Friday, June 24, 2016

Moving into our house in Lusaka

The house that we are renting in Lusaka has just recently been renovated. 
It is a lovely home and we are so thankful for this place! 
Everyone is feeling a little bit spoiled here.

The book worm and her dog!
Lilly working on curtains in the bathroom.
Meghan taking stickers off the new fixtures.
Hanging up some curtains.
Goofing off :)
Putting up my curtains (thank you honey) that I made from capulanas (wrap skirts) years ago.
Haven't seen them in a while. I love that sweet memory from Mozambique.
Look at my beautiful kitchen!
It is tiny, but brand-new. I love it!
My two artist got busy with chalk on the back patio.
Trying on her new equestrian attire that we bought a few months ago in South Africa.
And yes.....we have a fire place....and gets into the 40s here in Lusaka.
During on of our trips over to the house, the dogs stayed back at the guest house in our apartment there.
This is where we found Ode when we returned!

Bringing the animals was such a hassle, but we know that it was wort it for our girls.
We got our first package from the states (thanks Grandma!) and no one at the post office opened it
and it cost us nothing.
Yes....we are getting spoiled!
Look at those beautiful girls! They have come so far and are my heart.
My mini-me!
We splurged and went to Mugg & Bean that week.
A cookie for me and milkshakes and frappes for the girls.
(Notice how we are is cool here!)
We were thrilled to celebrate this guy.
Happy Father's Day!
It is not easy living with this many women. The gray hair proves it!
But, after the first girl was born he was rooting for as many girls as God would give him.
He loves us so deeply!
Yep! We are home!

Thanks for your love and support of our family. We feel so blessed to be where we are. God is so good. Now we are very much ready to serve Him and tell the people of Lusaka about His redemptive plan. Pray that we continue to settle well!

Much love,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On the Road to Zambia

Oh, my! What a trip that was!
First, we packed and packed and packed for days. I prepared food, packed snacks, and 
organized. The day and night before we left, we loaded the truck and trailer. 
Everyone had their own space. 
Five full-grown people, a German Shepherd, a fluffy white dog, and 
a skittish cat.....we were all prepared....well maybe the humans were prepared. 
The alarm would go off at 3am. We slept in our clothing so 
we could get out the door in less time. 

This road is never easy.
We tried to explain this to our pets, but they didn't comprehend until we got there.
Nala was very alert.
Not too far down the dirt road, we stopped to check on everyone.
Ode, the white fluffy one, had just scared us to death from his homemade crate.
He had somehow gotten his tooth hooked on one of the bars and began to screech in fear and pain.
Lilly's cat was also freaking out.
Apparently she was so scared when she started bumping around that she wet her bed.
So, Dad and Lilly tried to comfort her and get her something dry to lay on.
All the while trying to not let her escape her crate into the African bush.
A girl and her dog!
It was a nice break from the crazy road.
Ode never did get back in his crate. We just used it to store some of the stuff that was under our feet.
The rest of the trip Ode stayed on laps :)

That was the end of Day 1. 
We made it to the Baptist Guest House around 8pm. 
The 16 hour journey was free from problems, except for my back. 
For the last several hours of the trip I was in terrible pain from sitting for so long. 
I needed to get out of that car. The problem was that we just couldn't stop as many times 
as my back needed us to. It took 30 minutes of pain, like 
I have never had, to get out of that car.
We ate our delicious KFC that our precious friends bought for us and we went to bed. 

The next morning we slept in a bit, both because of my back and we didn't have as far to drive the second day. The problem was that we did not imagine the amount of time that our border crossing would take going into Zambia. 

So we pulled up to the Border Post.
That first door is where you go in, purchase your VISA , get your passport stamped, and off you go.
Not this day! We had 3 pets that we wanted to legally bring into the country.
We totally could have snuck them in,
but we wanted to do it according to the law. We wanted to do the right thing
and we wanted to know how to advise others to navigate the official channels.
We think we are the first people to ever bring pets in legally at this border post.
It took 5 hours! There was all kinds of red tape, along with 2 hour lunch breaks for some vital employees.
So, Lee sat intermittently under a tree with a customs official and a national policeman while he waited for the process to move along. Emma had significant stomach issues that required multiple long trips to the outhouse facilities. I spent several hours laying down in the back seat. And the girls sang, talked, and napped. 
Once we got back on the road, the sun was already low in the sky.
It would be a late arrival in Lusaka!
My sweet girls sat doubled up in the front so that I could stay laying down for the rest of the trip.
Ode enjoyed having Mom in the back!
Dad enjoyed having his talking girls in the front!
Before too long there was a beautiful African sunset to usher us into the evening.
Many hours left to go. I don't understand how my husband does it.
We arrived at the Baptist Guest House in Lusaka at 11:45pm.
Praise God for a safe journey to our new hometown!!

Much Love,

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Big Move

The time had come. The moving truck was on the way!

The process was crazy.
First, I was sorting through EVERYTHING and piling up the give-away stuff.
Then, I was sorting the rest of our stuff into the things we would take with us in our car
and the thing we would put on the moving truck.
My helpers were great!
In the meantime, our car was broken-down and in pieces in our driveway.
Then our Zimbabwean mechanic shows up one morning with a transmission!
We were praising God for this miracle.
And the movers kept wrapping and packing....for days!
Maybe it took so long because they were playing around!?!
(Not really, they did a good job.)
That's lots of stuff.
They used up every bit of space on that truck.
Almost everything fit.
That's the crew!
During all of the craziness of moving week, Emma had a lesson from our houseworker, Anita,
on how to make her Lemon Chicken. It is Emma's favorite recipe and she HAD to learn how to make it.
There is no Anita in Zambia. 
The new family got to our house before we could get moved out, so we went to a hotel for a few nights. 
The girls had a beautiful view from their balcony.
There was something wrong with the contrast between the nice new hotel and the outside world of Nampula.
But, we were so thankful to have a good place to rest during such a stressful week. 

After being back in Nampula for a month, we were finally getting on to Zambia! We are ready!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Saying Good-bye to our Church Family in Nampula

On our last Sunday in Nampula Pastor asked if some members of the church could come and say good-bye to us during the week. We were truly expecting maybe about 10 people to stop by and just visit for a few minutes and that would be it. 

Oh no! The announced time was 4pm for people to meet at our house. By 4:00, we had already surpassed the expected 10. If you know anything about this culture you know that it is strange that anyone would be on time, much less early! 

(These pictures are terrible quality, but I thought it was worth it to share them with you.) 

As the minutes passed, the people kept pouring in.

As the people continued to arrive, I kept thinking, 
"All we have prepared are some oranges and a plate of cookies!"

Once most people had arrived we started singing.

Soon, there were about 40 people in our yard/driveway.
(You can see the small plate of cookies, a few boxes of juice, 
and about 10 cups on my make-shift table.)

As we looked around this group that had gathered, we are all saying to ourselves, 
"Why are so many people willing to take a Wednesday afternoon to simply come, 
sit, sing, and tell the missionaries good-bye?" 

After we sang they put our family all together.
Then one-by-one they said the kindest things about our family.
And I thought, "There was so much more that we could have done. 
There is still work left to do. We should have given more of ourselves."

Don't you love our shirts :)
These were golf-shirts that they had made for us with the church's emblem screen printed on them.
Lee said that he felt like a sausage!
I was okay until this young lady hugged me. It was Solange.
She sobbed into my shoulder and I could not hold back the tears.
It was as if she knew how much I loved her. 

Maybe our family were the only ones who believed in her.
 This is Solange (So-lan-gee). She is one of the youth.
This picture is from when a team came to Nampula. Some of you may remember her.
She was so proud of her beautiful blue nails!
Solange has been actively attending our church since before our family arrived in Nampula.
I loved her from the day I met her. There was always a smile on her face. Until recently.
When we arrived back from the states in January, Sunday after Sunday there was no Solange.
We began asking the other youth of her whereabouts and none of them knew.
They said that it had been several months since they had seen her and that they had visited her home multiple times to never find her there. Then finally someone ran into a friend of her's from school. This friend said that her family had forced her to marry a muslim man. We were heart broken. Then one Sunday, half way through the worship service Solange snuck in the back of the church and sat down on a rock. Her head was shaven and down. We weren't even certain that it was her.
After the service she came over and hugged me and wept. I had no words, just that I was so glad to see her face. I asked if she was okay and she said yes. I wanted to know what had happened to her and how it was that she was back in a church, but it wasn't the time or the place. 

I never did get to ask the questions that I wanted answers to.
Our time in Nampula was very short. God knows her story and she knows His.
I pray that He keeps her close and that she stays strong in her faith.
The line continued. From the oldest wrinkled hand to the smallest hands of the children.
They told us of how the hoped God would bless our obedience and they asked us to never forget about them.
This is our little pastor. Joao Martino. The one who is always so small beside my tall husband.
He was gracious with his words. I thought I was ready for the good-byes.
I don't think you can ever be ready!
Then, I read a passages as my prayer for them.
The words of Paul to the church in Philippi.
Lee also thanked them and shared what the church has meant to us.
He also encouraged them to continue the work that they are doing for the gospel.
Before they left, some of the girls wanted their picture taken with Meghan.
The girls asked if we had any Bibles left. I found 3 and  gave them each one. 

The Baptist Church of Cosorre will always hold a special place in our hearts.
And we will continue to pray for them and we ask that you do, too.