Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Visit to the House of Moses

Today we went to the House of Moses, this is something that Sophie and Mary Leslie have been doing since they came to Zambia. Every Wednesday they head over to the orphanage, and just hold and love babies. They both have their very favorites! Infact, the very first time I went with them I was invited to go, but I could not hold Natasha! Because that is Sophie's special little girl that she just loves on every week. Mary Leslie has a few that she loves to cuddle and hold.

What a priviledge to just be able to go in to the orphanage and love on these little ones.

The precious little hand of Deborah, that I held the entire time!

Here is the cutest smile from little Deborah!  Sophie thinks Natasha is the cutest, I'm not so sure!  I think this little girl stole my heart!  I think I need to bring her home to one of my kids!

Mary Leslie hanging out with the kids on the blankets.

Now do these future momma's look happy?

Or this Grandma?

Does it get any better than this?

All the kids having lunch, they all have their bowl of nshima, which they scoop up with their hands and stuff into their little mouths.  The gal in the back is holding one of the twins I held last time, that has to be 18 months and weighs only 9-10 pounds.  Her twin brother is just in front of the caregivers head, they both need to be fed their nshima.

I have been blessed to be able to hold, and love on these little ones today!

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Club Visits!

Saturday is one of my favorite days of the week!  I get to go and visit some of the GEMS clubs that are meeting in Lusaka.  Catherine arranges which clubs we visit and then she comes to collect me and we head off through the compound.

Kalinglinga is a very large compound!  We started off from the Service Center gate at 10:00 and we walked for over 30 minutes! We headed out past PHC and AFM and kept walking, when we got to the next crossroad we turned left, and then right again.  Soon we were up to Kamloops Road (the one we take to go to Bob and Mary's, the same one the Kalingalinga Post Office is on) we crossed the road and kept going, and going.  Finally we turned and walked along a football (soccer field) and then we turned down an alley and found ourselves at a gate.  This was the house of the club coordinator for Pilgrim Wesleyan.  Her yard was much larger than that of Idah's last Saturday, and totally enclosed with the tall brick walls.  They were all in there small groups working on their lessons. They were all sitting in plastic chairs, in three circles.  I listened and watched as they were teaching, they were doing well.  Catherine had said this club really struggled after Annette's death.  Annette was the club coordinator and ran this club.  The club coordinator is doing well, she is very excited about the club meeting in her yard.  She introduced me to her husband, and I thanked him for allowing the GEMS to meet in their yard.  He said it is OK, it is the work of the Lord.  I gathered the groups together for a club picture and then we were off to the next club. 

Awareness Small Group

Advanced Small Group

Pilgrim Wesleyan GEMS

This would be the Mtendere Baptist club. It being very dangerous to walk into Mtendere, and also being on the extreme western end of Kalingalinga we looked for a cab.  Catherine is just standing on Alick Nkhata Road waving at every car that passes by.  Is this how we catch a cab?  Then she says, maybe we should just take the bus.  Oh great, I don't want to take a bus......been there done that.....don't ever need to do it again!  But it is too far to walk, and so we wait for a bus.  I send up a little prayer, "Lord, please I really don't want to take the bus."  About two minutes later a very nice car drives up and the driver says, "Need a ride?"  I thought so, a mazoongo can't walk near a road without every taxi peeping to see if you want a ride.  We jump in and I am once again awe struck at God's goodness!  Am I ever going to learn that He takes care of his children?  There was Christian music playing!  Thank you Lord!  Catherine speaks to him in nanja and makes all the arrangements. He will drive us to Mtendere Baptist and wait for us and bring us back to the Service Center when we are done!  PTL!

Mtendere is another hard to describe place.  It is also a very large compound, but unlike Kalingalinga only having a few roads, Mtendere has tons of roads, and they are very narrow roads and there are markets set up along both sides of the roads and people bustling up and down the streets. With lots and lots of traffic, cars and minibuses!  It is a crazy place to try to drive.  After weaving our way, through the streets, we end up a the church.  They let us in the gate with the car, and our driver parks.  We get out, the girls are playing games with the sports equipment.  They quickly gather and begin to sing for us.  They say the GEMS aim and sing a few more songs.  I snap some pictures and watch the CIT's leading.  They have some great CIT's!
When it is time for us to go, the club coordinator and another counselor ride back to the Service Center with us.  They have come back to collect the Hand'n'Hand supplies.  The club coordinator works at a school in the administration, so it is very difficult for her to come to the Service Center on weekdays. 

Playing Games
Mtendere Baptist

Catherine and I showed them both, the hot pads, and how to cut the material and braid it.  We gave them instructions and they asked questions.  It seems to be most difficult for them to not braid the hot pads to tightly, so we went over that and I showed them our samples.  They both were excited to try to make one, but they want to bring it by when they are finished to make sure they are doing it correctly.  I said that would be a great thing to do.

Another great morning visiting the GEMS clubs.  It is exciting to see clubs that we haven't been to before really get it!  God is blessing GEMS in Zambia!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dusty Feet

Not until you've walked the dirty, dusty roads in Kalingalinga, Africa can you comprehend how dirty ones feet can get.  Even on the shortest of journeys through the compound.  I walk carefully, lifting my feet so as to not make any additional dust, but to no avail.  After every trip through the compound I head to my bathtub and drop in my feet!  Scrubbing away the ground in dirt from the soles of my feet and between my toes. 

What a task, not only do you drop you sandals at the door, you need to wash your feet!  Sometimes I do this multiple times in the same day.

As I sat on the edge of the tub, this morning, once again washing my dirty feet, I thought of the story from John 13, where Jesus washes the disciples feet.

It is only now after walking these roads, do I get a better picture of what Jesus did.  I'm pretty sure the ground in and around the upper room, was fairly similar to the ground here in Africa.  The disciples feet must have been quite dirty after their trek to Jerusalem. 

John 13:14 -15

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

OK washing my own dirty feet is one thing, but would I really want to wash someone else's dirty feet. These are really dirty feet, caked on dirt, dirt between your toes, ground into the soles of your feet and you take this dirty foot in your lap and wash it.  That is truly serving others!  How many times have I missed an opportunity to serve someone, because I was blinded by not wanting to get dirty or take the extra time or even get involved? 

It doesn't tell me in the scripture that I can pick and choose who I serve, it tells me to be a humble servant and do any menial task for others, so that they will see the love of Christ in me!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fabric, fabric and more fabric!

Do you have any idea what 8,000 yards of fabric looks like? Me either, but I am starting to see the picture.

Here I am with 1860 yards of fabric!

On Tuesday, I walked to the taxi stop, to get a taxi. As I turn the corner on our road, to the Mtendere Road, I immediately see four guys all running at me. "Taxi, Madam?" "Taxi, Madam, right here Madam." I usually try to look at their cars, and see that they have matching tires, and that there aren't any major spots resulting from a prior collision. Oh, and I look at the guys, and try to figure out if they are nice or not! We've picked up some doozies here! I take the guy with the best looking car, not great, but better than the other ones parked there. I ask how much to Kamwala and back, they always say 80,000 and I always say "No, not more than 70,000!" "OK, OK Madam, you are right!"

I climb into the car and we're off, dodging mini buses, dead dogs, guys on bikes, little kids walking so close to the edge of the road. Oh and then there are the speed bumps everywhere, not to mention potholes! It is definitely a journey!

I tell the driver on the way, that I am going to buy A LOT of fabric. "OK, Madam, that is good." We arrive in Kamwala and there are just no words to describe shopping in Kamwala. Except, busy, crazy, dirty, dusty and crowded. The shops are tiny, and the stuff is everywhere. I've mainly shopped in the fabric stores in Kamwala, but I have gone in search of a few other things and in some of the other shops. If they are selling anything small, it is all behind glass or something similar to chicken wire. You walk into the center of the store, and in the shape of a U on both sides there are large glass windows or wire enclosures, with all their products displayed behind it. You go up to the center of the U- straight back into the store, and a man sits and yells at boys, to get what ever you ask for. If you should decide to buy it, the man tells you how much and you pay him and they hand your item to you over the counter. Oh, then there are the people selling all manner of wares on the sidewalks and street corners. It is a very interesting place!

We pull up in front of the store where I am going to pick up the fabric I ordered on my last visit. I needed 30 rolls of printed cotton, at least 5 rolls of the same design. I also, needed 32 rolls of solid color fabric to go with the prints. That is a total of 62 - 30 yard rolls of fabric. They had the prints all tied into a large gray bag, and after giving them a list of the solid colors I needed they put them into another large gray bag. After I emptied my bag of millions of kwacha, they carried the two large heavy parcels to the waiting taxi. You should have seen the look on the taxi driver's face. I'm sure he was thinking, why did I want to give her a ride! One of the bags filled the back seat, and the second stuck out of the trunk substantially. They tied it in with all manner of cords, and it was not going to fall out, that was for sure. The driver gets into the car, and looks at me, and says. "That is more than A LOT of fabric!" And we were off, the car was scraping, and making noises like it was over burdened and it was! I just prayed we would get back before anything really broke or we had a flat tire. It sounded bad. Remember the speed bumps, oh yeah, much worse when the car is really loaded down. We pulled up to the Service Center, and I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving, that we had made it. We unloaded the car and the trunk, carrying them in a few rolls at a time. There was no way we could lift the full bags, even with three of us!

On Wednesday morning while the girls went to the House of Moses and did some errands I got started on cutting the 30 yard rolls into 7 yard pieces. Each hot pad that they are making takes 3 - 3" strips of fabric 7 yards long.

Two of the samples of hot pads.

                       From the doorway to the wall is 34' and I need each piece cut at 28' or 7 yards.  I am so thankful that the room is this big.  It makes rolling it out and measuring so much easier!  PTL!

End of day two of cutting and folding!

It didn’t take me long to realize that there is no quality control where this fabric is produced. Some of the rolls, changed prints right in the middle of the roll, some were really similar and some weren’t even close. Oh and then there were the stains that were in the roll, and spots of oil from the machines, the spots where there is no color, and in some rolls just a hole here and a hole there. Crazy!

At any point in a 30 yard roll, a totally different pattern would appear.
Sometimes, two or three per roll!  Sometimes really close to the first pattern,
sometimes not even the same colors or anything close????
Do these match?

This one went from green to blue and back to green again!

Or the fact that I asked for 12 rolls of yellow, would they all
be the same shade of yellow?  Apparently not!

I began again the first thing Thursday morning. I finished the cutting by about 12:30! Then I needed to organize the colors, and get three coordinating fabrics together for each set of hot pads. That took a couple of more hours. When I was finished I had put on some serious miles, just walking back and forth across the room, rolling out fabric and cutting it, then folding it and starting again! Oh, and then there was my back, I was bending and using muscles that hadn't been challenged like that for a long time if ever! And they were all screaming at me!

That is over 2,000 yards of the 2,760 yards that I've cut!
I am rejoicing!
 Until I remember I have 5,240 yards to go!
The small rolls are the 2 yards leftover on each roll that will
need to be sewn together to make 7 yard pieces.
Another BIG project!

The part of this program that is going to surprise me, even though I am already contemplating it, is how fast this amount of fabric is going to disappear once the ladies arrive on Friday to collect it!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Visiting GEMS Clubs

Saturday morning at about 9:00 Catherine was here to walk with me to some clubs. Yesterday, she said we would visit Mtendere Baptist and Salvation Army. This morning it was King of Glory, Word of Faith, and Come to Jesus. First we walked to Word of Faith, no one there. It was 9:20 and they don’t meet till 10:00. So why did we start off at 9:00? Then we walked to King of Glory, I truly got into the Kalingalinga compound. Catherine took me on many shortcuts; it seemed as if we were going right through people’s yards. But in all reality I think they actually were little alley ways

King of Glory meets in Idah’s yard, if you want to call it that. It is the dirt area that is between her house, the outhouse and a fence of shrubs. There was one bench, and two blue plastic chairs, and an old wooden couch, along with 3 really old soft chairs. One of the counselors walked up and dropped her Bible and books on the soft chair and the dust just flew! Idah told me they use to meet in a public area and every time they went there, there would be other groups having a program and they would be turned away. So they just started meeting here. She showed me her roster; she has 43 Awareness names and 37 Advanced. They began by singing, songs that I am beginning to know and that I can sing along with. They sang one that repeated the phrase God never changes, over and over. It had several verses telling all the ways He never changes, in the summer when it is warm, He never changes. In the winter when it is cold, He never changes. When problems come and problems go, He never changes. Then the double, double song! They all love singing that one.

The King of Glory GEMS singing at their club meeting

What a voice in the compound! To hear these girls all gathered here next to Idah’s house, just singing and praising the Lord! God is being glorified through the girls gathering and their voices raised in song.
Praying for their Sister Club in North America

After singing they said the aim, twice. Then Idah, took out the Sister Club prayer poster, and held it up, and they took turns praying for their sister club. When it was time for them to go into their small groups, I gathered them together and took a picture. How I would love for Bob to be able to build them some benches when he is here, but that probably wouldn’t be wise. Although, I think most of the other clubs meet in schools or churches, where they have plenty of benches or desks. I didn’t stay long enough to see how they did their lessons, but when girls are sitting with other littler girls on their laps, how do they color. Even as we were walking away, several other girls were still coming. Oh, and then the boys, they were there and listening and singing and squeezing right in. I think there are boys in every picture of the clubs I took today.

Praying for her Sister Club
The King of Glory GEMS and Counselors

                  The younger Awareness Group

The older Awareness Group

                                                              The Advanced GEMS

We left the King of Glory club in Idah’s yard and headed over to Word of Faith!  They were meeting in a different room, on the opposite end of the building where they were meeting when we were there last. It was a bigger room and somewhat brighter. Catherine said these buildings are an orphanage, but I didn’t see any children? How I was blessed, at the amazing difference from my last visit there. I remember walking away with the team, and we all were just sad, because they didn’t have a clue to what to do or how to do it. We later found out that they spoke very little English. Even though they attended training every day, they didn’t understand what we had presented. Now Precious was teaching the Advanced girls, she was speaking in English, she had them reading from scripture, she was writing on the chalk board, and asking them questions, all in English! The two older counselors were working with the Awareness girls and boys! They were all coloring their pages.

Club Coordinator Precious and the Advanced GEMS
One of the BEMS (Boys Everywhere Meeting the Savior)
who so want to be included

Word of Faith GEMS Club

From there we walked to Come to Jesus GEMS club. They meet in the church right behind Pentecostal Holiness Church. As we were walking, we passed Marjory a counselor from Word of Faith, going to her club. She said she was late, but that she had begun to do her wash very early, but the water had been turned off, so they had to go get water from a neighboring compound, for her to finish. We also, passed Maxhilda, a counselor from Apostolic Faith Mission club, and her husband. She was on the way to the clinic; they think she has malaria again. Life is so hard here!

When we got to Come to Jesus, they were just getting into their small groups. Again the church is very dark inside and difficult to see. There was just one counselor and one CIT. The other counselor was ill this morning. I had them come outside for a group picture.

Come to Jesus GEMS Club

As I passed by PHC I snapped a few pictures of the small GEMS groups meeting there. They use several CIT’s and they are doing a great job of teaching. They are encouraging and praising the girls when they know the answers to the questions. That club always makes me smile!

Pentecostal Holiness  Awareness GEMS

PHC Awareness GEMS

Oh how I rejoiced in my morning. A club that the team didn’t think would have a chance was going above all my expectations. A club that doesn’t have a place to meet gathers in the counselor’s small side yard. A club using their CIT’s allowing them to teach the younger girls and watching how far they’ve come since being a GEM themselves. To hear them say how GEMS has changed their lives! The CIT’s will be the women someday who lead GEMS in Zambia! A simply amazing, God blessed morning! Can’t wait until next week, to see what God has to show me!

A Glimpse of Heaven!

Miracle Life Family Church

I got to see a glimpse of heaven here on earth today! Today was the dedication of the new church building for Miracle Life Family Church. The church had been meeting in an old nightclub right next to Arcades Mall, for the last nine years.

The new church is not finished yet, but the lease had run out on the old building, and so they moved there a week ago. The church is amazing, but it is definitely part of a huge construction zone yet. As we walked up to the church the wind was blowing the dust everywhere, as there isn’t any grass, tar or sidewalks. The new sanctuary holds 2,200 people. It is a huge mega church, especially here in Zambia.

The service began with a flag ceremony where they had 26 flags, carried into the sanctuary by a person from that country, in their native dress. The first flag was from Zambia, the second was the Christian flag, and then country after country unfurled until there were 26 flags across the front of the sanctuary. Just a small glimpse of heaven, we are here in Zambia worshiping with people from 25 other countries. I thought of the verse from Philippians 2:10 & 11. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Here we are in Zambia worshiping together, singing and praising the name of Jesus together. Just a glimpse of what heaven will be like, when we are there with all our brothers and sisters from every tribe and every nation! Amen, Hallelujah, AMEN!

The Sanctuary after the service.

13 of the 26 Flags from 25 countries represented in worship
at Miracle Life Family Church.

The Foyer

How Big is My God?

How Big is Your God?

I have been wondering lately, just how big is my God? As I walked from club to club on Saturday, walking through the compound, that thought came into my mind. The people I saw walking around in the compound have such difficult lives.

The mother’s carrying their babies on their backs, with large baskets on their heads, filled with bananas or avocados while they dodge children running and screaming. Young children watching other young children, some who can’t be more than eight years old carrying babies around, bouncing and keeping them from crying. As I walked, I passed one of the GEMS counselors, and her husband who were walking to the health clinic, because she is not feeling well. They think she has malaria. I meet another GEMS counselor, who is late for her club meeting, because she was doing her wash, and then the water was off. So they had to carry the water from across the compound, to finish her wash.

These people struggle with just the simple things, which I so take for granted. The things that were bothering me don’t even faze them. They don’t seem to even notice that the dust and dirt are blowing in their faces, and all around. Their nostrils aren’t assaulted by the smells of burning rubbish, or the smell of urine floating from under the doors of the outhouses we pass. They don’t seem to notice the garbage, everywhere on the streets and in the ditches. They don’t notice a man yelling at a woman, or a woman pulling along a small child by the arm, who is screaming. Is this child being hurt or is he just mad? They don’t even look up as the cars pass by and honk, hoping that the mazoongo (white women) will need a cab?

Then I begin to wonder, how big is there God? Do they complain as much as I do, about the little things that bother me? I can complain so quickly about the dust, the smells, the things I miss from home, from chocolate chips to being able to brush my teeth without bottled water, and having a great shower with real water pressure. How big is my God? And how disappointed he must be with me, when He has given me more than most Zambians can even imagine and still I complain.

My God is so BIG! He has called me to Zambia, to train and teach the women to lead GEMS clubs. He has opened my eyes to so many things that I so took for granted before coming here. I know there are more than I could possibly list, but here are two that are on my heart today. He has opened my eyes to see that my grandchildren who are born in clean sterile hospitals with all the best medical care and doctors with equipment to monitor heartbeats and deliver the best possible care, are so blessed! I had never thought about mothers being scared to death to have their babies, because if something goes wrong, they die or the baby dies. Or they are taken to the hospital and die there. 70% of people who go into a Zambian hospital do not come out alive. He has allowed me to see, babies who are starving that are brought to the House of Moses, will now have a chance to grow and thrive. Have I ever seen a child in the US with legs about the size of my thumbs? No never!

How big is your God?