Friday, June 28, 2013

Busy Friday!

It's a small world when it comes to serving God! Several years ago, we worked with Pastor Wilfred in Monze (about 90 minutes from us) in youth ministry. Some time after that, an organization and church in Brownfield, Texas started teaming up with Wilfred and leading ministry teams.

Fast forward about 8 years...this group plans a mission trip in June of 2013. Blu's high school computer teacher is on the trip and mentioned to the team leader that one of her former students is serving in Zambia. Around the same time, Blu's aunt in West Texas mentions to the team leader that her nephew works with an orphanage in Zambia. THEN Pastor Wilfred communicates to the team leader that he is going to visit "Blu & Darbi" at the orphanage. All of the connections finally meet and we realize that this team with people that know us and some of our family members and close friends is the group who has been working with Wilfred all these years!

We were blessed to have them come for a few hours today to visit, bring us goodies, and get a tour of New Day!

Gertrude gets some help from Katrina

Cason with Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Brown & Blu :) (check out

Kelitah showing off her crazy hair!

Pretty Cynthia says hi :)

Cambree developed a crush on J.T. in about 30 seconds. She is currently writing him a letter as I type this :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Ben & Christin!

Today we were excited to celebrate the birthday of Ben and the early birthday of Teacher Christin! Christin is leaving on Sunday, but her birthday is July 11th, so we thought she would enjoy the New Day birthday tradition :) Ben is our little lover - he loves a good hug and he loves to cuddle! Ben was our first orphan who got a birthday party at New Day so I always enjoy looking back at the pics of his previous birthdays!

2013 birthday party

2012 birthday party

2011 birthday party

Christin gets some New Day water pouring!

Ben LOVED it, and we were thankful for a warm afternoon!

Ready and waiting!

Christin had help blowing out her candles!

Ms. Diana made her cake - it was GOOD!

Diana gets some Kefi & Cambree love

Ben & Caedmon enjoy the music at the party!

Cambree & Christina

Christin got a journal and some souvenir shopping money!

Allison about to get a BIG sloppy kiss from Kefi!

Ben LOVED his new soccer ball

Yummy cake!

After the party we had a DEEP clean of the kitchen - everyone pitched in! Larry washed dishes and some of the New Day girls helped rinse and dry

Carolyn cleaned the stove, Allison organized vegetables into the pantry with Blu, Lynne dried and put away, and I cleaned countertops - that place is shining now!!


Some days blogging seems like a chore. I know so many people are waiting to see what is happening at New Day, so at a birthday party I am preoccupied with getting the best shots and getting home to blog it.

But today, blogging is not a chore. Today my fingers were burning to get to the computer to pour out what is on my heart. This is me. This is real.

We hear from team after team how amazing our lives are - how lucky we are to get to live here and experience this life full-time. I agree - we are blessed. But life is not always campfires and amazing sunsets and hugs from orphans. Sometimes life in Zambia is stress (ok, most of the time!), and sometimes we lose it. Sometimes I lose it.

Yesterday we did our weekly grocery trip to Choma. Spar can be a stressful place for me. Baskets are small, aisles are small, and people stare at and ridicule me for the amount of groceries I buy, not realizing I am shopping for an orphanage. It is a challenge to keep a smile on my face and be gracious amidst the loud rap music blaring and the pushing and shoving in the checkout lines. When we get outside with our groceries, several men run up to us with bags of fruit, asking to help with our groceries for a small tip. I try to navigate the cart down the steep ramp without losing control and running it into the street and as politely as possible explain that I don't eat "narjies."

We do need help loading all of the groceries, however, so we use several of these guys to help us. We used to use one such guy, I'll call him Patrick, often. But after Patrick repeatedly harassed me, even following me through the store, was obviously drunk as he tried to load our groceries, would not take no for an answer, and took a VERY large tip from Ms. Carolyn when she unknowingly gave him the wrong bill, I told him as politely as possible that we would not be using him again - not to even ask us.

Patrick, however, doesn't take no for an answer. He still comes every week to ask if he can help, and I always tell him no. He recently discovered, however, that Blu doesn't really know the guys' faces, and if he can catch Blu before I get outside with the groceries, Blu will let him help load. This happened for 2 weeks, and yesterday, when I came out of Spar and saw Patrick helping Blu, I lost it. I told Blu in a loud voice that I did not like this man, he is a drunk, and from now on he needs to choose someone else to help. Patrick turned and walked away. Blu looked at me open-mouthed, and over the course of the next few hours, God convicted me.

I woke up this morning, broken, with Patrick on my mind. Did he understand my fast English? Did I hurt his feelings? Does he have a family? Is his name even Patrick? For the last 3 years I have had interactions with him but I don't even know his name. I have never shared Christ's love with him. Yesterday, while wearing my "Jesu Ulamuyanda" (Jesus Loves You) shirt, I certainly did not show ANY love towards him. I began to think about our New Day kids, who I easily love. If Misheck hadn't been placed at New Day, would he be outside of Spar ten years from now trying to make money by loading groceries? I am ashamed.

I can't wait to get back to Choma and talk to Patrick. I want to apologize. I want to buy him a meal. I want to ask him if he knows Jesus. I want to give him a Bible. Not to assuage my conscience - but because somewhere along the way, nobody reached out to him. Nobody taught him better. Nobody gave him a chance.

This is life in Zambia. Not a group of perfect Christians who are happy martrys for Jesus. Just real people. Just me. Loving people and not loving people. Ministering and messing up. Loving Zambia and experiencing culture shock. Doing the best we can.

1 John 4:20 - If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mama & Daddy

40 years ago today, two young kids decided to start a new life together. 40 years later that marriage produced two (lovely) daughters, seven grandchildren, and a foundation built on Jesus that will last for generations. When my sister and I were young, our parents sat us down and made a promise to us that they would never get a divorce. Ever. For any reason. Therefore, growing up, divorce was something that never crossed the minds of Dawni and I, and it is now something we would never consider either. Our marriages are built on God, and we learned that from our parents. They're pretty much the best parents ever (don't worry - yours can be second best, but mine are the best). We love you Mama & Daddy!! Words can't describe all that you've done for us! Happy Birthday Mama!
My parents met in Abilene when my mom was 15 (she told my dad she was older), and my dad was 20 and stationed in the Air Force at Dyess Air Force Base. They met at a random pool party, Mom was wearing "hot pants", and the rest is history!

Wedding Day!! A few days after their wedding, my dad got orders to Thailand and they spent the next year apart. My mom moved in with Dad's family and finished her senior year of high school.

A few years later..

New Day Staff

This isn't everybody - Joyce was sick, Deb is gone, but here are a few really great pics of our staff & volunteers!

Liz with her daughter Machila



Hildah with her daughter Laurie





Just some random pics...

Betsy & Precious

Love this pic of Betsy & Kefi!

Alex & Kefi

This is what I look like after a team :)

Curtis with a lapful of kids :)

Christina & Gertrude

Billie Anne & Gertrude

Kefi & Cambree

Purity, Laurie, & Machila

Lots of us girls!

Glory & Gertrude :)

Randy & Stacey

Randy & Kefi

Mary & Precious

Mallory getting her last hugs in

Love this pic - this is who lives in our girls' staff house

Photographer Stacey finally gets her turn for a pic with the kids!

Stacey & Axer

Oh how our kids are going to miss Sam!