Category Archives: Missions

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!”

 

Triggers

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.

Latest Newsletter and Prayer Requests

(Sam playing at Papa and Nana’s house in MN)

Hi everyone,

Here (click here) is our latest newsletter, and below are some updated prayer requests. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that God would supply several more supporters to partner with us, as we seek to strengthen Christ’s Church. Click here to donate.
  • Pray for traveling mercies and fruitful connections, as we travel in Michigan and Indiana the next week and half and speak at two different churches.
  • Please pray for donations for our ACTION Zambia Discipleship classes. We have wonderful Zambian facilitators who spend significant time discipling aspiring church leaders to know and apply God’s Word. Would you consider giving to help this valuable ministry continue and flourish? Any amount is so appreciated! Click here to donate.
  • Please pray for donations for the Faith Tabernacle Church HIV Children’s Feeding Program. This is another extremely important ministry, which provides HIV positive children with nutritious meals, Gospel teaching, games, and basic education. Click here to donate and put “Faith Tabernacle” in the “Comments About this Donation” box.
  • AZ needs help! ACTION Zambia needs long-term couples/families to come and lead our Children in Crisis ministries; to train and disciple pastors in our Pastoral and Leadership Development (PLD) Department; and to help with maintenance and grounds management at Camp CiyanjanoPlease, contact Derek, if God may be leading in you that direction!
  • Please pray for us as a family, as well as for all the families of ACTION Zambia, that God would supply all of our physical and spiritual needs in Christ Jesus.

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!

Summer 2016 Newsletter

pacific

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.

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.

I Need Thee…Right Now!

IMG_0831 (1)

Life in Zambia. There are many adjectives that describe our life here. Adventurous. Crazy. Exhausting. Unique. Fulfilling. Amazing. Frustrating. But the one that describes us the most is needy.

During our first week back, Derek and I were reminded that we found ourselves praying so much more than we did during our time in the States. There is a lot about life here that feels precarious. We feel our helplessness and weakness so much, even in simple things.

I remember sitting in the kitchen, which is on one end of our house, and hearing Sam cry in his bed, which is on the opposite end of the house. My feet were throbbing, as I was still adjusting to walking on our tile floors. The rest of my body was exhausted from the heat, humidity, and jet lag. But whether my feet hurt or my body felt hot and tired, Sam was still hungry. And I found myself instinctively crying out to God for strength to walk across the house and care for Sam.

Derek said that he continually finds himself praying for help to drive and navigate the roads, which are dotted with potholes and pedestrians and all sorts of vehicle situations (slow-moving cars, having to slam on the brakes for cars pulling out onto the road too late, vehicles broken down in the middle of the road, cars with no brake lights, the occasional dangerously fast and reckless vehicles, etc – if you are sensing that driving here feels like being in a video game, you’re absolutely “spot on!”). Driving is a life-endangering experience here, and “praying without ceasing” is an appropriate and instinctive response.

I think God likes it more when we are in Zambia than in the States, because we feel our neediness for Him more here. We call out to God more for help here. We feel desperate and unable to bring about the kind of change we desire. Our joy, our souls, our children’s souls, the eternal happiness of Zambians, our team, and so many more things hang in the balance. So, we pray. And we are so incredibly thankful for your prayers as well, which sustain us to continue on here.