Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Chik

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and pray for a good beginning to the new year. We just wanted to share a few pictures from our first Christmas in Chikankata.

Before we left the States, the grandparents packed and paid for 2 bags to be sent with us to Zambia full of Chirstmas presents. We sure are glad that they did, because the kids were so excited to wake up Christmas morning and have presents to open.

After opening presents, our kids each picked a present of their own to give to Dailes, Pauline and Moverty's children. So, we used some of the paper from the presents that they had just opened, rewrapped the presents and then walked over to their homes to have a short Christmas celebration with them. It was fun watching their children open presents.

Afterwards, the women came over to the house and helped Kerri cook a big Christmas lunch for all of the families. We ended up having chicken, fish, Nshima, rape (which is like collards), cabbage and sodas to drink. Being away from our own families during the holidays, it was nice to have other families to celebrate the day with and it turned out to be a pretty special day.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

All Choked Up

We had our first scare this evening. I fell asleep studying language and had probably been down for about an hour when I was suddenly awakened by Caleb screaming "She's choking! She's choking!". I kept up as quick as I could and ran into the kitchen just as Kerri was turning Gracyn around to give her the heimlich maneuver (don't know if I spelled that correctly).

As she squeezed, I prayed over and over. Apparently Gracyn swallowed a bone from a small fish she was eating and it was stuck and obstructing her breathing. After a few long minutes, which seemed like an eternity, the bone was dislodged and Gracyn swallowed it - ending our first Chikankata scare.

As all of this happened, I found myself contemplating all of our alternatives (which were few) if things took a turn for the worse. I was suddenly reminded (once again) of how dependent we are on the Lord and on the prayers which you offer up on our behalf. So, with that in mind, please remember to pray for us regularly as we pursue His calling here in Zambia.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Not Every Day You See This...

Kerri and I went into Mazabuka the other day to do a little grocery shopping. As we sat down for lunch at the only restaurant in town, a pizza joint in a gas station, we saw this truck pull up to fuel up. I didn't know that you could fit two cows into the back of a pickup, did you?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

We just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We hope your holidays are a treasured time spent with family and friends! And we pray that Christ is at the center of it all!

The Roberts

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tried and Failed

So, I (Brent) tried cooking a traditional Zambian meal the other night for my family, but failed miserably. In every home in Zambia during meal time, there is always Nshima on the table. It is made out of finely ground corn maize, but there is an art to making it correctly. I told our worker Dailes that I would try to cook before asking her.

After about 20 minutes, and some lumpy corn maize mush, I sent Gracyn to get Dailes to rescue me. The first picture is my attempt at Nshima (in the garbage). The second picture is Dailes' Nshima. Can you tell the difference in quality?

I promise that the next time I will get it right.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don't Forget

To date, we have raised nearly $13,000 towards our matching gift of $50,000. These funds will be used to develop our ministry center in Chikankata. If you're looking for a place to give year-end tax-deductible donations, look no further. By donating to this cause, your gift is automatically doubled!

To donate via mail, send checks to:
Commission to Every Nation
PO Box 291307
Kerrville, TX 78029-1307

**Be sure to include a separate note stating that the donation is for Eleeo Project.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our First Few Days in Chik

Here is a quick slideshow of images from our first few days in Chikankata. The kids absolutely love it here. Caleb said last night over dinner that he wants to stay at least 4 more years and Gracyn requested 6. We'll let the Lord determine our timeframe, but it is such a blessing that the kids love being here.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Different Living

We have moved and are in the process of settling in. No Internet access yet. So, we're providing updates via phone. First night we saw 6 rats. Killed the one in our dresser in our bedroom. Also had, not exaggerating, about 1,000 bugs fly into the house during unpacking. Lost electricity several times. Lost water the second day, but it has been restored. Not complaining, just trying to give you the full picture.

Please continue to pray for us. The phones will not be a viable source for Internet. So, we need to find other options. Learning to live in the African bush will probably be a bit challenging, but God is faithful and will see us through.

Blessings during the Christmas season!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Zambian First

When my dad visited, one of the things that stuck out to him was that Zambia didn't have any drive-thru fast food restaurants. Well, Zambia is a changing! Kentucky Fried Chicken has just built a new restaurant in the southern section of the city known as Makeni. It probably will not open before we head down to Chik, but I had to snap a picture and share it with everyone else.

Think about that, a country of 12 million people getting their first escillator and first fast food restaurant all in one year. Kind of gets me excited about the "Firsts" we will see down in Chikankata. Maybe a village hearing for the first time in this generation about Jesus or a church being planted where there never has been one. Won't that be awesome!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Maddie Post

This post is for all the parents out there who wonder about the things that affect missionary parents as they serve overseas. It's never fun to see your children sick, even when it's minor.

Case in point, our 3rd child, Maddie, has recently developed some kind of rash. If we were in the States, we probably could have it diagnosed very quickly and apply the appropriate medicine. But here in Zambia, we're left kind of wondering and experimenting with what treatments we can find.

Maddie is doing okay, but she is itching a bit. We're giving her some Benadryl cream tonight to see if that works, but if you remember, say a prayer for her. Pray that whatever is causing the rash would just go away! Pray for the parents too! Pray for our peace and sanity during this time of transition.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Much Can You Carry in a Wheelbarrow?

Things you don't see back in the States! I saw this guy while I was out today running errands. Quite amazing! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moving to Move

So, we're still in the city, but hoping to complete our move very soon. Part of that process includes moving our workers (Dailes & Pauline) and their families with us to Chikankata. This past weekend, we successfully moved Dailes's possessions to a central location here in Lusaka. And Today, it was Pauline's turn.

Our goal is to get all of our remaining stuff and their stuff in one place so we can have a truck come and pick it all up. As you can see from the pictures, the move was a community affair. The family and a whole bunch of neighbors came to see and help us get the vehicles loaded. By the end of the day, we had taken three car loads (inside and on top) across town.

Please continue to pray for us. We are trying to arrange a truck to come and move us either Tuesday or Wednesday. In the States, this might not be such a big ordeal, but in Zambia, it is not the same story. Once this truck comes, we should be in Chikankata full-time, yay!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Different Kind of Start

Yesterday afternoon, I met with Gilbert Masonde, a pastor and friend here in Zambia. A church in the States is trying to help him fix his vehicle so they asked if I could assist in the process. When he showed up, I was quite surprised at how he started his car. I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but he is actually using a screwdriver to start his car. I told him that if he got into his car in the States and started it this way, the police would definitely think that he stole it.

It was good reconnecting with Pastor Masonde. The laughs I got from seeing him start his car was a welcome break to a somewhat stressful day of trying to get things done in Lusaka. Hopefully, by next week, he'll be starting his car in a slightly more normal way!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

At What Temperature Does...

Water Boil??? Living in Zambia, you find that things don't quite work the way they do in the States. Take a spaghetti dinner for instance. The other night, Kerri was trying to make some spaghetti and started boiling water to cook the noodles. After 20 - 30 minutes, she looked a bit perplexed. The spaghetti sauce was bubbling, the burner was on high and was working, but still no boiling.

She thought: "maybe it's the water." So, she replaced the water that she had poured from the tap with bottled drinking water. Another 20 minutes and it still wasn't working. So, in came the problem solver (me).

I decided that if it wasn't the type of water and it wasn't going to boil on the stove top, then we would just put the pot in the oven and turn the oven all the way up. Another 20 - 30 minutes and voila, still no boiling. Now we were both really confused.

Since the water was steaming, we thought it was hot enough to cook the spaghetti noodles. At least this effort was successful even though it took a little bit longer than if the water were boiling. On a side note, the next morning when Kerri was heating some water for our coffee, she put a top on the pot (the same pot we used for the spaghetti noodles). And guess what? The water boiled. Had we known that the night before, we would have been able to eat our spaghetti dinner before 10:30 pm!

Sorry for such a descriptive story on cooking spaghetti, but we just wanted to give you some insight into the small things that make living in Zambia different than living in the States.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sweet Reunion

A few days ago we had the opportunity to visit Dailes. For those of you who didn't know or remember, Dailes has been working for us since we arrived in Zambia in Feb 2008. She has become very much a part of our family since then. While we were back in the States, there were many times that Maddie would ask, "When are we going to go back to our home in Zambia and see Auntie Dailes?"

Well, they finally got that opportunity! Both of them ran to Dailes and gave her big hugs. I honestly didn't know if Ellie would remember her, but she definitely did. While it was hard to leave the States, it has helped ease the pain by getting to see our friends here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Video Tour of Our Home in Chik

Here it is, a video tour of our home in Chik. Starts in the kitchen, then to the dining room, then to our bedroom and bathroom, then to the living room, then to the school room, then to the second bathroom and finally to the boys room. The girls room is still being renovated. So, it was not captured in this video.


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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Still Settling!

Yesterday, we left the girls in Lusaka and Kerri, Caleb, Thomas and I went down to our new home in Chikankata. We really didn't know what to expect, but were pleasently surprised when we walked in the home. The Reeves did a wonderful job getting the house ready, including the addition of a bed and bathroom for Kerri and me.

We hope to upload a video tour of our home very soon, but need to figure out better internet options before we can do this.

Please continue to pray for us as we settle in. We are still staying in Lusaka until we can move our workers and the last of our things down. We hope to be fully moved in by this weekend!

Friday, December 02, 2011

We're Back!!!

It started with our departure from Columbia. We arrived at the airport on Wednesday Morning to find out that our flight to Washington, D.C. was no longer offered by United. Luckily they had space on a 10 am flight and were able to get us to D.C. on time.

In D.C., the antics ramped up some more. Apparently, 3 weeks ago, South African Airways made a policy that anyone flying through S. Africa needed Yellow Fever vaccinations. The only problem was that 3 of our kids vaccinations had expired and the other 2 had never received them. After going back and forth and praying a lot, we were able to convince them to let us on the flight. There was no guarantee that we would be able to board the next flight to Lusaka, but at least we would be closer.

Then, as we were finishing getting the tickets printed, Kerri realized something that we hadn't noticed the 8 months prior: our flight from S. Africa to Zambia was scheduled to fly out on the 2nd, not the 1st like we thought. Probably wouldn't be a big deal except we had no hotel reservations and we didn't know of any places to stay. But we boarded the plane and just figured that if the Lord wanted us to land in Lusaka, He would work out the details.

In S. Africa, we found a hotel after about 2 hours of searching. It was a pretty little lodge located just 15 minutes from the airport, but it was a sleeping adventure this time. The room we were given had a bunk bed and two single beds. You try to figure out how to sleep 7 with bed space for 4! Needless to say, Kerri and I snuggled all night and 4 of our children slept 2 to a bed.

The next morning and all today was pretty uneventful. When we went to the ticket counter to ask for our boarding passes, we were not even asked for our vaccination records again. We boarded the flight and landed in Lusaka at 9:00 pm.

So, itt was an adventure, but we've finally made it! What we thought was to be a 33 hour trip (including layovers) turned out to be closer to 52 hours. Had this been 4 years ago, we probably wouldn't have known how to react, but after living in Zambia for so long, we've learned to be flexible and pray a lot!