Monday, April 07, 2014

We made it

After 30 hours of driving through three different countries we've finally made it!

The kids are out on the beach as I type playing football and collecting shells. Can't believe we're here. Thanks for praying for safe travel!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

In Botswana

We're in Botswana this morning. Spent 11 hours driving over 500 miles yesterday.

Our first night we stayed at a bush camp just over the border where we had 15 elephants walk right past our back porch. The kids were up early the next morning watching the sunrise and looking out for other animals. In all we've seen hyena, elephants, giraffe, monkey's, and for some weird reason, lots of donkeys.

This morning we cross the border into South Africa and drive to Johannesburg. 2 more days and we're there.

Friday, April 04, 2014

A new first

Never taken a ferry with a car from one country to another. Well, now we have. Once through the other side we'll be on our way to where we are staying for the night. So far, so good!

Family Vacation

We're starting off on our first family vacation in over 4 years. We will be making the 4 day journey to the east coast of South Africa with our friends the Hugheys.

Pray for safety as we travel. We'll post updates along the way.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's pouring

I took this picture the other day as I was running errands in Lusaka. I think the city needs to make new plans for drainage.

It sure made walking around downtown interesting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Preparing for a Journey

In just over 2 weeks Kerri, the kids and I along with another family will be making the 3-day journey to South Africa. We'll be traveling through Botswana. In order to make a trip like this, you have to get Interpol clearance on vehicles and trailers.

One of our friends here was nice enough to let us borrow their trailer. So, this morning I went to Lusaka to do the paperwork. All I can say about the process is hectic. Just about finished now and I can't wait to make the trip. Should be an adventure!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Trials and perseverance

My week has not been a fun one. Over the past 4 days, I've traveled 400 miles by taxi and hitching rides with friends, trying to replace our cruiser's radiator. I know you're probably tired of hearing about our car, but it has been the builder of my faith lately.

In December, when we paid for all of the work on our vehicle, we also paid to have a new Toyota radiator to be installed. Well, this past month, we learned that instead of using a genuine Toyota radiator, our mechanic put a Chinese knockoff in instead, probably pocketing the difference. After it cracked in 4 different places, it finally just blew on Monday. Being out $1,000 and not receiving what we paid for by someone we trusted was like a kick in the gut. And being stranded again was just frustrating. But that's another story.

Back to the search for anther radiator. So, after all of that travel, first being sold the wrong model and then making another trip to pick up the correct one, I thought I was finally nearing the end of this trial this afternoon. I had the new one in and it fit perfectly. It took a few hours to get it in, but I was finished. At least that's what I thought. As I began to fill it with water, my worst nightmares became a reality. It was leaking and not just a drop here or a drop there. It was leaking fast. As soon as I saw it, I was feeling kind of defeated. But then I remembered the verses from James about trials and was encouraged a bit.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

I was encouraged because I was beginning to see the struggles with our car as opportunity instead of failure. Opportunity to persevere and trust Christ more. Opportunity to become closer to Him because I depend on Him. It's not easy and I'd be lying if I said that it's not frustrating at times, but, in a weird way, I was encouraged and comforted by this truth in His word today!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Miracle

After you have lived here a while, you begin to learn what constitutes a miracle. Case in point:

Friday a week ago, we had someone break into our car and steal my backpack. Besides getting a few little trinkets, they didn't get away with much. At least that's what I thought at the time.

It turns out that our registration for the car and Interpol clearance papers were in the bag as well. So, Monday I had to make the trip back to Lusaka to try and begin the process of getting these important documents reissued. And that's where the miracle comes in.

Here's the process:
1. Go to RTSA and pay for an inspection form. RTSA is the equivalent of the DMV. Usually lines are long and delays are to be expected. When I got there, there were only 5 people ahead of me. Prayers answered. And yes, I did pray!

2. Go to Central Police (about a half-mile away) and fill out a police report. I just left my car at RTSA because finding the spot I found was a miracle in and of itself. This process went rather smoothly. It probably helped that I greeted the officer in charge in his tribal tonga language.

3. Go just around the corner to the local car wash and find the commissioner of oaths. He was stationed in an old shipping container. I needed him to witness my affidavit. Prayer 2 was answered when one of the guys in line with me at RTSA actually gave me a copy of an affidavit. Had he not done this, it probably would have added 5 more steps to the process. After getting the affidavit witnessed, I headed to step # 4.

4. Physical Inspection. I had to take the car all the way across town, through horrible bumper-to-bumper traffic to be inspected by another person from RTSA. This was answered prayer #3. While the guy from RTSA was getting ready to inspect, I noticed an Interpol inspector. I asked him if he could do Interpol at the same time as the inspection. He agreed against the wishes of the RTSA agent. So with both inspection papers in hand, I now had to head back into the middle of town through the traffic that I so dearly love.

5. The Third RTSA office was in the middle of town. I arrived just past lunch and this place was packed. Within 20 minutes I was able to figure out the right line to stand in and was issued the registration. At this point, anything else that I accomplished was just icing on the cake. So, I decided to try and complete Interpol as well. After standing in 2 more lines and paying for more paperwork, I was ready for the 6th and final step.

6. So, I jumped back into my car and headed back across town one last time. This time it was to pay the fee for Interpol at one of the local police stations, the only one which handles Interpol, and wait the two weeks it takes to produce the approval paper. Here's where God answered another prayer. When I went into the head officer's office, I greeted him in Lozi (a tribal language from Western Zambia). I only know the greeting in this language, but it worked. He turned out to be Lozi. After hearing me, he asked one of his guys to prepare it while I was in the office. The document that takes two weeks was now in my hand, along with the registration, and all in one day.

This, my friends, was a true Zambian miracle!