Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My quiet time a few mornings ago was amazing. I woke up not wanting to get out of bed and start the day. Thankfully my attitude would soon improve. When I arrived at the place where I have my quiet time which is a quiet place where the morning sun shines brightly, I was thinking about the fact that I was very cold, the cough that I still have, and the fact that my nose was running which has become a daily thing from either having a cold or the weather being cold. I had things that I could complain about but then I remembered that I was to "count it all joy." And these "trials" were hardly trials at all when I really thought about it. I decided to read Philippians. When you want to be reminded to stop living for yourself and start living for God, read Philippians. The whole book. These are just some of the incredible reminders I received as I read these four chapters of the Bible.

"To live is Christ, and to die is gain."
"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,"
"in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning."
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ,"
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
"do not be anxious about anything."
"whatever is true, whatever is honorable..... think about these things."
"for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."
"I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

When you read through these verses you can obviously see how God intends us to live. He desires that we see his worth. Sometimes going through trials and uncomfortable situations are what God uses to help us see more clearly. We can choose to grumble and complain or we can choose to be content in every situation, with thankfulness in our hearts. Please read Philippians, God can use it to change your life.

Count it all Joy

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6

"Lord, please teach me how to walk with you and to be abounding in thanksgiving." Sometimes my life is too easy and too comfortable. Even though my experience here does not even begin to compare to other places where life is even harder and more uncomfortable, I have experienced less comfort than I am used to. While living here in Zambia sometimes I complain to myself and I am tempted to grumble about the situation I'm in. When I compare life here and at home the things I have to be thankful for at home are obvious. But maybe that is only the first step in realizing how blessed I am. Setting aside comparisons to my life in the US, I am starting to realize how much I have to be thankful for here. Its easy to be thankful for the food choices I have at home compared to here. Its easy to be thankful for reliable water and electricity that I have in the US when compared to here. But when I look at it with a different perspective I am able to be thankful without even having to compare. Taking showers and having wet hair during the cold mornings are not my favorite...but I have running water. Three pieces of bread and a cup of tea is not my ideal breakfast...but I have food to eat. Having a cough for the past month is not my idea of fun...but God is taking care of me. I have much to be thankful for. I have a God who never fails me. I have a God who stays by my side urging me to "Count it all joy" even when things are not going my way. I have people who care for me and are looking after me. God's blessings are abundant and overflowing. "Saints who are abounding in thanksgiving"... let this be said of us.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Victoria Falls!!! :D 
Upper Zambezi

A rainbow can always be seen at the falls.
There are tons of baboons at Victoria Fall. Baboons of all ages roamed the park. They can be aggressive and they especially love to steal food from women. One of them started following me and grabbed onto the small backpack that I was wearing. I started jogging away from it and got free. I did not feel like freely handing over my passport and money. :P

Beautiful double rainbow

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Biscuit Jar!

I thought this was great. I got invited to someone's house and glanced at this jar over and over while I was helping in the kitchen. Then it clicked. It said "Biscuits!" As in, a cookie jar, except they call them biscuits. Oh Zambia... :)

In ? I Trust

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to join the outreach team that is here from South Africa during their visit to the hospital in town. We went to pray over and be an encouragement to the patients who were there. The hospital, as you can imagine, is very different from the ones we are used to in America. People do not have privacy but are placed side by side on the beds that are lined up against the wall. Some patients were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. We broke up into teams and visited the different wards going from bed to bed just talking and praying with the the people. Some looked pretty miserable and I was sad when I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were in their position. Here in the Kabwe hospital, the comfort and the resources are limited and I realized how much trust I have in our hospitals and doctors at home.

As I was driving back with the leaders of the team I was asked how the visit went. I told him it was depressing but a good experience. I mentioned how it seemed like there was little hope in the place. He asked me if it was hopeless. I replied that no it wasn't and he went on to say that in Africa they don't have as many resources and material things so one has to trust in God. This hit me really hard because it became more clear to me how much I put my trust in things. This conversation that I had began to change how I looked at certain places and situations in Zambia. It reminded me that even in the poorest places God is working and that just because some people don't have money, medicine, enough food, and comfort, does not mean that there is no hope. My hope and trust should be in God, not so much in things. God's ways are higher than our ways and he can take care of people whether they seem to live in desperate situations or in nice comfortable houses. Either way, we should be putting our trust in Him and realize that everything we have is from Him. This seems like an obvious thing to learn but it really became more real to me after the visit to the hospital and after the conversation that challenged me to consider what I was actually putting my trust in.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Thanks Daddy for always supporting my dream to come to Africa. Thanks for always saying that I will be the safest if I am living inside of God's will even if I am in a dangerous place than if I was out of God's will and in a safe environment. This is something that has stuck in my mind and I have quoted you on this several times in response to people asking me, "what do your parents think of you coming to Africa?" I hear of people who struggle going out onto the "mission field" because their family is so against them going. I have never gotten that from you and I am very, very, thankful. Your support means so much and I usually fail to thank you. Thank you for trusting God with my life and dedicating me to Him. Thank you for praying with me and for me. Thank you for rejoicing with me and for encouraging me even though finances can look scary sometimes. I am on the journey of learning to trust Him. Thank you for being such a faithful father. You have taught me a lot and have helped me grow in my relationship with my Savior. Your reverence to Him sticks out in my mind. Keep imitating our Heavenly Father. I love you!

Happy Father's Day!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everyday Life in Zambia

Here are some fun cultural observations and experiences that I have had...

Learning to greet many, many people, both friends and strangers. Greetings are much more valued here than in some places in the West. Even when walking out in public it is common to greet people as you pass each other. I don't think that the phrase "Don't talk to strangers" is commonly taught here. One of my favorite Bemba phrases is now "Mwashibukeni" which is "Good Morning." "Mulishani" is another common greeting which means "How are you?" Then, almost every time, the response is bwino, "fine." Also, they are not always asking how you are doing, sometimes they are but other times it is simply part of the greeting. I've said hello (in English) and the person will say that they are fine without me even asking them which shows how it can be just part of the greeting. And then I also remember being confused when I first heard someone say to me, "you are fine." Sometimes their words are switched and they do not always raise their voice when asking that question. But saying "you are fine" is the same as if I said "Are you fine/doing well?" Also, their handshakes are much cooler than ours are.

Having an abundance of awkward silences. For many Zambians its not as awkward as an American would think it is. I'm getting used to it.

Having the electricity turn off almost every evening, in the place I'm currently staying, usually for an hour or two. Even though it can interfere with cooking and the gas stoves have to be pulled out and turned on, there are certain things about the electricity being off that I am beginning to love. Some nights we have storytelling which is when one member of the team shares their life story/testimony. Just so you know, it's much better by candlelight. We have all of our meals and story times out on the porch around a picnic table and the weather in the evenings are wonderful.

Walking through the villages and hearing shouts of "Mazungu!" from the children is something that makes me smile. That is not really how you spell Mazungu but it basically means "white person." Its kinda like "Where's Waldo." The kids start shouting and pointing when they see a Mazungu. Even though most are excited and happy about seeing a white person, there are some smaller children who scream and cry because they are scared of us.


Having crowds of children watch you do things like they are watching a movie. Last week when I was in a village, me and a few others were cutting vegetables outside of a house and lots of kids just come and stand in front us and stare. This is many of many experiences of being intently watched by little children.

Trying to get used to using Kwacha, the currency in Zambia. Its a little over 5000 Kwacha per US dollar. So something like a small jar of peanut butter might cost around 16,000 Kwacha.

Washing clothes by hand.

Eating nshima and rice, nshima and rice, nshima and rice...and then actually craving them when you don't have nshima and rice. Kind of strange...

Riding on the public transport called a "mini-bus." From where I'm staying, it costs 2500 Kwacha (50 cents) to hitch a ride to town which is a couple of miles down the road. You just walk to the main road and wait for a mini-bus to come and you hop on and tell them where along the road to drop you off. Sometimes the buses are already packed but it's funny how many people they still let in. One time I sat on a friends lap because it was so full. Also, seatbelts and safety are not so much the thing here.

Going "off-roading" as one guy joked about. Sometimes, when driving a vehicle, they will swerve way over to avoid the potholes, even swerving off the road. Its fun to go zig-zagging down the street.

Riding on the left side of the road messing with my brain because it's so backward.

Trying to get used to saying "I'm going to use the toilet" instead of "I'm going to the bathroom." Very awkward.

Calling cookies "biscuits."

Being scared when someone said that they had "the flu" and hoping that I would not catch it. Later I found out that Zambians call the "flu" what we call a "cold." I was very relieved!

Realizing that I will not see rain for two and a half straight months.

Seeing hundreds of people walk or ride bicycles alongside of the the roads every day wondering how there are not more accidents. It is not uncommon for vehicles to pass pedestrians coming within inches apart from each other.

Swimming, bathing, and washing dishes in Lake Tanganyika is a very unique experience.

Getting electric shocks when touching the shower nobs is quite exciting. Last week someone even said that the water in the pot that was used for cooking was conducting electricity so I stuck my hand in, and yep, it was. And some of you know that electric shocks are not exactly my thing.

Knowing that I don't have "African eyes." Many Zambians can see and walk in the dark much easier than people from the Western world can.

Realizing that no matter how much someone might protest, cultural values, ideas, and practices are deeply ingrained in people. Going to another culture helps me see this a lot more clearly than I did before.

Congratulations to those of you who read through this whole list. :)