Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Christmas in July with TLC! (orphanage outreach)

Not going to bother writing too much but today was great! We had 80 kids from two different orphanages out to Ciyanjano today to celebrate Christmas in July. We had jumping castles, singing and teaching about Christmas and Jesus, a big chicken lunch, a fun craft and gifts for the kids to take home. What a day! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

TLC Team and Our Pastors' Wives Conference

Well this year's conference for the wives of the pastors in our pastor's college is finished. I'd say it was a tremendous success! Even though this was the first time our short term team from Twin Lakes Church had worked with this group of ladies I think some very deep connections were made and relationships established between the TLC team and between the wives themselves. The sessions from our TLC team were deep, biblical, well-planned, and smartly taught. The groundwork was really laid by our teammate Karen, who has been teaching a reading class to a number of the wives once a week. We were also very blessed by having a few of the ladies who participated last year involved again this year, either as participating wife or as translator. To further help bridge the cultural gap for our TLC team, we had some great teaching from national CROSS project lecturer, Eta Imasiku, and help from another local pastor's wife, Mrs. Ngoma to round out the program. Tricia did lots of cooking and cleaning and helped keep everyone happy and well fed. The wives left Sunday afternoon with singing, prayer, and tears. They already can't wait for next year!

teaching time

tricia and her super helper, prudence

rhonda teaching

the wives are finding encouragement and fellowship with each other!

group shot

checking out their matching chitenge

karen and diana

kim and mabel


kristy and setilda


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dollar Troubles

I'm sure you've been carefully watching the Zambian exchange rate lately but just in case you missed it, things are getting a little ugly in Lusaka. The basic fact is that the dollar has lost about 11% in the last two weeks. At the exchange bureau they told me that they're planning on the dollar loosing another 10-15% over the next two months. Which is bad news for missionaries and expats who are paid in dollars in the U.S. and then have their paychecks wired over for an exchange in kwacha. It means that every $100 bill that comes over will only be able to buy $75 in kwacha compared to last month's rate of exchange. Which would be no big deal if prices generally reflected that here. But when the dollar was strong over the last six months a number of big businesses here raised their prices to match the dollar. Which means with a falling dollar you now get hit on both sides from inflation and devaluation 'cause those prices of goods are not going down.

The reasons behind all of this are many but boil down to a few - the new PF government made it illegal to deal in dollars in order to A) get the old MMD government to offload their (stolen and hidden) dollars and B) strengthen the kwacha. Now buying or selling in dollars can get you 10 years in jail so the market is now flooded with people trying to trade-in dollars for kwacha creating (hopefully) a brief time where the demand for kwacha is spiking and the dollar is weak. The government is also working on a new currency by dropping the three zeros off the kwacha to make it 4.6 kwacha to the dollar instead of 4600 to the dollar (also a bid to get people hoarding cash to get rid of it - which might help flood the market and make the dollar strong again...).

Long story short - the government is creating a false demand for kwacha to strengthen the local currency and weed out crooks. Hopefully the market will set this all straight again in a month or two and the exchange rate will stabilize. Hopefully in way that won't mean that our personal and ministry budgets are suddenly 25% short every month.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Toilet and Shower Block for Ciyanjano

I don't know about you, but when it's hot and dry and dusty and smoky, the thing that sounds good is WATER! Lots of it. Gallons of cold clean water to drink or maybe a nice long shower. When Ciyanjano hosts camps from the churches in the poorest areas of Lusaka, we'd love to be able to bless them with something that is unavailable or impossible for them at home. Right now we only have a double, back-to-back, long drop ablution. In other words, an outhouse with four stalls with holes in the ground. For a camp of 50 or more people, this is unhygienic and culturally unacceptable. In order to make our campground a safe and comfortable place for people to take care of their bathing and toilet routines while staying with us, we really need an appropriate facility. Right now we have a grant from a great church to help us get started on this project which will have 10 showers and 10 toilets! ACTION Zambia director Tim Hilty has been trying hard to get our plans passed through the dreaded Lusaka Provincial Planning Authority and the Kafue District Council. Let me tell you that since I went through these offices for building the Ciyanjano Coordinator house things have not improved!! We still need funding to complete this project and prayers to get it done in the face of rising prices and growing bureaucracy! Give to Ciyanjano and help us get this done before the hottest season of the year by clicking here. Part of the grant that we already received included building a strong, permanent water tap for a number of families in our community. Here in Africa it is usually the children who are responsible for drawing and carrying water. Those families nearest us were traveling up to 2k to draw water. Others were closer but were having to carry multiple bottles of water in a wheelbarrow or take many trips up and down a steep and ruined road over the stream that runs through bottom of our property. The new water tap saves time, effort and energy for the children of these families and is safer than going up and down the steep hill with a heavy wheelbarrow. So a big thanks for those that have given!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TLC and the APC Wives Alumni Tea

It's hard for the TLC team to have spent so much time getting to know our APC wives class of 2011 and now they're moving on to our new class of 2015 wives. In some ways it means starting over building relationships with a new batch of ladies. But today they got to hold a tea for the past class wives and everyone was so happy and excited to see one another and to share what God has been doing in their lives and churches over the last year. They ate, prayed, sang and rejoiced together this morning and there were smiles all around and plenty of laughing and lots of hugs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our TLC Short-term Team Arrives!

The ladies from Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, California came in on a sunny Saturday morning and hit the ground running. After they arrived we went for breakfast and talked about our schedule for the next two week. From there we brought them out to Ciyanjano for a walking tour, lunch and orientation on understanding culture and life in Zambia. Our kids were especially excited to have them over for dinner the first night and couldn't eat their dinner they were so giddy about our guests.

It didn't help calm them down when the ladies broke out awesome Koinonia t-shirts and fruit snacks!

Sunday morning we visited a church pastored by one of our APC graduates in Garden compound. While we were hoping to hear Pastor Mwanza share some APC teaching, Kim & I got were called on and we both did our best to teach a sermon on the spot. Kristy taught a song and Rhonda shared her life verse. Then we joined 'em for tea and biscuits in their home. After that, lunch and shopping at the market.

Today they'll be visiting some homes of the new pastors in our college to meet and have tea with their wives. Should be a good culturally challenging day and a great chance for them to build a relationship with the wives ahead of our conference that starts Thursday. Pray for safety as they travel around the city and for good health as they prepare for the conference.