Thursday, February 18, 2010

Welcome to Our Home!!! (Must Read!!!)

We are so happy to introduce you to our newest addition! God has blessed us with a new son - a special, chosen son - and He has worked out all the details so that this dear one could be part of our family!

Mwila was brought to the Department of Social Welfare about 2 years ago by a good samaritan. All we know of his past is that he was kept for some time by this "good samaritan" who found him abandoned. After placing him at House of Martha orphanage, Social Welfare tried to locate any and all existing family through news and television. No one ever came forward. Back in the early fall we started visiting orphanages to see if God stirred our hearts toward any children. Most of you know that we have had the desire to adopt for several years. When we visited House of Martha we told the house mother that we were looking for a boy under 8 years old who had no known family. She told us that Mwila was the only child they had that fit that description. It so happened that he was the first child both Brent and I had noticed as the kids were playing. Caleb had also connected with him. So from there we began to pursue him with Social Welfare.

Since the first weekend of December Mwila has been coming to spend the weekends with us and we have visited him at the orphanage on Wednesdays as we've waited for all the red tape to be cut and the paper work to be properly filed. During this time, he has really connected with our family and always cried when we took him back to the orphanage. Finally this week, the Committal Order was approved, committing Mwila into our care as his foster parents. We are required to foster him for 3 months before we can legally adopt him. As far as we are concerned, he is now an official part our family. We are so thankful.

Today we brought him home and we decided to make it his birthday (since he has no birthday). We received a document from Social Welfare this morning estimating his age to be 5. So, today we celebrated his 5th birthday. He will also be starting at the kindergarten level in school (some time soon!).

We have decided that his new name will be Thomas Mwila Roberts. Thomas is a special name to us. First, it is biblical and all of our kids have a biblical name. Next, it is a family name on both sides. But most especially, it is after my Dad (Wayne Thomas Roberts). We always wanted to use that name if we ever had another son, but, God chose to bless us with 3 girls in a row! However, now we feel like it's perfect for our adopted son to carry his grandfather's name - the name of a man who loves his family so constantly and unconditionally (blood related or not). A few weeks ago, Kerri talked to Mwila about changing his name and he was very excited. He says that he wants to be called Thomas. So, we'll start trying out his new name and see how it goes. It may take Maddie a while to stop calling him "Weeeeelah".

A special bonus is that Kerri's Mom is here with us right now, so she's getting to welcome her new grandson into the family as well! Welcome Thomas Mwila!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Funnies from the week

So, life on the mission field is not all serious business. Sometimes funny stuff happens to us. These past few days have been no exception. Three funnies come to mind:

Missionary Twins
So, Luke, Myself and Steve Allen all showed up at the office this afternoon and were quite surprised to see how each other was dressed. The picture says it all. I promise we didn't coordinate.

Need a Ride?
Our car is in the shop. The engine overheated warping the engine block and damaging the head cylinder. So, transportation has been either by minibus or taxi. This really made church very interesting this past Sunday. Because Kerri's mom is visiting and having one extra child from spending the night, we were taking 8 people to church. We all piled into a compact car. Caleb held his spend the night company in his lap, Mom held Ellie, Kerri held Maddie (all in the back seat) and I held Gracyn in my lap in the front seat. Can't say it was the safest way to travel, but we got there.

A Shocking Experience
Sunday after church, we had the taxi drop Kerri and Mom at Arcades (a local shopping center) and I took the kids home for lunch. The problem was that I didn't bother to get the keys to the gate and house from Kerri. As we sat outside trying to figure out what to do, I decided to try and hoist Caleb over the fence. Our electric fence has been out for over a month (or at least that is what I thought). Unbeknownst to me, a few weeks ago, Kerri paid to get the electric fence repaired. So, to my surprise, but more to Caleb's, we heard a loud pop from the electric current hitting his knee! Can you say Father of the Year award!

Need a Ride2?
The other day, I was out jogging. I was near the end of my run heading toward the house when I heard a car horn. This man pulled up beside me and asked if I needed a taxi. I was dumbfounded. I was wearing running shoes, running shorts, and sweating profusely. I think he wins the Mister Observant of the Week award.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Need a ride?

The roof is underway! Today, Luke and I went out to supervise the installation of the roof for our new and improved Nsaka (or meeting place). We hope to have both sides finished by the end of next week.

But that's not why I am writing this post. I wanted to give a little insight into rural culture in Zambia. Whereas in the States, you would have to be brave to hitch a ride, here it is a different story. Many times, as we are traveling up and down the road to our ministry center (which is about 6 miles long), we pass children and adults who are looking for rides. And here, they don't hitch rides by sticking out their thumbs. Instead, they hold out one arm and wave it up and down.

Today, as school was let out, 8 children were standing on the side of the road trying to catch a ride. Most of these children were staying at a group orphanage for street kids called Kakabalika and needed to get back. Luke only had 2 open seats. So, when he pulled over, my thought was how are we going to decide which ones to take. But as you can see in the picture, we didn't have to choose. We squeezed and twisted them and managed to get all 8 piled into the vehicle.

There was really nothing special about the moment. But I just thought it would give insight into a part of the culture here in Zambia that you normally wouldn't hear about.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Missionary is a Builder???

The month of December is supposed to be a down month for Action Zambia missionaries. Usually, we are breaking from our normal everyday ministries, trying to get some rest and trying to plan for the new year. Well, this past December was no down month. Central to all of our ministries is Ciyanjano - Action Zambia's ministry centre. It is used for Church & Pastor Conferences, Spiritual Retreats and Kids Camps.

Well, in order to have retreats and camps, you have to have a shelter to meet under. This past summer, due to damage to the existing roof and some other issues, a team from California came and tore down the old grass roof structure. The plan was to, at a later time, put up another structure in its place - that's where Luke, Brent & a few of our Zambian workers come in. As you can see from the pictures, this shelter (or Nsaka) was no small structure and the only one with experience building was Luke. So far, we've been working on it for about 3 weeks off and on. And I do have to say that I was surprised with the job we have done thus far. Tomorrow, we head back out there to begin putting the iron sheets on and hopefully, we'll be done in the next week or so. I sure never thought that part of my job description would be associated with construction.

Since our ministry focuses primarily on equipping churches in Lusaka's compounds (the poorer communities in Zambia), a facility like this can be such a blessing. We have already begun hosting church retreats and have scheduled some kids camps, but there is still more work to be done before the Center is fully operational. Please pray for its development and that it would be used to build up the body of Christ here in Zambia.