Monday, February 24, 2014

Preacher Man

Check it out! Yes, that is Kelly up at the pulpit. This last Sunday Kelly preached for mens' promotional weekend at our church. He preached on being saved by grace alone through Jesus Christ and on how we can be assured of our salvation - this is a topic that people definitely need to hear good preaching about. Thank you so much to all of you who prayed for Kelly on Sunday. He really did a fantastic job!!!! Thank the Lord! I was so happy and relieved for Kelly that it went so well!

Anyway, I was so proud of him up them preaching for the very first time! It's kind of a miracle that he hasn't preached before now because most foreigners and visitors are asked to preach practically their first time at a Zambian church... which may be why on any given Sunday you can hear a lot of bad preaching but we won't go into that now. We just want to praise God that this Sunday at our church we heard nothing but Good News!

Friday, February 21, 2014


This week we heard a Zambian proverb that was fun to learn:

Mukayenda mu thengo,
Mudzayendela zonse!

It says, When you go out into the bush, you go for everything!

Meaning... you may travel out into the bush to go hunting, but along the way you will collect some firewood. You may find mushrooms. You may come across all sorts of useful things. Maybe your hunt won't be successful at all - who knows? But you will certainly find all kinds of things on your journey.

One friend commented that it seems like being a missionary is just like that. We agreed. We came to Zambia with certain ideas of what we might find or what we might do... but along the way we have found and have done all sorts of things! That's why it is so hard to answer that famous question, "What does your typical day look like?" Some of you have asked us that question before and were met with a blank stare... Now perhaps I will just answer, "Mukayenda mu thengo, mudzayendela zonse!"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Uncomfortable Community

As we have become more and more a part of this community in Kasupe (in Lusaka West, the neighborhood where we live), interesting things have begun to happen... And also as I, Tricia, have been leading this Bible Club again on Friday afternoons we've noticed our opportunities to be a neighbor have grown and changed. The longer you live in a place, the greater your chance of seeing people without their masks on. Layers begin to peel back and you find yourself staring at the deeper filth of people. 

The ugliness of our sin is why we are here to share the gospel in Zambia, and the only hope is Jesus Christ. Because we are foreigners, for a long time people would hide not only their personal problems but even the problems of this community; to tell the truth about things might feel to some Zambians like a betrayal of the other Zambians here. But in order to understand the grace of God we have to come face to face with the truth about ourselves.
The truth about this community is often shocking. Sometimes the stories we hear can really throw me off and I will be at a total loss of what my response should be. For instance, last week at Bible Club I found out that one of the 50+ kids we're now serving, a sweet little girl with giant black gleaming eyes, is sleeping out in the maize field with her eight other siblings of all ages. Her father had beaten her mother, almost to death, and sent the whole family out of the house without food or warm clothes. This is only one of his wives mind you; he has another wife nearby with another ten kids. And to make matters worse, this man holds a position of leadership in this community and is actually authorized to make citizen's arrests! If you asked this man about himself, he would probably call himself a Christian. And unfortunately stories like this one of spousal and child abuse and worse, are not uncommon.

My response? Well, honestly, I had to run home and cry for a few minutes. I was so overwhelmed and freaked out by this terrible story and I didn't want to embarrass the little girl in any way. I also didn't want to rush into a response without getting some Zambian counsel. But certainly the root of the question for us is, "Who is my neighbor?" And also, "How do I treat my neighbor?" Well, here is what I see in the Bible about that and I hope that our responses will always line up with what our great and compassionate God taught us...
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vehicular Vernacular

If you've been following our family for any amount of time you know that we’ve had problems with our truck. With buying a used vehicle, and with the crazy roads here... who wouldn't end up at the mechanic regularly? Now here’s the situation. 

For two weeks our mechanic has put secondhand steering racks on our vehicle. I’ve been hoping that we can avoid buying a new steering rack for $1700. It’s not just the rack - to get our vehicle in good shape for this term we’re looking at spending $5000. We've known this was on the horizon - from the get go missionaries told us that we could expect our vehicle to last only three years.

We live 30+ minutes from town and drive about 1,400 kilometers per month. Having a 4x4 vehicle that can hold our growing family and 20 bags of groceries is a must. It's also critical for ministry with guests with airport runs and the massive piles of luggage, and visits to compounds or our neighbors in the bush. 

Sometimes this is what it feels like going to town...

When we purchased a newly imported '96 Landcruiser Prado for $12,000 almost 4 years ago it was a fantastic deal. The government had a concession for NGOs and ministries to buy imported vehicles duty-free. This was a big thing since the duty on our vehicle was more than $10,000. That's not a typo. 

A duty-free vehicle must be kept by the same owner for 60 months; selling it now means paying the pro-rated leftover duty, around $4000. The Zambian government has cancelled the concession for duty-free vehicles so to buy the same make and model vehicle will cost about $21,000. 

At $8 a gallon a little compact might seem practical but...

You can see this is complicated and we are asking for prayer as we try to figure this out! 

Basically we need to spend an additional $15,000 for the same vehicle we want sell. And I’m torn about it. We actually have money, thanks to some generous gifts while we were on furlough. But we were planning on spreading that money out over the next 3.5 years. Using it all would mean emptying all our accounts and having zero buffer. And how do we know that the new (used) vehicle won’t have all the same problems? What we need is a tank. 

Considering the traffic and road conditions this might be a good option.

So we need prayer, wisdom and faith. And if you’ve got a tax return you’re not sure what to do with, well...