"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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I know I forgot to put this in earlier. On the last Thursday of the summer teams, we actually had SPRINKLES! How weird is that???
I think winter is just about officially over now, maybe a few more weeks. It really hasn’t been too bad. Lots of wind mainly, there were a few nights that got below 40 degrees, but all in all, not too harsh of a winter. Down by the river there was frost some mornings.
Still going back and forth a lot on our truck. There is a vehicle we could get. Great shape, definitely set up for the bush and well taken care of. A few years newer than ours. We, of course, paid too much for ours, so that is what holds us back some. If we had actually seen it before came, we would have tried to negotiate for a better deal. But, we couldn’t and it served its purpose well enough I suppose. It is still an okay vehicle-just needs to be retired out of the bush and into the city. The dealership isn’t overly hot on trading it because of its age and condition, but would be willing to give us something, a lot less than we want of course. Keep praying about whether or not to pull the trigger on buying this newer (safer!) vehicle. And then there is that 15 passenger van in the States…
I guess a tree fell on our shed in the States. It didn’t sound like it was too bad. The couple that is renting our home are great, and he wanted to fix the shed himself, so we say GO AHEAD! They are also going to cut down some of the other dead trees in the back of the house, so they don’t fall down too.
Well, I didn’t shake it. Sorry, one African mindset I can’t seem to shake is the weight issue. I know, I know, how trivial. But the pounds are starting to come back on thanks to all our junk food gifts, that it affects me. What can I say? You can’t take the American out of the woman?
Last Saturday we went with Pastor Matt to Munda Wanda zoo. It wasn’t too bad. I had heard it wasn’t that great so wasn’t expecting too much. But all in all, it was pretty good. They have a water slide and swimming pool there too, so when the heat kicks in, we have another place we can go for a cool dip. There were warthogs, tigers and cheetahs (we didn’t see them), baboons, lions, ostriches and other different birds, small fox like animals, and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t know the name of. I will try to post some pictures soon.
Did I ever mention Vanessa, the high school gal who was working for us? WAS is the word. A few weeks ago she came here crying her eyes out because her little brother had died. Lucy walked up with her and explained it for her. Both Lucy and I comforted her and gave her transport money to the funeral. After a week I went to ask Lucy if she had heard when Vanessa was coming back. That’s when I learned that she got run out of her Auntie’s house because she was sleeping around with her boyfriend. And just a few days ago, Lucy came up and told me that they boy had died months ago. Naturally Lucy was upset, and so was I. I had given her an advance on her salary for a school fee and was wiling to let her come and work that off, but when I found out about the lie about her brother, there’s no way. Vanessa is the granddaughter of the Chieftess on the other side of the river. So we still have to go and talk to her about it, and at least request the money back from her and met with her to try to get her to “tell the truth.” I really don’t expect the money back, but we must at least go and confront her in her sin. Now, THAT is a cultural thing! In the States, we’d probably just brush it off. But here, we seem to hit things head.

We just got our monthly numbers in. We are so blessed by Jehovah Jireh who is providing for us. We have seen our committed monthly support drop about 10% in the last few months. A little over $4000 of our $4500 is still committed. As I said before, our house rent will cover some of that number, not for sure yet the difference. We have had numerous people give special gifts at just the times we need them to meet our monthly support level. We so appreciate all who are willing to give-whether on a regular basis or special gifts!! We would like to see our committed monthly support stay at the $4500 level though so we know we are covered. If you would like to join our support team in anyway (even just a one-time gift), just email me and I will send you the information, or click the link on the right hand side.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Apparently we may not have explained very well everything that we are being asked to do with the agriculture project. Philip “wewally” has left some good comments; but we may need to further explain how we must be hitting two different fronts. (And FYI-it is the guy FROM ECHO who made the comment about the fence! He said the fence is the key to third world countries progressing themselves into being self-sustaining.)
A 100x100 garden plot (or even a few of them) is not going to feed 600 students and all the staff that come with it. (And yes, I know cattle-been around them my whole life. A stick fence will work for awhile, but when they get hungry, the sticks won’t cut it.) Granted we are not at those numbers right now of course, but we are looking at the long-term implications, not just what we need for this season. We are trying to create the long term plan that will hopefully enable this school to become self-sustaining. We are looking at about 20 acres of just garden plots around the main compounds PLUS we must farm larger scale to provide revenue. (We already have over five acres of gardens, plus some of the staff had planted their own few acres of corn). The original goal of the project is that the farming will feed the students AND provide revenue. We then must look at how to develop the full 300 acres to even remotely have a chance to do that.
A fence is a must to do this. This isn’t about “American” farming. All the large scale African farms around here have fences. We’re not just talking about the garden type farming.
Actually, right now no one else near here is putting in more gardens of any type of scale. Lucy and Christine went looking for tomatoes, they were told maybe in a few months. This was from a local who had a small garden right near his house who could easily watch and keep livestock out of his garden. We do not have the time or man power to be on livestock patrol on a garden that isn’t directly behind a compound-maybe it’s a kilometer walk out to a field.
So yes, we plan to “farm the Zambian way” in the gardens nearer to the compounds and probably some of the corn fields. (Just what the “Zambian way” is though, would be up for another discussion!! Pastor Henry hires a tractor to do some of this work, is he not farming “Zambian?” If we irrigate this 100x100 garden, are we “Zambian?” Only if you are near a river do you irrigate, with a 5 gallon bucket! Or if you have enough money, you buy a pump to pump out of the river. But I digress….)
But we have so much more we have to do. You won’t feed the numbers we are being asked to with small gardens, and they certainly won’t generate enough revenue.
Maybe this all leads us back to the question: are we here to be an agriculture training school AND a bible college (using only “appropriate” technologies that an average local has access to) or are we a Bible College where you happen to learn some skills-whether in ag, construction, nursing, etc??
We’ve already seen the gardens suffer over the last 3 ½ months while the students were trying to do two-week intensive class modules. I just couldn’t require all the work knowing they were falling asleep in class as it was. The Pastors who came over to teach for two weeks had to raise their support to get here as well; I did not want to undercut them and what they came to do in such a short time.
The manpower and capital needed to be both types of schools may not be there. That’s why we have lots of questions to ask and answer before we can go much further.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

new link

This is the link to Paul and Lori's website. She keeps a diary on there too. See the bible college from a different perspective!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the vision

There are a lot of visions for this school. There is theological/biblical training, carpentry training, construction training, and other trade training well as agricultural training. The vision is also that the school would provide food for its self through the farming operation of the school. That is where I am supposed to come in. I know farming; I was born and raised with it. It is what I have done my whole life. I understand it and I know what it takes to do it successfully. I am learning what it takes to do it successfully in a third world country and culture. The first thing it takes is capital. It does not matter where you are on this earth: it takes cash to start a business of any kind. And for the size and kind of operation that Gospelink wants for this school, it is going to take lots. There is nothing here as of yet-there is no infrastructure in place. The land still needs to be cleared.
I can picture/ envision what this framing operation can be. I can see the different aspects of it: the livestock side, the large grain fields, the small gardens, the wild life. The first thing to do in order to farm here is fence. I am not talking about a single or double strand fence. I am talking about a 6 foot high mesh with electric strands and it needs to go around the entire property.
It has many purposes. First is to secure the property. Second is to keep animals in (the farming livestock as well as wildlife-we could stock impalas, zebras, exotic birds, etc.,) and more importantly it is to keep animals (the livestock tradition) and people out (the theft issue). Third, you have to maintain the fence by keeping it clear around the fence which in turn creates the fire break that we need for the property. A high quality professional grade fence has to be priority number one before you can begin the other aspects of the agriculture operation. Yes- you can do something small, simple, less expensive and temporary. But that is what it is, temporary, a waste of time and money in my opinion. Do it right and do it right the first time, and it will be less expensive in the long run. It will be permanent and it solves many of the on going problems we have been dealing with here. When I was at ECHO in Ft. Myers, Florida getting some training to come here, an instructor said some thing to me that I found interesting. It was what he had personally observed, and that is: “wherever livestock roam freely and rule the landscape, poverty abounds”. Look at what happened when fencing was introduced in the states. People, a society, began to prosper. Where livestock have free rein to wander, eat what they want, where they want- you have hunger and poverty. God says we are to rule the landscape not the livestock. To set up an operation of this size it takes time. The problem: we need food now for students and staff. The agricultural operation should have been started years ago but it wasn’t. So now we are playing catch up. Another “small” issue is there is no budget for agriculture right now. Yes that is a problem, considering you can do very little without money. I am done planting until the rains in November. I am going to be planning out the gardens for next year, planning my classroom instruction time with the students, and writing a budget proposal (post to come on that-there are many questions that need to be asked). Until we have the fence in place, what will happen if I set up for irrigation for the dry season? If we are the only ones that have nice lush green vegetation in the area, every animal for miles will be here.
Even if the money came in tomorrow for the fence, it is not something that would go up over night. It could easily take a couple of months to clear the land and put the fence in place with the gates needed (when the backhoe is fixed). Yes, we still need the money for the fence; but I can’t plant even if it came tomorrow.
So I am asking questions. Lots of questions-two pages worth of questions. What are the needs of the project? What are the goals? How do they need to be adjusted? What resources do we have? What will be available? What do we need to do first? How can what I know from farming in the States apply here? Much of it will, but yes, lots won’t. Maybe I will post my question list. I have no problem asking for suggestions, for help. We have readers all over the world, I wonder what ideas they will have that I can entertain? Any help is better than none at all! I haven’t ever written a full farming budget proposal from scratch; much less in a third world country, with no monetary guidelines, and not knowing what the full and end resources will be. I appreciate your prayers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

livestock tradition

Last week we learned about the livestock tradition which says that from now until rainy season (sometime in November), livestock rule.They can roam anywhere, anytime, destroy any crops you have, and oh well-so sorry for you and your garden.We had corralled three cows that were eating the young cabbage in the garden. We put them in an empty classroom, parked our vehicle in front of the door and waited to see who would come looking for their cows.
Alex came the next morning.I was going to seek compensation for the cabbage, but so sorry, doesn’t work that way.Here, they fence in the crops and let the animals rein.In almost all other third world countries it is the same, that is one reason they are third world.In developed/successful countries, it is just the opposite.
What should I say in the coming months when people come looking for food?
Since i didn’t know this tradition, I am pretty much done farming until the rains come.No point to put in seed only to have it eaten when it comes up lush and green.If we irrigate where will every animal on both sides of the river come??If we fence with wood/grass, they go through.I brought a solar fencer and some wire-but not enough for three strands (pig, goat, and cattle height), for gardens spread throughout the campus.I may just use it on the test garden up by our house.
Well, we need to fence the whole 300 acres with a good six foot high mesh, electrical fence.But we are talking thousands of dollars, and since there is no ag budget as of yet…there isn’t much to do.
Even if I had the fence to do it right now, I couldn’t because the backhoe is still in the shop and I need it to drive the fence posts in, the ground is so hard.(Yes, after three months, the backhoe is still not fixed-money issues, brand issues (only one Case mechanic), timing issues-this is Africa).But we would still need to fence before we could plant anything before the rain comes.
Talking to the students, David, Henry…they all understand it doesn’t make sense to let the animals rule, but oh well.That’s just the way they do it.I have to ask, when traditions cause suffering, shouldn’t they be changed? Not that our garden of cabbage would have fed that many for very long, but it would have fed some.What if it would have been more than just a few cabbages?
When I ask the Lusaka pastors about this, they can’t believe that it is just okay for the livestock to come anywhere.Your neighbor can’t just let his dog or kids come into your yard and destroy your stuff.
Even if I had enough fence (I brought a single strand-a few miles long), I don’t have a strong enough solar fencer to cover the whole campus.>And they use plastic insulators so if a fire comes in, they burn.If current isn’t strong enough, the livestock goes right through.If I can ever get to the actual farming, this easily a full time job for me.Until then?

Friday, July 17, 2009

the process

This was the last puff adder we ate when Shalon was here

a close up of the fangs

I'm ready for my close up...

gutting it

the skin

the meat

The MEAL!!

Hadn't had much for snakes lately-then the students say a big puff adder by their compound a few days ago. Jon missed a green mamba yesterday behind the house, and someone brought us a small black mamba. Guess snake season never really ends!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thanks Rob!

Rob from Maryland donated soccer jerseys to the college for its football team.
(Seriously,what is the correct spelling-football or futbol??)

Out of 16 pictures, I found 2 that were any good.
I told them they were worse than my kids when it came to pictures!

Sakala James, Gideon, Big Isaac, James M, Joshua, Clarence
Moses-Team Captain
Little Isaac, Chimbaza, Luca, Justine (yes, there is an e), Sandwell

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the beginning of another transition...part one

It seems as though we are always going through some sort of transition at varying degrees. The latest is Paul and Lori being here. We have been trying to help them with their transition. They didn’t go through any of the training that we went through in preparation to come here. We know how vital it was for us and our survival and we expect some struggles for them in the next six months. The training does not prevent the struggles, it just helps you recognize them for what they are (culture shock, transition) and what is coming next. Just being able to recognize where you are at and what’s wheat helps a great deal. We just found out that there are some more couples that are coming next year. One of them just got married and has never been here before. We don’t know if they are going to get any training before they come or not, we pray they do. Why are we here? It may be to help walk some of these couples through the mine field also known as the mission field and not get blown up or maimed which can easily happen. We were the first ones here and we did not have anyone help guide us through and we wound up stepping on quite a few. At least we had some training to help us deal with it. Are we looking forward to that being one of our roles? Not particularly. It is very draining and time consuming. For some reason GOD likes us to be “the point man/ the first”. It takes a “different” kind of person to be the point man. Maybe we are suited for it, I don’t know. I do wonder sometimes. We have gotten pretty battered and bruised in the last year, but we are still here. I guess that says something. I know one thing for sure: you change-being in the field changes you. I have changed a lot in the last year. Not all for the better I’m sure. Going through so much in such a short period of time, you have to change. You have to adapt; often just to survive. You have to change or I don’t think you’d make it. Being able to adapt and function to your constantly changing environment is the key. If you can not or will not do that because you think things should adapt to you and your way- well, you are going to have a tough road ahead of you.


Mariah playing Sorry

Myron and his ever patient horse, Eve


Myron again-this was after the gator accident

Mariah and Memory


Every kid has to have a picture playing in the cupboard

love the hat!


Greta and Hanna

African Hailey with plaited hair and her baby on her back

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

july prayer team letter

Dear Prayer Team,
As I write this we have finished saying goodbye to the last American team for the summer (winter!). It has been a long stretch of teams coming and going since mid-April. There is a group of pastors here through the middle of this week, then one more group of national pastors the following two weeks then all teams are done until a small group comes in October.
It has been stressful and very tiring at times to have so many people come and go, but we have TRULY ENJOYED the fellowship, the new and old friendships, and the love these teams have brought over! We will miss them all!
· Safety for the American teams. We did have one major accident with the saw and two malaria cases, but overall it was a very safe summer.
· Much work was accomplished on the campus grounds including the walls of the library and numerous staff, bathhouse and student cabins.
· WE PAID OFF THE MORTGAGE ON OUR HOME!!! We have awesome renters and our home is now completely paid for so we are able to have a little bit of income from that.
· The kids have been able to keep up with school fairly well this summer. We have three and a half weeks of material left, and then we will take a break and then begin again in September.

· Transition-we seem to always be in it!! We came, hit the ground running, then had teams here… now we will transition to yet something else different for us. We will have less that needs to be done right now and less people around again. Pray especially for the kids as they really enjoyed having all the teams here.
· Pray for Cybil, as she is not quite a grown-up, but not one of the little kids anymore either! Pray for her to find her place in a culture that is not what she knows.
· Pray for Paul and Lori as they are now “officially” here to stay! Once the teams are completely gone at the end of July, they will be going through the real transition of being here and what life will normally be like on a day to day basis. They have accomplished much on compound one where there home will be. They are waiting for the steel for the roof to arrive so they can finish the house and move in.
· We are still looking to trade in our vehicle and get a newer one. The cost of vehicles here is ridiculous! We of course still have our Ford E350 van for sale in Minnesota that we would really like to sell.
· Pray for the Gospelink container being sent in July. Pray it would arrive safely, on time, and all the contents would be in good shape. We have a few items on the container as well, including a propane tank less water heater so we can have hot water!
· Please continue to pray for financial supporters to take the place of those who are no longer able to fulfill their commitments. We need another $400 a month in new commitments to be at 100%.
Thank you again for your outpouring to the Father for us!
In His Grip,
Brian and Kelly Jo
Cybil, Mariah, Greta, Hailey, Joseph, Myron, Henry

Friday, July 3, 2009

bush fire

These are from the first main bush fire here. This is the same fire Myron was going to see when he flew out of the gator. It was started by some of our workers, but in the wrong time of day. Luckily they got it under control before it went too far. These things spring so fast! Last year two little girls Myron's age died in a fire, overcome by the smoke. About a month later the father died as well from the grief.

One of the workers beating out the flames

a view across through to compound 13

Brian getting out a few spots at the end of the line

the fire, after it had died down some

While an early burn is better than a late burn, no burn at all is best!! All those nutrients the soil so badly needs being burned off. And then, when the rains come, the rest will start washing away with nothing to hold them on...

Group 3 Teams

Paul is the one in the red hat; Lori is the shorter blond, two down from Paul


Alabama-from Church of Living Water, one of our supporting churches!!

new stuff

this is my new hair do-it took close to 14 hours over 3 days to do
yes, that is purple on the ends

This is our new craziness-Caleb. Look up the bible story-draw your own parallel!!
He is a rottweiler. This was when we first got him, he is MUCH BIGGER now (2 weeks later).
With all the busyness, yes, just what we need-a puppy! Eve probably won't have pups anymore and Elijah is developing a taste for fresh chicken. We figured we needed to get a pup around for Elijah and Eve to train up some.

Lori and Paul just brought home their new dog, sorry no pictures. She is an 8 year old fox terrier. A very medium size dog, fits easily in your lap.