Zambia Trip Update #16-Home Safe July 29, 2012

We just wanted to send a quick update to let everyone know that the team arrived safely into JFK in NYC today, and all bags were accounted for!

Thanks so much for following this trip, and for your prayer support.  It was an amazing time for us all, and we are grateful for the chance we had to serve using something as simple as soccer! Until the next time…

The Team

Zambia Trip Update #15 July 27, 2012

Our last full day in Zambia began in the morning darkness as we piled into vehicles to head to the nearby game reserve to do our best to find some animals roaming in the wild.  We managed to see impala, baboons, monkeys, giraffe, wart hog, elephant,zebra…and so the list goes on!  We even had the fortune of seeing 2 rhino, thanks to an armed guard who took us…on foot!…to go see them.  That was a special little bonus for us all.  Mid morning we stopped along the Zambezi river for a snack, and to take in the beautiful surroundings one more time while we were still able.  As monkeys closed in on us, we decided it was time to get back in the cars, and off we went.

After a few more hours of taking it all in, we headed back to our ‘camp’ for lunch and then off for some more bartering at the shops for items to bring home for families and friends. Our evening meal of pizza was fantastic!

We have been so blessed to have had this time in Zambia.  As we all pack up and head to bed, we trade the excitement of heading home to our loved ones, with the reality that we are leaving this wonderful place…for now!  We have all learned a lot about ourselves, we’ve been challenged how we can live and serve better as believers in Christ, and we certainly have formed new friendships that will last much beyond this trip.  Certainly none of us come back unchanged in some way or another.

Thank you for being a part of this trip, and for all your support and prayers.  We have needed and felt them for sure, and ask for your prayers for our safe return to our various homes across the USA.  We should be back in New York by 6 am Sunday morning.  A few more pictures are up on the Facebook page!

Goodnight from Zambia, one last time…

The team

 

Zambia Trip Update #14 July 26, 2012

We said our goodbyes in Macha this morning, and hit the road to head to Livingstone.  After checking into our accommodations for the night, we found some lunch and then headed to the beautiful Victoria Falls, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.  On the way there, we found a herd of elephants just standing along the road, so of course we had to stop for some pictures!

The falls are breathtaking, and a great reminder of the Lord’s awesome power in creation and nature.  After many pictures, we then hiked to the bottom of the gorge for a different view…and some more pictures!

Back at the top again, we enjoyed shopping at all the little booths where men were selling all kinds of souvenirs- well, those of us who enjoy bartering enjoyed it!  It was a great day, ending with a great meal at a local restaurant.  Oh, we saw elephants again on the way back to town from the falls- and we hope to see plenty more of them, and other animals on our game drive tomorrow morning.

For now, good night!

Loving the beauty of HIS creation,

The team

Zambia Trip Update #13

Well, it is hard to believe but our time here in Macha is just about up.  Today we spent our last full day in this community. For some of us, it may be the last time to visit here, for others maybe not!  One thing is for sure, we have enjoyed our time here and the fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  We certainly will come home with lots of new friends, memories, and lessons learned.

Today started with some time spent together in prayer, singing, and then encouragement of one another, as we shared about the things we saw in our team mates over the last 2 weeks.  One thing we as Christians can always do more of is encourage, and in a team setting like this especially its important for others to know they are appreciated, and that they are doing a great job!  We each also shared our favorite Bible verses, and shared some stand-out moments from the trip up to this point.

After team time, some of us went to the market, others to the local dam, and others rested for a bit before lunch.  After lunch we piled into a pick up and drove to our last school we’d be visiting on this trip.  As is the common theme, we were not exactly sure what to expect, other than some kind of soccer ministry and kids.  Well, we got just that!  We ended up with about 200 kids on the soccer field, many of which were just there to take in the spectacle!  One of our team shared his testimony, and we were very grateful for the several teachers who really pitched in to help us, including in translating.

We played a few rousing rounds of ‘Head it, Catch it,’ until we had a winner, which was lots of fun!  This game always manages to bring out the cheers and laughter.  After that, we split up and played a mini tournament-one for the girls, and one for the boys.  It was certainly a challenge, but it was fun, and the students had a great time, while we also got to share with them the real reason we had come.

Then it was straight back to the dorm to gear up for our final friendly match of our time in Zambia.  With many tired legs, and a few minor injuries, our team mustered up the energy and encouraged each other to a 2-0 victory.  It was a fun way to end our time here in Macha, as we shook hands and talked with the other team,there were smiles all around.  The team has been great, and it has been a real joy to get to know our Zambian brothers who have joined our team for the last couple weeks.

After dinner, it was time to pack and prepare for our relatively early departure tomorrow.  We are making time,though, to take in one more sunrise before we leave tomorrow morning!

We are excited to see friends and family at home, but sad at the same time to have to say good bye here.  Tomorrow we’ll head to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls and some of God’s wonderful animals He put on this earth!  We should have some internet access, so we’ll be keeping contact with you all!  Some new pictures are up at www.facebook.com/pushtherock

Good night from Zambia!

The team

Zambia Trip Update #12 July 24, 2012

Tonight we are sitting under the beautiful Zambian night sky, enjoying a fire and some fellowship with each other, in addition to 3 professionals who are here working on research related things.  We even got crazy and made ‘Zambores’, which is Zambian smores, or at least that’s what we are calling them! We made due with the supplies we could find in the nearest town, and we all enjoyed the reminder of the US specialty! So while sitting here around the fire, I’ll recap the day…

We started with a breakfast of porridge and toast, and then again met for our devos and team time.  Today we discussed how we are “Made for a Mission,” as we were challenged to look at what it is the Lord has in mind for us all.  We also heard from our last team mate as he shared his testimony.  It has been great spending time together in times of prayer and study, not to mention in singing!  We may not sound quite as good as our Zambian brothers and sisters, but we do great!

There was some free time in the morning, so most of us spent some time collecting wood for tonight’s bonfire and/or resting.  Lunch was great and then we were off to another local school, though we weren’t exactly sure what we were getting into.  We talk about being flexible, and today was a perfect example!  We walked to the school, and the headmaster was sick and the head teacher was in town, so we were left with a group of kids, with no sports teacher who was also supposedly going to be there!  We made the most of the situation and organized some soccer with the kids, with lots of laughing.  They seemed to enjoy the time, and it was a great reminder and lesson to each of us that we need to be ready for anything, and trust Him for whatever He has in store for us!

We walked home quickly to get showered before heading to one of our Zambian friend’s house for dinner.  This man works at the local girls’ secondary school, and has been a great contact to have over the last 2 trips here.  He is a great man of God, and does an amazing time of leading worship at the local church.  He and his wife have 2 young children and bravely invited the team up to their house for some food and fellowship.  It was only a 15 minute walk to their house, and we enjoyed a wonderful traditional meal together, followed by some singing, and time of prayer.  Again, another lesson in hospitality and graciousness.  We were all blessed to spend the time with this amazing family, and they welcomed us all back anytime we are in Zambia.

And that brings us to the bonfire where we currently huddle around the flames in the cool of the night here.  A fun and perfect ending to another great day in Zambia.  Most of us find it hard to believe our time here is running out, tomorrow is our last full day in Macha!  With that thought, we’ll say goodnight!  Thanks again for all your prayers.

Good night from the other side of the world!

The team

Zambia Trip Update #11 July 23, 2012

So this week began with a different pace to it from last week!  For our last few days here in Macha, we’ll be using the mornings for devotions, and time to see the community.  Our afternoons will be spent playing some matches and working at 2 more local schools.

Today we enjoyed a pancake breakfast!(Have we mentioned that the ladies who prepare our meals have been excellent!!) After that we enjoyed discussing what it means to ‘be created to SERVE,’ and how that should be reflected in our daily lives.  We were challenged to take a look at not only our abilities, but also our experiences, spiritual gifts, and upbringing to determine where the Lord may be calling us, or how he may be showing us some direction in life.  We enjoyed some good discussion, and then heard from our 7th team member in how the Lord has been working in his personal life.  Hearing everyone’s story is always such an encouragement, and it is neat then to be able to pray for each other, and know each other on a deeper level than before.

On this trip, we were able to bring  a lot of gently worn shoes and clothing, so our next endeavor was to sort through what we had, and prepare it for the local church’s Compassion Ministry.  They will take care of distributing it to people who need, and for us that is a key partnership! We also sorted through other things we had brought, like school supplies, that we will be delivering throughout our remaining days.  That task complete, we walked to the local market to get a view of what shopping here looks like for most people.  There are vendors every where, selling things from veggies, dried fish, fruits, and baked goods, to pots and pants, clothing, flip flops and on and on.  It’s really quite a sight to take in!  Some of our team bought some nice fabrics, and others bought some articles of clothing, as well as some snacks!

After lunch we headed for a tour of the hospital here, as well as the Malaria Research endeavor.  The Macha Mission was established in the early 1900s, and the hospital opened in the late 50’s.  God has clearly been working here since the first time missionaries arrived, as together with people of this community, amazing progress is being made in both the medical and research fields.

After the tour, we had our rematch versus the team that beat us last Monday.  This time we went down early, 1-0, but battled back with 2 second half goals for a hard fought victory! The team worked really hard, and it’s been so special having several of our Zambian brothers playing with us each game.  We took pictures together afterwards with the other team, and enjoyed some time in conversations as the sun went down.  A bunch of children that we had worked with last week came to support us, so it was fun to hang out with them and even be escorted home!

We are loving each day here, and are sad that the time is coming to an end.  That being said, we have 2 more wonderful days in Macha to make the most of!  We are all pretty tired, and now that we have had a lovely dinner, bed is calling!

The team

Zambia Trip Update #10 July 22, 2012

We clapped and swayed to the beautiful music at church this morning.  All of us are captivated by the spirit of worship here.  It is amazing, and so awesome that we worship the same Jesus Christ here as we do in the USA in our home churches.  Sure the set up at church may be different, but it is the same Bible, the same message, the same God.  Hallelujah, amen.

The sermon was on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he talked to them about unity, and how every part of the body must own its role for the body to function at its best.  Tonight at team time we talked a bit about how each member of this team brings something special to the group, and that the Lord put us here for a purpose, not an accident.  What  a joy it has been to get to know each other for what seems much longer than a week.  We are blessed to be here and are grateful for your prayers as we enter our last week in Zambia.

Today we did our best to make Sunday a day of rest, and I think we were pretty successful.  After the church service we took some time to be still and rest, and it felt great!  Clearly the Lord knew what he was doing when he commanded a day of rest for each week.  We look forward to beginning a new week here, and though we will get home next Sunday, we only have 3 full days left in Macha which we will make the most of!

The team

 

Zambia Trip Update #9 July 21, 2012

Today was a  nice change of pace for the team, starting with an extra hour or so of sleep!  Soon after our breakfast of toast and coffee/tea, we loaded into a few vehicles to drive to a nearby orphanage to see and hear about the ministry happening there.  It was an impressive operation, currently housing 10 orphans, but run be some people that clearly have passion for the Lord, and a long term view for the ministry.  We all enjoyed asking questions and hearing about certain aspects of faith and what the orphanage hopes to do in the life of each child, which first and foremost is to teach the Gospel.

On the way  we joined our good friend/driver/goalkeeper for a meal in his house in his village.  What a blessing to sit around in his little house and ask questions, spend time with his 3 kids, and meet/talk with various family members as they dropped by to greet us. Here in Zambia, greeting people is key.  In fact, you rarely will walk by someone with out a ‘hello’ or Tonga greeting.  It really is a nice change to what us Westerners are used to.  So back to lunch…as is customary here, we first enjoyed the traditional drink of ibbwatu.  I use the term enjoy very loosely, as there really is no comparison for this drink for you to understand, unless you’ve actually tasted it!  Suffice to say, not everyone managed to get it all down, but all did a great job at least trying.

Then came the meal…chicken, vegetables, potato, and the main staple of inshima, all cooked over an open flame.  It was delicious to say the least.  We were all stuffed by the end of the meal!  We were so grateful for his and his family’s hospitality, and that’s pretty much the story anywhere you go here.  People just live that way, a great reminder to those of us who have a lot to learn in that department.  We took some photos together, and then headed back to the dorm.

Some of us rested for a few minutes, while the rest went to a little craft shop to do some shopping, and then all of us walked up to the local basketball court, where we played a local high school boys’ team in some basketball.  It was lots of fun, and very interesting to say the least when you factor in all the rules we were unaware of, and the lack of others!  Put it this way, it was a great opportunity for us to display patience and sportsmanship as we lost by 2 baskets, which isn’t bad for a bunch of soccer players…

We joined a missionary family for some games after dinner.  We played a few group games that were lots of fun, while enjoying some hot drinks and amazing brownies!  The couple also shared some encouragement with our team, which we really appreciated.  They were such gracious hosts and we really enjoyed the change of pace, and appreciated the time to just play some games together.  Ending the night with a team time discussion of becoming more like Christ was a great way to close the day.  We heard another teammate’s testimony as well before closing the book on another great day under the cloudless Zambian sky.  The team is pumped for church tomorrow…

Thanks for all your prayers!

Tuyobonana alimwi

 

The team

Zambia Trip Update #8 July 20, 2012

Week one is over!  It’s hard to imagine that only 7 days ago we all met as a team for the first time.  This group is growing closer to each other by the minute, and the unity is an awesome thing to see day in and day out.

The last day of a week of camp is always bittersweet.  If we are being honest…we are exhausted!  So for that reason, we are looking forward to a little time to sleep in tomorrow before the day’s activities begin.  The flip side of course is all the kids that we will miss spending the morning with.  The good thing is that we will see many of them around the community as we will still be around, just not working at that particular school.  Several of them have learned where we are staying, and have been stopping by on a regular basis to see us.  Back to camp, the students greeted us this morning with a song they made that was customized to each member of the team, as in there was a verse dedicated to each of us.  It was really sweet, and then several teachers shared some kind words as well.  We really did have  great last day with them, and were able to take some photos together and say our goodbyes before the camp ended.

We rushed home for lunch and then jumped in a couple vehicles to head out to a local village, just to get a view of what life looks like there.  A missionary couple that is based here has a good friend in a village not too far away, so we dropped in to see her and her family…and chickens…and goats…and to bring her a cake.  She loves cake!  She insisted that we sing some songs, and then that our team would sing for her-so we did, which was “This is the Day,” since we had just sung it at the school a few days earlier.

We enjoyed our time there, talking and taking pictures, greeting family and children, and then we were back to Macha for our soccer match of the evening against the local team, the Macha Sparrows.  It was so special to see all the teachers from the school we’ve been working at, not to mention at least half of the kids as well, lined up along the field, cheering for PTR!  We ended up losing 2-0, but had some really great chances to score.  But the game was great, and the team did very well, especially considering the demanding week we’ve had.  Its been a joy to have a few Zambians join our team, and it’d be only fair to say they have definitely helped bolster our lineup!  Building relationships through soccer, such a great thing.

With the game over, and showers for all, we headed to the local restaurant for a meal.  Most of us either had pizza, burgers, or a chicken wrap, and fries, or ‘chips’ as they are called here.  Dean, one young man who has joined us for the clinics, and all our matches, came to dinner with us which was really great too.  We are really enjoying getting to know our brothers and sisters here as well.  They are amazing people.

We were all pretty tired, and after team time, we called it a night, ready for a great night’s rest and some extra time to sleep in!

A few more pictures are up on our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/pushtherock

The Team