Never Received Any Accolades

IMG_1252 copy(Walking into Garden Compound for the CROSS Project – January 28, 2014)

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.

Running a Marathon at 25 Weeks Pregnant

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.

April – June Newsletter

(Garden Compound CROSS Project Graduation)

Photo Jun 24, 3 22 42 PM

Happy Summer Everyone!

Here is our April-June Newsletter (click here to view in your web browser – 8MB or a smaller version here - 1.5MB). In this newsletter, we cover the last three months in Zambia with:

-Home Assignment Looming (Sept. 3 – Jan 14) – Looking Back and Looking Ahead

-When You’re In Ground Zero - An article about Vera, a 14 year old girl who passed away from AIDS who attended the Feeding Program that the CROSS Project helps out at.

-Prayer Requests

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We are so thankful to the Lord for all of you and how you encourage and strengthen us in so many ways. As always, feel free to email or even give us a call on our Skype number – 612-284-5554 or find us on Facebook or Instagram @ derekkristin2006. We would love to hear from you!

DSC_3341(Charlie’s 2nd Birthday!) 

Charlie Looking at His Reflection (Video)

Well, we haven’t done a blog for a while about Charlie, and we thought this little video would be fun to share. We are so thankful to God for this little guy – he brings so much joy to our lives, along with a whole lot of  tiredness!!

A Very Tragic Event to Witness Today [Graphic]

Below is an email prayer request that I sent out today to some of our prayer supporters, family, and friends. I also wanted to share it on here as well for your prayers, and also as a window into some of what goes on here in Zambia – some of which can be very dangerous and end very tragically. The picture below was not from the event today, but a picture that I took back in January of 2013 as I was waiting in my car to pick someone up.

You may not want to read the telling of the story, because it was a very disturbing event to witness. And if not, please just pray for the family of the man who was killed.

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Hi Everyone,

We would really appreciate your prayers for the following situation that just unfolded in our backyard some 40 minutes ago. The power company here was installing a new power line pole to add support to the power lines directly behind our house and from where our power comes from. All morning, I was expecting our power to go off since they were attaching live wires into the new pole. But it never was turned off. 

When Kristin looked outside after we had put Charlie down for a nap, she called for me to come. One of the power company workers was hanging from his feet upside down by his waist harness which was attached to the pole, and he was literally white as a ghost. It looks like what happened was the extension ladder that he was standing on was extended beyond where it was suppose to be and buckled. He probably instinctively reached out for anything he could to secure himself and grabbed the live wire and was electrocuted. To add to the horror of this scene, the waste harness grabbed a hold of his clothes and stripped him completely naked as he fell backward, and it took an unbelievably long amount of time for the other crew members to get up on the pole and get him down. Meanwhile, there is a naked dead man hanging upside down from the top of a power line pole in the middle of our neighborhood in full few of the tons of kids that live around here, which we could all hear talking around our back fence as this unfolded. 

About 45 min ago, most of the crew sped off to the hospital with the man who had been electrocuted. The rest remain near our back fence and appear to be arguing back and forth. Please pray for this man’s family and friends, and pray that this would be a wakeup call to the power company to use proper equipment. It appears this was a very unnecessary death if the power would have just been turned off and better equipment used!

Charlie was down for a nap and didn’t see this all take place. But he was playing in the backyard most of the morning and did notice the same man working at the top of the pole. 

Derek 

“And Death Shall Be No More”

As I mentioned in “Our Latest Prayer Requests” post from April 28th, the CROSS Project is helping out at a Feeding Program for over 100 HIV-positive children through a local church in George Compound. The church is Faith Tabernacle Church that is pastored by Wozifera Ngoma. Pastor Wozifera and his wife, Easter, both work for ACTION Zambia in our Pastoral Leadership Development program teaching a discipleship course – Navigators 2:7.

Pastor Wozifera contacted me this morning with the news that a 14-year old girl, who had been coming to the Feeding Program and was HIV-positive, had passed away at the hospital. Kristin, Kristin’s Mom (when she was here in March), and Eta (one of our CROSS Project national workers) all had spent some time with this young girl, and Pastor Wozifera and Easter and the other folks at FTC have spent a lot of time with her, ministering to her at the Feeding Program week in and week out. Please pray for this young girl’s family as they go through this difficult time and that God would use her death to bring many sons to glory! 

This girl’s death this morning has made me think of the following two verses (below) from Revelation and how there are so many children here in Zambia who do nothing wrong, but they contract HIV from their moms when they are born or through abuse and who’s lives are filled with so much emotional and physical suffering and are often cut so short. I’m so looking forward to one day not living in a Genesis 3 world anymore! Below is a picture of Wozifera and Kristin talking with the girl – she’s the one in the pink.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things (HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, sexual abuse) have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20.

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Our Little Secret

There are some secrets that are easy to keep and some that aren’t. We want to let you in on a little secret that isn’t staying so little anymore. But thanks to living 8,500 miles away, we have been able to keep it a secret for about 16 weeks.

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That’s right, we’re going to have an extra pair of feet to cover this October, another passport photo to get in November, more Christmas gifts to buy in December, an extra plane ticket to add to our trans-Atlantic/trans-Africa return tickets in January, and another car seat to buckle into our SUV when we get back. 

After our miscarriage in January, we have been waiting to make sure that this baby is healthy before making the announcement, and as of an ultrasound on Tuesday and lots of strong movement today, it seems that the baby may give Charlie a run for his high-energy money! We praise God for His good gifts to us and look forward to meeting Charlie’s little brother or sister in a little over 5 months!