Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Debt & Darkness

Last week was a REALLY hard week. Actually, just last weekend. Actually, just Friday.  It was one of those days, one of those times, where life in America seems like it would be so much easier – where ministry here feels never-ending from 5:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night – when I just want rest. If a plane had landed at New Day last weekend, I just might have gotten on! On Saturday morning, I got up and started quoting James. I didn’t want to quote it, but I did. And God begin to speak to my heart. He revealed to me that I think that He owes me something because I live in Zambia as a missionary. What do I think He owes me? Everything in my life should go well. I should have relatively easy days where things go as planned. Sure, there should be trials, so that my faith can grow, but seriously…no more break-downs. No more theft. Don’t you owe me at least that, God? Oh my…it looks so silly in print. Yet that is what God revealed to me. And I immediately knew this – if every day for the rest of my life was as terrible as Field Trip Friday, He saved me. He owes me nothing – I owe Him everything.

God has reminded me lately of the darkness that surrounds us. When the theft happened last weekend, Blu gathered the men who were working on the property to discuss what had happened and try to find out who did it. The mens’ solution was this: “If you give us each 10 kwacha, we can bring the witch doctor here right now. He can look at us, and he can tell you who did it. We know you don’t allow witch doctors on your property, but this time you should.” Oh, the darkness. Prince lost his father, his mother, and everything he knows, and his family attributes it to witchcraft. Such darkness. We attended the funeral of my friend’s father yesterday. They lowered the coffin into the ground, and the men took turns shoveling dirt onto the grave, but not before they buried the mans’ possessions with him. He might need them in his next life. Darkness. I owe Him everything, a debt I can never repay. But one thing I can do is consider it joy when I face trials of many kinds, praise Him through my circumstances, and share His light in this place I call home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prince arrives at New Day!

Today Prince joined the New Day family! He is 3 years old (born April 24, 2011), and his father passed away last year. His story is quite strange. According to the family, his father stole fish from Namwala, a town that has a lot of witch doctors. After eating the stolen fish, both he and his wife became sick (basically insane). This leads the family to believe that they were "bewitched." The father passed away, and the mother is still alive but unable to care for Prince due to her mental illness. He is an only child whose grandmother was helping to care for him. Prince's family took him to Social Welfare in Choma, where an investigation into his living situation as conducted, and today New Day was given full custody of Prince! He is a cutie and is so tiny! I can't wait to watch him grow up, find Jesus, and see how God will use him one day!

He was a little bit terrified...

Prince with Uncle Blu

Kefbert wasn't sure what to think of this new little guy... ;)

I'm sure he will settle in fast!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Goodbye to Sam & Ashley! :(

This has certainly been the year of interns at New Day! Each one has brought their own gifts, talents, and personality to New Day, and we have had a blast with all of them! Today we say goodbye to Samuel & Ashley, as they fly back home to Texas & Tennessee!

Ashley is a pre-med major at UT Knoxville. My favorite thing that Ashley did while she was here were Saturday morning Science experiments. It didn't matter what she was doing - from decorating a birthday cake, to putting together a Science experiment, to subbing for the Pre-K class, Ashley gave it all 100%. We will miss her!!

We will certainly miss this face around New Day! Samuel is probably one of the hardest workers I have ever seen for only being 17 years old. He gave up the summer before his senior year of high school to come to Zambia and volunteer at an orphanage. He led Bible studies, hauled sand, and invested so much in our New Day boys. If my boys turn out to be anything like Sam, I will be blessed. *Please pray for Samuel as his passport was stolen on Friday and he is in the capitol city today working with the Embassy & Immigration to try to fly home!*

Thank you especially to the families of Samuel & Ashley who sacrificed their kids for the summer - we were BLESSED to have them at New Day!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jeff's Memorial Service

Yesterday there was a memorial for Jeff at the New Day Church. There were 5 churches that were represented and about 150 people in attendance. It was Zambian-led (Pastor Maxwell from Mapanza Baptist), and it was LONG, but it was neat to see the Zambians come one after another up to the front to talk about the impact Jeff had on their lives. Blu commented later about how much Scripture was shared - either through stories or via memory. That is Jeff's legacy - that is what he taught these people.

These are the 2 men Jeff invested in the most - Victor & Patheus from Namwala Baptist Church. They did a hilarious skit where Patheus was Jeff taking them to Bible study. "Hurry up guys! Time is going! If we were in America, you would have been chased from the church! We have to go! But first, go buy some fritters for us to eat!" :) Victor said this: "Jeff was our father. We are now orphans. But we will continue the work of God."

Mapanza Baptist Church did a storying skit that Jeff taught them of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.

The Namwala Baptist Church Choir (LOTS of choirs sang..)

New Day Baptist was represented by the New Day kids choir, led by Teacher Abby

Lots of people!

Cambree sitting patiently

Blu read a letter from the Baptist Mission of Zambia, and Wes read Jeff's obituary. It was funny to listen to them try to pronounce the American names.

It was still so surreal to sit there and process the fact that Jeff is really gone. But Maxwell said over and over again, "This is not a funeral. Are you sad? We are celebrating! "Jeff Pow-uh" is in heaven with Jesus!"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Field Trip to Remember...

"Well, that was unexpected." Those were Cambree's words to describe July 18, 2014 - the New Day field trip to Livingstone. I am blogging this now because I have other things I need to blog about, and because I turn my blog into a yearly "blog book," and I want to look back and remember this day. That being said, I haven't completely processed yesterday yet, so I will admit to not being my usual upbeat blog self. This was our day...
1) Up at 4am - ready for the field trip! Excitement in the air - we head to the kitchen at 5am to meet the bus. He finally shows up 40 minutes late and we pull out of New Day at 6am. It was COOOOOLLLLDDDD on the bus - we were all wrapped up in blankets. It took us 4 1/2 hours to get to Livingstone, but it was a fun ride. Only minor mishap was when Diana got stuck in the bathroom at the gas station in Choma, but we were still laughing at this point.

Ready to go, bright & early! Well, not bright, but it was early!

Cambree with her best friend Laurie

Cason is somewhere under that blanket..

A rare picture of me & Laurie together!

Diana was cracking me up - I told her she looked like a European woman all bundled up! The bus was SOOO cold!!

Drew & Muchoni

I honestly can't remember who made us these blankets, and sent them, but they were a lifesaver on this trip!

Our little spoiled Kefbert, traveling in style..

Nurse Mandy & Gertrude

Everyone wanted to sit with Samuel, so he offered to sit with 2 boys! :)

Ready for a fun day - if only we knew what was to come...

Papa Wes & Kefi

2) Headed to drop half of us at the Croc Farm - a car pulls up behind us, honking, with policemen in it. He gets out with his big gun, looking furious, and talks to our driver for awhile, angry that he had skipped the weigh station. I guess we get out of getting a ticket and head on to the croc farm.

3) The next 1 1/2 hours is great - kids loved the croc farm, got to hold a baby croc, watch a feeding, play on the playground. Meanwhile, the falls was fun too, but the kids only had about 40 minutes to go through it. By the time both groups were done, the bus was nowhere to be found...finally shows up about 30 minutes later, making us late to lunch.

Cason & Joseph looking at crocs

I decided to stay with Cason's group after he said he wanted to jump in and wrestle with the crocodiles...

Debbie & Mweene enjoying the swing

Teacher Diana holding the baby croc

Love Joseph's face!

Mama Joyce loved the croc farm as much as the kids did!

The Kindergarten & Pre-K group

All of the interns stayed with us - Mackenzie with the baby croc

It was the kids' first time on a merry-go-round, and their laughs were priceless! They had never been on one, but when they saw it, they all knew exactly what it was. That, my friends, is from books, and that makes me happy. :)

Phillip with the croc


What a neat swing!

Meanwhile, the older kids were at Victoria Falls. Since I wasn't there, this is the only picture I have of them. When Muchoni saw it, he said, "This is the best I have ever seen!!" They loved it and got very wet!

4) Lunch was yummy with no mishaps! At 2pm, we pull out to leave Livingstone behind and get home by 6:30pm.

Orange Fanta for everyone!

Yummy pizza from Olga's!

5) Bus driver randomly pulls over on a busy road and says "I have to go send money to someone. If you want to buy something, now is the time. We will be here awhile." We are trying to figure out what is happening, people are honking at the bus, and a road traffic patrol pulls up, 2 men yelling at our driver. THey finally board the bus and make him drive to the town police station.

6) We stay at the town police station for 20 minutes. Blu finally goes in, speaks Tonga, and they let us go. Apparently we were parked illegally, blocking traffic. Avoided another ticket, and by now we are pretty frustrated with our driver.

7) Head out of town at 2:30pm, this time at the weigh station. Takes another 15 minutes at the weigh station. Finally on the road again.

8) Stop at police stop, and bus is pulled over again. Driver had hit a post at the police stop and they want him to pay to replace it. Blu gets out again and situation is resolved. 3pm - back on the road.. expected arrival time 7:30pm.

9) We make it 40 minutes, and we pull over. Bus is overheating. We stay here until 4pm - kids use bathroom, we buy bread and water "just in case". It is HOT in the bus and we are parked right by the main road. Back on the road at 4pm.

10) We make it 3 minutes, and bus pulls over again on the side of the main road. Overheating - no hope for this bus. Blu & Wes start getting on the phone with bus drivers to come get us. We think we are about 3 hours from home. We get all the kids off the bus and tell them to start looking for firewood - could be a long night. While they are doing that, we climb back on the bus and take EVERYTHING off, handing it down through windows. We are parked in a precarious spot and don't want anyone/thing on the bus.

Coby, aka Survival Boy, got comfortable in his camping chair and made him a shelter. :)

Getting firewood ready

11) Blu flags down a mini-bus who says he is going to the next town 30 min away to drop people off but will be back for 30 of us. Sounds good. Blu flags down another mini-bus that has a few people on it but 4 seats left - the guy swears he can take 20 of us. We load up our house mothers, kids (except for the 5 staff kids), Abby, & Elizabeth, and send them back to New Day. The rest of us settle in for a long night.

Kinda scary to send half of our group off squeezed into this little bus...but they arrived safely at 9:45pm!

*At this point, I stopped taking pictures, because nothing seemed funny anymore...*

12) The other bus finally comes back for us around 7pm. We load up everything and everyone - seats are broken, and we are squished big time, but we are on the road.

13) Arrive in Choma finally (I have lost track of time by now). Driver stops at ATM for us to get money - we can smell New Day in the distance - only 1 hour to go!!

14) 15 minutes down the road from Choma - we swerve and hit a bushbuck (small deer). Bus is ok, but driver decides to turn around to get the animal. The bus dies in the middle of the road sideways, blocking both lanes - no lights on bus because it won't start - if a truck comes we will all be hit. We fly out of the bus as quick as possible - Diana tries to get out as everyone is pushing and is stuck on the bus - along with Cambree & Carolyn. It was terrifying. They get it push-started, back in the right lane, and we are back on our way.

15) 10 minutes down the road - driver stops to buy Tylenol. He has a headache. Imagine.

16) We arrive at New Day at 10:45pm - numb and dumb. Throw things into the truck and take our kids home. Take a deep breath, grab some supper, and there is a knock at the door. It's the Cooks.

17) While we were gone, someone broke into The Ark and stole Drew's backpack and Samuel's money pouch. Biggest concern is Drew's yellow fever certificate.

18) Saturday - wake up at 7:30am only to find out, oops, Samuel's passport was in his money pouch. And he leaves New Day tomorrow. And flies out on Monday.

That...was our day. It was exhausting, frustrating, terrifying at times, and just hard. But you know what? After all of that...the drama, the frustration, the disappointment, the fear, the exhaustion...I do know this.

She is worth it.