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.