Monday, February 27, 2012

First Day of School

Tomorrow is a big day around our place. One of the biggest challenges for missionaries in Lusaka (and everywhere they serve in the emerging world) is education. Some people home school. Some send send their kids to expensive American or British international schools. If you live in the deep bush and you have the means, maybe you send your kids to the RVA a school for missionary kids that's in central Kenya. For us, home-schooling is not really a good option. The time, energy and patience to teach small children day in and day out is just not something we have. A nice international school is also not a good option as the tuitions run thousands of dollars a year and besides not having the funding to put three kids into an international school, the closest one is more than 30 min away, making for two hours a day in the car to get them to class. Since our kids are so young we've been using a local teacher who does preschool/kindergarten curriculum three hours a day, five days a week. But Ethel is 6 (maybe 7) and she needs peers her age to help her work harder and our teacher can't get very deep into teaching reading and math with her or the other two little ones start a small riot. So we've made the decision to put Ethel into a local community school. It's called Mango Grove. It's about 6k down the road from us. They have an english language curriculum and small class sizes. The price is pretty low so we're not sure what kind of education she can really get, but it will certainly be better than what we can do from home. We're giving it a 6 week trial period until the end of the term. It's a big step. But it's a big challenge for us in the future. While Ethel and Mutale could get a mediocre education with their peers at Mango Grove, Lucas would hate to go there. He'd be the only mzungu and he can't handle the kind of attention that entails. What we really need is some idealistic 5th or 6th grade teacher that is tired of working for beans and would rather work for nothing but could live and work in Africa. Know anyone? Anyway, pray for us as we adjust our schedule and adjust to sending our baby off to school.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Housework -WE ARE SO CLOSE!

Howdy Hugablog followers and robotic spammers,
We cannot describe to you the feelings of joy and excitement we are having in seeing the house we (and you) are building getting so close to completion. We've been in the hut for 10 months. Don't get me wrong - it's a nice hut, but we are going a bit nuts. We desperately need the space. We need some peace and quiet. I need to be able to go for a walk at 5am without waking up my kids because they sleep two feet from the front door. I need a quiet place to read my bible without hearing the roaring screams of my insane children as they "quietly" color at the kitchen table which is five feet from my reading chair in our "bedroom." I need to sit on my patio and not be surrounded by a dozen people and half dozen children that are not my own. I know that our peace and contentment should only come from the Lord but we need the space and quiet and peace or we might lose our minds. I don't want to make this house - or moving into this house into an idol. I know that God has sustained us in a space that is very small for an American family of 5. I know that God has used this time to build us up in humility and grace and patience and contentment and peace. But... It's time to move!!! We are about $3000 short of moving in and we could be done as early as April 1. Anyway, we'll have a spare bedroom if you find yourself on our side of the world. And if seeing us isn't enough it's 80 degrees today and the fire ants are barely biting.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Zambia's Chipolopolo Football Club Takes African Cup of Nations!

If you're a fan of American sports then you can understand what it's like when your home team wins the biggest game of the year - think Superbowl or Stanley Cup. If you're from the PNW you might not know how this feels, but you can imagine it right? In 1993 the Zambian team was looking fit and sharp enough to win the African Cup of Nations but the entire team perished in a terrible plane crash. Since then Zambia has lived under this shadow and today they're seeing the sun shining again. The Chipolopolo boys beet Ivory Coast last night to secure the prize and the people in Lusaka are celebrating like they won the Superbowl, Stanley Cup and whatever they call the big basketball game all rolled into one. From about 12:30am or so when the match finished we could hear a roaring and cheering that sounded not unlike the sounds that Will Smith hears when he sleeps off a long day of Zombie killing in his bathtub in the movie I Am Legend. But I digress. Today the streets were PACKED with people in facepaint, Zambia flag chitenge, and whistles and horns. Cars overflowed with people and large trucks had their flatbeds crowded with dancing and singing celebrants. It seemed like the entire city was on Great North Road to welcome the team back from the airport and see them at a rally at the Showgrounds. It was an amazing sight and the sound was unbelievably loud. A very exciting day for Zambia and we're glad to be here for the festivities.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

D2:7 (ACTION Zambia's Discipleship Course)

The name of the course comes from Colossians 2:6-7 "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." The course is overseen by our assistant director and leader of ACTION Pastors' College, Tracy Singleton and taught by two Zambian pastors. Abusas Ngoma and Simuyemba.
If you don't already know Jailos Sakala, he is our head groundskeeper at Ciyanjano and long-time partner with ACTION Zambia and also a great guy. Right now is is taking D2:7 so I sat down and asked him some questions about the class.

K: So what's the main purpose of the course?

J: First it's to train leaders. Church leaders, in ministry and building them in their faith. We're using three books for the class -"Growing Strong in God's Family," Deepening Roots in God's Family," and Bearing Fruit in God's Family."

K: So what are you learning?

J: We're learning to really read and understand scripture and to memorize lots of scripture. It really helps a lot. It's an investment, memorizing scripture is like investing money; you can use it when you need it later on.

K: So why's that important?

J: It can help strengthen you for tests in your life, or when there are temptations. It can give you faith to do hard things.

K: What else are you learning?

J: We're learning about prayer. Learning to pray according to God's will, not to change God's mind, no. It helps a lot with trusting God. Also that when God answers prayers, it can be answered "yes" or "no" or "wait."

K: Yeah, you'll never see the front of a minibus - "WHEN GOD SAYS NO!"

J: We've also been learning about our assurances of salvation through faith and belief in Jesus.

K: That's so countercultural here, and in America too, where Christianity seems to be based around salvation through works, or being good. Sharing grace can be tough.

J:We've also been learning about how to do evangelism. Learning strategies. Like !st there is your character, that people need to be able to see your fruits. We also learned about how to use your gifts, that you have as a strategy. Like when baPhiri taught those people at the clinic in George. He was just being himself. You know he is very funny and people like to hear him talking. When you see a group around him people are listening. That is a gift. And you can tell people about your testimony. So you don't need to act like you are a pastor but just talk to people like you are not a "man of God." Then you can also help people, practical things, not just theology, no.

K: So what are some of the requirements for the class?

J: We have to teach the material to a small group of 5 to maybe 7. It is a slower version because it takes longer.

K: So you're teaching the guys at Ciyanjano, all of our workers and piece workers and sometimes the contract workers for our house too. How is that going? How are you seeing God work?

J: I can see a change in them. It has really helped Phiri and Joe and also Gift. In memorizing the Bible. Also it has helped Phiri in evangelizing and encouragement in evangelizing. All of the guys are encouraged. They are understanding the Bible better. They are better able to see the truth when people are teaching or preaching, they are attentive. They are comparing the things they hear to the Word and are looking out for truth.

K: Thanks for sharing!