September 14, 2010

Sept 2010 - News from a not so far country

Greetings family from sunny Zambia, we have arrived safely and have been set up for about 2 weeks now. We would like to thank God and everyone who made our summer back home such a special one. God used so many different people and families to minister to us during the time we were home. The church in Baltimore especially fed us spiritually and we were so encouraged by every body member. I am thankful to the company that I worked for this summer which gave me double the work I would have normally had making it possible for us to even be back. Also to churches and supporters who continue to pray and give sacrificially as a part of the great work going on here in Southern Africa, we are continually thankful. In Ephesians 4:16 it says that the whole family of God is fitly joined together …and every joint supplies… That was really the case this summer: friends came and helped fix our roof; others took care of expenses, another friend gave us a guitar. We are truly blessed.
We arrived back in Zambia to our same apartment, which was a first for us. We expected to have bugs crawling all over the place and pipes burst; but thank God it was only a little dust. Coming to our first church service was the greatest blessing. To see all our brothers and sisters walking with God and growing is what any missionary desires and it is echoed in 3 John 1:4. We stepped back into our schedule as if we hadn’t even left.
Through all the smiles and joy of our return, we had a bittersweet experience. The caretaker of the church grounds, who lives on the property, lost his son to an unexpected illness. Although the family is new to the church, they asked us to perform the funeral. It was an amazing opportunity to bring in God’s thinking about death and eternity; and to allow God to lift up their heads (Psalm 3:3) with His loving hands. It was the first funeral I have ever done and it was an interesting experience here in Zambia. The whole ceremony was done at the burial ground, which is not a large green lawn with orderly gravestones; but, rather, it was a vast open plain with mounds of dirt occasionally bearing a small plaque with the date a person died. There was one road going through The cemetery (that services almost the whole capital), and it was filled with traffic of multiple funerals going on. I estimated about 1500 – 2000 people at the funeral grounds at various funerals. Unfortunately, funerals here are also a hotbed for alcoholism; so much so, that there are people selling beer right next to those selling flowers and wreaths. Ultimately the family's plot was far from any comotion so it was a beautiful service.
Julie and the girls are doing great. We had Poema's 2nd birthday last week. Pr Renaldo's family came over and the girls had a water balloon battle. Callia is continuing her school year with Julie.
Please pray with us as we continue to have a vision for the surrounding cities and countries. Pr Adam and Melinda are in Nothern Zambia, Pr Victor and Pr Albert are in Congo, Pr Bernard and Maggie are planning to move to Botswana this summer, and for teams for Malawi or Tanzania.