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 <>< 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Encounter with a Cobra

A couple of weeks ago, we had a team in from California. They came to do some work at the ministry center. One afternoon, while spending some time with them, we decided to play some basketball. As I was standing in front of the hoop, I took a few steps back into the grass. That's when I heard something moving behind me. When I turned around, about 5 feet away, a 3 foot cobra was raised up with its hood spread wide open ready to bite. It's not every day that you encounter something that can kill you.  I immediately backed away and warned everyone to move out of the way. Then the snake settled back down and crawled into a hole underneath a nearby tree.

These are not the kind of snakes you can leave to wander around the property.  For safety sake, we had to get the snake out of the hole and kill it.  So, for the next 30 minutes, several of us poked and prodded the hole with poles and rakes until we were able to get him out.  Above is a video of the slaying.  If you're receiving this post via email, you can go to this link:

I still can't believe I almost stepped on this snake!  Only in Africa!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Little Fun

One of the adjustments that our family has had to make in living in Zambia is the fact that we (Kerri and kids) stay home a lot more than we did in the States.   We only have one car and there's really nowhere to go - no parks, no playgrounds, no library, no Chick-fil-A :-).  So, when we came back to Zambia this time, we decided to look for a few ways to make our home a more fun place to be for our kids.  They spend a lot of time outside and to this point all we've had to play on is a tire swing.  

This week we found a used trampoline that was being sold by a missionary family that is relocating to the UAE.  We made the decision to buy it and I think it is already proving to be a great investment.  The kids LOVE it!  Since we got it and set it up, they've been on it non-stop - waking up early to jump before breakfast, jumping during every break from school, and even asking to eat lunch on it!  We've all taken our turns jumping and having fun together and the kids even got Charles and Dailes (our guard and house helper) in on the action.  Enjoy this little snippet of their trampoline fun!  It's hilarious!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What Not To Do

So, for some reason, our water has been going out daily for the last week or so.  Apparently, while it was out the other day, one of us (probably Maddie) forgot that the cold water tap in our bathroom had been left on and the drain had been plugged.  Needless to say, when the water came back on last night, it overflowed for nearly an hour before we discovered it.  Here's a picture of Kerri mopping up the damage with all of the towels in our house!  Oh, the joys of living in Africa. : )

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Short Lived Experiment

Chickens are a huge source of income & livlihood for many families here in Zambia.  Many families have a few just running around the house for eggs and such.  So, I decided that I would get some for the kids.  I was interested in finding out more about what it takes to keep them, feed them, etc... in hopes that I might be able to use that knowledge to help some pastors, church leaders & or churches in starting viable chicken businesses.  Well, let's just say that it didn't go quite as I expected.  Both chicks, which I purchased for the equivalent of $1 (50 cents a piece) died within the first 48 hours.  What I found out, after the fact, is that you're not supposed to hold them too often whey they are very young.  Considering the kids were holding them all day, I don't think their chances for survival were all that great.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Street Kids Outreach

Last Friday, several of us went out with another ministry here in Zambia on a street kids outreach.  Our friends, the Moraleses and the Carrs, head up a ministry that reaches out to these vulnerable children.  We really didn't know what to expect.  We all met at a coffee house in downtown Lusaka and then walked through town to Saweto (a district of shops behind city market).  Once we got back in Saweto, we had to make our way through these small alleys between the shops to the back of Saweto.  As we arrived, it seemed like the children came from out of nowhere.  

As they came, the leaders of the group we were with, started gathering them towards the back of Saweto along a fence that borders the area.  Charles, a once street boy and known criminal in Lusaka, shared with them how Jesus Christ had changed his life.  Charles used to be one of the leaders on the streets.  He spent a lot of time in prison and was even used by prison guards to "thin out" populations when they got too full.  It was amazing to me to see how God had invaded such a hopeless situation and changed what many of us would deem a lost cause.

Most (probably all) of the boys were sniffing Stika the whole time we were there.  Stika is a cheap inhalant drug peddled to these children by local drug dealers.  The children put a little of the glue in a clear plastic bottle and inhale the fumes.  It has a deadening effect on all of their senses.  During the winter (which is now), it is the primary way that they endure the cold.  So, I don't know how much of what Charles shared was received by these children, but I do know that God's word never returns void!

After that afternoon, I couldn't get these children and this experience out of my mind.  So, when the Carrs invited us back out the following week, I was more than happy to go.  This outing was a little different though.  Instead of going out during the day, we went out at night.  Let me just say that many Zambians will not go into Saweto during the day, but most would never go at night.  And I think that it spoke volumes to these kids that we would be willing to meet them where they were.

Our charge from the Pastor this time, "Just touch the children.  Show them that you care for them and that God cares for them."  And that's about all we did.  We went and parked the car at a police post inside city market and walked back to the same place we had been the previous Friday.  This time, in addition to our just being there, we brought hot tea and bread for the boys.  The evening started with singing around a small fire the boys had already made (see the video above).  As we sang, many of them would come up and hug us and greet us in Nyanja.  After singing and a testimony by one of the teammates, we broke into smaller groups and fed the children.  The leaders wanted us out of there before the kids got too rowdy.  So, shortly after the feeding, we prayed and left.

I think the one thing that God impressed upon me during these outreaches is how little it takes to show God's love to another person.  Sometimes, something as simple as taking bread and tea to a boy in a hopeless situation is all He desires from me to show someone else His love!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Safari Monday

Today was a Zambian holiday. So, we decided to take Kerri's father to a safari lodge just outside of town for the day. This was his first African safari!  Yesterday also marked 2 months since we've been back in Zambia. It seems like we've been going full speed since we arrived. So, it was nice to getaway, even if only for a day. Anyways, here are some pictures from our day at Chaminuka. If you are receiving this post via email, you will need to go to our site ( to view the slideshow.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Grace for the Poor

During our weekly discipleship meeting for Navigators 2:7, Luke posed the following question:  "How do you pastors minister to people in your community when many times you can't even provide for yourselves?" 

Pastor Martin Phiri (pictured above), gave an honest answer which was humbling, a blessing, convicting, and challenging to me all at once.  He said, that us Azungu (Westerners) don't understand grace.  We have to depend on His grace for our daily provisions and it helps us in ministry to those we serve.  Here I was, teaching about grace, and it hadn't even dawned on me how many Zambian believers experience His grace in practical ways on a daily basis.  While saving grace is a topic that many Zambians have a hard time grasping, I'm learning that practical grace in our daily provisions is something I will be learning from these dear brothers in the Lord.

Health Issues

For the past month, Gracyn has been waking up with a rash.  At first we thought it might be an allergic reaction from the juice she was drinking.  So, we started giving her water.  When that didn't work, we thought it might be the soap she was using during bath time.  So, we switched to baby bath and shampoo.  That didn't work.  Then we were told to be on the lookout for bedbugs.  So, just the other night, Kerri went into her room at night with a flashlight.  We were told that if there were bedbugs, you could see them this way.  No bedbugs!  We were really racking our brains.  Benadryl wasn't working and the bumps kept coming back.

Well, yesterday, we found our answer.  Kerri took Gracyn to see one of our doctor friends who diagnosed it rather quickly.  Here in Zambia, we are supposed to take de-worming medicine every three to six months.  We've only been back for 2 months.  So, naturally we didn't think about it.  Kerri gave Gracyn her first dose last night and Gracyn was bump free this morning for the first time in a month.  Praise the Lord!

While on the subject of health, we do have a prayer request.  Kerri has been experiencing headaches for the past week.  We contacted her neurologist, via email, and he said that because of the stroke back in January, she could have symptoms like this from time to time.  Would you please pray that these symptoms would subside?

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Get Me Out of Here

Here in Zambia, our homes are surrounded by brick walls and electric wires (mostly to protect against petty theft).  Because of this, there is only one way into the property and one way out.  This has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.  The other night when we went to pick Elise up for bible study, we saw her face through the gate hole.  Luke was at the ministry center supervising some construction work (he had one set of keys) and Movety, their guard, had left for the day (he had the other set).  So, Elise and the children were locked inside.  Kerri and I got a good laugh.