Today was a spectacular day of visiting the Chobe National Park. The team left early this morning for a day of adventure, starting with a ferry ride across the Zambezi River into Zimbabwe and then into Botswana. Our morning featured a river cruise which allowed us to see a vast array of birds, elephants, hippos, and a crocodile. Several elephant families came down to the water, and it was just like family day at the pool, with splashing and playing around. They were aware of our presence, but didn’t seem to mind at all.
The afternoon featured a driving safari which allowed us to see more birds, monitor lizards, a couple of species of impala, water buffalo, giraffes, lots more elephants and hippos, and a mongoose family. We had to laugh at the creativity of God when we looked at the elephants. Who would have ‘thunk of a trunk?!! Patson and Patricia were able to accompany us on the trip as well, and we all saw a number of “first-times” today. We love spending time with them.
We fly home tomorrow from Livingstone, so are busy packing bags and getting things ready. We so appreciate the prayers of those of you back home, it is a reminder to us of the team behind the team. We look forward to seeing all of you very soon!
Today the entire team including Patson and Patricia made an excursion from Lusaka to Livingstone to see one of the 7 wonders, Victoria Falls.
It indeed was a wonder, spectacular, awesome, and incredible, but why shouldn’t it be, considering its creator. We also had a “babboon encounter”, as a couple dozen of them came walking down the trail, families with babies on their backs, grandmas and granddads too. They just walked by us on the trail as if they were tourists not interested in us at all. We tried to act likewise, but I think we failed.
The mist from the falls, combined with the rainstorm that popped up created the first “white out” rainstorm we have ever seen. The wind blew our ponchos up over our heads, and we all had a second shower fof the day. Simply spectacular.
Tomorrow we plan to go on a day safari, and had our briefing tonight on how not to be animal food!
We had a great day today in Zambia. The formal CHE vision seminar finished yesterday, but today Brenda, Linda, Stephanie, and Tina hosted 30 women for an all-day seminar. There was much enthusiasm, singing, teaching, discussion, and praise. They did lessons on marriage, nutrition, and discipleship with the ladies participating in role playing and skits to reinforce the messages. They gobbled up every word, writing it all down in their notebooks. They are very eager to learn, and were so appreciative with what we had to offer.
The materials we bought yesterday were put to use, as Gary, Jay, and Vince assisted Patson in a concrete project, laying concrete on all of the front surfaces and steps of the school/residence. The warm African sun cooked us to medium-rare! Afterwards Gary and Vince taught the children the finer points of Ultimate Frisbee, American Baseball, and American Football. They didn’t quite understand the concept of fumbles, forward passing behind the line of scrimmage, forward laterals, etc. I guess it is a bit complex, as in their “football”, all they have to worry about is “offsides”. At the end of the day, there was a real, live, backyard football game, and everyone came out a “WEEE-NER”!
Vince and Jay met with Patson and some of his board of directors this afternoon to learn more about the ministry and the vision they have for development. With the help of supporters, Patson has been able to purchase a property across the street, and has dreams of building a larger schoolhouse and expanding to offer an education to more of the community’s children. He is a selfless man of great faith and love, and we are honored to partner with him.
We will be heading down to Livingstone tomorrow morning at 5 AM, so made our last trek across the famous “bridge”. 4 years ago during Pastor Aaron’s visit, the bridge was made up of 3 car doors lashed together. As you can see by the picture, it just isn’t what it used to be, as now it is a series of logs and sticks lashed together, with various pieces of old car sheet metal here and there. (MUCH less stable than 3 car doors!) We are thankful that nobody fell off or lost a toe. The local children run across it bare-footed, and found our lady’s apprehension to cross it quite comical.
As the team prepares for our trip tomorrow, the ladies are busy packing, and the men are dutifully taking one for the team by watching the NCAA tournament. Maybe we’ll even see IU play!
On Wednesday morning we awoke to another beautiful Zambian morning, had quiet time, breakfast and began the foot journey we have come to love through the dirt pathways and streets of NG’ombe. Upon arrival we were, once again, warmly greeted by some Zambian children that were not in school and spent some time teaching them how to play Frisbee. School let out for a morning break and the calm Frisbee tossing turned into an extremely physical contest that more closely resembled Rugby. Whenever the Frisbee hit the ground children’s bodies dove on top of it as other small bodies came running, others would fly through the air and land on top of the pile. At least half of them were little girls. It was a miracle nobody was hurt but these are tough kids.
We started day 2 of CHE training with encouragement when Francis showed up. Francis could not stay on Tuesday as his mother was ill and he needed to leave to attend her. A small group of us prayed for his mother and he reported that “she was cured.” We had another full class for the CHE training with a few of yesterday’s more quiet attendees warming up and participating nicely.
Toward the end of today’s training, we were joined by Lovemore Zulu, a Zambian born CHE trainer, who shared with the attendees the various towns in Zambia where some CHE projects were already up and running. He offered to be the liaison that would help the pastors organize CHE training within their communities if they so desired. We were encouraged when the pastors, who represented 8 or 9 local churches, agreed to identify 3-4 people within each of their church bodies to be trained in CHE. They committed to have this done and meet again with Lovemore on Saturday, March 24th at 14:00 hrs (8:00am Indianapolis time) to discuss and strategically plan the next step which is to begin 30 hours of train- the-trainer sessions. Please keep the date and time in your prayers as God continues to move Christian leaders in the community.
Brenda commented on how she was moved to tears as she reflected on how God orchestrated Aaron’s meeting Patson 4-5 years ago, Aaron’s email to Patson as we began the study in James last year and now the second TPCC trip to Lusaka. God is being glorified as Christian leaders are being empowered to take ownership of the physical and spiritual future of their community. They will be able to introduce people in the community to the Word of God while educating them in disease prevention, economic opportunities and identify other avenues to take active ownership of community development. This multiplication that has already started will continue to expand as CHE takes hold in this community, and doors are opened to share the Gospel with more and more people. Jay, Vince, Patson, Amos and I finished our day at the church/school “dirt surfing.”
Tomorrow, Brenda, Linda, Tina and Stephanie will hold a Women’s Bible Study as Jay, Vince and I mix and pour a concrete walkway and patio area.
Greetings from Zambia! After an exciting and eventful start to the trip, we finally left Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, and arrived in Lusaka, Zambia Monday night. We even got bumped up to first class on our final leg from Johannesburg to Lusaka. Vince was so excited by his first-class dinner that he did a photo shoot before devouring it! Look for it in the upcoming release of Gourmet Digest.
It was like a family reunion this morning, reuniting with Patson and Patricia Sakala and their family. They are doing well, Patricia having recovered from Malaria in December. The building that we finished last June looks great. They have maintained it well, and even improved on it since we last saw it. It now is host to 95 students and still growing. We are amazed at the strength of the connections we made last June, when we saw how many of the children and adults remembered us and welcomed us back.
Having lost two days because of the flight delays, we jumped right into the first day of the CHE vision seminar. Tina and Linda led the seminar of 25 attendees. Patson and Patricia graciously hosted, and provided breakfast and lunch for everyone. The information was well received, with enthusiastic participation by all. We expect to see everyone back tomorrow. We were able to have supper tonight with Patson and Patricia, and also Megan and Bwalya (both of Arise Africa, a co-supporter of Patson and Patricia). It was a rich time of fellowship, and also an opportunity to hear the strategic visions of each. It is so exciting to see how God has given each of us this opportunity to serve Him and raise the name of Jesus in this community!
All the bags were packed and checked, we boarded the plane with excitement and anticipation. We taxied to the runway, the pilot spooled up the engines, and we prepared ourselves to be jettisoned into the air. The Ferrari-like acceleration never happened, we knew we were in trouble when we looked out the window and saw the soap box derby car overtake us. Engine failure on takeoff, flight cancelled.
Thank you Lord for the safety of a cancelled flight, but there are no flights available until Sunday. We are so disappointed but are fully convinced that God is in control. Lord, have your way with us and this trip.
June 26, 2011 – Day 10
Having spent the previous day relaxing and reflecting, we awoke per our “normal” time to walk for our last time through the village to go worship at Work of Grace church with Patson, Patricia, and the congregation. Before leaving, Bryce led us in a singing devotional – two songs that we’d planned to sing in church today – “Nothing But the Blood”, and “Open the Eyes of My Heart”. We are coming together as a “choir” although still not star quality – we’ll do in a pinch. Continue reading