Saturday, December 26, 2009
Hope y'all had a great Christmas... family and friends and out-of-tune church choirs and warm fellowship and catch-up with peeps we haven't seen all year... yes!
I vote we all skip the present-giving and just have fam+friends gatherings next year.
Just so you know... when you read 'delayed due to security concerns' in the Blog, it's becuz we are being very careful about NOT publishing when and where we will be in Baja Mexico.
The violence and narco-traffikking wars seem to be limited TO Tijuana and the surrounding burgs. YES, the situation in TJ continues to worsen. NO rise in crime in Tecate, Rosarito, Ensenada... and then definitely NO rise in drugwar-related stuff where Lori goes to on a regular basis. However, we have to pass thru TJ to get where we are going...
We are always going to be reporting AFTER, and it will not have too many date-based info, just to increase our security profile. Besides, you get to pray for us all the time for our safety and God's plan and Hand on our goings-and-comings...
Blessings, your bro,
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Lori from San Vicente, Dec. 8th,2009
delayed due to security issues.
Tuning up is hard to do.
It's exciting to start another week of sewing classes but, I sure have my work cut out for me. During the very first day of classes, several of the students express problems they are having with their "at home" sewing machines. (Five of my students have purchased used or been given machines.) The next day, 4 students arrive with their machines in tow hoping that they can be repaired. So, after two sewing classes filling 7 1/2 hours of the day, my evening is filled with what I call "tweaking". I bring no special mechanical skill to sewing machine repair except that which necessity has forced upon me during 40+ years of sewing. Still, as there is no machine repair place or person in town, I'll give it a go. Claudia, the student pictured above, brought her machine to see what I could do.
With two hours of "tweaking",
- it was discovered that she had bought the wrong bobbin, so it was replaced with the correct one,
- the needle in the machine was so blunt, it wouldn't prick your finger let alone the fabric, so the needle was replaced,
- the tension was adjusted,
- zig-zag was repaired.
and success was accomplished!!!!!!!! on ONE machine. Only 3 more to go. Well by the end of two evenings, 3 or the 4 machines were in working order. The 4th one will require replacement and repair beyond my abilities.
Beginning students tend to be pretty hard on sewing machines. So, even the machines that are used in the class continually require cleaning, oiling, and repair. It's not exactly what I love doing, but sure is a blessing to my students.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Well, friends... I have quickly figured out that ministry is a jazz-dance, constant twirling and moving in unplanned directions... or one thing planned, that totally changes and you have to go with plan G...
<>I was supposed to be on a 2 full-day surgical outreach in Ensenada, Mexico right now, assisting with cleft-lip and palate surgeries through the Rotary and Mexican Govt... took weeks of set-up and document verification and registration... and poof! Put on hold (indefinitely) because the Ensenada hospital is pack-full of patients sick with H1N1-related issues.
<>SO, that meant re-arranging the shipment of hats that were going to be given out at THAT outreach, sending them down to central Baja Mex for another outreach...
<>Set up a number of first-step educational modules to be 'in-process' for the Zambia HIV/AIDS work, spent quite some time trying to get answers on what's actually happened there, and nobody is replying... typical, if you're not 'on-site'. little happens or moves along...
So, Lori is in Michigan visiting with our family and ministry friends... and the dance continues. I have been able to get back on track with a number of projects with the new laptop finally configured... need to update the website...
... and the dance continues. The trick is to keep dancing, even when you run into walls...
your bro, Chris
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Chris here, in good 'ole Chula Vista CA.
Still processing all that happened in Zambia. Wonderful people (the Zambians), beautiful country (even though end of the dry winter), terrible economy (although the NGOs are a great employer for many Zambians), worrisome situation of church leadership (troublesome pocket-rattling all the time) but some real God-worshippers in the house (let the songs rise up!!)
So now I'm communicating with a couple dozen sources related to work in Zambia... some real and possible avenues to work in the country, including some 'new' offers... plus some actual 'consultation-planning' for HIV AIDS work there
I'm also working on some new avenues to reach out here in the border Baja Mexico region... including doing some surgical work for the poor... more on that when something substantial happens... Lori and I try hard to only report what's happening, not al lthe 'potentials'...
Lori is busy getting her next San Vicente trip lined up and prepped... dates being set... supplies heading down as this is being written...
For us, the in-between times can be way harder than actually being in a village or another continent...
Pray for us. There are also a few family members not doing so well right now, who need prayers.
blessings, your bro
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Huge apologies for not posting more since my return from Zambia, or our return from the HealthCare Conf at Fuller in Pasadena, CA...
Since the return (I know, a bit of whining...) we have been bombarded with having to have a vehicle towed and repaired, having to get my new computer system up and running, having to do alot of file/document rescue, having to take care of the HUGE pile-up of 'life-stuff' that needed to be looked at upon return, having to learn a new picture program so I can post pics to thei Blog (iPhoto is quite a different program than I've used in the past...) and THEN a week of both Lori and I fighting a viral respiratory thang...
So now we are up in the Reno area, visiting Hannah (daughter) and Luke (grandson) and Zack (son-in-law)...
SO... stay tuned for more from Blog-land... with pictures... on the final weeks in Zambia.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Hello, my good friends!
Writing to you from the Fuller Seminary guest house in Pasadena, CA... Lori is down the street doing her Conf Registrar thing, and I am still trying to get my head into Pacific Standard Timezone...
All my flights from Ndola, Zambia to LAX went my favorite way ... BORING (meaning, without drama). Ndola to Johannesberg, South Africa to Dakar, Senegal to JFK/New York to LAX... total 28 hours in the air... yes, I slept OK on the plane, all luggage arrived in one piece (and wrapped in cellophane) and Lori was all smiles with my LAX pick-up.
And yes, I was able to get a Cheeseburger in JFK before boarding to LAX... cheeseburgers are one of those exclusive things that are ONLY found properly in the good ol'e US of A...
OK, sometime in the next week, once I get to my home systems, I will be able to write some updates 'in the gap' between my Zambia departure and the point where my laptop gave up the ghost... yes, with pictures...
... and there was alot that did happen. I lectured at Copperbelt Nuring school in Ndola, I worked with a developing worship leader on a song in a studio, recording a pretty amazing song he wrote, and there were alot of positive developments in the development of a long-term HIV/AIDS initiative in Ndola.
Thanks for every person who shot up a prayer or petition during this rather successful '50 DAYS IN ZAMBIA 2009' mission work.
And, ultimately, thanks be to GOD...
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
VBS with the Angels.
- How to evangelize more effectively
- How to plan and organize lessons
- How to draw
- How to help the children to walk with the Lord.
You can tell that these girls are really interested in ministering more effectively. So, I have planning to do for the next set of classes with the Angels during the Fall.
This little one decided to fall asleep in my arms during VBS. Funny thing was, I had to ask around to find out where she lived so that I could deliver the sleeping girl to her Mother and Father after class. Guess, the parents trusted us.
Here is a pic of some of the Angles. It's difficult to get a photo of all of them at one time as they all have responsibilities as home and can't go out each day of outreach.
Please keep them in your prayers.
My computer is dead! And I'm having a real hard time using internet cafes for blogs. Many of the cafes here use keyboards with cryllic and arabic, and I could not even log on to Blogspot. SO... I need you to post a blog on my behalf that my laptop died and I won't be able to blog until I return to the USA Sept 16-17. Also, since putting pics up was part of my laptop, no more pics until after I return.
hard drive crashed and locked, using loaner right now
probably won't blog until sept 15 when back in usa... hard in cafes with cryllic keyboards
all is well i am healthy, loyts of hiv program stuff to wrap up b4 i fly back
plz pray for return trip and luggage
blessings your bro chris
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Wanted to get a Blog out before life gets wierd...
Picture to LEFT is the serving of Nshema, the (and I mean THE) Zambian staple diet. How do you eat Nshema?? First, you wash your hands, because there are no utensils! The big white 'glob' of pasty material is the Nshema, made from corn mealimeal that has been boiled with water and salt until it becomes thicker than elmers glue. The 'relish' is served on the side... this relish is kapenta (small sardines) boiled with tomatoes, and a green that is like spinach (called reapee)... then you sit down, pull up a bit of Nshema with your fingers (and it is hot!!!), roll it around, then form it into a coin-shape, so you can scoop up your relishes, then bend over the plate and eat!!! Yes, there is water and a basin provided after for hand-washing-up..
Picture to the RIGHT is the morning devotions and worship at the Seeds of Hope office with the staff. Devotions are optional, but 95% of the staff are active church-members. There is singing (in Bemba, of course), then a reading in the Scriptures, then opened up for "contributions" (what people feel God is saying to us in the Word), prayer for the SHIP workday, then greetings... and everyone greets everyone with energetic handshakes and hugs... oh, devotions start at 0745 hours, and don't be late!!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Hey, friends! It's Friday night, and trying to catch up a bit on the Blog.
This week here has been really a roller-coaster for me. Alot of really good things have happened, and some tough ones.
First, the good stuff:
<> well, the Zambian gov't officials renewed my Visa for another 30 days. Took 3 trips to the office, but pretty smooth otherwise.
<> A great deal of head-way has been made in the launching of the HIV/AIDS education and prevention initiative. The hygiene-sanitation team and I are looking hard at the 'what to build and then take out' curriculum, lessons, handouts, visual aids... gathering alot of what is 'already been developed' (which has been no small task) for Zambia or similar settings. We have a big pow-wow working meeting this coming Monday (the crew said they love my meetings, because we start out with tea and buscuits... but they let me know that this meeting, the milk MUST be warmed for the tea: cold milk for tea makes for a bad cup...)
<>Monday, I had a great meeting with the Dean of the private Nursing School here in Ndola, the Copperbelt Nursing Polytechnic. They have 100 registered nurse students, and just had their first class write the national exams (did well!). The Dean is a very wonderful women of faith, and belongs to many of the Christian nursing groups I am a part of. We talked 'nursing shop' for awhile, especially related to student nurses and their development. I felt my visit was quite an encouragement to her. My heart is deeply moved to be an advocate of this school into the future. I've been invited to 'guest lecture' at the school in the future, and I will be visiting again B4 I leave Zambia in a few weeks.
<>Wednesday, I spent the better part of the day at the 'Arthur Davidson Childrens Hospital' in Ndola. It is one of two such hospitals in Zambia, focusing on children. Initially, it was supposed to be a short meeting with a coordinator of the HIV/AIDS programs for infants and children here. Well... after I was asked to meet with the 'head sister' (also called the Matron of the hospital), she and I became fast friends. She just finished her Masters in Nursing in Zambia, and is beginning some vital work in maternal-child health, also for a PhD... and I was asked to play a role in her area of study, since it will be part of the HIV/AIDS work being set up. Then, the room filled with some major nurse-leaders of child health in Ndola, including the Chief Nurse for the HIV/AIDS family clinic, the Dean of the Ndola School of Nursing, and a nurse from UNICEF. We were instantly friends, and began talking 'nursing'... and was that stellar! You see, Nursing is my Tribe, and everyone in the room were all deeply committed to our Lord, our patients/clients, our up-and-coming students and our Profession. For me, it was a Holy Moment to exchange and share with such committed and passionate leaders of child health here in Ndola! Needless to say, email addresses were exchanged, and it looks like "I'm in" as a prt of this wonderful community for some time to come... I was also able to share at length with the Matron, and once again share great encouragement to a weary colleague.
<>Well, that fellowship led to an unprecidented tour of the entire hospital, even rounding on some patients there. I saw the Children's Hospital like few people would ever see it. May I say that, with such strapped resources and few bits of equipment, my healthcare colleagues are doing a super-human (well, since the Presence of God was so evident there to me, a super-natural ) work of compassion and care!
So now the hard part...
<>What I saw in the hospital are children in the most heart-breaking health conditions I have ever seen. Words cannot express the sheer number of malnourished, bodies-broken conditions. I prayed furiously as we went from ward to ward. I did not take my camera out of my sachel, because I did not want to seem like some kind of photo-journalist voyeur. Rather, touching them and praying for them and talking to their mothers was the order of the day, and Jesus was in the Hospital!
<>Once again, the sheer heroism of the nurses and care staff in that setting is something I will never forget.
<>In the Family clinic (out-patient), as my new friend was showing me the clinic, she was taken aside by a woman who was obviously 8-10 weeks pregnant. The woman remembered my nurse-friend as her caregiver last week, and wanted her to tell her what the paper said about her HIV test. So my friend, the woman and her 4-year old son and I went into a private counseling room, and she found out she is HIV positive. The stoic look on her face told me this is no surprise. My friend began to tell her about the next step, and the 'Prevent Mother-To-Child-Transmission' treatments she would need to begin, to reduce the chance of HIV transmission to her baby-in-the-womb. As for my part, this was a first in Zambia (informing a client of HIV positivity), and it hit me like a brick. This is part of the trian wreck God is sending me into. This is human pain at the most fundamental level. The words of Bishop Desmond Tutu stood out to me right there, "These are the faces of children and families living in a world of HIV AIDS... we are one world, and these children are our children... let us wage this holy war together, and for the sake of our children, we will win." Amen!
<>This week, I got hit with a gastro-intestinal 'bug'... travelers "D" is pretty famous here for hitting people like a truck on the Interstate... I was only down for a day, and I thank God for Cipro and Oral Rehydration salts... as of this writing, I am on the mend.
OK, that's been the week. Spare time in the evenings has been working out a 'Ndoal HIV Resource Guide' from our survey, surfing the Internet for resources, and pulling together the Grant proposal for the HIV program.
<>for the nurses and doctors caring for the children of the Ndola hospital, and for the children there... and their moms...
<>for clarity and guidance in the next bit for the HIV/AIDS programs for the Seeds of Hope work here
<>for God to continue to build positive relationships with the nursing structures here
<>for physical healing of the 'GI bug', and protection from re-lapse, and continued grace to keep up on the 'malaria prevention' stuff that is so time-consuming...
A side note: so many of you have been praying for Halleigh, the 4-yr old daughter of the leadership family here... well, her malaria seems to be cleared up (her blood test was negative today for parasites), and she is improving... God is good!
As noted above, there really were not any pictures from this past week... stay tuned for next week!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
LAST (six, no??)
OK, it's been a busy week.
I am on-track to have the basic framework of an HIV AIDS Educationa and Prevention (HAEP)Program drafted for Seeds of Hope by my departure in a few short weeks. No small thing, and something I am proud of.
This has been really, really hard. I have been in Zambia for just over a month, and my Bemba is limited to thanks, greetings and so-longs. It has been very difficult to 'push' a quick-learn ramp-up to the level of working a Participatory Development approach with the Zambian team for the HAEP.
Participatory Development is something most in the West are not familiar with. The 'total quality management' process is the closest thing. Rather than walk in with a plan and program that people must impliment, we start around a table with a blank paper, and build it together from there.
Tough to do on short time-lines.
The real compliment came Friday. Two of the Zambians kind-of cornered me, "you and your wife need to move here and work with us... please!!!"
OK, Prayer requests:
<> Halleigh, the 4-yr old daughter of the family I'm staying with has been running fevers and diagnosed (pos smear) for malaria and a significant skin fungal infection. She is incredibly miserable right now: PLEASE pray for healing and comfort.
<> Favor with the gov't officials I will be meeting with this week, and for the healthcare team in finding a good base of materials to use in the HAEP program.
<> I'm over the 1 month point of being here, and yes, some home-sick moments
<> Favor at the Zambian Visa office this week (I have to renew)
<>For continued strength and health for my body. So far, just a few bumps. Pray that I don't 'weary in well-doing': gooping up with DEET twice a day gets old. (the part I hate is to take a good sponge-bath, feel clean for 45 seconds, then goop up with DEET...)
<> Pray for Lori and our families... lots going on while I'm here...
thanks for hanging
To the LEFT: Bumping and riding the gulleys of Ndola, going out to another site-visit of an HIV/AIDS resource location.
The roads to most of these locations are nothing but deep-rutted dirt roads that are so bumpy, you cannot drink from your water bottle without getting a refreshing shower!!
Below: Here I'm standing with a community leader, a HIV / AIDS home-based care volunteer (proudly showing her completion certificate in HBC from the Catholic Dioceses)... their community of 400 people, is a bit remote, has 10 HIV clients under the volunteer's care, and is filled with youth that know little about HIV... "please come, please come and work here!" they asked.
23 Aug FOUR
Above is a picture from the Jesus Film outreach last weekend... this is the church worship group singing praises to the LORD before the film... yeah, terrible picture, but you get the idea of the dust and deseil fumes and 450+ people and joyful sounds all together!
(Follow-up: the pastor told me that yes, the drunk came to church the next morning!)
More to come!
BLOG TWO: Challenges
Thought you should see these for yourself...
BELOW: Fire! Fire! Yes, this is the normal evening sight, as people burn their fields, especially before the rainy season. Yes, they burn out. Yes, the smoke is choking.
(Oh, yeah, they force the snakes out... saw 4 this week, pretty long...)
TO THE RIGHT: This group in Mushili dug out a city pipe and broke in so they can get access to water... and, of course it means drinking water sometimes comes mixed with puddle water... I didn't shoot the person washing her clothes to the side of the puddle...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
delay due to security issues.
This day, Saturday, began with puzzling all the sewing supplies back under the bunkbed and into the little cubbie in some sort of organized fashion. Marking all the boxes is a must so that I can find things when I return for the next week of classes.
Then preparations begin for the next week's ministry times. More on that next time.
Saturday evening was filled with CELEBRATION! One of the students from my sewing class is getting married at the church today. Silvia and her husband have been legally married for over a decade and have two lovely daughters, who are also my sewing students. The church is pulling together for the fiesta, some have gifted different parts of the wedding, shoes, food, sodas, flowers etc. making it a community wide celebration. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony is when two of the attendants drap a lasso around the new husband and wife symbolizing them being bound to each other and now joined as one in God's eyes. The reception is set up outside the church where we enjoy a dinner of beef, rice, beans, and tortillas. Soon the sun sets and some of the guys rig up a few light so the fiesta can continue with worship music and games for the kids.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
And the Southern Cross glimmers bright, like a beacon in the night...
So there we were last night (Saturday), in the middle of a large Zambian community called Kabushi (spelling correct) in the outskirts of Ndola, it's 8pm, pitch dark... no street lights, only the occasional house light on (oh, let's not talk about the local bars, which are nothing but a light bulb hanging over a yard, plus lots of beer and drunks)... above our heads, the Southern Cross constellation shimmering and shining like a beacon to the heavens, calling, calling... here we are, an eclectic team of 30 from a US church, SHIP staff, Adams (the Zambian Vineyard pastor) and his congregants... here is the team of 30 crunched in by another 450 people from Kabushi, all straining to see the JESUS FILM as it's showing on the portable screen in the pitch dark...
This copy of the Jesus Film is in the language of Bemba, the regional dialect, and probably one of the few films that are actually IN Bemba around here...
The crowd is totally locked into the movie... laughing joyfully at the miracle of the loaves and fishes... booing (rather loudly) at Judas and his betrayal... gasping (painfully) at the crucifixion, as each hammer-blow falls on the nails of the hands of our Lord...
So, at the end, there's a short message/invitation to those there, and over 60 people indicate they want to follow Jesus. A time of talking, counseling and prayer opens up...
It's apparant that at some point a half hour ago (like when Jesus is cronfronting the money-changers in the Temple in the film...) I'm pretty sure that the local bars emptied out to watch the film, because I am surrounded by the strong odor of beer-on-the-breath, and a couple of swaying drunks, all wanting to talk to me about the film...
... and this one guy (swaying like his mates) is totally engaged... "This is in Bemba! Where will you be showing it tomorrow! Thank you!"... he bowed and prayed with the Pastor... we talked and prayed together... "I want to go to Church tomorrow! Where will I go??"... I intro'd him to pastor Adams... they talk about the Vineyard church service tomorrow in the neighborhood...
My new brother and I continued to talk, as the Southern Cross seems to me to be twinkling just a bit brighter... maybe that's where the Angels of Heaven are rejoicing at the wonderful rescue of another...
Thanks to everyone praying for this mission work and trip here in Zambia.
'Till next time, your brother
(ps, pics to follow in a few days...)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Hey, friends and prayer warriors! This non-pic post will bring you up-to-date, and answer the burning question: how did a low-life like me get to meet the Zambian Ambassador???
Sunday, we arrived in Lusaka after FIVE hours of grueling roads between the Capital and Ndola... only a 2-lane highway... and Kirk (the SHIP Intl Director) was blasted into high-level meetings with:
<> execs from a private Christian University in Ndola with it's board in Orange Co, CA
<> the President of Cal Poly U, one of the largest agriculture Universities in the USA, and the Dean of the College of Agriculture (Agri)
<> the Zambian government
all for the purpose of comoing to formal agreements to put agri development projects in Zambia for the training of new farmers in new and improved farming techniques. These were to be high-level meetings Sun nite-Wed morning. Hence, the Ambassador, who was a part of making this all a reality (she's a Cal Poly grad) met us Sunday as we came into Lusaka, was a part of the meetings, and saw us off as we left for Ndola on Wednesday. Madame Ambassador is a huge champion of those who are struggling, and we had some encouraging talks about how Zambians could be helped.
SO... while Kirk was off with the officials, I went to meet the Seeds of Hope team in Lusaka, and go out with them to the villages. That meant out to a latrine dedication (with an hour-long hygiene lesson before-hand), then the Cholera-hit Mazyopa, so desparate for improved water that is protected from transmitting that horrible and fatal disease in the coming rainy season. I was grateful to always be ready to hold impromptu sessions regarding Oral Rehydration, the 'drink of life' that would literally save lives in a Cholera outbreak. There were also some 'strategy' meetings on how to get more bio-sand filters into that community... I think I stirred some ideas, and the leaders are looking at some strategies...
Secondly, while in Lusaka, it was my 'task' to do some initial contact-research on the opening of an HIV-AIDS arm of health education and prevention for SHIP. Prior to my arrival in Zambia, I did extensive research on effective programs in this area for Zambia, and had beenin contact with the faith-based program called CHRESO, based in Lusaka. I walked a couple of Km out to their campus, hoping to get a few minutes with some nurse and possibly a tour. Little did I know that GOD does meetings in Lusaka that day... I walked into the compound and ran right into the main director of the program, Esther Reutter, a nurse and a 27-yr carreer missionary to Zambia. She and her husband have a gospel TV ministry that literally touches millions in Zambia every week. She insisted that she wanted to talk to me upon meeting... that turned into a 90-minute tour of the CHRESO, and an extensive background-briefing on HIV-AIDS programs in Zambia... and a huge willingness to help SHIP (and me!) in launching such a venture. CHRESO is the real deal, seeing 100 clients a day, less than a 2% drop-out, and distributing anti-retroviral (ARV) medications to 8000 (!) clients. There are 8000 people alive because of the love of Jesus and the ministry of CHRESO. I really fell that Esther has become a friend, and a wonderful consultant to what it seems my time in Zambia will be taken with.
The next day (Tues), God took another meeting with myself, Esther, Kirk and Evans (the Lusaka SHIP director) about the possibility of launching an HIV-AIDS work in Ndola in cooperation with CHRESO. There was such a sense of GOD doing something that you could cut it with a knife and take a chunk away. As the meeting progressed, my notebook was filled with process and 'do this-look at this-find this out-meet this person in Ndola' notes... guess God puts out a plan, and even gives details!!!
We returned to Ndola on Wed rejoicing in all the great things that GOD seems to be doing... and now the work really ramps up for me!!
SO, dear friends... please pray as the next few days are working out process and plans to do a complete assessment of the HIV-AIDS works that are here in Ndola (rule #1: don't re-invent the wheel or push over something that's already there and doing a good job). My short meeting today with the SHIP health care team was really positive... almost "about time" (but they wouldn't say it)...
Like a previous post... Ex 3... God hears the cries of suffering... and sends us as His answer!!
OK, other things... got my hand-washing of clothes done today... Lori and I discovered and set up Skype and got to talk to each other for over an hour (yahoooooo!) via the computer for free... great devotions today (how could one have all those God-meetings and not have a shimmering time with Him and His Word..??)
BTW, the NEXT DAY, after blogging about my sinus attack, it resolved. God answered the petitions of the Saints! Thanks and PTL!
Hope y'all like the pics.
Prayer requests: continued wisdom on how to proceed with the community assessment regarding HIV-AIDS work in Ndola, safety on the roads, continued health protection.
There is a chance of returning to Lusaka this weekend to pick up the vehicle that broke down on us there (front suspension and CV joint tore to shreds... the roads here are really, really, REALLY bad, worst I've ever seen in country)...
Thanks for standing with us here in Zambia.
To the Right: While in Lusaka (the capital), I had the honor of meeting the Zambian Ambassador to the United States, Madame Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika. She is a devoted champion of the people of Zambia, especially those who are struggling. Pictured are the Ambassador, myself, Kirk Schauer (Intl Dir of Seeds of Hope) and Evans, the Lusaka SHIP director.
To the Right: I am visiting a community-built and run school in the isolated community of Mazyopa, just outside Lusaka. This photo is the school director proudly showing me his newly-opened school library in a mud-block hut. This community school has 200 pupils in a village of 2000. Mazyopa was hard-hit with Cholera last year, with 80 cases and 1 death. In my short time with him, we reviewed the Oral Rehydration recipe for saving lives if that horrid disease returns. Sees of Hope is working hard to provide safe water to this village.
Below: the children... the ones who get hit hard when water-borne disease hits... a reminder of WHY we are doing this...
Hey, friends! Some pics..
To the Right: With the Lusaka hygiene-sanitation team in the compound of Camunga to dedicate a newly-built latrine for this community...
Below: Smiles, smiles with the Seeds of Hope hygiene-sanitation team after the week-long training.. this is a life-saving group of friends!!
Below: A vibrant African/Zambian sunset... the colors are from the horrible air quality due to the rampant burning of the Bush... does look nice, though...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Blog from July 30th, 2009.
Delay in posting due to security issues.
It's day four on the week long sewing course, well day five if you include last Sunday when we spent hours setting up and getting organized. A majority of my "regular" adult students aren't able to attend this week as they are busy working in the fields harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers. I get tired just thinking about how early they need to arise. The alarm goes off at about 4am for most of them as they need to walk to where the farm bus picks them up to take them to the fields so work can start at dawn, about 5:30 this time of year. Still a couple of the "regulars" manage to come by for a few evening classes during the week.
Most of my students this month are preteens and teenagers who are on summer vacation from school. We're making backpacks and zippered pencil cases just in time for the new year. The above photo shows Citlalic, age 12, working on her backpack. Still, there hasn't been a lack of students with 7 for the morning class and 8 different students for the evening. And they keep me hopping with "Lorena, ayudame", Lori help me. Three new students have joined in this week. I encourage my students to invite family and friends so that they have an opportunity to rub shoulders with Christians in a low key atmosphere.
One of the girl's brothers joined in today after I asked if he was interested in learning to sew. His first project was a scrunchie for his sister' long hair, my traditional beginning project. Then he progressed to a satchel for his books. Wish all of my students caught on as fast as he did. His advantage was that he already knew how to drive a vehicle, a real plus for learning to use the sewing machine's foot pedal. Most of my beginning students are used to hearing, "Manejas como una taxista", you drive like a taxis driver. This is a common phrase referring to those that drive toooooo fast. It usually gets everyone giggling as they reminisce about their first times at the sewing machine.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The health-care classess with the community promoters wrapped on Friday. What a blast! These guys are so excited to go back to their communities... Mapalo, Mekenzie, Twapia, all surrounding Ndola... they want to go save lives and change things!! The greatest kick is that most of them know Jesus, and truely believe they have been called by GOD to save the lives of their neighbors (literally!) We had a stellar prayer wrap-up, giving our efforts and joyful hearts to God to work for the health of those who are suffering...
... and what can I say? This is the real deal here in Zambia, and all health care work is really life-saving. Infant mortality unlike any place in the Americas. So many children never see their fifth birthday... so many people chronically sick and suffering... and here we are, doing something about it... not a bad day's work!
Plans for my work in developing some new health care aspects are coming along, and the relationships with the SHIP hygiene and sanitation education team are coming together nicely. The whole area of safe water and sanitation with a (new) HIV-AIDS prevention is coming into focus here... please pray for this 'new beginning'.
Early tomorrow, I will be traveling with a small group 3 hours south to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia until Wednesday. Seeds of Hope has another location there, and I will be meeting with their health team while the others are involved in some high-level meetings with governmental people. I am also planning to site-visit a couple of faith-based HIV-AIDS works there. There is also a possible meeting with the World Health Organization office there, and some odd thing about tea with the Ambassadors or something... we'll see...
FYI, not sure if I will have internet in Lusaka... If I do, I'll blog... if not, don't be too mad, y'all!!
So today was get some groceries, hand-wash the socks (they take forever to dry), and pack for the Lusaka gig...
the director Kirk has been fighting some GI stuff, so healing for him (yes, he needs to be in Lusaka on Monday morning bight and smiling),
the drill is still stuck in the Twapia site, pray it 'gets delivered into freedom',
pray for my time in Lusaka and for solid connections and relationship.
The sinus problems are significantly decreased, and I believe the prayers that went up meant GOD touched me!! Thanks be to the Lord!
I hear Lori is back from San Vicente, and she will have some great stories to tell... so stay tuned to the Blog, she'll be adding to it soon (for security purposes, she didn't blog until her return from Baja...)
Pics to come later this week
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Aug 3 here are some pics from the last week... forgive me as I am still learning how to put pics up on the Blog...
A pic with the principal and some students at a school where SHIP has build a (nice) pit latrine, a bore-hole well and will start Hygiene training in the classroom... this school sits in the middle of over 6000 people who need safe water...
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Hello! Had internet access and wanted to shoot out a quick message.
I'm wrapping the 7th day of this journey (well, two of them were flying here) and it's been verrrrry interesting.
I've spent two full days out in the villages surrounding Ndola, doing some community health assessment with the SOHIP hygiene/sanitation team. This has meant going way out and being surrounded by 200 people who have only shallow, contaminated water as a drinking source, and terrible health problems, sometimes resulting in babies dying. The hygiene and sanitation initiative comes alongside the well drilling or well repair work, to make sure that the people have good hygiene practices when the good water is supplied, significantly reducing their death and disease from bad water.
I've also been involved in a couple of the 'international development agency' stuff: my friend Kirk, the SOHIP director has had me sit in on a couple of data presentations and planning meetings to get better acquainted with the broader organization. That's the two-sided coin: being able to drill these wells and provide health care for the poor requires a great deal of funding, and the proper management of that is an important part.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is church, and it will probably consume the whole day. I'm told the worship group is waiting to meet me... Pastor Francis just come over to insure me he wants me to got out with him to his church, the Mapalo Vineyard... Mapalo is an area of 60,000 people outside Ndola, half of which do not have safe drinking water...
Monday is a Zambian national holiday (Farmer's Day), so not sure what that may bring.
I hit the jackpot with my timing for being here in-country with regards to next week. Tues thru Fri is a 4-day training seminar-meeting with the entire SOHIP hygiene -sanitation team, plus a number of leaders from the village Health committess, all coming together for training and strategic meetings. This will give me the opportunity to see and hear the full training curriculum used, as well as build relationships with all the key people in the area of health development for many villages.
So, not sure when I will get to Blog-post next week... by then, I should have some of my pictures on the Blog as well.
My new friends have decided I need to do the 'rapid Zambian' emersion... they are making me speak Bemba to people (natotela= thank you, mulishani=hello, bwino=good/nice/reply, etc), and I have had to learn how Nshema is cooked and eaten... lets just say that no utensils are involved... and I will never be able to eat a banana the same way!!
Funny story... we went way out to a school right along the Zambian/Congo DR border, and as the hygiene team were meeting with the principal, the entire school let out for recess... all 120 students... and they decided that I was the 'white giant' and a 20-minute game of trying to avoid me tagging them ensued... the place was off the hook, everybody laughing and moving about... a couple of bold kids came close enough and got tagged, all with smiles and laughter... the principal was standing there, watching and laughing loudly... afterword, when the kids were all called back into class, she told me that I may be the first white persom most of these village children have seen... and what good fun !!
Prayer requests: continued connection with the Zambian team, understanding of the complete and complex health program already in place, relationship with the community leaders, better skills at speaking Bemba and eating Nshema (well, all things Zambian) and patience with all the anti-malarial stuff (meds, bednets, my new fragrance Ode de DEET 24/7)
In devotions this past week, Matt 11 really stood out to me where Jesus said "come and learn of Me"... I'm trusting He's got all this stuff covered, and He's letting me learn from Him...
I'm finding myself praying for more than a few people with alcoholism in the villages. My Zambian friends estimate that a third to half of the adult males drink heavily here. Pray the scourge of alcoholism is broken in the Spirit realm over Zambia, and those men are released into the freedom of being filled with the Holy Spirit!!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I was able to sleep on the plane (NY to Johannesberg was 18 hours), got settled into the SOHIP guest house in Ndola Tues afternoon, which is on a secure compound with the well-drilling rigs and the cement block-making factory (hand-made, each one!). The Zambian staff are awesome, and are makiing sure I'm a part of the team.
SOOO... without a skip for jetlag, I was in worship with the staff at 0800... awesome, the staff lifting their voices in song in Bemba (the regional language that most people here speak... English is official, but Bemba is the heart language), then everyone off totheir days! I went out with the Hygiene team to plug into 5 communties they are lining up Hygiene Committies in schools... so we spent the day bumping down cow paths to remote villages with no electricity and hand-pump water wells. What a great start to connecting with the team here in Zambia!
I used to laugh at the crazy anthills the San Diego Zoo have around their little Africa exhibits... well! Let me tell you! They don't come close to the 25-40 foot hills all across the plains! I guess my idea of 'anthill' will be permanently tweaked...
Physically, fighting a bit of fatigue, the anti-malarials are not fun on the stomach... but I'm doing OK... there's this wierd product called Ricoffy, a mix of coffee and chicory in instant form... not bad...
The next few days will be a continued settle-in ( I still need to exchange some dollars into Kwachas, about 1 US to 5,100 Kwachas) and connecting with the existing Health-Hygiene-Sanitation team with SHIP. I should be able to get a couple of spaces on the internet during the week here in the office... slooooooooooooow connection....
Prayer requests: totally get the body into this time-zone, fine-tune my ears to the accents and learn some basic Bembab greetings, begin to see the width and breadth of the health-related work here...
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Well, the Lord must have some really cool things for the time in Zambia (which many have confirmed in prayer and prophetic words...)... becuz way too many wierd things have come my way these past few days, clearly guff from the Enemy...
... but the really cool things far outweigh the guff... the Provision has been very evident...
OK, this will be the last Blog until I arrive mid-week in Zambia... LAX to JFK to Johannesberg to Ndola... over 28 hours of air time... I'm taking the Chronicles of Narnia to read on the plane (all 7 books)...
pray for me
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Packing, getting ready to fly for Zambia, hoping it all will fit... also, meeting up with friends and fellow God-followers who pray for me...
Scripture that jumped out these last few days: Exodus 3:7-10
Check it out... God says that He has seen the misery of people... heard them crying out... that He's concerned about their suffering... that He has come down to rescue them and bring them to a wonderful place with Him... that the cry of suffering has reached Him and He has seen the oppression...
SOOOOO... What happens when God gets involved like that?
"So now (God speaking), go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people... out of Egypt" (v 10).
Sense in prayer... people of Zambia hurting, God's there and He's calling me over. That's part of His answer, He calls us to jump in.
OK... keep packing for deployment..