How are you doing? It is going so, so well with me! I am pleased to say that I have been back in Mongu since July this year. I received my work permit at the end of June (while I was quarantining from a positive Covid test). Ten days later I was already on an airplane back to Lusaka. It feels so, so good to be back and to see all the people that I have grown to love while I was in Mongu in 2020. I am relishing in the things I have missed about Mongu such at the floodplein walks, the fresh fruits & vegetables from the market and drinking tea while watching the sunset. Lately I've also been able to enjoy the sunrise.
SO MANY NEW FACES :)
I have been spending most of my time busy seeing children that are on our therapy program. Since I have arrived we have admitted TWELVE new, precious children onto our program. We now have thirty-two children who we are actively involved with. There are also another seven children who are attending school and with whom we follow up during the school holidays. Meet Blessing and Shwana (pictured with the amazing Bo Connie), two of the newest admissions.
With more children we have needed more space. Take a look at our beautiful, fun new therapy space.
Champions Club loading... :)
Our ministry towards children with special needs is expanding! Paul van Coller (Founder of the Zambia Project and lead pastor at Hope Church George) and Craig Johnson (Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church, Texas and founder of Champions Club) came to visit us in Mongu. One of the purposes of the visit was to see how we can partner with Champions Club to launch the first Champions Club in Zambia so that we can better minister to children with special needs and their families. Craig joined me to visit a few of the children in our therapy program at their homes. David (who just learned to walk recently at the age of six years 🎉🎉) RAN (a miracle in itself) up to Craig and embraced him for a long time. I am sure David has secured himself a special place in Craig's heart!
Not just children, but also their caregivers :)
I have such a lovely story to share! While Craig was here, we went to visit Elijah. We found that his kuku (grandmother) who looks after him was not fine. She had SO much pain in her knee. She was struggling walk and she had to lie on her side when we spoke to her. She was struggling to sit because of the pain. Naturally she hasn't been able to bring Elijah to therapy. Craig prayed with her but the next morning she was still on our minds. We (Bo Connie and myself) decided to drive to her and take her to the hospital. At the hospital they didn't have the needed medicine but fortunately we were able to provide what she needed from our pharmacy. We saw her a week later and she so much better! 🎉🎉. We spoke to her and she told us her side of the story. She is so thankful that we came to visit Elijah and in doing so we could see her situation. The morning that we came to her she had planned to go to the hospital but didn't know how she will manage to get there because of the pain. She prayed that God will give her strength to get there. She couldn't believe it when her family called her a bit later that morning saying that the people from Village of Hope were there in a car to take her to hospital. God had answered her prayer!! Our clinic was also able to provide her with the much needed medicine. Now that she is walking fine again, Elijah can attend therapy again. She says her neighbours couldn't believe that we would come to her house especially to take her to hospital. By helping her we showed her and her neighbours that we care about people. It's SUCH a big privilege to have opportunities to practically love people. In doing so we can show them that they are important to us because they are important to God 💕. Here is a picture of Elijah with Craig as well as a picture of Elijah's kuku smiling and free of pain.
Have you heard of Hope Art?
Hope Art celebrated their twelfth birthday in July 🎂🎈🎈! That's twelve years of providing employment to women whilst simultaneously supporting children in need. My most recent purchase from Hope Art is their extra-long beaded necklace. I wear it often!. I also love their critters and it is my go-to gift for baby showers or first birthday parties (how cute are the giraffes in the picture below?... they are also on sale😉). You can support the work we do at Village of Hope by purchasing Hope Art. You'll find their website here.
What I am currently reading
A small goal I have is to read 21 books in 2021 (audiobooks count as books). I am current dabbling between two books.
First, The Culture Map, by Erin Meyer. It maps the different cultures of the world on eight scales. I am two chapters in and it's fascinating. If you find people interesting I highly recommend it!
Second, I am listening to the audiobook of An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus' rhythms of work and rest by Alan Fadling (available for free on Audible Plus). It is so, so good! I am learning so much. Some thoughts that stand out to me:
The bible doesn't show us Jesus' schedule, BUT it does show us that Jesus moved at a slower place to the people around them. Not rushing when He heard the news of Lazarus being very ill is a great example.
The fruit of the Spirit is cultivated in UNhurry. It is difficult to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good and faithful if you are in a rush. When you are rushed you are much for tempted to be frustrated, to take shortcuts and to speak harshly.
Restful and unhurried does not equal lazy. We are God's workmanship, He has created us to do good works. We do everything as unto Christ. So everyday we work hard to do the work that God has prepared for us. And we don't give into the temptation to slack off and scroll social media after lunch or to procrastinate with our colleagues over tea in the morning. When we have completed our good work for the day we can enjoy the gift of rest without having to feel pressure to do more.
In our times of rest it is important to seek God. Jesus was known to regularly isolate himself and go to a solitary place to spend time with the Father. It wasn't because he had nothing to do. the crowds (who included sick people) were asking for His attention. At stages Jesus would have to turn his back to them and slip away from them so that he can enter his Father's rest. Would the people around us also be able to say of us that time with the Father is a priority for us.
Jesus had crowds walking with Him but only had twelve disciples FOLLOWING him. To follow Him means to seek God's voice and obey. We need to strive for this patten of listening and obeying in our own lives and also in the lives of the people we disciple. Tailoring church programs for increased numbers isn't that great if the numerical stats aren't supported by stories of how people are learning to listen to God's voice and obey Him.
I have moved!
I am no longer living in the same house as last year. Another couple now stays there. They inherited the cat with the house. I am now staing with a lovely lady named Clarissa. We play Rummikub at least one evening in a week. I now no longer have a cockroach issue 😃.
That is all from my side!
Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support! If you feel lead to pray for the children and their caregivers who form part of our therapy program by name, let me know. I will send you a list of their names.
Wishing you a blessed, fruitful September!