March 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of Team Zambia

In the next room, I hear the scurrying and pitter-patter of little feet descending from their bunk bed.  There is whispering and the movement of toys; I can just barely make out the conversation, most of the time it is about princesses or cooking. We begin our routine with filling the electric kettle to boil water for coffee  and sit down at the table with our Bible looking for a Word for the day.  Within 20 minutes three families all with young children are converging into one house (Pr. Renaldo and Charity Brown’s).
As we sit down in their living room, we are beginning a journey that takes us around the world. This is not some transcendental, new age idea; but praying for people and faces that we are connected to and know around the world. We are praying for fellow missionaries and church members and bringing them before God. After praying we fire up the DVD player and listen to a recent message from the headquarters of our ministry. It brings encouragement and connection with the pulse of the ministry. Other mornings we listen to an old Bible college class  titled with 3 letters that most any Greater Grace Member knows: ABD (Applied Bible Doctrine), a staple of the ministry. As the class finishes, we go over any in’s our outs of the ministry as we are gathering up are children who have been playing in the next room or coloring quietly.  “Who needs a visit?” “Can you give Amos a call?” “Has anyone visited Jimmy lately?” These are the kinds of questions we are asking with one kid under our arm and picking crayons up with the other. We all file out of the Brown’s house to our respective homes.

 For the Arman House this is the start of school for the day.  The school is a bilingual school (French and English) in which Julie and I are the teachers. Bible, English, and Math are the first classes of the day. Then social studies is done at the main post office where we evangelize.  What better way to teach the kids about their society, than to win them to the Lord. Lately, we have been doing sketch board (painting and street preaching); and then we try to sell the painting as a joke. The funny thing is that we had one person who seriously made an offer. We told him that the first painting was on the house (we’ll see if he comes back).  On most days we come back home and Julie finishes school in French, but at least one day a week we do a family visit. This is especially fun because an unsuspecting church member gets invaded with the whole family. The day ends pretty early in Zambia. Not long after the sun goes down, life in the city grinds to a halt. Usually by 7:00pm we are back at home eating dinner and putting the kids to bed soon after. Depending on the day, mixed into all of this are church services and Bible college classes.  A lot of activity is happening but underneath is peace in our heart and a motivation of God’s love. We see how Christ lived and we realize we have His live in us guiding our every step.

Happening in the next few days and next week:
-Our Annual Conference ZAMCON next week on Easter weekend! 
-Our Bible College Graduation during that weekend-about 30 students are graduating.
-About 20 South Africans from the Greater Grace Church in Pretoria are driving up next week to be with us.
-Pr Scibelli and a few others from America will also join us for this time!

BREAKING NEWS: Chris had a meeting today with the ambassador to Malawi in Zambia and he was very friendly and supportive on the vision for Malawi with Greater Grace. He was very helpful and offered his help with the registration of the church there. Amazing! We are praying that he will come to our graduation next week!

                                                       Fred and Eunece-Friends from the Church
                                                                                       Our Street

                                         Our house- we are in the back house of Pr Renaldo's Plot and house

                                                     Outreach in Town- Sketchboard at the main Post Office

On a Visit: Pr Victor and his wife Devote's house- they are from Burundi and have been in the Church here since the beginning. Pr Victor went to our Bible College, graduated and was ordained a few years ago. They are amazing friends. 

                                               Going to Pr Victor's store -little local supermarket

 And yes the girls did not leave empty-handed-they left with a huge bag of "Tinga-Tingas"-Zambian savory Popcorn!

                                                                        Beautiful Lusaka sky

Team Lusaka 2011-2012

                                                            The Brown Family

                                                               The Tanguays
                                                                                    Our Family

                                                                                      Our M.K.'s

March 09, 2012

This past week in pictures...

Julie's surprise birthday party...

Sarah with Liliana, Julie and Monia (Julie's friend from SA) holding Kezia, Callia and Poema

At the Ghanaian High commissioner's Party, celebrating the country of Ghana's 55th Independance...

Charity and Pr Renaldo singing the Ghanaian national anthem!

The Armans and the Browns.

The Ambassador of Ghana in Zambia!(Far left)

Door knocking in Emmasdale compound...

Just yesterday, on our family visitation day...
Finally we made it to the TEMBOS' house: Pr. Edward and his wife, Justina and their daughter Miracle!

Justina is making our fav! Pumpkin leaves!

The girls playing with their friends!

Yes, we were the attraction of the day and it just happened that it was a day off from school:)

What Justina prepared for us: Nshima, Beef stew and Chiwawa (Pumpkin leaves)! Yum!

March 01, 2012

The meaning of "Factorize"

Last month we told the story of the “First Aid” Box in the section of T.I.A. (This is Africa). This pas t month I have a story that stuck with me the whole month and maybe for a good while to come.  A few weeks ago we met a man who is a Christian, but has been backslidden for some time.  He was so touched with the message of Grace and God’s unconditional love for him, that he assured us that he would visit the church.  He said (with a half-smile),”Let me go and “Factorize” myself and then I’ll see you on Wednesday.” I just began laughing, trying to think of the meaning of “Factorize”.  Obviously, he meant that he wanted to get cleaned up and be presentable in the house of God. Wednesday came and went and he never showed up.  It made me think of how many people, whether it be mental or physical “factorization”, never come to church or to God because they are not ready.  The point is they are as ready as they ever are going to be to come to God.  Thank God, that His message is always a message of “Just Come” like He says in Matthew  11:28-30 without need of “Factorization”.

 For our couples ministry we all got together and watched the Fireproof movie.  It’s been about 3 years since we watched it with the church and it was very thought provoking.  If you haven’t seen the movie (I won’t spoil it), it is a story of a Firefighter and his wife whose marriage is on the verge of divorce.  We had all the couples take notes of many of the factors that brought problems into their marriage.  Afterwards we discussed them as a group.  Two of the Zambian pastors were on a panel with myself to field comments and questions.  It was amazing to see the growth in all of our couple’s lives.  The couples ministry is one area where we can see first-hand where messages that are preached on Grace are implemented in peoples families.  So many of these marriages have the character of God infused in their decisions, it causes us to thank and glorify the goodness of God.

We are asking for your prayers:
-For the Malawian Church Registration to be processed without a hitch. We submitted it just after Christmas and everything seemed fine. It should be ready by the middle of this month. We are praying for no hangups.
-For the submission for Pr. Albert and my work permits. This requires our Church registration to be completed. We are planning that to submit our permits when we pick up our church registration.
-For the means to bring 2 or 3 Malawians to the Zambian Conference April 6-8th.  It will be so encouraging for the guys and for the church here.
-For suitable living arrangements in Malawi.  We plan to scope out living arrangements on our next trip this month or next.  We are trusting God that we can find a place that can be held until we move to Malawi this November.
Thank you for your faith, hope, and love for what God is doing in Central Africa.
In His Care,