Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Four Year Summary

Our friends and partners in ministry are about to make the trip back to the States to join us in support raising for the next several months before returning to Zambia in the new year. Above is a pictoral summary of their ministry over the past 4 years. It's a really good video of the impact their ministry has already had in Lusaka and beyond. Please take the time to watch.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saved a Life, but...

Here is a post that our friend Steve Allen wrote a little while ago. It gives great insight in to the cultural stigma attached to HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Difficult, but great read!


I saved a life this week... And it probably won't matter. (It didn't)

I don’t write these kinds of blogs very often, but I really need to give you a sobering look at HIV/AIDS in Africa. This is probably going to hurt a bit, but I think if you can hang in there long enough, you might be able to save a life as well.

Last Sunday, I was picking up ACTION missionaries Paul and Patrick from a church in a compound near my house. When I arrived, I asked the pastor how his niece was doing. His mother was carrying this little girl and when I approached her to pray for the baby, I was shocked by the size of her face. On Friday night, the baby began crying, and as they later discovered, had sores all over the inside of her mouth and then her face began to swell. When I saw her on Sunday, she hadn’t eaten anything in a day and a half. She has been to two clinics. I stood there, by my car, in this dirty, crowded compound, with this desperate mother and whimpering child, gawked at by all the Zambians, wondering what I should do.

I spoke first to the pastor, saying, “Why don’t you call me in the morning and if she is still bad, I can take her to a private hospital.” But, I thought, she might not be alive in the morning. I have witnessed too many babies dying of such preventable causes that I just couldn’t leave her but, honestly, I also didn’t want to give up my Sunday afternoon nap. (Just being honest.)

After praying for this sister-in-law of the pastor, she walked towards the house of the pastor. I was very conflicted. What do I do? I got in the car, and began driving out of the compound, but said, “I need to take her to the hospital.” And so I got the o.k. from my guests and pulled over by the house. I saw my pastor friend and told him what I was thinking. The mother with the child and the wife of the pastor came along with the pastor and we all headed out the hospital, over bumps, through gullies, alongside little raggedy shops, kids yelling out and waving, with this dying little 2 year old dying in my car.

We made it to the hospital and I left them waiting for a consultation. An hour later the baby was admitted to the hospital for what would become a four night stay. The baby had HIV. They found that out after the second day when I had to convince the pastor to have the baby tested. With medicine and ARV’s, the baby could have a chance, unlike the sister before him, who had died around the same age.

If the mother had been tested any time in the past few years, and had taken ARV’s drugs, this baby could have been born without HIV. If the baby had been taking ARV’s from the beginning, it could have been saved from this traumatic event. But, what is even more maddening, is that, the baby will probably not live, because they will probably not either be faithful to give the baby the ARV’s or will refuse to, out of fear of stigma and mistreatment of people in the community or some other obstacle that happens so often.

I am not kidding. The fear of HIV/AIDS runs so deep that people will choose to live in ignorance and denial rather than receive a free test, free counseling, free medicine and free follow-ups for the rest of their lives. Please pray for Zambians and African in general.


After four days in the hospital, and a relatively healthy month, the parents stopped giving their baby medicines because they couldn’t afford the “review” price. If there is one thing you can't do with HIV medicine is miss even a day. I was in the states at the time. They finally got the money to go and switched to a free government clinic. A few weeks later, though, the baby got sick one Friday afternoon, went to the clinic for a blood draw and then died that night. That was three days ago. I didn't go to the funeral. I am not sure why. Maybe I am still to angry. It conflicted with my own family schedule. I am still wrestling with all of that. I should have gone. It was the right thing to do culturally. Anyway, we move on... Will the mother finally get tested and get on ARV’S? It remains to be seen. Such is the life we live here... Pray for us, too... I apologize if this was a little too raw. Sometimes, reality cannot be ignored.

One more thing, my title was a bit of an exaggeration. It did matter. She got another couple months with her only daughter. She learned that the cause of the death is HIV related (whether she will admit that is another situation altogether) and hopefully as a result she will get tested, thus allowing her to live a healthier life and give birth to more children who are healthy. Maybe I didn't save the life of this baby, but perhaps I will allow a life to live if there is another baby.

So how do you play out in all of this? Could you pray? Check out our HIV/AIDS ministry that I am more and more sold on as a significant way to help fight this war against AIDS in Africa. Lastly, do a little inventory of your own life. Is there anything you are too afraid of checking into that you would rather (literally) die than deal with?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Timeline for Our Return

One of the most frequently asked questions we have had thus far since being back in the States is "When are you scheduled to return to Zambia?" I don't know if it is because people are ready to get rid of us ; ) or if they are just curious, but we figured we would write this short post to give you a timeline for our return.

If you're someone with a short attention span, don't like to read more than two paragraphs, or just want a high-level answer, then you can stop reading here: It's November 30th


If you're a details person and want to know how we will be spending the next few months while here in the States, then here is the longer answer:

While we are ready to return tomorrow and we can't wait to get back to Zambia, there are a few things that are contributing to our return date being November 30th:

  • Rental Home Renovations - Our rental home in Zambia is under renovation. Being that this house is the only one in the area that can accomodate our family, we must wait for the renovations to be completed. To that end, we are hoping they will be complete upon our return. (If you are receiving this post via email, CLICK HERE to view a video tour of our rental home in Chikankata)

  • Various Training Opportunities - Luke and I are scheduled to attend several training sessions in September and October that we see as vital to this new ministry. These include:

  1. September 5 - 9: Community Health Evangelism,

  2. October 3 - 7: Hand Drilling Water Wells

  3. October 3 - 7: Chronological Bible Storying for Illiterate and Semi-Illiterate Cultures

  4. October 10 - 14: Water Pump Installation

  • Support Raising - Based on where we are moving, we will have a few one-time needs in Chikankata that we didn't have in the city (i.e. generator, satelite internet, etc.). In addition to this, our montly support could use a boost and we need to raise ministry funds so that we can fulfill the vision to which the Lord has called us. So, over the next few months, we will be trying to meet with individuals, small groups and churches in order to raise these much needed funds.
On that front, please be in prayer for us. While this new ministry is a great opportunity and God has given us and the Whitfields a heart for the people of Chikankata, we need financial backing to do the work. Pray that God would raise up financial and prayer partners over these next few months who are committed to helping us fulfill this vision of reaching every man, woman and child in these 240 villages of Chikankata, Zambia!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Third World Project

While I was back in Zambia, we were able to finish construction on the hammer mill. A hammer mill is used to process Maize (corn) into mealie (Zambian's staple food). This project is expected to provide the community with a nearby location for processing their maize while at the same time provide in-country funding for AZ's ministry centre.

We just thought you would like to see this Third World income generating project and how it was started. So, above, is a video of the project from the beginning up until implementation (opening day). If you are receiving this post via email, you can view the video by going to the following link:

Thank you to all of you who sacrificed to support this project.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's Official

It’s official! We have finished our commitment with Action International Ministries and have signed on with a new sending agency (Commission to Every Nation) to go back to Zambia.

We will be moving from the city (Lusaka) to rural Zambia (Chikankata) to start a new ministry. Working alongside the local tribal leader, we will seek to address the physical and spiritual poverty of the Tonga people through various biblically based ministries. We have given this new ministry the name Eleeo Project. Please take the opportunity to find out more about this ministry at

Future Speaking Engagements:
If you are associated with any churches, small groups, individuals, etc., who might be interested in hearing about our new ministry, we would love the opportunity to share. Please contact us at with any inquiries.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Greetings from Kerrville, Texas! We arrived here on Monday afternoon for our three-day orientation with our new sending agency, Commission To Every Nation. We had a great first day, getting to hear more about the vision of CTEN from its founder, Richard Malm. We also heard from each of the pastoral care team members and received some encouragement and instruction in the areas of Partnership Development and taxes! Of course, we also had the privilege of meeting about 25 neat people who God has called to various work around the world. We are already very excited about this new partnership and look forward to learning more over the next two days. Please pray for us, as well as for our kids and parents back home in SC!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Do They Look Alike?

I am one of those people who will watch a movie and then people watch to see when people look like movie stars. Well, tonight, I think I found a movie star in my own home. Kerri's favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber. You can ask her about that one. But as I sat there and looked at Ellie sitting in her seat, I kept thinking of Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber. Do you see the striking resemblence to his character in the movie? I think it's time for Ellie to get a hair cut!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Zambia Report

We are in the process of shifting gears in terms of a new ministry and support raising, but before posting anything on the new ministry, I wanted to give an update on how things unfolded on my most recent trip back to Zambia.

As you recall, the trip had multiple purposes: to move our household goods into storage in Chikankata, prepare Action Zambia for their year-end financial audit, a few other administrative tasks such as switching the ownership on the motorcycle, planning for the new ministry in Chikankata and finally starting the hammer-mill business at Ciyanjano that I had been working on before returning to the States last December.

Well, in terms of getting everything done that I set out to accomplish, the trip was a success! We moved our home the first week I was back in Zambia, started the audit (which was wrapping up when I left) in the third week, changed ownership on the bike (with the help of a Zambian friend Chilito), made significant progress in planning for the new ministry with the Chieftainess and 3 days before I left, opened up the Ciyanjano hammer-mill business with a free day for the community.

I must say that spending 6 weeks away from the family was not easy, but I was thankful for the time that I had to be back in Zambia to get these much needed things completed and to reconnect with our friends and teammates.