Summer 2016 Newsletter

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Hi everyone, here is our latest newsletter for Summer 2016! In this newsletter, we cover:

  • Thank you for praying and giving!
  • CROSS Project general update
  • CROSS Project Marriage Seminar update
  • CROSS Project Hospice Seminar with Bethlehem Baptist Church coming up in August
  • Thankful for Community Schools
  • Family Update
  • Latest Prayer Requests
  • Some Charlie Quotes

You can access it here or here, if you need to view it in a lower resolution.

Obsessed

My life has tended to be characterized by various obsessions to greater or lesser degrees. Playing guitar, knitting, photography, making yeast-free sourdough bread, perfecting homemade tortillas. And I have a whole folder in my computer of things that I could be obsessed about. Making soap. Quilting. Antiquing furniture. You get the idea.

But my current obsession is composting. I feel so trendy and organic when I ask people – “Do you compost?”

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Our poor gardener has had to bear up with my thoughts and passions regarding how to implement what I read last on how to achieve and maintain a healthy compost. Over the last few months, I’ve seen that this mound of mulch has been growing into something more. And this morning, composting was confirmed as an obsession when I found myself separating everything I looked at into 3 categories: carbon, nitrogen, and garbage. (Zambia doesn’t recycle [GASP!], hence no 4th category).

Marriage and Marshfield, WI

IMG_2680Christian marriage is always a hot topic in America with numerous opportunities for couples to attend a host of marriage seminars, weekends, or conferences that deal with marriage, sex, family, kids, etc. Zambia is no different, in that marriage and sex are hot topics, but there aren’t nearly as many opportunities for couples to attend a seminar or conference about marriage, sex, or the family.

Last week, ACTION Zambia was blessed to have a short-term team from Faith Fellowship in Marshfield, WI come and put on a one-day Marriage and Family Life seminar for present and former CROSS Project churches. On May 27 and 28, we had almost 400 people (couples and kids) come to Camp Ciyanjano. The topics that the team covered were Biblical Marriage, Marriage and Purity, Discipling Your Children, Leaving a Legacy, and Medical Care for Your Family. Because the extended family, and culture as a whole, plays such a big part here in Zambia, to live out a Biblical Christian marriage can be really challenging for couples, especially younger ones.

As a CROSS Project Team, we felt that the Marshfield team did a great job of explaining Biblical marriage and appropriately and biblically addressing difficult cultural challenges in marriage and family here in Zambia. The team also got a lot of complements from the participants that they were encouraged by the teaching and time.

Driving through Kanyama

IMG_2595Yesterday, Pastor John and Jacob (two of our AZ National Workers) and I drove to a church in Kanyama Compound. Kanyama is one of the biggest compounds in Lusaka, with some people estimating that almost one million people live there. Much of Kanyama is very under developed with high rates of poverty and extreme poverty. We went to go visit the pastor of a church, where we taught the CROSS Project a few years ago, about some future ministry possibilities with their community school that has over 1,500 students.

I haven’t done a driving video for a while. So, below is some of our drive into Kanyama yesterday –

Encouraged by Our Visitors

In Romans 1:11-12, Paul, says to the church in Rome that, “…I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”

When people come and visit us, they usually remark on what a challenge it must be to host people for a couple of weeks at a time and they appreciate that we are willing to host them. Yes, hosting has become more challenging with two little kids, but just as Paul talks about in Romans 1:11-12, we are so encouraged by our time with people that come to visit us and stay with us!

Over the last three months, we have had the joy of hosting Wade and Annette Hetrick, from my home church in Appleton, WI (Wade is the pastor there), for a week in Zambia and then a week in Cape Town, South Africa; Kristin’s parents, Terry and Connie Carlson from Burnsville, MN, for a few weeks; and then last week, Nelson and Linda Reed from the Seattle, WA area. Nelson was ACTION’s International Director for nine years up until this last March and is still our Africa Regional Coordinator for ACTION. All of these three couples have encouraged us so much and have been a huge help with the boys! Charlie and Sam have loved every minute of play time with their Meme and Gpa, Nana and Papa, and “Grandma-Auntie” and “Grandpa-Uncle” (those were the names that Charlie came up with for them).

All three of these couples were also a help and encouragement to ACTION Zambia (AZ) as well and those we minister to here. Wade and Annette did a one-day marriage seminar for AZ’s Pastoral Leadership Development department. Terry and Connie gave the graduation address to two of the graduating CROSS classes and also did some medical home visits through Faith Tabernacle Church in George compound. Nelson and Linda greatly encouraged us all here on the field and gave us all some soul care!

We are thankful for our recent visitors and for making the trek all the way here to encourage us and minister to us, as well as others! We hope that we were an encouragement to all of them as well.

Mountains. Oceans. Seafood. Oh my!

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Ahhhhhhh (long, dreamy sigh). Cape Town.

Oceans.

Mountains.

White sand.

Spectacular beaches.

Seals playing in the waves as we enjoyed our morning coffee from our balcony.

Endless, amazing, cheap seafood.

Penguins hanging out on the beach.

What is there not to love?!

Thanks to a gift from a friend, along with the [strong] encouragement to go on a vacation outside of Zambia (aww, shucks!), we got to experience the incredible Jewel of Africa. It is truly a world class city. And we were continually blown away  by the incredible beauty e.very.where.

In all the activities we did, we never felt too far from home. Whether we were at the Cape of Good Hope (the Southwestern-most tip of Africa, near where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet) or on top of Table Mountain or visiting the penguins or going for a boat ride to see 70,000 seals (and the occasional whale!), we ran into Midwesterners. Some came for safari, others had family that lived there, and others were, like us, taking a vacation from ministry to see sights and get refreshed.

The only negative about this trip was that it has ruined us for any future vacation in Zambia! If direct flights from Lusaka to Cape Town become more reliable and inexpensive, you can guess what we might be saving our money for!

In the words of some Lusaka friends that we ran into in Cape Town, “We are back in Lusaka. No beach, no mountains, no electricity.” Haha! Yep. But somehow, coming back to our little corner of Lusaka felt more like home than it ever has. God has called us here, and this is home…For His Name.

Enjoy some of our pics! And if you ever get the chance…

Never Give Up – Lessons from 2 Corinthians (God’s Design in Hard Times)

Life is fraught with hard moments, hard days, and hard times. The temptation to want to give up can be strong and alluring. But statistics warn against giving up when the going gets tough. Many people miss out on the fruit of their labors if they give up in the hard times.

But more importantly than the warning of statistics, God lovingly, gently, kindly warns us to not give up. The apostle Paul was an expert at going through hard times. In fact, I wonder if there was ever a time in his post-conversion life that was not hard! And he did not give up. He was certainly tempted to despair. But he did not.

And, thankfully!, he shared some of the things he learned about going through hard times and what God is up to in our lives that helps give meaning and purpose to those hard days.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9

  • The feeling: “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.”
  • The meaning: “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 16-18

  • The feeling: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus,”
  • The meaning: “So that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our moral flesh…So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

  • The situation: “A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me (Satan’s design), to keep me from becoming conceited (God’s design). Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”
  • The meaning: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Praise God for this kind of help, hope, and insight into the hard times! Now, I just need to keep on preaching it to myself.