Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now That We Are Back Home . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2012                           (See lots of photos and stories below!)

Back in May, God made it clear that Dan Green and I were to go to Africa together. At that time, that was the only thing we knew.

I continued to ask God about the details well into summer, but He was silent. Then as the summer began to wind down some things started to unfold in Macha, and I began feeling the pressure that Gil and Ronda were under.  It started to become clearer what God had planned for us. 

Our number one assignment was to stand with Gil and Ronda, and number two was to
finish the MICS 2 building so it could be ready for January, the start of the new school year.

God had prepared us for Macha and Macha for us.  I was in awe of God with the timing of our arrival. We didn’t arrive too late, we didn’t arrive too early; we arrive right on time.  God was in the details, too. 

After we’d arrived in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, we spent half the day shopping hardware stores and open markets to find items and plumbing parts that we anticipated that we would need. We purchased parts that we had never seen before in the States but it seemed that we might need them. Sure enough, we used every part that we’d bought.

Another evidence of God’s providence was how easy some of the projects actually were. The things that should have been hard, we were able to complete with ease; they came off without a hitch. Which was really great because we had far more to do than we could humanly accomplish in the time that we had. We finished every project that we planned to do.

Typically, the weather should have been extremely hot. Dan was concerned about how he would be able to work in those conditions. But the temps cooled down some just before we arrived and stay that way until it was time for us to return home. Dan said God even changed the weather for him. 

The two main objectives: encouraging the Krauses and finishing MICS 2 were accomplished. More than that, God answered Gil and Ronda’s prayer for help. 

I see that God’s love for us runs very deep. God brought Greg Krause, Dan Green, and me half way around the world because He loves Gil and Ronda that much. That impacted me deeply. God is so in love with us that He only has His very best for us all the time. I feel so honored and blessed that God used me. Of all the people in the world, many that are probably more qualified than I am, God chose me. In my mind I don’t deserve that kind of treatment, but when we belong to God and obey what He asks from us He may just invite us into some crazy adventures! 

Coming home to Wisconsin didn’t end the work God had planned. One of the projects still in the works is a TV spot to air in Zambia promoting MICS. I am working with Chad, our senior producer at Discover Wisconsin, to develop the spot. We will also develop one to air in the states for sponsorship of kids to attend the school that are orphans. If you are interested in that let me know. 

What is next? I don’t know!! What I do know is this, I don’t have to worry, or make any plans.  God devises the plans, He executes the plans and He invites just the right ones to join Him in seeing His plans accomplished. Once again, I am waiting and trusting that He will show me what else He has planned for me. When He does, I will say “yes, Lord”.

With sincere gratitude for your partnership, it is priceless.
Greg, with Dan

Below are some stories that I haven't yet shared along with their photos:

The day before we were to fly back to Lusaka, then back home, we walked through the bush to visit our kids. We sponsor (l-r) Weston, Wize and Elifer's schooling, while some of you have graciously stepped up to support their boarding expenses. A couple of months ago, we became aware that the grass hut and temporary tent that their grandparents live in were falling apart. We offered to supply the funds to build a brick house. I went to inspect the new project to see if it was ready for the metal sheeting that serve as roofing, which it was and gave them the go-ahead to order the materials. When the kids saw me approaching they came running! They were all over me; this is fairly new behavior and indicates just some of the growth and development they've each experienced since coming to MICS. I was very encouraged.

During our last week in Macha, I knew I needed to go find my friend Tolland. Tolland had been out of school this term so that he could have his leg amputated. He has been recovering at his grandmother's. Tolland and I had been through a lot together last year, he had made a promise to me that he would change his rebellious behaviors so that God could mold him into the leader he knew he should be. I needed to connect with him, let him know that I had not forgotten him and encourage him to continue to make good choices.

This is the bedroom that Dan and I shared. Since the boys have moved into the new building, Gil & Ronda put us up in one of the former dorm rooms. Each night we slept under mosquito netting. Because the buildings are made of brick and concrete, they stay cooler than other materials.

Guillermo is our Flying Mission bush pilot. He and his family have been living in Macha, just across from the school. They are soon to be moving to Lusaka to live at the FM base.

Here is Dan fiddling with the controls...actually I think its just the GPS, ... PHEW!

We made it back to Lusaka with Guillermo and helped to push our plane into the hangar. You don't get to do that when you fly commercial!

While in Lusaka and before heading to the international airport, Joel and Sue Bolthouse treated us to another delicacy; grilled impala! You might remember that previously they had prepared marinated crocodile tail for us. We've known this family for many years, in fact Sue was LeeAnn's first grade teacher. (Ronda Krause was Tara's kindergarten teacher, too!) Let that be a warning! Once you make friends with us we won't let you go easily! We'll chase you halfway around the world!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One More Day to Go

Thursday, November  1, 2012

This was the last of the plumbing fixtures to unclog!

I wanted to take this time to send out an update now because our time here is coming to a rapid end. We have one more day to complete the work at hand. 

Since our return from Livingstone, we’ve been working at a crazy pace to bring closure to our projects.  If we don’t run into any snags tomorrow we should be able to do just that. 

On Wednesday, I left Dan to the plumbing projects while I took the video camera around and recorded footage of classrooms, students, teachers, lunchtime, computer labs, the playground and more. I will be taking what I have captured to my incredibly creative co-workers at DiscoverWisconsin Television for them to do their magic. When we have the finished products, we’ll then put commercials on Zambian radio and television promoting openings at MICS for the next school term which begins later in January.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the plumbing fixtures had not been covered up so they were filled with dust and dirt. When the wind blows here in Zambia, it gets in places you’d never imagine. Since the work on MICS 2 had been postponed for almost a year a lot of dirt and grime had accumulated. We’ve been working to clear all sinks, toilets and shower bases, and get water flowing & draining. 

Above photos: This is the new borehole (well) that is providing water to the school and dorms. Henry started by laying brick and then cementing over them. You can see by the photo on the left that Henry is a craftsman, and is doing a great job.
This is Beverly, the woodworker.
There are others working hard and long days with us. These are the workers that were hired for specific jobs. The Valleybrook offering is being used to pay their wages. See their photos at right.

Tomorrow after school is out,  I plan to walk our sponsored kids back to their grandparent’s home. A few months ago, Kathy & I sent money to the grandparents to buy bricks to build a larger and more secure home. They had been trying to share a small, round, grass-roofed hut, and a tent, neither was adequate or secure. (You might remember that their hut had been broken into last year, and many of the items we brought for the kids were stolen.) I want to see the structure for myself and connect with the kid's grandparents, too. We want to let them know that we plan to continue to support Weston, Wize and Elifer for the next year.

Coster is burying the water mains; he was formerly the schools gardener.
I also plan to drive into the village to check up on a student that has been out this term due to surgery to amputate a leg. I had connected closely with Tolland last year, and I need to see him and tell him that I still love him and believe that he can do something significant with his life if he chooses to follow God.

Then there is another student that Kathy had connected with last year, and she has sent along a gift for him; a book of some of the fascinating characters in the Bible. He wants to become a missionary and tell others about Christ. We want him to know that we believe in him, too.

Several are painting inside and out.
Sometime on Saturday we will climb into the bush plane for a ride back to the Flying Mission base, outside of Lusaka. Later on Saturday evening, our friends at Flying Mission, Joel and Sue Bolthouse, will take us to the international airport to fly home.

We have had a very full and incredibly God-filled two weeks  here in Zambia. We are tired, but it’s a good tired. As we think about our time here, we feel very grateful …grateful first to God for showing us what we need to see and know when the time was just right…grateful for how He is bringing good things out of what at first seemed to be bad…grateful  for you, for your friendship and support for us and to MICS. 

Here I am filming in one of the boy's dorm rooms.
This work in Macha needs lots of people to be involved in so many ways.  Please keep praying for the work here. Pray that God would send workers to match the needs, especially as new students enroll for the next term. Ask God how you can support MICS in new and greater ways.

Greg, and Dan