Thanks to everyone who prayed for our visa process for DRC. It typically takes more than one day to get a visa, so on Thursday we went to the embassy at 3:31 and found they closed at 3:30. Jake tried to explain we needed the visas to leave Saturday, but this only irritated the guard. He told us “you will go to Congo when we give you the visa.” So we had to come back the next day, concerned that the visa process would take until Monday since it was almost a weekend. We returned Friday and the guard was friendly. We talked about the World Cup and joked a bit with him. Then the visa people told us we could come and check at 14:00 to see if our visas were done, and when we came back we were all approved and set to go! The man who processed the visas came out of the office and said “you are missionaries? Are you going to Congo to preach the Gospel?” It turns out he was a Christian and he thanked us for what we are doing and told us “that’s why I did your visas so quickly. Because I knew you were sharing a message of God.” Praise God for giving us favor with the DRC embassy and placing the right people in our paths! We got to pray with the man before we left and told him if he was ever in Livingstone to give us a call.
Please continue to pray for us that we have safe and smooth travels, that we won’t be forced to pay any bribes, especially at the border, and that we would make it safely to our destinations with all our stuff! Thank you all!
Instead of re-writing my latest news for here, I’m just posting a link to my newsletter for you all to read.
Off on a new adventure tomorrow!
Overland will be hosting a giant ceremony for Chief Mukuni and 60 chiefs and 3 kings next week/weekend. All of us will be working hard to cook and serve and make sure the ceremony runs smoothly. I’m baking more pumpkin bread than any individual has ever non-commercially baked at one time.
On this past Saturday the Southeastern team flew home and I was quite sad to see them go. It was amazing having good friends and supporters come and be a part of our ministry here. I am thrilled that some of them want to come back in the next few years and do Advanced Mission Training with Overland!
This week two good friends and supporters, Don and Fara, are coming to visit the base! (They are Mare’s parents, for those of you who know about Mare). I am so excited to spend some time with them! Also another one of my good friends and supporters is coming for an expedition next week, so I’m very excited about that as well.
That’s the update, essentially. I’m starting to take life about 2 weeks at a time, because things change so quickly around here! So there you go.
Wow, it has been a crazy couple of weeks! We returned from Moomba chiefdom on May 27th and had a few days of rest with the team before they flew out. Here is a testimony from that expedition from my most recent newsletter:
On our first day of hut to hut in Mabwe, we came to the home of a woman named Endless. She just wanted us to pray for her because there was some confusion in her house with her husband, so we did. After we prayed for her, she asked me some advice about her marriage situation. She was the second of three wives and her husband was living in a different hut with his third wife. He had stopped providing for her, leaving her to fend for herself and her children. He was also physically abusive. She asked if she should confront him about it or remain quiet. I told her I couldn’t tell her what to do because I didn’t know enough about the situation, but I encouraged her that if she did confront him, to do it in love and not anger. I also encouraged her to pray and trust God through this hard time, that even when people fail us and abandon us, God always provides for us when we trust in Him. When we left her hut, I felt so burdened for her. I wished that I could spend more time with her and disciple her and encourage her through the abuse. I asked myself if I were in Endless’s situation if I could have the faith I had just asked her to have. It was a hard question, but I realized that faith in God for deliverance was her only way out of the situation. She didn’t have much of a choice. I continued to pray as we left, leaving it in God’s hands.
Later that day we had a soccer game and 11 men immediately came forward to the alter call and gave their lives to Christ. One of them was Endless’s husband! That same day he asked if Nate, one Overland missionary full-time in the area, would come to Endless’s home with him and pray over them. Nate was able to go and minister to them as a couple, speak to the husband about loving his wife as Christ loved the church, and prayed for them as a couple. I was astounded at how quickly God works. I felt helpless as I left her hut earlier that day, temporarily forgetting that leaving the situation in God’s hands is the most powerful thing I could have done for Endless. And that very day God moved her husband to give his life back to Christ!
The next day we saw Endless at the school and her whole demeanor had changed. She approached me and joked with me and was all smiles. God is so faithful to lift burdens from the oppressed. He absolutely rewards our faith with deliverance.
Endless was just one of the many people we got to minister to in Moomba area, but we all agreed that if her testimony was the only one we brought back with us from Moomba, that it would be worth all the preparation and travel and work just to reach her and her family. God cared enough about Endless to send us all the way from the States to have a small hand in restoring a family and a marriage.
Endless and I at the school the next day
After the team left, there were some shifts in plans and I was assigned to an expedition to the Simwatachela chiefdom that left on June 5. God is awesome and even when I struggle to keep up with all the change, He is constant and He keeps me sane. The trip to Chalimongela, Simwatachela was also a great success. Here are some stories from the week:
Oren and Alice
On our last day of ministry in Chalimongela village, we were hiking farther than we had all week to try and find new homes to visit. My group and I walked for about an hour before we found anyone at home. There was a man named Oren there who seemed about my age. He told us that he had been at the soccer game the day before and had given his life to Christ there. In recent months much of his family had died—his father, mother, brother, and uncle had all passed. We shared Scripture with him and encouraged him, and asked who else stayed with him in his home. He said his aunt and cousins were living there but were out in the fields. We said we’d love to meet them too and he led us down another path to a remote corn field on a hillside facing away from the village. At first all we heard was the rustling of the wind in the dry maize stalks, but then three people emerged from the field, smiling. They were Oren’s aunt, cousin, and cousin-in-law. We all sat down right there in the field and began talking. They wondered why we were walking so far from our camp and we said we just wanted to share the love of Christ with whoever we could find. All three of them wanted to hear what we had to say, and my team members did an awesome job telling them about Jesus’ sacrifice for them. They gave their lives to the Lord and afterwards the oldest lady Alice spoke up. She said, “you are really doing a wonderful thing for the Lord here. You are walking so far just to share His love. We all need to be doing this too. I am going to do this too.”
The fact that Alice said this is huge. Very rarely do I meet a villager in rural Zambia who expresses openly such a desire to share their faith, or even an understanding that they too can preach the Gospel to their fellow villagers. I always make a point of encouraging people to join us in sharing the Gospel, but most times they seem very unresponsive. Alice, on the other hand, was sitting there 2 minutes after getting saved and telling us how she was going to walk very far and share her faith the same as we were doing. It was incredibly encouraging.
I have always loved doing school ministry. In Zambia, teachers will just give us several hours to do a sort of vacation bible school program with the kids, so we were able to do this in Chalimongela this week. I led the children’s program and there were about 300 kids in attendance. The team did a great job doing bible skits, getting dirty, singing songs, and looking like fools. But the coolest thing that happened was when we got to share with the teachers afterwards. We met with all the teachers of the school and just encouraged them about how important their jobs are. They are influencing the future leaders of Zambia and the future church. They have the power to change the lives of these children for the better. They were all very receptive and we had a wonderful time with them. Later, we were informed that four of the teachers in recent months had been seeking to leave Chalimongela school because they hated their jobs and had a lot of struggles with witchcraft in the area. There was so much of an issue with witchcraft and curses that they couldn’t even focus on their work at the school, and came to undervalue the importance of their work there. After we shared, they told us that the teachers had decided to stay because they recognized the incredible value of their roles in the kids’ lives. It was amazing to see how just a few words spoken to these teachers about education and how much God values children could change their direction completely.
Leading the kids ministry in Chalimongela, Simwatachela
Chalimongela basic school
We bid our Simwatachela team farewell tomorrow (Sunday) and then on Monday (June 16), the plan is for me to drive back out to Chipeppo with Phil (Overland’s president) and Sharon (his wife) to start working on some logistics for our new base out there. I will also get to visit some of my good friends who are ministering out there this week, and hopefully revisit a woman that the Lord really put on my heart about a month ago who was struggling in her marriage. But you know, any of this could change at the drop of a hat. I guess that’s just life in Africa!
Thank you all for reading and for putting up with my extremely sporadic blog posts. Life is good and busy here in Zambia and God is moving left and right—I can’t even name all the ways!
Love, peace, and blessings!
We had a wonderful expedition in Moomba! I’m leaving again on Thursday to help lead a team in Simwatachela chiefdom. Pray for us as we bring the message of the Kingdom to these villages!
I wrote a really great update, tried to post it, and it just disappeared. So I don’t feel like typing it out again so here’s the short version:
Chipeppo was awesome, more to come in the newsletter. Heading out to Moomba sector with a team tomorrow morning. We’ll be ministering there about 7 days.
Pray for safety, trucks not breaking down, health, and effective ministry. Pray that I’ll have peace and strength and sanity while cooking all meals for my very first team! Thanks and I’ll update again in a few weeks!
Well, it’s great being here in Livingstone again, and being back on base seems to be just as it always has been. But being here as staff has been new and different and wonderful!
We’ve been working hard to prepare for expedition season this year and it’s only a short while until ministry really kicks off! We’ve been cleaning all the tents and supplies, logo-ing new tents, organizing everything, and preparing for the first teams to arrive.
There are some really exciting new doors opening for ministry this year! Overland recently purchased some land on the shores of Lake Kariba in a chiefdom called Chipeppo. Chief Chipeppo is an amazing man of God who wants to minister to every chief in southern Zambia and is totally behind what Overland is doing. On Saturday, the Advanced Missions Training students and a bunch of us staff will go out to camp in this new area and begin to minister for a week in Chipeppo! We’ll be exploring the area, walking hut to hut and sharing God’s love with each household, and holding evening revival meetings. One of our Zambian staff, Tom, and one of our American staff, Jake, have already been building relationships in this area and with the chief. On a recent recon-type trip, 850 people showed up for a Bible study! This area is so ready for ministry and this weekend we leave to come and bring hope and life in Christ to these people! I am so excited that I am able to tag along to Chipeppo this next week and minister alongside AMT and fellow staff members. God is going to do amazing things in this new area!
Only a few days after we return from Chipeppo, I am leaving again with the very first expedition team of the season! Dalton, Stetson and I will be leading this team in an area called Moomba, where one of our friends Nate is doing full time discipleship work. This is also a new area that there have been no teams ministering in yet. Nate has been building relationships there already and we all cannot wait to tell of God’s amazing love in the villages of Mabwe, and Chonzo, Moomba.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Here are some prayer requests for the next few weeks:
-Pray that the teams would minister effectively and that great relationships would be built
-Pray for safe travel to and from these areas—no truck breakdowns or any complications
-There is absolutely malaria in the Kariba area, and it is still warm enough for lots of mosquitoes. I started taking malaria prevention meds today, but please pray that the mosquito bites will be minimal (or none!) for each person going out to Chipeppo, and that every person would return back to Livingstone healthy and malaria free.
-There are reportedly Tsetse flies in Moomba area, so pray for health and protection against African sleeping sickness
I appreciate your prayers so much! Love and blessings from Zambia!
It’s a beautiful day here in southern Zambia! We had (what we expect to be) our last rain of the season on Saturday, and last night one of our first cold fronts set in. Dry season is on the way, which means Rapid 14 base is gearing up for expedition season to begin!
My co-leaders and I have been working on plans for our expeditions in the next few months. Today I’ve been gathering recipes and putting together shopping lists for our trips to the bush, and we also went to learn about the trucks we’ll be driving. We mostly did pre-trip inspection stuff today, but we’ll be learning and continuing to practice the driving bit in the coming weeks.
Because I’m getting a work permit in Zambia, I’ll be able to get my commercial driver’s license here! That’s exciting because I won’t have to worry about doing it when I get back to the States late this year, and I’ll be able to help drive this season (or at least start practicing).
So, that’s what’s been up over here! People are really going to start getting here in these next 2 weeks and our first expedition arrives May 19! Super excited.
Thanks to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers! Love you all.
Creative writing and cultural reflections [relatively] unrelated to missions.
I am officially set to leave for Zambia on April 15th, and I’ll be back to New Mexico in October. I have been working hard doing different admin work for our expeditions, and doing last minute things before I leave! Please pray that everything will go smoothly—from final team member contacts, recruiting, and packing, to travel on the 15th. Thanks and love you all!