Sunday, November 27, 2011

Doesn’t Look Like Much, But . . .

MICS new water tower
This morning we took a walk. It had rained all day yesterday, but the sun was shining now. This was a great chance to get some exercise and breathe some cool air. Since the rains started 10 days ago, the temps dropped considerably and had become very comfortable. (high 70’s to low 80’s)

First stop was the school office to return a few books to their proper place. Then we took the path that shortcut over to “Broadway”, the only named road here in Macha. Broadway takes you either to Macha’s points of interest, past Vision Restaurant, the roads that go to the radio station, the market, and the hospital, or going the other direction, to the airstrip.

We headed to the airstrip, peeked in the windows of the Flying Mission bush plane, and then took the path over to the Macha Works property. We chatted with Jonathon, the security guard on duty, before we noticed a new metal structure. It was the size and shape of a new water tank stand that Macha Works was promising MICS! It was currently purple and black, but most likely will get a finishing coat of green like the other towers around the village.

The tower doesn’t look like much, but to us it is the symbol of hope, of truth, of commitment; it is a statement of value. You see, for us, that tower represents water to cover all the needs. When water does not need to be addressed daily, it means other significant needs can be addressed and resolved.

It is the symbol of truth. When Mike and Geoffrey of Macha Works tell us that they are working to solve the problem, we can believe them and trust their word to fulfill their commitment to MICS. By their actions, Macha Works gives MICS value. They validate the mission of this school and boarding house to educate and train up young Zambians to walk in godliness and truth. The community of Macha sees the possibilities that could be realized when the next generation, these children, are given the opportunity to have hope and a future that would lift them from the bondage of poverty, disease and unemployment that comes with being uneducated.

Conduit of Blessing
Mr Luzutu had perfect attendance this year, he gets to go first!

Ms Chileshe dons her new specs!
A Krause end-of-the-school-year tradition is a party for the entire staff. The teachers, the teachers-in-training, the boarding parents or chaperones, and the cooking & cleaning staff come together to celebrate another successful year.  

Every Zambian party involves cake and punch. Part of this Krause tradition is to play games with the prizes being very large bags containing many random items like clothes, shoes and other practical items. The catch is each recipient will be able to keep a few things for themselves but are to watch for where God is at work and be a part of the solution by giving away the items from their bag. They are learning that no matter what your economical level, God wants to use you to bless others. This is a biblical principle of giving.

Bina Juster & her Mickey outfit.
At Valleybrook Church we’ve coined the term “conduit of blessing”. We recognize that when we walk in obedience with God, He will invite us to participate in what He is doing to make His presence known to others. God wants to flow through all of us into others; this is the primary way God works. The key is being in a personal relationship with Him so that you know His voice, and recognize His ways so that you can respond in obedience. When we see God’s invitation and we respond, the blessing goes on and on; in turn we are blessed as well.
Ms Mungo, Ms Mwiinga & Ms Siyumbelo show off their new apparel.

We are seeing that first hand as we serve here in Macha. God is showing Himself to others, His word has become powerful and has changed lives. Many that felt forgotten are visible, valued and their words count. What God intends to do in and through us is much bigger than we could ever do on our own!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Day, 3 God Appointments

On Sunday, after some needed R & R in Livingstone, we prepared to make our way back to Macha. Little did we know that God had arranged three appointments for us. As we usually do, we prayed before we ventured out that this day would be God’s day to do what He intended, and if possible He would invite us to be a part of His activity.

God Appt. #1
We’d planned to have breakfast at Zigzag B & B because we knew they had free wi-fi. We had pre-arranged with LeeAnn and Tara to video chat via Skype, but for the previous five days we’d not had a good internet connection. In fact, we heard that it was country–wide; they were working on it in Lusaka, the capital. It took a couple of tries, but eventually we got to see and talk with the girls, and Sasha, our black lab mix! In seeing their faces, and hearing their voices we realized how much we really miss them. Really for the first time we felt homesick, not for home but for LeeAnn and Tara.

God Appt. #2
At our usual potty-stop in Choma, Kathy noticed a car parked in front of the convenience store with the Jubilee Centre logo. We recognized that logo from the organization we worked with in Ndola five & six years ago. Ndola is 10 hours north of here.  As we entered the store we saw our friend Lawrence Temfwe, the director of Jubilee Centre Ministries. It was really great catching up with him, and his family & ministry, and there were hugs all around.  
Kathy, Lawrence Temfwe, Daniel Temfwe and Greg.

God Appt. #3
In Mbabala, our usual cabbage stop, we were approached by a man who spoke excellent English, he asked us if we would give a women a ride to the Macha Mission Hospital. Both of us felt that God wanted us to be her transport so he showed us the young women laying under a tree on a matt near the road. There were others there to help lift her into the Land Cruiser and older women that appeared to be her mother, rode with her. They did not speak English and we don’t understand Tonga so the communication was hard. When Kathy began to pray everyone knew what that was about. As we came to the hospital Kathy got help from the staff and they brought a wheelchair because the girl was unable to walk. We really don’t know the problem she was having. We just knew she would receive the help she needed. We prayed for her again and left.
Mbabala, just drive up and put in your order for vegetables and someone will bring it right to your window!  Like a drive-up Farmer's Market!

Kathy is buying the weekly cabbage for the boarding house.

The woman  the striped top is being loaded into our car to take her to the hospital.

More God Encounters
We continue to have great conversations with the staff. As I (Greg) delivered 3 sick students to their homes on Monday, Chris, one of the male teachers and I had a great conversation. I am finding that God places people in the car with me and it is a great time to talk to them about family, dreams, and what God is doing in their life.

I (Kathy) had a heart-to-heart with one of the teachers. I had expressed to her that God was waking me up in the middle of the night, and bringing her and her 10 year daughter to mind. I told her that I was praying for them whenever God was bringing them to mind. I asked her if it was possible that her daughter needed to be here at MICS with her instead of living in Ndola with her brother. At first she told me that this was the best arrangement, but as she went on she let me know that her brother was the one who thought it best to have the girl living there with him and not her. Last night, this teacher came to our door to ask me if she could come find me later the next day to talk and pray more about this. Of course, I agreed! We hugged and cried together, this was a huge step in my relationship with her as it is not common for Zambian women to be vulnerable, especially in front of white people. Please be praying for her, that God will reveal Himself and His plan for her and her daughter.

I am learning that Zambian women have terribly hard lives. Often they are single or widowed with children, or one of many wives to one man. The women support the family, and they work in the gardens and fields, care for their parents, and neighbors, and often take in orphans, too. They are a strong mix of Tough Girl because of their circumstances and Nice Girl as a result of their culture.

Our time in Livingstone again for some R & R was really a restful weekend and our last getaway before we move into the homestretch with finishing out school, & all the year-end parties/activities. We crossed the border into Botswana for a river safari and a safari game drive. We saw elephants, hippo, buffalo, crocodile, giraffe, and a huge pride of lions. Our Motswana (that’s what a person from Botswana is) guide gave Greg a name in Setswana, “Tabo” that means happy, and Kathy the name “Tabisi” which we think means Mrs. Happy! Kathy learned to play Mancala at a curios shop. But the thing we enjoyed the most was the 2 warm showers. Our first showers in a couple of weeks! The little things in life can also be the best!

This Friday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. There are 11 Americans that live within an hour of each other. We are invited to an overnight in a guest house in Choma to celebrate together.  In true American style it is ‘bring a dish to pass” for the Friday night supper, and a pancake breakfast Saturday morning.  After breakfast we will then drive back to Macha, pickup the housekeeping staff and return to Choma so they can do their monthly shopping. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We miss you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Baby!

It’s a good thing that Greg has made a lot of trips to the hospital over the past several weeks with students or adults that needed medical attention. Those were his practice runs! 

On Tuesday night, just after we finished evening devotions and prayer with the boarding kids, Justin rushed over and said “It’s time!” It took a few seconds to register with us; we shouted “It’s time? Yvonne is ready to deliver?” Justin nodded like crazy and we said “Okay, let’s go!”

By the time we got out the door and locked it, Yvonne was standing at the vehicle. Justin had run back to the house to get her suitcase. We got Yvonne into the front seat and waited and waited . . . where was Justin? Yvonne, who knows just a little English, quietly said “My water.” I (Kathy) repeated “Your water? Your water broke?” Yvonne nodded. I asked “when did your water break?”  I thought maybe this had happened before she’d gotten out of the house. “Right now!” was her answer. 

With that, Greg was pulling out of the yard. He’d decided that if Justin wasn’t coming to us, we would pull around the building and pick him up at his door. 

It’s one thing to make daytime trips to the hospital in Macha from the outskirts of the village. You see, there are no street signs, no visible markers other than dirt roads and trees. All the turns look the same, and they all turn to the right. Because Greg had made this trip several times each week, he didn’t get flustered. He made the bumpy trip in extremely good time!

We arrived at Macha Mission Hospital at approximately 8:30pm, and by 10:30 we had a call from Justin telling us that they were parents of a big baby girl, they named Jody or Judy. With the strong accent we still aren’t sure of the exact name.

The next morning at 5:30, our phone had rung, and 30 seconds later Justin was tapping at our bedroom window. Could we please take him back to the hospital? He brought with him, a pail of hot water for bathing, and a meal for Yvonne.

Hospital care in Zambia is nothing like the States. In fact, the hospital itself reminds us of movie scenes from the ‘40s, or like Greg would say “it looks like the set from the TV series ‘MASH’.” The labor and maternity wards are open with about 40 beds. Patients supply their own linens, and family members bring in meals. But being a mission hospital, the health care is free.

Baby Judy . . . or Jody, just 12 hours old!

Justin, Yvonne and Baby Milandu
Later that same morning, Greg & Justin made one more trip to the hospital. This time to bring Momma Yvonne and Baby Judy  . . . or Jody home!So that’s what it’s like to have a baby living in the bush!

Praise God for this new baby. Delivery went smoothly for mom and baby; she is a healthy 3.6kg or 7.9 lbs. 

Praise God for last night’s thunder and lightning storm that brought a good downpour that lasted until morning. We loved the fireworks but the Zambians all told us that they were scared!  

We also had a great teachers meeting today. We have been teaching the five principles of believing God, and today we talked about #3 I am who God says I am. We shared with them that they each have a God-created identity (GCI). In all eternity God has purposed them to walk in their GCI in this time and in this place. They each shared from their own personal stories. It was very touching, and we felt as though each one had given us a gift from their hearts. AND as they each shared, they selected a watch from the collection that many of you helped us collect. They were thrilled!

Teachers, proudly showing off their watches!
Our weekly meeting went twice as long as usual but they didn’t care! And usually they are pretty quiet, but this time all shared deeply from their hearts. We feel like we have many new friends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

God is Faithful, He is Our Provider!

We prayed for rain and it rained all night on Sunday night. Right now we have a low water table and there is no water coming to our pipes at the school. God also directed us to purchase a tank large enough for one day’s water supply. We mounted it in the trailer and make a trip daily to refill it. 

It is amazing how much water it takes to have enough for 130 people to drink, prepare food, bath, and flush toilets.  This culture knows how to conserve water and they are adjusting well. Most of their homes do not have running water. We on the other hand are not used to it. I can’t tell you the last time I bathed out of a bucket. There was a learning curve. 

We (Kathy & I) talked last night that we can see that we are really called and enjoy the “people stuff“ but not the tasks that keep everything moving. We have seen so many needs here, not only with the students, but the teachers and staff as well. This place needs many others to come and keep everything running. This is more than what one or two people can do.

Here in rural Zambia, it is not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife and family. We can see the deep wounds this has caused in the women, and ultimately the children. I had a conversation with one of the male boarding parents, who is 22, and he told me his generation does not think it is healthy and wants to see that change. I was encouraged!

 We see some very deep emotional needs in some of the students.  So many have been abandoned, or orphaned. Their hearts are wounded. The only family and love they know is here at MICS. Other students have grandparents or “aunties” that they stay with on the weekends & during term breaks. In many cases, these weekend homes offer no structure or care. We see that they would better off in full-time boarding. 

One student we have had to talk with several times stays with his grandmother on the weekends. She is very old, and unable to handle this youngster. He is strong-willed and prefers his friends in the marketplace that also have no boundaries. He is often absent, tardy and disrespectful. The boarding father brought him to us this morning, as he is at his wits end.  

One of our teachers has a 10 year old daughter living with her grandma in another city because she can’t afford to have her here. We ask ourselves, “How can she pour herself into the students in her class each day, and then the boarding kids each afternoon & evening but not be able to be a mom to her own daughter?”  We see the need to find a sponsor so her daughter can get the same education that her own mother is offering to many others. 

The boarding kids have dreams. Last night before evening devotions I talked with Mutinta, who is in 6th grade and he has a dream of being a Pharmacist. He loves science and sees that as a gift and feels that’s his call. That’s the stuff we get excited about. 

We have also seen the quality of education the students are getting here at MICS. On Saturday, a business man stopped by to tour the school. He lives 1 ½ hours away in Choma.  He’d heard about the school and wants his daughters to start attending next year. We also have had several teachers bring applications because they have heard about the working conditions and quality of education here at MICS & they want to be part of it. God is on the move here in this bush village and it is exciting see. 

Now that we have a workable solution for water, we can pay more attention to the people and letting God pour into them through us.

Here it is! New tank arrived from Choma!

Dean, Fisher, Greg and Ethony unload the new water tank.

Kathy helped hold the hose for this tank's maiden fill.

Joyce, one of the boarding cooks draws water front the 1,000 ltr. tank. Greg has to fill this once a day, instead of making multiple water runs with containers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wat’er Day?

If you have gotten our emails, then you have been aware that water is a huge problem for us. Actually, it’s the lack of water that is the issue!  This past week we’d sent out a prayer request asking for help with our water situation. It has become apparent that the reason we do not have water from our taps or from our bore hole is because the water table is too low to pump any water. The only lasting solution is for the rains to come, and keep raining for some time. 

Just a couple of nights ago, during evening devotions with the boarding students, we read from Numbers 20 & 21. This was the story of Israelites wandering in the desert and they, too, had run out of water. Following the Israelites griping and complaining to Aaron and Moses, God tells Moses that He hears their complaints and instructs Moses on what to do. While Moses’ anger got the best of him, and it cost him dearly, God supernaturally produced water by having it flow out from the rocks. The Jewish people came to know God as their provider once again.  We took that as a sign that God is preparing to provide for us, and we are dependent upon Him for everything we need.

This morning Greg went to the office of Macha Works; they oversee any construction & maintenance for our property. He wanted to inquire as to any movement on solving the water problem. Macha Works was not aware that our holding tank was empty. Later today, they came with a John Deere tractor and trailer, loaded up our big green tank and then returned with it partially filled. This was an answer to our prayers. We are hoping that this will at least get us through the weekend.

While a new, bigger tank on a tall stand or tower is in the works for the future, right now it appears that we will need to continue to fill our containers from the nearest flowing bore hole. 
So, please keep praying for the rains to come!

Macha Works came to refill our water tank. They took our tank (on sidewalk), brought it back half full, emptied the water  into buckets, cans, tubs etc., replaced the tank on our sidewalk, and then poured the water back into the tank.

When we go for water, we take all the containers we can find to the nearest bore hole.

This is our nearest flowing bore hole right now. Pictured with Greg  are the security guard (left) Justine Milandu, computer lab teacher and boarding parent (center) along with a student that came to help.,

The Photo Project
While Greg is busy keeping enough water on hand, Kathy has been busy teaching the 6th grade computer/photography class. The 6th graders have taken on a project to send thank you’s to all the sponsors for student’s tuition/boarding. Each sponsored student has written a letter to their sponsors, and the 6th graders have been taking the students photos. They have learned to scan and save letters, how to take appealing photos and will soon learn how to send emails with attachments. 

Today was photo retake day. Each 6th grader had evaluated the photos that they had previously taken and determined which photos were “keepers” and which needed to be retaken. Kathy had not only taught them what makes a photo appealing, but also how to interact with their subjects. They learned that the photographer was responsible for the background and lighting, the pose including facial expression and helping their subject to feel comfortable during the photo session. Each said, “This is harder than I thought!” Several had “glorious” moments when they reviewed their photos and screamed “Look at this one! I like it!”
What a day! Or “Wat’er day!”
Chrispine, photo taken by 6th grade student.

Divide, another photo taken by 6th graders.

Double, this is Divide's twin. Photo taken by 6th graders.

--On a sad note: This evening just after dinner, we learned that the older brother of two of our boarding students passed away today. This was quite hard on the two boys who are twins, but also on all of the boarding students as they have become a family as well. Each one has endured similar loss, and death impacts every family here too often. After a short devotional time, Greg took the boys home to their family as this seemed best. Please pray for Double and Divide and for their family as they grieve together and plan for the funeral.