February 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
Laura had quite an adventure getting to Malawi, but she made it safely. Her trip started a bit slowly as she arrived at the Lusaka bus station at 9:30am. The bus did not leave until 5:30pm – 8 hours later! – as they waited until the bus was full before leaving the station. Then, she had another 8 or so hours on the bus and arrived in Chipata at 2am, where our friend Elizabeth met her with a taxi, dinner, and hotel reservation (side note: the Zambians on the bus were impressed when Laura got off to use the “bathroom” just like a Zambian – they laughed and said “she is used”.) They left for Malawi the next morning and after another long day of travel, arrived in Elizabeth’s village about an hour and a half north of Lilongwe. All I have to say about that is – my wife is a trooper! I’m not sure if I would have the determination to go through a trip like that.
Laura is loving village life – I think if she had her way, we would be living in a village rather than Lusaka (I think I would like it as well). Today, she went to church with Elizabeth – the Malawians asked her to share so she preached out of 1 Peter, a book which deals extensively with suffering while still hoping in Jesus, a very relevant topic as Malawi is going through an incredibly difficult economic situation currently. Tomorrow and the rest of this week, she will be contributing her nursing skills at local clinics.
I’m hanging in there as a bachelor – I cooked twice this weekend (chili and chicken stir-fry) and spent some time with friends. We are eagerly looking forward to my mom and Madison (my sister) visiting us starting Monday, February 13th!
December 22, 2011 § 3 Comments
When Laura and I arrived in Zambia 2 months ago, we expected many things. We expected to make good friends, to enjoy our work assignments, and to appreciate living in a new and exotic environment. However, there have been many pleasant surprises along the way. One of the most significant has been our time volunteering at a local orphanage in Lusaka.
On most Saturday mornings, we wake up early to go with our friend Holly Nelson from Special Hope Network on a drive to Kasisi, a small town about 30 minutes outside of Lusaka. In this small town, there is a beautiful orphanage that is run by the Catholic Church. For the next two hours, we spend time playing with, reading to, and enjoying a group of about ten children who live at the Home, many whom have intellectual and/or physical disabilities. On of my favorite children in this group is a little boy named Gift. Gift is about 7 years old, and he appears to have some form of autism. He has difficulty focusing on tasks for more than a few seconds, and his language skills are very limited. He always has a big smile, and he always waves to us and comes to give us a hug when he sees us. Over the last 2 months, I have come to love this little boy and I look forward to seeing him on Saturdays at Kasisi. Laura and I have gradually learned how to keep his attention for longer periods of time, and we have realized that the name “Gift” is truly appropriate as he has brought joy into our lives.
The faithfulness of the Catholic sisters at this orphanage is inspiring and also challenging to us Protestant Christians. It is embarrassing to note that Protestant-run orphanages in Lusaka often will not take in kids with intellectual/physical disabilities, while the Catholic-run orphanage accepts children with all manner of disabilities. Matthew 25:31-46 is fairly clear about what Jesus expects from His disciples – how can Protestant Christians then withhold God’s love from the least of these?
September 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
With this (temporary) new nanny position, I’ve been learning a lot about the care taking of children in a way I haven’t before. I have been nannying triplet two-year old girls one day a week until we depart for Africa. It may sound like craziness (and it is at times) but I love these girls and we have so much fun together every week. Last week, we played outside with chalk, blew bubbles, and took a walk in the woods. The girls loved finding little “balls” (leftover air soft bullets from the big kids in the area). After naps, we ventured over to the park. I knew the girls would need drinks, snacks, and the potty (they are toilet training) so I packed those like a good nanny should. The amazing this is, the girls didn’t even know they would need the potty, snacks, or drinks. They live in the moment and think in terms of themselves. I was struck that this is very much how God our Father sees us. We get so consumed with our lives, our wants, our desires. We find ourselves in situations where we “need” something and yet God has already prepared things for us. We don’t have to be anxious or worried because He is taking care of us.
Matthew 6:25-34 NASB
” 25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “
August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
Here is a guest blog from my husband, Ben. I thoroughly enjoyed this little piece he wrote and found myself relating to these feelings. I hope you enjoy it too!
If I’m not careful, I will find almost any excuse to complain. Here are some common complaints:
– I didn’t get enough sleep
– I didn’t relax on vacation
– I didn’t get enough time alone with my wife
– I don’t like a certain part of my job
– I can’t believe how bad our government is
– my wife isn’t doing something the way I want
– etc, etc, etc
One of my favorite truths to proclaim is that we are sinful people who live in a sinful world. And based upon that truth, I pout and focus on how sinful things are and how terrible things have become. However, I am realizing that I often miss the point. Like a camera that is out of focus, I fail to capture the beautiful landscape that is before me because I am fixated on a single distraction in the periphery of my picture.
I frequently ask myself: why has everything gone so wrong? A better question to ask: why should anything go right?
If I take my thoughts about sin, in isolation, to their logical conclusion, I will find many fantastic reasons to be depressed. But if I take my thoughts of sin to the cross and remember what Jesus did about MY sins, I find myself speechless with gratitude and wonder. I am forgiven! I am free from sin and empowered to live by the Holy Spirit living inside of me. Starting from that point, I can see countless examples of God’s grace in my life – beautiful relationships He has given me, wonderful memories to cherish, the privilege of being used by Him to shine His light wherever I go.
Lord, help me to be thankful. You deserve so much gratitude for all that you have done for me – help me to honor you by living a life filled with thanksgiving and praise to your Holy Name.
April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment