The children's crops are getting the rain they need and we are excited to see CORN next month... Their groundnuts or peanuts are blooming.
The rains have been spotty across the country and we have been in a blessed area and planting with the first rains can be tricky. So proud of our house moms and the children so far things are growing well with just what the crops need.
Michael went out on the 29th of December to do a weeks teaching with the MOT MOT program. He had New Years in the village and so many people attended the over night on New Years EVE. Wish I had pictures to show you but Michael doesn't take many pictures and I do not go out for a week. I received a call on Thursday afternoon from Michael ( he has to walk about 30mins to a ant hill to find a signal then 30 mins back to the church) he said to please be praying the Land Rover would not start and he had used a lot of the battery trying. I called our board in the states and Sheri posted on Facebook and sent out emails. I did not hear from him Friday afternoon so I assumed our prayers were answered and he was on his way since it took so long to walk and find a signal to call. Well it was 7 pm and he had not arrived I was wondering what was happening becasue he was suppose to arrive around 4-5pm. It was confirmed I should not go looking for him but wait until we heard something. It had been raining most of the week so I knew the road would be interesting. It was hard to go to sleep just not knowing if he needed anything or were he was. I did finally sleep after 11pm and the phone woke me at midnight it was Michael telling me he was near the Kalomo Dam and was being pulled in by another truck. It was his first signal to call me. Well it took another two hours for him to arrive but he did and I was so thankful he was home. When the pulling vehicle unhooked him I thought to myself what ride he has had from the mud covered vehicle. He paid the driver and thanked the crew that was with him. 9 hours it took to get to Kalomo. I was looking forward to a picture of the vehicle but when I woke up a bit late 8:30am the guard in our yard had already washed the vehicle. I was so grateful it was clean but really wanted a picture to show all of you. You could not tell what color it was only brown for MUD. He told me how he was pushed and pulled through so much mud and the streams and river was rushing as they crossed. Thank you for your prayers that he arrived home safely. There is no AAA here but we are so thankful the Lord provided someone with a vehicle 70km out that pulled him home. They charged about $170.00 to help him covering their fuel and time it was such a blessing I did not have to go and try to help him myself :) Saturday afternoon Michael went out to start looking as to what might be causing the vehicle to not start. He charged the battery that was down from all his attempts to start. He just wasn't sure. Monday he found a couple of drilled holes under the windshield that was causing water to get on the computer on the passenger side. He filled the holes with solution and Tuesday it started! We are still not sure if that was the problem but we will know after our next big rain. I was also thankful the tent Michael sleeps in on top of the vehicle did well and he had no problems staying dry. The picture below is of the MOT MOT students testing.
I had asked our house mothers to arrange transport into town so we could buy two months supply of food just in case we had heavy rains and could not travel out easily becasue of the roads streams and river we need to cross. They booked a Tractor I was so surprised but we did get heavy rain that very afternoon and they were able to get through. I did receive a call about 8:30pm that they were looking for Elizabeth's two bags that had fallen off the back of the trailer. It had her ID card money clothes our phone payroll books and many other things she had just return from a week away caring for a sick relative and had left her bags with me until she came in shopping so it would be safe. I went out that night looking to see in the dark if I would find it still on the road some were. I did not see anything and only went half way out becasue it was dark I was alone and Michael was in the bush. I went to the Police station to report it missing for her on Wednesday morning but nothing had been turned in. Elizabeth called me Friday and said she had talked with someone who had seen it on the road that very afternoon and it was near the second small bridge. I old her I would go out Saturday morning and ask a few questions. I went out about 10:30 and saw people in the field near where the bag was seen. Well they did not speak to great English and of course I did not speck any Tonga but together I think they understood I had a friend who lost her bags on Tuesday off the back of a trailer connected to a tractor. They told me they knew nothing and had not seen the bag. I went to the third bridge just in case I misunderstood Elizabeth no one was at home there. I came back called her and said Keep PRAYING it will come back but I found nothing. 9:00pm Saturday I received a call on the missing phone! I was in a bit of shock but the man on the other end of the phone said he had the bag and wanted to meet me Sunday morning. He was late arriving but I received both bags with everything in them except K50.00. There was over K250.00 in the bag. The Lord was so good to us and Elizabeth had said to give the man K50.00 for a reward and that was what was missing from the bag..... What a blessing to start off the NEW YEAR. The next pictures are of the tractor and the found bags...
This year we have 3 grade 8 students needing to prepare for school. They will cycle about 5 miles one way to school each day. I always have fun in town with them getting their needed supplies. We shopped for shoes backpacks socks belts rain coats lunch containers water bottles uniforms and jerseys (sweaters). The boys even ask for haircuts. We had lunch and then returned back on public transport with House mom Benita and the children who came in for Clinic. Pray for these children traveling to a nearby school making good grades and new friends there. Their bicycles were donated by Bod Hayton a missionary friend from Livingstone. What a blessing
Michael has had wonderful Sundays out with District Leaders. We are all excited to see what the Lord will do this coming year in the rural areas.
Michael will continue a Bible Study that Jo Anne started with our House of Faith kids each week. They love it and are growing in the word.
I found Royal sitting on the mat having lunch with all the other boys. I could tell he was so excited to be doing what all the others do and not just in his chair. Keep Royal in your prayers he is not going forward as fast as his Physical Therapist had thought. We may have to change things up a bit we will know soon.
Our first grade girls are so excited to start school! Anna will not be 6 until July and was so sad when I gave out the new uniforms and she did not receive one. I told the girls I wanted a picture of them before they went to school and found Anne in her church clothes ready to walk with them to school... Its going to be a hard week for Mama Rita I'm sure as she tries to get Anna to understand about how old you need to be to start school.
A couple of days a month I have to get up early about 5 and travel out to pick up Royal his house mom and Flyness the lady that was trained to work with him two hours a day with his therapy. I leave the house about 5:45 and I am starting to enjoy that time in the vehicle. Everything is still and quiet and I see the most beautiful things. Its the time when the moon is going down and the sun is coming up. I get him back into town around 8:30 he has his breakfast at our house and then we meet with the Therapist about 9:15. Normally we are back at House of Faith by 12:30. I stay and do things that need to be done and Michael does a Bible Study with the kids and also maintenance work around the site. So a couple of days a month I am in the vehicle almost 6 hours in a day and really don't travel far from Kalomo. Learning to enjoy the journey and see all the Lord has done.
We had to go to Livingstone for several things so I planed to go on Michael's Birthday. We had lunch at the Sun Hotel and enjoyed the afternoon in a beautiful setting even saw monkeys and zebra while we had lunch. Seems I miss family even more on days like today.
I've been seeing oil prices fall and gas is under $2.00 a gallon in most places in the US. Our gas here has always been high as much as $8 to $9 a gallon at some points over our 21 years here in Zambia. Finally mid January prices dropped to $4.90 a gallon. That will really help on our out reach budget.
The children's crops are getting the rain they need and we are excited to see CORN next month... Their groundnuts or peanuts are blooming.
Our Sweet Potatoes got planted the day after I was out this week. We bough two bags of clippings and the ground has been prepared. The children are so excited and a re working hard.
Crytone our new catch up tutor teacher arrived at House of Faith Saturday and will start his classes the 26th of January. Pray with us that he can advance the children in their learning.
Rainy season is always interesting because you never know how the roads will be when you start your journey out. I was headed out early morning to collect Royal for his Therapy session in Kalomo. It had not rained in a few days so Michael told me you can do this and I will go out in the afternoon for my Bible Study with the children on your return trip out to take Royal home. Well the road was not bad at all until I came to the river crossing.... I took a deep breath said a prayer and started walking across to find the area that was not to deep to cross. The water was over my knees. I stood at the tire to see where the water might come up to and thought I put it in 4 wheel drive and slowly I went across and was very thankful my first time I did not do any damage to anything . On my way back into Kalomo we found a truck with a cow in the back stuck at the crossing. After maybe 15 mins they got across and I made it across again. I am not a mud driving person but when you have to do something I know HE is there to HELP with whatever needs to be done at the time. He is always Faithful,
Our chicken project had a set back and some how we lost chicks and a rooster. They were working on a new shelter allowing them out of the pen and they were not found the next day. :( We will keep trying. Not sure if they were eaten by something or stolen or just ran away becasue they enjoyed their freedom outside the pen....
Preparing for our Happy Birthday Jesus Party at House of Faith always takes time but I do love shopping for the children. It starts out by the mothers tracing the children's feet on a piece of paper. I then cut them out and go to the market to find their shoes. I will post shoe pictures after the party. I shop for special food items like 25kg of flour sugar baking powder and milk for special fritters. Small gifts for the staff and treat bags for everyone.... Jo Anne helped put the treat bags together so it was faster than usual 95 total for both sites including our extended care kids.
Michael is working with the District each Sunday now to encourage and help District leaders visit area churches. It will be interesting traveling out in rainy season :) We visited Mukwela Church not far from Kalomo that only had 6 people our very first visit there in 2007. We have seen progress over the years but were blessed to see over 150 in attendance.
We so enjoyed the blessing of seeing Pastor Peter and his wife Linda Maulu welcomed to their New Church in Muchange on the 14th of December. Special people we met in the 90's. Praying the Lord's blessings over their family in this new area of work for the Lord.
Jo Anne departed Lusaka back to the states on the 12th of Dec. We had a wonderful 2 month visit with her. She did so many things with and for the children at House of Faith. We look forward to her next visit. We also had a bit of fun while in the mall before she departed :0
On our way home from Lusaka to take JoAnne to the airport we found many places north of us in Kalomo had not planted yet and some places had not even plowed the ground to plant. We are so blessed that the children's maize is up and has it's first fertilizer. Keep rain in your prayers for a wonderful harvest for the children. The planted groundnut or peanuts last Monday and we should be seeing them break the ground at Christmas.
Royal is making progress it will be slow but we are hopeful he will walk. Jo Anne had a stander built to help give strength to his legs and a table to give him some stability. He loves it standing on the front veranda. Thanks mama Jo for all your love and work with the children these last two months.
We always love visiting Kalomo Church in town and we enjoyed being there the Sunday before Christmas.
After Church we rushed home to load the Vehicle just in time to pick up a couple of extended care children at the bus stop so they could visit for our Christmas party at House of Faith. It rained the whole afternoon but we made it!
After we unloaded Michael set up the Jesus Film for showing and all the children watched, well some fell asleep half way through :) At the end Michael gave an opportunity for the children to give their lives to Jesus and well I counted about 18 hands but there were more than that. Next week Michael will talk with the children to make sure they understand what they did and what it means for them. Jo Anne did a bible study each afternoon she was out with them and we know the film helped them to see JESUS.
Everyone was excited for the Happy Birthday Jesus party. The children sang Silent Night and Joy to the World. Uncle Mike shared the Christmas Story and they did a story about what God wants for Christmas. We gave out small gifts to the helpers and treat bags for every one. The children received their new shoes and where told a new outfit was on the way but did not arrive in the POST before Christmas. They loved playing the games ... It was a Happy Day.
The rains have been good to us so far. The moms and children planted with the early rain. They planted the groundnuts or peanuts about a week before Christmas and the week after Christmas they are coming up nicely. Keep this program in your prayers for good rains at the needed times and for the Children to learn how to live by growing their food.
Every year around Christmas I start looking for the Flame Lily to appear. It's the Christmas flower for me and it grows wild in the bush. More and more land is being taken in for growing food and I see less and less flowers each year. It's about an hour drive out to the Children home and I was looking hard but saw nothing. We went to far on a path to see the garden and just as Michael was turning around I saw them! So blessed to once again see the Flame Lily on Christmas or right after Christmas.
Linda Jones has been a missionary for over 23 years. She enjoys working with children and anyone in need.