Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Day of Worship...

Pam with Pastor Kandela and his family

Today was the first and only Sunday that Kerri's mom "Mimi" will be able to attend church here in Zambia.  So, we racked our brains to try and figure out where to go.  After much debate, actually very little, we decided on Great Commission.  This is the church that we have been assisting with evangelism and discipleship.  So, we figured that it would be best to go there.  This particular Sunday turned out to be a communion service.  The pastor spoke from 1 Corinthians and we took communion using pita bread and plastic cups with grape juice--a new experience for all of us.  At the end of the service, Kerri and her mom sang a duet (pictured above).  After the service, we hung around to talk a little bit and then headed home.  All in all, it was a wonderful morning of worship!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Something Unexpected...

This morning at 4:00 am, we got a text message from some of our friends here in Zambia--the Meyers.  It seems that Natanja was starting premature labor and needed to get to the hospital.  Later this morning at around 6:30 am they gave birth to a little boy Yonas Meyer.  He was 2.2 Kilograms (About 4.8 lbs).  Other than having some minor problems with breathing, he is doing well, as is Natanja.  Yonas is about 6 weeks early, which might not be that big of a deal in the States, but here where there is not much neonatal care, complications could easily arise.  So, please be in prayer for this family during this time.

On a funny note, as I was letting Todd (the husband) in our gate this morning (he was dropping his son Jason off to stay with us) a "big ole rat" ran across the entrance to the gate and almost ran over the top of my foot.  If I wouldn't have seen it, jumped and screamed like a girl, it most assuredly would have ran across the top of my foot!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Business Venture

Who said I wouldn't use my experience & education in business on the mission field?

A while back, our guard Charles Mutale told me that he envisioned opening a katemba (a small neighborhood store).  He wanted to sell things like sugar, soap, cooking oil, etc...  One of our missionary friends (Steve Allen) shared with me how he had helped his guard do the same thing, which put the thought in my head.  So, today, Charles and I went to the town market and bought supplies.  

One thing that is true in Zambia is that "a little bit can go a long way."  Just to give you some background on this family, Charles works for us during the week and leaves his wife at home where she fulfills the job of a Rock Crusher.  3-4 days a week, someone delivers large stones to her property which she breaks into smaller stones.  These small stones are then used to make gravel for roads and various other things.  It is an all day job and pays about 40,000 Kwacha or $12 a week.  

Now, though, instead of breaking bricks, Mrs. Mutale will be manning the Katemba.  And here's the great part.  Sales from the Katemba can be much more lucrative.  It is not unheard of for a stand like this to provide as much as 100,000 Kwacha or $30 a day if the location is right and they are run well.  So, we are anxiously looking forward to see how things will go.

Please be praying for Charles and his family in this new business venture.  And pray for me as I work with Charles.  Over the next several weeks, I will be coaching him on key business concepts while also trying to teach him how to do record keeping as well as inventory & cash flow analysis.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Visit from some Friends...

We have a couple from our home church in the States who has family living and working here in Zambia.  Todd and Natanja Meyers live about 4 hours north of us.  Todd is a teacher at one of the largest Christian schools in Zambia.  Recently, Natanja was fighting off some sickness, when she started to go into premature labor.  The doctors were able to stop the process, but they had to come to Lusaka for medical care.  Just thought I would mention them so you can be praying for them.  She is about 33 weeks pregnant.  So, they are trying to delay the birth as long as possible to give the baby more time to develop.  Above is a picture of their son Jason taking a bath with Maddie.  Ain't they cute!  

On another note, we're having our first visitor this week.  As I type, my mother-in-law is probably somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean headed for S. Africa and then to Zambia.  Please be in prayer for her safety as she travels.  She will arrive tomorrow night, 9:00 pm our time and will be visiting for about 2 & 1/2 weeks.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  We love you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Missionary Is...

I always thought that a missionary was someone whose sole focus was on sharing the gospel, planting churches & strengthening existing churches.  Sometimes they go as preachers/teachers, sometimes they go to minister to orphans, and sometimes they go by a different vocation, but still with the intent of the prior.  While that is a majority of what we are involved in here, I am also realizing that a missionary also needs to be a "Jack of All Trades." 

The past two weeks are a good example.  

About 2 weeks ago, we awoke to Caleb screaming that the front yard had been flooded.  One of our outside faucets had apparently sprung a leak (a major one) and was spraying water some 15 feet up into the air.  Our driveway was a small swimming pool as a result.  Well, when you're in Africa, if you can't fix it yourself, you are in trouble.  Because most of the time, the people you can trust to do a good job, cannot come at a time when you typically need them, which is immediately.  All that being said, Brent became a plumber and fixed the faucet.

Then, yesterday, all of the power to the laundry room went out.  Charles and I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to isolate what was causing the problem and finally found it this morning.  For some reason, whoever ran the electricity to this room also decided to power the rest of Africa as well.  There were wires coming from everywhere, which overloaded the switch.  In Zambia, electricians are harder to come by than plumbers.  So, Brent also became an electrician.  After removing some burnt electrical tape, re-splicing some of the wires and reconnecting the important ones (we just decided to do without the outside light and some other things because of the overload), Voila!  We now have electricity in the laundry room.

So, I guess you can call me a missionary, an electrician and a plumber.  What's next???

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Women's Discipleship

Kerri here! One of the new challenges and blessings for me here in Zambia has been leading a women's discipleship group from Great Commission Baptist Church. Normally we meet at GCBC, but this past Saturday I picked all of these ladies up from across town (crammed like sardines into my car) and brought them to our house for tea and sweets during our study time. These are such awesome women! It's funny to me because they are always saying how thankful they are that I've come to teach them, but in fact I feel like I'm learning more from them than they could ever learn from me. I feel so completely ill-equip to face the challenges of leading this group and must fall on the mercy of God every week. I'd appreciate your prayers for me as I lead and search for new ideas to make the group effective. Please also pray for these dear women who long to know God more, to serve Him and to share Him with their community.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You Just Have to Laugh!

Kerri here!  Today was certainly a day that the Lord made and we had to rejoice...even though our Sunday morning was pretty much a disaster!  Today Brent was preaching at a compound church not too far from us.  He had been to this church before one Sunday when Steve Allen was preaching, and it was this pastor who had escorted Brent to the village church where he received the goat!  Pastor Mwale is such a wonderful man who truly treats his guests with great honor.  It would have been a great experience....except we have 3 very American children!

The adventure began as Pastor Mwale met us at our car and took us into his home.  There he served all of us sodas (yes, Cokes for the kids at 10 in the morning) which we politely accepted.  After a few minutes of chatting together it was time to go into the service which was already underway.  We followed Pastor Mwale down the center aisle and up to the front where there is a special bench for guests.  The fun part is that it is positioned against the side wall so everyone in the church can see everything you do!  Immediately it became apparent that Maddie was not going to be cooperative.  One of the big things for us Americans to get used to is that none of the churches here have childcare.  Now this isn't a big deal for Zambian parents because their babies basically live on Mom's back 24/7, so sitting through church on Mom's back and taking a nap there is quite normal.  Not so, however, for my poor little church nursery baby who will only sleep in her crib and will not sit still or quiet for any length of time.  She was a nightmare!  I brought all manner of entertainment for her, but of course all she wanted to do was climb up and down the steps of the little stage at the front of the church and scream if I brought her back to where I was sitting.  I ended up being up and down and in and out of the church with her for the entire service - the other two following me every time I moved.  I'm sure we were a great distraction to the congregation!

The other really fun part of the morning involved, well, the potty!  We had been warned about the potty situation at this church - all they have is a pit latrine.  Again, no big deal for a Zambian living in the compound, but a bit...different for us.  So, I made sure everyone, including myself, went to the bathroom several times before we left for church.  But alas, since we had soda before church and being pregnant and all, before it was even time for the sermon I had to go...and I couldn't hold it.  So, I went out, asked a nice lady where the toilet was and she directed me to a little brick "outhouse" behind the building.  Now when I thought of a pit latrine I was picturing maybe a bench with a hole in it, but when I walked in the door what I discovered was just a hole in a cement floor.  "Oh my word," I said to myself.  Then I gave myself a little pep-talk, "You can do this, Kerri, you can do this."  The sights and smells in that little room were enough to send this pregnant woman over the edge, but somehow, like the Little Engine That Could, I managed to do my business and get out of there.  

Well, about half-way through the service Gracyn leaned over to me and, of course, she had to go potty too.  Having no desire myself to go back in the latrine, I described the situation to Gracyn and encouraged her to try and hold it.  She agreed.  Well, a bit later she looked at me grimacing and saying she really needed to go.  Again, I told her what it would be like if we went to the potty there, but she said she couldn't hold it.  So, back I went to the latrine.  We climbed the steps and went inside at which point Gracyn shrieked and started saying she changed her mind.  I tried to give her the same pep talk I had given myself, but it was no use.  She insisted she would just hold it.  

At this point the service seemed to go on and on.  On one hand I was trying to enjoy what was happening around me, which was a really neat cultural experience.  But on the other hand I was watching my poor older daughter suffering because she needed to use the bathroom so badly, and I was trying to keep my younger daughter contained and somewhat happy - even though she was making that very difficult.  Caleb, by the way, was oblivious to all this and doing just fine!

Finally the service came to an end.  Dear Pastor Mwale escorted us to our car, with Gracyn crying the whole way, and he and a whole crowd of kids stood watching as we loaded up to leave.   We were in the "let's just make it home as fast as we can" mode when Gracyn screamed out, "I can't hold it, I can't hold it, I'm going!!!!"  Out we jumped like we'd been attacked by bees!  Brent ran her over to a nearby wall, trying to hold his jacket up to hide her while she was crying, "I want all these people to leeeaaave!"  Poor thing.  She completely wet herself and rode home wrapped up in the brand new chitenge (a long piece of material) that the ladies of the church had just given me as a gift.  After it was all said and done she was fine, but we were all worn out.  We had planned to take Brent out to lunch for Father's Day, but after all this, we just decided to eat sandwiches at home.  Needless to say, I took a good rest after lunch was cleaned up and Maddie was down for her nap. 

To the glory of God, in the midst of all this Brent was able to deliver the word that God had given him to this congregation - and he did a really great job (I heard most of it from outside as I was pacing with Maddie).  So, I pray that God did a great work in the hearts of the people of this church in Chaisa compound.  Today He was training me in patience and endurance.  I have such a long way to go!  

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Night at the Movies

I didn't have a picture from our night at the movies, so I pulled this one from the archives.  My computer has this application that allows you to distort pictures.  It wasn't working the day we took this one as you can see that Caleb looks completely normal.  Just kidding!!!

Anyways, on Monday, we went to the movies.  We wanted to take the kids to see the "Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian."  But we also decided to take guests--our workers Charles & Dailes and their families.  This was the first time that either of them or any of their family had ever been in a movie theatre.  They had a wonderful time, as did we.  The children were wide-eyed the entire movie and Charles came out with a million questions about how the movie related to the Bible.  The night ended by Charles & his family taking the minibus back to their home and us dropping Dailes and her family at their house.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Her First Steps

Just thought we would post this one for the grandparents and friends who were interested in seeing how our youngest is developing.  About 2 weeks ago, Maddie FINALLY took her first steps (at 14 months).  We think she got tired of watching her brother and sister going outside to play without her.  Ever since those first steps, she's been trying to walk more and more.  This evening after dinner, she walked from the dinner table all the way down the hallway of the house (a good 50 feet or so).  Anyway, it has been interesting watching her grow up over here.  We're also looking forward to how she develops linguistically.  Dailes has been making it her personal mission for Maddie to learn CiNyanja.  We'll see!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Kerri and I have been trying to learn Nyanja since we have arrived here--one of the primary languages spoken in Zambia.  Lately, it has been a struggle.  I think we both feel like we have kind of stalled out.  Well, this past Sunday, we got the opportunity to hear another missionary preach.  His name is Kevin Rogers and he's been in Zambia for 10 years.  By external appearance, you wouldn't think much of him, but he was absolutely amazing.  Not only was his sermon very captivating & culturally relevant, but his Nyanja was also extremely fluent.  As he spoke, he would hop back and forth between Nyanja and English.  After the service, we were speaking to one of our Zambian friends who said his Nyanja was perfect!

That service is just what the two of us needed to be encouraged in our learning of the language.  Just when we were frustrated in our learning, God provided a spark in this dear brother.  Please continue to pray for us as we endeavor to learn Nyanja.  It is so much easier to communicate to Zambians in their native tongue and is a great way to break down the proverbial walls that tend to hinder our communication with them.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dumb & Dumber

Last night, Kerri and I climbed into bed and turned on the computer.  We had planned on watching a movie (our most frequent form of entertainment).  So, we put in the movie "Dumb and Dumber" --which we have seen thousands of times.  As soon as the movie started, I fell asleep & Kerri soon after.

Have you ever been exposed to something that effects the way that you think later on?  I do believe this is what happened from us watching the movie last night.  Let me jump ahead.  This morning, I asked Kerri if she would use the shears to give me a haircut.  Mind you, she was sitting at the vanity talking about how she wanted so badly for the power to come back on so she could get ready for church.  I'm giggling as I write this blog.

Anyways, I got the shears, and brought them into the bedroom.  She then went out of her way to then sneak into Maddie's room to get an extension chord.  After successfully retrieving the extension chord, we then had to find a converter because our shears were purchased in the States and could only handle 110 volts.  After plugging the extension cord into the wall, plugging the converter into end of the extension cord, plugging an adapter into the converter & plugging the shears into the adapter, we realized what we already knew--Yep, the power was out!  We just looked at each other and laughed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Baby Update

Hi all,

Just wanted to pass along the results from my ultrasound this morning. All is well. I saw the heartbeat, though apparently they don't listen to it or take the heart rate, so I don't know those. I was very relieved just to see the little flutter and the VERY grainy image of a tiny baby. Mr. Urkel, AKA the ultrasound tech., was very positive this time saying everything looked just fine and we'll have another scan about 10 weeks from now and then one final one before delivery. The baby measured 10 weeks 5 or 6 days today, so my "official due date" (for now) is December 27. A Christmas blessing!

Thanks for your prayers. I see the OB doctor next week and hope to talk some more details about the delivery options here and to get more of a feel for what we should do. Keep praying for wisdom! I'll keep you posted!


Thursday, June 05, 2008


For those of you who haven't heard there is a phrase used here that we've had to adopt ourselves: "TIA," it means "This is Africa."  It's something that both Kerri and I are learning to say many times here in Zambia.  Today's blog is about some of the situations that we have encountered which left us kind of befuddled and the only thing we had left to say was "This is Africa."  So, in no particular order...
  • The other day we were in Game, a store similar to WalMart but much smaller and with kitchen appliances.  Now that I think of it, a little more like SEARS.  Anyways, we were there to exchange a heater that we had purchased which did not work.  When we picked out the new heater, we asked one of the salesmen if we could plug it in to verify it was working properly.  He kindly replied, "Uhhhhhh, (looking very confused) let me call a service man for you."  We were standing right beside an outlet!  In the end, all of the service men were at lunch and we weren't allowed to plug it into the outlet there on the sales floor.  Instead, we had to take it to customer service on the way out of the store.  This is Africa!
  • Today, we made a second appointment with someone who works for one of the government offices here in Lusaka.  And for the second time, when we arrived for our appointment, the person was gone attending another appointment.  This is Africa!
  • One time Kerri was out to eat--a simple meal, pizza.  She ate half the pizza in the restaurant, but wanted to take the other half home.  When it was time to leave she asked the waiter if she could have a to-go box, or take-away box as they call it here.  The waiter replied "You are eating in and didn't order it as take-away.  I'll have to ask someone in charge if it's okay."  This is Africa!
  • I got pulled for speeding.  The cop didn't even have a vehicle of her own to chase me down. She just simply stepped out into the middle of the road.  This is Africa!
  • All of the local grocery stores at different times have run out of sugar and trash bags and cheese and ...  Basically they run out of every item you might want to buy on a given day.  This is Africa!
  • When choosing between different brands at the grocery store, it's not very difficult.  There are usually only 1 or 2 choices.  This is Africa!
  • When having an ultrasound done, it is impossible to find someone who will tell you the sex of the baby.  They all believe that it is bad luck.  This is Africa!
I hope this doesn't sound like complaining.  We're really happy here, it's just comical sometimes the differences we see here.  Zambians are much more concerned about relationships than getting tasks done.  Us Americans are not, but we're trying to learn.  It has really taught us patience and has forced us to slow down our American pace and lessen our often too high expectations.  

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Look What We Found in the Backyard!!!

Just Kidding!!! I knew this would get the grandparents excited to see a picture of a snake and think that we found it in the backyard. We actually had a chance to go on a day safari to Protea again and found out they had a snake pit with 2 small pythons. This is one of the two pythons (tamed and harmless).

Our international director, Nelson Reed, is in country visiting the team. So, today's trip was a team trip. We piled into three cars and headed to Protea for a day of rest and relaxation.  Below is a picture of our fearless leader and Gracyn riding Mpamvu the elephant.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Update on Kerri

Just a quick update on Kerri...

She was suffering from the flu for a better part of last week.  Nearing the weekend, the fever finally broke for good and she is feeling much better.  Thank you so much for your prayers.

Outreach in Mumbwa (Part 2)

As I said in the previous post, miracles occurred while we were in Mumbwa. In addition to the healing of that man’s back, another woman came in with a visible limp. One of her legs was longer than the other one—probably because of a problem with her tendons. As she was prayed over, whatever was causing the problem went away and the woman’s legs were restored. She got up dancing and praising God.

Since my time in the Bush, God has been challenging my heart in the area of faith. Here are some of the things that he is either reminding me of or teaching me anew:

God is Sovereign
God is sovereign. He will accomplish his purpose both through our belief and our unbelief. And his chief purpose is to bring glory to himself because He is everything perfect.

God is the Author & Perfecter of our faith. So we should seek Him when it seems like our faith is lacking.
God is the author of our faith and it is He who develops us in our faith. So, there is nothing we can do on our own to have faith or muster it up and we cannot grow in faith apart from Him.

He chose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith
The people who live in these villages are clearly the poor in the world. When you go into a village here, the people just believe and stuff happens. There is no better way for me to say it. It has shed a whole new light for me on this particular verse in Scripture.

We shouldn’t seek Experiences, but God
God desires relationship. The reason he ever performs miracles is so that those who don’t know him might believe and come to know him. Matthew 7: says “On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles.’ And then I will tell them plainly, ‘Away from me you evildoers, I never KNEW you.’ So, while we ask for faith and begin to see God show up in ways that we haven’t experienced him before, we must not forget Him. Our ultimate goal for more faith must be a deeper more intimate relationship with Him not a spiritual “sideshow” of miracles.

Before this trip, I had unbelief in my heart—I wanted to believe that God still did some of the things that were talked about in the New Testament, but if I were to be honest, I was more comfortable not experiencing these things. Here in Zambia, I’m finding it more and more difficult to avoid these things because this a culture entrenched in the spiritual realm. And this is one area that I see God continuing to stretch me during our time here in Zambia.