Sunday, December 26, 2010

Zambia Year end update

James's update

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas from Zambia! We thank the Lord for the privilege of serving him in Lusaka, Zambia, and for the blessing of having so many friends and family prayerfully supporting the work here. The various works are going on well, which has caused us to rejoice in God’s great kindness to us.
Since there is so much to cover, I thought I would give you a brief summary, and then attach a more detailed newsletter. So, the summary is as follows:

-The Lord provided for us to start a new college in Lusaka for local pastors in poorer areas. It’s called Lusaka Ministerial College
-The college in the Copperbelt grew in attendance to about 35 students, and the Lord has provided money for us to build hostels for when the students come for training
-The Lord opened the door to start a new orphan ministry work in a shanty town area of Lusaka called Kabanana. Presently, we have 11 kids being supported there, and hope to have 10-15 more over the coming year.
-The Lord led us to a little girl who needed a home, and we have now adopted her by His grace.
-The Lord upheld us all year long through various difficulties of adjusting to life here, starting to learn the culture, and dealing with scary sickness like Malaria.
-The Lord answered many prayers along the way for help to make it, comfort for homesickness, and provision for the work,

-to complete the building project for the college in the Copperbelt by mid-year and see the students begin staying there
-to build a ministry center for at least one of the two orphan ministry projects in Ndola or here in Kabanana
-to celebrate the first graduating class of Copperbelt Ministerial College after four years of module courses!
-to get all of our audio/video courses and notes from the last few years online and accessible for free, and available cheaply in printed form for distribution here in Africa
-to add two additional church planters whom we will be supporting starting this January, and hopefully a third by the end of the year
-to add at least 10-15 kids here in Kabanana to the orphan sponsorship program—and others as the Lord provides
-to develop a much closer relationship with the kids under our care, so that their spiritual, physical and emotional needs are more fully met
-to get to know the lives, families and churches of our current students in Lusaka and, Lord willing, mentor them in their growth in Christ

Many of you have asked about specific ways in which you can contribute to the work. Here are a few ways you can contribute directly to something and receive feedback on the gift you have given.

Monthly orphan sponsorship: $35 per month to provide for the food, clothing, and school fees for a child
Monthly ministry student sponsorship: $75 per month to provide a scholarship for a pastor training with us; this amount includes his books for each term.
Yearly church planter support: $6000/year if you (as a church or individual) want to support a church planter.
One time gift: $200 to buy a Kindle and load it with books for a pastor
One time gift: $25,000 to pay for the basic construction costs of a ministry center and/or a small church in the needy areas of Zambia

You can reply in email or contact the deacons of our home church (RBC Louisville) for more information on these things.

-Our spiritual health. It is taxing laboring in a new and foreign context, and juggling a LOT of responsibilities. It is not just a cliché to say we need prayer to stay close to Christ. Everything else is secondary to our relationship to Him, so pray it is strong and growing.
-Insight for effective ministry. Pray we have wisdom to discern legitimate needs and to minister to the orphans and pastors with whom we work in a way that connects with them and does the most good with the resources our gracious God has entrusted to us.
-Pray for the children we’re sponsoring—especially pray for a lasting spiritual impact and that like our Savior they would grow “in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
-Pray for our pastors -Some of our pastors are paying a price for preaching the “new” things they’re hearing at our school, instead of feeding the people with the deadly prosperity gospel they get on TV. Others are rarely paid for their labors and need help to put food on the table. Remember these students before the Lord our Provider.

I was reading E.M. Bounds on prayer the other day (a very challenging and convicting book!). He had this to say regarding how we look at our lives, and the passing of time:
“Men and women, ‘we must hurry.’ That was the great word of William Chalmers Burns in Scotland as he thought of the shortness of time. Buy up the opportunities of the week that lies ahead. It will never return.”
This is so true. Money may return, healthy may return, but time? It never returns. It is always passing. May we redeem these precious weeks and hours in living close to Christ, and carrying out His works in a world that is quickly passing away.

Grace to you in Christ Jesus,

James and Megan Williamson

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Visit to Grace's Orphanage

We went this morning back to Grace's orphanage to give the kids cookies and play with them a few minutes.
Since we have been there last one more little girl is getting a home. There currently are 18 children.

The whole family came including Grace. We were not sure how she would do, but she did great. It seemed as if she didn't even recognize the place. Possibly since she had just shifted and was only at this orphanage for about 2 months before we got her.
But she was fine and even talked to a few of the little ones and looked at books too.

After we passed out the cookies we asked to read the books to the kids. Thankfully they were still there and they took out a pile and we read books to the kids. They seemed very happy when the books came out.

Grace is standing behind me just watching the kids.
She was one of these kids just a few short months ago, now she has a family. Amazing.

When Grace moved up to this new orphanage she moved with 4 other kids. One other girl was adopted the same time as her and then one boy moved to the SOS Village which has group homes for the children and the other 2 remain.
Here is a picture of Grace and the 2 boys that have remained without a home. Mattiliso is on my lap, and is a sweetie and then Gabriel is the other boy, also a sweet little one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Life is a vapor

Please pray for the Peter Banda Family
One of their girls was hit by a car today and died right there on the spot.

Here is a picture to go with the names. (I don't know which girl in the picture)

Peter is a student of James's at the Lusaka Ministerial College.

James just read today that after HIV/AIDS and Malaria, the next most common cause of death in Zambia is from such traffic accidents with pedestrians. It is so very sad.

I know this dear family would appreciate your prayers. Thank you.

Ian's Song

This is for Robert Elliot and his buddies.

Ian's Song from megan Williamson on Vimeo.

Ian wrote this song this year and sang it for Pastor Elliot when he was here and Robert wanted his friends to hear it.


Thursday we celebrated Christmas with our Kabanana Kids.
It was a fun party. We met at Fanny's home and had a similar program. We feel even closer to these kids and like they are "ours" since we have started this ministry and the work with the kids.

It is exciting and so fun to see others receive gifts, as one boy put it, "like we have never received before".
Fanny said this christmas is unlike any other that they have had.

Sobering to think that a ziploc bag filled with some basics such as deodorant, ( which the kids didn't know how to use, or even what it was), toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens, notebooks, t-shirts, hats, books, and a few piece of costume jewelry --that these items make it a christmas unlike any other. Every day items that we get our kids throughout the year and without even them asking us... and essentially what we were hearing is that this is the best christmas ever! hmm..something to think about.

Here are some pictures. (unfortunately 2 kids were not there, similar to the party in Kawama a few kids were not there.--We have asked to get pictures when they are given the gifts and we will pass those along individually to their sponsors)

Singing with the kids

I brought along a book, "Frosty the Snowman" to read to the kids and first had to explain what snow is!

The goodies

Eating snacks



DAKA family


Felix (Chola)

Wisdom Tembo

with brother Morgan

Memory Tembo with her baby

Nathan Tembo

Francis Mbare
This boy is one of the sweetest. He had written his sponsors and asked for a bible. When asked what the favorite thing in his bag was, he replied his BIBLE. now he has his very OWN bible.
He wants to be a preacher when he grows up.

Christian holding his picture of sponsors
We have never seen him smile as much as he did today. It was so nice.
(we now know it is in him!)


All the kids were so happy. Thank you to their sponsors for taking the time to fill the bags and give them gifts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas in Kawama

The children were very excited with their gifts. They had christmas cookies and Katryn gave a short devotional on all good gifts coming from God.

The kids all clapped for each other as they came forward when their names were called to receive their gifts.

They opened their bags, took everything out. Organized and put things back in then showed their friends and a few minutes later did the same thing over again.
It seemed like the kids were genuinely happy and thankful with what they received and the other kids were happy for each other and the things that were given.

They wrote thank you notes to their sponsors then we sang a song and ended in prayer and a picture of them with their new things.

It was a blessing to be delivering these gifts and be a little part of their lives and for them to see God's goodness to them.

Here are some pictures and video from the day.

Untitled from megan Williamson on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All standing in line for bread

Besides being stared at a lot more than normal since there are not as many white in Ndola as Lusaka, 2 interesting things happened this morning while we were at Shoprite. All standing in the bread line.

First, we went to buy bread and there was no bread. That in itself I think is interesting enough. This happened last time I was here and wanted to buy a loaf of bread. I guess they can't make the loaves fast enough. There was a line of about 20 people waiting so I asked one if this was the line for bread. She replied something in Bemba so I asked Maureen if she could ask her again and tell me what she said. yes.

Then the woman asked Maureen whose baby Grace was. (which happens a lot when we are out) she replied that it was mine and then the woman told Maureen, well I have a baby at home and she can adopt her if she wants so she gets a better education. They laughed about it. I thought it was pretty sad that a mother would even make a joke about that.

The other thing, just a few minutes later, the security guard came up to me and said hi I am security for shoprite.
I thought oh no, again? am I going to be asked to leave shoprite, or did something happen to the car outside?
Then he asked if my daughter took a bottle of Mosi and was trying to ( either steal it, or buy it). Mosi is beer. I looked at Grace and Katryn standing next to me and then several other people all came up and were talking in Bemba.
I replied, "no this is my daughter ( pointing to Grace) she is 2. She did not take any beer! "

Very strange. Apparently another white woman with a teenage black daughter either took a beer or tried to or something. I am not sure, but confusing and weird nonetheless. I guess the guy was thinking I was the only white woman in the store at the time, so why not question me and little Grace!

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Ndola

We arrived safely in Ndola.
We made good time and Grace did great in the car and we were not stopped at any of the police checks.
The Lord has His own ways of answering our prayers sometimes. It rained about 2 and a half of the 4 hour drive. This made for tense driving for me, but no police man was even standing out in the rain at the check points.
So that was a blessing. Grace hardly even made a noise in the car and slept part of the time as well.
( I think she might have been scared or confused as to why we were going for a long drive and where were all the other kids?)

We got here around noon, got some lunch and then checked in our lodge and went to see Pastor Kabwe. We are currently trying to work out the relationship with the church here, whose ministry it is to care for the orphans, but at the same time realizing that all the funding is coming from churches in the states that we represent. So this becomes a little confusing and stressful at times, since we also are seeking to report back to the individuals writing letters to these kids and sending christmas gifts. We want an open flow of communication between Ndola church and us and us and the states.

We have a meeting this evening with the members of the church that are part of the Hope for the Afflicted ministry.
Please pray that the meeting will go well and everything will be brought together so we can move forward in helping the kids.

We went to one of the kids homes yesterday, whose mom is Sharon a lady that doesn't go to the church but has helped with the kids in the past. She misunderstood what I had said when I told her we were coming and had called all the kids together. They were not all there at that point but they had been waiting for us for awhile and when we arrived we didn't know what to say to them. We had set up the christmas party for saturday and so other than asking them a few questions and singing a few songs, that was all we did with them. After they were dismissed we hung outside briefly and tried to talk to some of them. The language barrier is a big difficulty and even kids in 6th grade can't answer basic questions or know what we are saying, though they are learning english at school. It was discouraging that very few of these kids are actually attending Sunday School class anymore.

This morning we met Lister, a woman from the church who is part of the HFA ministry and has helped the kids on a routine basis. We are thinking through hiring her through the church to work full-time visiting the kids and being responsible for what is going on with them. We recently hired Maureen to do this in Kabanana and here there are twice as many kids that are being ministered to. So we will see how that all works out.

We started out visiting the Kombe girls. They are 3 sisters 2 of which are HIV positive. We just wanted to check on how things were going. Lister used to be a nurse and is a big help in that regard. She looked over their medicines and asked about recent illnesses. We then found out that Prescovia has had TB several times and asked when her most recent chest x ray was done. Routinely they are performed every year to keep a watch. She has not had one since 2008 so we wanted to check on that.
Joyce has not ever had one, at least that anyone could remember.
At that point Kat and I looked at each other and said, ok. that's what we are doing today.
So after we talked with the auntie we asked if we could take them both to go and get the x-rays done. She agreed, a bit hesitant though.

Since Prescovia is older, she attends another clinic for her check ups and to receive her ARVS. It is on the base of the army barracks. We arrived there and I started to pull in. The guard stopped us and said we had to park over there and pointed to an area. We drove back and parked and then he came over and said we could not go in. Based on our white skin, ( foreigners he assumed) we were not allowed. Lister, Maureen and Prescovia left and we waited in the car. he tried to talk to me for a little bit and said it is the same thing if he were in America he would not be allowed to come onto the military barracks there.

So he left and came back with another man who looked even more official and dressed in cam. he told us that we could not even wait there in the parked area and that we had to leave and they would contact us when we were done.
Strange but we left and drove across the street with Joyce and went to the bakery and got a cake and juice for everyone for a snack.
She hid it under the table and ate little bites and drank her juice. Grace sat next to her, taking big bites and smearing it all over her own face and hands.

They called us shortly and we headed back to pick them up. We parked where we were, they started to get in the car and the guard came over and said, "I want your contact number". I replied, "no" and quickly finished getting Grace in her car seat. He then said, "yes, like brother and sister". again I said no I am married and he said, "I want an American contact". Sorry I said and closed the door and he started walking away as I drove away.

When that situation cleared I asked how it went and Lister said they would not do the XRAY because they had to have a family member with them, so they scheduled an appointment for Tuesday and Lister will accompany her there.

We then headed to Joyce's clinic. We got there and they waited on the bench in the queue. As I stood outside with Grace on my back trying to keep her quiet, I noticed the sign. The clinic was made by funds from the US people and the government. Interesting. As I looked around inside I saw more USAID signs and thought this was pretty neat to actually be at a clinic that was started and maybe still funded by the USA.

Lister came out a little bit later with Joyce saying that they would not give her an xray. The dr. would not authorize one because unless there were signs of TB or coughing sickness they don't order them. Lister had appealed and spoke to the doctor and the nurse and they still said no. So when she came out ready to leave I asked to go back with her and speak to the doctor. He listened and said that they don't routinely do them. I told him I understand that, but we want to get one done to see if everything is ok. Lister had even told him that her sister has had TB several times and she has been in close contact with the disease, but that didn't help.
When he was talking to me, he said a few more things and then asked well who is going to read the xray? Are you? Because he was not officially "ordering it" he did not want to read it. So I said, yes. Thinking I could look if something was on the XRAY having just recently gotten one for Grace and it was clear, or at least taking the responsibility to find a doctor that would. So he wrote the form and sent us on our way.

As we were walking out Lister commented, well you got it. I told her yes I was praying as we were walking in to see him. But also I was counting how many signs and even stickers on equipment that said, "USAID". I was prepared to say, "I see you have gotten a lot of USAID, well I am from the US and I want to see the benefit of some Aid right now! "

We then walked over to the hospital and she got the xray and we had to wait for quite while.

As we were waiting in the hallway, 2 women came around the corner Wailing, one falling to the ground in wails. Immediately I knew a child died and they must have just found out. That sound was only the sound of hearing news of death, I just knew. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart immediately became heavy. Death. It is all around us.

We were able to find a doctor to read the results but that in itself caused some trouble. There was a line and we just went in to ask if he would be able to read the xray which then made it look like we were cutting in line because I am white. The nurse told us to wait here and she would see the doctor. So then in effect we did cut the line even though we had not intended to. A man sitting next to Kat in the line commented on how unfair that was… he was right. It did look unfair and probably was, though that is not what I intended, or had planned. We were just asking if he could read it and I expected to go back in line.

So problems at both clinics related to race. (sigh)

Joyce's xray looked fine which was good news, though she had a cold and he gave medicine for that.
We took the girls home and then came back to get lunch and rest until the meeting this evening.
We talked about plans and what to say yesterday but today Kat made a plan and she did most of the talking which was great. I was feeling a bit stressed and discouraged and worn out!

The meeting went well, and we were able to discuss what it is we would like to see, which is more communication on what is going on here so that we can better tell the folks back home who are supporting and praying and writing letters to these kids. They saw in themselves the failure to spend time visiting the kids and that they needed a field worker. One who had the time and could do that as their job. This was a blessing because we had already been talking to the Pastor and Lister about taking on this role. So, I think we can move forward with that.

We have the christmas party for the kids tomorrow and we will meet at the church building. We are praying the Lord will bless that time and they will see the blessing that God is giving to them even in these material gifts.
Thank you for your prayers for us and for the kids this weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today we spent most of the day downtown trying to get a few things accomplished.
We often feel it is like a vortex. You never can just run downtown for one thing and expect to be done and in and out in no time. Knowing this, some days I handle it better than others.

Today was stressful though not as frustrating as last Tuesday when we set out to do 6 things and came home only having accomplished two and having run into several people at their jobs who simply did not want to help and had a bad attitude about it. The last stop last week was to the registrar to get Grace's birth certificate. That was the straw that broke the camels back and I was very upset and aggravated. James had gone once and was told we needed passport photos and so when I returned a week later with the same forms and the photos, she pilfered through the papers and then said, I didn't have a consent form from the orphanage and I needed to come back. I explained that the adoption was already completed and we just needed to get the birth certificate, no she said and then pretty much while I was still asking questions and telling her that social welfare completed all the papers needed, she turned away from me and started talking to someone else. That made me mad! I left in a hurry and for some reason this was more frustrating than any of the other things. I try to take it all in stride, knowing this is often how things are, but it got to me more that day. Who knows if she was waiting for a bribe as well.

Interesting enough I passed this sign today, Say NO to corruption. Anti-corruption day.

Last week, the customs lady at the post office, when we had already waited almost an hour for them to come to work since they were late, when asked to please help and get the other package said, "I will not be pushed to do this job!". This was after she mentioned to Kat that she was looking for a birthday present for her son. ( which also was conveniently said after kat opened her package and she saw there were some toys in there for the orphans. )

Today though, James accompanied me downtown. First attempt at the post office, I arrived at 12:15 and since they closed at 12:30 the one lady was retrieving the package numbers and customs counter closed to take their hour and a half lunch.
She came back and said I would have to come back at 2, since it was now lunch. ( even tho I had arrived before they closed)
We ended up staying downtown doing other errands and came back at 3:10. I was there until 4:00 at which point the customs lady had finished with her part and started closing and locking her counter while I was still waiting for the post office side of things. Time to get ready to go home.

Since I was waiting for some time, I started looking outside at the people and the pouring down rain. I had my phone and took some pictures of what was going on outside.

(and I apologize for the fuzziness but it is better than no picture)

Man with pink shower cap emptying boot.

A few of the street boys made their own foot bridge going over the huge puddles of water. The one boy was shouting out 500 pin. That's how much he charged to use his "bridge" ( about 15 cents)
It was very interesting to watch. Many people walked on it and got to the other side and paid. Some people used it and took off and did not pay. Other people would come up to it, thinking it was a good way to cross over and then upon hearing the charge would turn and look for another path. One lady even walked almost all the way across then found out she had to pay and walked back to where she had come from.

You can see the concrete blocks in the picture, and the boy in the green coat is collecting the money. He would follow the person back and forth whichever way they were coming from to get their money.
Sadly as I was watching him, he took out his plastic water bottle and was sniffing that, which is what they used to hold the glue and other substances that these street kids they get high on.

These people here decided to go ahead and walk through the water.

All day long we were in bumper to bumper traffic.
Now I need to clarify for my friends back in America. Bumper to bumper traffic means something totally different here.
It basically is every man for himself when you come to the intersections downtown where there is no roundabout or robot ( which is what stoplights are called). Every car tries to get their bumper in first and you end up with cars every which way and no one moving because of it. it happened at least 3 or 4 times today.
Just look at this picture....
We were going straightaway and the cars crossing where all wanting to get in as well. Everyone got stuck and then had to back up or wait for the other one to move a tiny bit so you could move up or back so traffic could flow again.

Heading home, one of the main roundabouts was at a standstill which then had every road entering into the roundabout at a standstill for quite some time. James looked over at the 2 lane road we were on ( with a filter lane to merge into it) and there were 5 lanes of traffic going one way. 5 ! no wonder when we came up to the roundabout we were at a standstill.
This mini bus driver ( and they are notorious for their driving) cut in front of us, interesting sign on his bus. Not quite matching up with his driving.

Last week as Kat and I were driving home frustrated, I told her, you can try to explain this to people back home, but unless they have been here and living here and experiencing this they really have no idea. As much as they might like to try and relate--"I know the other day I tried to find something at Kroger and they didn't have it, so I had to go to Walmart too, the one in Shelbyville where you always have to wait in line at the checkout, like 10 minutes I am just standing there in line to buy my things. " ( the things I might add, bought at a ridiculously low price compared to the same thing here but worse quality)

I know it well, waiting in line with all the kids for 10 minutes because they never had enough workers, was something I literally called the manager about one day driving home from Walmart. I just had to tell him and he had to know!

Wow... things change!
I must remember to pray specifically before I go downtown and not just for things to go smoothly, but for a good attitude when they don't, because more often than not they don't. TIA.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kabanana Church visit

The past 2 months James has been preaching at various other churches in Lusaka. We have gone with him and it has been so nice to hear him preaching again. ( I always understand his accent, and his content!) The Lord has given Him abilities and gifts to preach and relate to people in a very clear and applicable way that many people comment on and are helped by his preaching.

As he was preaching a few weeks ago in Kabanana I realized that he has learned alot already in the 11 months that we have been here. His preaching, examples, illustrations and applications were not only relevant to Zambians, as that has been his "target" now, but it was so natural not like he was trying to think of something that they could relate to. It is life now.
This is a blessing and a great help to the people here that are hearing his preaching and benefitting from it.

Kids in Sunday School

Memory, another girl and Wisdom in the church service

James preached and Curtis Chirwa translated into Bemba
(Jackson asked me later, " why was that other guy preaching at the same time daddy was preaching?")

Some of the kids we support and other church members

Ian talked with some of the boys after, among them were wisdom and christian, orphans that we are ministering to.
I really like this picture because they were laughing about something.

Ian, Wisdom, Christian, Memory, 2 other kids

I took a few video clips.
The first is of the kids in SS class.
The second is James preaching with translation. Notice the loud singing in the background from another church that meets in another classroom nearby. It is very distracting to try and stay focused and even hear the preacher when the singing and speakers in the other room are loud, and windows are open for air. So you can at least hopefully hear the challenge.

The church Faith Baptist is a church plant of Kabwata and has their own piece of property but is waiting to have the funds to build their own building.

The last is the church singing. A familiar hymn in Bemba.

Untitled from megan Williamson on Vimeo.