A singing parade en route to Kaniki for a baptism, which we didn't realize until later. See the woman recording the muzungus as we're taking photos of her - and Barrett laughing in the mirror. Qualit'y!
I have already fallen in love with Zambia. The people here are so joyous, all you have to do is greet passersby with “muli shani” (how are you) and their entire countenance changes and they are smiley and excited to see you. They are honest, hard working, modest people, that very possibly have the most adorable children ever. The concept of time is very different here – you may have church at “eight hours” but it won’t start until half nine. Shops in town have hours posted, but they don’t necessarily mean anything. I am grateful that English is the official language of Zambia, though Bemba is the first language of those in this region, and their English is often… interesting… with words like herey, therey, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirity.
The lovable Landys outside our home on KBC, which combined with the lovely Zambia roads are the reason there is no need of roller coasters here.
Kaniki Bible College is absolutely gorgeous! The Dutch brothers that founded the college believe in beautiful surroundings creating good mental health, leading to a conducive learning environment. As a result there are hundreds of different plants and beautiful flowers, every kind of cactus and palm tree you can imagine – and it must work, because the students here are amazing and so joyful! They invite us to attend Tuesday morning worship/practice preach time and the students are so incredibly on fire for God and so enthusiastic. And of course there is the continuous worship on campus that you can hear throughout the day of belted Bemba songs.
We also eat nshima with them on Monday nights, which was a ton of fun but also interesting as no one knew what they were doing - I'm glad we were warned about the heat though since the entire meal is eaten with your fingers. “Silly muzungus!” We all have great fun together though and the welcome extended to AQ makes us all realize what kind of a reputation we need to uphold.
Happy friend from St. Anthony's
Ministry so far has been largely in the workshop here on Kaniki, as we build benches for local churches. (We're still working on getting things in order to start construction on the school a few miles away.) It has been fun particularly because we’re involved start to finish – even the wood we get comes from nearby Jabulani orphanage/mill and it still has bark on it.
There has been a lot of sawing/planing/thicknessing/gluing/screwing/varnishing and all that jazz. We’ve also gone to a couple orphanages to spend time with the children, which was truly moving. At St. Anthony’s in Ndola you are greeted as soon as you step out of the vehicle by a good fifty toddlers, five of whom are at any time scaling your leg or balancing as many of themselves as they can in your arms. Each of us had at least two in our arms at any time we were walking around. Suzanne and I took out the babies in one of the rooms and played with them as well, who don’t seem to get as much attention. Most of the children were orphaned as a result of AIDS and had rough backgrounds, and yet were still impressively joyous.
Chitengi Girls - Laura, Me, Suzanne. (No idea where my foot go lost.)
On Fridays we partner up with Lifeline volunteers to offer encouragement and share the Gospel with people living in the slum equivalent of Ndola who are HIV positive and/or have TB, as well as the orphans left behind as a result.
It was a lot to take in, and then on top of it the volunteers just randomly said “and now our friend from Kaniki will be sharing the Word of God with you” or even not say anything at all and we were just awkwardly thrust into it. You could see the difference being made, though we could never tell whether they were excited from the Word, or just excited to have muzungus in their home or in their backyard. We must have heard a hundred “muzungu!” and “how are you!” yells from little children. Lifeline was founded by the daughter of one of the founders of Kaniki, which is pretty awesome: this family has really made a positive impact in Zambia.
Fire next door
We also have individual ministries, where a couple of the guys are going out to the roadblocks to spend time with those men who are just not in a good situation, and another is biking with a pastor through the bush villages to reach out to those who live too far away or have no means to go to church buildings and so the pastor goes to them.
We go through one of the roadblocks everytime we leave base, as it's only a couple of miles away, and each time are asked for Bibles - so we're working on getting our hands on more, though it has been a little difficult. There is one used Christian book store in Ndola where we can get some, but they are still asking and I don't know whether it will be enough. Everywhere we go we get asked, and it's a little hard because sometimes they ask just to be able to sell them as everyone is in need of a little cash, but I guess either way it is making it happen.
Pile on the Landy with a few of the kids from St. Anthony's
Two of the others and I went to Eagle’s Wings, which is a school that is fully sponsored and is for children who have been tortured, abused, or are off the street. Eagle’s Wings provides housing and meals, as well as an education that includes daily Bible lessons and learning English.
The Spirit is really moving in this school and it is truly beautiful. I’m working with year one (20+ children ages 6-11) and will be doing the Bible studies, dealing with Christian living, and teaching more and more in the coming weeks. Sylvia, the year one teacher, is wonderful and has a great love for God and His children, and great enthusiasm. She walks 50-60 minutes to catch a bus to get to class each day, and stays after when her students need her. She speaks about them with such care, and asks for prayer for continued strength for the children to accept where they have come from and grow through it.
One of the two buildings at Eagle’s Wings was built by last year’s African Quest team, which is encouraging to see how much of a difference this ministry is making.
Everyone there is really grateful and excited to see us. I hope God is able to work through this year’s team as He did through previous years. Though with the stories of how things worked together and how we all came to be here, there is no doubt in my mind that this is where we are all supposed to be.
Happy Dave and Tim
Thinking back on everything as I sit here writing this, things are really great. But every day feels like a battle. The heat isn’t so bad most days, though every day is really hot for four hours in the afternoon. And hot season is right around the corner. I’m feeling extremely disconnected from home and the world – letters take 10 days-3 weeks and packages 2-3 months to arrive, and then import tax is equivelant to the written value, and internet access – though not too expensive – is slow and rare.
Everything here is just a little different. Well, a lot different. “TIA.” Food especially – Peanut butter doesn’t taste like peanut butter, we strain our milk and buy live chickens for dinner from the farm across the road, chocolate is nearly unheard of, and everywhere you look there is a banana tree. Not really food related – The other night while we were sitting down to dinner we noticed a field on fire through the trees. Apparently it was a normal occurrence, for farmers to burn off their land, but it looked like it was Kaniki so it was a nerve wrecking for a while. I also saw a spider that was apparently more dangerous than a snake – so that was cool.
Suzanne, who is amazing and a blessing to us all!
It’s hard, but things really are wonderful.
I enjoy the challenging work and I am excited (though incredibly nervous) for what lies ahead. ---We just learned of a conference of 150+ pastors on our Malawi expedition that we’ll be teaching… My word! There are so many great expectations out there, the team is just all hoping and praying that God steps in and fills in our many weaknesses so that we are able to be of some service.
Chickys from the farm across the road. They may be our future dinner, but they sure are cute now...