"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, November 25, 2008

our 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.


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?


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


our 4 guinnea hens

one of the many huge moths!



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


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 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


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

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


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!!!