“THE PROCESS IS THE END. FOR IT IS THE PROCESS THAT IS GLORIFYING TO GOD.” --Oswald Chambers

"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WALKING HIS TRAIL BY STEVE & GINNY SAINT

Time for another book recommendation!! We were given this book before we left from Ginny’s sister Kathy. Packed away it got and finally unpacked a few weeks ago. This is a book of “sand castles” as Steve puts it-stories and proofs of God at work in everyday life. If nothing else, he hopes that you read and then take the time to pass down your own sand castles from your own life to your family, the big and the small. That is some-what also the purpose of this blog. I know we need to do a better job! Just for ourselves as well-we need to look back each day and see God at work in the big and small, the daily stuff of life-like Henry sleeping through the night when I am sick (by the way, I figured out what makes me sick at night-guinea eggs-just can’t eat them or have them in any of my other food), the ladies coming down to take my laundry when I am overwhelmed…it doesn’t have to be great and miraculous each time. It’s great when they are and it encourages us and others too, but we don’t need them to have faith-we don’t always need the miracles. The miracles are often for others to draw them to God and see His work in our changed lives. But it is the constant knowledge that He is always with us that sustains us through the day. The knowledge that He cares for little ol’me and all my problems in the bush of Africa and that He would send His Son to die for me, worthless wretch that I was. But PRAISE BE TO GOD! His amazing grace and mercy have washed me clean and I am as white as snow. Hallelujah…AMEN!

the new normal

That’s what this is. Driving the bush road home, freaking out in traffic, and long waits for everything in town-it’s all normal now. Two months here nd this is home now and this is what we are doing. There have been a few times on the drive home where it just struck me that this isn’t weird anymore. Going on a game drive in Africa, even that didn’t feel so odd. It’s just like, hello-I am in Africa! We’ve talked about it, and for the most part we both feel we have been blessed with the ability to adapt to wherever we are. We may not always like it, but it is what it is and we are okay with it. We just go on, going on and doing what we are supposed to do.

DRIVING IN LUSAKA

It is all about aggressive driving, something I do not do well. I don’t picture myself driving in Lusaka any time soon. When the light turns red, it’s usually about five cars later before someone decides to stop. Or there is a load of cars stuck in the middle of the turn and it is the next green before you can go anyway. It is very surprising that we haven’t seen more accidents. We have seen some pretty close calls where they missed each other literally by inches. Your brakes HAVE to work well. You also have to be willing to pull out quickly if you want to get anywhere. We have a manual transmission and a diesel-not the smoothest of rides or easiest to drive. Nope, if I brave it to Chongwe during the dry season I will amaze myself. Probably won’t do it during the rainy season yet-the water splashes into the back seats if the windows are open and the roof is often wet too. We are doing some serious “off-roading” to get to our place! We are definitely in the bush. We just got some new tires and they have really helped. The white 5 ton truck has been stuck twice already. They went out and filled in many of the holes on the back side of this road, but there are still some sticky spots.

CHICO

Chico’s dad is very rich-he has many, many cows; many cows that he would be willing to give for Hailey. Chico really liked Hailey at the Sunday market-he even gave her a free wooden cross that he made. We then felt obligated to buy something from his stand, so I am sure there were plenty of girls Chico liked!

two more!!

Two more packages arrived last week! My mom sent one on 11/24 , that took a little over a month to get here. Carol and women’s bible study sent one on 12/4 that was priority package that took about 3 weeks. The kids also got some letters that were dated 12/10. Talk about a little creativity too-Carol called some of the kid;s toys “diversionary items”. Thank you so much! While we look forward to emails too, there is just something about a paper letter that we love to get too. And letters are just as good as packages, really!

six hours

That is how long it took me to wash the bathrooms and main room floors the other day. I had to stop a few times to feed Henry, get stuff for the girls ready, etc, but yes, from beginning to end it was six hours. Did I mention it was all by hand? I bought a new mop, but before the sponge hit the floor it was broke. And Brian broke the handle on my other one that I brought over, so I am out of luck for now I guess.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

sorry

sorry it's been awhile again. I do have about 4 or 5 posts written out on paper. Now I just need to type them up. We are on the way to the Sunday market with Tim, and maybe up to a game drive if the weather holds. Will work on typing lots this week!
Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Since I finally got online again…

…here are some quick notes. Packages seem to be taking a long time. Don’t know the reason, partly Christmas I suppose. Remember bigger isn’t always better. The priority mail envelopes or boxes work good-at least they get out of the US at priority. THANK YOU BONNIE!! We got your package today!!!
Cell coverage is horrible too. I can get connected, but nothing transmits. I am sure it will be like this now through the rest of the rainy season, so unfortunately, communication is going to be limited. Well, that and I need to keep my bundles up! Found out today I was out, and had lost some time from before, that’s why it was connecting well, but poorly transmitting.
Doing clothes pretty much sucks too. One load last week was on the line for four days before we got it dry. Doing the diapers is tough-we get down to nothing because they won’t dry. A little sun every few days would be nice, or enough breeze to dry wouldn’t hurt.
We’ll try to take many pictures when Tim is here that he can upload when he gets home for us.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

kitchen party

Okay, let’s see how much I can remember! The invitation said noon sharp, presents wrapped in tea towels (dish clothes). I got there at 2:45 or so and missed nothing-heck I was early. I think Henrich told them I was coming as everyone knew who this lone white woman was (yes, I was the only white person there all day). Lucy, Gladys and Christine were still not there.
As we arrived they trilled and whatnot to announce us. As soon as I got there, they took the gift, a gal grabbed Henry and they escorted me into the gym (it was at a boy’s high school gym). The music was so loud I could not hear the person next to me. I sat for a few minutes by myself, and then went out. They were worried I was lonely; I just said I couldn’t take the music. During this time various women were dancing here or there. They really have no inhibitions or reservations about dancing. It almost made me uncomfortable in my Western way-of-thinking mind. They were just having fun. They enjoyed when someone would really “get it on”, laughing and cheering and having a great time. One of these days Lucy said they were going to teach me to dance their way. See, to my Western mind though, I see the way they dance as having a very sexual connotation to it, probably because all the dancing is done below the hips. In the West, we would think they were “hussies” out on the floor. I will have to ask them about these sometime too.
Anyway, while we were all arriving, the bride-to-be was veiled waiting in the car for her entrance. Oh yes, everyone is supposed to have fun at the kitchen party, except the bride. She did not smile at all that I saw once we were all inside. Apparently she is supposed to look sad, because she is leaving her family. So she had to sit on the mattress on the floor without smiling or enjoying herself.
About 4 pm they begin serving the food. Quite a variety-it was okay-a little cool by the time we got through. But they had cold pop!! And kept coming around with it-I probably had 3 or 4 pops in two hours.
Finally about 4:40 pm the “committee” and her family went out to get her. They danced her in. She was under a blanket (think a Chinese dragon costume-could barely see her at all). She sat covered on the mattress on the floor between her two mentors that taught her how to care for her husband. Oh husband-back up. Henrich had to do a dowry-a suit for her dad, mom and a container for carrying min-coy-yo (sweet beer). They were planning to have a big wedding too a couple months ago, but someone in her family died, so they had to use all the money for the funeral. So they are finally doing a very simple “getting together” around the 21st.
So, the bride is in and there is dancing. Finally they say it’s time for the family to get the groom. Well, we are considered family, so out I went with the ladies to get Henrich. On the way in they sang a song asking God to be the leader in their marriage, and we danced him in. Yes, we. I did the white woman shuffle in with them. It’s going to take me a little more warming up to dance too much with them! Once up front we sang, than the MC brought out the basket to take offerings. Henrich had to pay to be able to lift her veil. The MC kept trying to drum up more money.
Finally Henrich puts in his money and they cheer. He then goes to her feet and rolls the veil very slowly up to her face where he is to look at her. They put hands on each other’s shoulders and finally he says “yes, this is my bride” to much cheers. (no smiles from her remember) They gave a big smooch and then that was done.
We go to sit down and now she wants to present him with a gift. She very slowly, sadly dances up to him and takes about 3 minutes to very slowly kneel in front of him and give him a gift. After this the couple dances out and Henrich leaves. The bride comes back in. Basically she is escorted everywhere and told what to do.
After this there is more eating, talking and dancing. About 5:30 we just have to leave. It is very hard to drive in the dark here. Everything is SOOO dark that when a vehicle comes to you, you are about blinded. Problem is, there are people often biking or walking on the side of the road. Very hard to see and very dangerous.
So, this is what we missed: The gifts are all laid out in front of the bride. They would have called my name and then I was supposed to go tell her what I got her. “This ladle is to dish out the relish for your husband’s meal” and so on. Everyone does that, because part of this is instructing a woman how to care for her husband. It looked like they had a very good party! The committee all puts so much money in for food, decorations, gift, etc. They got her a stove, Henrich’s family got her a fridge, I also saw a kitchen table and chairs, lots of dishes, cooking pots, etc. I thought I maybe brought too much, but I probably should have brought more looking at the things others brought. The kitchen party is a very big deal.
If I understood right, we also missed the part where the married women tell her how to “take care of her man”. There are no children there because of this, so I am only imaging what that may be!
Overall it was good. The music was just too loud for me, but otherwise it was fun. If I knew a few more people and what else was happening it would have been better. Don’t know when I will get to another party, but at least now I know what to expect!

lots of stuff

I do have a list of things to blog about. We will see how far we get. The truth is, by the time evening comes and the generator is on, I am too tired to think about what to write. I have no memory at this time. I don’t remember where I put anything. Now granted, part of this is because we have moved things so many times; I just can’t keep up with where they ended up. But sometimes I will put some thing down and two minutes later be looking for it. It is very frustrating and annoying, but I just can’t keep everything straight.
We started school again last week. This year we are studying Rome to the Reformation. We are reading a lot about Julius Caesar and Octavian right now. It’s nice to have a little structure during the day, but some days we get behind on the work, so I would prefer not to do school and just get caught up, but it can’t work that way all the time, or we would never get anything done!
A BIG PRAISE!! We have renters for the house! Four college girls moved in. Their rent covers the house payment and hopefully the heat, so we are doing okay with that for now. Thanks for praying.
PLEASE PRAY! We are trying to find Uncle Tim a ticket to come and visit us next week for Christmas. Please pray we are able to find a decent priced, not- too-extended layover ticket. It would be a real blessing to us to have him here.
So apparently EVERYONE in Africa loves babies!! People (Africans, Middle Eastern, Westerns, Aussie, etc) everywhere stop to look to at Henry, whether they have a baby of their own with them or not. And they love to show babies off-whether its theirs or not! At the “kitchen party” ladies would take him to hold, next thing I know they have their camera phones out taking pictures with the baby! Pastor Henry has baby Henry’s picture as his opening screen photo. It was a good thing I hogged Henry when he was first born. I don’t get too hold him much in church and at events now! I just walk by holding him and hands are extended. We had a lady stop us at the mall and count the kids, and just think it was incredibly great that we have 7 kids (she was British or Aussie, I can’t tell the accents apart yet).
Any one out there have some cellular knowledge? We are wondering if there is an antenna we can buy or build to help with reception at our place. We are having a horrible time. I can get online fairly well, and there are a few hot spots where we can get good coverage, but it’s not real great. We have people tell us they are trying to call but never get through.
Which the next thing is calling. If you call and get a long slow beep, it didn’t go through, it’s not busy. If the phone is off or we are out of the coverage area, a lady will tell you that. We may just be at home, but it’s not going through. The coverage is just very fickle. If you would like to call us (please do!), it may be best to try set up a time-email to tell us a day and time and we will go to one of the areas where we know the coverage is better. We can also get phone texts; I just don’t know what it costs you.
We have a Cliff Clavin postman too. He only goes to get the mail when he feels like it. I know of 4 packages on the way for almost a month now. I think one is here that we have to go pick up. Sometimes he says the truck didn’t come, other times he says he didn’t go get it yet. Now we have his phone number so we can call and ask him if anything is there at least, so we don’t waste gas.
Any one out there know anything about propane refrigerators? Ours isn’t working the greatest. It stays cold, the freezer won’t freeze (and I really liked my ice when it did work well!). According to the not very helpful little book, we may have a problem with “incomplete combustion.”
So I was told our last blogs have seemed like we are a little overwhelmed :-). That’s probably because I (Kelly) have been doing most of the writing. Especially when I am getting tired, I just write the facts and don’t do too much detail. Where’s the beauty? What does it look like? Sorry, that is Brian’s specialty! Right now it’s really only green. Not much for colors except the ones around our trees in the flower beds that we planted. The rainy season is just started, so things are green, but not blooming too much. It’s honestly not too much different than some areas of Sibley State Park in Minnesota, except the ground is red clay, not black dirt. We haven’t really been out at night yet to see the stars and sunsets-hopefully soon. I will have to have Brian write more later!
Another PRAYER! Myron fell and banged his mouth (I think I told you that already). Well, his mouth and lips are still pretty swollen, and now it looks like he has a thrush or fungus in his mouth from it being open so much. He, along with some of the other kids, are developing canker sores too, which could possibly be from the malarone (our malaria medicine). We will switch to another medicine for them and see if that is taken care of. Greta also had a loose tooth that she just refused to let us pull out despite the fact that was barely hanging there. It looks as though the gum area became infected before we finally got it out. So her mouth too is swollen, and her lips dried out (she is also one with canker sores). She just doesn’t look happy at all, she can barely talk it hurts so. Pray both of them would heal quickly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December newsletter

December newsletter is linked on the left. For those who get it in the mail or at church, should be coming in the next week or two!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

the boy update







Henry is the baby, so he gets the most pictures up!! The one thing I don't miss, hearing "oh he's so fat! Look at those legs!" all the time. Yes, I have very big, HEALTHY babies! We think he is getting teeth-he is chewing on everything! He is also at the stage where he doesn't want to be left alone all the time because he gets bored.



Joe lost his first tooth. He is having the hardest time with behavior problems. Please continue to pray for us and him.



Myron is like a steam engine that goes until he runs out of steam. He is most often found outside with John working (in his underwear). He enjoys peeing off the steps. Yesterday he hit his mouth on the rocking chair and pushed back one of his front teeth. It makes him look like he lost a tooth!

Kid Updates



Cybil is doing well-being a big helper, but a little too much of a mother at times!! She seems to like to help the ladies more than me. She is adjusting very well.



Mariah I think, grew again. She looks six feet tall when she wraps her chitangas around here. She also likes going down to the school to help the ladies. Her only problem is she is very S-L-O-W when you ask her to do ANYTHING. Besides Myron, she is the most "African" of the kids.



Greta is losing teeth. Got her first note and flower from one of the boys. She is very excited for her birthday next week.

Hailey loves to play and sing, just as before. She likes getting her hair braided. She started her first workbook for school this year and would do it all in one day if I let her. She has two loose teeth.

Friday, December 5, 2008

my first bath in Africa...

...was not as great as i wanted it to be. I have been craving a bath since we got here, but figured i wouldn't fit in the 22 gal totes. We did find one that is larger, so the other morning i had a warm bath. It was cramped, but i didn't have to have my knees to my chest the whole time.
Unfortunately I only needed to take that bath because I had been sick again. Tuesday night something hit me hard and i was on the toilet coming out both ends for about 4 hours. Finally things settled down and I moved to the couch where I only threw up a few more times before getting water to stay down and sleeping through the night. Not sure what it was-probably food poisoning. Some of the veggies Henry picked up for us didn't look that great. Thankfully I was the only one who got it though!! It wiped me out for most of the next day too; I suppose I was still a little run-down from the migraine the other day. I feel fine now, just getting a little more tired faster. The ladies did my laundry and made me rest (darn!).
I am suppose to go to a "kitchen party" (aka bridal shower) on Sunday. Don't know how long I will stay, but it should be very interesting from what I have heard already!

the date, African style

Since we're in Africa, better start using the African dates...
3-12-08
Finished the ceiling in the main room today and half the ceiling In the other bathroom. The plan is to finish the 2nd bathroom so we have a place to bath. From there move into one of the bedrooms. I’m also supposed to have some oxen and a plow come by to work up some ground for me since the tractor is not running and the plow is in pieces. I have also planted about 200 seeds in pots and bags so far. Most of my moringa trees are about 3 inches tall already. Even got a little grass started around the house to try and keep the mud down once the rains really start. Had Zimba wash my vehicle today, actually he suggested it. It must have looked bad. I don’t have my brother (Tim) here to do it for me. I don’t think Zimba is quite as thorugh as Tim but he did pretty good. Zimba works for a lot less than Tim does too.
4-12-08
Got the ceiling, floor, toilet, and tub in the master bath today. No water hooked to the tub yet, that is going to take a little African engineering on my part to get that done.
Had a rather long staff meeting yesterday. I laid out a few things for the guys.
1. If you are operating a peace of equipment and something breaks or is damaged, I WANT TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY! One of the other guys used the gator the other day and had driven over a thorn bush. Wreaked all 4 tires. Tried to use glue to plug some of the holes and acted to me like everything was fine. I was a little upset J you might say. I talked to them about what it is going to take for this college to succeed. I had told them that they will need to work 6 days a week. They disagreed; I told them GOD only took one day off and so are we. These guys do not understand what it is going to take for this collage to succeed. I think I do; being satisfied with just surviving is not good enough. I know that is all some of these guys know but there needs to be change, a paradigm shift. They are content and that is not a bad thing, but when your contentedness breeds idleness it becomes a curse and not a blessing. I shared with them what I have experienced, what it took and the sacrifices required. All they told me about was all the Zambian holidays that they don’t work on, they also don’t work on Saturday or Sunday. With the proper motivation, guidance, and supervision the work can and will get done but I know I will need to be there to stay on top of it. I learned that lesson several times so far the hard way.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A VERY MERRY UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

Friday night I started getting a migraine, like the go to the ER type-not good. I took a Zomig, a few advil and fell asleep. I couple hours later Henry woke up to eat so after that I took another Zomig, more advil, then had Brian pray over me (we’ve been dealing with a few things lately). I also started feeling sick so I took a pill for nausea. I got out of bed around 8:30 am. By 10 or so I was in the chair sleeping. For the next 5-6 hours I woke only to tell kids to be quiet or get Henry latched on to eat. I just couldn’t stay awake; I felt too weak. The headache was gone though! But I wasn’t well enough to make cake for everyone. So I did that Sunday. It turned out pretty good with my gas stove. Some of the older girls from the college did my dishes-well, they washed with water and rinsed with the soapy water. Sad part is, they got the dishes cleaner that way than Cybil and Mariah usually do!!
In all fairness, we had gone to Lusaka by ourselves- just dad , mom & Henry. We got to eat at a nicer restaurant, so I had a little birthday. The kids stayed at Daniel and Gladys’s and David and Christine’s. The kids had a great time. Myron and Mariah had nshima and caterpillars for lunch. I think those 2 are more African then any of the others. Mya likes to go back and eat lunch with Zimba. He sits by him by the hot coals and watches John cook and partakes what ever he gets. You also can not keep any clothes on him. You’re lucky if he’s wearing underwear-it helps for potty training though. He is just plain trouble but none of the Africans would ever consider getting after him or telling him no. The Africans are always worried he is cold. They don’t realize the climate we come from. 75 degrees and cloudy is not cold. His butt and his hair are about the only things white anymore and if he runs around naked any longer, it will only be his hair!! Mariah seems to love to where the shtangi’s and strap a kid to her back. She is now practicing caring things on her head.

thanksgiving

(BRI) A day to give thanks. I really had a hard time being thankful. It really didn’t feel like thanksgiving. I wasn’t at the farm watching my mom getting all worked up over getting all the food ready; watching my dad become annoyed with her; wondering when my brother and his family were going to show up. Sit around and eat too much, watch the football game, maybe take a nap, than wake up and eat some more.
Here it just felt like any other day. We tried to make it Thanksgiving. For me it felt more like a day of mourning than a day of Thanksgiving; emotionally it was draining. I knew it would be different, I just did not expect it to be that hard. For me it would have been easier if we wouldn’t have tried to make it a holiday and just gone about business as usual. But I’m not sure if that would have been the best for everyone else.

(KJ) The first thanksgiving was harder for Bri than he thought it would be. The first Thanksgiving ever from farm and family there. I baked some chickens, potatoes with turkey gravy and baked beans. The people here don’t really know Thanksgiving, so I briefly told them.
We asked the kids what they were thankful for. Hailey was thankful for making new friends, Cybil was thankful we got the books out (we just bought some more bookshelves and had been finally going through the books). Brian also asked how the kids were doing. For the most part they all said that it wasn’t that different-work, play, read-just like before. They get to watch movies at night sometimes just like the States too. We’ll look to start school this week, so that will even be more like home. There are extra kids at the school this month as the kids go to school three months, then one month off, etc.
My folks called, so did Brian’s. We are really not in a good area for cell coverage, so sometimes calling is a royal pain. I will write a post about how to call some time soon. We have to walk down to the main area of the college to get better reception-it depends on our weather, your weather, etc.
We may have possible renters for our house. Please pray for that.
We have not sold our van either. Continue to pray for that as well.
Looking ahead-what will Christmas be like? Just another day? At least the Africans celebrate Christmas. There has been stuff in the stores since we got here. At the local church everyone chips in 1500 kwacha (about 35 cents) and they have a big meal together.
There is mud everywhere-it is hard to keep things clean. I don’t even want to try anymore. I get really tired of the mess (well, with 7 kids there is always a mess). I am losing some gumption though. Since we are basically done with all the sorting for now, the adreline rush is gone and it is hard to want to keep at things. I had a really hard time doing laundry yesterday. Basically I did a poor job and the ladies redid it all while I was on the phone with my folks.

preaching again

Two Sundays ago I preached, which is a very common occurrence here. There are times when I find it difficult to decide what to preach on and times when it is easy. This time it was rather difficult. I spent most of Saturday praying and thinking about what to preach on. I had several different ideas but nothing would come together. I started to think about how to best to make Scripture personal. I came to the parable of the sower in Luke ch.8. It talks about the different ground that the seed falls on and what happens and why. Right now Zambians are preparing there fields for planting. I asked them to inspect the different fields of their heart. Some fields have been well cared for and continue to produce good fruit. Other fields have been neglected and need work to produce a plentiful harvest. And some ground has never been worked and it will take a lot of work to clear that ground but in the end it will be worth it because of what it will produce. The seeds planted is the WORD OF GOD. GOD provides the seed, rain, and the sun; but we must do the work of getting the ground ready, pulling weeds, loosening the soil, ect. Than after the seed is planted there is much work of maintaining the field, keeping it clean of weeds and protecting it from thieves who would seek to damage or steal the crop.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

our first package!!!

FIRST PACKAGE!!!!
We got our first package in the mail today!!! THANK YOU REKEDALS!
For everyone’s FYI-she sent a priority mail envelope on 11-14 for about $12 and we got it today the 25th. I don’t know what day it got into Chongwe-today or Saturday. We did not have to go into Lusaka to get it! It cost us 600 kwacha to get-about $0.15.
Kids also got letters from their friends. A one ounce letter costs $0.80 to mail. Not sure how long that took.
Things we need-envelopes. I can’t believe I didn’t pack ANY envelopes. D batteries-we are good on AA and AAA for now. Kids snacks still. Not sure what else.
Can anyone go online or look in their cookbooks and explain how I have to adjust my flour for cutting in high elevations.
Got the gas stove going, made pancakes last night. Having to learn to cook over gas flame is about as hard as cooking on charcoal! I will try making a cake this weekend in the oven.
Will be doing a mini-Thanksgiving on Thursday-our first holiday alone.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA CAROLE!!! WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh my G...

So what does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? Is it all in the heart? Is it just saying the words? We hear many of the pastors and their wives saying it. Are we to correct them? With all the circles of missionaries and other ministries, I would think someone would have said something by now if it is a big deal? When you tell someone something a little scary or exciting, they say it. When they are a little afraid (of our dogs J) they may say it. What is the thing to do? Is it culture? Africans are very spiritual people, is it something to ignore? Is that statement and all it’s “taboo-ness” just our Western culture? Have we just been told not to say it as a fence set up to keep us from not stepping out too far?

annoying

We knew there would be many things here to annoy us. Well, a lot of things annoyed us in the States too, so it is not just being here. But since we are here, and this is the TRUE story of our journey, we’re going to tell you about some of them.
BUGS. They are just annoying.
Ask a question, get a ton of different answers-and all said with the tone that they know it all.
Expectations of rides to town, me to buy things for them, etc. etc. There is an expectation that this is the gravy train and I and the college have unlimited funds and can do whatever they want.
Excuses for anything and everything are many. Lying is not a big deal if Africa-it’s not lying so much as saving face.
I gave all the men here corn to plant and do some test plots for me. Guess who is doing all the work? The ladies. I will have to adjust my teaching methods to drive home that I am teaching you farming skills-you need to use them. What good will your knowledge be if you don’t use it or share it with others? If you don’t actually practice what you hear?
“What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine and I don’t have to take care of it”. I find stuff all over the place-theirs, and worse, mine. The boys lost the key to the four wheeler, some guys took a joyride on the gator and popped a tire instead of just checking it out as they were told.
We like dogs, but don’t like bugs. They like bugs, but not healthy dogs. They don’t mind the scrawny bush dogs that look so sickly we would shoot them if we saw them in the US. They aren’t real hot on our dogs. The dogs are getting to know the regulars so aren’t too bad. But everyone has told us that we don’t need to worry about anyone taking our stuff! If Brian is gone, they are especially jumpy, but when he is around, they just let us know someone is coming. Yet, they would all love for them to have puppies.
Curiosity and the sense that they can dig through any of my stuff, just because it is out.

from 11/18/08

Got a lot done today. Or at least it felt like it. All morning we ( Zimba, Henry, Laxon, Joblony and myself) worked on laying rocks for steps around the veranda. I asked for a little help and I got too much. Things never goes as well when you have to many people, it gets a little sloppy and they don’t bother to ask what I exactly want done. We will pour the steps in the next day or so. This afternoon I completely unloaded the container. I needed it empty so I could move it into place and I need a dry place to keep my charcoal for the rainy season. I was able to push it into place with the backhoe. The container now sits off the front far corner of the house. Close enough to get stuff when needed and far enough way that it is not so noticeable. It really felt like I accomplished something by getting that thing into place. And I can now look out the front windows of the house and see mt. kazemba instead of the big blue container. I need to get back into Lusaka and get some things done (if that is possible). Any day in lusaka is a long day. I’d be happy if I rarely if ever had to go into that zoo.
We can now go through more things and see if we can put them back on the container for some other time. It would help a lot if I built a very large book shelf. We would be able to empty a lot of boxes. The kids today found some games and books they had forgot about so they were very happy.
Elijah and Eve appear to have adjusted very well. This is there home and they will protect it. I think a few of the locals just about soiled themselves. Once they know you are a friend and not a foe it’s not a problem. They locals refer to them as the lions. They told me I didn’t get dogs, I got lions. Now we can leave and know the house is secure. I can leave now and know these 2 are watching out for Kelly and the kids. I was never really all that conserned before but this is nice. And besides it feels more like a home having dogs around. I grew up always having at least a couple of dogs around so this feels natural. I think it has difintly help the kids with some of the transition of moving and the grief and loss of losing there dog (Abby).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

support update

Obviously we are here! We made it and had almost all of our out-going expenses covered. Right now we are at 99% of our monthly support committed, but due to circumstances, some of our supporters aren’t able to keep up monthly, or some never started, so we are at closer to 94%. So…it is still not too late to join our support team!! We need about $4500 US dollars a month to live here and save for yearly expenses that come up. We are hoping that that will be enough each month, which will vary due to the exchange rate. This last summer it was pretty low; right now it is higher as many ex-pats leave for the Christmas season so are exchanging money back the other way. We will be working on keeping on top of the rates so that we can exchange at the best time. If you would like to join our support team, whether monthly, quarterly, yearly, or a special gift to help through the “drier” times, just print out the response form that is linked on the right and send in. We will get the info.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

introducing....

our 4 guinnea hens


one of the many huge moths!


EVE


ELIJAH






the first thing we will miss

This morning (Monday) Brian got a call that his Grandma Ruth had died. One of the many hard things about being over here. We can’t fly home for the funeral of course. We knew she was coming close to the end when we left. It’s tough with the kids too-not all of them understand. Of course they may not understand it much there either, but at least there is the funeral to help explain it. We think she was a believer, so we are at least able to share that one day they will get to see her again! Please pray for Brian’s mom and the rest of the family as they mourn her passing and are reminded afresh about us not being able to be there.

what things are like

As I walked to the shower the other day, a thought struck me. This is just like when I worked at bible camp. You have a building/cabin to sleep in, but you have to go for showers somewhere else. Thankfully we have a toilet so we don’t have to go for that, but nobody cooks for me either!! That is a tough one for me-trying to think of what to cook, over charcoal, without a lot of foods I am used to having. And you don’t want to make too much as it’s not like you can heat up leftovers in the microwave.
For you hygiene conscience people, you may want to skip this part! The reality is, we don’t stay very clean, and don’t really try to either! We may wear the same clothes for 2 days. Let’s face it, when you are a family of 9, that is a lot of clothes. So, we don’t change everyday. We are still sorting out the container, plus trying to maintain what is out. So every 2-3 days we have to do clothes, which takes most of the day. The younger kids probably change more than us older ones-but they can just jump in one of our storage totes for a quick bath-ours take more work. We do brush our teeth though! (or try to)
Some more new bugs lately-really big months, and two praying mantis in the house tonight. I am mostly okay with the bugs. I really don’t like to hear them though. When they buzz nearby or when they land and hit something-just don’t like it. And yes, we have some really huge spiders that freak me out when they run across the floor!
Got our first letter on Monday!! It was sent 10-28 from Minnesota-it wasn’t there last Thursday when we checked, so it got there Friday or today. It looks like it will take about three weeks for mail to get here.
Also, we were told it was hot, but a dry heat. Well, not anymore! Now that it is rainy season the humidity is up, yet it is not as sticky as Minnesota’s.

the braai & more

We spent Sat. afternoon visiting with several other missionaries and their families. The kids had a wonderful time, making many new friends. There were about 30 kids there. It was a great place to make some connections. We had also been able to make a connection through this group’s email chain for the purchase of 2 new dogs-boxers to be exact. Why 2? Because it was the only way they would sell them. They came from the states 7 yrs ago as pups and have been together ever since. A male and a female, they have been trained. The female name is Eve, she is kind of like a big teddy bear. Kelly thinks she looks a little like a pig. She likes to lay by the veranda door. Elijah is the other one. He is all muscle. People do stop in there tracks when they see him. The guy we got him from said we would have to let him know who is boss-today he tried to nip me and grabbed my arm. I got a stick and let him know I was in charge. And ever since then, he hasn’t left my side. He is the typical dominant male trying to assert his authority (the dog, not me!). Both dogs have been great with the kids. They are mainly outdoor dogs, but we let them come in. We awoke to the dogs patrolling inside the house to be sure everyone was okay. Boy, do they snore. Oh yeah-and slobber too. The Africans said they didn’t know we were going to get lions!
The guy with the dogs also volunteered to help show Brian around and help get some things done. Its amazing-here “on the ground” everyone is friendly and answers questions and likes to help. Not the experience we have had with the people on the stateside. It was almost like they didn’t want you to know any of their “secrets” so they wouldn’t answer questions. We still need to change registration on the truck, get my Zambian driver’s license (Kelly doesn’t plan to drive ANYTIME soon), get alien registration cards, go to the embassy and register, go to the firearms register, and still get some more supplies for the house. So any help he can give is great. As he said, someone did it for him; he wants to help others too.
Gloria loaded us up with a bunch of dry food/mixes. One of the things was whipped topping (cool whip). Must not be able to get it around here! Kel didn’t know what to make, so she made some vanilla pudding she found in the container and made up cool whip to put on it (She also made ultimate fudge brownies, which ended up being cooked on charcoal because it was too late in the day for the solar oven, and they got burnt. But they were all gone too!). She only made a half batch of the topping, but she could have made up the whole thing-they really ate it up!!
Pulled off the gator, motorcycle, and four-wheeler from the school’s container today. Put the key in-no start-on any of it. Batteries are dead on everything-how I wished I had brought my battery charger. BUT, after jumping them, none of them held a charge anyway. Sure wish I had someone here who knew more about engines than I do. I really get nervous when the Africans start working on the engine.
The other day we had a little trouble with the truck. After letting it idle for a while in the parking lot, I turned it off to go find Kel, and then I saw here coming. I went to restart it and…nothing. We figured it went into vapor lock from being hot, then off, then starting right away again. There is a time –relay delay thing when you start it-have to turn the key, and then wait 15 seconds or so, and then start. Well, I didn’t do that. But the Africans always think it is the battery, “Do you need jumper cables boss?” And once your hood is up, you get lots of help. There was actually a group of guys who knew what to do. They jumped the battery and threw diesel on the air manifold and we got it going. THANK GOD! We were 2 hours from the school, sitting in the shopping mall parking lot at 3:30 in the afternoon. I need to find a book for the vehicle so I can try to have a little idea about it. The kids were whining of course, it was hot. We just told them the only talking we wanted to hear was them praying!
Africans also love to rev motors for some reason. No idea why. Once they got the truck going, the guy reved and reved and reved. Finally Curtiss (the missionary with the dogs who came to help, yelled at them to stop).
I got some of the glass in the windows-but found out they cut them all wrong. Yeah. I was also told I need to use more putty on the glass. I think the Africans use about four times too much. We will eventually have screens, but like I said, they design is so bad. Most Africans have nice screens until the bottom where the up/close lever is. You can’t have a screen if you want to use the lever. I will have to make screens that slide up and down.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a day of firsts

I became an owner of 4 African guinea fowl. Zimba and I built a makeshift shelter for them until I design and build something else. I’ve got a few ideas on a structure but I’ll have to get a little farther on the house before I get to gung-ho on that. I have had Zimba clear a large area for a garden and nursery to start trees and plants.
Myron put his hands on the hot pot on the charcoal cooker today. He is doing fine. His hands were wet when he touched it and I put oil of oregano on them immediately with a damp cloth; that seemed to do the trick. Before bed he was running around killing bugs. Children getting burned is rather a common occurrence over here due to the fact everyone cooks on the ground.
I had my first staff meeting here at the collage. We had a discussion about some of the new polices that are being implemented now that I am here. The guys were open and forthright and expected me to be the same and I was very thankful for that. I am sure this won’t be our only discussion about new polices. We have decided to meet regularly for staff meeting to discuss what took place this past week and to put together a game plan for the coming week. And as part of this staff meeting we are also going to have a Bible study and prayer together. This will be the key to the success of our relationship and ultimately the college.
It was also the official start to the rainy season. At least that is what the locals told me. Last night a pretty good storm came through and we still had light showers through the morning. It was nice and cool this morning but really heated up by this afternoon. And in came a new crop of bugs :-(
Tomorrow we are going to our first Braai (pronounced Bri). It is a barbeque where any area missionaries and come for fellowship-hang out, eat, and let the kids play. We’ll let you know how it was later.
We are also looking at adding a couple new members to the family. Pictures to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

in town

THE BLUE LAGOON-WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG :-)
MYRON AND HENRY
ME ON THE INTERNET OUTSIDE THE HOUSE-IT IS TOO BRIGHT TO SEE THE SCREEN WITHOUT THE UMBRELLA-AND IT IS VERY HOT!
OUR FRIENDLY GECKO
CYBIL DOING LAUNDRY

In town, so adding a few pictures today. First time to GAME, similar to Wal-mart, but not in price!!! A rag mop was $17 at today's exchange rate of 4000 kwacha to the dollar!!

I may have done this, but in case i didn't... i can get 100 mb of up/download for 85,000 kwaca. So if i bought today, it would be about $21. That should last me a month or so of email checking only. I try to do pictures or other browsing in town because there you pay by the minute-about 165 a minute i think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

snacks

Snacks would be good. If you ever decide to send a care package, snacks for the kids would be great!!! They just don’t have them here-granola bars, fruit roll-ups, peanut butter crackers, anything. And a box of saltines would be great in case someone gets sick! I will add this to our mail/package info.
Any plumbers out there? We are wondering if we just bought the cheapest crappiest fixtures or what. There is GREAT water pressure under the sinks themselves, but then after it goes through the facet-not much pressure? Did we get some of those environmentally friendly kinds that slow it down or is something else wrong?
Brian was in town today-got the propane! The fridge is cooling down right now, and Brian is trying to get the kitchen drain hooked up. Problem is he needs some glue, but they glued the can closed. He also got the strips to finish the ceiling in the main room-then that room will be “finished”-except for painting. I think he is going to work on the glass for the windows next since rainy season is starting.
Ever try to get a 3 month old to take a pill? I crush it so it is powdery, but every other time or so it all comes up. Speaking of Henry, he is INCREDIBLY spoiled!! He only sleeps well when he sleeps with me. Now if our king bed was set up, that would be one thing; but we are on a full bed right now! I wake up a lot to move him or me around. No wonder I am asleep each night in the chair around 8 pm.
I did laundry today with the girls. Maybe a third of it, figured I’d do more tomorrow. Would not have passed the African ladies standards, but not too bad. Well, PRAISE THE LORD! Four of the ladies came down to visit and finished up the rest for me. THANK YOU GOD! I noticed they don’t always get all the BOOM (detergent paste) out in the rinse too, so hopefully no one is allergic! How come the girls love to help when they come down, but it is drudgery when they have to do with me!
So tomorrow I hope to finish the boxes already in the main room and get those sorted through. Then I will really need to scrub the floor. Part of me says why bother since everything is dusty red ALL THE TIME, but I don’t need any mice or extra bugs around the house.
I don’t like feeling like there is so much to do all the time-I get crabby with the kids. We have plenty of time to do it all, no hurry, just our own comfort. I am doing a lot better with the bugs and whatnot then I expected too. A couple of HUGE spiders tonight in the house. A lot less wasps around now, Brian sprayed Tempo and the bugs have been a lot less. We have at least one gecko that likes our veranda, but I can handle that.
Started the cloth diapers today too-fun.
For prayer requests, I guess you could just keep praying for patience while living in the “work zone”, especially with the kids. I try, but you know, some days…
We are going to try to go to the Zambia Braai on Saturday-basically a potluck barbeque for missionaries in Lusaka and the surrounding area. Should be good to meet some of the people we’ve been emailing with!
Oh yes, can’t forget church yesterday. VERY, VERY LONG, especially with 7 hot kids. I burnt my neck while outside with the kids, and Henry got a little burnt around the eyes. Not too many impressions as I was just trying to keep some of the kids quiet. Then we got a tour of the village and a meal there too as this was Henry’s home church where he was married and was a senior pastor. That was an eight hour day right there. When we started the generator later, we let the kids watch a short movie, so they were happy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

firsts

first baby snake in the house. wasn't sure if it was just a worm, but did the "s" crawl, so Bri killed it.
Cybil got the first bug bite yesterday too-a HUGE centipede-probably six inches long. she hurt for a bit!

one week down

ONE WEEK DOWN
It is hard to believe a week has already gone by. We have seemed to have settled in pretty good. We are cooking our meals over charcoal, eating a lot of fresh fruit and veggies, getting the container unloaded. The kitchen is pretty much set up, some of the living room. Got the kids set up in the one bedroom my dad finished. Plan on getting propane on Mon, plan on having a fridge on Tues. I also need to start to get glass in the windows this next wk. Also need to do more plumbing. And, and, …… well you get the idea. I want so badly to get this house done! To sleep in a bed that is big enough for Kelly and I both. To actually put stuff away, instead of moving stuff from one spot to another than again and again. The locals all want to help; I just don’t know what to have them do. I am rather particular on quality of work. Kelly has gotten after me more than once for being to fussy. And I have screwed up a couple of times and that has a tendency to make me upset. I want things to look nice. I know Kel doesn’t care. She is very easy to please when it comes to the house, I am not. The fact is, I want the people I am going to be teaching to care that much. I want them to care about the little things (okay, maybe not quite as much as me but close). I know I’m going to have to slow down because I know I can not keep this pace up (and probably shouldn’t). I do enjoy it though, seeing it coming together (the house). I look out side and I see what I need/want to do there (with the agriculture). I can picture it in my minds eye. Truth is, this has been a very hard week,at least for me. More worries I guess. This is the first time Kel and the kids have been here. So I just naturally have more on my mind. The idea of taking a Sabbath rest right now seems like a bad idea but actually I need it! Oh ya, I’m teaching Sun school too.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

internet

i am sitting in a chair down the road from the house!! We will set up a schedule to check internet twice a week probably and let you know what those days are. For now, here's one more thing done!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random Thoughts

Yes, we drink the water-there is a very deep well and the water has tested good-well, they say “not fit for Americans”. But we’ve been fine. We do have a good water filter, but don’t always use it, because it gets warm sitting on the counter. We’ve drank a lot of lemonade too, which we need to cut back on and just get plain water going again.
We have the mosquito nets up finally. As I was taking the clothes off the line, I thought, this is probably the time of day not to be outside. But then, I may be safer out here away from the light bulb that is attracting so many bugs (we don’t have glass on any of the windows, so not sure what good the nets do at night anyway!)
There are lots of bugs, yes. So far I haven’t freaked out too much. There are some HUGE moths, lots of big beetles that really crunch when you step on them. I have only seen a handful of mosquitoes, but there are LOTS of wasps right now. They are looking for water and we have a spigot on the house, so there you go. The Africans just say if you just leave them alone, they will leave you alone. They are a little aggressive this time of year I guess. Blessed got stung on the check the other day.
Brian has the floor cut in the main room, except a small section. He has the sink and bottom cupboards set in place. Going to town to get a drain along with other things today. We have a bunk bed up in one room. We have sorted through the bins/luggage for the most part, and found the kitchen stuff in the container. Using the bins for luggage did pretty well. A few got cracked, but quite a few had broken handles, the tape didn’t hold the greatest on some. Duct tape doesn’t still the greatest at minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 36,000 feet I guess. There is SOOOO much to still go through, but that will take a while. I am doing remarkably well with the mess that we are living out of.
We arrived Sunday just in time for the first rain at the school. IT was a pretty good one too. Monday the ladies came to help, and gave us a quick tour of the school (where half the kids got burnt-forgot the sunscreen!). After the tour the ladies washed our clothes. Cybil did a GREAT job helping. Tuesday I sorted the bins. Yesterday the ladies helped wash the big blankets and made us nshima and beans for dinner. It wasn’t too bad, but the kids weren’t too impressed. Today we are going to town.
Sorry, I don’t have too many impressions to share with you. I think it is probably a pretty good think I am keeping so busy. I think it may help with the transition, but we’ll see I guess. We will be busy for so long, who knows.
Mariah wasn’t feeling well yesterday and slept most of the day, we had some puke on the plane as I said, but otherwise we are pretty well. Our guts are working.
We’ve pretty much met everyone. The ladies started singing as we drove up. I guess we missed the special guests Monday morning who came to see us, we were still in bed. We are not on the African schedule yet. We seem to turn the generator on in the later afternoon and work until 9 or 10. The kids aren’t ready for bed yet by 8, so we will have to keep adjusting.
People, people, everywhere on the sides of the road. Walking, riding bike, everything. And yes, the men do hold hands as they walk and talk here. I knew that, but seeing some of the white Zambians do it threw me off a little.
That’s it for now. I am sure I will have lots to write about our first experience doing business by ourselves-we are trying to get our vehicle insurance and maybe change the registration on the truck. Most things take two or three trips to get it done.
Keep praying for the kid-for health, for the transition. We are really busy and there is always work to do, even for them. They seem to be doing okay. The little ones love their bathes in the storage bins. Cybil loves helping the ladies, actually they all do. Myron almost fell into the wash bin the other day doing blankets!
Hopefully we will get to the cell place today too and get the internet thing we need. Then we can get ourselves on a schedule of checking emails every few days. Sorry, there won’t be too much for pictures as you pay by the data you upload or download. And remember, please don’t send us forwards or large pictures. If you’d live to do a picture shrink it down to the least amount of kb as possible. THANKS!!

on the airplane

The feeling is surreal. It still hasn’t sunk in. I know for many it was very hard to let us go. I wasn’t always sure if I was going to make it through. Saying goodbye to people and places was hard (that’s an understatement).I felt like someone cut my heart out. We cried a good way to the Cities. The farm was everything I knew. I was comfortable. I felt safe there. It has always been home and I pray will always be! I love that place! Even thinking about it causes me to cry. It’s the memories there. That farm has been where my life has taken place. Literally my blood, sweat, and tears went into that place. It bothers me a lot that I am not going to be able to help dad with harvest this year, to go hunting with Tim this fall-to hear a shot and then get a phone call so I can go gut his deer for him. I hope and pray the tears are done, but I doubt it. There is such as aching inside that I know only time will heal. It is the same for those left behind. Part of me doesn’t want it to heal completely. I always want to feel something even if it hurts a little.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

we are here!

We made it, along with 19 bags of our luggage. We'll be going out to get the last one after we get groceries. Only a little sickness from a few of the kids; they did amazingly well!! Thank you for praying!!
We'll get our internet figured out and update more later!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

thanking god for the pain????

There are times when I really wish I didn’t quit using tobacco. These are those times right now. For many that probably doesn’t sound the most “Christian”. It is how I use to relax. It was my pacifier. And right now I feel really stressed. Kelly copes by organizing and after a while that begins to drive me nuts. But I understand this is something she needs to do right now. We are starting to see it in the kids some now too. Acting out in different ways, being more emotional about things. That doesn’t surprise us; we are, why not them. It is so incredibly draining. I know it is for our parents. I can not even imagine how hard it is for them right now. I ask GOD, why does this have to be so hard??? Because love hurts sometimes, that is reality. What would really be sad is if we didn’t feel anything. If we had no problem leaving. If there were no ties, no family that was close who love us and care, no friends who genuinely love us. If there was no one we cared about here. Now that would really be sad. So I guess in that I can be thankful for the pain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

CONSECRATION

While I was in Zambia I started working through The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds. He died in 1913, these are his manuscripts
on prayer (essentially there are 8 books). You want a challenging, thought provoking, convicting read? Work your way through his writings, but take your time. Maybe I’m just slow but I have to read each chapter 2-3 times just to begin to grasp some of it. One thing I like about him, he doesn’t pull any punches. Some of it may cause you to dig deeper elsewhere to be able to better understand what he is saying. That’s great.
I just finished the 1st book, The Essentials of Prayer. The section on prayer and consecration was very eye opening and convicting for me. The question I ask myself is “are you a man who prays, or are you a man of prayer?” There is a difference, a big difference. To be honest I only see myself as a man who prays. Consecration can not take place apart from prayer. Consecration is not a word you hear much of in teachings/preaching today. It is not a word I yet fully understand the meaning or depth.

E.M.B. definition: Consecration is the voluntary set dedication of one’s self to God, an offering definitely made, and made without any reservation whatever. It is the setting apart of all we are, all we have, and all we expect to have or be, to God first of all. It is not so much the giving of ourselves to the Church, or the mere engaging in some one line of Church work. Almighty God is in view and He is the end of all consecration. It is a separation of one’s self to God, a devotement of all that he is and has to a sacred use. Some things may be devoted to a special purpose, but it is not consecration in the true sense. Consecration has a sacred nature. It is devoted to holy ends. It is the voluntary putting of one’s self in God’s hands to be used sacredly, holily, with sanctifying ends in view.
Consecration is not so much the setting one’s self apart from sinful things and wicked ends, but rather it is the separation from worldly, secular and even legitimate things (emphasis mine) if they come in conflict with God’s plans, to holy uses. It is the devoting of all we have to God for His own specific use. It is a separation from things questionable, or even legitimate, when the choice is to be made between the things of this life and the claims of God.
Consecration being the intelligent, voluntary act of the believer, this act is the direct result of praying. No prayerless man ever conceives the idea of a full consecration. Prayerlessness and consecration have nothing whatever in common. A life of prayer naturally leads up to full consecration. It leads nowhere else. In fact, a life of prayer is satisfied with nothing else but an entire dedication of one’s self to God. Consecration recognizes fully God’s ownership to us. It cheerfully assents to the truth set forth by Paul:
“Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God’s.”
Consecration is really the setting apart of one’s self to a life of prayer. It means not only to pray, but to pray habitually, and to pray more effectually. It is the consecrated man who accomplishes most by His praying. God must hear the man wholly given up to God. God cannot deny the requests of him who has renounced all claims to himself, and who has wholly dedicated himself to God and His service. This act of the consecrated man puts him “on praying ground and pleading terms” with God. It puts Him in reach of God in prayer. It places him where he can get hold of God, and where he can influence God to do things which He would not otherwise do. Consecration brings answers to prayer. God can depend upon consecrated men. God can afford to commit Himself in prayer to those who have fully committed themselves to God. He who gives all to God will get all from God. Having given all to God, he can claim all that God has for him.
There is much talk today of consecration, and many are termed consecrated people who know not the alphabet of it. Much modern consecration falls far below the Scripture standard. There is really no real consecration in it. Just as there is much praying without any real prayer in it, so there is much so-called consecration current, today, in the Church which has no real consecration in it. Much for consecration in the Church which receives the praise and plaudits of superficial, formal professors, but which is wide of the mark. There is much hurrying to and fro, here and there, much fuss and feathers, much going about and doing many things, and those who busy themselves after this fashion are called consecrated men and women. The central trouble with all this false consecration is that there is no prayer in it, nor is it in any sense the direct result of praying. People can do many excellent and commendable things in the Church and be utter strangers to a life of consecration, just as they can do many things and be prayerless.
—Complete Works of E. M. Bounds


This is only a few excerpts. In reading something as this, you need to pray over and through it as you go. You need to listen to what God may be saying to you as you read. It is a time for refection on oneself not on others. That is a real easy thing to type but can be very difficult to do. It is always easier to point out others faults that way you don’t have to look at your own. Conviction alone is not enough you have to take the next steps.
Consecration is what we are all supposed to strive for and something I don’t think we ever can fully attain here on earth. The Spirit that lives inside us will lead us to consecration if we are being obedient to His leading, spending time in prayer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

preparing, fellowship & accountability

Tried to talk to the kids the other night about goodbyes, asking them to think back about their training at MTI. I think some things maybe began to sink in, at least for the older 2. They have been asking why mommy has been crying a lot lately. We have just been more emotional as of late. We will be talking about stuff- reminiscing and we will begin to tear up. We don’t seem to have much control over it and it seems neither do our friends, so it kind of has a tendency to feed on it self. We just know that the next 2weeks are going to be really hard, and by the time we leave we will be completely drained. This is part of the process, a very important part. As much as we do not like this part now, in 6 months we are going to probably long for it. We spend a lot of time talking to our Heavenly Father about what is going on-the frustrations, the pain, and the heartache of what is going on. You know what? HE understands. HE continues to remind me that HE told me this would be hard and not a lot of fun. I talk to the kids about it as well. I am very honest with them about what it means to be a follower of CHRIST, the cost involved. It is something not often talked about today. And if there is no difference between you and the world (you, meaning your church or you personally), then I would have to ask, what side of the fence are you on? If you are wondering what I’m talking about, read the book of James. I did a study on it a while back and wrote a short commentary on it but have not had the courage to post it, still struggle at times a fear of man issue. The fact is people and churches today have become so concerned with being liked by others/the world that they have become offensive to GOD. I just have to say it-the seeker sensitive model that has been out for many years now is CRAP (there is another word I would like to use but my wife says no). It has done more harm to the church and the Gospel then it has done good. We have watered down the WORD of GOD so much that we pick and choose what is “relevant” for today. We have decided that culture should supersede SCRIPTURE, when the fact is SCRIPTURE supersedes culture. IT should determine the direction of the culture. But we seem to think we know better then GOD. The fact is a lot of people today in the church are scripturally illiterate. And frankly, I often have to put myself in that category. We are often more concerned about being tolerant then what GOD says. We are more concerned about getting people to come into the church (and have a good time) than seeing them grow in there faith and learning the TRUTH/ GODS WORD. Churches have become social clubs. There is no depth in social clubs and when life hits the fan a social club is not what you need or are going to look for. You need some one who cares, a relationship that has depth. You need true fellowship. The kind that only comes from relationships built on prayer and hard honesty. The kind of relationships where you care too much to remain silent. Those kinds of relationships today I believe are very rare and I am afraid that a lot of people don’t want them. Why? Because it is work. If you don’t want to be accountable to anyone, why would you want to hold someone else accountable? I have truly been blessed with several true fellowship kind-of relationships. They are hard work, they take time, and… they are a gift from GOD! If you don’t have that you better start praying for it, working at it and doing it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Answers to Prayer

I just got to say, GOD is AWESOME!!!
We have been praying (as have many of you) for a couple who has been praying about whether or not to move to Zambia and work at the bible school. My prayer has always been that God would speak loud and clear, one way or the other. If this was not where God had called them, I didn’t want them to go. Last Sunday God spoke loud and clear. Paul and Lori had already been called to obedience. They had already made the decision to say yes if God called. Last Sunday sitting in church they were very restless. The sermon was about Abraham and Sara and their obedience. The challenge for the congregation was to take their obedience to the next level-that it was time to step out. P & L were going to head to Sunday school but decided to stop off at the rest rooms. Paul came out and was looking for Lori. He looked in the sanctuary and saw 2 of the elders up front and he knew he needed to go pray with them. Paul said he only made it about half way down and he just lost it. He broke down and wept. The elders asked what was wrong. All he could say (when he finally got his composer) was “I’m supposed to be in Africa”. As they were down front praying, Lori came walking down the aisle crying. And what does she say but “we are supposed to be in Africa”. God made it clear to them at the same time what they were supposed to do. How cool is that??
Paul went and talked to the Pastor this week. The pastor decided to do a call to obedience this last Sunday. After the sermon he called P and L up front. They shared what God has called them to do. The pastor wanted to highlight the cost of obedience, and then he put out a call to the people. If God is calling you to step out, then come forward. Man I wish I could have been there to see what God was doing. HE did something awesome! He called many men in the church forward. God has and is going to use P & L to affect a lot of people, to make a lot of people uncomfortable. That’s good- it’s just not always a lot of fun being the instrument that is used by GOD ( we know that to be true!).
Welcome to the ride of your life P & L!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR!!!

Better get this out there before I forget!!! More details to follow...

OPEN HOUSE
Friday, October 24th
5:30 pm
Our house-233 North 7th St
Kandiyohi, MN
Please bring a dessert to share or fixings for smores. We'll sit by the fire and visit and tell stories and...say goodbyes.


Commissioning Service
Sunday, October 26th
8:15 or 11 am
Potluck meal to follow
Evangelical Free Church of WIllmar
1305 SW 19th Ave
Willmar, MN

Friday, October 3, 2008

the start of goodbye

Well I’m back, still recuperating. Just having the flu and all the travel, I’m not bouncing back quite as fast. But there is a lot to get done in the next 3 wks. Like going through our house, storing, selling, throwing, packing or giving away everything we have left here. Also we need to start to say our goodbyes. Yes, our goodbyes. At our training at MTI we learned about how important goodbyes are and to not wait till the last minute to say them.
So let me put this out there, if you would like to get together before we go, call us and tell us! We will do coffee or lunch or whatever. So please let us know. We don’t want to forget anyone but we will. Time is going to go by very fast, we know that. We also want to make sure we keep our priorities in the right order during this time.
I know there are many who are wondering how the 3wks went. Well, I can honestly say it was the hardest 3 wks I have had over there. It started off bad and never got a lot better. My dad was a lifesaver. I don’t know what I would have done with out him. I know he was completely emotionally and physically drained by the middle of the 2nd wk, because I was as well. That also helps explain why I got sick at the end of the 2nd wk. We each lost over 10 lbs in the 3wks, if that says anything. My dad and I have worked together for a lot years. And for the most part we have worked really well together. One of the things I realized over there and had to grieve over was that us working together is coming to an end. This is one of those things that really sucks about all this. I see why GOD brought just my dad and me on this trip. It was a gift to us, to help us in this process.
We got the house sort of livable. By American standards, not exactly livable. By African standards, definitely livable. I have many months of work to complete the house. The main thing is we will all be there together this time. In the last 5 months I have been gone from my family 3 of those months. That is too much.

Two continued prayer requests:
-Sale of our house-someone wrote a purchase agreement except one detail, but they haven't come back in to finish. Pray it all comes together.
-Sale of our van (pictures to come!). We are also looking at a vehicle in Zambia, waiting on acceptance of an offer.

Thanks for praying!
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

a last check in and update

HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY MARIAH!!!!

David went around and fixed most of the patches where the plaster flaked off a bit.
The ladies swept and mopped the floor, so they were able to roll a 2nd sheet of linoleum (there are 3 sections in the main room), the ladies wanted to see it.
Tomorrow before they go they need to get everything shut up in the container and secure the doors and windows on the house. They couldn't get the front door in quite right as the door is a little bowed and the door jam isn't straight either.
They were able to get some of the bottom kitchen cupboards in, along with the fridge and the stove. The ladies can't wait for me to tell them about cooking on a gas stove (after they teach me how to cook on charcoal!!).
Wendell is feeling good again/still. Praise God he was healthy the entire trip! Pray for continued health as he transitions back into full-time work, plus it will be time to harvest the soybeans soon.
That's the jest-I guess they had a little "party" tonight at the house. Everyone is super excited for us to get there. Only 4 1/2 weeks-hard to believe!

Oh- and here's something to pray about...we will need to buy a vehicle for our family to use. The minibus is too big (even for us!) and the truck too small. I just received an email today on our missionary chain about someone with a 10 seat Toyota Land Cruiser for sale! Unfortunately Brian won't get to see it before he goes, so I don't know what will happen. But it is definitely in our price range, so please pray about that! And I am waiting to hear back on the last showing of our house, so keep that in prayer too!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Reading

Props go to Christine for being so on top of her game despite working close to full-time, homeschooling, church, and studying for a move to Tanzania to do missions work there, she is still reading! I have to check her blog to find the next good book to read about Africa!

Pig in a Taxi and Other African Adventures by Suzanne Crocker is the latest. It is from a gal who served in Togo, Africa with her husband doing medical work. There are short little stories, then a personal application, then a missionary prayer focus.

I got mine on Amazon for $.70 plus $3.99 shipping. I see today there is one on new and use for 14 cents! I wish we had enough money to buy one for all our prayer supporters! Since we can't, I'd like to encourage you all to check it out-maybe buy a copy to read and pray through, then pass it on (or read and pray through again!).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

why do we doubt?

Talked to Brian again today (I know, we border on pathetic sometimes!)-he sounded 100% better. He said his chest was already feeling lighter, and he just sounded much more okay about the work that is done/won't be done. He slept really well last night too.
They got all the ceiling done in the main room!! Yeah! Brian also started cutting some glass for the windows.
Please continue to pray for Henry M., he still has the yuck Brian had.
Pray for Wendell, who got a little hot yesterday, and he's really sick of the same food over and over again. And then when you don't feel so good...I am sure he'd love a cheeseburger right now!
So never doubt God is hearing your prayers! THANK YOU!!!

Relapse

Brian made it into town on Tuesday, unfortunately it caused a little relapse in his virus. He spent part of yesterday sleeping again, which I know he hates because then he feels useless. What he wouldn't give for a pack of saltines about now! He says nothing tastes good (at least that is what I can print!), but Lucy is making him eat his porridge-she sat by him and wouldn't leave until he ate some.
Zambia has three seasons- the wet/hot, the dry/cold, and the dry/hot. Right now is the dry/hot. It has been around 100 degrees or more for the past few days. I think again to God's wisdom and timing. Had we left as a family when Plan B was in the works (end of September), we would have hit smack into this hot season and had to deal with hot, hot kids.
Brian applied for a post office in Chongwe, has to go in tomorrow to see if we were "approved."
He was unable to find any large propane tanks. He had our 100 lb. one sent away to get new valves and got on the list to rent some 19 kg (41.8 lb) tanks. I am thinking we may need to see about shipping our other 100 lb tank that didn't make it on the container with Gospelink's next container if we can. We need the propane mainly for our small refrigerator, but it will also be nice to have to do occasionally cooking in the gas stove we have and not have to do everything on charcoal. I think diesel fuel right now is Zambia comes out to close to $7 a gallon (I can't remember my litre conversations), so we need bigger propane tanks so we don't need to go in as often to fill them up. And we'd like the spare, so we can take one in when empty, and the other then covers it.
Brian was able to pick up our front doors, which he said the guy did a really nice job on, but it's going to take a bit to get them in as the door jams aren't perfectly plum.
Please keep praying for Brian and Wendell these last 2 days- they'd like to get the doors in and a sink and tub, and then cleaning everything up and locking it up before they leave. They fly out Sunday around 1:30 and we pick them up Monday afternoon at 1:30. Pray for peace that what has been accomplished is what should have been and that Brian especially won't feel like it won't be good enough for when we arrive.
God is good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

rough weekend

It was a pretty tough weekend in Zambia. Brian called Saturday afternoon-he’d about had it, as had his dad, thus the prayer request post. He was still working 12-13 hour days despite the fact that he was getting sicker, his was tired of people around all the time and the lack of progress… and well, it hit him. Brian doesn’t get sick too often, but when it does, it hits like a freight train. Henry had been sick (thought it was malaria, but really just a virus) and Brian was run down from working and not resting enough, so he caught it. He was on the couch all day yesterday sweating and fevering to beat the band. It finally brought in the evening. As you can imagine, everyone was concerned. They were all going to stay home from church and take him to the clinic. Wendell was talking to them in the other room and Brian (I can hear it in my head) got so mad he yelled out “NO! I am not going to the clinic!” After church his African dad Alfred and John Zimba walked the 45 minutes to our house and prayed over him on the couch. I am sure the whole church prayed for him as well that morning.
I called him at 1:30 while up feeding my Henry (8:30 his time) and he was up and doing a little work, but was weak, so was taking it easy. He didn’t make it to town today, so will go tomorrow. It probably sounds as if I am not overly concerned, but I was and am. But I also know my hubby enough to know how he and his body work and where this came from. He was so tired and down Saturday that I told him he had to rest on Sunday. We need 1 day in 7 to rest, and he was at day 14 without rest. If he wasn’t going to rest, God was going to make him! This will also sound harsh, but it was/is a good lesson for him. There will always be plenty to do, things he will want to be done better, done right away, done a certain way…and he just can’t do it all and it wouldn’t always be done the way he’d like. I love that he wanted so much for the house to be more “done” before we go there, for it to be nice for us and have an easier transition; but I know we will be fine. It wouldn’t be super wonderful right away, but we will be there, be together, and be okay. And as things get done while we are there, they will seem nicer and better all the time!
The roof is on, there is a little ridge cap and corner trim we are missing, so we will need to bring that over with us somehow in our luggage. The toilet works, there is running water, and they are hoping to have a tub and sink in before they go (one of the two sinks didn’t survive the trip). Wendell and Witness are working on stripping the ceiling to get the ceiling up in a room or two more before they go (one bedroom and one bathroom are done). Brian really doesn’t know what he would have done had Wendell not been able to go. He probably would have just gotten mad and thrown things up however to be done and be unhappy about it forever. So Wendell, THANK YOU can not even cover it!!
The people at the school keep talking about the party we have to have when the house is done and the goat we’ll eat…that will be awhile. Their definition of the house done and mine and Brian’s is probably going to be pretty different!!
Found out a real bummer too the other day when Brian was in town-Zambia just switched all the valves on their propane tanks. So the tank we had can’t be used yet-has to be sent away to get changed. Well, that is what one place said. He was going to try somewhere else tomorrow. I think Wendell was REALLY looking forward to the fridge working for some cold water and pop though . All they had at Game (think Wal-mart) were the 20 lb. tanks. It would work for a quick fix, but wouldn’t last us very long for the fridge and stove. We’ll have to look more when we go.
We so appreciate your continued prayers! Oh yeah-and we have a showing tomorrow afternoon on the house. Pray this is the one!