Category Archives: Fun

I Spy

Well, although we have been quiet, we have not been bored. We did, indeed, make it back to Zambia on May 13th. All of our luggage stayed in Dubai for another scorching 24 hours, but we were glad to be reunited with all of our stuff just the day after we arrived. Thank you for your prayers for safe travel! The boys did exceptionally well, and God really did a great work through children’s melatonin. Hallelujah!

It has been fun to be back and see life through Charlie’s eyes. His awareness and ability to communicate has helped us see everything with fresh perspective. Why are we in Zambia? How come we have to go on 3 airplanes to get to Zambia? Why are the children of my aunties and uncles in America called “cousins,” but in Zambia they are just my friends? Etc…

Yesterday, Charlie and I (Kristin) went to the grocery store, and we played a favorite car game – I Spy. But this time, I added a new twist – we could only spy things that are special about Zambia, not things that we would see in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Here were a few fun things that made it in the game yesterday:

  • Dirt…everywhere
  • Garbage
  • Piles of sand, gravel, and dirt to make cement
  • Pyramids of watermelons waiting to be sold
  • Wall fences lining the roads and surrounding houses
  • Red flowers on top of huge, tall trees
  • Palm trees
  • Big checkered speed “humps”
  • A huge dump truck carrying gravel
  • A man standing in the street at the traffic light selling talk time (minutes for cell phones)
  • Chickens in the back of a pickup truck waiting to be sold (and eaten!)
  • Big bags of Zambian charcoal on the side of the road
  • Ladies carrying buckets of water on their heads
  • A tall crane

Everyday life in Zambia looks very different from what we know in America. But driving anywhere here is an exciting experience, and, as Charlie likes to say when we drive, “Just sit back and enjoy the show!”

 

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Update: From the Land of Snow, Ice Cream, Lattes, and More

We are finally emerging from the “Great Holiday Silence” to say, “Hi!”

img_4042We have been back in the States for seven weeks now. We survived the busyness of Christmas as we traveled to and fro between MN and WI. But the “busyness” consisted of seeing family and friends, eating delicious food, sipping lattes, discovering the strange concept of “winter,” playing with new toys and old pianos, loading up on ice cream and Christmas cookies, driving on wonderful roads, and more. So, in other words, we haven’t been roughing it.

Since Christmas, we have spent some time resting and seeing more wonderful people, including a quick trip to see our former director in Zambia and his family, Tim and Andrea Hilty. Our “tour” of visiting supporting churches kicked off last weekend in Janesville, WI, and now this coming weekend will find us in Marshfield, WI. Thanks to my parents for watching Charlie and Sam, so we can actually interact with people at these churches! Apart from the churches, we have been able to speak at a small group from our church in Minneapolis (Bethlehem), and tonight we speak on “ministering among the poor” at a missions fellowship through Bethlehem.

And next week, we head to California to see friends, former teammates, and supporters, who we have not seen for a very long time! It has been so great to connect with so many people in the short time that we have been back.

A couple prayer requests:

-While back, we are trying to raise money to buy a second vehicle. As most missionaries have discovered in Zambia, it’s really hard to live as a family, where roads are rough and transportation is poor, with just one vehicle. The truck we are purchasing is not as expensive as our other vehicle, but we are still hoping to raise about $6,000 for that. Click here to donate and put “truck” in the “Comments About This Donation” box. Thanks!

-Also, God has been so gracious to raise and sustain our monthly support over the last six years of being in Zambia – we praise him for that! But circumstances change for people, and prices change in Zambia, and we are finding ourselves a little short monthly. Would you pray that God would raise that through new ministry partners? Click here to donate.

-Lastly, pray that God would give us all the rest that we need while we are back. Charlie is homesick for Zambia, his dog, his aunties and uncles, and the sun. We want to help our little “third culture kid” to enjoy his time in America well and find joy wherever we are.

Thank you!!! We hope to see many of you in the next couple months before we return to Zambia!

Bethlehem Baptist Team (Part 2). The Retreat.

(Left to right) Jack, Lydia, Laurie, Monica, Liz, Steve, Tyler, Sheryl, Kate, and Kate

(Left to right) Jack, Lydia, Laurie, Monica, Liz, Steve, Tyler, Sheryl, Kate, and Kate

Insignificant. Small. Don’t know very much. Unworthy. Limited experience.

Great. Mighty. Strong. Big. Exceeding.

The first set of words/phrases is how I heard members of the Bethlehem Baptist team refer to themselves in comparison to the ACTION Zambia missionaries and national workers.

The second set of words is how I would describe the actions of the Bethlehem Baptist team as they humbly, energetically, graciously served the AZ team on our AZ Staff Retreat. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant” Matt. 20:26, ESV. They achieved greatness in God’s eyes through a thousand small acts of self-sacrifice under a few big categories.

1. Through the word of Christ and worship. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” Col. 3:16, ESV. Jack Delk (who I – Kristin – have known since I first started going to Bethlehem in 1999) primarily led the teaching time, with Steve Stein bringing up the rear with a slam-bang finish. A few highlights of this time for me, personally, were…

  • worshiping with our team (led by Tyler Stitt, who did a great job!),
  • sharing with each other what the main burden is that we each carry these days,
  • being reminded of what the gospel is,
  • assessing the motivation behind why we do what we do,
  • looking at the incredible bigness and power and sovereignty of our God in the universe and then applying his specific and good love to each of us.
Liz, beginning each session with an ice breaker

Liz, beginning each session with an ice breaker

2. Through trusted childcare. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” Matt. 18:5, ESV. “Train up a child in the way he should go” Prov. 22:6, ESV. Liz Stein and crew provided times for the missionary kids to learn about God’s care for them through his promises to them. I know that Liz put plenty of time and thought into addressing the felt needs of each child there, and God honored that! When I told Charlie that the retreat was over and it was time to go home, he cried and said, “No, I just want to stay here forever!” One of our teammate’s children said, “It’s like Miss Liz knows what missionary kids are like!”

And not only was there structured teaching/activity time for the kids so that the parents could participate in adult teaching without distraction, there was free babysitting during the down time! Charlie especially adored Auntie Sheryl and Uncle Tyler, who walked with him and played with him and listened attentively to his endless observations. Sam loved the independence of being able to wander wherever his little legs would take him with the comfort of knowing someone was right there in case he needed help.

3. Through gifts. The entire retreat was paid for by the Bethlehem team. This included delicious meals and snacks, comfortable accommodations, fireside chats, lots of fun activities – swimming (brrr!), billiards, safaris, cheese tasting tours, boating, and fishing – and then giving each of us a stack of fresh reading material to build up our souls.

4. Through questions and prayers. It was apparent that the Bethlehem team sought out not just practical ways to bless and serve the AZ team, but they took advantage of moments to talk, listen, understand our lives, and then pray. They were moments of total giving – not seeking to be heard or having a platform to talk, just asking and listening and affirming and caring. They were sweet and life-giving.

Thank you, BBC (Steve, Liz, Jack, Tyler, Laurie, Sheryl, Monica, Lydia, Kate, and Kate!!!!), for giving, serving, teaching, and investing in us!! You loved us well.

The BBC and AZ Teams

The BBC and AZ Teams

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).

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.

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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!

Helping Charlie Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Holy Week is my favorite time of the year. On Palm Sunday in Zambia, the streets are flooded with groups of people from churches waving palm branches in the air as they make their way to church. Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis taught me what Maundy Thursday services were, which have become an incredibly meaningful occasion. And Easter Sunday has always been such an exciting, joyful day, filled with sunrise breakfasts, joyful singing, choirs, lilies, and (if I’m going to be honest) even colorful eggs and treat-filled-basket hunts.

Having very young kids means that we are at the special place of being able to create traditions that will shape how our kids remember Easter. With Charlie being almost 3, it seemed appropriate to begin tangibly showing him what “Easter” is all about. Thanks to Noël Piper’s idea in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Charlie and I made a play dough mountain and tomb. I couldn’t find pipe cleaners to make the people, so we used Duplo Lego people to recreate the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

Charlie is a typical toddler, so he liked the hands-on-ness of this project. He also got bored with it pretty quickly during the story times, but he always came back to it later. And after the resurrection, he really thought that someone or something ought to be in the tomb/cave with the stone over it. So, I kept finding different Lego people in there or a donkey or other animal in there. It provided a great opportunity to remind him that the cave is empty, because Jesus came out of it!

I think that, for the first year doing this, he really liked the activity and will look forward to doing this again in years to come.

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!!