Tag Archives: CROSS Project

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.

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!) 

“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.



Driving to Pastor Njovu’s House (Video)

Below is another dash cam video of me and Pastor John Chitambo going to visit another CROSS Project Pastor at his home – Pastor Njovu. Pastor Njovu and his church finished going through the CROSS Project lessons back in December of 2013 and graduated.

Pastor Njovu lives in an area of Lusaka, known as Chazanga, which is on the North side of Lusaka right off Great North Road. It’s an area that is fast developing as more and more people come in from the rural areas outside of Lusaka to live in the city as worldwide urbanization marches forward. I chose the song, “Funkytown” by the band Lipps Inc. to be the background music. I thought it was appropriate in regards to so many people wanting to move to Lusaka, since this song is about how the band wants to move and has dreams of moving from Minneapolis to New York. Ouch, to those of us who call Minneapolis home! But after living through a few Minneapolis winters, I can also see why.

This video gives you an idea of what a developing area/township/compound of Lusaka looks like. Sorry for all the sun glare. If only this place didn’t have perfect sunny weather almost all year around!

Our Latest Prayer Requests

Thank you so much for praying for us as a family and for our ministry (The CROSS Project) here in Zambia. It’s been almost a year since I last updated the “Pray” tab of our blog! I hope to do better at updating this part of our blog in the future – because we really need your prayers! So, here are some things to fuel your prayer for us, the CROSS Project, and ACTION Zambia. 

-Please pray for us (the Dearths) as we make preparations for our Home Assignment Sep 4th, 2014 – Jan 15th, 2015. We’ll be speaking at multiple churches around the Midwest and seeing friends and supporters as well. 

-Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we finish up the CROSS Project Term 1 of 2014. The two churches that we are training right now have about a month to go before they graduate. 

-Pray that God would work mightily in hearts, minds, and actions as people think and pray about how should they respond as a Christian and glorify God in HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse in their lives, their families lives, churches, and communities. 

-Pray that we are able to find enough Nyanja Bibles for the graduates. Due to some poor planning, Zambia has run out of one of the main Zambian translations of the Bible (besides English), and the next printing may not be ready till this summer.

-Please continue to pray for strength, guidance, energy, and joy for Pastor John Chitambo and Counselor Eta Imasiku, our two national workers, as they minister alongside us in the CROSS Project and also provide for their families and serve in their churches. 

-Please pray for CROSS (Derek, Kristin, John and Eta), as we help out in counseling and with some medical assistance at a local feeding program in George Compound for 100 HIV-positive children. It’s run by a local church and its pastor, Wozifera Ngoma, and his wife, Easter, who are also on staff with ACTION Zambia Ministries. The feedings happen for lunch every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 

-Pray that God would pour out His grace on the Zambian Church and that it would glorify God in how it relates to HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse.

-Pray for unity, endurance, hope, and joy in Jesus for the ACTION Zambia team and sweet times in the Word each day. 

-We would really appreciate broad, general prayers for our entire ACTION Zambia Team as well as their ministries.

-Please continue to pray for more funds for CROSS, CROSS Graduation Bibles, and the George Feeding Program. 

Click here if you would like to donate to help get Bibles future CROSS Project graduations. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “Bibles.”

Click here if you would like to donate monthly  or one-time to the CROSS Project.

Click here if you would like to donate monthly or one-time to the George Compound Feeding Program. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “FTC George Feeding Program.”

Driving in the “Bush” (Video)

Below is a video of John Chitambo (CROSS Project national worker) and I driving out to Pastor Mwale’s house. He lives about a 30 minute drive outside of Lusaka. But with Lusaka traffic, and depending on how his road is, that can easily go up to an hour and a half to a two hour drive! Last year,  from August till early December, we (the CROSS Project team) drove this road once a week to teach out at his church.

As the video shows, once you get outside of Lusaka and off the main paved artery roads in Zambia, the roads quickly turn to dirt and are pretty rough.

No Country for Old Men

DSC02564Cemetery and funeral in Lusaka – July 28, 2005

Last week at one of the churches where we are teaching the CROSS Project, one of the ladies in the group was gone because she was at a funeral. I got thinking how this is such a “normal” occurrence here. Usually, every week at CROSS, someone or multiple people are gone because they’re attending a funeral. Because of this, I started to do a little unscientific survey of our National Workers/Missionaries and other Zambian staff about how many funerals they attend per month. The answer was at least one, for sure, but usually 2-4 per month, but sometimes 5 or more PER MONTH!

Why are people attending so many funerals here?

One, because African/Zambian culture is so much about relationships. There are huge expectations that you go to family/extended family and close friends’ funerals – you just have to go. Period. But even for neighbors that live 5 houses around your house, you also need to go to their funerals. Then, add in work and church, and that adds a whole other group of people that you will feel an obligation to.

Two, the cold, hard truth is that there are a lot of people dying in Zambia. Even when you take into consideration how important relationships are here and that Zambians have so much more pressure than Americans to go to funerals. There is just so much more death here, which means people have so many more funerals to attend than in the States. This is because of HIV/AIDS (Zambia is currently 6th highest in world at 13.5% of adults HIV+), malaria, TB, malnutrition, very poor health care, and lack of education about health care.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Zambia ranks 216 out of 223 for life expectancy at birth at only 51.51 years (but, generally, I hear 35 to 45 years on the ground here). Ranking 216, Zambia is a little higher than 217 – Somalia, 218 – Central African Republic, 219 – Afghanistan, 220 – Swaziland, 221 – Guinea-Bissau, 222- South Africa, and 223 – Chad at 49.07 years.

All this to say, there is a lot of death and suffering that goes on here. And this week, I have been reminded again how important the sin-and-death-saving Gospel of Jesus is and what we are doing here with our ministry area, the CROSS Project. May God shower this people with the hope of glory through Jesus Christ!

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 ESV