In case you’re hungry for a Charlie video, here’s a GoPro series of pictures of Charlie jumping from a couple of months ago on our back veranda.
In our last post, we shared about how the team from Bethlehem Baptist served many Zambians for 6 full days as they taught about basic hospice/home-care techniques and how God’s sovereign goodness relates to suffering. With seemingly endless energy, the team turned around the next day to put on a 3-day retreat for the ACTION Zambia team.
This past Sunday, 11 Bethlehem team members, 6 ACTION Zambia national workers, 11 ACTION Zambia missionaries, and 10 missionary kids caravanned down and around the hills of the southern Rift Valley (including hairpin turns around barreling semis, coach buses, monkeys, pedestrians, and jackknifed semi-trailers) to our destination: Gwabi River Lodge.
We each settled into our chalets. I was greeted by a small lizard that fell on my arm when I was drying my hands on the towel in our bathroom and then a small scorpion hiding under the towel folded up on my bed…where I had just changed Charlie into his swimming gear! Thankfully, that was the extent of our nature surprises for the retreat. But we were met with other surprises over the 3 days.
Half of the Bethlehem team taught and encouraged the adults from God’s Word about persevering in ministry and suffering, and the other half served the kids with lessons and games and crafts all revolving around Psalm 23. This was Charlie’s first real experience in a Sunday School/Bible Club setting, and he was fairly skeptical – something about being left with great and trustworthy adults, doing fun organized activities with other kids, and eating Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks was very frightening for him. But among all his missionary kid friends, he found 1 safe friend by the last day. “Auntie” Beth, his fellow strong-willed, red-headed auntie, became the person he retreated to during these sessions when he was feeling unsure. She put up with his crying and kicking and fears and, in the end, gained his trust. What an amazing, unexpected, humbling, overwhelming picture of Christ’s service to us!
And if that wasn’t enough, God met us in such personal and poignant ways through the adult teaching time. I think we all came away so encouraged to hang on to Christ as our hope and to persevere and be faithful in the ministry that God has called us to.
The Bethlehem team treated us all to a boat cruise on the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers. It was Charlie’s first “safari,” which he mostly slept through. And he ended up being more excited by the dogs back at the lodge than the elephants, hippo, and crocodile that we saw.
As we packed up our vehicles and headed back to Lusaka, our hearts were full to overflowing. Thank you, BBC, for serving us so tirelessly and sacrificially! You were a powerful expression of Christ to us in so many ways.
To say that having the folks from Bethlehem Baptist Church (our home and sending church) short-term team here is and has been a blessing, would be an understatement. We have loved having them here and have been SO blessed and encouraged by each of them!!
Their trip is almost done, and they will be flying out tomorrow night. But I wanted to give you an update on the first part of their trip, which consisted of six days of training in basic hospice techniques for six different churches that have gone through the CROSS Project curriculum over the last two years.
81 former CROSS Project students learned about:
- Hand washing and Sanitation: how to properly dispose of wastes
- Wound care: very basic without access to any fancy dressings
- Giving a bed-bath and making an occupied bed
- Positioning someone in bed and safe transfers/walking
- Nutrition and hydration: before someone is actively dying
- Pain management, shortness of breath, and dying process
Based on some of the comments that we heard from many of the students, they found the information to be very applicable to their lives and living situations. Many people in Lusaka’s poor communities as well as outside in the rural areas have to care for the sick and dying due to lack of good health care facilities. But many of them have don’t have the skills and have never been taught how to do this in the most safe, healthy, and helpful way.
These were some of the comments I heard: “We thought we were helping people, but we were only hurting them and ourselves in how we were taking care of them.” “My boss died of a bed sore, because we didn’t move him for over two weeks after he was injured on the job – we didn’t know we were suppose to reposition him.” One lady commented at the hand washing and sanitation station about the difficult situation she and her family are in – “We are seven families against one pit latrine where I live.”
Please pray that God would plant and help people remember what they have learned from these workshops and that God would be glorified as these 81 former students seek to help people physically, share the gospel, and share this important information with others!
Bethlehem has also been blogging about their trip – you can find it here!
Below are some pictures of BBC in action.
Thank you so much for praying for us as a family and for our ministry (The CROSS Project) here in Zambia.
-Please pray for the Bethlehem Baptist Team of 11 people that will be coming this Friday! They will be putting on a Hospice Seminar from August 4-9 for recent churches that have gone through the CROSS Project. Then they will also be putting on a retreat for our ACTION Zambia Team for a few days after that. We are really looking forward to having them come!
For more information about the BBC Team, please visit their blog here.
-Please pray for the over 100 participants from all around Lusaka that will be going through the CROSS Project Hospice Seminar. Pray that they would be helped in how to better take care of someone in their home both spiritually and physically.
-Please pray for the participants at the Hospice Seminar who will also be learning about “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God” during the evening sessions. Pray that the Spirit would impact and minister to people’s hearts through God’s Word.
-Please pray for us (the Dearths) as we make preparations for our Home Assignment Sep 4th, 2014 – Jan 15th, 2015. We’ll be speaking at multiple churches around the Midwest and seeing friends and supporters as well.
-Pray that this third term of pregnancy for Kristin would go well without complications and that God would bring Baby #2 to us safely.
-Please pray for John and Eta (our two national workers in the CROSS Project) as they teach our new 4-week Domestic Abuse Lesson at two locations this Fall as well as teach the normal 16-week CROSS Project curriculum at one church this Fall and also get some well-deserved rest while we are in the States.
-Pray that God would work mightily in hearts, minds, and actions as people think and pray about how should they respond as a Christian and glorify God in HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse in their lives, their families’ lives, churches, and communities.
-Please pray for CROSS (Derek, Kristin, John and Eta), as we help out in counseling and with some medical assistance at a local feeding program in George Compound for 100 HIV-positive children. It’s run by a local church and its pastor, Wozifera Ngoma, and his wife, Easter, who are also on staff with ACTION Zambia Ministries. The feedings happen for lunch every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
-Pray that God would pour out His grace on the Zambian Church and that it would glorify God in how it relates to HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse.
-Pray for unity, endurance, hope, and joy in Jesus for the ACTION Zambia team and sweet times in the Word each day.
-We would really appreciate broad, general prayers for our entire ACTION Zambia Team as well as their ministries.
-Please continue to pray for more funds for CROSS, CROSS Graduation Bibles, and the George Feeding Program.
Click here if you would like to donate to help get Bibles future CROSS Project graduations. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “Bibles.”
Click here if you would like to donate monthly or one-time to the CROSS Project.
Click here if you would like to donate monthly or one-time to the George Compound Feeding Program. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “FTC George Feeding Program.”
When I think back over my life, I can think of numerous times that I have been recognized or clapped for in front of an audience or a small group of people. Some of those events were just causal events like a party or with a group of friends, and I got clapped for for winning a silly game or for saying something funny. And some of those events were serious like a graduation or our wedding that I or we got recognized or clapped for.
But what would it be like if you had never been recognized or clapped for in your whole life? or you have never really accomplished anything that the world would recognize you for or give you accolades for?
For the poor and urban poor in Zambia, this is very sadly the case. To point out a fact, they have accomplished a lot. Living on a few dollars a day in deplorable conditions, most of the urban poor, especially so many of the women, should get a standing ovation everyday for their hard work and ingenuity in scraping out a living and a life for them and their children. But, sadly, you don’t get recognized or get accolades for that.
A few weeks ago, at one of our CROSS Project Graduations, one of ladies was in tears as we called her name to come up and receive a certificate and Bible. I don’t know for sure the reason why she was so touched by that moment. But I later thought, it could be that this is the only time, or one of the few times in her life, that she has or ever will be recognized, clapped for, or receive accolades. Such is the case for so many of the poor around the world.
The good news for all of us, earthly poor or earthy rich, is that one day, if we have trusted in Christ as our treasure and savior and have lived a life that seeks to glorify Him and have been good stewards and faithful with what God has given us in this life, He will one day wipe every tear away and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 ESV)
I think there are going to be a lot of very poor people from an earthy perspective that will be very rich in heaven, because they have been so faithful and glorified Him with what He has given them here. I know quite a lot of these people here in Zambia.
Backstage crew. Support staff. Fans and spectators. Cheerleaders. Whatever term you want to use, we want to send a big shout out to all of the people who keep us going here. There are people who pray, people who give, people who email, people who text, and people who we don’t even know who do these things.
We might be getting the recognition for doing the “real” work on the ground in Zambia, but there are lots of people who do things that make it all possible for us to be here.
As we get closer to the end of this term, we have felt moments of fatigue and weariness with life and ministry and have felt just plain old ready for a break. Like being on mile 24 in a marathon (not that we would actually know anything about that!), our muscles are tired, and our spirits are searching for a glimpse of the finish line.
This morning, we awoke to an email from ACTION Headquarters that reminded us about all the people who give sacrificially to enable us be here. By God’s grace, people believe that what we are doing in Zambia is worthwhile. Amazing!
As I rolled out of bed (and I literally did roll, with how big this baby belly is getting!), I felt like I had rounded a bend in the road of this marathon, and all of the sudden, I could almost hear people cheering us on:
We believe in what you’re doing!
Keep on going!
Don’t give up!
The weariness and fatigue melted away in a moment. I felt renewed energy and passion for what God has called us to. And I praised God for all of you standing on the sidelines cheering us on. Seriously, we are just a part of what God is doing in Zambia – all of you are a huge part in making this happen. And today, we want to say a big THANK YOU to the many people who have our backs as we finish this term!!! We could not do this without you.