Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tonight is Alan's last night in Zambia. At 6am he leaves for the airport headed for the United States. Alan and I have known each other for a while now. We met at orientation in Virginia in 2002 and even come over to Zambia together. It will be sad to see him go but I know he is headed home for some exciting adventures. Tonight all of the journeyman went to the Dickard's house for supper. It was a last hoo-rah for us journeymen. Not only is Alan leaving July 1, but David and Jill will be leaving July 6. So that leaves me and Mallory left until August(when I leave) and September(when Mal leaves). This time last year there were 9 journeymen in Zambia but come this Tuesday there will only be 2.

Me and Jill

David, Mallory, and Alan discussing Mallory's iv. Yes, Mallory has an iv in his hand because a piece of a stick got caught in his leg and caused an infection so he has to get injections of medicine for a few days. Oh yeah, he also has malaria along with the infection.....poor guy has been out of commission for a few days.

Alan, Jill, and Mallory

Our gracious and hospitable hosts, Stan and Nancy Dickard

Departing journeymen from Kasama, Zambia....Jill and David

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Going to the valley......

We left at 6:30am Sunday morning to pick up some volunteers in the valley. It was really early, but it sure was beautiful! Too bad this picture does not come close to doing this sunrise justice.

This weekend I took a brief trip to the southern province of Zambia. I went down to Gwembe, where career missionaries Wes and Laurie Wilcox live. The only place I have ever been to in the southern province is Livingstone to see Victoria Falls. I went down to Gwembe with Mallory to pick up his mountain bike team. In my opinion I think the southern province is the prettiest place in Zambia.

On our journey down to the valley we pulled over so we could take in some of the landscape. If you look closely in the distance you can see Lake Kariba.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

Since September I have been teaching a Bible club at Lusaka International Community School (LICS). We meet once a week after school for an hour. This time last year my roommate Stephanie was teaching there and I would tag-along with her (mainly for moral support). I never had any intention of doing that as a ministry for myself. As it would turn out I became good friends with a co-worker here, Helen, whose children attend LICS. She asked me if I would be interested in doing a Bible club this school year and I said yes….but what I thought I had agreed to was teaching for one term of the school year (about 8 weeks) and also not that I would be the primary teacher but rather Helen’s helper. Both of those assumptions were wrong on my part. I was committed for the entire school year and I was THE teacher. Now before I go much further I want to give you a little detail about LICS. This is not a Zambian school, although many do attend. This school is full of ex-patriot children from all over the world, most of whom their parents are diplomats. Some of the countries represented at LICS are Germany, South Africa, Iceland, Finland, India, America, Cypress, Mozambique, England….and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

The first Bible club of the year was a little discouraging for me and I felt as if it was a pointless ministry for me to get involved in. We only had 5 children attend and two of them were Helen’s children who are already believers. I do not want to give the impression in this story that I was concerned with numbers at LICS, but rather I was wondering if I was wasting my time and God’s time. Looking back I can see what a blessing it was to have such a small number. I was able to give more one on one attention to the children and get to know them better, meaning I was able to encourage them and build a relationship with them individually. As the weeks and months passed on I began to see God moving in our small weekly group.

Every week when I would walk on campus to where the children were they would run to me while yelling my name and hug me and were genuinely excited to see me….and I was equally excited to see them. Talk about a great feeling! Just to shorten this story I will go ahead and jump to the really good stuff that you are all waiting for……………..April marked the beginning of the third and final term of the school year here. In the beginning of every new school term the children get to pick the afternoon activities in which they will participate for that term. When I showed up for our first Bible club of this term I was floored when I saw that over 20 children had signed up!
In the previous 2 terms of Bible club I mainly taught stories such as Adam and Eve, Moses, David and Goliath, etc. I had never just plainly presented the entire gospel message for them. In the beginning of this term I could tell that the Lord wanted me to teach the children about Christianity and what it means and takes to be a believer in Jesus Christ. The Lord had also impressed that same message upon Helen to tell the gospel to these children. And so it began…….

For 6 weeks I began teaching these precious children about the gospel. We covered everything from what is sin to who was Jesus Christ and why did he have to die for us. Each week Helen and I would review with the children about we had been teaching and then would build on the previous weeks teaching. The ages of our kids range from about 7-11 years of age. Most of our students are actually 9 or older so they were really able to grasp what Helen and I were teaching.

When Helen and I felt that the children understood the message of Christ we gave them an opportunity to respond and make Jesus their savior. So two weeks ago at Bible club I led the children in a prayer of salvation and gave them the chance to accept Christ if they had never done so. After the prayer, but while their heads are still bowed and their eyes are closed, I asked them to raise their hand if they prayed with me. My eyes filled tears as I saw 12 out of 21 children raise their hand. Helen and I looked at each other and just smiled with excitement and joy over their decisions. Helen took down their names and as we looked over the list we realized that most of the children who had accepted Christ were older and truly understood what they had just done and knew what it meant for them personally. Then Helen and I began to think about the 9 children who were not on the list. Seven of those nine children we knew were already saved. I was speechless at what God had done! Most of all I was so humbled that he would use someone like me and give me the privilege of seeing something so amazing happen.

The icing on the cake came this week. Two of our girls in Bible club were unable to attend the previous week because they were gone on a field trip. On Monday they saw Helen at school and started talking to her. Helen was catching them up about what happened in Bible club and in the process led those two girls to the Lord! Helen called me on Monday and told me and I just about could not believe it!

Helen is the brains behind our operation. She realized that these children in the coming months and years are most likely not going to have much (if any) discipleship in their lives. She suggested we get together some material to help them along in this beginning stage. We came upon a children’s survival kit guide. This guide takes about 6 weeks to complete and is made for children who are new in their faith. It covers the basics of Christianity and helps to build a firm foundation with scripture and prayer.

This week when we met for Bible club I talked to the kids for a little bit and encouraged them in their decisions they had made. While doing this, one of the girls that had prayed with Helen on Monday raised her hand and very unashamedly and happily told me that she and her friend had prayed to receive Christ earlier in the week. That made me so happy that she was so unafraid and was proud to tell about what she had done! She was not timid about it at all. Praise God!

Also this week in Bible club, 3 boys who are in 6th grade and are the only Christians in their class told a story of what had happened in class that day. Before I tell of what happened let me preface it by telling you some of the things we have taught them in the past month at Bible club….sin is sin in God’s eyes, lying is not “better” than murder to God; God can forgive you of any sin, you can never be too bad for God to not love you or forgive you; and when you ask for forgiveness of sin, God casts it away as far as the east is from the west.

Ok, back to the story…….these three boys told me that their teacher was telling the class that murder was the worst sin you could ever commit and God could not forgive you of it and would not let you into heaven. These guys took a stand and told their teacher and classmates what the Bible says!! I was so impressed that as young as these children are that they know the truth and are able to recognize anything that is contrary to God’s word!

Things to pray about....
*the LICS kids for discipleship and growth in their walk with the Lord
*the LICS kids who are Christians to remain strong and willing to make stands for the Word of God, even when it is not the popular thing to do
*for the children who have not made decisions for Christ
*someone to take up and continue teaching the Bible club this coming school year
*for the Holy Spirit to have His way with these children and the entire school