For unto us a child is born...

Isaiah 9:6 "... and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

The following is my mother's reflections about our Christmas in Zambia beginning on Christmas Eve.

Our Christmas Eve was commenced with quite an unusual event. Alan went to deliver 6 live chickens (with his own hands) to the police station. This, along with 6 bags of mealy-meal, was a special gift to them for Christmas.

It was followed by much drumming that evening in a nearby village. We were looking forward to taking the children, housemothers, aunties, and Pastor Lusumpa and his family out to lunch at a place called Fringilla. I had been praying for a sunny day as we would be eating outside.

As I rose the next morning the sun did greet me through the window. I was praising God. Then I heard a groan from Alan who was met with a different picture a half hour later. The Toyota had a flat tire. This was in addition to news we had received the night before about our Canter (truck). It wouldn't start. How were we going to get 20 orphans, 3 housemothers, 2 aunties, our family, and the Lusumpa family to Fringilla? We were to be there by 10 A.M. and it was now around 7:30. Pastor Lusumpa had taken another car and left so we were praying that he would come back with a plan.

Then the power went out! In Zambia this is a regular occurrence but this was quite different. It happened just in our house. Some of the breakers which were very hot had flipped. "Lord" I prayed, "I thank you for the beautiful day, but what about these other issues?" Alan tried calling the electrician, Mr. Tembo, but there was no answer. This is Zambia where every day the unexpected happens. Through these daily issues the Lord has taught me so much more about trusting in Him for everything! In spite of everything that had transpired I was at peace. I turned it over to the Lord. "The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" supplied all our needs abundantly and beyond what we ever could imagine! Pastor Lusumpa had one of the staff change the tire on the Toyota who was also able to get the truck started. We were off by 9:50 and were only 10 minutes late. That is our Mighty God! Alan was able to contact Mr. Tembo who was working in his field. He came and fixed the electrical problem while we were gone.

Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Praise God, we were on our way to Fringilla! God had supplied all our needs but in a way that brought glory and honor to Him. He cares about all our needs and struggles. We followed the truck so we could see all the children sitting in the back. They sang all the way there beginning with Down in My Heart. It was such an encouragement and such a blessing. For the rest of the day the Lord filled our hearts with joy!

When we arrived at Fringilla (conference center with a restaurant and butcher shop) they had reserved for us and area with picnic tables which was under a tent for shade. The grounds are spread out with a play area in the back that has trampolines, swings and other playground equipment. The children played for about 2 hours.

Then we all ate a delicious meal!

This was followed by more playing along with a short ride on a horse led by a man. The children rode 2 at a time and they loved it. "That was good!!!" beamed Roman when he got off the horse. This was followed by cupcakes and an orange soda. The children ate quietly and with good manners. They are a delight. We left about 3 and were going to go back, open gifts we had for them and eat cookies Sarah had baked.

When we got home Pastor Lusumpa told us that the chief wanted to see the Village of Hope and meet the children. In Zambia there is a president. Then there are ministers and chiefs who supervise over different areas and districts. This was a chief for our district - the Chisamba district. We waited until the chief arrived. He entered with 2 other people. Everyone stands when he enters. The children sang a song for him and then he talked to us for a short time. He spoke of what a blessing it was that the children were receiving this care. They opened their gifts and we had the cookies. It was a special time. For the Patty family it was the most memorable Christmas of all.

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know."

These are bandanas that the Rugloski family made. These were put in their gift bags along with toy card for the boys and hair clips for the girls. Such little things can bring so much joy!


Pastor Zulu's church

We attended Pastor Zulu's church on Sunday. Unknown to Pastor Zulu he has a family integrated church. His church which is a small mud hut with a thatched roof is across from where he lives. The church has slatted wooden benches which are very hard.

Last week they had 91 in attendance. There must have been at least that number this week. People walk or take the blue bus to get there. There are people of all ages and the children sit very quietly and attentively.

The thing hat struck me the most was seeing an abundance of the joy of the Lord there in that mud hut! God has truly given Africans beautiful singing voices. Men, women and children sang (accapella and with harmony), swayed for 1 1/2 hours. Everyone stood the entire time. Since the songs were in Bemba (Zambian language) we simply clapped. To me it sounded like a heavenly choir.

After the singing, Pastor Zulu gave his message that lasted 2 hours. His message was on having faith, trusting in Jesus for all things. He had no notes, but used many scripture references which were read out loud and then discussed. He would ask the people to give their thoughts. The amazing thing was how excited he was about God's truths. He was very animated and would move around constantly.

The church service was truly a blessing. We were the only white people there but as one young man said to us after church, "We welcome you to our church. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There are no boundaries brought by race, color, or creed. We as believers are all in the family of God."

As everyone files out of the building one by one, they all greet each other.


To Train up a Child

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

We watch the children at various times of the day. One thing you can see, these children are not idle!! They are lovingly being trained to work with their hands and redeem the time wisely. They wash clothes, hang them on the line, wash dishes, garden, cook, and help their mommies (the name they have for their housemothers). They do it with a willing and cheerful heart. My mom talked with the housemothers after we made these observations. The following is a general schedule that they follow:

1) Wake up (6 A.M. on school days and 7 A.M. on week-ends and holidays).
2) Make up bed.
3) Chores (inside and outside the house).
4) Prepare for school.
5)Eat breakfast/wash dishes.
6) 7:30 - 8:00 morning devotion.
7) 8:00-2:00 school.
8) 2 P.M. snack - they nap.
9) 3 P.M. wake up and play.

10) 4-5 P.M. continue playing, water plants.
11) 5 P.M. begin baths.
12) 6 P.M. supper (take turns and help with the cooking).
13) Each child washes his own dishes after supper.
14) 7:00 - 7:30 activity (review reading and math).
15) 8:00 or 8:30 go to bed.

Every Saturday morning is laundry day. Every day they wash their school uniform.

As one housemother reflected, "We must train up the children so they can be productive and responsible adults when they go back into the community.

Ephesians 5:15-16 "See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."


Less is More

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

The orphans are such an example to me and my family of contentedness. What I am realizing is that contentment is learned through the circumstances the Lord brings about in our lives.

What examples do I see in the orphans' lives?

1) Being delighted in playing with simple things such as balloons, a tire, a rubber ball, or a mud doll for a long period of time.

2) Having fun washing the clothes and hanging them on the line.

3) Eating what is given to them (they have a set menu each week).

4) Sitting on their porch, talking and saying hello to the people as they pass by.

5) Singing unto the Lord.

6) Being so attentive and grateful when we do a craft with them or play a game.

These children have very little and yet are content which tells me that less is more - an important lesson from the Lord.


How many insects did God create?

Being here in Zambia in the summer time has given us an education about the size and variety of the insect population. We can know for certain that God loves variety when it comes to bugs. There is every type of beetle, moth, grasshopper, stink bug, ant, wasp, millipede, etc. and they come in all sizes, especially the large size! We have seen huge grasshoppers and beetles. There is a long black millipede type creature here that is fun to pick up. The children have delighted in showing me and Iryna all the insect creatures!

Bouncing Balloons

These children enjoy anything you do with them and anything you share with them. One afternoon we walked over and passed out balloons. They absolutely love balloons and are very creative in how they play with them. How many things can you do with a balloon? Here are some samples of what they did:
1) Blow them up.
2) Let the air out to make different noises.
3) Fill them with water.
4) Punch them like you're boxing.
5) Bounce them around.
6) Take small pieces of a balloon that has popped and blow them up and make them squeak.
7) Hit your teeth with the small blown up pieces.
I am sure the list could go on. We played with them for almost 2 hours with their balloons. Such a small thing brings great joy!


Heaven on Earth

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

We arrived at the village of Hope in Zambia, Africa on Friday, November 28 after many hours of travel. It is summer here and the rainy season has descended. Surprisingly the weather has been pleasant. The temperature has been in the 80's during the day with 60's to 70's at night. Rain come and goes. Some comes gently and some reminds us of the Lord's strength! We had gale force winds with a downpour of rain about a few days ago. Our electricity was out for 2 days.

In the midst of all this activity are the bright faces of the orphans. They bring with them beautiful smiles, wonderful hugs, and great enthusiasm. God has blessed Zambia with beautiful land and delightful children. It is quiet here now. Only 8 of the 21 children are here because many are visiting aunties and grandmas for their school holiday. All of them will return on December 22.

We took them to church with us and their housemothers on Sunday. My mother made the arrangements with one of the housemothers named Rose. She talked with Rose quite some time. Rose said that she grew up in a family that was not strong in their faith, but the Lord guided her. She felt that if she had had a strong Christian upbringing she would have been able to have been used of the Lord even more. With a reflective but joyful look on her face she said to mom, "I think the Lord is blessing my work here and I am where I should be. When you follow the Lord and serve Him as He calls you, it is like living in heaven on earth." And being here we couldn't agree with her more.


A snapshot of Zambia

Just to give you a tiny taste of our trip to Zambia, I am going to post pictures that may or may not have anything to do with my previous posts.

Can't you just see all the sorrow in their eyes?

These children need Jesus. You can help.

Isaac holding up the magazine article that introduced us to the Schwartz's ministry, Village of Hope.

The children running out of the village after spotting me with my camera. It was so fun to watch all the joy on their faces as they surrounded me and yelled "photo, photo!!"

They will do anything for attention...

...including lifting the little children high over their heads, and doing karate poses.

These village children are so poor, they collect old garbage bags and wad them into a tight ball, and bind them with twine. That is their version of our soccer ball, better known to them as a "foot-ball."

The younger children, not being able to play with the ball which is reserved for the older children, prefer making dirt castles.

These people worship the same God as we do.

Do you ever pray for children in need?

The girls in the village learn how to care for a family early in their lives. This girl is practicing balancing the basket on her head.

Here is Docklin proudly showing me her shells. These shells are part of their school. They learn to sort the big ones from the little ones, the dark from the light, etc.

For many children, the only toys are old tires, mud dolls, and bound up rags that serve as a soccer ball. It is amazing how happy they are and how big their smiles are.

The kids in the school for Village of Hope are getting a real-life learning experience. This day, we brought them all out to the front yard to play in the "sand". We passed out funnels and empty water bottles, and let them explore with them.

Of course, being in Africa, you must go on a safari. One Saturday we went with the team from Wisconsin to a game preserve. This lion is really behind a fence that blocks the pride from being able to prey on the other animals.

This Farm Market is part of the Village of Hope. It is one of the ways Mr. Schwartz is showing the people how to be self-sufficient. They sell fruits, vegetables, and eggs.

Although the Schwartzs own a car, we had fun walking many places. Most people in the surrounding areas do not own a car and must walk everywhere.

This is Auntie Harriet who sold the land to the ministry Village of Hope. Her grandfather was saved by David Livingstone's father-in-law, Moffett.

There are many different ways to minister to the Zambian people. This man came all the way from Wisconsin with the other team to share the gospel with his music. He is a professional trumpet player but gave up his career in music to the Lord. His most popular song was "O Happy Day!". When we walked into the villages we were met with childrens voices singing, O happy day!

In addition to running the orphanage, Mrs. Schwartz has many little ministries (like the Chimwimwe ladies). Here she is leading the children from the Okada school in a song. She went and taught the kids songs and hand motions to the songs.


Zimbabwe turmoil - up close and personal

(NOTE: this text was created several weeks ago but I was just able to post. Today, Monday June 23rd, the situation in Zimbabwe was on the front page of the London Times with a call for UN intervention/sp reporting from Edinburgh Scotland ... ha ha!)

While in Zambia our family met and got to know several farming families originally from the country to the south of Zambia, Zimbabwe (Zim-bob-way).

You may have read about Zimbabwe recently due to the controversy and violence that has erupted over the ‘democratic’ election process and the ‘elected’ dictator, Robert Mugabe.
I had the opportunity to interview a Zimbabwe national, Mr. Mark Wenham, one evening and that interview follows below.

But 1st my dad asked to provide everyone with a (not so brief ☺) historical perspective on Zimbabwe;

The first modern explorers were British colonists and missionaries who arrived in the region in the 1850s (David Livingstone most notable. The city of Livingstone in S. Zambia was the original capital of Zambia), and the massive influx of foreigners led to the establishment of the territory Rhodesia, named after Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company. Mr. Rhodes became extremely rich mining Africa’s diamond and gold resources. He led the British colonization of Africa in order to exploit and control these vast resources.

In 1923, the European settlers voted to become the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia. After a brief federation with Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the post–World War II period, Southern Rhodesia (also known as Rhodesia) chose to remain a colony when its two partners voted for independence in 1963.
On Nov. 11, 1965, the conservative white-minority government of Rhodesia declared its independence from Britain. The country resisted the demands of black Africans, and British Prime Minister Ian Smith withstood pressure, economic sanctions, and guerrilla attacks in his effort to uphold white supremacy in

On March 1, 1970, Rhodesia formally proclaimed itself a republic. This triggered a bitter civil war between the white minority government and fighters for African independence, ending only in 1980, with the granting of independence and the holding of a general election under British auspices, which was won decisively by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU party.

In 2000, veterans of Zimbabwe's war for independence in the 1970s began squatting on land owned by white farmers in an effort to reclaim land taken under British colonization— most of Zimbabwe's most fertile farming land was owned by 4,000 whites. In Aug. 2002, Mugabe ordered all white farmers to leave their land without compensation. Mugabe's support for the squatters and his repressive rule has led to foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Modern Zimbabwe is in a terrible state. The economy has all but collapsed. There is widespread famine, which has been cynically manipulated by the government so opposition strongholds suffer the most. The government lacks the resources or machinery to deal with the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which affects an estimated one-quarter of the population. With all this and the forced and violent removal of white farmers in a brutal land redistribution program, President Mugabe has earned himself widespread scorn from the international arena.
In the current electoral process, over 60 opposition (to Mugabe) party persons have been murdered, 1000’s of supporters brutalized and intimidated, and at various times the opposition leadership has been thrown repeatedly in jail. Just recently, a high-ranking opposition party official was charged with treason (punishable by death) and imprisoned. /ap

My brief interview with Mr. Mark Wenham follows. Mr. Wenham has been a great blessing to the Village of Hope orphanage in housing construction, electrical and plumbing issues, as well as farm management.
I conducted the following interview with Mr. Wenham at his Farm in Zambia in an attempt to learn more 1st hand about Zimbabwe.

Sarah: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. What brought you to Zambia?
Mr. Wenham: After being born and raised in Zimbabwe, the political climate brought about by Robert Mugabe made life unbearable. After 28 years in power, historical issues with independence from the colonization by Great Britain basically allowed the government to come in and take the land from the white African farmers and give it to the black Africans. This is land that was bought and paid for by my family, including farming equipment and often times personal possessions as well were taken. We know families that were literally given hours to vacate and could only leave with the clothes on their backs.
As we sought God’s new direction for our lives, Zambia was an open door He provided.

Sarah: How is life different here in Zambia?
Mr. Wenham : Geographically Zimbabwe is much more mountainous and since there is no ocean sea port, everything has to be imported/transported making it much more expensive to operate our farm here in Zambia vs. Zimbabwe. The skilled labor is less available due to the fact that Zambia was originally a socialist government (after independence) and the people became accustomed to the government supplying their needs.

Sarah: How is life the same?
Mr. Wenham: Both come from British colonization. Zambia has been independent for about 42 years, Zimbabwe about 28. The weather and cultures are similar, housing standards, etc.. Because Zimbabwe did not have a socialist form of government, you grew up learning farming and other commercial skills to provide for your livelihood. You learned from your fathers, as their fathers learned from theirs.

Sarah: I have just one final question for you. What would you like everyone to know about Zimbabwe?
Mr. Wenham: Zimbabwe was at one time the referred to as the ‘bread basket’ of Africa due to abundance of farming and other natural resources. It once had an economy that rivaled S. Korea and it’s currency was 1 to 1 equivalent to the British Pound. Sadly today it’s people are starving and it has the highest inflation in the world, making it’s currency virtually worthless. But it’s biggest problem is not allowing God to lead their independence, but instead now relying on the governments (both local and foreign)for survival.
My father-in-law many years ago developed a program he called “Farming God’s Way”, a simple straight forward way of conservation farming. He foresaw that the farmer’s arrogance and pride would eventually be their downfall by not allowing the African workers to be ‘part owners’ in their farms and/or own farms outright.
God is now dealing with man’s pride. We pray that repentance and revival may one day come to Zimbabwe. We pray for our country and that one day we can return. My wife and I were born there, it is our home.

Sarah: Thank you Mr. Wenham. Your story and country has been very fascinating to learn more about during my stay in Zambia. We are praying for you.


Do you know an orphan?

There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world. There are 1.2 million in Zambia. Do you know an orphan? Do you know one by name? I would like to introduce you to twenty-one. I would encourage you to pick one of these children and pray for them daily. Maybe even put a picture of them on your refrigerator.

Mary Situmbeko (8)- Mary is the tallest of all the children and has had a big burden of responsibility. When she was orphaned she had to act as mother to her younger two siblings (twins), Gift and Exilda. She has a sweet smile and loves to help Auntie Rose in the garden.

Gift Situmbeko (6) twin- Gift is a tall happy child. He can be a bit shy around new people, but once you get to know him, he is precious. He listens very well and tries to follow directions to the best of his ability.

Exilda Situmbeko (6) twin- Exilda, like her brother, is very sweet, but unlike him, is very outgoing when you meet her. She loves people and could sit for hours and read the school’s new books to you. Right now, she is proud of herself for learning her English alphabet. “Auntie, look at my letter ‘B’!”

Francis Kalaeya (7)- Is very outgoing and loves to talk. I can always hear him laughing outside. He is a very eager learner and is a good older brother to all the kids in his cottage.

Natasha Kalaeya (5) sister to Francis- Natasha is very precocious and outgoing. She has the biggest smile and the whitest teeth I have ever seen! At times she can have quite a temper, but overall she is very happy and loves to help out with the dishes.

Sharon Jaula (7)- Sharon is the prettiest girl there. She has very white teeth and big black eyes. Her smile is so sweet and it reflects her personality. She is rather a tomboy but loves to take care of the younger children. You can always tell her shoes from the rest as they are white patent leather. We thought that was pretty funny!

John Jaula (6) younger brother to Sharon- John loves to look at books with his big sister, Sharon. He and his younger brother always have a certain look of sadness. It makes you want to kneel down and tickle them or something to get them to smile. I wonder that all the children do not have the same look of sadness in their eyes.

David Jaula (5) youngest Jaula- John is a very cute little boy, but is not as carefree as the rest of the children. He also has a look of sadness about him, but since he is younger, it does not show as many traces as John. All three of these kids are very sweet and love one-on-one attention. David loves to walk in line to school and shout “right, left, right, left…” with all the others.

Selita Mushota (?)- Selita is a very cheerful girl with a bright smiling face. She had been given a homemade book with her picture and messages for her in it. The day she got it, she ran around and showed everyone. “Look, look!!!”

Moses Ngambo (?)- Moses, like the rest, has a big smile, but every time I see him, I am struck with his teeth! He has the whitest teeth I have ever seen! When he came to the Village of Hope, he was thought to be a slow learner. He just needed help and direction and now he is doing very well.

Brighton Lunda (?)- Brighton is one of the older kids and is always active. He can be very funny at times, and the encouraging fact is that he loves to learn, and is eager to do his best.

Isaac Phiri (8)- Isaac’s picture was chosen to be on the cover of WORLD Magazine that contained the article, which brought us to Zambia. He knows English very well for his age because his grandmother used to speak it to him. He is a very bright boy and already is working on his multiplication!

Gift ? (?)- Gift is a small boy with a big heart that is showed through his gigantic smiles. He is so cute that he reminds me of an overgrown baby! He has the brightest smile and loves to help people. One night I saw him trying to bring in a chair that was three times his size. Finally, after several long tries, he said, “Auntie, help?”

Sharon Shaila (?)- What a beautiful girl Sharon is! Her eyes express all her emotions.

Joyce ? (?)- Joyce is a tiny girl. Very vivacious and cheerful, and makes everything into a game. Please pray for her especially. She has a hip problem that may need surgery and gives her a severe limp.

Docklin ? (?)- Docklin is definitely the baby of the village. She is three going on four, but will tell you that she is six, or seven, or eight! She is very sweet and loves to read books with people. I can hear her even now saying, “Auntie, Auntie, come play!”

Telness ? (?)- Telness is a very quiet boy – often very serious. He does want to learn and does his best, though.

Roman ? (?)- Before Roman came to the Village of Hope, he was living with his grandparents. He didn’t go to school. He did work for his grandparents. Before he was taken to the Village, his grandparents told him he was being taken to a place where they sacrificed children. They were Satanists. Roman screamed and kicked and cried for several days at the Village of Hope because he believed his grandparents. Now he is settling into a new way of life. He smiles a lot because he has hope and feels loved. He loves books and is quite a good artist.

Shapie ? (?)- Shapie is a quiet boy who is an eager learner. He loves to build things and loves books.

Adam ? (?)- Adam has a winsome smile and loves the Lincoln logs. He also was fascinated with Joe’s watch.

Maggie ? (?)- Maggie has a very sweet smile. She is a wonderful helper. Her housemother, Rose, often asks her to help. As you can see, she really enjoyed the lincoln logs too.

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” –James 1:27