Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ndola Update

Please check out Katryn's blog for a detailed update on our work this past weekend in Ndola

Here are some pictures from our trip there.

All the kids

Joyce writing a letter
I got to spend a little more time with her this time and she is so sweet!

Pastor Jim with Daniel

Mark Chanski with Juliet and Bupe

Playing a game with the kids
(Graceann won)

Sunday School class

Getting Water

On Sunday I was at a school where the Hope for the Afflicted Sunday School classes meet. I had Grace with me so that pretty much meant I was standing outside the classroom with her on my back for the whole time. There was a water spicket and kids were coming there to collect water in their buckets.
A little boy no bigger than Jackson's size and age came over with his 2 jugs.
He was hanging back a bit waiting for the bigger kids to finish getting their water in either the buckets or just a drink.
When everyone else was finished he walked up and filled his jugs about half way and then started off with him.
He took a about 20 steps and then had to stop and put them down. Then he took about 20 more steps and stopped. I started "following him" out to my car and kept watching him. A group of older kids came over and started to hang around him and one boy picked up his jug and started drinking from it. The boy had already carried the jugs for many steps and stops and here this kid just walks up to get a drink. They were interested in my camera and were posing for it so I took a few pictures of the other kids and then told the one kid to stop drinking his water and to go over to get his own. he listened and headed off the other way.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Picture worth 1,000 dollars

Emma and her dear friend GraceAnn.

GraceAnn brought a matching outfit for Emma.
The shirt said "You are the peanut butter to my jelly".

Everyone arrived safely on Saturday and we spent the weekend in Ndola.
We had no internet access, but just arrived home today with Rick and Graceann.
Pastor Jim and Mark Chanski will be heading to Lusaka after the modules, at the end of the week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update on Wisdom

Wisdom had a better night last night. He kept food down and seemed to sleep better.
Thank you for all your prayers. I still have not heard the last results for the test, maybe tomorrow.
I gave Fanny some money to buy extra food for him yesterday and she said that he got excited when she added macaroni to the other necessary items.
It's the little things that we take for granted that are a big deal for others. We eat pasta at least once but often twice a week. And here it was a special treat for him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We have a boy we are sponsoring named Wisdom.
He is 14 yrs old and we just found out a couple weeks ago that he too is HIV positive. This was hard news for him and he did not quite understand it all. Last Thursday we had to take him back to the clinic for a complete blood tests and function of kidney and liver and CD4 count. That was a very difficult doctor appointment.
The last time he had been there he had heard the news along with his mother. (He is a single orphan whose father died very suddenly years ago). She herself is HIV positive and looks very sick. She has not been on medication partly due to "religious beliefs". If you take medicine than you are not trusting God to heal you and your faith is small and weak.

Here he is a couple months ago with his new sweater.

And in the Sunday School class

So Fanny and I took him in and then told him the doctor was going to take blood from his arm. He was not at all willing.
He became very nervous and as we tried to explain to him I think he became more fearful and scared.
I kept talking with him trying to get him to understand why they needed to and then he agreed. So the dr put the arm band on and was getting ready to draw the blood. He pulled his arm away, buried his head in his hands and between his knees and started crying very hard. It was so sad and so hard.
I started rubbing his leg and telling him its ok to be scared, and prayed and asked him again to let them take the blood. He halfheartedly started to let them and then as the dr came with the needle he started pulling away at which point I got up and went over and held his face in my arms in a hug and held his other arm away. Tears were coming down I kept saying its ok, you are doing great Wisdom, its ok...its ok to cry, it does hurt...

I think it might have been un-zambian to be embracing him holding his face with the tears coming down trying to draw his attention away from the needle. But I just thougt he needs comfort and what would I do if this was my child and then tried to do the same.

We left the office and were driving home I stopped at the gas station and said I had to run in and get something. I came out with an ice cream bar for him and a couple others that were with us and gave it to him first and said, "You did a good job today".

Monday he was feeling bad and so we took him in to see the doctor again. He prescribed some medicine and said that he thought it was malaria. Tuesday evening he started having a very high temperature and we had planned to take him in this morning. He was vomiting through out the night and the mother said hallucinating as well.
I picked him and his mother and Fanny up at their house.

Their house is a very tiny concrete block house with no electricity. You walk into the small living room and sit on the concrete floor. There is one room to the right that the mom and older daughter stay in and then the room to the left that the 3 boys stay in. No bed or mattress just a blanket on the concrete floor.

I walked in to the very dark house and saw Wisdom laying his head on Fanny's lap. He looked so sick.
We went to the clinic but unfortunately our doctor (Dr. Singogo) was not there. They did a blood test and ruled out malaria and said there is some type of bacterial infection. I asked for a meningitis test to be done.
Just this past week Enock's sister in law died. She was diagnosed as having malaria early on and it wasn't really malaria but meningitis, and by the time they realized that it was too late.
So this was fresh in my mind and when I heard some of his symptoms and know it is common here I wanted to make sure and get that tested. Tomorrow we should hear the results from that.

Unfortunately the doctor when he was talking to the boy's mother was quite rude. He started off by asking about whether the mom has been tested or not. I told him I wasn't sure but that he could ask her directly since she was right there sitting in front of him. To which he replied, "I don't speak their language!" I told him she speaks english. I later was explaining how we had been to another clinic earlier describing where it was located and asked if he knew. He shrugged and rudely stated, "I don't know anything about THEIR clinics". After the tests he said something, like so now do you believe me? I said about what and he referred to something earlier stated about the mom and I just replied I don't know, I wasn't there last night.
I was very offended at his manner of how he was treating Wisdom's mother and quite bluntly looking down upon her and assuming they knew nothing. Every time we have been there we have been treated well. It is more than a white skin black skin issue, but here it was a poverty/compound maybe even HIV issue and what they looked like on the outside.

He had to have blood taken again to get a complete count and check for malaria. He did great this time and didn't cry and I told him he was so brave! He is so afraid though and doesn't like going to any clinic now.

We definitely will not be going back to see this doctor though. I wanted to take him in because from what it was sounding like he was needing was to be on an IV to rehydrated him since I was told he didn't drink anything since monday. He certainly looked like he hadn't had anything. Though the mom too was not totally honest with us. Telling us that he had not had anything to eat or drink all day and then told the doctor that he had had porridge for breakfast and water to drink. As well as a few other "misstatements" which seem to be a pattern for her and her daughter. Also we have been told outright lies about big things and little things. Certainly makes it hard when you are just trying to get him better. The doctor said no he was ok and seemed to be fine hydration wise.

It was very frustrating as we just were trying to take a sick boy to the doctor to get better and both the doctor and the mother in their own ways were making it very difficult.

So please pray for him. We left the clinic with a bunch of medicine for him to take. We will be watching him carefully over the next few days. He looked very weak and sick when we left him with the medicine and Fanny was going to buy some extra food for them. Being HIV positive means he is susceptible to most any infection or sickness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Worth a hundred cows!

James and I were at Pastor Mbewe's daughters wedding this weekend. (you can read about the wedding and the day at Conrad's blog
At the reception we were sitting with 4 other men, all married, from church. I noticed that they all were there at the wedding without their wives. I commented on that to them and they laughed and said all their wives were at home for one reason or another. A few of them were driving for the wedding party. So some were there to "work".

Our friend Logan asked me what I have noticed as differences between weddings here and in America.
I started by telling him that no man would go to a wedding without his wife. :-)

Then I mentioned that typical weddings in the states are fairly short, you can go to the wedding be there and have a piece of cake afterwards and be home within an hour and a half. That was strikingly different as weddings here seem to be all day long celebrations and then a meal for the reception afterwards with no cake! (Though as party favors at this past wedding there were bites of cake in pretty bags)

We have only been to 2 weddings so far, and they do have a cake but it is only served to the families of the bride and groom. They ceremoniously dance over, kneel down and serve the cake ( hand it over) to the brides parents and then do the same for the grooms parents.

The other difference is the dancing. As the bridal party walks into the church and then again into the reception they dance down the aisle. Now since we have only been to 2 weddings and they were those in our church here, I can't say how the typical Zambian would dance in. I hear it is quite different. But this was a very nice respectable slow dance down the aisle. Not a wild frenzied thing. What better time to dance than when two people are joining their lives together in marriage.

The last major difference was that I was asked, "What about bridal price?"
A simple answer, Nothing. There is no bridal price. The guys were already seeming to like that (if that wasn't shocking enough) AND the bride's family pays for EVERYTHING!
Everything? Yes Everything!
James then said, "Welcome to America!" and then quickly said, " But I would have paid a hundred cows for her".

Here the men are to pay a price to start to ask if they can marry the woman. Then they discuss and agree on a bridal price. Then the man pays for the entire wedding and the bride's dress. Often this is more than he can pay and weddings are put off until enough money can be raised for the wedding. An average bridal price can be around 8 to 10 million kwachas. Though often it is spoken of it in terms of cows. 10 cows as a bridal price.

So my dear husband was willing to pay 100 cows for me. After thinking about it he changed his mind and on the way home he said not just a hundred but 1,000 cows. So really I would have been worth 1,000 cows!
THAT, my friends is true love...

Friday, September 17, 2010

NEW TERM Lusaka Ministerial College

Last week started the new term for the Lusaka Ministerial College
Here are a few pictures

Pastor Kalifungwa teaching

Pastor Issac Makishinyi

Student with new set of books

All the students were given a ESV Study Bible
And James invited our friend Steve Allen who is here teaching pastors and doing the same thing as James to come and teach the men how to use it.

(Here is a plug for his blog )
He and his wife Stephanie have been so kind to us in helping us transition into Zambian life. They have 5 girls, all similar ages as our kids and they all have fun together. We are very thankful for their friendship.

A few of our kids helping move the boxes of books.

All the books we received in the recent shipment.
We spent one night as a family counting all the books and checking that they all were there.
Some great books!


We started off the week in the hospital on Monday with Jackson. (Which also was my birthday!) Sunday night he woke up at midnight throwing up and did not stop until Tuesday afternoon. I have never seen a child so sick with a Stomach infection. Poor little guy. We went to the clinic on Monday morning and then were later admitted to the hospital. He was severely dehydrated and even after being on an IV for several hours things were not looking good.

Thankfully he has been feeling better and Tuesday evening about 7pm we left the hospital. The nurses actually remembered us from being there with Emma.

He has still not been back to normal though certainly much better. I took him today again just to be looked at by another friend.
He said he should drink 4 oz every hour to not only maintain fluids but be back to normal. For some reason he is not drinking much. We made popsicles last night so he had one of those, but it is not like I can go run and buy a box of them at the store. We have to make them.

So if you think of him please continue to pray for full recovery.
I too have been sick for about a week with sinus and sore throat, etc. I finally decided it wasn't going away and got an antibiotic today. So hopefully will be on the mend in a couple days!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome to Zambia / Welcome Home

Katryn Belke arrived safely this morning.
The girls and I went to pick her up at the airport.
Please thank the Lord for blessing her travels. The visa entry went smoothly and all her luggage arrived in tact.

We praise the Lord that he has provided another laborer for the Harvest!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back to the Clinic

Friday I met Fanny in Kabanana. We went to pay the school fees at two of the schools and then to pick up a few kids from different homes and take them to the clinic. As we were taking one girl, we said hello to her brother who was outside playing. We asked how he was doing and he said not good, he had a rash again all over his head, which looked like ringworm. So I said let's bring him too.

We had the follow up for the 8 yr old girl who we just found out was HIV positive. Her test results were good so for now she does not need to be on any medications, but to just try and increase a good diet. In 3 months she will need to go back for another test to check her levels.

The doctor then saw the boy and prescribed medicine for the infections and cream. Then he asked Fanny and I if he could do a blood test. We said yes that was fine, and so he did the HIV test. Then brought just us back in to the office to give us the results.
He was positive.

I think this caught us off guard because we were not even thinking it was anything other than a fungal infection. This boy is a teenager and so now we have to follow up on Monday with him and ask his mom to come to the doctor visit as well, in which point the doctor will then do further testing. This will be the first time he will hear the news along with his mother who also is positive and has AIDS.

It has been surprising though to hear in the compounds that even if a mother has it, and her child gets sick she does not necessarily think that it could be related.

In talking with the doctor who is aware of the orphan sponsorship program he suggested we bring all the kids in to get tested. And maybe do a routine exam in which the blood test will be taken as well. I think over the next few weeks and month we will try to bring all the children in.

Please pray for these children that are positive, the family members and the other children that will soon be tested.
There are other family members in the homes that very likely could also be positive.

It is a sad thought to think at the end of all the visits and testing, out of 11 kids, how many will be positive.
Please pray as well for wisdom as we deal with the children and their guardians, and emotional stability and Christlike love.

Diet of Worms

Martin Luther was brought before the Diet of Worms, and asked to recant his books and teachings.
This is where he famously said, "I can not, I will not recant. Here I stand!"
Many times we have explained to the kids this story, and that he was not actually eating Worms. That was the name of the place.

SO this morning with Breakfast we had our diet against worms.

Interesting trying to explain to the kids why we were taking the de-worming medicine. That then brought about a host of comments and funny and gross statements and questions about the whole thing at the breakfast table.
Sarah was discussing how they gave it to the horses when she worked with Kayla and how that was every 6 weeks and the end result, etc.. Emma told of how she ate an apple and then saw a worm crawling on it, and so maybe she has worms! She said it rather cheerfully.

I had to say, "ok" a few times, thankfully we were just eating muffins. The kids all took the medicine and we cheered on the little boys. Grace took hers easy and I think that motivated Caleb and so we gave the zambian cheer to him, singing and clapping, "Well done, well done such a good boy. Excellent, Give a clap, whoo ooo. Superstar".

Jackson took much longer taking tiny sips running back into the kitchen to tell me he had a sip. Finally I had to have him just down it and then we sang the song and cheered for him as he held up his little medicine cup high in the air.

Depending on who you talk to every 3 or 6 months it is recommended to take it and "clear out your system", just in case.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prosperity Gospel

The prosperity "gospel" is believed by many here in Zambia.
Sadly, their role models are often those from America and the television brings these false teachers even into their own home.
(Think Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagan, in the line of the Tammy Faye Bakers, etc.
Touch the screen and you will receive healing, only after you of course send your money in to me. ) It truly is sickening.

This is one of the very reasons that good pastoral training is needed here.
Many are deceived, confused and at best untaught. At worse, unconverted and they are out to get money and wealth for themselves and teach this to their congregations to achieve that. They use the name of Jesus to get what they want and throw in as many "Hallelujahs, Amens, Yes, preach it brother etc. ".

James was invited a couple weeks ago to preach at a "revival" service that was held in one of the churches of his student at Lusaka Ministerial College. The service was pretty much an all day event, and so we came in about an hour before he was scheduled to preach thinking maybe we would be there for singing and leading up to the sermon.

Well it was more like a tag team or relay "preaching". We walked in as one man was finishing up. A lady took our bibles and my purse to carry in for us. They meet in a school classroom as is very common for churches here, and the windows were all boarded up and it was very dark inside. It took a little bit to adjust to the light before I could see everyone around us. There was maybe 50 people. Zambians like their sound systems and microphones and amplifiers. It doesn't matter if the group is small, if you have any of those things you use them and crank it up!

We sang one song and were introduced as "very good friends". Then the next man was called upon to "preach".
We have been in a couple pentecostal churches here, but this one is the first time I have so clearly heard the prosperity talk.
The belief that God wants to bless you with Wealth and Health and Opportunities to advance your name and place in this world.
So unlike the Jesus we serve who came to die and serve others and humble himself for our sake.

The man stood up to preach and asked to move the pulpit. Then they moved flowerpots out of the way as well.
He was given about 30 minutes, and the entire time he was yelling into the microphone and moving all over the place.
"We need to get into our position" for God to bless us.
"The doors are not yet open".
Then every few minutes he would say, "Am I communicating?"
At one point he said that he realized a black and white tv was not good enough for him because he is a child of the king!
He said "we shouldn't have to meet in a classroom, you deserve better and should be in a better situation. The early church didn't have to suffer like this, they had faith. "

Here is a short video clip.

prosperity gospel from megan Williamson on Vimeo.

The ladies will run up to the "man" and shine his shoes or wipe the sweat off his face in the middle of the service. Especially when they are hyped up to a certain level.
It was so awful the things he was saying and so wrong. As we sat and listened, I started praying for James. I knew he had to preach the Word, and I was starting to get nervous for him.

As soon as it was his turn, someone came and carried his bible up for him. He then stood up and said, "I have a Word from the Lord for you" To which there were many cheers and Amens! He then opened up The Word and turned to the passage in Hebrews and preached about Moses and Jesus choosing to live a life of suffering. As he was referring to Moses he explained that he had everything and was living in Pharoah's house with all the treasures of the world, and he laid it aside. (Hebrews 11 )
Then he spoke of Jesus, who left the glory of Heaven and came down to suffer and sacrifice for us. He had no where to lay his head.
Then he said there is a FALSE teaching out there that says, "God wants you to be rich, to be successful, to always have good health and never suffer..." he continued on. At each point there were many "yes" and "amens". He got to the end of the list and once again said, "This is a FALSE teaching". It suddenly got much quieter in there as he continued on.
The Lord blessed the preaching as he sought to be faithful to God's Word and try and teach the people the error of the prosperity teaching.

Please pray for the people that heard the message.

The student that is in James class in Lusaka was evidently different in his preaching, but still not good, he seemed confused in his preaching which we heard after this man. He was pointing people to Christ, but it seemed like the difference was you have to be truly saved and trusting only in Christ and living for Christ, ...then the Lord will bless you as you are first seeking the kingdom. And by blessing you he was referring to some of the same "types" of blessings. (Money, status, health

Just this week though James was at the family conference and spoke with a man he knows named Marshall who is a pastor in the Copperbelt. He started attending the Copperbelt Ministerial College the first year it started. As James was explaining the situation where he had just been preaching, Marshall told him "Yes, that is what I used to be like too, except it was worse! "
It was shocking at first but then inspiring James said because to see the change God has done in him.

Then he talked about when he first came to the college, he was all proud that he was "Reverend" Marshall. They really like the titles here. (whether its Rev. or Bishop or Apostle...) The Reverend has his bible carried for him, his shoes shined, his face wiped off..
Pastor Jim Savastio was preaching on the Call and Character of the man of God. He said that we should not want all these titles or be seeking a name for ourselves. Marshall said that when he heard that he started discretely pulling his name tag out. That had the title, "Reverend".
From that point on things started changing in his life and ministry. He had 200 people in their church and went down to 15 committed people and now have 30 and are building back up.

Here is a picture of him at his church.
The concrete blocks are his "pulpit".