Thank You! (And Some Praises and Prayer Requests)

Hi, everyone! Well, June is almost over, and this is our first blog of the month! June has really gotten away from us as we get ready to head back to the USA and Canada for the month of July.

We both, and especially Kristin, have been busy chasing a three year old around and an almost eight month old, teething baby around. I (Derek) have been busy with normal ministry things related to the CROSS Project HIV/AIDS Ministry and ACTION Zambia Administration and also getting ready for the ACTION International Council meetings (July 6-9) near Calgary, Canada with reading and writing things.

Along those lines, we want to thank everyone who gave and prayed for the $5,000 we needed to cover our time at the ACTION International Council Meetings and the 40th Jubilee Celebrations for ACTION! God has been so gracious to us, and all of the money has come in!

Thank you so much for your gifts and prayers, and we praise God for all of you!!

Here are a few more praises and prayers: 

-We praise God for Charlie, who turned three years old on June 15th! He is such a happy, funny, very thoughtful, questioning, and inquisitive three year old. We love him so much and are so thankful for him.


-We praise God for Jason and Grace Van Ankum, who will be joining AZ this July. They are originally from Canada and have been living in Zambia for almost a year working with another Christian organization up in Ndola. But now their transfer is complete, and they will be helping out in our Pastoral Leadership Development department with ACTION Pastor’s College. They also will be staying in our house while we are gone in North America, which is a huge help to us!

-Please pray for us as we travel this Monday (40 hours total on June 29 and June 30!!) to Minneapolis via Johannesburg, London, and Chicago. Pray for Charlie and Sam that they will both do really, really well with all the waiting, sitting, and long plane rides. Please also pray for safety and that we make all of our connections.

-Please pray for our time up in Canada. The International Council Meetings will be taking place July 6-9, and the Jubilee Celebrations will be taking place July 9-15, both at the same location – Prairie Bible College. We are very thankful for ACTION and the work that God has done through ACTION for His glory for these past 40 years!

-Please pray for the electricity situation going on in Zambia right now. Because of the low rainfall this past year and because 93% of Zambia’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power, Zambia’s power company can’t generate enough power for the country. So, we are now experiencing at least 5-6 hours a day of load-shedding, which is another way of saying that the power company turns the power off for 5-6 hours a day. We’ll be gone the month of July and get a reprieve from the frustration, but please pray for the rest of our team here on the ground as they deal with this problem that won’t get sorted out till after the rains start again in November or beyond, unless electricity starts getting imported.

Charlie and Sam, Friends at Last (Video)

Well, in May, we ended up posting quite a bit about our kids. So, I guess to cap off the last day of May, we’ll post a little video of Charlie and Sam together. Charlie wasn’t so sure of Sam for the first few months of his little life, but they are becoming pretty good friends as of late. :)

In June, we’ll make sure we post more about how ministry is going and our upcoming trip back to the USA and Canada for the month of July.

Sweet Sam

Until the day I die, I will probably be saying, “It’s better late than never!” And this video about our sweet Sam is WAY better late than never. We hope you enjoy a few recent clips of our 6-month old, smiling, easy going, happy, second born Sam.

The first clip is of Charlie and Sam in their “tent” under the dining room table. The second is of Charlie and Sam showing off their silly evening antics at the dinner table – and how Sam has grown to adore Charlie, and Charlie loves to show off for Sam. And the last one is…well, you’ll just have to let him melt your heart like he does ours every day.

From Astronaut to Nurse

My parents, God bless them, never said that I couldn’t achieve greatness or shouldn’t dream big dreams. They instilled in me a confidence that fostered this. And I hope to do the same for Charlie and Sam.

When I was young, I had all sorts of dreams and aspirations of what I wanted to be when I grew up – Olympic figure skater, the first US female president, an astronaut, brain surgeon, lawyer, soccer player, and the list goes on.

I ended up becoming a wife, mom, and nurse. And I couldn’t be happier.

Happy Nurse’s Week!


A Toddler’s Perspective on Playing Catch [Video]

In case you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be inside a toddler’s body, here ya go. We put a camera on Charlie’s head and played catch.


We learned that a simple game of ball-throwing involves a lot of falling down with both catching and throwing. And don’t worry, Charlie did not get hurt in the making of this video. Enjoy!

Papa’s House = America

IMG_3189Ever since we have been back in Zambia and increasingly in the past month or so, Charlie has been talking a lot about Papa (his Carlson grandpa) or Papa’s house. We hear such things as…

When struggling to put shoes on his big feet, he says, “Need Papa’s horn” – as in shoe horn.

Or we are building a train track and run out of pieces, and his American, not-used-to-any-lack self says, “Go grocery store Papa’s house buy choo choo track.”

Or if he doesn’t like what Derek or I have told him, he says, “Go Papa’s house,” as if Papa will take his side.

Out of the blue the other day, he said, “Decorations be broken Papa’s house…next week.”

We have told him that we will be going to Papa’s house, but not for a while. So, almost every night before bed, he says, “Go on airplane Papa’s house wake up.”

(As you can see, we’re still learning about prepositions and the many tenses of “be…” verbs). :)

This week, some teammates and friends of ours (Andy and Beth Rice) finished their time in Zambia and returned to the States. Most children here refer to older non-related adults as either auntie or uncle. But Charlie, on his own accord, decided that Uncle Andy was more of a “G-pa.”

G-pa and Auntie Beth stayed at our house for their last couple days, and then Derek took them to the airport. Charlie has been very curious since yesterday about where they are at each moment. He knows that they left in an airplane to go to America, so he tells us that “G-pa Auntie Beff go bye-bye in airplane Papa’s house.” Or when he heard a small propellor plane fly over our house yesterday and again today, he says, “Oh! There he is! There’s G-pa!”

But it occurred to me that, in Charlie’s mind and for all he is concerned, Papa’s house is America. And when people get on airplanes, they are going to Papa’s house.

Of course, all this coming and going of other people and us brings up TCK (Third Culture Kid) issues that we are learning to deal with. If you are ever interested in reading more, there was a fabulous 3-part blog that has been so helpful as we help Charlie work through the hello’s and goodbye’s and transition of life as we currently know it.

It is hard for an almost-3-year-old to understand these big concepts. But one thing is for sure. When we get on that airplane in a couple months, he will know that we are going to Papa’s house.

Our January – March 2015 Newsletter

IMG_0821 Happy Spring from Zambia! Here is our First Quarter 2015 newsletter (click here). Some of the highlights from this newsletter include:

  •  A summary of how our first three months back in Zambia have been going
  • Our quick trip back to the States and Canada this summer
  • Derek’s changing role from CROSS Project Coordinator to ACTION Zambia Country Director
  • Prayer request for a one-time $5,000 need

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support!