Saturday has come and gone. It was another full and beautiful day here in Zambia. Rather windy throughout the night, it was quite cool this morning. Today was the first of our service project days. No camps today, we spent the morning painting a few rooms at the hospital. It is a nice change of pace for the team.Plus, it was great to be able to give in different ways. We hope to be painting for four mornings so that we can finish all of the rooms they want us to paint. The only challenge at this point is working around the patients that are in the hospital. Unfortunately, however, one of our team members was up all night with some kind of stomach virus, so he was unable to join us.
After lunch we enjoyed Team Time and talked about “Observing the Sabbath.” This is always one of the best times of the day as we get a chance to share what God is teaching us and how the Bible applies to us today. This is also when team members share their personal stories of how they came to know Christ as their personal Savior and how He is working in their life.
Like most places we go here in this part of Zambia, we walked to the girls’ secondary school. It did take us 20 minutes to get there, but walking is always a blast. It gives us a chance to experience the area and meet people along the way. We had no idea what we were going to do during our time there, but we were looking forward to what lie ahead. When we arrived, they told us we were going to be playing a basketball game against a local team. So we obliged and played two 10-minute halves. It was cool to see the whole community come out to watch the game and to root on the home team. There had to be well over 100 people crowded around the court. It really was a blast.
After the basketball game we migrated to the soccer field to play against their soccer team. We played two 15-minute halves and one of the best parts was adding a few local friends to round out our squad. We are looking forward to heading back up to that community tomorrow for some praise and worship in the afternoon. We will be responsible for the full hour there and are looking forward to sharing through song, testimonies, a devotional and other sharing and interaction.
After dinner we had Game Night. It is almost 10 pm here and everyone is getting ready for bed. Church, which starts tomorrow morning at 10:30 am, is always a highlight. Please be praying for our team as we embark on week #2 here. Also, please pray for the team member that is sick. He is feeling better today but it has been a struggle from time to time.
Thank you so much for praying for us and lifting us up before the Throne of Grace!
Some cool shots from the trip …
Sorry for the delay in updates…our internet was down, but we are back! You know, its really quite a blessing we even have it. We got a bit spoiled the first several days with the solid connection-so if you don’t hear from us, just know all is going great. We are just out in the bush, and you take what you can get! We’ll try to briefly summarize the last couple days, which isn’t easy!
We got off to an early start and headed down to the local primary school. We, as usual, had no idea what to expect! It turned out that they sent us about 80 or 90 kids, wild with excitement to get the opportunity to play football. So we quickly got organized and got the day underway. Thankfully, a good friend stopped by to help us, so he became our translator as we shared with them the real reason we came to spend time with them. They were such great listeners as we shared about God’s love, and as one of our team gave his testimony.
That clinic ended, we stopped in to thank the headmaster, and we headed back to the dorm for a quick turn around out to the school we’ve been working at this week. The day went really well. Its been such a blessing to be able to build relationships as the week has gone on, not just with the children, but also with the teachers. God is great!
We rushed home for lunch and then we were off to the hospital for a tour of the place. A missionary doctor gave us the tour, as well as a lot of history, which was really neat for us all to hear. We spent a bit of extra time at the HIV/AIDS clinic as he shared about the clinic and the encouraging work going on there. There is a lot going on at this rural hospital, we can certainly be praying for Macha and the work that is happening here.
Supper time was a real treat. We were invited to come back out to the school we’ve been spending the week at to join them for dinner. Though the school has 106 students, only about 27 are boarding students during the week, so we shared the evening with them…played kickball, ate dinner, some board games, and then closed the evening with devotions. Before heading to bed they sang a song and I think for us all it was a touching moment. To see them so passionate as they sang about God’s love was truly humbling and a blessing to be a part of. The school is really doing great things, so its been so cool to be a part of it for this week. Prayer time ended the night so we set off on foot for the 1.5 mile walk back in the starlit beauty of the clear African sky.
Closing day is always bittersweet when a week of camp comes to an end. Today was no different. We closed with a huge game we call “Castles” where all the kids play on the field at the same time, and of course the obligatory “kick all the balls at the coaches” as they run “the gauntlet.” Always sure to be good time no matter what country you are playing in! But the real highlight was the closing time, where the gospel presentation is made. Praise the Lord for the many children who stepped forward to pray further to receive Christ in their hearts. The soccer is great, but its so amazing to see young people want to share in the family of God-and humbling to be a part of. Thank you for all the prayers you’ve been praying! Saying goodbye isn’t easy, especially not when the children sing in chorus about seeing us again in Heaven, another joyous moment for all, but sad too, knowing most of us probably won’t see these dear ones again on this earth.
The afternoon meant chapel time with the nurse’s training school that is next to the hospital. One thing that pretty much runs as a theme on this trip is that usually we really don’t know what to expect, and this was no different! Turns out they were expecting us to pretty much run the time, which was a surprise to us! But hey, what can you do but roll with it. We also found out they are expecting one of us to “preach” on Sunday evening at their service…we’re still arguing about who’s up for that job! Just kidding, but seriously, your prayers would be appreciated!
Back at supper the ladies prepared us a traditional Zambian meal of inshima, chicken, and some cabbage, and then we spent Team Time with singing and prayer. We are all clearly aware of the fact that we don’t sound nearly as good as our Zambian counterparts(who all have amazing voices!), but Psalm 96 pretty much sums it all up- it is not about the sound…just the hearts singing, and thank goodness for that!
We closed the night with a movie and headed to bed for another is coming tomorrow! We will begin our painting service project at the hospital tomorrow, and we’ve been told it’s quite the endeavor, so we’re hoping we can rise to the challenge. We’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!
Another day winding down back here in the dorm, and it’s fair to say that I think we are all pretty tired! It was another fun day though, that’s for sure. We began the day of ministry out at the school again, where the teachers tell us that the children have been extra energetic this week because we are there. Getting the teachers involved with the skills part of our time there has been fun, we love to here them laughing as they show off their skills along with their students!
One thing we do with them each day, other than pray and share how Jesus has changed our lives, is present an aspect of sportsmanship that really relates to all areas of life. Today in one of our games, one little boy stopped chasing the ball to help another little guy off the ground after he fell. We could never get tired of seeing that! Tomorrow we are really excited to not only be going for the clinic, but also we will be returning later in the day to join them and their 27 boarding students for dinner and devotions!
We biked back for lunch, well most of us anyway! The rest got lucky and hitched a ride in the back of a pick up:) We were expecting a hospital tour today, but after walking over and meeting the doctor that would give us the tour, we realized it was chapel time and that meant it wasn’t an ideal time for the tour. So tomorrow it is!
At 16:00(4pm) as we call it here, we left to head to a “near-by” field to play another local team. We had 3 of our Zambian brothers joining us for the walk and match, so that was fantastic. They are great guys who have been helping us through out the week, plus with out them we wouldn’t have found the pitch. Turns out the “near-by” field was about 3 miles away! By the time we arrived on foot it was already about 5, so we didn’t have much time left until dark! A bunch of guys came out of the nearby villages and we were able to play them for about 25 minutes before making the walk…well, run…home for dinner time! Took some awesome sunset pictures on the way though! It was a fun match, but really it is just the experience of it all…showing up to play, friendly young men coming out to join,and enjoying the time playing together on the dusty field as the African sun sets to the sound of laughing and shouting…oh, and retrieving the soccer ball after it hit pigs that were just beyond the end line!
So needless to say, the team got a good dose of exercise and enjoyed an awesome cultural experience! Tomorrow will be a busy day so it’s time to say good night!
New pictures are going up at http://www.facebook.com/pushtherock
We came here saying that we would certainly be flying by the seat of our pants at times, and that is indeed the way it is going. And it has been so fun!
We were up early today, needing to be at the church to meet the local high school for their devotional time to start their day. As usual we were not quite sure what we were getting into, but it was great! Songs were sung, and then we all were brought up front and introduced ourselves to the students, about 200 of them filling the pews. We spoke a little bit about PTR, and why were in Macha, and the REAL reason we are here(Jesus!). Then one of our team shared his testimony with the students, which seemed to be well received. Afterwards many of them greeted us, and we were invited to come scrimmage their girls soccer team, and also their boys basketball team(which will be next week-why didn’t we bring a basketball????!) It will be fun for sure, one student assured us they were very good!
Then it was off to the school we’ve been working at this week for our daily soccer clinics. Many rode bikes on the way there, some of us however have been left out of the riding scene due tires that will not hold air! We started the day by singing “Father Abraham” with them. We thought we’d sing it for them, turns out they pretty much out sang us and did all the actions along with us too…so fun. The soccer part went well, shared a sportsmanship thought and also a testimony, and then we were walking/biking back for lunch.
Needless to say, the three of us who walked got back much later…partly because we found some people that we stopped to talk with along the way…but that’s life here! Thankfully, there was still food on the table when we arrived, whewwww.
The afternoon was a bit of rest and then off to the high school again to scrimmage the girls team. It was definitely a different match than we had last night to say the least. The girls pretty much laughed for the first 20 minutes anytime anything happened. They settled down a bit and were actually pretty good considering soccer is not something they play a lot of. At halftime they recruited some boys to help them, and they did, but not enough to make up the damage let’s just say. Seriously though, it was a great time and we all shook hands with lots of smiles at the end- and they asked us to sign their book to say PTR was here- we felt honored.
The walk back was only about 10 minutes…we decided we’d all walk to this event. We’ll see what happens when it’s time to make the 1.5 mile trek to the school tomorrow! Dinner was delicious and then for Team Time we discussed the 2nd Commandment and listened to a team member’s testimony. Believe it or not we are ending the day watching some TV! A little National Geographic to entertain the squad, meanwhile I am going to get a shower and get to bed! Tomorrow is a new day!
Eric, for the team
Mwabuka buti?!(good morning!)….and you say ‘kabotu!’
It was a nippy run to start today off for half the team. Four of us adventured out in the cold, yes, cold(don’t feel bad for us though!) for a nice 4 mile jog. We could see our breath as we ran, and we watched the beautiful sun rise on the horizon. It was great to get out and get some exercise, as we had been sitting a lot in the previous days. We had no plans of a game today, so we figured it’d be a great day to do it. It’s so quiet here, especially in the night and mornings, unless you consider a dog barking every so often noise…or the roosters in the local village crowing as the sun comes up. Really it’s something you can only attempt to put in words, so you will just have to come here to experience it all for yourselves!
Today was our first day of soccer clinics in the community. We had an 11-1 session at a local school where we will be going every day this week. Needless to say, the children had been told we were coming and were very excited. As we gathered up front as a team in their chapel, we got a lovely surprise! The teachers, probably about 16 of them, formed two lines on either side of us, singing and dancing. It was so fun…and then, much to our embarrassment we were pulled out to dance with them! It was hilarious and the kids loved it. Imagine a room full of 106 kids watching their teachers and a bunch of strangers(who can’t really dance) carrying on up front. It was the true cultural welcome and the staff were also singing the entire time. It was such a great experience, though we were all glad we didn’t know we would be dancing, otherwise we all agreed we would have been nervous to be there 🙂
So the clinic went great, the team really stepped it up in their time with the children. We love teaching soccer, but it’s always so much more special to see the team bonding with the children and teachers, laughing together, talking together, and sharing in so much joy. Each day this week we will be going back, we can’t wait to continue to build into their lives, and our ultimate hope is that in some way, they have seen Jesus in us, and will be encouraged in their walk of faith whatever it may be or even coming to accept Christ in their life for the first time!
We had safe bike ride home, clearly lessons were learned from the previous day! We got back just in time for lunch, and then we sat down for a bit to relax. We thought that later in the afternoon we’d be heading up to the hospital to play some games with the nurses-in-training, but much to our surprise, we were playing a game! Our first friendly match against all these fit, young men on the hospital field. It was so cool. By the end, many people had stopped their walks by to witness what was going on. After about 80 minutes, the game ended 0-0, not for a lack of shots or chances. They were much better than us, but we hung in there well. The guys on the other team were so nice, and as we shook hands it was their smiles that meant the most. We will be joining them for a rematch next week again! Can’t wait..and this time there will be no morning run!
Another great meal prepared by our gracious hosts, and as I type, a rousing game of Dutch Blitz is going on in the room next door! It’s so neat to see the team coming together, encouraging each other, and experiencing so many new things together. We are blessed. It has also been such an encouragement to be working very closely with the church here, they were more than prepared for our arrival. Tomorrow we have some key meetings to set up some other school visits, as well as a service project at the hospital!
Thanks so much for all prayers-we are loving being here and feel very supported by you all! If you have Facebook, we have put some pictures up at http://www.facebook.com/pushtherock
Tuyobonana ijunza,(we will see you tomorrow)
It is Sunday evening here and we just finished team devotions. It has been an eventful day, as they all are. One of the best parts of any mission trip is worshiping with fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. This morning was no different. We walked 15 minutes to church in the beautiful sunshine before enjoying the service in Tonga. Most people speak English, but they did use a translator. It helped us stay engaged and focused. The team loved the singing, which was very active and very much a part of being Zambian.
After the service we were taken to a back room with other visitors and served juice and crackers. The hospitality has been great and we truly appreciate the love we have been shown. We walked back for lunch before heading out to one of the local schools. We stopped by the local soccer field where we hope to play one of our matches. That walk gave us a pretty good perspective on the community and the people.
At the school we met many new people from the community who were there to say “Good-bye” to one of the missionary families that is leaving this week. It was neat to experience how close the community is. We could not be there that long because it gets dark at 6 pm. So, we had to be on our way by 5:30. One of the perks of our stay here is that we each have a bike for the two weeks, which we picked up at the school. We are excited about the bikes because it will not take as long to get from one place to the next. We almost lost a few team members on the way home (apparently they have not ridden bikes in awhile), but thankfully, we arrived at dinner in one piece.
We enjoyed a great dinner before having team devotions. We are all looking forward to discussing the “Ten Commandments” throughout the trip. In addition to studying Scripture each night, we will prepare for the next day of camp. We are ready to roll and excited to see what God has in store for us for Camps Day #1.
Thanks so much for praying for us … we really appreciate it and need it.
After 17+ hours of flying, numerous movies, lots of napping, and many many leg stretches, we arrived safely in Livingstone, Zambia…to find all our bags waiting for us! Our driver was already there waiting for us with a big smile, so we loaded up and hit the road…via the super market where we got some manzi(water) for the 3-4 hour ride to Macha.
We are all pretty tired, but pumped to finally be here! The ladies had prepared us a hot meal upon our arrival of chicken, rice, a kale like veggie, and some banana cake. Welcome to Macha! There will be plenty more to write in the days to come, so come back often to keep getting a glimpse of what the team is up to. Thanks so much for all your prayers!
Eric, for the team
The team has gathered in Emmaus and enjoyed a great day of training and time together yesterday. Today we take to the skies for the long flight to Zambia. We are excited for what God has in store for each one of us, and also for our team as we partner with the local church there using ‘football’ as a way to build relationships and share the hope and joy that is Christ Jesus. Thank you in advance for all your prayers check back often for frequent updates during our time there!
Eric, for the team