Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas

Our first Christmas in Zambia has come and gone and while we missed spending time with family and friends back in the States, it was a good Christmas. A few days before, we visited a local orphanage and had a party with the children there. It was the first time in a long while that these children were able to have pizza and cokes! And since Ellie was turning 1, we combined the christmas party & her birthday party. She enjoyed her first cake.

Christmas eve, we went to the Allens and had a small church service. It was very nice, a few of our Zambian friends came, Kerri sang, Stephanie led the music and Steve preached. After the service, we came back home and put the kids in bed.

Christmas morning, our children were ready to start the festivities at 6:30 am. The grandparents sent some presents via mail and had us buy others here. We also had a visitor for the weekend of Christmas. You'll see him in a few of the pictures. We'll let you know more about him when we are permitted. All in all, I think the children and the parents had a very merry Christmas.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

When It Rains It Pours

Rainy season still hasn't hit full swing yet, but when it has rained, it has been quite impressive. There are a lot of areas in town that do not have proper drainage and therefore, flood. Case-in-point, Manda Hill. This is one of the two shopping centers near our home. I passed it on my way home from the office.

Normally, this trip (which is about 3 miles) takes anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes depending on traffic. But when it rains, it is a completely different story. This night, it took me 2 hours.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Passport Photos Anyone???

I just had to post these pictures. In January, we're taking the train up to Tanzania for vacation, but in order to go, we must get visas. To get Tanzanian visas, you have to have passport photos. Well, here in Zambia, things don't work quite like they do in the States. While they do have westernized photography stores, they tend to be much more expensive.

So, in order to avoid these costs, you get creative. On Thursday, our family and the Whitfields packed all of our children into the car and headed to town. On Cairo Road, the equivalent of Lusaka's main street, there are shops that advertise passport photo taking. We found such a store and had them prepare our photos.

As you can see in the picture, all it took was a white sheet and an old digital camera. Priceless!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I received this from Doug Nichols, the founder and international director emeritus of Action International. They are statistics on a lot of the stuff we see on a daily basis here in Zambia.


The following are statistics of suffering from the new book, "The Poor Will Be Glad" by Peter Greer and Phil Smith:

1. Hunger: Approximately 850 million people go to bed hungry every night and search for creative ways to ignore their discomfort. [page 25]

2. Child Mortality: Worldwide, eleven million children die every year before reaching their fifth birthday. That translates to thirty thousand children who die each day from hunger and preventable disease -- one child every three seconds. [page 25]

3. Drinking Water: Twenty percent of the world has no access to clean water. Millions more walk long distances to carry every drop of water to their homes. (Geography IQ, "Infant Mortality Rate," (August 19, 2008). [page 25]

4. Diarrhea: In the developing world, diarrhea wracks the thin bodies of tens of millions of children who have no access to diapers or plumbing -- and it kills between 1.6 and 2.5 million children every year. (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, "Novel Compound May Treat Acute Diarrhea," Science Daily, June 21, 2008, (August 19, 2008). [page 25]

5. Health Care: More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. The result is ten million annual deaths from the four most common preventable diseases: diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. In many cases, one simple shot could save a life. (Mark Kinver, "Water Policy 'Fails World's Poor,'" BBC News on the Web, March 9, 2006, (August 19, 2008). [page 26]

6. Women's Rights: An Afghan man was told that his sick daughter's life could be saved if he took her across a dangerous mountain pass to medical care in a city two hours away. "No, I don't want to do that," he responded. "Girls are free, but donkeys cost money." (Kirk Magelby, "MicroFranchises as a Solution to Global Poverty," December 2005, (August 19, 2008). [page 27]

7. Employment: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only 10 percent of the entire population is formally employed. There simply are no formal employment options, no "Help Wanted" signs, and no employers who are legally mandated to provide a minimum wage and other rights. [page 27]

8. Poverty: As of July 2007, there were approximately 6.6 billion people living on earth. Approximately four billion live on less than $4 per day, nearly all of whom live in developing countries. Their incomes are distributed in the following way:
a. One billion live on less than $1 per day.
b. Two billion live on $1 to $2 per day.
c. One billion live on $2 to $4 per day.

(For a more complete analysis of the breakdown of poverty and the difference between the countries moving out of poverty and those stuck in a poverty trap, we recommend The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). [page 29]

Peter Greer and Phil Smith, The Poor Will Be Glad (Joining the revolution to lift the world out of poverty), Daniel Literary Group, LLC, Nashville, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Village Video

Steve Allen put together a short video of the trip to Chikankata this past weekend. They went to several different villages with the Chiefteness accompanying them. Take a look if you get a chance.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009


I know this post is late, but because of our computer problems, I haven't been able to get access to our pictures or the Internet on a regular basis. This Thanksgiving was our first away from home. If you remember last year, we came home for the delivery of Ellie. So, it was a little sad celebrating a holiday that we normally spend with our families.

Any who... We did have a good time over the holiday. Luke and I took our kids (minus the little ones) out to Ciyanjano (our ministry center) for a pig roast. Luke downloaded the instructions on how to do a Hawaiian Pig Luau and we spent a better part of 7 hours trying to follow those instructions.

To prepare a pig this way, you dig a pit and burn wood for several hours. When you have a nice base of coals, you put in some large rocks and heat those as well. Then you put several layers of banana trees over the rocks, wrap the pig in banana leaves and chicken wire, cover with some more banana trees and a wet tarp and voila! 12 hours later a delicious pig picking - at least that was what we hoped.

Well, to my surprise and Luke's joy, it did work and for Thanksgiving day, our team enjoyed some good barbeque!

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Thursday, December 03, 2009


Well, today, two of our teammates along with about 6 Zambian pastors, are headed down to Chikankata for a weekend of outreach. They are eating dinner with the chiefteness this evening and spending the night in some traditional african huts. The chiefteness has been busy publicizing the weekend. She has had announcements in the local radio station and has sent word through her headmen that a group is coming. So, the schedule for the weekend should be very busy.

If you remember, I was supposed to be going on this trip, but we just found out yesterday that we will be hosting a very important visitor this weekend here in Lusaka. So, I had to back out.

Please be in prayer for this team of men this weekend. They will be visiting 3 separate villiages which have little to no exposure to the gospel and have no active evangelical churches present in their communities. They will be showing the Jesus Film, courtesy of Campus Crusade and will be speaking to several groups. Pray for their safety, for a good reception from those who they are going to see and for a successful weekend of ministry. Pray against the attacks of the enemy as spiritual warfare seems to be so prevelant in rural Zambia. Pray for the Zambian pastors, that this weekend would give them a vision for rural and cross-cultural missions. Pray that God would begin to call some of these men out in service to Him.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Living Without

It's official. Our computer has died. We would love to get it fixed here, but there aren't any Apple dealers anywhere in Lusaka. So, tomorrow morning it will be boarding a plane with some friends for a long trip back to the U.S. and will hopefully be repaired on that side of the ocean.

Therefore, for the next little while, we will be updating our site on a less frequent basis. We hope to have our computer fixed and returned as soon as possible, but will be relying on finding a visitor to the ministry with space to carry it back. Please be patient with us in the meantime.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today marks a milestone for our family. It is our very first Thanksgiving spent in Zambia. We were home last year for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, so our first American holiday here was July 4th. But this is the first "big one" - one where we are usually spending the day with our family enjoying delicious turkey and "fixins", sharing stories, laughing at kids, and relaxing together. So, our hearts are a little sad today knowing that our families will be celebrating without us. Y'all eat some extra turkey, dressing, and strawberry stuff for us, OK?

However, we are indeed thankful that the Lord has provided surrogate family for us here and that we are still able to celebrate! We are thankful that Shoprite stocked frozen turkeys (which they don't normally have), and that we have the flexibility to spend the afternoon and evening celebrating with dear friends. Brent will still be conducting his 2:7 discipleship class this afternoon since, after all, Zambia does not have a reason to acknowledge the last Thursday in November. But we will all be together tonight to eat and fellowship, and I'm sure there'll be a whole lot of laughing and relaxing! We will also have a big team celebration on Saturday at Ciyanjano, ACTION Zambia's ministry center.

We're mindful and thankful today for God's graciousness to us each and every day. We're thankful for healthy and thriving children. We're thankful for Zambia and what God teaches us as we live life here. We're thankful for our extended families, our fantastic team and our dear friends on both sides of the ocean. We're extremely thankful for all of you who support and pray for us so diligently. What would we do without you? Most of all, we are thankful to be loved by our God - the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier Who is over all, through all and in all. May He receive all the glory for every blessing we have! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rainy Days are Here!

We are finally experiencing our first Zambian rainy season! And they weren't kidding, it rains a lot! Just though you would enjoy seeing the kids all dressed up in their rain gear! Our family has really been enjoying the rain. It has brought a very welcome relief from the heat and is turning the world very green! We also get to enjoy crazy thunderstorms without having to worry about tornadoes!

However, the rains also bring suffering to the poorest of the poor in Zambia and that is never far from our hearts and minds. In the compound areas, where the water gathers and there is certainly no proper drainage, people die every year from disease. Children also commonly drown by falling into deep potholes that have filled with water. Please remember these dear brothers and sisters as the rains continue until at least February!

Please also bear with us as we are experiencing some issues with our computer. Gasp! Our ability to get on the internet has been really hit or miss. So, if you don't hear from us very regularly, this is why! Please pray that we can figure out how to get our computer serviced and have our means of communication back again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

KiliClimb For Kids

This December, two of our teammates will be traveling to Kenya and Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as a fund raiser for children in our community schools programs here in Zambia.  Below is a link to their brochure.  Take a look if you get a chance.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Bible for All...

A posting from Steve Allen:

A few months ago, we were alerted to an opportunity by Tyndale Publishers of a container that they were sending over to Zambia full of NLT Life Application Study Bibles for only $9 dollars each.   When Brent and Luke were back in the states, they put the word out, and a few of us put out a few emails later, Owen when he came to do an internship, raised a bunch of money, and through all these gifts,  God raised through his people enough for us to buy over 200 bibles to give away here in Zambia.  We started out by giving them first to our pastors. They were giddier than a kid at Christmas.  It was great fun. I thought I would show you a picture of us giving the bibles away to the pastors. THANK YOU all for your gift to make this possible. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Visit with the Chief

A couple of weeks ago, we had the privilege of visiting with Chieftainess Mwenda.  She is the chief over Chikankata, an area located about 2 hours south of Lusaka.  Chikankata consists of many different villages accounting for approximately 20,000 families (approximately 100,000 people).  A majority of these families are unreached and have no active evangelical churches.  The Chieftainess is a vibrant believer who has a heart to see her kingdom evangelized and churches planted.

During our meeting, she expressed a desire for Action Zambia to help her in this effort.  We don't know exactly what God has in store, but we are stepping out in faith and seeing how He will respond.  During the first week of December, we are taking a group of pastors from our Pastors College and Discipleship programs for an outreach event that should last 3-4 days.  The plan is to go down there and camp on a piece of property that was donated to Action Zambia.  During the days, we will be visiting many remote villiages (some that have never even seen white people).  In the evenings, we will be trying to show The Jesus Film.

Please join us as we begin to pray for this outreach event.  Pray for the missionaries who will be leading the trip.  Pray for the pastors who will be accompanying us.  And pray for these people we will be sharing with during our time down there.  Pray that God would open the eyes and ears of many to come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ!  Pray also for the Chieftainess.  It is very difficult being a believer and a chief here in Zambia.  She faces many challenges in ruling her kingdom.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Pics from October

Just some random family pics from this month. Kerri put these together for her facebook page.  So, I thought I would post them here as well.  If you are receiving this post via email, you will need to go to our website to view:

Funny story about a couple of the pictures... (the pictures of Maddie and Ellie in Ellie's bed).  One morning, Kerri put Ellie in the bed while she went to the bathroom.  When she came out, she found Maddie in bed with Ellie.  Maddie had gone into the pantry, gotten a box of Rice Krispies, climbed into the bed with Ellie and then proceeded to dump the box of cereal out into the bed.  Kerri found the two with fist-fulls of cereal once she got out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lost in Translation (Hint: Funny, Hint: Must Read)

As many of you know, I spent this past Saturday night in a local clinic battling a fever, cough and stomach problems.  And because of this, I had to cancel a preaching engagement with Great Commission.  As part of keeping their leadership in the loop with what was happening with me, Kerri sent a text message to the Pastor.  It read: "Please pray for Brent, he's been admitted to Mina Clinic for IV Fluids and antibiotics.  He has a bad case of pharyngitis and possible food poisoning."

When she sent the text, she didn't think anything about it.  She was just giving a quick update so they would know how to pray.  Well, there were two words in that message that contain a significantly different meaning in Zambia then they do in the States - Food Poisoning.  The pastor stopped by Monday afternoon, because the church was greatly concerned for me.  He told me that when they made the announcement, that many people were shocked.  A few asked, "Who would do such a thing?"  They even speculated as to which Action Zambia workers might be involved in poisoning the boss.  It wasn't until this Monday afternoon appointment that I was able to clear things up.  I had to explain to Pastor Kandela that food poisoning, in our context, meant that we ate some food that had spoiled or wasn't properly cooked.  We both got a good laugh!  Sometimes, even though you think you are communicating one thing, your actually communicating something completely different.

Just thought you would enjoy that story.  Please continue to pray for my health.  I have been sick off and on over the past three weeks.  The most recent bout came just after I got over what Kerri and I though might be the swine flu.  My body is still tired and I have a cough that doesn't seem to want to go away.  Pray for recovery.  

Thank you for the love and encouragement from those of you who have sent notes and emails recently and for the many of you who have been praying on our behalf.  We appreciate you so much!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some Video for You

My friend Steve Allen shot some video of the wedding reception we went to a couple of weeks ago. Below are two videos of the groomsmen and bridesmaids dancing to open up the reception.  Just thought you might want to see the video in addition to the pictures I posted:

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Parenting 101

So, last weekend, Kerri and the women of Action Zambia went on a retreat about 2 hours South of town.  That meant that all of the Action dads were on daddy duty.  Well, Caleb, Gracyn & I were busy cleaning the house for Mommy's return.  I put Ellie in the bouncy seat for a few minutes.  After several minutes of cleaning, I realized that Ellie was no longer making any noise.   I poked my head around the corner and this is what I found.  I think she was tired.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A First for Charles

Yesterday, I took Charles to the dentist.  He had a tooth ache that had been bothering him for several days so we went to see if we could figure out what was causing the pain.  As we drove to the office, I was struck by just how much I take for granted.  This was the first time Charles had ever been to the dentist.  He had a tooth pulled back in 2004 by a visiting short term dental mission team, but he had never stepped foot in a dentist office.

As we walked in, I figured that I should orient him to the process.  So, I shared with him how they would probably look at his teeth and take a few X-Rays (another first).  Charles did great, but the tooth didn't cooperate.  In the end, he had to have it pulled.  But I'm still taken aback at the fact that this was the first time in his 31 years of life that he ever had the opportunity to visit a dentist!

Brent the patient

Well, it finally happened...Brent is sick!  I've always been amazed at how healthy he is.  He rarely gets sick.  But he started getting sick yesterday and it was downhill all night.  When I woke up this morning he told me he was running fever and had been up and down with stomach issues (though I never heard him).  He has also had a lingering cough since having the flu 2 weeks ago, so I insisted he go to the clinic and get checked out.  

I dragged him to a small clinic that's near our house.  It's run by Egyptian doctors and they seem to do a good job.  It's the place we have always gone for basic check-ups, earaches, fevers, etc.  As you can see just from the picture, it's MUCH different from what we are used to in the States, but we're thankful to have it!  Anyway the doctor looked him over and said he definitely has an infection in his throat and gastroenteritis (possibly food poisoning).  Thankfully his lungs sounded fine and he tested negative for malaria.  He recommended that Brent be admitted for IV antibiotics and fluids as oral medicines may not be absorbed well because of his diarrhea.  Reluctantly, Brent agreed to be admitted.  I left him to go and get him some food and drinks and some more money (since clinics and hospitals don't provide food for their patients and you have to pay upfront for treatment), and when I came back he was feeling a bit better already.  The doctor said that if there's no more fever and diarrhea by tomorrow he can go home.  

Of course Brent insisted that I bring the camera, take his picture and post a blog about this experience, so here it is!  But in all seriousness, please do lift him up in prayer as you think about it.  We have plenty of "family" here offering to help in whatever ways we need it, but it's hard to be without our real family at times like this.  Brent is also not used to being down with illness so pray that as his body recovers, his spirit will also be refreshed in the Lord.  We appreciate your prayers and support more than you can imagine!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fuel Shortage

There has been a fuel shortage here in Zambia.  It started about a week ago and currently there is no end in sight.  The in-country producer of petrol has shut down operations to do maintenance on its facilities.  So, companies like BP and Total are having to import more of their product.  The problem is that they are not getting the expected breaks from the Zambian government on import duties.  All of this means that there is not enough product to meet demand.

Above is a picture I took the other day at the gas station near our office.  What you cannot see from this picture is how far the line of cars is coming into the gas station.  It goes almost all the way into downtown Lusaka.  During this shortage, many people have been lining up at gas stations as early as 6:30 am and staying until mid-afternoon to receive gas.

Please pray for this situation as it is affecting many people here in Zambia.  The only good news for us is that we drive a car that runs on diesel and therefore are not having to wait in these same lines.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's This?

There have been many times that I have passed a truck filled with passengers here in Zambia.  I thought that trucks would pass by and just pick up passengers.  This does happen sometimes, but the overloaded truck in the picture above is not a truck filled with random passengers.  It happens to be a funeral procession.  Megan and I were on the way back from Streams of Living Waters Community school a few weeks ago and got behind this truck.  I have passed several of these during our time in Lusaka, but never had a camera available to take a picture and share it with you.

Just thought it was an interesting view of a part of Zambian life that you might not otherwise get to experience.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Zambian Wedding

A little over a week ago, Kerri and I got to go to our very first Zambian wedding.  One of the men (Cassius) in the weekly discipleship program that I was leading was getting married.

There were a lot of similarities between this Zambian wedding and a typical western wedding, but there were also some differences.  To start the service, the bride and groom were brought chairs to sit in while the pastor preached a sermon.  I wish we would have employed this method, because I remember standing for what seemed like an eternity during my own wedding (please don't take offense at that Brad).

Most of the rest of the service, including the presentation of bride and groom to those in attendance and the first kiss, were all present in the ceremony.  But the photography was a little over the top.  Basically, anyone (including myself) who had a camera was more than welcome to take pictures from anywhere in the church.  It had to be one of the most documented weddings in Zambian history.

After the ceremony there was to be a reception across town.  But instead of going straight there, the wedding party went to the home of the pastor to eat a late lunch.  We didn't get to attend this part of the event.  So, we went for our own late lunch at a nearby restaurant instead.  After about 2 hours, we headed over to the reception.  The bride and groom still had not arrived.

By far the coolest part of the evening was the entrance of the wedding party at the reception.  Before the bride and groom entered, the bridesmaids and groomsmen came in and danced for those in attendance.  I reeeaaallllyyy wish we would have included this as part of our wedding 10 years ago.  To see some of my best friends, who have no "Skills" trying to dance in front of everyone would have been hilarious.  The difference though, is that this wedding party could dance.

After the dancing, the bride and groom entered with their flower girl and ring bearer leading the way.  They all went to the front and took their seats.  It was at this point that the toasting and stories began.  Due to having limited baby sitting for the evening, these Mzungus had to leave, but what we got to experience was truly a treat!

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Request for More Prayer

One of our friends and teammates sent this email out this afternoon.  Please be in prayer for her and those involved in this accident.


Hello friends,

Since coming to Zambia, I've gotten fairly adapt at using the public transportation. They're called mini buses and have a reputation for being a little crazy in their driving. Traffic in Lusaka is quite bad, particularly at rush hour, and the mini bus drivers will do anything to get even one car ahead.

This morning as I headed out the door, I prepared to take yet another adventure on one of the blue mini buses. Little did I know what lay ahead. There is a compound close to my house called Garden. It has a busy town center and is about 2-3 blocks long. The bus I take to get into downtown Lusaka goes right through the center of Garden. The traffic was terrible this morning and so the bus driver of my bus decided to take a shortcut. He did this by pulling out into the oncoming traffic's lane. There was a big truck about 3 blocks in front of us, so the driver thought that he could at least get a bit ahead. So he gunned it. Just as we reached a good speed, out of nowhere a young boy about the age of 13 ran across the street. He hadn't looked in our direction (why would he since cars don't normally come barrelling down the wrong side of the street) and thought he had enough time to cross before the big truck (which was still coming at my bus) got to him. Suffice to say that my bus driver didn't have enough time to barely break before he hit the young boy.

The boy flew in the air about 10 feet and landed on the ground only to continue rolling until he fell into the ditch on the side of the road. I was in shock as I watched these precedings. A crowd quickly gathered with Zambian men yelling at my bus driver. I saw someone go over to the limp boy's body and pick him up out of the ditch. I winced, knowing that moving him would further any damage already done, or aid the death that, in my opinion, probably had already happened. My fellow passengers started to exit the bus as more and more people gathered, all yelling at the bus driver. I followed and as I got out, the man who had picked up the boy came around the corner of the bus. I moved by quickly and lowered my eyes. I won't describe what the boy looked like, but I don't think he survived. 

Crossing the street I got into another mini bus and just sat in absolute shock. My fellow passengers were all talking in Nyanje (the local language). Some gave me disheartened smiles and we all just shook our heads in disbelief. Soon traffic pulled forward and my new bus passed the one I had just been on. They were putting the boy into the bus to be taken to the hospital. A young woman named Deborah who had been on my original bus sat down next to me. I glanced over at her and saw tears. I touched her shoulder and we stared at each other, weeping. What can one say after an experience like that?

Now that I was on a new bus, I had to pay the bus driver again. I reached into my bag and got my wallet, only to find that I had absolutely no money. Not good - at all. I wasn't in the best of areas and there was no where nearby to get money. I turned to Deborah and asked her if she wouldn't mind paying my fare. While this seems trite, Zambians don't have a lot of money, so to pay even 50 cents for a fare is asking a lot. She graciously said yes. I was quite relieved. 

Tears have come on and off throughout the day as I think about what happened this morning. I try not to play through the scene in my mind, but it keeps coming back. How do you process something like that? I've wrestled with God, asking Him why He would allow something like that to happen. I don't know. 

Is it fair? No. Is it right? No. Can I change it? No. But what I can do is pray for the family of the boy. I pray that they will be comforted as they grieve and mourn.I can only imagine what they are going through right now. I can also pray for the mini bus driver as he will be spending some time in prison (not a pretty place here in Zambia - or anywhere in the world for that matter) for his deed. What he did in trying to get ahead of traffic is actually quite common - he just happened to choose the wrong time to do it and will be one of the ones forced to pay for it. 

I personally am doing ok, although I am a bit shook up. Thankfully there are people here on my team who I can process and cry with. I'd appreciate your prayers, both for me and the boy's family (and for the boy, as I'm not 100% sure that he is indeed dead). 

Thank you for your friendship and partnership as I carry on here in Lusaka, Zambia. It means a lot!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Prayer Request

I just wanted to quickly request your prayers.  Kerri and I have both come down with some kind of virus and are running fevers.  The kids are kind of taking care of themselves this morning (all except Ellie).  Pray that we would recover quickly.

Thank you

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Leadership Training Graduation

We recently finished the last book of our discipleship training program for pastors and church leaders.  So, Luke and I decided to have a cookout and graduation ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the men who were a part of this program.

It has been such a blessing to get to know these guys.  Over the past few months, I think we have learned a lot more from them than what we taught during our time together.  Here's a video of our celebration.  It includes testimonials, handing out of certificates and a reciting of a letter the pastors wrote to Action Zambia in appreciation for this program.

Please continue to pray for us, as we have just started the second group of pastors and church leaders in this program.  I hope to have an update soon introducing the new students.  Also, please pray for these pastors who just finished this 1-year program.  Pray that they would be able to implement many of the things we learned together in their churches.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Hate Mosquitos

I know God has a plan for creating them, but let me just take a brief second to say that I hate mosquitos.  Here's a 20 second video of what we encounter on a nightly basis - swarms of mosquitos.  In order to sit anywhere in our house without the protection of a mosquito net, we either have to cover ourselves with bug spray or pull out the electric racquets we have for swatting them.  

Alright, I'm done complaining.  We do love living here but it has its challenges.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get killed by the dog and eaten by a family of 6!  So, you remember that chicken I got from preaching in the village church this past Sunday (the one pictured above)?  Well, he made it through the first 36 hours with flying colors.  But then our dog, Chisomo, took an interest in him (a deadly interest).  We woke up Monday morning to a dead rooster.  So, for lunch, the Roberts had chicken.

The problem, in addition to the dead chicken, was that I was having our guard Charles bring three hens to the house that morning.  I figured that if we had a rooster, we could get some hens and have a steady supply of eggs.  Well, without a rooster, we weren't going to have any eggs.  So, we bought another rooster the next day.  So far, so good!  They have all survived the dogs since Monday and we already have two eggs.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Village Experience

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach at a church in a village just North of town.  This is the same church I preached at about a year ago when I brought home my first goat.  Pastor Mark Mwale, invited me to go back to this church and it was such a blessing.  

Because of other required passengers (Pastor Mwale & my translator), I wasn't able to take the whole family, but Caleb was able to go with me.  I made him the camera man.  So, most of the pictures that you see are ones that he took.

It was a typical Zambian bush service (lasted about 3 hours).  When we arrived, they setup chairs in the front of the church for us.  After a few worship songs and announcements, they asked me to come up and preach.  Things seemed to go pretty well.  I was sharing about the permanency of God's salvation - that if it is a gift, by His grace and not by our own good works, then there is no way we can lose it!  Being that many churches here in Zambia struggle with legalism, I thought it was a very applicable message.

As the service concluded, they asked us to come up to the front and yes, you guessed it, Brent was going home with another live animal (a rooster)!

After the service was over, some of the women of the church had prepared a nice lunch for us (Nshima, Greens & Chicken).  Here's another interesting tidbit about culture here in Zambia.  When men get together and eat, they do not talk.  Talking is for after the meal.  So, here we were (me, Caleb, Pastor Mwale, my translator Mr. Phiri and the pastor of this church sitting, eating our lunch in complete silence).

I hope you enjoy these few pictures from the trip.  If you are receiving this post via email and cannot see these pictures, you can view them on our website or at the following link.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Through the Eyes of Another

I asked a few of the members of the team that visited in August if they would share a highlight experience from their trip to Zambia.  Below is a posting by David Stumbo, a dear friend and member of our home church.  Please take the time to read about how God used him & impacted his life during his time in Zambia.  Thank you David for putting this together!

The AIDS epidemic has plagued Zambia horribly, and is one of the reasons why the average life expectancy in Lusaka is about 37 years old.  I had the privilege one day of our trip of walking through the Chaisa compound with Mark Mwale, pastor of Emasdale Church of God, and pray for people who were dying of AIDS in their own houses.  This was part of the C.R.O.S.S. ministry (Churches Ready to Overcome Silence and Stigma) that Action Zambia has organized to minister to those afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Lusaka.  

Pastor Mwale introduced me as “Man of God” everywhere we went in the compound.  Mark Mwale, however, is a true “Man of God.”  He wakes up at 4 AM every morning, straps 10 hand crafted charcoal grills to his bike, and carries them 5 miles to the city market to provide income for his family (7 biological children and 6 orphans), church and community.  He has very little materially but was so giving and open with what he did have.  I was so privileged to spend time in ministry with this dear brother in Christ.   

The stark poverty that I witnessed up close in Chaisa is something that was truly a shock to the senses.  Many of these houses were no bigger than a small room in your house, with cinder block walls and no windows.  There was garbage lying in piles all over the place, and ditches filled with dirty water running through the low lying areas between the dwellings.  Young children were everywhere in the streets and alleyways, playing with whatever they could get their hands on to make into a toy.  Without exception all turned their attention directly toward the only white face within sight walking through their compound.  The young ones smiled and laughed, calling out “Mzungu!” (which means “white person” in their native tongue).   The smell of this place was very pungent, and is also something that I don’t think I will ever forget. 

We visited three particular houses along the way, with lots of walking in between.  The first was occupied by a lady named Edna, and her mother Violet.  Edna’s husband had recently died of AIDS, and Edna herself was now afflicted with AIDS and Tuberculosis.  She indicated that because of her sickness, it was very difficult for her to have the energy to work to support and feed her family.  She had a look of complete sorrow and desperation on her face as we talked to her and prayed for her.  

The second house was occupied by a man living alone, who was about my age, and who was both afflicted with AIDS and completely blind.  His days are spent sitting on the step outside of his small dwelling and chipping off enough wood to make a small fire to keep warm at night.  He indicated that his mother would go into the city to try to obtain the AIDS medications for him, if and when they were available.  This man seemed to have a strong faith in the Lord, and we prayed for encouragement and strength for him in what appeared to be a lonely situation. 

The third dwelling that we visited was very unique, and presented me with a situation that I had never experienced until then.  We were greeted by a woman outside the front door, who went inside to a dark room in the house behind a curtain to talk to the person inside.  I heard a weak, but animated voice inside speaking Bemba to her.  Pastor Mwale could also hear and interpreted for me, saying that the man wanted us to go away unless we had food or medication for him.  Despite his protests, the woman waived us back to the room behind the curtain.  The room was dark, but I could make out a frail figure on the pallet, and as I placed my hand on his arm, all I could feel was skin and bone.  The man was saying something in a high-pitched voice, Pastor Mwale tells me, “He says that he has evil spirits.”  We begin to pray for him, first of all confronting the demonic spirits inside of him and calling them out in the name of Jesus.  I could feel the body trembling under my hand as we prayed.  We also began to pray for complete healing.  As the prayer reached a crescendo, Pastor Mwale and I were going back and forth seamlessly, me in English and then him in Bemba.  As we closed the man’s body stopped trembling, and he started saying “thank you” repeatedly. 

This was certainly a first for me, although Pastor Mwale acted like it was something that was pretty common for him.  For a conservative, country boy from South Carolina to be teamed up with a charismatic Zambian pastor to confront forces of Satan in the middle of one of the poorest urban areas in the world shows not only how big our God is, but that he also has a sense of humor. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kasempa (Reflections)

I'm sorry for not publishing many posts lately.  I hope the next few weeks will be better.  I didn't want to just put up a post describing our trip to Kasempa without sharing some of the things that God had me processing over that weekend.  So, in no order...

I think God for my Zambian friends
Pastor Kandela, Alex & Laban have been a tremendous asset for learning culture and adjusting to life here in Zambia.  This trip, though, was the first time that we got to spend this much time together.  I think it was an opportunity for us to see each other in an environment where we could just relax and have fun.

The Cultural Gap
Even though this trip was a great opportunity to spend time with some of our best Zambian friends, I was further struck with the fact that even with all I have learned in my first year plus of time here in Zambia, there is still a gap in communication.  There are things that I don't know if I will ever understand, but I am encouraged that the gap is closing.  Pray that it would continue to do so.

God can only work through my weakness
As I look at who I am and try to figure out how and why God would use me in ministry here, I am reminded over and over that "His Strength is Perfected in My Weakness."  If, at any time, I think that there is anything in me, except for Christ, that will make me successful in ministry, then I am in a bad position.  Pray that I would be dependent upon Him.

These were just some of the things that I was processing over the weekend in Kasempa.  I hope for more opportunities to take trips like this in the future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kasempa Part II

Oops.  I scheduled this post to publish to the website over a week ago, but I put the date in October instead of September.  Sorry!  Anyways, here's more of our trip to Kasempa.

Sunday Morning Church
That Sunday was the first service of this new church.  The pastor asked me to preach.  So, I prepared a message on Foundations of a Christ Centered church.  I thought it was an applicable message for a new church plant.  When we arrived, there was another church holding a service just outside.  It was obvious that the Pastor and leaders from Great Commission were concerned that those invited from the previous night's crusade would confuse this church with their church, but everything went ok.  There were about 8 in attendance including the pastor.  And the reports we have received since that weekend is that they are still meeting.  Please continue to pray for this young church as they seek to reach their community with the gospel.

Sunday Afternoon Hike & Hospital Visit
That afternoon, we decided to hike up a nearby mountain.  I think I quickly realized just how out of shape that I am.  If you watched the video, you will see just how much I was huffing and puffing.  After returning from our hike, we stopped by the local hospital to visit with patients.  Kasempa is home to one of the best private clinics in Zambia.  So, people come from all over to receive treatment.  The men's ward that we visited was full with guys suffering from burns to malaria to you name it.  It was a difficult place to minister in a place like this, but also rewarding.

Sunday Evening Prayer
So, near the end of the trip, the pastor shares that his wife has been struggling with some physical ailments that the doctors can't seem to provide medicine for.  He asked if we (Luke, Me, Alex, Pastor Kandela & Laban) would anoint her with oil and pray for her.  There was reason to believe that some of the things she was suffering from were spiritual.  As we began to pray for her, she started convulsing and collapsed to the ground.  She began telling the pastor that he was a bad man and when we asked the demons to tell us how many there were, she said "We are many."  Now, this is the first time that I have encountered a situation like this.  Coming from my conservative western perspective, I was of course skeptical, but as we prayed, it was clear that this woman was either possessed or being spiritually oppressed by demons.  After about three hours of prayer, she was released from her bondage.  I'll try to post some reflections on this as well as some other things that happened over the weekend in a later post.

Monday Early Morning Drive Home
So, on two hours sleep, we all loaded up at 3:00 am and headed back to Lusaka.  After getting to Solwezi, we heard something squeaking in the car.  When we stopped, we determined it was the engine belt.  Knowing that if we stopped to try and find a mechanic, we might be spending a few more days up north, we decided to continue our trip and hope that the belt didn't fall apart.  About 30 minutes after seeing the belt loose, while we were driving between Solwezi and Chingola we blew a rear tire.  Apparently, there was a piece of metal in the road that the front tire through into the back tire and the tire exploded.  So, our hopefully 9 hour trip quickly turned into an 11 hour trip.

I'll stop here.  The next Post will be on some of my reflections from the trip.  Until then...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Tribe are you From

Back in the States, when you want to know where someone grew up, you would ask them "Where were you born or where did you live when you were growing up?"  But here, things are a bit different.  Every Zambian relates where they are from by tribe.  If you're from the north, you are bemba, the north west - Kaonde, South - Tonga, East - probably chewa.  If you ask a person where they grew up, they might look at you with confusion, but if you ask them what tribe they are from, they will tell you without hesitation.

Just an interesting tidbit about the culture we are ministering in.

Tomorrow, I'll be preaching in a village up north.  Please be in prayer for me as I share with this congregation.  Also be in prayer for me next Sunday, as I will be preaching at a church in Chaisa compound.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Random Update:  Now that Maddie is potty training and in big girl clothes, she likes to sneak off occasionally and dress in her bubby and sissy's clothes.  Here's a picture of her wearing a conglomeration.  

I uploaded a video a few weeks ago showing images from our trip to Kasempa, but haven't had the chance to tell you about the trip itself.  Me and Luke went with our friends from Great Commission up to Kasempa to assist with a church plant.  This was my first trip up north and the first time that I have gotten to spend time with Zambians for an extended stay in their home.  It was truly a cultural experience that I will cherish for some time.

The Trip
We arrived on a Friday after a 10 hour ride through the copper belt.  Zambia is known world-wide for their production of copper and it was neat to see some of the major copper mines that are operating in the North.  The roads for the most part were ok, except for a two-hour stretch between Chingola and Solwezi.  But sleeping in the car is something that I am not good at.  So I didn't get much rest before we arrived.

Our Arrival
We stayed with Michael Kandela's brother and wife the entire stay.  So, when we arrived, they had already setup the rooms with mattresses and mosquito nets.  It was obvious that they gave us their bedroom and moved to a smaller room to make us feel welcomed.  Then, for dinner, the wife made a complete Zambian spread.  Here we were, the Americans, the ones who "have everything" and this family was sacrificing all they had to welcome us into their home.  It was extremely humbling.

Saturday Morning Evangelism:
On Saturday morning, after waking up and eating some toast and jelly, we headed out for door-to-door evangelism.  We had to walk about 5 miles before reaching the village we would be ministering in.  We could have taken the car, but we told them that we wanted to approach the weekend the "Zambian Way."  We wanted to experience ministry as much as possible from their perspective.  The morning was pretty uneventful.  We visited with a few homes, but for the most part, we were checking in on members of the new church plant.

Saturday Evening Outreach:
Saturday night, we planned to show the Passion of the Christ in town center.  As we were setting up, everything seemed to be going wrong.  The announcer who was supposed to go from village to village to announce the movie showed up an hour and a half late.  The power supply for the speakers wasn't working and there were only a handful of people.  But God was faithful.  The announcer went on his tour, the power finally started working and people began to show up from everywhere.  By the time we started we had about 250 people and by the end of the movie, we had close to 400.  After the showing, we had a time of prayer and many people stayed behind.

In interest of keeping your attention, I'll stop here and continue this post tomorrow.  Until then...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Utmost for His Highest

I was reading this post this morning on and thought I would share it with you.  It was just an encouragement to me.  So, I thought it might encourage you as well.  This particular website publishes the different devotionals from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  If you aren't familiar with this devotional, I would encourage you to mark this website as one of your favorites and visit it often.



"Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 (R.V.)

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. Nowadays we have far too many affinities, we are dissipated with them; right, good, noble affinities which will yet have their fulfilment, but in the meantime God has to atrophy them. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God.

Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe God can come into me and make me holy? If by your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it must reveal that I am unholy; but it also awakens an intense craving. God has one destined end for mankind, viz., holiness. His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy. The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ.

Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind - every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Prayer Letter

We just finished our August prayer letter.  So many of you will be receiving it in the mail.  But just in case you didn't want to wait, you can click here and read it.  God bless!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kasempa Church Plant

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to travel with the leadership of Great Commission to Kasempa, Zambia to take part in a church plant.  Pastor Kandela and his brother have been planning this plant for a while and invited me and Luke to assist them.

Above is a video from our weekend.  If you are receiving this post via email, click here to watch the video.

In the next few posts, I hope to talk about some of our experiences while there, but I wanted to get this video up on the site before then.  So, until next time...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Zambian Poetry

A good friend of mine and member of our home church wrote this poem after her recent visit to Zambia.  Her name is Leslie Chartier.  She and I served together in the widows & orphans ministry at Columbia Crossroads Church before Kerri and I came to Zambia.  Just thought I would share it with you.  

Suffering and Beauty
(The Church of Zambia)

Though poverty chases
with no ready cure,
you share what you have -
your generosity sure.

Though suffering is present
at every turn,
your hearts are humble -
your spirits burn.

Though trials surround you
your joy remains pure.
your face radiates Him
His love will endure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Difficult Start

I'm back from Kasempa, and want to tell all about it, but I need to edit the video before writing a posting.  So, I'll try to get that up by tomorrow.  Until then, I just thought I would update you on yesterday's drama.

After returning from the trip to Kasempa, I received a call Monday night from our accountant telling me that I needed to be in the office early the next morning to pay our rentals to the landlord.  Apparently, in the midst of transitioning the office back in May, we forgot to pay for our home for the 2nd quarter 2009.  I initially thought she was just coming to pick up the payment for the 3rd quarter.  Needless to say, she was not a happy landlord.

So, the next morning, while I was in the office trying to pay her, I realized that I left my keys to the office safe at home.  I asked the landlord to wait while I went back to get the keys.  Thankfully, she was content to wait.  As I was rushing out, a small car, which I did not see, pulled in behind my vehicle.  Cliopatra, who works with True Love Waits next door, was being dropped off and was getting out of the passenger side of the vehicle.  I was backing up straight into her door and her legs were already outside of the door.  Luckily when she saw me, she screamed and I heard it.  I stopped the car just in time.  She was hurt, but she only suffered from minor bruising.  Praise God it wasn't worse.  If I wouldn't have heard her, one of her legs would have most likely been crushed.  

All this to say, here I was in the parking lot, with an upset landlord, an injured woman and a guy whose car I damaged.  Not the best start to a day if I must say so myself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Updates

The team has left and we've finally caught up on our rest.  It was a hectic and busy week, but it was also a very fun time.  While they were here, we went down to Livingstone for a couple of days to see Victoria Falls and Safari.  Above is a video of some of the sights and sounds from that trip.  If you are receiving this post via email, click here to watch the video.

Please be in prayer for me this weekend.  Luke and I are traveling with the leadership of Great Commission Baptist Church to the Northwest province to assist with a church plant.  We will be traveling all day Friday, doing outreach and showing the Passion of the Christ on Saturday and then I'll be preaching Sunday morning.  Pray that God would go before us and prepare the hearts of the people.

I'll be sure to post some updates after my return.  Blessings!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Great Visit!

The team from our home church, Columbia Crossroads, returned to the States after a two week visit.   It was hard saying goodbye to our friends, but it was such a blessing to have them here for this short time.  

A special note about one of the team members, David Stumbo.  He came to Zambia knowing that his fourth child, Annie Caroline Stumbo, would probably be born before he returned home.  Vanessa was more than 8 months pregnant when he left.  Well, last Sunday evening, Little Annie was born.  David came over to our house for the night to listen to the delivery via Skype.  We just wanted to say congratulations again.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Another Perspective

I thought you would enjoy seeing Zambia through the eyes of the team from our home church.  Below are the newsletters they have been sending out through our church newsletter:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Good Week, Tough Week

I've been busy running registration for our pastors conference and trying to facilitate ministries for our church team visiting.  So, I have had literally no time to put any posts up this week.  For that I am sorry.  Here are a couple of posts (in one post).  This Monday through Wednesday, we will be in Livingstone with the team.  So, again there will be no posts for a couple of days.  I just wanted to let you know what was going on.  The regular updates should resume by the end of next week.


A team from our home church has been visiting.  So, we tried to arrange their schedule such that they would get to experience many different aspects of the ministry and meet many of our Zambian friends.  Among other things, they have visited with orphanages, held kids camps, participated in HIV/AIDS outreach and ministered at the hospital.  Throughout all of this, they have built relationships with many Zambians and had fun while doing so.  For the most part, I would guess that they have had a good trip, one that they would consider a success!

But while this week has been one of good experiences, it has had its emotional tolls.  On Wednesday, we went to University Teaching Hospital for hospital ministry.  The administrators at the hospital gave us permission to come in and provide hygiene kits and some food for families who were caring for children in the malnutrition ward.  Just as they entered the ward, one of the children passed away.  Gail, a team member, had the opportunity to pray with and encourage the mother during this tragedy.  Then, while we were still there, another child in the same ward also passed away.  While this is not a normal thing to happen while doing hospital ministry, I think it revealed to us all just how fragile life is, especially over here.

As if that wasn't enough, during Thursday outreach, another tragedy occurred.  Just after we had setup for the event and began playing music, there was a large explosion one road over from the field we were using for outreach.  At first, we were told that it was a transformer that had blown.  It was the biggest fire I had ever seen in my life.  Needless to say, the people who we were trying to attract were more attracted to the fire.  As we waited for things to settle down, the people were still not returning.  So, I walked over to see what was going on.  It was not a transformer that had exploded at all, but a dump truck.  Apparently, while trying to dump a load of sand, the top of the truck bed caught a power line and the truck erupted into flames.  I was looking for the pastor who I assumed had walked down by the truck.  So, I headed that way myself.  I had assumed that the truck was empty, but I had assumed wrong.  By the time I got down there, they had pulled the driver out of the truck and had his body laid on the ground.  I won't go into details, but needless to say, I have never seen anything like that in my entire life.  Because of all that had happened, we decided to cancel the outreach. 

So, all of that to say, it's been a good week of ministry, but it has also been a tough week of ministry.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Surprise for Caleb

The team from our home church arrived safely this afternoon around 3:00 pm our time.  On board were two surprises, Gabriel and Payton--two of Caleb's friends from Columbia.  Of course, Kerri and I knew they were coming, but Caleb did not.  We've been keeping this a secret from him for the past three months.  The only thing he knew was that there was a surprise for him coming with the team.  As you can see in this video, I think he liked his surprise!

If you're receiving this post via email and would like to see the video, click here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hurray!!! More Visitors!!!

Kerri and I have been looking forward to this next two weeks ever since we left Columbia.  This morning at 4:00 am (South Carolina time) 15 members from our home church, Columbia Crossroads, met at the airport to fly to Zambia.  They will be arriving tomorrow (our time) at 2:00 pm.  As you can see from the picture, Caleb has a couple of surprise visitors, of which we have not told him about.  Please be in prayer for our friends as they travel over the next several hours.  Also be in prayer for them as they assist us in ministry for the next two weeks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's in a name?

We thought we would add a little humor to the blog today and let you in on some of the interesting names we have heard since being in Zambia.  So we hope they are as entertaining to you as they have been to us.  This is not intended to be disrespectful to any Zambians.  We just thought it would give those who are not from here, more insight into the culture we live in.

10) Happy (Not to be confused with Gilmore)
9) Blessing
8) Purity
7) Sunday
6) Six  (Our safari guide in Botswana; he was the 6th born)
5) Shadreck, Mishack or Abendigo
4) Grandson
3) Progress
2) Limited

and last but not least...

1) Measurement

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prayer Request

This was posted by our friends and co-workers the Whitfields.  Please be in prayer for this family that they have been ministering to:


Dear Friends

It saddens us to have to inform you that our house helper, Pauline Sakala, lost her youngest daughter Lizzy this past Sunday. Lizzy was born a couple days before we arrived back in Zambia in May. At only two months old, she died, per the official report, due to an infection of malarial and bronchitis. Although our time with Lizzy was brief, she had already attached herself to our hearts. Emma, was especially fond of her and would capture any opportunity she could to hold her for a few moments during the day.

Over the past few days our family has been exposed to an aspect of Zambian culture that is unfortunately all too familiar to most of our Zambian friends.  The funeral in the African culture may just be the most significant way to honor and pay respect to someone or a particular family. You can be excused from missing a wedding but everyone shows up for the funeral, even if you’re not invited.

Yesterday was spent making arrangements for the burial today.  Pauline’s husband Norman, and Luke spent the morning collecting the infant casket and burial permit. Transportation for around sixty relatives from the village and surrounding areas had to be arranged as well.  Most importantly was the need to purchase two fifty pound bags of corn meal, cabbages, cooking oil, two live chickens and two fifty pound bags of charcoal all used to feed those relatives and friends who came to mourn alongside the family.

Today there was the need for flowers and a wreath to be placed at the burial site(in the picture you will notice the flowers are broken at the stem….this is done so people attending later funerals will not steal the flowers from the grave of your loved one).  And lastly, the grave diggers (who dig while you watch and wait) needed to be compensated for their efforts.

Earlier this morning we joined Norman and Pauline in laying their two month old child to rest. Pictures could not describe what it is like to be surrounded, literally, by thousands of burial mounds, some large and some no bigger than a loaf of bread (all the mounds you see in the pictures are actual grave sites).  As we were waiting for the grave to be completed we noticed a family nearby digging a small grave and watched as they laid a small towel wrapped corpse in the ground. And of course we wept, as we listened to our dear sister Pauline cry out the name of her dead baby and watched on as she and Norman lay a wreath on the fresh grave.

Why are we sharing all this detail with you? We wanted to share this because all of you, directly or indirectly, were used by God to bless this couple today as they mourned the death of their little baby girl.

Paul reminds us in Galatians 6 that we are to “carry each other’s burdens” and “as we have the opportunity, to be good to all people, especially to those that belong to Body of Christ”. You were a part of living Galatians 6 out in the lives of Norman and Pauline and we just thought you would like to know that because of your prayers and support we were able to cover all of the funeral cost for the Sakalas. To them it was a monumental act of kindness, but you may be surprise to know the total cost for the funeral was $220.

Many of you may never get a chance to meet Norman and Pauline until we get to Heaven, but we know if they could, they would thank each one of you with a hug and smile.

If you are interested in helping out Pauline and her family or simply would like to write them a word of encouragement (we can print your responses and give them to Pauline) during this time please let us know. They will continue life with their three other girls and we ask your prayers for this grieving family.

God is good all the time and we thank Him for what He accomplished through His body today.  We love and miss each of you. Thanks again for being obedient to His voice; we could do none of this without your involvement.

His Servants

The Whitfields <><