Sunday, March 31, 2013

StateSide Initial Thoughts

Hi folks! This is Tricia with a quick States-side update for y'all. But first I need to say:

HAPPY EASTER! He is risen indeed!!!

And even though things have been difficult, I feel as though I haven't celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ so deeply in a long time. With my father nearing the end of his life, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his victory over death is meaning more to me than ever before. Easter has been my favorite day of the year but this year even more so.

For the readers that haven't heard, my father is lying in hospice care right now and we aren't sure how long he has left. But he has lately confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and I feel confident that my father is covered by the blood of the lamb and that he will be accepted with open arms by my God and friend, Jesus, when the time comes. I have every reason to celebrate today!!!!!! This life is passing away but a new birth is just around the corner and it will be better than anything my father has ever imagined.

My God is so amazing that he has breathed new life into my mother and brother as well. I ask that you would continue with your prayers for my whole family, that God would continue to use this brief trial to purify and strengthen their faith and mine. Kelly, Ethel and Joy will be joining us here in Washington in Friday. Please pray for their safe travels because we are eager to be reunited.

My God is so amazing that he has provided everything we need. We didn't know that all of our plans would fall through and change so much but God knew. He has gotten our brothers and sisters in Christ together and made sure that we have a place to live, a car to drive, a great church, and a support system that has BLOWN my mind!!!!! And it has even been sunny here (absolutely beautiful!) so that I'm not even too cold.

On a side note, America is so clean and nice. So orderly. So many choices. I almost cried in Fred Meyer just looking at the fruit section. Everyone drives along in the lines and I just drive along with them and no one appears to be trying to kill me with their vehicle. I'm even driving a stick shift on the opposite side than I'm now used to... and I don't even feel anxious because there are no surprise oxcarts or wheelbarrows or even potholes in the road!!! I mean, what is this place??!!!! It's unreal.

I feel so full of love I could burst my guts all over the place. My only desire is that my dad wasn't in so much pain and discomfort. But I know that this will pass. I could go on and on but I just wanted to say hi to all of you and let you know a bit of the chaos of our lives. Stay tuned for Kelly's reports and please keep praying. God bless you and may each and every one of you know the peace and comfort that comes with trusting a God who has already defeated death for those who love him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ablution Completion (well mostly completed)

Well, we made it. The Reformed Baptist Vernacular Churches are here having their family camp and they're the first one to get to use the new ablution block. There are sill some finishing touches that need to be made that we'll have to work out after the camp goes and we'll get a chance to get some feedback. Praise the LORD!!!

Tim Hilty hanging shower curtains the morning of the camp!
toilets (tim and his brother and tyler all worked hard to hang the stall doors (they're awesome!)
final touches for the stairs and screen wall

sinks in the ladies

shower in the ladies

shower-side entrance with ramp

sewage and supply new the ramp doors for the shower side

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Burnout, Grace, and Home Assignment

So here we are, a week away from our whole family starting our six month home mission assignment. Let me tell you that this is not how I imagined it. It's not matching up with the pictures in my head of what furlough looks like. First I should tell you that in January, I was fried, on the edge of burnout and my cultural fatigue was so overpowering that I was in a bad place. I wanted nothing more than to go on furlough. Immediately! The thought of driving down HWY 83 into Leakey, Tx where my parents live would get me choked up. The idea of walking into Oikos Fellowship on a Sunday morning and hugging about a hundred people made me feel like weeping with joy, like someone reunited with loved ones after being imprisoned for 3 years on false charges. I wanted to sit in my parents living room and listen to their fountains bubbling and the air-con's quiet, perfect purr. I wanted to wrap my arms around some special friends and walk the streets of Bellingham at night and ride a bicycle through Boulevard Park on a sunny afternoon. It was at this moment that God showed me that I had stopped being content with him and his will, that our home assignment had become a dangerous idol in my life. I was putting my hope and joy and thoughts and prayers on furlough. On getting the heck out of here and being with the people I love.

I asked to take a break from Ciyanjano and focus on God while attending our ACTION Pastors' College and learning about the nuts and bolts of preaching. I started my quiet time again in the morning and read some terrific books by Francis Chan and a few missionary bios. And as  God wrapped me in his grace I lost sight of our furlough and focused instead on his goodness and mercy and faithfulness during the last 3 years. It wasn't about me. I was about HIM! That's how I got through January and February. By early March it was clear that everything was changing again.

So as my wife packed up early and set out for "home" to try to see her father before he succumbed to an insanely aggressive variety of bone cancer we realized all our plans for home assignment were out the window. We were going to spend a few grand to change our tickets; we didn't have a vehicle; we didn't have a place to live. And of course instead of a joyful homecoming, we were coming back to say goodbye to a man who loved his family but didn't know Jesus. Again, God's grace won the day as my father in-law turned his life over to Christ in all hope and joy even in his pain and fear. And of course we were given a place to live by a brother in Christ that we've barely kept in touch with and he facilitated the furnishing of the apartment; another family purchased a minivan a bit earlier than they were planning to so that we could borrow it while we're home. We were worried about our lack of plans but God knew this plan all along and was just guiding us into it.

So here we are a week away from the girls and I flying "home." I'm really sad to leave Zambia. I'm sure I need to be on furlough and that's clear through God's love and perfect will. But I'm not idolizing it anymore. I'll still love all those reunions and moments together with people we love in places that no longer feel like home. As we say goodbye to our Zambian friends and coworkers and our ACTION Zambia team it feels like we're going to a foreign country, leaving the place and people we love. That's something that only God can do. So now we're free to enjoy our time on home assignment. There will be sad moments and moments full of joy. But in the end, we'll be back home in the fall. Back to Zambia. Back to Ciyanjano. Back to the place where God has met us with his mighty hand of grace. Back to the place our adopted daughters were born. Back to the place where are hearts are. And God did that. He did that, not me. And I'm sure that at the end of furlough we'll be so excited to come home to Zambia, to Ciyanjano and I'm sure we'll have all the same troubles with bureaucracy, mosquitos, corrupt cops, drunken minibus drivers, sweat and dust and smoke. And God will still be here to meet us again with his goodness and grace.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Emergency Flight

Please continue to pray for our family as our plans continue to change. Tricia's father continues to decline rapidly. Last week the doctors gave him about six months and at the beginning of the week the they were giving him at least a month. Last night we heard that it's more like a few weeks at best. The cancer in his bones is causing total agony and they have to keep him very heavily medicated. Last night Tricia spoke to him and realized that the timeframe to see him had all but collapsed. So last night I booked emergency tickets for Tricia and Lucas to fly into Seattle this Tuesday. PLEASE PRAY!!!
     - for Tricia and Lucas from Sunday night - Tuesday afternoon for traveling mercies.
     - for Tricia as she has to leave Zambia way ahead of our planned furlough, and even ahead of our emergency furlough plans. She's not ready to say goodbye to our home and friends here. There is so much unfinished business.
     - for Tricia as she returns to say a much too early goodbye to her dad.
     - for Kelly and the girls appointment at the embassy on monday morning to get visas for the girls.
     - for our health, we're exhausted and can't sleep and fighting a cold or the flu.
     - for the girls and lucas having to split up our family, that God would protect their little hearts and souls and minds from anxiety, fear or anger.
     - for finding flights for Kelly and the girls.

Thank you to all of the people praying and sending encouraging notes. We love and appreciate you. Even in this hard time God has been faithful through the generosity of his people. We've been given and vehicle to use and an apartment to live in once we're all together in Bellingham.
Praise be to God! Let Him receive the glory!

Friday, March 15, 2013

EMERGENCY Furlough Plans

Greetings friends and family,

If you read our blog or received the last update email then you know that the Huckaby family was planning on returning to the States in mid-July and staying on through the new year. We've been struggling with the news that Tricia's father is extremely sick and we've been waiting for a diagnosis. Finally this week we found out that he has a very aggressive form of cancer with tumors throughout his body. It's spreading so fast that there was no evidence of it just three months ago. Due to the aggressiveness of the tumors and his very poor health, the doctors have decided to use radiation on some of the tumors in his hips which are causing extreme pain and have fractured his hip. This treatment will only bring some relief from the pain in that area. They've only given him around 6 months. 

With this news we've scrapped our furlough plans and are working out the details as they come. If we have contacted you with specific dates that we would have visited you... it's likely those will change. Tricia and Lucas will be flying back to Seattle on April 4/5th. That was the earliest flight we could get for them. They'll be staying with her parents in Northern Washington and helping them in any way they can. The girls and I will be staying on in Zambia to finish working out the details of my responsibilities here. We also need to get visas for the girls as we're still waiting for the Dept. of Homeland Security to give us an interview for their naturalization. Anyway, we have a lot to figure out before we join Tricia and Lucas in the States but we are hoping to be together again as soon as possible. This will be the first time that our family will be split up since the girls moved in with us over two years ago and they are very worried about it. Joy is especially shaken up and is crying and acting out because of fear and anger. 

Thank you to all the people that have been emailing, calling, and offering help. With the stress of splitting up the family for a month or more, trying to pack up our house here and make emergency plans, on top of the news from Tricia's folks, please don't be offended if we don't get back to you. Emails are the best way to reach us and will be the best way to reach Tricia after she arrives. But again, please don't feel offended if you don't hear back from us! We are receiving your notes and appreciate them, but just don't have the energy to return emails and calls right now. Please pray!!

     -for safe flights for Tricia and Lucas
     -for peaceful family time over the next 3 weeks while they get ready to leave
     -for the girls who've been through the heartbreak of abandonment already and are afraid about what's happening
     -for Kelly while he wraps up his responsibilities early at Ciyanjano
     -for all the paperwork and visas needed for the girls to travel
     -for a place to live in the Bellingham area 
     -for a vehicle 
     -for our plans for the rest of furlough to come together
     -for improvement and encouragement for Tricia's dad and that she will arrive in time to spend time with him

     -that we were able to change Tricia and Lucas' tickets for only $100! (flying out two days earlier would have cost us $790!!)
     -that we have a team here to take over the ministry while we're gone
     -that Tricia's father and mother are putting their trust in the Lord during this difficult time and when the time comes, Jesus will be welcoming Ron with open arms into the kingdom of heaven! 

Thank you for reading this long email ;) and thank you again for praying for us and supporting us. If you are a monthly supporter, please don't stop your support! We will still need our monthly support during our furlough and upon our return to Zambia. God bless you all,

Kelly Huckaby for the family

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ciyanjano Shower Block Progress!

Ciyanjano's shower block is moving along nicely and still on schedule! Check out some pictures from this morning. Need to make some big decisions about water supply. Pray for wisdom! And our plumber!! We're moving just as fast as we can to finish before the end of the month when we'll be hosting the Lusaka Vernacular Reformed Baptist family camp over Easter weekend.
Laying in the sewage plumbing

sinks in the men's room

toilets in the men's

sinks and counter/baby changing  table in the lady's

shower side entrance