{Post by the husband} This is Zambia: World Vision’s Work in Mwinilunga

January 5, 2012 § 7 Comments

Ever since I arrived in Zambia 3 months ago, I have been eagerly awaiting my opportunity to visit the work that we (World Vision) do in the field. It can be easy to lose touch with the actual people we are serving when I spend most of my time in the office crunching numbers. Thus, I knew that this time would open my eyes to appreciate how God is using World Vision to serve people in Zambia. I was not disappointed.

We started off at 0930 hours. Our trip included some serious bush roads, and we put on about 250 km in total. The terrain we covered was some of the most beautiful I have seen in Zambia – I saw rolling green hills, freshly planted fields, and endless forests of trees.  It was a feast for the eyes.

Bush Roads

Riversage and Gloria Standing Next to Our Trusty LandCruiser

Our first stops were to visit two basic schools that World Vision is constructing for the Mudanyama residents (Mudanyama school and Matonchi pre-school).

New Mudanyama School

New Mudanyama School - View from Outside

New Matonchi Pre-school

Sitting with Matonchi Pre-schoolers

The beautiful new schools are replacing the prior dilapidated structures. I was very impressed with the construction in both instances. Our next stop was to visit some fish ponds that World Vision has built for the Matonchi village; World Vision also trains the villagers in fish farming techniques. The villagers were very proud to show off their ponds filled with fingerlings which they consume and also use to help other villages start their own fish ponds.

Matonchi Fish Ponds

Ben Leading the Matonchi Villagers Back to the Road

We left the Matonchi village and on the way to our next stop, we visited Katuyola Bore-hole where other villagers have been given access to clean water.

Katuyola Borehole

Our next stop was to visit Minyanya, where we greeted villagers who practice fish farming, vegetable farming, and goat raising. I was very impressed with their motto: “Do not eat to eat, but eat to work. If you do not like to work, you must not eat. Work at least 4 hours for each meal”.  Our ADP (area development program) manager Riversage did an impressive job interacting with them and encouraging them to continue working hard. After touring their site, we were shown some amazing hospitality as a simple village family served us some delicious village chicken and nshima. It is very humbling to be served such nice food by these people, and I was very touched by the gesture. We set off to visit some sponsor children in Lumwana West who had received special gifts from their sponsors. We drove a couple of hundred km’s and visited 4 children (2 more we tried to visit were away farming with their families as it is the rainy season now). I was very moved to meet these sponsor children, all whom had received correspondence form their sponsors and who appeared to be doing well.

Martin Teaching Sponsor Child to Count

Sitting in the Hut where Men Discuss Important Issues

We returned home very exhausted and yet satisfied at 1900 hours. I drove the entire trip – Riversage said that I can stay on as an ADP driver because I was “very stable” in my driving. It was encouraging to see the good work that our staff is doing and it was very exciting to meet some of the people we are serving. Everyone we met was very thankful for how World Vision is supporting them in various ways. And for me, this trip was exactly what I needed to give me fresh encouragement for joyfully serving at World Vision.

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Menenberg News: We’re moving to Africa!

April 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

Wow, I can’t believe I’m actually writing this post. Ben and I have wanted to move to Africa for the past year or so and when we visited in September (see here and here), we fell in love with the land, the people, and the life we could have there.  Now, we’re going!! Here’s the details of what we know right now:

WHEN

Map of the African continent.

Image via Wikipedia

World Vision is sending us for an initial trip of 3 weeks in May. After packing up our earthly possessions, we’ll likely be leaving for good in summer of 2011 (exact date of departure TBD). The initial contract is for one year.

WHERE

We’ll be headed for Lusaka, Zambia, which is located in mid-Southern Africa. It will be the cold-dry season when we get there, highs in the 80s, lows in the 50s-60s. We will probably end up trying to rent a furnished house or apartment with plenty of room for guests. Also, there’s an Acts 29 Church that is in the process of being planted in Lusaka so we may even be able to help with that, as well.

WHAT

Ben will be working in the finance department at World Vision. I will initially take care of our household. Food is almost completely made from scratch (with no microwave dinners in sight) and you hang your laundry out to dry on a line in the sun. In some ways, it sounds the romantic old-fashioned life I’ve always wanted. I could anticipate volunteering as a nurse in some capacity but I think it’s unlikely that I’ll hold a proper job there. I’m also considering the possibility of going back to school with some online programs. I have no doubt that plenty of volunteer nursing opportunities will readily present themselves.

HOW

As you can imagine, as our big move is only a few weeks or so away, we are furiously preparing for our departure. My to-do list is growing by the minute. The story of how we got here is quite amazing. As I stated before, we had been wanting to go for quite some time but nothing seemed to be opening up. Because we hadn’t heard anything, we started calling the apartment office where we live to sign another year lease as well as attempting to make numerous commitments here in Seattle. Miraculously, no one called us back. In fact, Ben and I were starting to get pretty frustrated at the lack of response we got from our leasing office. It was only after we heard from World Vision about us going that we realized that the Lord had stayed our hand so that we would be ready to go. We were so thankful.

My plan is to continue this blog while we are living over there although I know for a fact the internet is not as reliable as it is here. Stay tuned for updates!

Haiti Promise Packs: The Event

January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

{The following was written by Ben}

On Wednesday, January 12, 2011, Mars Hill Bellevue commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake by assembling World Vision Promise Packs for Haitian children.

 

Marin and Me doing registration

 

Writing notes of encouragement

More than 50 men, women, and children participated in the event to fill 250 backpacks with school supplies and personal care items, and the completed packs were picked up the following day by World Vision for shipment to Haiti.

 

Assembly line for the backpacks

Thank you to everyone who participated, either by assembling packs or by contributing financially to the event.  We had a great crew who helped with set-up, pack assembly, and clean-up.  We are grateful for your partnership in showing God’s love to the children of Haiti!

 

Our community group

And a special thank you to our wonderful community group! They came early and stayed late to help make the event happen. Thanks, guys!

 

Haiti Promise Pack Build

January 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

On the 1-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake (January 12th, 2011 at 6:30pm), we are having a “Promise Pack” Build event where we will assemble backpacks filled with school supplies and personal care items for Haitian children.  The assembled packs will be shipped via World Vision to Haiti.  As 40% of Haitian children do not attend school (US Dept of State), these Promise Packs will go a long way towards helping children attend school.


We would love for you to partner with us and help put the packs together.  Also, we are raising funds to pay for the materials and shipping ($25 per pack, with a goal of 250 packs assembled).  Please email Ben or myself for more information or to contribute (check donations written out to “World Vision” are tax-deductible). On behalf of the Haitian children, thank you!

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