Two Weeks — It doesn’t feel like it has been two weeks, but at the same time, it feels longer. It’s hard to explain how that is. It’s been two weeks since we left the U.S., two weeks since we hugged and kissed family goodbye and two weeks since we started this journey. Our flights from the U.S. to Zambia were amazingly smooth, our transition into the country was amazingly smooth, and our adaption into the Phiri family has been amazingly smooth.
We have been staying in the lodge next to our new home, getting our rooms ready for us to live. We added an AC unit in our bedroom for when it gets over 90º in the house. The mosquitos are so bad in the evenings that we haven’t been able to open any windows and you can’t stay outside very long, so we have also added removable screens in order to open the windows and cool down the house.
We were given four mosquito nets by Josh and Meagan’s midwife. The nets were made to be hung above a bed so they looked similar to a cube. We were able to adapt the nets to screen in the front porch, and this is a huge blessing. The front porch stays shaded for the majority of the day, so by screening it in, we can utilize the porch as another part of the house. It also allows us to sit out on the porch with the kids and let them play. It would have taken us a lot longer to get these things done if it hadn’t been for our Temple Baptist Jonesboro team, Steve and Ken. You guys were crucial to getting us into our new home.
In between working on the house projects, we took the team to the Mbangweta and Delavu villages to do eye exams and pass out glasses that had been donated to us. We can’t explain the joy on the people’s faces when we would put the glasses on them and they could actually see! It was also funny seeing the ones who needed glasses but didn’t want them and then seeing the ones who didn’t need them but did want them. One young woman wanted glasses so bad, but her vision was perfect. As she was walking out, Sharon was handed a pair of glasses that didn’t have lenses, so she caught up with the girl and gave them to her. Everyone laughed when she stuck her fingers through the lenses and there weren’t any there!
We were also able to walk the land where the new Delavu church will be planted and talk out where the borehole will need to be placed. The land for the Delavu church is being donated by Rudolph, one of the villagers, who will also be the pastor. He will be one of the first students in our Bible Training Center for Pastors (BTCP) program. (BTCP is a curriculum that was developed to train new pastors who would never be able to attend a seminary. The course takes two years and is equivalent to 520 credit hours. It begins with Bible study techniques and covers the entire Bible as well as how to prepare sermons, theology and doctrine. The goal is to leave fully trained pastors and disciple-makers within the villages. The curriculum is reproducible as well. After year 1 and the end of book 5, that pastor in training can now begin training another new pastor starting in book 1 while he completes books 6-10.)
While we were there, we heard that Oneness, Rudolph’s wife, has been sick. Sharon was able to ask her enough questions that we think we’ve discovered the issue is with her kidneys. She advised her to drink more water and lay on an incline instead of laying flat. On another trip to Delavu, we were able to bring in a bottle of cranberry juice as well as some concentrated cranberry powder. We gave her four soda bottles and told her she needed to be drinking at least all four bottles full of water every day. Because the well is so far for them, it’s difficult for them to get enough water. The new borehole being placed on their land will be such a blessing. Oneness did tell the team that the incline sleeping did help with the pain and now it just hurts when she gets up. Please pray for Oneness that cranberry juice and water will help her pain to subside.
Yesterday, while Josh took the team to the airport in Zimbabwe, Sharon and I went into town in our “new to us” car. We were able to find an inexpensive automatic four-door sedan to get us around until we could find a 4×4 SUV. We will most likely keep this car even after we buy another vehicle because it gives Sharon and Meagan a vehicle they can easily drive in case of an emergency. We were able to pick up a shower conversion kit for our bathtub and we will be installing it tomorrow. Once that is done, we will be ready to move into the Phiri home permanently.
We hit as many of the highlights as we could in this newsletter but, trust us, it’s not near everything that has happened in the last two weeks.
We are very thankful for the technology we have today. We have been able to call and video chat with our family and make the transition easier. We were even able to video call our oldest granddaughter for her first day of school and enjoy her excitement for kindergarten. It’s not the same as being there to enjoy it, but it’s the next best thing.
We are so thankful for all the prayers and encouraging words we have received in the last two weeks. There have been many emotions and feelings, but Sharon and I both know this is exactly where God has asked us to be. Please continue to pray for us.
Pray for the following prayer requests:
• Oneness and her pain to be healed;
• Rudolph and Oneness relationship to be strengthened;
• That we get moved into the Phiri home soon;
• That we find the ministry vehicle God has set aside for us
• That we find a place for our Bible school to be housed close to the villages;
• That the find water in the location we would like to place the well in Delavu; and
• For God to open doors in Mbangweta village with the new acting headman. (The headman is the tribal leader of a particular village and each tribe has several individual villages. The main tribes we are working with include Tonga, Lozi and Tokaleya. Each of the tribes has a chief and chief council that governs the entire tribe. Then each village has a headman, like a governor so to speak, that oversees that village as well as at least one witch doctor. For us to work within a village we must seek out the approval of the headman before we can do anything within the village. The difficulty within the Mbangweta village is that the new acting headman is the former witch doctor. This man deals with evil spirits and witchcraft and does not like that we are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in his village.)