Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thankful for Christ

On this Christmas Day, I conclude my study of the Old Testament Tabernacle. What I once thought was boring and useless detailed information about the building of a tent is now a revelation of a Hope that has come!

Through every minute detail of the tabernacle, the coming of Christ is revealed to Israel. From the articles in the tent, to the color and type of fabrics used...Christ is the fulfillment of this earthly tabernacle. At it's completion, the glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle in a cloud:

Exodus 40:35 Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Finally, the Israelites had a place on this earth where the Lord resided! But today, as I completed this reading, my heart felt sad for the Israelites. They merely had a place where the Lord resided, but where few could go and actually commune with Him. After all of their hard work and obedience, they still did not obtain complete fulfillment. The needed a high priest to communicate with God.

Today, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to experience that complete fulfillment, because God sent Christ to indwell me. John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." That word dwell literally translates into tabernacled. Christ was sent to tabernacle among us. He is the High Priest that intercedes for me at God's right hand. God placed Himself into me, that I might daily commune with Him!

How often do I take this for granted? Daily. But today, as I celebrate the true miracle of what God has done, I am thankful for:

1) Christ was offered as the ultimate sacrifice for me
2) I have the ability to commune with God freely, that is His gift to me
3) That in my country, I am able to worship freely and passionately
4) That Christ has lifted me out of the slimy pit and the mud and the mire and set my feet on Him as my rock and a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2)
5) That although I fall painfully short of living the life Christ has called me to, He continues to pick me up and perfect me. Thank you for making me Holy!
6) God continues to bless me with more than I deserve...friends, joy, family, righteousness, holiness, opportunity, love.
7) His presence. Nothing compares to simply being in His presence, and I want everyone in the world to know that He is IT! Jesus is all you need.

Of course, I should be thankful for these things every day. But some days I get caught up in day to day life, and I take them for granted. I am thankful that today, I can sit quietly and reflect on what a truly AWESOME God we serve. As you read this, take the time to ask the Lord's presence to wash over you, ask Him to come to you and reveal to you the wonder, and fulfillment of Christ!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zambian Praise

For ANYONE who would love to be blessed by beautiful music!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Power of One

I just finished The Power of One, one of the better books I have read as of late.

The story revolves around a 5 year old boy growing up in South Africa during apartheid. Through life, love and boxing, Peekay is able to defeat the demons of his past and learns that heart, with a little brains is a deadly combination.

And for all of you Zambia lovers out there, this book will take you deep into the heart of the copperbelt, revealing the relationally centered culture of Africa.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Real Faith

EZEKIEL 36:26-27
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Love of The Savior

Hello Friends!

I am pleased to be writing to you in the midst of this holiday season! Let me take a moment to wish you...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It is fitting that we celebrate Christmas before a new year begins, because as I am reminded of His birth and my initial salvation, I am also reminded of His continued love and hand over my life. Each year, through every joy and every pain I know that my Lord is drawing me closer to Him. This year has been amazing, and I want to share some of the things God has shown me:

1) How and why to love people beyond my own capabilities.
2) The importance of community that is loving, encouraging, seeking
Christ together and sharing Christ together.
3) How to be vulnerable, even when it hurts.
4) That He TRULY is sufficient to meet EVERY need, every day.
5) Temporal things satisfy me less and less, but I have never left
His presence unsatisfied.
6) He has helped me to live more victoriously over sin than in previous seasons of my life.

This year I have been able to clearly see how He enables me to trust Him more and more. I am so privileged to know Jesus, and blessed to be a part of what He is doing here and in the nations (particularly Zambia). I have the honor to live the kind of life that is fully satisfying. I am trying not to take any breath or any day for granted.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I am so blessed to know so many beautiful people in my life. I have learned so much about life and love through my friends. Through everyone I encounter, God shapes me to be more of the person he created me to be! So, thank you, because without each of you I would not be in the place I am today!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Second Place

I took second prize for BEST COSTUME at Michelle and Joe's Annual Halloween Costume Party by dressing up as my boss' husband! It was beautiful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Cross

I don't know if anyone continues to read my blog since I returned home. Many times I feel like life here is not as exciting as it is in Zambia. But I would be wrong. The Lord is alive and active in my life here just as much as He is in Zambia, it just looks a little different.

This week, I have wrestled with the Lord. I mean really wrestled...with anger, forgiveness, sadness, anxiety... and I have to tell you that I am constantly amazed by the grace and love that the Lord showers over me. I love that He ALWAYS leads me by His Spirit and His word.

God has been rocking my world for about 6 months now. In preparation for Zambia I felt joy, anticipation and encouragement. In Zambia I felt utter joy, challenge, frustration, a great spirit of encouragement. Upon my arrival home I felt sadness, renewed strength, a new desire for the Lord, but quite disappointed to be home. In relationships I have felt encouraged, loved, broken, hurt, desired, helped and helpless. For the future, I lack understanding and vision at the moment which leaves me feeing confused and sometimes frustrated.

I know that some of you may be thinking that this is discouraging, but through these experiences the Lord continually brings me back to the foot of the cross where He brings me to a place of submission. And in my own stubbornness and obstinance, still chooses to rain down his love and mercy upon me. As I look back on the amazing work the Lord has done in my life, I realize that every lesson I have learned in love and in life comes back to what Christ accomplished on the cross for me.

Nothing I do in life matters, if I don't do it for Christ. No journey I take will be successful without Christ, and praise Him for it! He desires me so much that He will continually remove obstacles in my life to draw me closer to Him, even if it brings me deep hurt. People have always said to me, "God's purposes are higher than our own, and His knowledge is infinite and beyond our understanding." Over the past two years, I have come to understand what that means, although I don't always understand why He works situations the way He does. But my understanding of how and why He works situations is not important, it is that I trust in Him and in His goodness towards me.

My prayer for all who read this is that you would experience Christ working in your life this way. That despite joy, disappointments, and all the other array of emotions or situations you may endure, that you could still look at Christ and wonder at His character. He is higher than your hopes, higher than your dreams, and that is a scary thing sometimes.

The more I realize that He is in control of my life, the more hope I have for the future, because He is the only thing/person worth hoping in. I am so thankful that when I look at my life, I can see how the Lord has prepared me for situations that He would bring me through, gave me healing and hope, has caused me to endure and has made me a better friend, lover, sister, daughter, co-worker, etc. I am looking forward to seeing what He has for me next.

Psalms 3:3-5
"But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory upon me and lift up my head.
To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because he Lord sustains me."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Two Quotes of the Day

“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” - Charles Dubois

“The reason I’m attracted to the light of Scriptures is because there’s another side of me that is dark. The reason I’m interested in men of peace is because I’m not like them and would like to be. I’m not someone in real life who turns the other cheek. ”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Life As Usual (Or Not)

After an unexpectedly rough journey back to the States, I am now home in Austin and re-acclimating to life in the fast lane again. Although my heart longs to be in Zambia loving the children, the Lord has shown me an amazing amount of grace in being home. By that I mean, God is showing me all of the good things in my life in Austin that I have to be thankful for.

My brain still has alot of experiences to process left over from the summer. My time there was so busy, there has been a delay of the penetration of my experiences to my heart. There is so much that I learned this summer that it is somewhat overwhelming to begin praying through all of it.

One of the ways in which the Zambians live that impacted me the most was their since of community, and the joy they derive from it. They know one another well, they are able to support, encourage and correct one another with an equal amount of love.

Just being able to be there, to love those children and to teach them the Word of God gave me a deeper yearning to live my life with a pure heart. God has given us senses to take in His creation and to know Him, but those same senses have also been perverted by sin. Much of the information that I inhale each day is full of perversion, tv and magazines are particularly disruptive to my natural state of peace in the Lord. Let's just take a look at what one might find on any given day on the television or on the front of a magazine...dysfunctional marriages, sex, affairs, nudity, violence, profanity, people treating one another horribly, sin being exalted. It's not like I never considered these things before, but I became so desensitized to it that I was unaware. That is how Satan packages it for us here in the States. We don't even know he is there. Furthermore, some brilliant sitcom writers have figured out how to make people's tragic and unhealthy relationships comical. Now I know some of you reading this are thinking I am crazy and you are probably calling me an extremest, and what I have to say to you is...come and love on some orphans for a few weeks and see how it changes you. The comforts and luxuries of our world harmfully blind us to the dangers of it.

I am praying that God would give me the strength to make even small everyday decisions that would honor and glorify Him, like leaving the TV off. I am praying that He would cause me to be more vulnerable in my community and that we would live together as He has called us to live together...supporting, encouraging, correcting and advising one another in wisdom. And this is just the beginning.

The good news is, HE is good and holy, and He has mine (and your) bests interests as His priority. I truly hope that you are experiencing God in a new way today too, and if you are not I hope you will ask me to pray for you. The life He wants to offer you is so much better and sweeter than anything you could concoct yourself!

Soon I will be working on a video and some other exciting info on what Family Legacy has planned, so be on the lookout for a few more posts full of fun!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Winding Down

Muli Bwanji (How are you)? I think this will be my final post from Zambia, oh it's a sad day. The summer has been amazing, challenging, exhausting, joyful, and I have seen the Lord work in amazing ways!

Friday was an extremely emotional day for me as I had to say goodbye to some of my dear Zambian friends. Many tears were shed on both sides for the loss that we will all feel as we have to go our seperate ways...for now. Our amazing Zambians circled around us and sang for us in their native language and then prayed for us. I was not able to video because my memory card was full, but I hope to attain some videos from my friends and be able to share it with you. The manner in which they pray and sing is unlike anything you have ever witnessed!

These last two weeks were alot of fun, as some of my friends John, Paul and Kent from Austin joined me in Zambia! All of them now know why I love Zambia so much and why I hate leaving this beautiful place! It was neat to witness their experiences and how God touched each of their lives. John had the opportunity to go with his group of kids and his partner(Isaac) to a witch doctor's house and share the gospel. This witch doctor actually turned away business while the group was sharing with him. He and his wife both accepted Christ and Isaac explained to them that in Christ you are a new creation, and the old has gone. Therefore, you cannot go on living the way you are living, you are no longer able to be a witch doctor who curses people. I think it was hard for the man to accept, but they prayed that this man would not have peace within himself until he destroyed all of his charms and found another way to make money for his family. The couple was very happy.

I wish that you all could be here to witness the work that God is doing. In America, we are too obstinate and to quick to explain things away with our vast intellect. But the gospel cannot be dismissed with intellect, and it is not for those with obstinate hearts. I have really been feeling burdened for my own country as I prepare to come home. Burdened that we have too many other things to do besides share the joy and love of Christ, burdened that we have too many people unwilling to hear the message of Christ, or who think they are above God.
For how can we who were created be wiser or smarter than He who created us? I wish people at home were just as hungry for the word of God as people here in Zambia, but we as Americans just fill that hunger with stuff. One more ipod, one more iphone, one more flat screen plasma...Just some food for thought.

Last week I heard a story of a girl who said that her father had not hugged her, loved her, talked to her in many years. She went home one day after camp and was able to shared with her father that in Christ he was loved, and that he was accepted into God's family. That he was secure in his salvation, and that he could walk victoriously and free in Christ. The man actually started crying, picked up his daughter, hugged her and told her thank you! That is the power of Christ. That relationships can be healed and reconciled, that God has the power to change a life in an instant! I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to witness change after change after change! I truly am blessed to be a witness!

I also had the opportunity to see my second school of girls this week, as they came to camp. Their school is called Hope and Faith. Again, I was tackled with hugs the minute they spotted me, and Mumbi kept saying to Memory "I told you auntie Stephanie would be here, I told you she would come, I told you!" It made me smile and even though I did not have a small group this week, I was able to sit in on their small group a couple of times and we all liked that very much. Sadly, I will not see them next year at camp because they will be in grade 8, and community schools only go to grade 7. Perhaps I will have to make a special trip to visit them.

I am hoping to follow up with my Destiny school children next week before I leave. These kids touch my heart in a special way, and I almost can't bear to leave them. I know the Lord has plans for me at home, and I only pray that I will be faithful to proceed forth with them. As always, I love you all and can't wait to tell you about everything when I get home! Zi como muzanga wangas (thank you my friends)!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I apologize for the length of time since my last post, and I was reading over it I realized it was lacking a spirit of hope. So, here I am your faithful servant to debrief you once more.

I believe that I am just now starting to process all that I have experienced and witnessed this summer. The Lord is really working on my heart personally as well as through the lives of these sweet and beautiful children.

As I was reflecting on some scripture last night, I became overwhelmed at how loving our God is. I have looked at my life over the last year and seen what God's hand has accomplished, and I feel so undeserving. Yet I know that He has given me everything for His glory, and how much comfort I can find in that. I believe that He is healing alot of bitterness in me and causing me to pursure hard after Him. I come to realize more and more everyday how much I need the love, redemption and security of Christ.

He loves me, He loves you! Each of us are worthy to be given everything good because it is a privelege to be called a child of God. He will rejoice over us with singing and quiet us with His love. I am so thankful for the healing and security the Lord gives me, that I may walk confidently in His word.

Last week was amazing! I have been making more and more house calls lately. I feel so honored that these families and caregivers have invited me into their homes so freely and without reservation. They have welcomed me, and I know that it is only by the Lord's hand that I am able to share gospel and to help them in any small way. I have so much to tell you all about the children but it seems overwhelming to try to post it all here. I look forward to seeing each and everyone one of you upon my return in three weeks.

Please pray that the Lord will be my guide. That I will pursue what is right, holy and pure. I love you all!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hello friends! I am so happy to finally be writing to you have a few weeks. The first few weeks we had internet access in the villa and I could get to it when I have time, but now we do not and getting to the cafe is proving to be a challenge.

Week 5 presented some challenges. Monday morning, the Zambians showed up to Nakatendi hall and were told that they were locking the doors and that we would not be allowed to use the facilities. This is how things go in Zambia. So, literally at the very last second Moses (executive director, Family Legacy Zambia) made some calls and camp was moved to Dunamis church which is the largest church in Zambia. They are charging us more than double what we were paying at Nakatendi but the facilities are much nicer and we have enjoyed our time there.

I can't remember if I blogged about this, but several weeks ago we participated in an awareness march for voluntary counseling and testing of AIDS. During that time of "awareness" some witch doctors came out and started dancing and giving money to the deputy mayor. We immediately pulled the kids because this is exactly the same kind of things that we are trying to deliver them from. The deputy mayor was very upset because without the kids he really didn't have a program. A hunch tells me this is why we were kicked out. All that to say, there is some intense spiritual warfare going on in this city, but God always provides and camp continues to press forward.

I have continued visiting homes of the children that need the most care, going and providing medications and education to the families. It is my favorite part of my job here. I love being invited into the homes and being able to commune with the caregivers of these children and to share with them the word of God. Every single one of these children is precious, and my heart continues to break for them.

I revisited one of my girls from week 4 (the week I had my own group) and spent several hours with her. The week she came to camp she would hardly talk to us at all, and when I visited her on friday we shared the Truth of God with here for several hours. At the end of that time, she insisted that there was nothing that I could pray for her about. Finally, she was able to tell me and my partner (Ethel)that she wanted to kill herself, that her living situation with her grandomother was so bad that she would rather be living on the street. Her appearance was hopeless and sorrowful. I can't tell you how many hours I spent weeping over this child, both at camp and upon revisitation. How many hours I have spent in prayer for her begging God to allow me just to take some of her sorrow and exchange it for the joy I have in Christ. I know that it is only He who can save her, but I hurt so much for her. Please be praying for her, she is Dorothy. I know our prayers do not return void, for He says that if we ask and believe in the name of Jesus, it is already done.

Last week I reached a breaking point. The comination of lack of sleep, exhaustion and lack of alone time, lack of time to process and difficult situations of the kids culminated in a small emotional breakdown. I was unprepared for taking the roll of a full time staff person and all of the responsibilites that incurs. I am always on duty, always being pulled in a million directions and have little time to myself. But this weekend I have had some very good quiet and worship time as well as rest. The Lord has renewed by mind and body and I feel fully equipped to press forward with the coming weeks. I am looking to Him only to be my strength.

Please be praying that the Lord would contiue to hold me in His hand, and pray for my mental health as I end my time here. I am not ready to leave, and i know that coming home will be extremely difficult. I am not prepared to return home, although I know that it must happen for now. I know the Lord will give me grace in every step I take, but I know the transition home will be hard. I love you all and I am thinking of you often!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chobe National Game Reserve

I am in love with guava!

Yesterday our team traveled a short distance to Botswana (Andrea, I thought of you) to safari through Chobe National Game Reserve. It was quite and adventure. At one point we were standing on four different countries: Botwana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Pretty cool. We learned that this is the only place in the world that four countries meet.

To cross the border we had to take a little motor boat across the Zambezi river. The first half of our day was spent on a safari boat tour. We cruised the Chobe River where we were able to spot a variety of the most beautiful fishing birds you have ever seen, small and HUGE crocodiles, hippos, water monitor lizards, elephants, bald eagles, and a number of other things. The fisher birds fly very high over the water and then dive beak first like a rocket. The weather was perfect, about 60 degrees and windy but with the sun shining over head. The beautiful African planes are incomparable to anything I have seen.

The afternoon was spent in Chobe Park on a game drive where we viewed more heards of elephants, giraffes, sables, impala, guineas, kudus, etc. I really wanted to see a lion or a leapord but Winnie (our guide) said that they are very difficult to view because their activity is almost soley restrictred to dawn and or midnight. Winnie was a fantastic guide and is very knowledgeable about all of the animals. I know it's his job, but he was very pleasant.

In Chobe, we were told that there are around 45,000 elephants!!!! Winnie said that the large elephant population is a problem. A few years ago the government voted on killing some of them off, but that was vetoed. Instead, they decided to sell off several thousand elephants to countries lacking an elephant population. The entire park is over 10,500 KM!!!!! Our tour did not even scratch the surface, but it was so much fun. Next time I would like to go on an all day game drive and be out there at dawn to watch the lions.

Unfortunately, my camera broke a couple of days ago so my pictures from the safari were collected on a disposable Kodak (better than nothing). My friends have offered to share with me though, and I look forward to showing them to you when I return. But let's not think of that now. Tomorrow I am returning to Lusaka to gear up for week 5 of camp!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Victoria Falls

We spent the day today hiking Vic Falls. We are staying at a place called the Zambezi Sun and it is so beautiful here. The hotel is built on a national game park so the monkeys, zebras and giraffes roam freely. Victoria falls is about a three minute walk a way and you can see the "smoke" billowing from the hotel.

I have never seen anything this beautiful, it is impossible to put into words. I can't wait to share pictures when I return even though I know they will not do this place justice. We took raincoats from the hotel because you get soaked to the bone walking around. The rainy season has just ended so the Falls are flowing fully. Animals roam freely, and the area is almost like a rain forest. Beautiful trees, vines, cliffs, moss, and rocks everywhere. The falls create a 360 degree rainbow at one point, and double rainbows, and little rainbows everywhere. The majesty of the falls are truly amazing, and as I was standing in the today Psalm 86 came to mind.

Among the gods there is none like you O Lord.
No deeds can compare with yours
All the nations will come and worship before you, O Lord

It is impossible to look at this wonder and not see a God who is majestic and holy, beautiful and good. For everything that He has made in this creation tells us something about His character. In the day that I have been here, my health is almost 100%. It has been nice to escape the congestion, pollution and dust of Lusaka, although my heart longs to return there and embrace many hurting children.

The work to be done in Lusaka is great, and I know that the coming weeks will be the most difficult. We have larger numbers of Americans, and therefore kids, and we are loosing a couple of summer staff whose time it is to return home. PLease continue praying for renewal of strength daily, pray for efficiency and pray for communication between the staff. If at any point there is communication breakdown, attitudes get testy. Also please continue praying for clear direction from the Lord in what His plans are for me.







Saturday, June 16, 2007

George Compound

There is just not enough time in the day here to do everything that I want to, and part of that includes emailing you all individually. I want you to know that I have received all of the emails, and they are blessing me. Please keep sending me stories from home. I am sorry if I have not resonded, forgive me.

Thursday was community day, and I am so thrilled to be sharing my experience with you. I traveled to George compound, and the community school we are involved with there is called Jesus Cares George. They are a new school which has never before worked with Family Legacy for Camp Life.

Some of the roads the bus traveled on were exactly the size of the bus so that we were brushing shopkeepers stands as we drove by. It was a little scary, I am always afraid they are going to hit someone. When the bus arrived at the school, there were probably about 100 people standing around. We briefly prayed, and then the kids were off to boldy proclaim the freedom offered through Christ.

I couldn't possibly have enough time or room to share everything, but what I do know is that George is one of the most poverty stricken areas in Lusaka. The need for the gospel there is so unbelievable, and so raw and genuine. Every home that we visited people were eager and ready to hear the words of Christ, and when we were finished people were standing in line for us to come and talk to them. One man who was so drunk he could barely walk approached us and said, "I want to accept Jesus." Then the children prayed for him and went through the evangecube and this grown man just began weeping....right there!

I can't tell you how many times this happened, over and over. The people of these communities are desperate for the love and power of Jesus Christ. They LOVE the evangecubes! It's funny to me, that this is a tool that probably many Americans would make fun of. But to these people, it is essential. It is a perfect visual of the story of Christ, and to have children explaining it is very powerful because usually not much value is placed upon them.

We talked to entire families! People began weeping in the streets. Now, I know that others on our team did not have similar experiences, so I know that the Lord was paving our way and blessing us with opportunities. I have never experienced anything like this, even when I have come before. We were truly blessed.

Amongst the poverty, the death, destruction, struggles, injustices....I'll tell you, there is something that the people have very right here. The NEED for Jesus. I feel so incredibly at home here. Literally, when we are in town, tons of people walk up to us and want to know what it is we are doing here. We have connected with so many people. God is powerfully at work here, and I am so blessed to be a part of it.

I wish I could write of each encounter that we had today, but I am running to meet my friend Raphael for coffee. I am so happy that I have been able to write as often as I have. I still have a cough, but my spirit is well, and I am encouraged. Please continue praying for the new group of children that will come this week, and please pray for me that the message of freedom in Christ would indeed free my own soul in Christ. That the same bondages we are breaking the children of would also be broken in me. ANd PLEASE continue praying for direction and leading from the Lord. I don't know what His plan for me is, but I know that it is big and I am feeling more confidence that He may be calling me here longer term. I love you all!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Story of a Boy Part 2

Yesterday was the last day that I had to go to Matero to see the little boy whom I was giving penicillin injections. Every day that we have gone the family has invited us into their home and we were able to visit and share the gospel for about an hour or a little more. On several occassions, there were 4 or 5 people from the community who came to the house to also listen to the gospel. Even the little children stay inside to hear us read the Word of God.

You know, sometimes when you hear the message of Jesus for the first time, you just want to hear more. So that's what we did, we shared more and more, and everyone in the place listened intently. It turns out that the little boy's name is Christopher. He had told me at camp that his name was James, but that is in fact his older brother. The entire time that I have been seeing him, he has said about one word to me. He's very shy and I'm not sure what is going on with him, but he just sits in my lap and allows me to hold him the entire time I am there. Did I mention that he is one of the cutest little 6-year olds I have ever seen? Well, then again, they all are.

I hope to be able to post some pictures soon, but I have not yet had an opportunity. Christopher missed picture day so he didn't get a "snap" like all of his brothers (who also came to camp). So while I was there, I took a picture with him and his entire family and at some point this summer will get it to him so that he can hang it up on the wall. They were discussing trying to save some money in order to get a picture frame for it. So sweet!

On another note, some really crazy things have been happening at camp. I can tell you that this year is far more powerful than any other year that I have been. As you know, our theme is "victorious in Christ." Our sub-theme is "breaking the chains in Zambia." Let me just tell you, digging deep into the lives of these children and praying for the chains that are binding them to be broken....Satan is not happy. Several people have been witnesses to releasing demons, and although I have never personally witnessed this, I can tell you that it is very real here in Zambia. The number of children that are plagued by nightmares of eating raw meet, drinking blood, and being brought to a graveyard is phenomenal. Some children confess that they feel like someone is tugging at their throat and not allowing them to speak, or choking them, and they have physical marks on their bodies! I tell you, I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't witnessed it for myself.

The exciting thing is that God really is breaking the bondage that these children are in, and I have seen some very powerful acts of God here. It is scary, and exciting all at the same time. I would love to write to you more later, but I have to get some zzzzzz's now. As always, I love you all and am so happy that you are traveling this journey with me!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Oddities of Zambia

Bats....there are bats....everywhere! I here them all the night long, squeaking. They sound like child or dog toys.

Oh, and here in Zambia, the police can take you to jail for no reason at all. A week or so ago one of our drivers was harassed by the police. The police don't have to give you a reason for why they chose you, but then they start asking for money and you are demanded to give it to them. If you don't have it, you go to jail. If you do have it, they take it and then you go to jail. Crazy I tell you.

Oh, and tonight...the students were rioting outside of our compound because the government had not given them their lunch allowances. I'm not kidding. To top it all off, as punishment the city cut off the water to supply to the village so we now have no water. I'm really not joking about this...oh my goodness how different things are here!

In addition, today while we were having camp a former presidential candidate showed up with his political party to convene for a meeting. Nakatendi Hall had overbooked. This man's name is Sata and from what I can tell he is a very prideful man. They came in and started making all kinds of noise while we were having a teaching time for all of the teachers of each school. We were kind enough to move our meeting outside, but I stayed in to work with Adrian on a project. Sata's assistant demanded that Adrian and I come to speak with him. I informed him that we were in the middle of a project and could not be disturbed (really I was buying time to find Moses Zulu the FLMZ director). He looked very put out by this, but I didn't really care. He began yelling at one of the girls in my villa. He told her, "Why are you teaching these orphans about Jesus? They don't need Jesus, they need food."

I just wanted to tell him that I had witnessed what Jesus has done in the lives of these kids. In fact, I've personally witnessed that spiritual food is better for the child than physical food. Many of the children come crying that their stomachs ache after eating (because they are full). Now they definitely NEED the food, but physical food doesn't fulfill the child or make the children happy. Being loved in Christ does!

I've seen the boy with the burned/stoned finger again everyday since I last wrote to you. Everyday we have gone to give him injections and share the Word with his family. It's fascinating to me. People from all over the community come freely to here the teachings of Christ. Even the children are fixated on the teaching. No one talks, they just listen. It's like they are craving to here more. Then, when we are finished they will ask their questions.

Please continue praying for me. My health is not good, I am fighting off a cough and some respiratory issues. I think it's due to the pollution and dust here, as many others are experiencing the same. This happens to me every year, and my spirit is good. I just need prayers for energy and healing. Being closer to the equator and higher in elevation is causing many of the Americans to feel nauseous and drained of energy. Pray for our team. I have to run quickly and get to bed early for some much needed rest. I love you all!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Story of a Boy

The first week of camp is officially over and I have so much to report that all I will say is...God never fails to amaze me. There are so many ways that God showed His glory and power that you will just have to ask me about them when I return.

What I want to tell you about this evening is the experience that I had today. On Wednesday, a little boy named Christopher came to see Gertrude and I at the nurse's station. His right pinky finger had been severely burned and was completely full of pus. It looked terrible. There was a big blister that had popped and pus was oozing everywhere. I want to be graphic because I want you to understand what it is that I saw. He reported that his friend had shoved his finger in a fire, but even that story could be false. You wouldn't believe me if I told you the lack of information that is available in this place.

So, Wednesday was his frist day to come to camp. We treated his finger and informed him that he needed to come back to see us. Thursday was shoe day, so it was to crazy to even see children at the nurse's station, so today we found James. His finger looked worse, pus was still oozing everywhere and wreaked of infection. Now, our nurse's station is strictly basic, cleaning and treating minor wounds, tylenol and advil for headaches, etc.

I knew immediately that I could do nothing for him. Luckily there is a clinic right down the street and I received permission from Greer to take him to the clinic. Gertrude and I took him to the clinic where we received some antibiotics and treatment for worms as well as some painkillers...all for the cost of $1.00! And yet still, no one bothers to take this child to the clinic! The depravity of these children is extraordinary. The nurse at the clinic told me that he would need to be getting penicillin injections for the next 5 days and that he would need to come to the clinic. Well of course, how am I supposed to make sure that his caregivers take him? This woman was extremely gracious and agreed to give me all of the shots so that I could go to Christopher's home and give them to him. Afterwards Gertrude informed me that this was extremely rare, and that God had blessed us through the nurse.

This afternoon, we traveled to his house (which involved alot of walking) to give his father instructions on giving him the medication. All the while we were walking, 40 or so kids just followed us around. I kept picking them up and holding them, greeting them in Nyanja (which they love) and loving them. When we finally arrived to Christopher's home, we met his father who is sick with Malaria. I spoke to him in the brief Nyanja that I knew and then Gertrude and Paul helped to translate. He warmly invited us into his home and informed us that Christopher had told him about the enitre day. He thanked us for what we had done. I gave him some instructions on how to give the medication and asked if I could come each day to give Christopher the injections. He kindly agreed and then we sat around and shared the Good News of Christ. We explained to him that in Christ he was loved, that he was accepted into God's family, secure if he believes faithfully, and that Christ offers freedom!

The expression on the man's face instantly changed from sadness to joy! He said that he wanted to have all of those things and Paul led him in prayer. We then offered to pray over him for his health and he accepted. The man thanked us repeatedly and said that he was looking forward to seeing us tomorrow.

This experience was beautiful for me. The teachers of the school came with us to the house, and they were able to witness Christians carrying out the word of God and they informed us that they were changed by their experience at camp this week. It was a joyful experience for all, and I love communing with people in the communities. I wish I could convey to you what it was like to be here, and travel all of the dusty dirt roads to seek out those who are hurting. Somehow this is wonderful to me, and the Lord continues to bless me extravagantly!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Community Schools

Mwachoma Bwanji! (Good afternoon)

Well, today is the second day of camp and I can honestly say that after being an administrator for two days, I have never given enough thanks and credit to those in full time ministry. It is tough. There are so many people to please, and so many great ideas that work....in theory. Practically those ideas are a nightmare. :) The Lord is definitely growing me and stretching me and I am glad for it.

Last Friday I was able to tag along with two of the discipleship leaders (Innocent and Naomi) to visit three of the community schools that are here for camp this week; Jesus Army, Restoration, Swesta, Ibex Hill, and Bethel. We went out to the schools to distribute tyvex, the paper arm band that all of the children must have on to come to camp life. Attendance at camp is based upon school attendance so that the discipleship leaders can follow up with the kids year round. Though some other children show up around the time of camp because they know it is coming, they are not allowed to come. Camp life is an incentive for school attendance and the discipleship leaders go to each school every day.

When we showed up we were invited to the small 8X8 room that was called the director's office. We greeted one another and then gave instructions on tyvex (remember last year some of the director's were selling them to community children to make money for themselves, very sad situation). After we were finished, we walked into several of the classrooms to visit the children. Innocent was the first to walk in and oh my goodness the children were so excited right away. They started yelling, Uncle Innocent, Uncle Innocent! Then Allan (another summer staffer) and I walked in and the kids went wild. As I have been practicing my Nyanja, I spoke a few sentences to them and they all laughed. They were taken off guard that I was able to speak Nyanja and absolutely love it when you try to speak their language. It also sounds funny because their accent is so different, although my Zambians tell me that my pronunciation is quite good. I am very happy to be able to have an extended period of time to learn and practice the language. The sounds are completely different from English.

I was so amazed that each school we went to, there was a similar reaction. You can tell that the children ADORE the discipleship leaders, and I know why. All of them are unflappable! They are full of love, patience, kindness and big smiles. They all are such a joy to be around and I am so very blessed by their presence. There are more Americans than ever this year, but I find myself wanting to spend more time in community with the Zambians. I have so much to learn from them, and they have such beautfiul spirts, always giving the glory to God for everything. I am very encouraged when I spend time with them.

So as we went around to the schools I realized what a special time it is for the kids when they are able to come to camp. Their faces light up when we talk about camp. We travel in blue, volkswagon type vans that are labeled "His Bus". When the children saw us arriving, they all began chanting "his bus, his bus, his bus." When we walked into the classroom, they all began singing camp life songs.

I just cannot tell you how overjoyed I am to be here, to love these kids, to love these people. I am so thankful for God's provision in my life and for the amazing opportunity to experience community with my Zambian brothers and sisters. I have so much more to say, but my time is limited. I hope to be able to write to you soon regarding the first days of Camp! Nikukonda (I love you). Tizaounana Mailo (see you later).

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Visiting Lifeway Christian School

Greetings my friends! Today has been an extremely long day, and I am exhausted. Yet I couldn't wait to get here tonight and write to you about the amazing day I had yesterday.

Yesterday we visited the Lifeway Christian School. This is a school that Family Legacy started last August for grades 8-12 along with providing them group housing with a house parent. Children in Zambia have to pay money for school beyond grade 7. 39 kids were selected to come and participate in grade 8 at Lifeway. So yesterday, we went to visit them.

Now they are currently on break, even though the other schools in Zambia attend year round. The kids made a special trip to school so that we could see them. With us we brought brand new school books, backpacks, notebooks and pencils. I have video that I wish I could show you, because the kids hooped and hollered over those items! One boy, named Abram, just kept rubbing his head and covering his face over and over again. It was beautiful.

We then were able to go and see the kid's homes. There are three homes, one girl's home and two boys. All of these children were chosen from the poorer community schools to attend Lifeway. All 39 of the kids were sponsored by Americans, so that they would be able to attend school and have full-time housing for free. Most of them are double oprhans, which means they do not have any parents. You would not believe how thankful these children are for the opportunity to attend school, not to mention being removed from their abusive situations.

On the way to the houses, everyone rode in the back of an open bed 18-wheeler. It was great! The men seranaded us with Zambian praise songs, and I was able to sing along with the ones that I knew. I cannot convey to you the beauty of the Zambian's singing and the look of joy that comes across their faces when they worship. It is a moment that I will tuck away to be sure, and enjoy over and over again.

The girls house has one big bedroom with about 10 bunk beds. The houses are very quaint, but kept very clean. There is running water in the house so that they are able to easily cook and clean, which they are taught to do for themselves. Two of the discipleship leaders, Chilufya and Naomi are the house moms. At the boy's houses, they had planted Chinese cabbage and had a plot of land that was available for more planting.

Each of the boys houses has 2-3 rooms, only about 12X10 and contain approximately 4-5 beds. They are practically on top of each other, but I guess boys don't care about that. The children were so excited to have us come to where they live and I had the opportunity to speak with several of them about what they are learning. Their English is getting quite good, and one boy Cephas was telling me that they were exploring Genesis in their Bible classes.

I don't know how many of you have seen my Camp Life video, but if you have....this is for you. The little boy who is crying and singing on the video.....Kelvin is His name. Well, he is quite a few years older now but he is in the school and quite possibly the most precious boy I have ever seen. He is quiet and humble, but so incredibly full of the Holy Spirit that he makes everyone around him joyful. He has the heart of a servant.

The girls were thrilled to have us also. One in particular attended camp life last year and told Susan (Greer's wife) that she was about to be taken by her auntie and uncle who abused her. Susan prayed with her that God would rescue her from her situation and the girl was tormented. However, she was chosen to attend Lifeway, but we did not have the names of the children attending the school so we did not know she was there. Well, she ran up to Susan and said, "Do you remember me?" Well of course Susan did, and the girl was telling us that she thanks God so much for rescuing her from having to live with her abusive auntie and uncle, and how the girls in her home were her family!

My heart overflows in thanksgiving for what God has done in these children. I am thankful to be able to take part in this project and bring the Word to these kids, who need it more than anything. I anticipate when they will grow to be adults and be raised up to be the leaders of their country. I long for the day when they will go on and make many disciples and transform their governments and churches into bodies that glorify Christ.

I have noticed that our Zambian brothers and sisters are much more quick to attribute all of the work to the Lord. For example, when Greer commended Bwalyia (he is the principal) for doing an incredible job with the kids, his response was: "Oh, I did nothing, it was all the work of the Lord." And....he MEANT it. He wasn't just giving lip service, his heart was genuine and sincere. I think that it what I love about these people. Just when i think I've got the humility thing down, my fellow believers show me that I need to be giving much more of the credit in my life to Christ.

It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name,
O Most High,

to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glady by your deeds,
O Lord;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands
How great are your works, Oh Lord.
How profound are your thoughts!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mwachoma Bwanji

Mwachoma bwanji (good afternoon)! Today I am writing you from Spar, which is the grocery store here in Zambia. As I sit in this cafe, i can hear at least 4 or 5 different languages being spoken. I love that.

So this week has been full of more preparation for the American volunteers which will be arriving on Saturday. A hand full arrived this morning, but were shipped off immediately to their tour of Victoria Falls. When they return they will be rested and cured of jet lag and ready to give their hearts to the orphans!

Every Sunday, we attend church here in Zambia and this week we went to Lifeline Community Church where my favorite Pator Eddies speaks from the pulpit. Unfortunately, he was not here this week and the associate pastor gave the sermon. He kind of lost me halfway through, but his main message really touched me. The premise was that "if you knew what God had put into the person next to you, you would treat them better than you do."

I started to realize that if I just considered this along with how we are called to love each other as Jesus loved us...how much more fruitful and joyful my life would be. That we are called to encourage and support one another, and if we realized what God wanted to do in each person that we encountered, how much fruitful we as a people would be. We would be spurring each other to our fullest potential. There is definitely not enough of that going around. Just a thought.

I love the Zambian church. It is so alive with spirit. There is acapella singing, there is dancing, there is rejoicing and there is praying aloud...alot of it. It is such a beautiful experience to be able to see another culture worship their God. It is a little glimpse of what heaven will be like when a people from every tribe, tongue and nation come before the throne and worship. Nothing could make my heart more happy.

I am hoping that tomorrow is the day that I will be able to go with one of the Zambian discipleship leaders to the schools. I am very excited to see all of the children, and hear all of their singing again. I want to live a day in the life of one of the Zambians, and be able to take part in it.

I just found out that we will not be returning to the INternational School for camp. A new principle has taken over and he will not allow us to come there because we are a Christian organization and he is an atheist. This is very sad, because the ISL is one of the BEST places to host camp life. Instead we retreat to Nakatendi Hall for then entire summer, in the middle of downtown and it is much smaller. Perhaps the Lord has chosen this as a better place to witness. We will see.

I have noticed that Lusaka is becoming a more prominent place to be. The Zambian money (called Kwacha) is getting a better exchange rate these days, and prices are continuing to rise. I hope that this is a good change and will affect the people of Lusaka, and not just the government.

Last night we met a lady who works with a program that tries to get street kids off the street. The numbers of them are increasing every day and there are more street kids here than ever before. OH, if we could only have the Tree of Life Village built now, so that we would have a place to love and house them. There are so many problems here. The community schools are very poor, the teachers who teach there sometimes only have the equivalent of 3rd or 4th grade education. The children are only able to attend school for a few hours a day, even then you can imagine the quality is very poor. The children are continuously moved from extended relative to extended relative, making it difficult to stay in one place, and therefore one school. Or they are removed from school to go and "work." For girls, that means mostly prostitution and for boys, breaking rocks. Please continue praying with me for these children.

Next week we will be teaching them how to be VICTORIOUS in Christ! Mulungu aku dalise muzanga (God bless you my friend). I love you all, and I hope to be writing again soon!

Mwenda mushi, (go well)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tasting Nshima

This is the beginning of my zambia 2007 blog journey!

This weekend from Friday to Sunday is a Zambian holiday. Actually, the weekend represents independence for 7 different African nations. Last night many of the local churches in the area held overnight prayer sessions in light of the holiday.

Today there was a preparation/training meeeting for all of the local Zambian volunteers which was held at Mulungushi Conference Center. It was very exciting to be on the other side of Camp Life, and to see how the Zambian volunteers are prepared for what they will experience this summer. I was able to reunite with some of my most favorite Zambian ladies, Doris and Elizabeth as well as nurse Gertrude.

As always, the Zambians never fail to impress with their beautiful singing and powerful prayer. I continue to learn more about how to pray more powerfully and be joyful in any given circumstance. They are amazing, and I love being able to learn from them. This year's theme for Camp is "You are free and victorious in Christ." The idea is that each day we are going to teach the kids a truth that opposes the lies they believe. This year is going to be more amazing than any year previously, and we were able to get excited with the Zambians about the message Christ will bring in 2007! May Jesus name alone be exalted in our work this summer.

Day 1: you are hated...lie
you are loved in Christ...truth
Day 2: you are rejected....lie
you are accepted into the family of Christ.....truth
Day 3: you are worthless....lie
you are significant in Christ...truth
Day 4: you are lost...lie
you are secure in Christ...truth
Day 5: you are VICTORIOUS with Christ in you! Absolute truth, praise God!

You can know when you look in their faces, but Doris made it very personal for me today when she shared about her own personal life. She and her brother are both orphans and despite the fact that their parents have been gone for quite sometime, she says that it is difficult even now because she has no one to look after her or support her. She experiences rejection, feeling lost and hatred everyday. These lies are extremely real for the Zambians...every...single...day and it is sometimes hard for me to relate to. Yet I am able to experience some of their sorrow each day and be their light of Christ with encouragement. Doris is one of the most joyful and genuine people I know, always carries a huge smile on her face.

Today, I learned how to eat nshima properly from my friends Paul and Elizabeth. Nshima is also called "mealie meal" and is a type of corn meal made into a mashed potato-like substance. I have tried it before from the market, but it was incredibly salty. Today's nshima was much more tasty and I received double portions thanks to my friend Paul who instructed me to ask for "bevlla," which means "more please." I admit it, he tricked me. It blessed him because I made him eat my leftovers so as not to waste anything. It was all very amusing.

Elizabeth continues teaching me Nyanja and says that my pronunciation is becoming quite good. I love the friends I have made here and so enjoy being able to cherish and spend time with them. After meeting with the Zambians today, I feel that the transition is happening smoothly. When I spend time with them, I remember all of the things that I love about this place and why I come to teach and share the Light within me. To share hope and love with the hopeless, and those who feel they are without love.

I also received some very tragic news about one of my girls from last year. One of the discipleship leaders informed me that she went to the school last week to see the children, and was told to visit the mother of one of my girls (Esther). There she was informed that Esther passed away last week. I don't know much regarding the cause of her death. To be honest, most of her family probably do not know much more either. The burial has already been held, but hopefully I will be able to visit her mother sometime next week and have time to pray with her. I am not sure it that will be possible, but I would like to try. In the meantime, I am praying through how to grieve and cope with the loss of a child I loved so much, but knew only for the weeks that I visited here. In that respect, it makes it very hard to leave again, feeling as if I am abandoning them. I find myself knowing that I am only the planter, and Jesus is responsible for the rest, but this thought doesn't make it easier to cope. My only hope is that this one was reached for Christ before her death. She knew the joy of being in love with Jesus, and I can rejoice in that.

On a hopeful note, I was able to meet Esther Ruth Zulu. I mentioned to several of you a while back that the director of Family Legacy here in Zambia was pregnant. She delivered the baby in December, and I can honestly say that she is the cutest chocolate baby I have ever seen! Extremely mild mannered, and definitely wins the hearts of those who surround her!