Tag Archives: Zambia

There and Back Again in 39 Days

Sorry (again) for our lack of posting any blogs lately. Our July and early August have flow by (literally) as we made our way back to the States and Canada and back to Zambia again in 39 days. God was so gracious to us and to our boys with all the travel! We were really worried how the boys would do and how we, as parents, would do. It seemed pretty crazy to take a three year old and a 9 month old on a 24,676 mile (just flight miles, not including driving miles!), 39 day trip to North America and back again. But they did so well on the flights, minus one incident on the way back to Zambia that we’ll share about in a later blog, and they really enjoyed seeing all the friends and family that we got to spend some time with.

Our primary reason for heading back to North America for the month of July and early August was for me (Derek) to attend the International Council Meetings for Action International Ministries that I need to attend since becoming the ACTION Zambia Country Director this past February. Those meetings went really well, and I enjoyed the fellowship with the other country directors and some of the members of their country boards.

Right after the IC meetings concluded, the ACTION 40th Jubilee Celebrations kicked off. We really enjoyed the rest of the Jubilee celebration time as well. The worship times, fellowship, and conference speakers and subjects were a blessing to us. I think the biggest highlight for us, as far as the Jubilee, was just spending time with other ACTION folks and hearing their stories and experiences and what God is doing in their part of the world.

We are very thankful to God for ACTION and to be a part of it. We are typically not an organization that gets together that often (like, never) worldwide, so it was a real blessing to celebrate God’s faithfulness these past 40 years to ACTION with almost 200 other ACTION missionaries from around the world!

After our 11 days in Canada, we headed back to the USA and took a few weeks to see family and friends. This time was crazy busy, but we really enjoyed spending time and connecting with everyone.

Below are some pictures of our time. Thanks so much for praying for us and for all your love and support!


Our January – March 2015 Newsletter

IMG_0821 Happy Spring from Zambia! Here is our First Quarter 2015 newsletter (click here). Some of the highlights from this newsletter include:

  •  A summary of how our first three months back in Zambia have been going
  • Our quick trip back to the States and Canada this summer
  • Derek’s changing role from CROSS Project Coordinator to ACTION Zambia Country Director
  • Prayer request for a one-time $5,000 need

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support!

What Do Zambians Talk to Me the Most About?

IMG_1758What do Zambians talk to me the most about? That’s a good question, and the answer will probably surprise you.

You might think it’s the gospel or HIV/AIDS or why I live in Zambia or where I come from or that I’m mzungu (white person) or what I believe about such and such or how do I like being the new AZ Country Director. Well, I do talk to Zambians a lot about those things, but that’s not what they broach with me the most.

Apparently, I’ve found out, I must be one of the very few people in this country that uses the air conditioning in my car. Wait, you say, what does that have to do with talking. Well, when you use your air conditioner in a hot climate, condensation builds up on the a/c unit and drips down onto the ground.

This has been extremely perplexing and worrying to so many people. Whenever I’m waiting in my car to pick up John Chitambo for the CROSS Project HIV/AIDS ministry, at least once a week, if not more, someone knocks on my window to let me know that, “Sir (panic in their voice), there is some kind of water leaking from your vehicle!” Even the other day at a stop light, the guy behind me, who was in a suit, ran up, knocked on my window to inform me that water was leaking from my vehicle and that I should pull over as soon as possible. I tried to explain that it was ok, but I don’t think he believed me.

So, as much as I give a defense for the gospel in Zambia, especially in the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, I also, at least weekly, give a defense about my air conditioning to someone who is very worried about why my vehicle is leaking water.

10 Facts About Hunger in Zambia

IMG_1952Here are ten facts that shed light on the hunger situation in Zambia. Taken from allAfrica – click here.

1. 60 percent of people in Zambia live below the poverty line and 42 percent are considered to be extremely poor.

2. The prevalence of HIV among adults is 14.3 percent.

3. The number of HIV/AIDS orphans is estimated at 1.5 million which means that 1 in 5 children in the country is an orphan.

4. The prevalence of stunting in children – low growth for age – is 40 percent.

5. The prevalence of anemia is 53 percent among children under five years of age and 30 percent among women of child-bearing age.

6. 15 percent of children in Zambia are underweight.

7. More than 350,000 people in the country are food insecure, i.e. they do not have access to a regular supply of healthy food.

8. The mortality rate among under-fives is 75/1000 live births (a decline in recent years but still high in rural areas).

9. The infant mortality rate is 45/1000 live births (a decline in recent years but still high in rural areas).

10. In both rural and urban households, poverty levels are highest amongst female-headed households with extreme poverty levels of more than 60 percent in rural areas and 15 percent in urban areas.

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.

Pastors Charge in Exchange for Prayers

Below is an article from the Times of Zambia from about a month ago. Articles like this always make me really frustrated. But they also spur me on to do the kind of ministry that ACTION Zambia feels called by God to do. That is, strengthen the local church here in Zambia through – Pastoral Leadership Development/ACTION Pastor’s College; The CROSS Project – Churches, Ready to Overcome, Silence and Stigma in HIV/AIDS (which we coordinate); and Ciyanjano Christian Campgrounds, which ACTION Zambia owns and operates that caters as a facility to be used by and minister to the urban poor and their churches.

By JOSEPH BANDA  – Times of Zambia

“EVANGELICAL Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) has condemned the culture of monetary charges by some pastors in exchange for prayers. EFZ executive director Pukuta Mwanza said it was sad that the trend by some clergymen to charge people for prayers had been growing and should be denounced. He was responding to reports that as 2013 came to an end four weeks ago, some clergymen went on rampage swindling people who attended their services in the hope of receiving blessings for 2014. Some churches had called for overnight prayers were they charged unsuspecting worshippers, sending away those who could not pay K30 and K50 for children and adults, respectively.
Reveverend Mwanza said there was no credible man of God who could charge people for prayers, miracles or blessings. “The Bible tells us that those who have freely received should freely give,” he said. He said that God’s work was not for sale and that there should be no form of payment wherever God’s Word was shared. Rev Mwanza said that since the trend had been growing, members of the public should report such pastors to EFZ who would in turn discipline its affiliates.

He said EFZ had a code of conduct by which all pastors registered with the institution were bound and anyone or the Church found wanting would be dealt with through an internal mechanism.”

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