Category Archives: Life in Zambia

Change (and a huge thanks!…and photos)

We have now been back in the States for just over 3 months and have had time to process some of our big transition. 6 1/2 years in Zambia – that’s enough time to be changed…not to mention that our family doubled in size during that time, which brings its own kind of trauma change.

While we obviously pray that God used us to shape Zambia, we know that Zambia has shaped us. We are more understanding of and compassionate toward situations the poor are in. We are less fearful. We know a little of what being a minority means. We have been made stronger through the endurance it takes to live with 12-hour daily power outages, horrendous traffic situations, the inconsistency of food and fuel availability, and so much more. We are more wise about missions and the struggles missionaries face. We know the joy of seeing God bear fruit. We are more understanding of people’s struggles. You get the picture.

Leaving Zambia was not easy. In fact, it was the hardest decision we have made in our marriage. But being back in the States has shown us 2 important things: 1) we still love missions and feel called to strengthening, discipling, and reaching the global Church; and 2) it was the right decision to be based in the States at this time. Some of the situations that had happened in Zambia over the last few years took a greater toll on us than we realized, and we are beginning to feel more refreshed and energized for what God has in store for us.

It really is a major perk that, in leaving Zambia, we get to still be involved in missions with ACTION! Derek will be traveling quite a bit next year to various fields for strengthening, encouraging, teaching, and scouting. We are already praying that God will use our experiences in Zambia to benefit many more around the world. Feel free to pray with us for that!

There is more information about our family and this big change in our recent newsletter, which we would love for you to check out, if you haven’t already. And to add on to the abbreviated “thank you” in our latest newsletter, we really don’t know how to express how full our hearts are with thankfulness. Through the care, prayers, and generosity of so many, we were sent out to Zambia and sustained in ministry there. Unless you have experienced it, it is almost impossible to describe how much missions is a group effort. Although we were the hands that gave comfort to the suffering or the feet that walked with Zambians or the mouths that taught the hope of the gospel, we could not have done it without you!

And even though we are based in the States now, we are in the same situation. Without so many of you continuing to care, pray, and give, we could not continue to serve the nations. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This has been and continues to be such a humbling partnership, and we pray that God returns the blessing many times over. It is a joy to serve the nations with you.

Enjoy some pictures that we couldn’t fit in our newsletter!

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!”



This is Kristin. We will give more of an update soon on what we’re up to these days, including when we head back to Zambia (it’s getting close!). But for now, I want to share about a couple of triggers.

I have been reading in the Psalms lately, and there are two verses in particular that are always triggers of memories for me. In fact, I can’t read them without my heart beating faster, my fingers beginning to tremble, and vivid pictures from my past flashing through my mind. I don’t want to be overdramatic. I do, however, hope that this testimony of the power of God’s Word in real life situations will help you trust in Him more and find His Word to be living and active in your own life as well.

I lay down and slept;

I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. Psalm 3:5, ESV

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8, ESV

In 2005, I was back in Zambia for a few months. I had been reading the Psalms at that time as well, and I had just read through Psalms 3 and 4.

One night, I was awakened by the guard dogs barking outside my small cottage. (There was another big house on the property where a missionary family lived, and the property was surrounded by an 8-foot tall cinderblock wall with 3 feet of electric fence on top of that – surely, I was safe). As the dogs kept barking, my senses were on high alert. And then I thought I heard the front door handle squeak. My bedroom door, just off the small living room, was shut, but I definitely heard muffled noises out there. I barely breathed as I lied stiff as a board in my bed, praying that no one would come in my room. I knew things could likely get much worse if I tried to engage.

After what seemed like a long time, but was probably only 5 minutes, I was pretty sure the person/people left, but I did not want to take any chances. I was scared. Then God brought them to mind: “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” And then it happened. I went back to sleep. The dogs stopped barking. And I slept peacefully until my alarm went off, and I crept out into the living room to find my laptop gone, along with my running shoes, suitcase, the DVD player, and other odds and ends.

God sustained me that night. He gave me tangible peace in the midst of my circumstances.

Fast forward to 2016. I was home in Zambia with Charlie and Sam, and Derek was in the UK for meetings. My parents had arrived earlier that day to be with me while Derek was gone.

Derek and I often are awakened at night by our dog barking or our electric fence alarm going off (maybe from someone touching it, but maybe from a tree branch blowing in the wind). But this night, I was awakened by my phone ringing. 1am. Pre-Secure. Pre-Secure is our guard response service. They told me that someone notified them of an unknown car parked outside our gate. Did I know who it was? No. They informed me that they would take care of the problem. I heard what sounded like a couple gunshots. And my phone rang again. Pre-Secure wanted to tell me that the problem had been taken care of and that they would park outside our gate until morning.

I don’t know what happened outside my gate that night, but I do know what happened in my heart. God sustained me. He gave me the same peace I had felt in 2005. He helped me “both lie down and sleep” the rest of the night.

For as long as I live, I don’t know if I will ever read those verses without reliving those nights and remembering how God chased fear, anxiety, and sleeplessness away through His Word.

Some people have heard these stories and asked, “What keeps you doing missions?!” Well, the short answer is that God sustains us and continues to give us a passion to see the nations know the true gospel. And that makes it all worth it.