Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Field Trip to Livingstone

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It is Tuesday evening here in Macha Zambia. We have spent a couple of full days in Livingstone combining a bit of sightseeing along with shopping for plumbing and building supplies.

We arrived in Livingstone in the late afternoon on Sunday. After checking into the Jolly Boys Backpacker Lodge we drove to “the bridge” that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe, over the Zambezi River. There is an incredible view of Victoria Falls from that bridge that I wanted to show Dan. Then we went to Zigzag Restaurant for dinner. What a great surprise to watch occasional highlights of the Packer game! We felt like we were home for a little while!

Monday was our “day off” and we made the most of it. We crossed the river over to Botswana, to Chobe Safari Lodge where we took a river safari in the morning and a game drive in the afternoon. Our family has been involved in Africa since 2000, and this is one of our most favorite excursions, so I was thrilled to be able to take Dan on safari. We saw so many animals including hippos and cape buffaloes, warthogs and crocodiles, giraffes, fish eagles and a pride of lions. In all of my safari experiences I have never seen so many elephants! There must have been hundreds!
After we’d returned to Livingstone, we connected with Bob & Jody Hayton, a missionary couple whose father lives in Hayward WI. We’d promised to bring back some items for them. We ended up staying for hours with them; we both came away saying “they are like us!” God was so in this relationship. When I shared that I was working on radio and television advertising and promotion for the school, they were able to take me over to ZNBC television station. This is the national television network for Zambia. I met the sales manager and she helped me with all the questions that I had about how to get advertising on their station. Not only was she a Christian, but she is a member of the BIC (Brethren in Christ Church). If you remember, the BIC owns the land that MICS is built on and the school will fall under their jurisdiction soon. She knew about MICS and was more than willing to help me with this project! All the way around, this connection was divine! 

Here’s how it played out: Our friends, Mark and Peggy Halvorsen, who are involved in work in Liberia gave Jim Burmeister our contact info, Jim called my wife, Kathy. We found out that Jim goes to the same church in Hayward that our daughter, LeeAnn does. Jim asked us if it was possible to bring back some items from Zambia that he would sell to benefit his daughter and son-in-law’s ministry. We made contact with them, Bob & Jody, and in talking with them, they are able to get us connected with the sales manager of the national television network, who I will need to work with to get TV ads on the air! It took each person involved to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, but you can see only God can orchestrate all of that! Wow, isn’t that amazing?

Today, Tuesday, we drove out to the Victoria Falls National Park to see this Wonder of the World. While the water is quite low its size still amazed us. If you’ve seen Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls will make it look small. We then went shopping for the building materials and plumbing parts that we still need. We got started at 10am and didn’t finish until 4pm! We went to Handyman’s Paradise (small Menards) then on to two hardware stores and the market. We found more plumbing parts at the market (like our farmer’s market) than we did at the stores we visited! 

We arrived back in Macha with enough time for me to Skype with Kathy for about an hour while Dan organized all our receipts. Now, we’ve put together a huge TO DO list for our remaining three work days. While I am out video-taping and interviewing people for the TV ads that I will be producing (really my production staff at DiscoverWisconsin Television will be doing this for me, thank you guys!), Dan will be finishing up some plumbing and hooking up water heaters. Together, between the two of us, we will be finishing up water pipes & covering them up, finishing up the septic dry wells, pouring concrete and building a cover for the borehole. You can see that we have much to do and not a lot of time. Please pray that our efforts will be multiplied and we will have completed all of this before we fly out on Saturday.
Thank you for standing with us, and praying for us. We feel your prayers here. 

God has been so good; He has been affirming us and confirming what we sense He is directing us to move in. We see so much more than we first saw and it is so good!

With excitement and joy for what He is up to,
Greg, with Dan

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Zambian Culture

Here we are in front of Mono's house.

October 27, 2012

Last night we were invited to an authentic Zambian meal at Mono’s house. Mono is a fabulous cook; had she lived in a metropolis you could picture her with her own cooking show. And, let me add, Mono does not have electricity or indoor plumbing. Here’s the menu from left to right:
1. Tonga sauce, which was very good!
2. Tonga chicken
3. Pumpkin leaves with ground nuts. (Ground nuts are peanuts, and a staple here.)
4. Cabbage leaves with ground nuts.
5. Beans
6. Mashed potatoes.
7. Nshima is in a pot on the floor. (Pronounced “n’sheema”, with an almost unnoticeable “n”.)
My dinner at Mono's
Eating out at Macha's only restaurant.
Every Zambian meal starts with hand washing.
Today we worked a full day, but had decided that we’d eat at the only local eatery, Vision Restaurant.  To eat at Vision you must call ahead and order your meals, let them know what time you will want to dine. We called at noon and Dan and I both ordered double cheeseburgers and chips; Greg K ordered a chicken wrap with chips and Gil & Ronda ordered chicken wraps as well.  When we arrived we found out that all they had were Beef & Rice or Beef & Potatoes. So, we all had Beef & Rice and it was good. You’ll notice that we are eating by candlelight as the power here in Macha is intermittent, and often is off during the evenings.

Zambian carpentry tools
Tomorrow is Sunday, and we plan to attend the BIC Church (that’s Brethren in Christ Church) for part of the service. Most Sunday services last approximately three hours. Greg K is flying home tomorrow, so Flying Mission will be sending the plane for him sometime in the morning. Gil & Ronda will ride along and see him off at Lusaka International Airport before returning on Monday.

After we see the Krause's get off the ground, Dan and I will jump in the car and drive to Livingstone for a little R & R. It’s about a three hour trip. While there we will take in a game drive and a river safari, and see Victoria Falls. And before we head back to Macha, we will do a little shopping at Handyman’s Paradise, equivalent to a small Menards or Home Depot for some materials that we need to finish some of our projects.

Macha bank; it's a shipping container.
Before we head back we will connect with a missionary couple there in Livingstone who helps widows to set up cottage industries so that they can be self-supporting. We will be filling our duffel bags (that we brought all the uniforms in) with items that these women have made. The father of one of the missionaries lives in Hayward WI, and he will be selling these goods for the women. He attends the same church as our daughter, LeeAnn.  

Sylvia does a great job as a boarding parents; she calls Kathy & I, "Mum & Dad".
That’s what’s happening on this side of the world! Keep praying that we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, that the work be completed well and on time, at the same time we will be an encouragement to those around us.

Glad to be on this journey with you,
Greg, and Dan

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Another Day’s Work

Thursday, October 25, 2012
So what does a work day look like here in Macha?  Dan and I get up early while it’s still dark and get started and we don’t stop until after the sun sets.  Midday, we usually stop for lunch; and only today did I need to lay down for a short nap (for the record, Dan did not!)   After lunch, the five of us: Gil, Ronda, Greg K, Dan and I did a “walk through”. We went through every room in the new building and took note of everything that still needed to be done yet. Most of that will be completed by the workers that have been hired on. Thank you, Valleybrook Church for your support. Your offering is paying these day-workers to paint inside & out, put up ceiling tiles, tile the bathrooms and clean & polish the floors. 

Dan & I were excited to finish connecting all the outside fixtures, water pipes and sewer pipes today! It’s good to actually complete a project. We have found that since the water pipes had been lying dormant for a year, many were broken and had to be replaced. Another big job will be to clean out all the interior fixtures as a lot of dust and dirt has settled in them; its amazing that before they have been functional they are already clogged. We will be working to clean those and get clear, clean water flowing through them.

Me along with Wize, Weston and Elifer.
Today, Ronda outfitted our three kids with new uniforms and shoes. They came after chapel time to be “sized up”. Immediately after school, Weston, the first grader was knocking at the door to pick up his bag of clothes! He was pretty excited. 

We want to say a big THANK YOU out to those of you who donated uniforms & gifts: Crestview Academy, Missy, Jakob and Cora Vircks, Abbey Munz, Michele Dostal and Discover Wisconsin Television staff;  along with a little help from Savers and Goodwill. Because of you, we brought over 100 polo shirts, 75 pairs of pants, 25 pairs of shorts, 22 jumpers or skirts and about 45 pairs of shoes. These clothing items will be inventoried and go into the storeroom under the watchful eye of Grace, the house manager. As children outgrow or wear out their clothes and shoes, Grace will make sure that they have what they need.
Thank you for all this!

Grace, with her jewelry gifts.
I haven’t had much time to connect with the boarding kids as our work projects are demanding much of our attention. By the time we return to the house, the kids have eaten, showered, had nightly devotions and headed to bed. I have gotten a chance to see a couple of familiar faces and give some hugs. 

Kathy tells me that many are expressing to her how much they enjoy reading what we are up to, so I’ll just keep sending photos and news as it all develops. Thanks for your interest in this incredible work to help some of Africa's most vulnerable children receive an education (that means a future) and live in a loving home environment.

New clothes for Weston & Wize
Keep praying for the work to be accomplished at a rapid pace, that it will be done well and that each worker will take pride in what they do. We have been thrilled to see the contractor as well as the hired laborers working long and hard hours alongside us—definitely an answer to our prayers here.

Grateful for your partnership,
Greg, with Dan

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We Are Here

Our FM plane that will take us to Macha.
We are here in Macha, Zambia and we have hit the ground running!

We flew into Macha yesterday, to a welcoming party including several American flags waving and lots of cheering! When you fly into this village in the bush you feel like a celebrity!

Dan works on the plumbing.
Greg checks out the new water tower.
After a tour of the new water tower, well-pump, and water mains, we took a look at the projects to get a lay of the land and understand what needs to be done. Dan and I determined which projects would require our attention and which ones we could assign to workers. Dan & I will be responsible for the plumbing, hooking up the new building to the water supply and also installing a power box for the water system. With the help of Mike, our *Tongan contractor, we will hire workers to cover the water pipes, do interior/exterior painting, hang doors and the clean and polish the floors.

Greg Krause, Dan Green and I get ready to dance!
Today, Tuesday, we started the day by joining the teachers and students for chapel. Zambians love to dance so it was no surprise when they welcomed us with singing and dancing. Then out came the *chitenges! They wrapped them around our waists and that was our invitation to join them! Dan was really nervous because he didn’t know what would happen next. I knew what was coming, and it was a lot of fun!

Our goal today was to get the water hooked up to the new building but we realized that we were missing some parts. There was only one thing to do; so Dan and I jumped in the LandCruiser and went to *Choma to buy them. 

It was fun to drive the Zambian roads and highways again. When we returned to Macha, I gave Dan the royal tour around the hospital area, * the fires, and market. By the end of the day today, we got most of the water hooked to the building from the water tower.   

Tonight we went to Guillermo and Mary Ann’s for prayer. John Sperling, Chris and Marlys Book and another couple were there. It was good to be with old friends again. Dan gave testimony of how the Lord called both of us independently to come for this time and purpose. What a great way to end the day!

  • Tonga: one of 77 of the Zambian tribes. Macha is Tongan and most Zambians in Macha are from this tribe.
  • Chitenges: 4 meters of brightly colored fabric used for clothing, aprons, baby carriers, blankets, dancing and more!
  • Choma: this is the nearest city with a commercial district. Choma is approximately one hour from Macha and only half of that journey is a paved road.
  • The Fires: Near the mission hospital is a clearing where several fires are always burning. Family members of hospital patients will camp out at the “fires” while their loved one is hospitalized.  Most hospitals here do not provide round the clock care or meals, so it is necessary to have a support team in place.

Dan Green, Greg Krause, Ronda and Gil, around the dinner table..
God made our travels smooth and on-time. We had a great time in Lusaka staying at the Flying Mission base with our good friends Sue & Joel Bolthouse. Their hospitality is always warm and fun. It’s pretty cool that we can just walk out the front door and climb in the plane!

Thanks for praying for us, and please don’t stop!

  • Pray for us as we continue to make strides in completing the work here. So much to do in so little time; pray that God will multiply our efforts.
  • Pray for reliable and honest workers to shoulder the load.
  • Pray that we would always be alert to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that we can respond immediately and obediently.
  • There are always so many that need a touch, a word of encouragement or instruction. Pray that we will be discerning in it all.

Grateful for your partnership in this endeavor,
At the FM base with our luggage; mostly shoes and school uniforms that you donated!
Greg, along with Dan