Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jesus Film (Take Two)

Well, we made it back (at least the girls did).  Friday night, as Luke and I headed back from our trip to Mkushi, the girls headed out with a local church to show the Jesus Film.  They were going back to the same location we went to during the team from the UK's visit, because the last attempt at a showing didn't quite work out.  But this time was a little better.

I guess because the last time failed and those who attended then knew we were coming back, the attendance was quite high.  If you offered this type of format for a movie in the States, probably only a handful would come, but here in the rural areas of Zambia, they turn out in droves.  There were probably close to 300 who showed up to hear about the life of Jesus.

I can't tell you how awesome it is seeing these Zambians hearing   The girls did a great job.  Everything went without a hitch and many people had the oppurtunity to hear about Jesus in their own language.  I just wish Luke and I could have been there to experience it too!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The long awaited container has arrived.  During the first week of February, we shipped a 40ft container full of ministry items to Zambia, hoping they would arrive before ministry really got up and running.  Well, it finally arrived and only took 3 months in doing so.

It was quite an ordeal trying to figure out how to get the container off of a big truck, but in the end, we hired a side-shifter truck to do the dirty work for us.  For those of you who don't know, a side-shifter is an 18 wheeler equipped with hydrolic arms which pick the container from the truck and place it on the ground.

Our workers enjoyed helping with unloading as they were able to go through and pick out some of the donated clothing for them and their children.  It took a full day, but what was packed in period of several weeks, was emptied and sorted through in about a day.

Thank you to those who helped us in this huge effort.  Specifically, we would like to thank Jamie Castles and many members from Chapin Baptist, Columbia Crossroads Church, Marvin Bozard, Margie Simmons and the volunteers of Christian Ministries International, Campus Crusade for Christ Zambia and our parents.  These were just a few of the key players involved in making this effort a reality.  Thank you, as well, to everyone else who assisted through donations.

We're so exited that it is finally here!!!

If you are receiving this post via email and would like to view the slideshow, please go to:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Minute Trip

This past Thursday, Luke and I were invited to a leadership conference with the our friends from Foundations For Farming.  It was literally a whirlwind of a trip.  We were picked up in Lusaka on a chartered 6-seater prop plane and flown north to a farming district known as Mkushi.  The purpose of the trip for us was just to develop further relationships with some of the key international leaders for FfF, and to that end, it was awesome!  While there, we met a man named Peter.  He is one of a handful of white Zimbabwean farmers who still have a farm.  I hope to share more about him in a future post.  And we also met Gavin Johnson.  He is the cousin to the founder of FfF, Brian Oldrieve, but is most famous for being one of the most famous fullbacks in South African rugby history.  If you've seen the movie Invictus, then you probably heard Nelson Mandella's character mention his name when meeting the 1995 World Cup team!

The trip up was forgettable.  The plane was a nice plan, but very small.  Because of this, it moved quite a bit with the strong winds we were experiencing that day.  Upon landing, the plane actually blew a tire and skidded to a halt.  But everyone was ok.  The visit was a good one as we made several new friends.  One highlight of the trip was a men's breakfast with all of the farmers of the Mkushi district.  Gavin shared his story about playing rugby for S. Africa and how God really got a hold of his life after his playing days.  He was so excited to share about just how much Jesus meant to him.  After breakfast and one more meeting, we said our goodbyes and headed home.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  And we are so thankful to have met some new friends who share a similar vision for Zambia!

If you are receiving this post via email and would like to view the slideshow of our trip, please go to:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Field Day

On Monday, we arranged for a field day for all of the commercial farmers of Mazabuka/Chikankata to come and see the benefits from implementing a zero-till program like Foundations for Farming.  A local farmer (Wizz Bignell) opened up his land for farmers in the community to gather and have a hands-on question and answer with himself and Brian.

There was quite a turnout as you can see from some of the pictures.  While we were in the field, Wizz handled most of the questions, as they were more directed at what specifically he was doing in zero-till farming.  But later in the day, we returned to his home for Brian to give a presentation.

Brian's, as well as our conviction, is that we should honor and glorify God in all we do, including farming.  So, it was great to have someone who this farming community respects, share with them this conviction.  He shared from the heart about the need for Africans to not only be productive and make profit, but to also lookout for the needs of the poor and for the foundation of everything they do be Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blessed are the Meek

We had the extreme privelege of hosting Brian and Cath Oldreive the last few days, the founder of Foundations for Farming (previously known as Farming God's Way).  For those of you who don't know, Brian is a pioneer for zero-till (conservation) farming in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.  He is invited to speak all over the world.  In just the last few months, he has spoken with various groups and foreign dignitaries in Australia, India and many other African countries.  So, needless to say, we were extremely honored to have him visit us here in little old Chikankankata.

But, I'm not writing this post to dote on all of his accolades.  I'm writing it to share with you the most impactful part of his visit with us.  Over dinner the other evening, Brian and Cath sat there and shared their story about losing their farm (the 2nd largest commercial farm in Zimbabwe) because of the land reforms instituted by the Zimbabwean government.  Now, let me give you some perspective as to who we were listening to:

Brian and his wife Cath, for many years, ran a 3,500 hectre (approximately 7,000 acre) commercial farm in Zimbabwe, the 2nd largest of its kind.  They, through the Lord's guidance, built this farm from the ground up over may years/decades of hard work.  In addition to this, they used this farm as a training facility for rural subsistence farmers to learn better practices to farming, which improved the lives of many of the poor in their surrounding communities.  Then in 2000, everything changed.  The Zimbabwean government instituted a land reform which would pass control of all white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe to the black Zimbabweans.  In the course of about a year, Brian and Cath had lost everything they had worked so hard to achieve.

Now, some of the farmers in the community didn't take to kindly to their farms being siezed.  Many faught it tooth-and-nail and even resorted to violence to keep their farms.  But this was not the Oldreive's reaction.  Cath sat there and shared about how the black Zimbabwean who had taken over the land came and screamed at Brian on different occasions when the farm was first seized, but that Brian never lost his cool and always spoke to him gently.  Then just at planting season began, when the gentleman was planting his first maize crop, Brian went to him and asked him if he needed any help.

As I sat there contemplating just how angry I would be and how I would react, I was blown away by this man's gentleness.  Here he was losing everything.  He still lived on the farm, but couldn't farm the land anymore.  He had to watch as another person destroyed his life work and instead of being hateful and trying to find ways to hurt this guy, he was asking if he could help him.  Then Brian reminded us of the verse from the Sermon on the Mount found in the 5th chapter of Matthew, "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth."  It's one thing to read a scripture and conceptually understand it, but to see it lived out through the life of another in such extreme situations is a whole different story.  Needless to say, we all were blown away and greatly encouraged by the humility shown in the life of a very Godly and well respected couple.  Brian left us with one challenge, which I hope will also be a challenge to you as you walk away from reading this post.  "All of Christ's life and ministry were grounded in humility and meekness.  Shouldn't ours be the same?"

To learn more of his story and what God has taught him over several decades of farming and life, go here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zambian Polo Match

It took over 8,000 miles of flying and 35 years of living, but I can now say that I've been to my first polo match.  The commercial farming community here in Zambia usually holds different events which allow for the masses to get together and socialize.  This was one of those such events.

It was very interesting watching the match and seeing many of our new friends participating.  And as you can tell from the pictures, the kids had a great time!  Just one of those things I never thought we would experience as a missionaries serving in a foreign country!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Unexpected Reunion

On Wednesday, we took the team to visit with Chieftainess Mwenda.  It was a really neat time in which the Chief shared her vision for the people of Chikankata.  It was also a reunion of sorts.

Jeremy Gibson, a retired doctor from the UK, had lived and served in Zambia in 1994.  He worked at the Salvation Army Clinic and can you guess who his head nurse was at the time?  Before being a chief, chieftainess Mwenda worked as a nurse at this same clinic.  Her and the doctor worked very closely together for quite some time.

Upon her coming in the room, Luke asked her if she noticed someone in the room, an old friend.  She looked around and caught eyes with Dr. Gibson in the corner of the room.  He spoke up and said that she might remember him with more hair, to which she started laughing in agreement.  It was great to hear her talk in depth about her life before becoming chief of Chikankata.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuesday Night Outreach

Not everything works out as planned.  The first night that the team from Honiton Community Church arrived, we had scheduled a Jesus Film outreach in a village about 45 minutes north of where we live.  The team arrived at 4:00 pm and we set off for the site at around 5:00 pm.

Once we got there, we quickly went into setup mode and got the screen up, along with some solar lights.  Then we connected the generator, amp and speakers and finally the projector.  But therein lied the problem.  We tested all of the electrical a few days before the outreach, but we didn't test the projector on the generator.  As we quickly found out, the generator was not strong enough to push the projector.

Luckily, at least that's what we thought, we had a backup projector that arrived with the team.  The only problem was that it didn't make the journey from our home to the outreach.  So, Luke made the hour and a half round trip back to our homes to get it.  When it arrived, we realized something else, although this new projector would work without the use of the generator, it required some software to be installed on the computer before use.  So, you could probably understand we, as well as the 250+ people in attendance who had walked long distances and waited many hours, were a bit frustrated that we had to cancel the event.

It wasn't all a loss though.  While we were packing up, one of the members of the team shared with those who hadn't left yet that God still wanted to minister to people that night.  So, him along with the rest of the team and 6 translators, broke up into small groups and prayed for several of those in attendance.  We also committed to the crowd that we will be back on Friday, May 25th to show the movie, and this time with equipment that works properly.

On an interesting side note, we learned that when the church arrived that evening for setup, there was a local witchdoctor walking around the site that the movie was to be played.  Our being there is a definite threat to his work in the same community.  So, it leaves one to ponder whether he had something to do with the perceived mishap that evening.

So, although not everything worked out as we had planned, nothing was a surprise to our Creator.  He still accomplished his purposes in the lives of many that evening and His message of Jesus crucified for the sins of the world will be made clear to the Tonga people of this community next Friday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our First Team. Yay!!!

Since yesterday we've been hosting our first short-term team, Honiton Community Church from the UK. They came to visit us for three days to dream together about what a partnership would look like here in Chikankata.

Last night we shared the Jesus Film with a village about 45 minutes to our South and today we visited with Chieftainess Mwenda. Tomorrow we'll have a cookout and a time of prayer before they depart. It's been a great visit so far and we look forward to sharing some more of the stories from our time together. Until then...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

May 2012 Update

Our May 2012 update is in the mail and on its way to your home.  Here is an advance copy if you want to read it before you get it.  Pretty cool stuff happening this month!  Just click on the picture above to view.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Narrow Road

Only a few will find it, unless you're talking about village cows. Kerri took this picture the other day as her and Elise were headed to the Palace to do a bible study with the chief. The fun obstacles we face in everyday driving here in Zambia.

Anyways, the girls have begun meeting every other week with the Chieftainess. Mwame, as we all call her (the Tonga word for chief) has a hard time fellowshipping with other believers at church, because of the disruption caused when a she visits. So, she is left many times to try and grow in her faith alone. The girls were invited to meet with her to begin to study God's word together.

Pray for their continued times together. Pray that God would forge a special bond between these three ladies - one that would cross age and culture. Pray for the Chieftainess, that this would be an opportunity to be fed spiritually.