Sunday, January 29, 2012

The (Army) Ants Go Marching...

Well, it's that time of year again. The cool, misty, rainy mornings, the red mud, the muggy afternoons, the massive thunderstorms in the evenings, the power's out, the road is washed out, and the army ants are marching through Ciyanjano. These smallish army ants called red driver ants (locally called "mpashi") come out in huge lines during the rainy season eating everything in their path. They usually come in a line 4-7 ants across. On the outside of the line are a few soldiers here and there to keep an eye on the smaller guys. They don't have a permanent nest like other ants, they race from place to place, eating. They race very quickly. So this time of year it very often happens that you will stop and unlock a gate or answer a cell call and suddenly you find that your feet are covered with ants. The little ones bite. It stings a little but the pain is very much increased by the large numbers that quickly attack you if you stand near one of their marching lines. The big ones have a scissor-like mandible that actually cuts a small chunk of meat out of your skin. When you get a half a dozen on your feet you're likely to screech. But they rarely bite your feet. They'd rather quickly run up your trousers into your tender regions and then bite in unison. It's this time of year you'll see us stripping off our trousers in the middle of the front yard. The Zambians laugh. Until they're busy stripping too. Should have looked down before they stopped to laugh. The question is - should you wear thick socks and tuck your jeans into them to keep the ants out? Except if can often be 80 degrees and raining. Too hot for jeans and thick socks. So I prefer to wear flip-flops and shorts. It means I can pick the ants off before they get too high up the thighs. I know that in the villages people sometime welcome these pests, as they come though people's houses and eat all the lice, cockroaches, bedbugs, mice, rats and ticks. Just don't let 'em get into your henhouse or pig sty. They can skeletonize a whole pig overnight. So if you see me running through the yard shaking my trousers and shouting, be sure to look down before you stop and laugh at my antics or you might be joining me quickly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

US Embassy Alert - Zambian Style

U.S. Embassy Lusaka, Zambia

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

January 25, 2012

Lion on the Loose in Livingstone

The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens resident in or visiting

Livingstone to exercise caution following Zambia Wildlife Authority

(ZAWA) reports that a lion is on the loose in the area. According to

ZAWA, the lion has not been spotted, but its footprints were found in

the Songwe area. Lions are habitually present in Livingstone's Thorn

Tree, Dambwa Forest and Chief Mukuni's Big Five Sanctuary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As we look to the new year, here are a few things that God has encouraged me (Tricia) with lately.

"Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labor and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting farther from your goal instead of nearer to it-at that very moment I predict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you."
-The Brothers Karamazov

"Peace is not just the absence of conflict... [peace is] where a person's life with God and with everything else is in ordered harmony, both physically and spiritually, and 'all is well.'"
-study Bible note on peace/shalom from Romans

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December Life Update

So it's been a busy yet relaxing month around Ciyanjano. We hosted three Christmas outreach parties, serving orphans, ex-street kids and kids from the biggest compound in Zambia. We've also been hosting Tricia's mom from the U.S. She's been camped out in our classroom hut that's right next to our hut for the month. It's really been such a great time having her here. She's been so good with the kids and they really love her and are so sad to see her leave this week. We were able to visit Livingstone and see the falls and take a spin through Mosi-oa-tunya park to see elephant, and zebra, giraffe, monkey, and even rhino! We also visited our favorite get away spot - Lake Kariba. Spent a lot of time swimming and relaxing. We've also put the window and door frames in on the house and are now working on framing the roof!! Things have been quiet this week and we've mostly just been picking and processing and eating our weight in mangos. Tricia and her mom have also been working in her big kitchen garden. They've been harvesting a ton of butternut squash this week and waiting patiently for watermelon and pumpkins, sweet corn and maize. January should prove to be a quiet month in preparing and planning our year of ministry and reflecting on the past year. We'll see the return of our field director and his family (the Hiltys) from home assignment in the U.S. And we'll be able to get back on a normal family schedule - whatever that means. What a year - GOD IS GOOD!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Year of Thanksgiving

In reflecting on the goodness of God we have so much to be thankful for this year. It's crazy.

At the risk of sounding like Kanye at the Grammys, I'd like to give a shout out to the Lord first and foremost. He is good and has sustained us for a year in ministry and life in central Africa. Not just sustained but we see bounty, provision, presence, and love that is overflowing for the likes of proud, foolish and boastful sinners such as ourselves. Overall we've had good health and have been strong enough to do some good work (and even start a garden).

I'd like to also take the time to thank some people in no particular order and know that if you are not specifically mentioned we still love you, are thankful for you and you're in good company.

- to our faithful supporters who have been with us in giving and prayer throughout the year. We can't do anything here without you. We love you.

-to our home church, Oikos. Thank you for not forgetting us and for loving us and supporting us and caring and praying for us. We love you deeply and desire greatly to see you here in the field with us. We love you.

-to our families. We know it was tough when we packed up and moved to Africa with your only grandson. You have been so supportive and helpful in a thousand ways and thank you thank you for welcoming our girls into the family. We love you.

-to our team. You guys are awesome and our endurance in this race is only possible with your constant companionship, fellowship, encouragement, and helps. We love you.

-to our girls. It's been one year this week since we brought you out of your orphanages. Our life would not be complete without you. We're so excited to see you growing in so many ways. We love you.

-to our little man, Lucas. You are such a champ! Thanks for being so flexible. We love you.

-to Megan Bloemker for your faithful help in getting through the bureaucratic nightmare of adoption in Zambia. May your legs always be strong enough to jump through the hoops! We love you.

-to our friends in Zambia. Thanks for your understanding and emotional support in our adoption, and life and ministry here. It's hard to imagine Lusaka without some you. We love you.

-to our Ciyanjano staff and their families. What can we say? Life at the farm would be unbelievably difficult without your knowledge and help in language, culture, etc. Thank you for your friendship and trust. We love you.

-to our teacher, Violet. Wow. It is an amazing blessing to have someone that you can trust with your kids. Thank you for your special care of our children and your friendship to us. We love you.

-to our friends, Dave and Kim Breuninger from Koinonia camp. You rule. We love you.

Again, there are many, many more and rest assured, WE LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Last and Late Christmas Party

This last week we had the opportunity to hold one last Christmas party. Sure it was a little late, but really we want celebrate Christmas all year. We had the boys over from Kakabalika for a game of pick up football, a huge dinner, a time for gifts and a movie. Kakabalika is a house and school for boys that are off the street. It's home to 30-40 boys and is a great ministry operated by the church we attend here in Zambia. The boys are aged 11-20(ish) and are such an awesome group. We had a huge dinner of beans and franks with nshima and salads. Tricia made an absolute TON of food and the boys polished it off without much trouble. We are also able to give each boy a pair of tropicals (flip flops), an exercise book for school, and most importantly, we had the funds to give each boy their own bible. I'm so thankful the work that the church, staff and missionaries have put into building up those boys!! And thank you to all of our supporters who made these Christmas parties possible. We can't wait for our Christmas in July parties!!