Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Review

While this has been a hard, weird year for the Huckabys; yet it's been an awesome year! God has always done more than we asked or imagined. Here are a few highlights from 2013, that we want to thank our loving Father for...

Time with family, and overall a healthy year for us and the kids!



Time with our team! We are privileged to work with a really super bunch of Americans and Zambians!



Worshiping with our Oikos family in Bellingham, Washington. Love you guys!
And although I don't have a new picture, we have loved worshiping with our Zambian church family as well:  Blessed Family Church!


Time with good friends back in America while on furlough... there are many people we were so deeply happy to spend time with and I can't picture you all here, but I think you know who you are.


Saying goodbye to my dad and seeing him off to heaven. One of the most difficult things to do this year but we are very thankful for the time we had with him and the time we had with my mom and brother.

Other very special times for us were our time in Texas with Mimi and Papa - what a gift to relax and have quality time with them. And also, Ethel and Joy being granted their US citizenship was a very exciting highlight that we are so grateful for. Thank you for sharing this year with us. Thank you for all of your prayers and kindnesses toward our family as we seek to glorify our King, Jesus Christ!!! May God bless you all this year. I know for certain that God has another exciting year planned for us. Happy New Year!

Psalm 150:6
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!



Monday, December 2, 2013

Pray for Rain!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. When we lived in Washington we prayed for sunshine. Now that we live in Africa we pray for rain. This year we are praying A LOT. Here's why. Zambia is an agrarian society and most everyone we know grows maize for their staple food, nshima. Last year we also had late and sporadic rains, the government-subsidized maize seed and fertilizer came late, and we had a plague of army worms. So farmers in our community are starting this growing season with less than their usual amount of reserves. People are going to be very hungry if we don't start seeing some daily rain very soon. Zambians rely on the fresh maize during the early part of the year as they wait for the rest of the maize to dry for milling.  Not only is it not raining but it's miserably hot, at least 95 everyday.  There are hot winds blowing from the south furtherer drying up everything. The mosquito larvae are usually washed away during the heavy rains but due to a few big showers and weeks of dry heat, we've had a huge increase in baby mosquitos. Lastly, a large portion of Ciyanjano's income comes from a mill for maize; we're already seeing low sage due to a lack of dry maize. Needless to say that we've been a bit hot and miserable and our friends are suffering with fear about the possibility of a very poor harvest, possibly worse than last year. SO PLEASE PRAY FOR RAIN FOR ZAMBIA!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Who Decides What a Christian Is Anyway?

I'm home-schooling the kids now and this past week we've started learning about different religions. One of the books I'm using is the The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World. I like the layout and it is very informative.

Under Christianity it had relatively good information and then I came to this line:  "Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and now lives with God in heaven. They believe that if they lead good lives they too will go to heaven when they die."

Is that why we are going to heaven, Christians? If we are good? I would guess most non-Christian people would describe Christianity this way and probably don't see any problem in what I've quoted up there. In fact, I've started to realize that many Zambian Christians and even many American Christians wouldn't blink an eye at that above statement.

Here's the problem.... that's NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ!!! Christ said nobody is good but God alone. My list of good deeds in this life is NOT why I will be in heaven someday. The Bible very clearly teaches that it is by faith in Jesus Christ and his righteousness that we are saved, so that none of us can boast. No matter if I lead a very good life... if I haven't trusted in the goodness of Jesus, I will NOT be in heaven with him someday. Period.

That is what sets Christianity apart from other religions of the world. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, JW's, Jews.... everyone is just trying to follow their set of rules and be good enough. But Christ taught that none of us would ever measure up to God's perfect standard no matter how hard we tried. He came to fulfill the standard in our place and then die in our place. Can I get an "Amen" anybody?

Christians, if you are trying to be very very good everyday so that you can have a good enough resume to get into heaven, well you are in for a surprise. Your resume stinks. Nobody is impressed with you, especially not God! It is by faith that we are saved so that none of us may boast. Cling to Christ. Throw all of your eggs in that basket because it is Jesus Christ alone who saves!!!!

PS... Usborne Books... get your facts straight!

Monday, November 18, 2013

This World Is Not My Home

So here we are back in our house at Ciyanjano. The view out my window where I’m typing is incredible and so very African. The sun is just coming up and the birds are going bananas. The air is cool but you can already feel the heat of the sun even though it’s still a sliver on the eastern horizon. From my desk I can see children in their uniforms walking to school on the other side of the steam, acacia trees, palms, bananas, giant cactus and further out, the scrubby green hill that the locals call “the mountain.” 

What surprises me most is how totally normal this feels. How much this strange place feels like home. Of course it was just a few weeks ago that we were eating an amazing breakfast at the Mt Bakery with good friends and walking the streets of Bellingham, breathing in the cool air and the brilliance of a thousand leaves changing colors. That also felt like home. One of my favorite songs I sing the kids is an traditional song that goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing though. My treasures are laid up somewhere, beyond the blue. My savior beckons me from heaven’s open doors and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” I think it rings so true for me because it’s so so easy to fall in love with the things and places of this world - after all, God made so many beautiful and lovely things. 

Coming back to Zambia this time I’m far more aware of what we are leaving behind. During our first term we lost years of time with friends and family. We missed out on births and weddings. Graduations and funerals. We missed out on celebrations and mournings. Our kids could be in great public schools. We could go to the beach a couple of times a year. We could have the kids in karate and I could ride a motorcycle without fearing for my life every moment. My parents are getting older and I could be spending more time with them, letting them have more time with their grandchildren. This time I feel the great weight of what we are leaving behind to serve the local church in Zambia. 

When I was a new Christian I had this thought in the back of my mind whenever I was having doubts about my faith. The thought was this, “Even if this whole Jesus thing is not true, at least I’d be living a good life where we serve others and stuff, so no big loss.” A few weeks ago at Oikos, our pastor Pete preached from 1 Corinthians 15. Paul says that if Christ is not risen than we are to pitied most of all. This really struck me for the first time in light of our imminent departure. Our radical call as Christ followers comes at a cost. This is not new stuff; I’m not striking out in new territory, Christ himself called his followers to take up their cross and follow him. A life that is completely under the will of God is not just living a life that proves Christianity is just a way to live a better life now. It’s living a life that points completely to our belief that Christ is who he says he is and he has done what he says he’s done. And we actually believe that to the extent that if we have lived our life to Christ and he is not risen than we have lived as fools. And the world should see us as fools until they believe. 


So I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will fill me up when it’s 95 degrees in our bedroom at 11pm and the power is out and the bats are flying around our living room. When we’re pulled over for speeding when we’re going under the speed limit. When we’re sweating our way through an afternoon at immigration. When we're missing friends and family and our home church. When we miss weddings and births. Praying that I would by contented and joyful with wherever God would have us and that I would not love the world or any place in it more than I love my savior and the place he’s preparing for me when the work of this life is over.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bible Club Re-Visited


It's hard to believe that we've been back in Zambia for 2 weeks already! Our time has been quite full with re-organizing the house a bit, starting home-schooling, getting back into the Ciyanjano groove (such as surprise trips to the clinic with neighbor kids, surprise pastors wanting to book camps, or surprise bats in our bedroom... so Tricia, are you saying life is full of surprises?? Why, yes!).

Surprises can throw off your whole day but they can also completely MAKE your whole day. That was true of yesterday - I got my Bible Club back together for our first of many weekly meetings to come. Surprisingly, almost all the 35 kids that were coming before our home assignment showed up, on time, and wearing their t-shirts!!! For those of you who have never experienced African culture... this was truly amazing. I was super pumped to see the kids and they were all looking really good. Also Judy (pictured above) showed up to help me translate and wrangle the kiddos.

Then, after our Bible story time, I was surprised again!!! Judy and the children surprised me by telling me that THEY had also prepared a program for ME. I had the beautiful privilege of sitting back while the kids performed songs and recited memory verses they had worked on over previous weeks. My very favorite song  (not to be "so vain" as that old song goes) was the song they made up for me:  "We are so happy, Auntie Tricia. We are so happy, happy, happy that you are back in Zambia." This song was catchy, if I do say so myself, and also had some dance moves that went along with it that were quite sassy.

So of course, how thoroughly encouraged could a Sunday school teacher be??!! I told the kids that I would have come all the way back to Zambia JUST to see their program because it was so awesome. Please remember Ciyanjano's Bible Club in your prayers each week and pray that these kids will know, love and serve the Lord and share the good news about Jesus Christ with others.





Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Second First Impressions of Lusaka


I think that after living here for three years I was used to the sights, sounds and smells of urban Africa. And I gotta say, my descriptions of Lusaka in our presentations was conservative and generous. Upon our return it’s clear that Lusaka is dirtier, more crowded, and more unpleasant then I remembered. Ciyanjano on the other hand is even better than I thought - not just in a juxtaposition to the city but WOW, they have been working hard around here. I thought the pace of physical development was blindingly fast over the last three years but between Tyler,Tim and Dave, and the back-breaking work done by our crew, I think they’ve gone over and above my highest expectations. I have so many things to talk to our director about that I need a meeting to set up multiple meetings to cover everything! 

Returning during the hottest weeks of the year might have been a bit foolish in retrospect. But hopefully I’m sweating off some of my “furlough fifteen.” So far the best parts about being home are returning to our house and getting things in order, and visits with friends. We’ve mentioned before that returning to Zambia for a second term means something more to the nationals that just a first term. When they see that you’ve been back to America (the land of cheap electronics, jobs, and ice cream) and still decided to return to Zambia - they feel like you must really love them and their country. In our visits we’ve been seeing some new additions. This little girl was born to the Mwale family while we were on home mission assignment and we returned to find this precious little Mercy Tricia Mwale! Cute! We are so happy to be "home" and a special thanks to all of you who've helped us get back here.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gluttons for Punishment



With all the speaking to groups we’ve been doing it’s got me really thinking about the reasons we are returning to Zambia. Are we just gluttons for more punishment? Folks keep asking us if we are nervous, excited, or both, to be heading back to our strange life. In conversation the other day a friend said, “At least you are doing what you love.”

She meant it innocently enough and I would say that statement is at least a little bit true. But after thinking about it I realized that a statement like that actually completely misses the point of why we went to Zambia in the first place and why we are going back. And in fact, believing a statement like that is even dangerous for us as believers.

Let me explain... Doing what we love... Honestly folks, if we were doing what we love, we’d be living on a beach somewhere. Our kids would be in public school and plenty of programs to keep them busy so that we’d have as much free time as possible to pursue “our hearts’ desires.” We’d spend ridiculous amounts of money on gourmet ingredients for the dinners we’d spend hours preparing every night. We’d stay in bed and watch movies all day long. Sorry to spoil your picture of the Huckabys but that is what “doing what we love” would look like. We’re really not on some fancy path of self-fulfillment.

It’s NOT about doing what we love. It is WHO we love that matters. We are completely in love with Jesus Christ. We are going back to Zambia because Christ saved us from our sin-filled, crappy, self-centered lives and gave us new hearts with room enough for more and more people. 

Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations and to love each other, so we are trying to be obedient to what he asked of us. Here is the hard truth:  on a LOT of days, we DON’T love the work we are doing. But we still love God. We love the almighty father God who made us, his Spirit that encourages us and leads us each day, and his Son who died for us and rose again so that we can also be with God forever. Because of our love for God, we love serving him, and he helps us to love the work we do each day because he is so merciful.

If I believe that we are going back to Zambia because we want to do something we love and because we want to feel fulfilled, well, I’m going to be in big trouble. Pretty soon I would start telling myself that this work is just too hard. This life is just too difficult. It would be so much easier to just pack up and head back to America where there’s no burning garbage in my backyard and no mosquitos and ants chomping my flesh.

But when I go because I love Jesus and he loves me and I want other people to know that amazing grace also... well, that never fails. That’s true every single day. It’s true on the day our neighbor drowns in his well. It’s true on the day we hear about a baby found in a pit latrine in the slum down the road. It’s true on the day three different teens come by asking us for school fees. It’s true on the day when our friend loses her newborn because of poor medical care. The good news about Jesus is true every day and THAT is what we love!  That is why we are going back.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Heading Home

We have exciting news for all Americans who have had their fill of the Huckaby family during these last months... We are heading back to Zambia on October 24th!  For some it may feel too soon but we are feeling very pumped to get back to work. Thanks be to God! And thanks to all of you who have given and prayed toward this end.

We are still a bit shy of our fundraising goal but we are trusting God to move the hearts and minds of a few more new supporters.

Our last term was close to three years and we are anticipating this next term being three to four years. It is hard to say goodbye for such a weighty chunk of time... Especially because we know from experience that not every face we say goodbye to will be here to welcome us back. Please pray that our family would spend these last weeks very well and to the glory of God. And let me urge you, as always, to put your love and trust in Christ, the author and protector of our faith and life. His love endures forever.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Send Us Back to Zambia!

Hello dear friends and family! It may seem to many of you, as it does to us, that we just did all of our support-raising to get to Zambia in the first place. Time sure flies by! Here we are on home assignment after three years of ministry in Lusaka. It's been bittersweet being back in the States, but we are already feeling very ready to head back to Ciyanjano and get back to work.

So here is the scoop on our fundraising... our monthly supporters have been so important to keeping us in Zambia. We really can't do this work without you! Over the past few years some of our supporters have had to stop their monthly support. Due to this loss, and also to the rising costs in Lusaka, our director has set us a goal of raising another $1000 a month in support. Please consider becoming a monthly partner in our work at Ciyanjano. We are passionate about supporting the Zambian church through Christian camps and conferences and it's easy for you to be a part of this awesome ministry.

Contact us at thehuckabyfamily@gmail.com if you would like to become a monthly supporter and we will send you the very easy form it takes to get started. Or if you prefer, you can sign up online here at actioninternational.org. 

One-time gifts are also very important to us, so if you can't sign up monthly, please consider a one-time gift which can help us with truck repairs, medical needs, school materials and other large purchases that can really put us in a budget crunch.

Thank you so much for giving. Please don't forget that we also need prayer support as we seek to glorify the name of Jesus in this camping and conference ministry!

Muli Bwanji!

Muli Bwanji from Lusaka, Zambia. We work with ACTION Zambia developing and running a 19-acre rural property called Ciyanjano Christian Campgrounds that acts as a retreat/conference/camping ministry for the churches in the slums of Lusaka.

The ACTION Zambia team already ministers to these churches by providing:
1.  Pastor training at our ACTION Pastors' College
2.  AIDS education/caregiver training through the CROSS Project
3.  Evangelistic children's events

Ciyanjano is an important support to all that the Lusaka team provides. Our job is in helping develop the property to best meet the needs of the community we serve, to host short-term teams, and to work with the Lusaka team and the community to host pastor trainings, kids’ camps and other retreats. Join us by becoming a supporter in prayer and giving to bless the people of Zambia.
Kelly, Tricia, Ethel, Lucas & Joy


Ciyanjano Christian Campgrounds - Our Ministry with ACTION Zambia

“Ciyanjano” means “fellowship” and that is what this Christian campground and conference center is all about. ACTION Zambia has developed a 20-acre property on the west side of Lusaka (Zambia’s capitol city). Our mission is to provide churches from the slums of Lusaka with an affordable facility for Christian camps and conferences.

Currently Ciyanjano has a conference center called the Ripley Center available for day-long or overnight retreats that can sleep between 15 and 30 people. Zambian churches utilize this center for leadership and prayer retreats, conferences, or trainings. Located within a walled area shaded with flowering trees, the Ripley Center is a peaceful and quiet place for Zambian church leaders to get away from the crazy bustle and pressing needs of Lusaka. In addition, ACTION Zambia also uses the Ripley Center to host short-term teams or our own conferences and events.

We've also developed a campground on the property that can serve Zambian church groups of up to 150 people. The campground has a large outdoor chapel, two classrooms, five camping chalets, an outdoor kitchen, a large restroom and shower building, and a playground. This campground is a popular spot for youth and children’s camps and church-wide retreats. We've partnered with groups like AWANA Zambia to make the most of this versatile facility.

Ciyanjano Christian Campgrounds is run by ACTION Zambia Ministries, a field of ACTION International Ministries. Our goal is to work closely with and encourage the Zambian churches working in the slums of Lusaka, and to spread the good news about Jesus Christ. In order for Ciyanjano to remain affordable for the churches we work with, we rely on the generosity of donors like you.




About Giving

How can you support us in our ministry to churches, pastors and children in Lusaka?

Become A Committed Partner!
Long-term and career missionaries live and serve through financial support from individuals and churches. Zambia is a VERY expensive place to live and we are always in need of new committed partners. When you commit to give tax-deductible gifts monthly, quarterly or yearly, you become a partner with us in our ministry for the churches of the slums of Lusaka. 

It takes a variety of financial commitments to support a missionary family. Will you commit today at any amount? Click here to become a partner online or contact us directly and we will have ACTION International send you the easy form you need to get started.

Can't commit to becoming a monthly donor? No problem. One-time gifts can go to helping pay for car problems, work permits, school fees, and other large expenses that tend to eat through our regular budget.
If you have questions, please feel free to email: thehuckabyfamily@gmail.com

A huge thanks to all those that have already become monthly sponsors or supported us through giving and prayer! We can't do this with out you!


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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Texas Timeout

It's almost August! Somehow we've almost finished our time here in Texas with my parents. If you haven't heard me in the past profess my love for this state (to the audible gasp of our northwest-loving friends) then here's a slice of the hill country:

 In the mornings we have coffee and sit on the back porch listening to the crickets and watching the deer graze. We head to the river as early as possible and swim in the cool waters of the Frio River. In the afternoons it's hot and the cicadas fill the thick air with their whirring song and we eat Blue Bell ice cream on the porch. The evenings are filled with deer and lightning bugs. We spent the month catching up on rest, reading, spending time with family, swimming and sleeping and it was amazing! 

Our time here in Texas calls to our minds king David's worshipful psalm... the Lord has been our shepherd and we have not wanted for anything. He makes us lie down in green pastures, he leads us beside quiet waters, he restores our souls... and he has. This Jesus, our Lord, who has given us his everything, why should we not give our everything for you! Thank you, God, for this amazing time in Texas!
the kids at the dam, contemplating their next jumps

frio river

jumpin'!


tubing the river


reading with mimi

local 4th of july parade

howdy

sparklers!

our little cowkids

inside the jaws of a giant shark!

boogie boarders at Port Aransas

watching dolphins!

fishing from their boats

mimi leads the summer reading program at the library

we went to austin and got crabs!


bats in austin