Tuesday, June 30, 2009


(Grading of the Soccer Field)

Ciyanjano (Nyanja word for fellowship), is the name of our ministry center located just outside of town.  About 8 months ago, we temporarily closed the property up in an attempt to control some of the monthly costs until we were in a position to start developing the property.  Well, the time has come.  This week, we have had a team from California visiting.  Their project while they are here - start phase 1 development of Ciyanjano.

Action Zambia is a ministry that focuses on equipping local churches for the work to which God has called them to do here in Zambia.  We see the ministry center as a key to reaching this vision.  After development is completed, the property will be used for a variety of activities such as kids camps, pastor conferences, marriage seminars and possibly even some livlihood projects to help pastors and churches generate income.

Pit Latrine # 1

The team here has been wonderful.  They've been hard at work planting trees, digging a pit latrine, tearing down an old insaka, etc...  It's neat seeing a team from half way around the world catching onto and supporting the vision that God has given our team here in Zambia.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

God's Goodness

Cool story about God's goodness here in Zambia from our friends and teammates the Whitfields.  See below:


Dear Friends

Just wanted to share a huge opportunity for us to corportately praise God for His goodness. 

Last Sunday as we were going to home church with our missionary friends for father's day Luke saw a man utilizing a crutch outside our friend's gate. He felt that God was telling him to go and ask what had happened to this man and to pray for him. As he inquired he found out that Daniel had a bad infection in his leg that made it almost impossible for him to walk without the aid of a crutch. Luke prayed for him and then sent Daniel on his way. 

This weekend Daniel showed up at our friend's gate and asked for the big Muzungu (Luke has put on some weight if you have not seen him lately). Our friends the Allens directed Daniel to our gate and he informed us that his leg had been completely healed. Luke was gone the first time that Daniel stopped by and so was a little skeptical at the report. Today, Daniel stopped by again and Luke was amazed to see that this man's leg,that had been bandaged and extrememlely swollen, showed no sign of infection at all. 

We are writing this to encourage you all that if God can work through sinners like us, then He can work through anyone. Praise God with us as we rejoice at His goodness and mercy. What a great God we serve and may all glory and honor be unto Him. It is amazing what He is doing through our partnership here in Zambia. 

We love you all and so appreciate your love and support.

(We have included a picture of Daniel, his wife, and their child Emmanuel)

His Servants

The Whitfields <><

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Welcome Bubba

Kerri's dad arrived late Wednesday night for the beginning of an almost month long visit.  He had been waiting in Atlanta after getting bumped from more than one flight and finally got a flight out on Tuesday.  The kids were ecstatic to see him.  I took Caleb and Gracyn to the airport to pick him up at 9:00 pm.  And we spared no expense in rolling out the Zambian welcome carpet.  Upon arrival he realized that his bags didn't make it and then this evening sat down for dinner without electricity.  Tomorrow, we'll see if we can have the water go out before he takes a shower : ).

Happy Birthday Charles

Our guard/gardener Charles Mutale celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday.  They have a tradition in Zambia for birthdays - a tradition that I have grown to love.  In Zambia, if someone celebrates a birthday, it is the responsibility of family and friends to splash the birthday boy/girl with water.  Well, yesterday morning was no exception.  I filled a 3 gallon bucket of water to the brim and waited just inside the yard out of sight.  Caleb had a water gun and hid in the guard shack.  And Gracyn hid behind a tree with two water balloons.

When Charles arrived, with Dailes, at 8:00 am he reached through the gate to unlock it.  Now, Dailes knew we were planning something.  So, she kept her distance.  As his hands were through the holes on the gate tinkering with the lock, I snuck up and dumped the bucket of water over the top of the gate right onto Charles.  He definitely wasn't expecting it.  Then, after getting the gate opened, Caleb and Gracyn chimed in with their water weapons.  Kerri stood across the yard and tried to video tape the whole thing, but the batteries on the recorder were dead.  Oh well!

After he dried off, we headed out for yet another surprise.  While we were in the States, Charles wrecked his bike on the way to work and broke it beyond repair.  So, we thought his birthday would be as good a time as any to get him a new one.  There is a ministry here called ZamBike which provides discounted mountain bikes for pastors.  We were able to find one just his size for a good price.  All in all, I think he enjoyed his birthday surprise (at least one of them)!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Please Pray

 Please be in prayer for our teammates, the Allens.  Their second born, Bradyn, has been very sick for the past couple of days and is now in one of the private hospitals here in Lusaka.  She's been running a very high fever and has been diagnosed with pneumonia.  The doctors are expecting to keep her in for the next several days for observation and antibiotic treatments.  Could you join us in praying for this family?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day (Late)

Father's day is a day of mixed emotions for me.  On the one hand, it is a celebration of the precious gifts that God has given me in my four children.  On the other hand, it is a reminder of the huge responsibility that God has given me to grow them up in His nurture and admonition.  I pray daily that He would help & encourage me in this task and daily that He would forgive me for the many times that I fail.  I guess you could say that parenting, God glorifying parenting, would be impossible except for the grace of God!  So, my goal for this Father's day is to rely much more on His grace than my ability to parent for the next year.

Yesterday, we went to the Allens for Father's day.  Us, the Allens & the Whitfields herded our 12 children over to have some time for worship and reflection.  We listened to a sermon on YouTube from Louie Giglio called "Indescribable."   If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to this sermon, I highly recommend it.  There are 5 clips, each about 9 minutes in duration, which make up the whole sermon.  To view the first clip, (click here).  After the time of worship, we had a cookout and a time of games for the children in the front yard (led by Steve).  I couldn't think of a better way to have spent this Father's day in Zambia.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nationwide Outage and a Bum Fridge

So, last night the power went out at around 8:30 pm.  It's a little unusual for it to go out at that time, but we didn't think much of it.  Then at 12:30 am, it came back on, only to go back off 15 minutes later.  This pattern of on again, off again persisted until the early hours of the morning until it went out for good.

I thought it might be just our neighborhood, but when I got to the office at around 7:30 am, it was out there as well.  It turns out that there was a nationwide power outage.  I remember being in the States a few years ago when New York city lost power to one of its grids and it was a major news story.  Imagine if that would have been the whole east coast or better yet the entire country.  Anyways, just thought this was an interesting tidbit about our day here in Zambia.  The power ended up coming back on at around 1:00 pm today.  So, we're back online.

On a similar note, the power was not the only thing to go today.  It seems as if our refrigerator is ionongeka (broken).  We called the store we purchased it from and they sent a repair man out to look at it.  Luckily, it was still under warranty.  They will come back tomorrow with a "loaner" so that they can take ours back to the shop to work on it.  So, if you think about it, say a prayer for our fridge.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Challenge

So, this past week we met to go over the 1st session of book three for Navigators 2:7 discipleship.  As part of the program, the participants and leader must memorize certain passages of scripture.  As we were sitting there reciting the verses, a thought came to mind.  Here these pastors are memorizing these passages in English, when their own heart language is Nyanja.  So, I told them that as part of memorizing the verses, I would memorize in Nyanja what they were memorizing in English.

I had never looked at the verses we would be memorizing before making this commitment.  Mistake!!  A lot of times, it takes more words to express something in Nyanja than it does in English.  As I have been typing these verses up to make memory cards, I am seeing that this is going to be more difficult than I thought.  Anyways, I thought I would share the first verse with you and challenge you to do the same.  You know that one day multitudes will stand before the throne of God giving praise to him in their own languages.  Might as well learn a little before we get there : )

Here is a list of pronunciations for vowels in Nyanja:
A - Sounds like "A" in "Ball."  It doesn't ever have a long "A" sound as in English
E - Sounds like a long "A" like in the word "Base"
I - Sounds like a long "E" like in the word "Bee"
O - Sounds like a long "O" like in the word "So"
U - Sounds like "OO" in "Boo"

Other pronunciations:
C - Is pronounced "CH" like in Chair
R - R's are rolled like they are in Spanish
Th - Sounds like an aspirated T.  It is never pronounced like the "TH" in "The"

When pronouncing a word, you break the word down by the vowels.  For instance,
Dalitsa is pronounced Da-li-tsa

So, using these examples, try pronouncing and memorizing the following verse:

AROMA 3:23
"Pakuti onse anacimwa, naperewera pa ulemerero wa Mulungu"

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned and fallen short of God's Glory."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Zambian Norm

So, this afternoon, I walked home from Manda Hill.  Nothing unusual about the day.  The streets were busy with cars, there were taxis and minibuses tooting their horns trying to find customers.  Vendors were selling produce along the roadside.  Everything was normal (well, at least Zambian normal).

As I turned the corner to my street, there was a young man (probably 18 or so) sitting in the grass.  Again, this is normal.  As I progressed up the street and came to our gate, I realized that I was being followed.  The young man from the corner was standing behind me.  Being followed is not the norm, but the reason for this young man's visit was.

As he shared his story, I just listened.  He was a refugee from Rwanda.  His parents had been killed in 1994 from civil war and what he labeled as genocide.  He escaped to Zambia as a refugee, and is living here, but cannot find work and therefore struggles daily to find food.

It's not an exaggeration that almost daily we have to struggle with poverty.  It's the norm.  Whether it be this young man needing food, the daily visitors who stop by our gate looking for work, the pastors we work with struggling to feed their families, we can't avoid poverty, because it's the norm.  We're surrounded by it.

I know we have written about this same topic in the past, but it bares repeating, because we still struggle to comprehend what God is trying to teach us in this area.  As Kerri and I returned to Zambia, we thought we had it figured out.  We would help those we have relationships with and pray about helping those who crossed our path that we didn't know.  But even though this sounds easy, it is quite the opposite.  Every time a new person comes into our lives, verses from the bible on caring for the poor flood our hearts and minds.  We realize we can't help everyone, but living in a country where almost everyone needs help makes it difficult in figuring out who to help.  And for those we choose not to help, it is agonizingly painful when they leave and we try to figure out if we made the right decision.

Today, I honestly don't know if I made the right decision.  I pray that I was sensitive to the Holy Spirit and did what He was calling me to do in this situation, but I just don't know.  I guess that's part of what He's trying to teach me.  As I have tried to create a framework in which to make decisions on who to help, when to help and how to help them, He's been in the process of tearing that framework down.  He's showing me that it's a lot more complicated than A + B = C.  If I am going to make the right decisions on who and how to help others here, decisions that honor Him, it will only be through prayer, petition and a complete and total dependence on Him for guidance.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy Birthday

Great Commission Leadership Team

This past Sunday, was the 2 year anniversary of Great Commission Baptist Church.  The leadership invited us along with the Whitfields to be a part of the service.  It was great to see the growth that has occurred in this young church.  There were probably over 75 in attendance, some of which were from other churches.  In fact, there was a couple from Rwanda who shared their testimony during the service.  They joined the church shortly after an outreach event we had last year.

Great Commission Congregation

After the service, the women of the church had prepared a traditional Zambian lunch with Nshima, Rice, Chicken and various vegetables.  We got the kids something to eat and then just wondered around visiting with different people.  It was so nice to be able to see and take part in such a special event in the life of this church.

Please pray for this church.  Within the next few years, they will most likely outgrow their current facilities (the currently meet in a local school).  Their prayer is that they would find a plot of land in which to build a church so that they can continue to minister in this same community.  Pray also that the pastor will be able to find housing in the area once he finishes Seminary (this will happen in a little over a year).  Pray for Luke and myself as well.  Pray that we would be able to equip the leaders of this congregation to effectively make disciples.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Please Be In Prayer

Our director, Tim Hilty, and his family are currently in the States on furlough.  They desire to return soon, but are trying to sort out things with U.S. immigration concerning the adoption and citizenship of their daughter Ireen.  We thought it was important to request your prayers for their family.  Please pray for them.  Pray that the process with immigration would go smoothly and that Ireen would be granted U.S. citizenship soon so that they can return to Zambia and continue to serve this field and the people of Zambia.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lydia Update

Our friends, the Melvilles, visited Lydia just before they left for the States.  For those of you who are unaware of Lydia's situation, she had severe swelling in her brain which led to paralysis & blindness.  Over the past several months, she has been on the road to recovery.  During the Melvilles visit, she had a message for all of you who have been praying for her and supporting her financially with all of the doctors bills.  To view the video, please visit the link below:

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Our friends, the Melvilles, left for the States yesterday and our team truly will not be the same without them.  Our families have grown close over the past year.  Graham and I have worked a lot together in the office and in leading Navigators 2:7 discipleship.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  I told Kerri that he reminds me a lot of my dad.  He's just one of those guys that seems to always be on top of things, a man of integrity and someone you can count on when you're in a pinch.  

This past Sunday we had a farewell party at our home.  Many of the pastors and other Zambians that Graham and Sarah have built relationships with over the past two years came to say their goodbyes.  I've included this video of part of our time.  If there's a party in Zambia, there is singing!

On a personal note, Graham and Sarah, we already miss you guys.  When we make it back to the States, we'll have to come over for another "Potato Night."

Monday, June 01, 2009

Random Updates

I couldn't resist.  Yesterday afternoon, I was doing some grocery shopping for a going away celebration (The Melvilles are headed back to the States) and I came across this character - a Zambian clown.  The expression he was making said it all.  No real story behind it, just thought I would share the picture. 

Sorry for not posting much lately.  The Zambian flu (what we would call a really bad cold in the States) is running its course through our family.  It started with me and has now spread to Kerri and the kids.  Please pray for our health.  Everyone seems to have a lot of congestion and is coughing.

This morning marked the first real power outage since we've arrived back in Zambia.  Apparently, some river weeds got into the generator at one of the plants at the Kafue gorge.  The generator was damaged enough for them to shut it down for repairs.  We have been told that this process could take quite a while.  Until it is fixed, we will be periodically without power.  Today it was from 6:00 am until after lunch.

The week before last, we finished an audit of our ministry finances.  One of my responsibilities for the next little while will be to manage this part of the ministry.  I'm comfortable with the things I will be doing, but there will be a learning curve as there is a lot to remember.  I do have help (from teammates and a Zambian accountant on staff), but please pray for me as this transition unfolds.

We are starting the 3rd book of Navigators 2:7 discipleship this week with the same group of pastors and church leaders we've been working with since last year.  It will continue for the next 12 weeks.   Pray for the class, that we would finish well.

Our good friends and teammates are headed back to America.  Graham, Sarah, Phillip & Rachel Melville will be leaving tomorrow morning at 6:50 am.  Graham has been a good friend and mentor to me and I will miss him dearly.  I'll post more on them very soon.

Well, I'm sure there is probably other stuff I could write, but I'll end it for now.