Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Zambian Style

If you know anything about the Roberts family, it's that we celebrate just about all of our birthdays in about two months time (March - April). So far, we have celebrated my mom's, Kerri's, my dad's, my niece Abby's, Caleb's and now Maddie's. We have started a tradition this year (partly because we have so many kids) of taking the birthday boy/girl on a date with mommy and daddy.

So, today, we took Maddie to an early movie and then to lunch at one of the local restaurants: Mike's Kitchen. This particular restaurant does a birthday song that I think all restaurants in the States should adopt. Take a look and enjoy!

If you are receiving this post via email, you can view the video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUcs9LHTkbY

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Kerri

In Zambia, they have a birthday tradition. On the big day, your friends and family will sometimes surprise you during the day by splashing you with water. It is a tradition that us missionaries have really taken to heart : ).

Well, yesterday morning, Kerri woke up to go running with some of her friends. After opening the gate for them to drive in, they had a surprise. Stephanie and Elise had buckets of water waiting to welcome Kerri into her 33rd year of life.

As you can see from the pics, they had a good time wishing their good friend a happy birthday, Zambian style!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Heavenly Benefits

Taken from: "I Never Made a Sacrifice" published on Desiring God Ministries website.

"Today is David Livingstone’s birthday. He was born March 19, 1813. He gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.

On December 4, 1857, he spoke the sentence that has made the greatest impact on me. It is one of the clearest applications I have seen of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:29-30.

Jesus said,

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

Here is what Livingstone said to the Cambridge students about his “leaving” the benefits of England:

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice."

(Cited in Samuel Zwemer, "The Glory of the Impossible" in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Ralph Winter and Stephen Hawthorne, eds. [Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981], p. 259. Emphasis added.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Cooking First

Since this entry is about cooking, I have to start by letting you know this is Brent and not Kerri. We've probably mentioned it before, but in Zambia, the staple food is Nshima. Zambians take a type of corn meal known as mealie and mix it into boiling water to make Nshima. Just to give you perspective, Nshima is like grits, just much thicker. When it is fully cooked, you then, using a large spoon, divide it into smaller portions as seen above. These portions are then used to eat with other things like chicken, cabbage, greens, etc...

Well, we've been here over two years now. So, I thought I would give it a shot! Kerri was out one evening and I couldn't find anything else to cook for myself and the kids. So, I made chicken, tomato sauce for dipping and Nshima. Much to my, the kids & Kerri's surprise, everything turned out well. Yeah Brent : )

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We Love Our Furniture : )

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was in the living room playing games with Caleb when I heard a loud crash and several screams. I immediately jumped up and ran into the bedroom to see what the fuss was all about. Well, we no longer have a desk. We knew it was on its "last legs," because it had been wobbling for weeks. But it finally gave way to the weight of the books and one small child trying to climb up into mommy's lap as she sat at the computer. Fun stuff at the Roberts household.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happiness Depends On

This was posted by our director, Tim Hilty. I thought I would share it with the rest of you:

Last week a pastor in our mission’s pastors training classes passed through what most American’s would consider a tragedy. His wife gave birth to a baby boy via an emergency C-section operation. During the operation doctors and nurses told him to go home and wait for the outcome. They told him that the procedure was 50/50 survival for wife and child.

The next morning he returned to the hospital and found wonderful news waiting. His wife and child were okay… His boy was born with birth defects but the prognosis for future procedures seemed good. A week passed and all seemed well… He and his wife were exhausted from taking care of a newborn and recovering from the invasive surgery. Friday night they went to sleep and in the morning they found the baby struggling to breath.

They rushed to the government hospital but their son died on the way. The doctors pronounced the child BID (Brought In Dead). What started out as just another morning turned into a visit to the police, mortuary and hasty funeral service. In Zambia, children who are days / weeks old are not given the typical funeral. The pastor and his wife had not yet given the boy a name so the government documents indicated “son of…” Within hours, the death had been processed by the authorities and burial plot was given to the family in crisis. By 13 hrs. that afternoon, everything was finalized. The pastor and his wife returned to their home, stunned and exhausted.

I visited them the following day and sat with them in their home, me being mostly quiet. Lots of family members were packed into every room of the small house. Mothers, sisters, nieces, uncles sat on the floor and we all sat in silence. Communication was evident, soul to soul, spirit to spirit. Being surrounded by community like that would have been uncomfortable to me if I were the one loosing a child. I would probably want to be left alone. Not so in Zambia, the community shows profound solidarity and draws close to the grieving.

Looking around the room I saw the faces… and wondered how the happenings of the day before could possibly be true. The pastor was warm and appreciative of me passing through his place. He shared with me his deep conviction of the “supremacy of Christ” even in the midst of loss. He shared how he felt the tangible comfort of his Savior. As he talked I glanced over at his front door… A paper had been posted there at eye-level – no doubt put there deliberately. I’ll never forget what it read:

“Happiness depends on happennings, joy depends on Jesus.”

Already, the pastor had begun his fight for joy… in the midst of everything he had decided to soldier on.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Our Loss is His Gain

When Kerri and I first arrived in Zambia, we started visiting Capital Assembly church of Kingsway Christian Ministries. The pastor, Gilbert Masonde, trained at Columbia International University in the States and was a friend of two of the elders in our home church. While attending this church, we have made some new friends, including the Honorable Mishek Bonshe. The title is in reference to his position in the Zambian government. He was a deputy minister and appointed to Parliment by the previous president of Zambia.

About two months ago, Mr. Bonshe (Ba Bonshe, in Nyanja), was diagnosed and operated on for some type of intestinal cancer. The surgery at the time seemed to be successful, but as the past few months passed by, he seemed to get weaker. Saturday, a week ago, while on a trip to Nigeria, he passed away. Aside from being a leader in government, this man was a pillar in the church. He always seemed to have a kind word and had a very warm personality. He loved the Lord and wanted to see more of his Zambian brothers and sisters come to know Christ personally.

On Thursday, Kerri and I attended his funeral. I have visited a funeral home, but we've never been to an actual funeral in Zambia. And I have to say that this was not a typical Zambian funeral. There were over 200 government officials in attendance, including the Vice President of Zambia. There were police all over the place and I found out afterwards that all government flags were flown at half mass the whole day.

Ba Bonshe leaves behind a wife and 8 children and a church that dearly loved him. Please pray for this family. The government has had a tendency in the past to forget the family members of those who have served this country once they are no longer in government. Ba Bonshe has a few children that are in school (one in the UK getting her law degree) that will need the government to help if they are to finish. Pray that they would honor the commitment that he made to them by providing for his children. Pray also for the family. Pastor Masonde, encouraged them at the funeral from Romans 8:28 - that God works everything for the good of those who love Him. Pray that they would see His hand in this and rest in the peace & love that only He can provide.

An Unexpected Move

For the past couple of weeks, the rains have been pretty consistent. Just about every day, it has rained for at least a few hours. Because of this, flooding is pretty widespread across Lusaka. There are compounds where people have had to leave their homes because the water has reached levels where it is getting into the homes. And this morning, the flooding claimed yet another victim.

At 6:30 am Luke called me. He told me that our director (Tim Hilty) and his wife and family were having to evacuate their home. The flooding had gotten so bad that they had a foot of standing water surrounding their home and the septic tank filled up and began to overflow into their yard. They called some city officials to come and look at the extent of the flooding and the city declared their home to be unsafe for living.

So, our team had a move day. In just over 5 hours, we were able to completely clean out the Hilty's home. They have temporarily moved into a one bedroom flat in the same complex and are in the process of trying to look for other housing. Please be in prayer for them. Houses are very hard to find in Lusaka (especially ones at the budgets we try to maintain). Pray that one would become available soon. Pray also for Andrea. On top of expecting their third child and having to move out of her home, she also learned that her Grandmother passed away yesterday. Pray that God would give her and Tim a peace that surpasses all understanding!