Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Friday, June 26, 2009

What a day - hammermill, voluntarism, and Life on Wheels

Friends - this will fail to capture all I saw and experienced today, but I'm exhausted so it will have to do. :) My apologies to all the people that I met today, who have each played a special part in making my day a lot of fun.

I'm shooting a lot of pictures in Raw format, unable to be edited here w/o software. So I apologize for the sparse pictures that I look forward to sharing with you when I get back.

The morning started with lots of running around, preparing for a big BBQ (called a brie here) bash Remmy & I are having tomorrow (Saturday) with all the project leaders and Board members from Zambia. It promises to be a good time. It was hilarious planning the party, though, as Remmy and I are both not typically involved in these things...with good reason. We both were missing our wives. "Oh shoot, we need cups for tea!" "Oh, we should probably get napkins." "We almost forgot plates." :) It was funny. Thinking through all the wonderful logistics work that our wives do when we "host" people. It made us both appreciate our wives even more for the little things that we often take for granted. We love you, Irene (Remmy's wife) & Katie (mine)!

Pray we get a brie stand or we won't be brieing after all. The stand we hoped to get fell through.

This afternoon, I met with Loubuto Church of Christ.

What a beautiful church. Simple, community minded. William, the old caretaker, gave me a tour of the grounds. It was my 2nd time there, with the first time being in January of this year. The church is constructing a hammermill shelter. They'll place a hammermill inside the shelter. The hammermill, which will be one of the few in the community, will help local people grind maize (corn) that they bring in from the fields. The church will charge nominal fees for the service, providing a service to the community and funds to help send kids to school beginning this coming school year. Pray for water to return to the community. It has been off for 2 days, slowing construction.

We had a special time of prayer before we departed for a meeting with Henry, a Lecturer at TCCA, who lives nearby.

Henry is a Lecturer helping lead a church meeting in his backyard and doing income generating projects, including chicken raising and gardening, with neighbors.

His vehicle, which is currently down because of poor suspension, serves as a local ambulance, hearse, and family van.

While we don't support the work of staff members of TCCA, just its graduates, it was a special time of seeing how God is using others in Ndola to meet the needs of widows and vulnerable kids. I had a good discussion with Henry about why we are unable to support TCCA staff, despite the good work he is doing. In exchange, while samll, I told him I'd give him a shout out in the blog, with some pictures so you all could see him & just some of the work he's doing with his land and van. Please pray that God leads others to support Henry's ministry to his community.

On our drive home, I was commenting to Remmy that a friend of mine, Carol Theis, was asking about ways to connect special needs ministries but I have not observed many in Zambia. He said they really aren't here in large numbers, but the needs are HUGE!

He told me about Cathy and Fred Phiri, who are the founders of a ministry called Life on Wheels. They are both from Zambia. What special, special people. After Fred was in a serious car accident, he was diagnosed as being quadriplegic. On April 9th, 2006, (their) lives changed dramaticlly. Traveling back to their home in Ndola, after attending the funeral of Cathy's mother, they were involved in a terrible accident. Seven of the ten relatives in the vehicle were injured. The severity of Fred's injury was only discovered later.

From their brochure: "Disability in Zambia is sometimes considered to be a curse. It is not uncommon to find that the disabled are ignored and even kept away from public view, because some families feel ashamed to be identifed with a disabled member."

God has placed a calling on their lives and they are striving to fulfill this calling through Life on Wheels, supplying wheel chairs (in few supply here), financial support to families that lose their income to major injury, and providing resources, such as educational curriculum materials or Bibles, to equip the physically and mentally challenged.

I wept for joy several times praying for each person we met. It is so incredible how people are moving to respond.

While I LOVE playing with kids and laughing a lot with people, choosing joy in the midst of suffering, my time with these special people today was inspiring. I saw few kids today, but God helped me experience real joy in the midst of so much trial.

God is moving and we are so fortunate to be connected to a world of brothers and sisters in Christ who are choosing to answer the commands of God, when ignoring the challenges before them would be far easier... how often do we say yes in our world?

Had an interesting conversation today. The conclusion that was drawn is that wealth and complexity of life in the developed world creates a fantasy world and denies us the opportunity to reflect and act on what matters -- what defines humanity. It was interesting to just listen and think about how complicated I make life, yet how simple the things that matter really are -- how many excuses I make in the midst of trials I come across in my "fantasy life."

The night ended with an evening at a local restaurant called Michaelangelo's. I took the Hamapande family out to thank them for letting me roam their house for a week. There were 6 of us, including me. So fun! Then we played UNO. Ginney won the 1st hand and Hope the 2nd and final hand of the night. They have gone to bed and now the others are watching a Nigerian movie that I don't understand, despite it being in English. :)

Now, I'm off to bed. Celebrating the calling God has given me and humbled by the confidence you all have placed in Forgotten Voices. It is such an honor to walk this road with you. Please pray that folks reading this and others are stirred to answer the calls God is placing on their hearts -- the commands to look out for those vulnerable in the world and in their own backyards.

For the greatest legacy we can leave future generations is to do all we can to love as Christ loved us.

Sleep well,

No comments: