Friday, October 30, 2009

First Impressions and Thoughts

In our traveling to different churches, many of you asked how it was for my first trip there, or how things were going. So I thought I would post this from my family blog, that I wrote just a few weeks after coming home in August. The Lord continues to stir our hearts and move us along and I am encouraged, but this is where I was at when we first got home.

August 15th, 2009
We have been home for a week and a half now, since our trip to Zambia. I thought I would write an update to let everyone know how things are going.

The honest answer is that it has been a very difficult 2 ½ weeks.

Our time in Zambia went very well in regard to everything we had set out to see and do. But so many realities were brought in front of us and that has been part of the difficulty. It is one thing to see a country and visit different places, but as soon as you head out to the place that you are planning to move to, everything changes.

Zambia is the 7th country that I have been to. So, I was not shocked to see life outside the USA or to catch a glimpse of poverty or the things that accompany a 3rd world.

I think the “shock” to me, was that in moving to Zambia, I will no longer be living in Kentucky in the good ole US of A. I will no longer be seeing dear friends that we know and love. That we live near and that are like family to us.

We will no longer be able to see our families regularly. Probably 2 whole years will go by, before we will be able to see most of them. Our kids with their cousins and grandparents and Aunts and Uncles.

We will not look out our windows as we drive around our town and see other people’s homes and businesses, rolling hills and green grass. Cows in the pasture and horses in their fields… We won’t sit on our front porch and look out and see what we can see now. ---We’ll look at concrete walls as we sit on our porch, or as we drive around town. Walls everywhere. That’s the life in the city, whether it is Lusaka or Ndola. That is how it is.

So as we came home last Tuesday, I was worn out emotionally, having not seen my kids for 12 days and then physically, not sleeping well and spiritually too. I really felt worn out, and some oppression from Satan. How he would love to keep us from ever even going to Africa. Let alone cause trouble there, how much more the “victory” if he could keep us from ever even leaving? So my heart and soul have been very heavy and sobered this past week.

I realized that my roots here, especially in KY go down really far and deep. Though we were out in Montana for 3 ½ years, the Louisville area is where we have been settled and have raised our family. This is home.

Sometime last week James asked me to list 3 things that are the hardest to think about in relation to Zambia. I told him, “We will not be here, we will not be here, we will not be here”. As I talked about how I was feeling briefly with Pastor Jim, he said, “you can see now why not many people go”.

I have been very thankful that several friends have been praying for me and us more specifically and that the Lord has been calming my heart and encouraging me again. It is hard when I have been feeling so much going on inside and am not quite sure exactly what it is or how to explain it. I think heavy hearted, sober and overwhelmed would be how to describe how I felt the last day in Lusaka and the first week home.

As I opened my weekly email that I receive from the Voice of the Martyrs, I was reminded of one of the reasons we are wanting to go and work in Africa.

The report was of another man in Eritrea ( country in Northern Africa) dying in prison after being captured and tortured for his faith in Christ. And just a few weeks ago in another country in North Africa, the report of 2 boys (ages somewhere between 8-12) being beheaded because their father was a Christian and they were trying to get to him.

What evil, awful things. But those who are doing such things are in need of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And our going to Zambia, and James helping in training men for the ministry could then have an impact upon these places, as these men are sent out into other countries.

So the Lord used that to remind me. It is easy to lose sight of things and focus on our losses and not on our gains, or on Christ or the people there.

The people we met, and in general, are all so very warm and kind hearted. We felt very welcomed in Zambia. It is such a huge blessing to be able to speak the same language and have several growing thriving churches there to fellowship with.

It will take time though. People are kind, but friendships are not formed instantly. And many times , easily either. Things there take a long time to do too. And though the city is more “western”, it is still Africa. Just an example… They had hot water which is a blessing, though hardly any water pressure and not really any “showers” just a handheld spiket which means just bathing takes longer than usual.

You can be 2 miles from something, or however many kilometers that is, (I need to learn the difference) and it takes 15 minutes to get there. Also, I found out that you can’t just “run into the grocery for something”. Getting there, parking, getting what you need, checking out and getting out of the shopping center takes a really long time. I think I have it down to a science, running into Kroger grabbing what I need and getting home, if I need to be quick.

These examples are not “problems”, but just things to get used to.

Pastor Kalifungwa was very kind in asking me how things were going one of the days I was there. He and his family are Zambian but they lived for a while in South Africa, and have been back for the last 3-4 years. He said that it is hard in the beginning, but then you begin to see why things are the way they are, then you get used to how things are, and then he said, you actually start to prefer them that way.

It was encouraging. Even now as I remember, I had emailed another American woman living there and she said that she likes it much better than in the states, though it took time, and that things are much slower pace and she feels like her family is much closer as a result.

The Lord brought those things to mind, as well as encouraging me in His Word, and through prayer before Him and being refreshed listening to songs of worship.

So Thursday I told James that I felt like I was ready to go again. I talked to a friend last night and was telling her the same thing and said that I know it is a direct answer to her prayers and others. We certainly felt the need to be lifted up before the throne of God. Which will only continue. It will not get easier, so we need that continual help and strength.
Thank you for remembering us.

And then this one was written in August also, a few days later...

I have been reading a book, picking it up a little here and there, titled "Heavenly Springs", by Andrew Bonar.

I brought it along with me to Zambia and the Lord used it to encourage me some, and then since I got home I have been reading it a little more.
It is a small book with 53 sections. ( one for each Lord's Day of the year) All about 2-3 pages each. It covers various topics and subjects and I have been very encouraged reading it. I thought I would share a few quotes from it. This post follows the other one on "How are we really doing?" So if you haven't read that one first, read it and come back to this so you can see the progression of heart and encouragements over the last few weeks...


"Why are Gideon and Barack spoken of for their faith - Barak who said, 'If Deborah does not go with me I will not go' - and Gideon who said, 'How shall I save Israel?'
Their faith gained strength as they went at the Lord's bidding."

"The Lord went before them by way in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way" (Exodus 13:21) Their past experience was not of great use to the Israelites in their journeyings. They needed always to consult God. If you think you will get through anything because you got through before, you will certainly fail. You must ask fresh counsel of God and consult with Him continually; and since the pillar-cloud and not your own experience is your guide, see that you make it so. Perhaps some Israelite, looking on the burning sands all around and thinking of the scorching heat, would say, 'What if this continue? What if that friend should die? What if the little ones be worn out? Let us follow the pillar-cloud and not trouble ourselves with 'ifs'. "

"Let the love of Christ take possesion of your heart, and you will find you are living for Him without an effort."

"We have but one thing to do, we have but one Person to please. Has your life been thus simplified?"

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