A visit never to be forgotten

There was great excitement in the Patty household as the 15th of July drew nearer and nearer. Beds were being made, supplies were being bought, the house was being cleaned, and the anticipation was rising. The Sweets and Justin and Johanna Voeller were coming! Daddy drove into Lusaka on the 15th of July and picked them up and all their baggage.

So what exactly were they coming to do? Well, there was nothing really planned, so they were coming to give whatever they had and to experience God's goodness. While they were here, Mr. Sweet was able to help with construction, and fix the things that have been continually broken. He and Justin really blessed the Hamelryck family by motivating the workers to finish their house. They installed the whole kitchen, electricity, plumbing, windows, and so much more!

Mrs. Sweet was an unbelievable help in the school. She worked with Adam, Matilda, Maggie, and Joyce, all of whom have learning disabilities. She evaluated all of the children to see where they are in school, and she trained Zandale to be a teacher for the special needs children. No one who has ever been here for that length of time ever did as much for the school as Mrs. Sweet did!

Johanna worked up a storm on the sewing machine. She made children's clothes and curtains. She taught one of the housemothers how to sew, and encouraged one of the girls in her designing. Besides all that, she still found time to invest in the lives of the children, housemothers, and workers. She even found time to make us some fabulous dinners!

Justin worked wherever he was most needed and that was many, many places. From the Village of Hope, to Green Farm, and to the chicken coops, he did a great job wherever he went. The children loved him, and he was a great addition to the group!

Joanna was loved wherever she went. Her help at the school was wonderful, and her patience in listening to the children was a great example. The children always looked forward to school with her there. Besides, that, she was an amazing friend.

Just as we realized on our first visit to the Village of Hope, so did the Sweets and Voellers, that the heartbeat of the village and the primary focus is the children. The Sweets and Voellers immediately engaged themselves with the children in different ways. As Mr. Sweet did his work in the village, he would pray over each child. Mrs. Sweet helped with their school and played games. Joanna was always playing soccer with the children. Justin amazed the kids with his "magic tricks," and Johanna always found tie to talk to the children and encourage them, especially in their reading. When the team from Delaware came, we all had an opportunity to participate in the VBS that they did.

When people stay with you for 5 1/2 weeks you are bound to have some fun memories. SOme of my best ones are when the bidet sprung a leak and flooded the girls' room and the hall way. No one realized it until Johanna woke up at 2:00 am and sounded the alarm. Soon we had a brigade of sweepers sweeping the water out the door. Another is when *someone* (oops!) was melting butter in the oven, it spilled, and the oven exploded in flames. Butter went everywhere! Nothing was hurt, fortunately, except a tiny but if my pride! :-)

Some of the things we did besides work were fun, such as church. I know many energetic little boys would think, "fun and church do not mix." Obviously, they have never been to an African church. Everyone sings and dances their hearts out with huge smiles n their faces. The joy of the Lord is indeed in their hearts!

Other things we did were going to the local markets and haggling for 50 cents off. What fun! We also took a trip down to Livingstone. It was beautiful, and Victoria Falls was stunning. We also had a chance to go bungee jumping, but Justin was the only one who did. Joanna was daring and did the bridge swing.

Being here, and investing in the lives of people as much as the Sweets and Voellers did causes you to come away with new convictions, thoughts, and impressions. I always love hearing what people have to say, and what their thoughts are of the time they spent here. Mr. Sweet was especially burdened for, Matilda who used to live in Green Farm village. She is nine, had never been to school until she came to our village, and she has a bad case of spinal TB. Mrs, Sweet was impressed with the spirit of the people, and how joyful they are. Johanna said she had never been to a place with such extreme poverty, and she agreed with Justin when he said that the people set a good example of contentment.

I know it was difficult for the Sweets and Voellers to leave. I pray that they have opportunities to share their new love for Zambia and the people. No one who has been here ever wants to leave, and I hope that they have a chance to come back.

Psalm 26:7
"That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works."