. My identity was a very confused thing and by the time I went to college I was a sitting duck for any philosophy that promised a little happiness.

Let me just say too that I wasn't a very nice person. I was self-centered and selfish, judgmental and critical, anxious all the time. Very controlling and angry. I think the only reason I had any friends was because I would work so hard to maintain some kind of image as a funny and fun friend, sexy to the guys and sensitive to the girls. Mostly I hated myself and everybody else.

In college Kelly and I were dating. As most of you know, he is really nice. For some reason we decided to get married, which was a terrible choice for him to make. We married and moved to Portland and proceeded to have the worst first year of marriage I can imagine. I thought marriage would be fun and romantic but it really sucked. We were awful people and I was especially awful. My anxiety was getting worse and worse and I was very depressed. Kelly would take me on long drives at night just to help me relax because I couldn't sleep. Finally I asked him if we could start attending churches sometimes. I decided that I needed help and maybe God was the one who was big and strong and smart enough to help me figure this stuff out. Kelly was willing to do anything to help "fix" his crazy wife.

One Sunday we attended a church and the pastor preached on the things that keep people from trusting God and giving their life to him. One thing he mentioned was our image. It felt like he was talking to me (and I think he was actually because it was a very small church and we were the only visitors ;). I thought to myself, how sad would it be if I never gave my life to Jesus just because I am so worried about what other people think?? I decided to take the chance on Jesus that morning. I started crying and ran out of the church and sat in the car.

Things were pretty rocky for us in the Portland area after that as I tried to figure out what this new decision meant for my life. But God was already at work and I had a new joy that I had never felt before. Looking back I can see the way Satan was after me in that vulnerable time because I had no church and no friends that could really mentor me. But thankfully God moved us back to Bellingham where we immediately got settled into a great church. I started attending a Bible study along with the services and it gave me a great foundation in the Word of God. After over a year of seeing God at work in my life, Kelly decided to give his life to Christ too!

Trusting in Jesus is an amazing thing. I had true JOY in my life because no matter what happened I knew that I was a child of God accepted by him because of Jesus' sacrifice for me. I also started to make friends that seemed to really care about me even when I showed them the yuckier parts of myself. Needless to say, my marriage improved because I was acting for Kelly's benefit and also God thankfully was taming my temper a bit. Most amazing to me was that God completely removed my anxiety from me. And I quit smoking cold turkey.

Now that was ten years ago. My life has not been perfect since then and I am not perfect. I still struggle with sin and I still struggle with completely trusting God. But the adventure that God has had me on since I gave my life to him, well, it is a million times better than anything I could have chosen for myself out of my selfish desire just to "be happy."

Over these years Kelly and I have worked with countless gorgeous babies and teenagers and friends. We have seen many beautiful places that God created with his infinite goodness. We have worshiped our Savior Jesus with Christian brothers and sisters from all over the world. And God has continued to grow me and change me to be more like Christ ( no of course he's not finished yet, give me a break).

Most recently God has helped me again and again to set aside petty and selfish things and even not-so-petty things and move to Zambia so that I might seek his face even more. And on top of that He has given us two amazing and beautiful daughters!!!!! We have three of the coolest kids that have ever existed! This is never where I imagined I would be and it is all because God is GOOD and he is MERCIFUL and he is REAL and he is POWERFUL and I am so happy that he is my God.

Jesus, thank you for saving me and faithfully guiding me and caring for me in your mercy all these years, and for loving me even before I was born. Thank you for loving me even despite my sin. Thank you for the joy I have in you despite my daily challenges. You are awesome! And God I pray that all those I love who don't know your joy and grace would give up the things that are keeping them from you and dive into a life well-lived with YOU. There is no better way I know than a life lived with a loving God.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Projects

Here are a couple of Tricia's recent projects. The wall hangings were done by hand and the quilt was done with the sewing machine the Allens brought back from America.


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Parenting in Zambia

Okay, so as a Valentine's gift I sent Kelly overnight to a beautiful area called Gwabi with Tim and Derek from our team for some relaxing man time away from the kids. Mostly I wanted him to get a good night's sleep and time with dudes. He is working really hard and I know he needs a break.

Anyway, the kids were up first thing in the morning and immediately they were off and running. Lucas especially was up to his usual shenanigans but even more so. Maybe because daddy was away, or who knows why, he decided that today would be the day that he would challenge and defy EVERY single thing I said to him. I would say that today was the most defiant and disobedient day of his short life.

Fortunately since the adoption I have been reading a lot of parenting books and have felt very fresh and prepared in the way I respond to his disobedience. I was trying to be consistent. For those of you who are anti-spanking out there, well, I sympathize, but this little man was getting some spankings today. And I'll tell you, he makes a lot of noise but shortly after a spanking you can see that he is just planning his next move. He asks for forgiveness and promptly "returns to his vomit" just like that dog I'm always hearing about.

Okay, so as if trying to train up your children in the way of the Lord isn't hard enough. My house-helper was obviously filled with disapproval. I know she thinks that I am far too strict with the kids (which is funny to me because I know a lot of Americans who would think I am too permissive). And she definitely seems to disapprove of spanking. So, to top my very difficult day off, she says to me, "I think that you should leave him alone. You are going to give him a fever from the crying."

Now, aside from the fact that this comment didn't make any sense to me, it also filled me with dread. I was immediately thinking paranoid thoughts that she is so disappointed in my parenting that she would complain to social welfare to have the girls taken away from us. I told her not to worry, that he was just fine.

Certainly I think Americans are just as good at giving unsolicited parenting advice, but today, I really didn't need to hear it. Now if I can just make until Kelly gets back tomorrow afternoon...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

House Plans!



These are the plans we've had drawn up for the director's house at Ciaynjano. It's a three bedrooms, one and half baths. There is also an open-air upstairs terrace/patio/porch thingy that will be covered and screened. This area will be build with the ability to be finished into a masterbed/office/bathroom in the future. This house is bigger than our current needs but we are considering the fact that a) our family is likely to grow b) we'll often have guests and visitors from the states that may be with us for as long as a month or more c) this is not our house - we may be here another 5 years but maybe some other missionary family with 10 kids will move out to Ciyanjano, maybe it will become staff housing for interns or a second team house like in the Leadership Retreat Center. We just don't know what the future may hold for Ciyanjano and we want to be ready for anything! So a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project so far. We have a little over 50% of budget raised. Planning a one-time gift? Looking to do some tax-deductible giving? Look no further. The Huckabys need a place to live at Ciyanjano in order for this ministry to grow and thrive. Support local churches, pastors, and schools by supporting Ciyanjano's housing project.Click here to donate now.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Water Project!



So here's some pictures from the water project. The first two are pics of the old system that we are digging up and replacing and the bottom two are the new lines being laid. This is a huge project! Not only are we dealing with multiple water lines and systems, two boreholes, electric for pumphouses, etc. but Ciyanjano is on very uneven ground as most of the property slopes down towards the west side of the property where a large creek runs through. So there is a need to create pressure and movement of water to various places using elevated water tanks. So far the project has been going very well! Other than having to wait for Dec and Jan to end so that local building/electric companies could be back from an extended holiday break the project has been going very well!
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kasupe Road


Driving to Ciyanjano is an adventure. If you survive the minibuses, gravel trucks, drunks, wheelbarrow pushers, taxis, bottle and shake-shake trucks you'll have to navigate the deep waters of Kasupe Road. Bring your snorkle. Alas, according to the Kafue Council people this road is under contract to be tarred. I'll believe it when I see it. And MAN, will we be happy!
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

getting to work. a ciyanjano update.




Things have been busy around here lately and here's a little update as to what's happening at Ciyanjano. In the last month we have been working mostly on trying to get the water project finished. Our sister camp in California provided the bulk of the funds needed to modernize Ciynjano's ancient water system (I know it's not that old, but anything in Zambia more than couple of years might as well be ancient). This project started with digging a new borehole (see pics above!). Then our great Ciyanjano workers dug a massive series of ditches to lay water pipes and power to and from various locations to make the new borehole accessible. In the process of assessing our water needs we also discovered some major problems with the existing infrastructure and now that's getting dug up and redone as well. It's a huge undertaking! We've also had our first two church camps out in the new campground area. The groups reported that they liked the chalets and would be back again.
We are raising money to build a director's house out at Ciyanjano as well. We've got our plans drawn and turned into the Kafue District Council's office of Lands and Building (that was only half a fiasco) and we're vetting contractors to do the building. We have about 50% of what we need to complete the project and still need to raise about $12,000.
In the meantime I've been helping out around the office to fill in for some folks home on furlough, got to help write up the new contracts for our awesome Ciyanjano workers to reflect the new labor laws, not to mention trying to be a husband and a father of 3! SO if I've been slow getting back to you...
you know why!

Friday, February 4, 2011

So this is the hard part

Moving to Zambia has been difficult. I'm not going to lie. There have definitely been days where I felt like I just hated everything. But then again, I had those days sometimes in good old Bellingham too.

The moving part isn't the hard part though; starting fresh here in Lusaka has its ups and downs to be sure but you expect that. Moving to a new place is hard whether it's across the country or across the world.

The hard part for me, I am finding as we swoop on past the 6-month mark and head into real life here in Africa, well, it's seeing everybody else's life just swoop on by without you. It's seeing friends and family have babies, get new jobs, move into new houses or apartments, do their thing WITHOUT the Huckabys around to really celebrate with, or laugh with or cry with. It's basically losing touch with the reality of the lives of the people I love.

Trust me when I say that I know full well that leaving you a comment on Facebook is NOT really celebrating with you or being there for you. And really all the Facebook and Skype stuff in some ways makes things worse because it does a much better job of making you feel un-connected than connected most of the time. But I can't really complain about that because at least I get to see pictures and funny videos, right?

Okay, now this is starting to sound like a pity party. But I know some inquiring minds out there want to know. So, there's the hardest part for you.