"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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

yeah! Yeah! YEAH!!

Just got an email-our container cleared customs at the port in Tanzania and will be loaded tomorrow for the trip to Zambia! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sunday Church in Africa

Here's some pictures from the church Brian preached at in Africa. Sorry if some of it is a little dark.

Click to play church in africa
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Friday, July 25, 2008

some prayer requests

-Leroy, Kelly's brother-in-law, is with his dad, who now looks to be in the last stages of his battle with cancer. Pray for Kari (Kelly's sister) and Leroy as they try to figure out timing-how long Leroy will stay, how to get Kari and Hans to see his dad (it's about an 11-12 hour drive). Also pray for his dad's comfort during these last weeks/months.

-Henry's (in Africa) brother just died. Henry, Daniel, their families, and most everyone from the school will be traveling the 35-40 kilometers for the funeral down some not so good roads.

-We have a showing tomorrow morning (Saturday). Please pray that this is the one!

-For the last 10% of our monthly support and all our out-going costs to come in by the end of August.

-Our container is in Dar Es Saleem-pray it will clear customs without any problems and reach the school safely.

-Quick, safe, relatively pain free :-) delivery of Henry in a few more weeks.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

the joys of building a house overseas

Ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering or realizing something? Well, that is what happened last night. I realized that due to the changes that I had to make to the house in the midst of construction that some of the materials (roof sheeting) are not going to work out exactly the way I had originally planned. I’m coming up a little short on my roof sheets, not length but width. Kelly got up wondering, why are you up at 4am? Then, what can you do about it here and now? Answer: not much. But I was not going to be able to get back to sleep until I figured something out; which being awake at 3 is not always the most conducive to clear thinking. By 6am I had pretty much figured out the necessary adjustments that I thought would work. Even though I don’t like that, you work within the situation boundaries. You do not have any other choice. Just one of those things that I have to learn to accept. Kelly says “it will be fine”; I say “I know, but it’s not the way I wanted it nor do I like it.” I’m very particular at times about things, especially when it comes to construction. I want things to look a certain way. Now I have to accept that it is not going to. So I look to figure a way to minimize that as much as possible. More training I guess.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

thank you prayers!!!

I wanted to thank you for praying for me and my family while I was gone. Your prayers were felt and answered! I saw God working in many ways. Thank you for your love, support, and committment to my family. You are much appreciated and much loved in return. THANK YOU!!!


Also-on Sunday, August 3rd I will be sharing with my parents during the fellowship hour at Evangelical Free Church in Willmar. It beings around 9:40 am in the fireside room. If you are able, please come and join us and hear about the many things that were accomplished this summer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Beginnings

If you look, you will notice a new section on the right side called "the beginnings". As we have acquired many new blog-readers over the last year, we wanted to have a section where our testimonies and how our journey began were easily accessible. ENJOY!

more thanks

This is Country Cornbread Allen-my partner in crime for the last three weeks of the summer. I had a great time getting to know you and look forward to continuing our relationship through the work of Gospelink in Zambia.

This is our housewarming gift from Bill in Iowa. How absolutley fitting for our journey! Thanks Bill!

Another thanks goes out to (another) Allen for the study bible he gave me. I used it as I prepared to preach.

And we will be part of the Solei (spelling?) tribe, not Sulu.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm Home

Well, I’m home. Sort of. I’m back with my family is more accurate. As long as you are with the ones you love, you are home no matter where you are. These last 2 months went by so fast it felt more like 2 days, if you can believe that. And the reason for that was because of the people I was with and that they took care of me as one of there own. You see I had many fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters there and I felt treated as such to a large degree. Whether it be praise and affirmation or rebuke and chastising-it all took place and yet they still viewed me as one in charge and in authority. There were times that I was very comfortable in that role and at times I was not. I’ve got to say that it was incredible awesome and humbling to see God at work in big things and very small things. On a trip such as this prayer often becomes a natural reaction to things. It was the second to the last week when it clearly hit me of GOD’s involvement in EVERYTHING, and how my FATHER was taking care of his son (me). I was blessed beyond measure.
Why? Because I was doing what HE asked me to do. It is that simple. It was exciting to see and experience the divine appointments that GOD had planned for me. People that I could minister to, and those that ministered to me. It goes both ways. It is the way the church/body of Christ is supposed to work. I was able to watch the LORD work in people’s lives, to begin to change hearts and minds. That is what often happens when many of the comforts of life are stripped away and you begin to truly rely on GOD, and when you are in the company of men and women who have little to nothing compared to our standards. They do not complain, they are not depressed or bitter. They love life and they love the LORD with all there heart, mind, and strength. It can be very humbling to be in the company of these brother and sisters.
One of the hardest things for me (besides being away from my wife and kids) was asking for and excepting help from people I didn’t know-from the Americans or the Zambians or the Malawians. All I can say is THANK YOU!! Many of you where direct answers to prayer. You probably didn’t know that and you may even find it hard to believe, you though you were just helping. But you where HIS hands and feet. Yes, that includes laying out the foundation, digging the footings, putting in the rebar (Mikki, Ben ), laying the water line, (dad, mom), running the backhoe, (dad) , helping with the beams, (Bill), making the brackets for the pillars, (Verlan), bringing the mp3 player (Bill), bringing the packet from my wife (Kara), answering numerous questions on the house and just all around being there (Paul). And I’m know I’m forgetting some-there are so many to mention-sorry. For all of you that have been praying and continue to pray, THANK YOU!!! I truly enjoyed spending time with you and getting to know you. I pray we see each other again next year. And at that time I’ll be able to introduce to you the whole family.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the chief's visit

Below, in the red hat in Chief Oonda Oonda, you may also notice his chief's walking stick. This is the day he came to check on the clinic. That's Lewis talking to him with his back turned. The man in the black hat is the Chief's government appointed security/chauffeur. I guess all the chiefs have them.

This is the finished medical clinic!
Our house will probably also be painted white and have a red roof, so it will look similar (well, except different shape, we'll have a veranda...but you get the idea :-) ! )

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

would we ever read something like this here?

now of course we would definitely read the cries for a successor if the President turned ill, but would we read about/have a small listing of some of the groups, churches, tribal leaders, national political leaders etc. that are praying to GOD for him?


one last update from zambia

I was going to write this Wednesday, but then that really wouldn’t have been the last update, because Brian called one last time from the school on Thursday. And I haven’t had time to write as I bought myself a new book last night and read it all. I need to read half of it again, as there are so many things to consider in it. It’s called The Shack by William P. Young. You can read about it at: www.theshackbook.com.
So anyway, this was the update from Wednesday/Thursday before Brian left. Right now he is flying from Ethopia to Washington DC.
On Wednesday he went in with Daniel to get the rest of the supplies he would need for now. On the way back, they stopped and met Kevin & Suzie Rodgers, whom I have told you about and linked to their blog at various times. We were hoping Brian would have some time to meet them while he was there, so I am glad he went up and knocked on the gate. He had a good time with them, and I am looking forward to meeting them soon too. Suzie says she reads our blog, which makes me just a little nervous! Hopefully if I confuse anything too badly she will let me know! We also just got an email from another missionary couple that Brian’s parents have been supporting since Brian was a teen. They were in Africa for a while (she didn’t say where), but confirmed some of the things we have been reading and learning, so that was fairly neat too.
While in town he got the lumbar he needed, the bolts, food for the last few days and fuel. He was also able to check prices at a few of the stores where Stewart has been getting supplies for himt so we are able to get an accurate accounting of what we have spent on the house so far, and also got ideas on prices of the things he will need to buy when he goes back in September.
He also stopped at one of the car dealerships to get an idea on pricing for a 10 passenger 4 -wheel drive van for us. This place got their vehicles from South Africa. He said he was told between $10-15,000 for a used van (which is actually fine, we don’t want to be too conspicuous driving a new one around-which we could never afford the $50,000 or so that they cost over there). There are also a few places that ship directly from Japan too, so we will need to figure all that out.
The veranda stones are all set in. On Tuesday of next week they are suppose to be delivering 50 bags of cement and then Abel and a few other guys will pour the floor.
The plasterers have about another week left. He is also going to hire John a few days a week for the next couple of weeks to clean things up-the window and door frames after the plastering, clean up around the floor that’s poured, etc.
Our container was picked up in Salalah on 7/9, and should be in Tanzania on 7/14! So you can keep praying for all the customs things that need to happen.
John brought a house warming gift to Brian on Wednesday. It was a flower from his own gardens at home to plant around the house.
The guys were finishing building the last of the trusses on Thursday afternoon and had started putting some of them up. Very luckily, Brian was still there. The workers were getting ready to tear them all apart because they thought Brian had them make them wrong. I don’t remember the exact measurements, but I think most of them were built to 36’, but where our room is, they were 40’. They just couldn’t figure it out, so thought it had to be wrong. Brian produced a picture of the design, and then they finally got it. CLOSE CALL THERE!
Brian said they killed another small black mamba somewhere around. He also says he sees the path of a very large snake that crosses the road down the way.
When the house is finished and we open it all up, we are expected to have a party I guess. I am not sure if this means when me and the kids get there, or if Brian can do it when they get done in September. Basically the party is a big meal of course, so he will plan to bring some extra money to buy some goats for all the workers to feast on.
Lucy’s choir from Chongwe came out on Tuesday I believe. Allen said they sang the whole way from Chongwe. They had never been to the college; they were excited at all that was there. They got a tour of the main grounds, the clinic, and then our house, so Lucy and the ladies could tell Brian it was time to stop working. Wendell-Brian said you would have LOVED the choir!
Daniel’s step-mom is in South Africa at the hospital, apparently she has some type of cancer. Please pray for her.
The national pastors next to Brian this last week held twice a day prayer meetings. Brian said it was just awesome to sit out by the fire and hear this men cry out to God all at once in their native languages.
And here’s a big PRAISE!! Allen’s step dad has been in the hospital. He was brought in by ambulance, but they weren’t really sure what was wrong, but he definitely wasn’t doing well.. So at one of the evening services Allen asked the group of pastors and mission-trippers to pray for his step dad. It was incredible I guess! Allen said he didn’t want to close his eyes as he was sure Jesus would show up any minute! The next day Allen got a call from his wife saying that his step dad was being discharged because he was all of the sudden better!
As exciting everyone is to have Brian around, apparently that is waning and they are now ready to meet me! :-)
That’s about it. We had to cut the conversation short-Goodbyes are a BIG deal in Africa and Brian needed to start saying goodbye to the workers. I remember at MTI our instructor, who had served in Sierra Leone and South Africa (to name a few) stood outside the building and waved and waved until we could no longer see him. Apparently that is one of the things we can look forward to-which I will say is hard for me. I often kick in to the next gear right after people are out the door; so this will be another of the many areas I will need to work on.
Well, it’s off to bed soon. My brother’s fiancĂ©’s bridal shower is in the morning, so that will give us something to do for a while after baths and getting all ready and such. I don’t think we need to leave until 1:30-2pm for the airport, so the day will seem a little long. Most of the kids will nap during that time (of driving) which is good, but I usually take a nap then too, so hopefully I won’t be too tired!


Lookie-Lookie at our new numbers!!
We are at 87.5% of our monthly support!!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

prayer requests for the last week

Briefly (yeah, right!!) talked to Brian toady-here are a few requests and goings on for the last few days...

There are only about 2 1/2 days to work. Problem #1-today and tomorrow are holidays so they can't get money at the bank to get the supplies he needs to finish up the trusses. He is going to be a few trusses short. One of the guys badly screwed one up today, and he now needs 3 more made of the big ones. Yes, they could possibly get Wednesday, but that is a trip to town and uses up quite a bit of the day. And he really needs to be around to supervise what is going on. Sometimes there are things that he wants to do that the workers don't understand, so you really have to show them and watch them do it a few times before they get it. They are also out of bolts to fasten the top plate on. Apparently they have been out for a week, but no one told him.
I don't know if i mentioned it last week, but one of the guys cut up one of Brian's trusses I think it was (or a top plate-I don't remember now). He wasn't happy about that! So he told the guys that if they wanted anything in the wood shop to use, they needed to ask him first-so today one of the guys asked if he could use 3 5" nails!

Brian will need to get things set up with the plasterers and probably John to keep working on some things after he leaves. So he needs to set up having money out there to pay them each week.

After finding out about the holidays and not having supplies, Brian was a little frustrated, "hot under the collar" even (not Brian!). So after supper he went to do some more work. This is good for him, so he doesn't say or do anything he shouldn't. But many of the nationals don't quite get that. They think he is just too worried about getting it all done and working too much. So Henry and Lucy and David went up to find him and tell him he had to come and eat, and don't worry, you can have all the help you need. (Problem #2- the problem really isn't having enough help, it's having the supplies, which he doesn't). I guess the ladies are threatening to call me-they tell Brian they have phones too! They are worried about him not eating enough and not resting enough. They apparently thing if they call me I will get after him (it doesn't work that way though!).

Today he was working with Abel on setting the rock around the veranda. He thinks they should be able to get that done tomorrow. But they won't be able to get it poured before he goes. But if it is set, that would be a big step when he comes back to do more work.

He keeps contemplating staying a few extra days. But knows he really can't. I told him it wouldn't really matter-whenever he leaves, it will probably be the NEXT day or so that he would get everything he needed, and he probably couldn't change his flight anyway. He has a list HE wants to get done-I told him what gets done will be what is SUPPOSE to get done.

He's already asked Allen if he can just ask for forgiveness now for the rest of the week...

It sounds like Gospelink is going to be/or has hired a "collector" to get the money back from the block company (which I don't think has sent even one block out to the school). And when a collector is hired, you DO get your money back. Pray that goes quickly and smoothly.

Sunday didn't end up being a good day. At breakfast Henry told Brian that he was teaching Sunday School that day. That was fine, he taught on prayer. After SS Brian had to leave to get supplies. While Brian was driving into Lusaka to meet Stewart the clutch went out on the truck. Brian said there were numerous close calls at many intersections. He couldn't just kill it, as one of the batteries was bad. He somehow forced the gears in/out and made it to Manda Hill (one of the shopping malls). He spent three hours under the truck before getting it fixed. Praise God he made it safe!

They were able to get some cement that day, but was about it.

I told you about Henrich's computer? Well, he had it charging in the banana house. All the workers were told that Brian only has a few days left and lots of work to do. He goes into the banana house and can't find anyone working. He goes around to the corner room and sees everyone watching or playing on the computer! Needless to say, Brian was not impressed. They had just laid off 20 workers that morning. He informed these guys that if they didn't want to work, they could stay home like the ones they laid off. I don't know how many guys were in there, but later that day, only one of them apologized.

Oh yeah, our house is still in the running from the showing last week-hopefully we will hear something this soon! Keep praying for it to sell!

So this really wasn't the cheeriest of emails-sorry. Please continue to pray (hard!) this week that what needs to be accomplished this week will get done.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

a short update

They say things are always better in the morning, so yes, I am feeling much better today (and yesterday). Thank you for praying for me and for your continued prayers.

Here are some more updates:
A HUUUGGGEE Praise the Lord! John has told Brian that his son has had no more episodes since they were there and prayed for him last week!

Much has gone on this week that I can't share about, but it hasn't been good. It is not directly related to us or our house necessarily, but there are definitely some things that will need to be run differently for the school once we get there. Brian has had a lot more stress, so has been having some headaches.

Brian has really loved the group at the college this week. They are from Iowa and Illinois. Bill from Iowa brought the MP3 player I asked for; only I asked for the wrong one! Zack (who had been at the college for 9 months last year) had sent an only computer over for Henrich, and Bill had the adaptors needed so that another of the guys could do the computer stuff to get Brian's music on the MP3 player Bill brought. So things turned out well. Of course Daniel somehow managed to get Brian's MP3 player working now... Bill had sent out this blog address to his whole team, so they have been reading getting ready for their trip. Kara brought over some stuff for Brian and was so happy to meet him and give him a big hug despite Brian being covered in wood preservative. Bill also brought over our first house warming gift-a plague that says "FAITH" and a handwritten message on the back. Bill has expressed interest in heading back to Zambia in September to help Brian finish the house, and also didn't let Brian give him anything for the MP3 player. Bill- you are awesome! This whole group has been! Brian said there were a few people they had to tell to go laid down and rest they were working themselves too hard. An older farmer from Iowa has spent time doing some welding for the rings for the beams on the veranda.

The plan in these last 3 1/2 days:
-work on setting up rock around veranda and pour floor;
-finish building & painting preserve on roof trusses-put them up (the 36' ones were done);
-finish building beams for veranda and putting last of top plate in;
-finish plastering walls (on Thursday they had 4 bedrooms done, and were working on the bathrooms, then just had main area inside house. After that there is the outside. Brian will have the 2 plasters and 2 guys to assist them, so hopefully they will be able to finish up this week).

There was a rumor going around on Thursday that the President of Zambia died. Thankfully, he just had a stroke and is doing well. Brian said the whole mood of the place was down that day. Depending on which report you read, either the V.P. would have taken over, OR they would have had to had elections in 90 days. President Mwaansana has been an outspoken critic of things in Zimbabwe, so I caught some of the irony that the South African guy (who has been an ally/supposed mediator for Zimbabwe & African Union) is the one who asked for a moment of silence for his death. Things are still not great in Zimbabwe, please keep praying for that country.

Brian has had to take lots of pictures for the pastors this week. One of the pastors from Malawi I think it was, wants the plans for our house. He walked around and decided that was what he wanted for his house.

I got an email back from another missionary couple about their satellite Internet. They paid $3500 for installation, and now pay $150 a month for 1 GB of download. I still am not sure what all that means, but at least we have some prices in our mind now. Otherwise, I think I mentioned that you pay about $300 for a USB type of device that gives you so much download-but I don't remember how much. We definitely need to keep researching this. I have an analysis thing on the blog that tells me how many people look at our blog each day, about how long they stay and read, and where they are reading from. It goes back 30 days. At one point this last month, i had over 23 different countries that had checked it, and almost 250 different cities! In any one month, there are around 950 or so visits for the month, an average of out 30 or so visits a day. Many people have asked if we will keep this up in Africa, and yes, we will try! This has been a great tool for us to share and process "out loud" with you and have you pray for us.

Brian has two new nicknames (that he knows of!). Most of the pastors that come for training and to work for the week call him "Brian the hard worker", and tell him to slow down. Henry has also now named him "Headman Kaziemba", and tells him he is Sulu man now-he's not a weak American who has to drink bottled water (all year and even last year, he has been drinking water from the cistern and been fine).

Well, not as long of an update today, we just ramble a lot when we talk now. One week from right now, i should be at the airport picking him up!!!

you know you are in africa...

Here's another interesting blog from some missionaries in Zambia. You may want to skip the "maggots" post.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

prayer requests

Please pray for me and the kids.
Some of them are really getting on my nerves; some of them are talking back way too well; some just seem to not care if they are a part of the family and the things we do; some of them are “soooo bored, there’s nothing to do”; some I just feel I could do without.
As you can imagine, this will be the toughest week. I could really use some prayer to keep caring-not to just let anything go and “survive” the week.
Only 8 more days.

the tortured mind of the over-analytical

After checking and checking the shipping company’s site and seeing no updates, I finally direct emailed one of the gals. Turns out our container is STILL in Salalah, Oman and has been there since 6/23. It will sit for 20 days. I am assuming this is 20 days from then, not 20 days from now, but you never know. It will THEN get on a vessel about 7/13 for a 5 days cruise to land in Dar Es Salaam on 7/18. We THEN start the whole clearing process in Dar, then transport, then clearing at Nakonde, then transport and unload. So we are easily looking at possibly the beginning of August before it gets to the school.
So my overly analytically mind goes into hyper drive as to if this is really good, or not. Let me first say, that I am not as anxious as I was two weeks ago when I had no idea to get it into Zambia. We have a clearing agent who will take care of the clearing, transport, and crane. So its kind-of like, whatever, it will be fine.

Having said that, my mind still begins the drama:
Bad news- Brian won’t even be in country to help make any assurances (don’t know if he could do anything about it anyway)
Good news-we have K + N to handle things
Bad news-Brian isn’t there to help with any “negotiations” to get the container the full distance to the school
Good news-that will mean less time at the school before Brian goes back. We will have it locked and will know if anyone tries to get in, we aren’t overly worried about anything getting stolen, but still.
Bad news-Brian isn’t there to make sure that K + N get their money
Good news-we are having some trust issues with the national in Zambia who has been handling the money and “suppose” to be getting some things done for us in town, which he hasn’t. So the good news is that we now know when K + N get the money because we will wire it to them.
Good news-Brian won’t feel bad about leaving and missing the container by only a day or two.
Bad news-I had way more anxiety of the last few weeks than I needed-because unfortunately, stress makes me eat more, not less!
Good news-I learned a lot about what needs to be done for future Gospelink shipments.
Bad news-I just hate to be told something and then the timing be like, a whole month off.

I could go on and on….but…..