Zambia Update #11 July 31, 2014

Today we left Macha and headed south, back to Livingstone where the team will fly out on Saturday.  Today though, after the 3 hour drive, we headed to Victoria Falls!

If you didn’t know, Victoria Falls is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe where the Zambezi river crashes over 110 meters to the bottom of the gorge. We walked around taking in the views for a few hours…enjoying the beauty and majesty of it all.  We also hiked down to the bottom of the gorge where we sat on rocks and took pictures, basically just enjoying the impressiveness of what we were seeing.

When we were satisfied with the amount of pictures we had taken, we loaded back up to get back to our lodge to prepare for supper. We were all quite excited to go to a restaurant for the first time in two weeks…and it did not disappoint.  Anyway, we are now back relaxing for the night.  Tomorrow we’ll get up early to go drive through a game park, looking for animals-hoping to see some elephants, giraffes, buffalo…the list goes on, we’ll be sure to let you now!

Good night from here…we are down to our 2nd to last night in Zambia, yikes! ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

DCCS Soccer #3

After a good nights rest and a wonderful breakfast, we headed off to soccer ministry in two communities around San Jose. Our first stop was at GPS church in the Tres Rios neighborhood. Pastor Michael grew up in this community and four years ago started a church.  They have about 40 people worshipping each week.  They are desiring to reach more of their community and have reached out to PTR to help them do that through sports.  The community has a concrete court for us to run soccer clinics.     We showed up only to find that the court had lots of water from a storm a few hours earlier.  So we found some tall green plants that we harvested to become our brooms.  Eventually the pastor found some brooms to finish it.  About 15 kids came and the pastor was excited to begin using sports to reach out to kids.  We had lots of fun and managed to keep the balls out of the “hole ” all but three times.  Nattie had a gospel station as we rotated and we finished with Kirsten sharing her testimony. After the clinic he took us to his church and shared about the needs his community has.  We are headed back there tomorrow to paint and fix up the church before running another soccer clinic. We returned to Amca for a yummy meal then headed back out to Aldeas SOS Santa Ana which is an orphanage that PTR started ministering at weekly.  While we were not allowed to take pictures here, I am pretty sure that the faces of the kids will be etched in our minds for a long time.  After trying to run some skill stations we decided to simply play futbol and we had about 30 people on the concrete court so it was a little chaotic, to say the least.  Kailey shared her testimony and encouraged the kids to trust God. We then headed back to AMCA for supper which was hamburgers chips and salad.  We then had team time and members shared testimonies and we studied Philippians together.  After team time we ordered Domino’s for a late night snack only to find out when it was delivered that it came from Papa Johns.  Oh well we all got some pizza.  Then after some talking, reading, playing games it was off to bed. What a great day serving the Lord in Costa Rica!

Zambia Update #10 July 30, 2014

We started off the day with a trip out to the Macha Girls Secondary School to get a tour of the school. It was really interesting to see the difference between a private school, like MICS the school we did the clinic at last week, and a government school. After the tour, we walked to a local shop and stopped by Elem’s village before heading back to the house to have team time and a debriefing session outside.

After lunch, we took a few hours to ourselves – going to the market, reading, journaling, thinking – before coming back together around 4 to head to our last soccer game of the trip! We played the MRT (malaria research) team and ended up losing 2-1, but it was a fun time of activity for all!

We ended the night with a delicious dinner and then a fire in the new fire pit we built yesterday! We each ate a ton of s’mores – the record may have been around 5 or 6 – and played games around the campfire until we closed our night and time in Macha with a time of prayer for the community, for the people we interacted with, for the schools, for each other, and so much more. We are sad to be leaving Macha in the morning as it has impacted each and every one on the team, but we look forward to our time in Livingstone and seeing some more of God’s beautiful creation!

DCCS Soccer #2

Today was our first day of ministry in Costa Rica.  We started our trip by hosting a small soccer clinic for a preschool at one of our partnering churches.  The girls did a fantastic job of smiling, laughing, and having fun with the kids.  Even though they could not speak the same language, it did not prevent the team from bonding with the students.  It was an excellent clinic to start our ministry.  We may have only had 12 kids, but seeing their smiling faces and enthusiasm to participate made our time there well worth it!

After lunch and a short rest, we returned to the church to do a service project.  We worked hard throughout the afternoon helping create a stone walkway.  The teams dug out a dirt path, created an edging, and filled it with stones.  It was a blessing to watch the girls work together and serve in a different capacity than just soccer.  We were glad to bless the church after they have done so much for Push The Rock through the years.

We closed the night with our Team Time Bible study and testimony sharing.  We praise God for the opportunity to be challenged to grow in Christ as a team and also provide the locals here with the same opportunity to grow in knowledge of our Lord and Savior through soccer.  We are excited to host a clinic at an orphanage and a church located in a very poor area of the city tomorrow.

Zambia Update #9 July 29, 2014

This morning many of the team continued their dedication to fitness by ‘enjoying’ some exercise.  Breakfast followed, and then the team headed outside to do some work around the PTR Zambia campus.  Tasks ranged from cleaning up trash to cleaning vines out of trees, to building a fire pit!  It was actually quite cool, cloudy, and windy today, which made for comfortable work conditions. By cool we’re talking low 70sJ

The fire pit completion was the highlight for us all.  We look forward to using it tomorrow to end our time here with some time sharing around a fire…and eating s’mores. The entire process however, left many hands with lots of blisters.  Good thing soccer players use their feet.  54

Before one more ‘training’ session with the boys here at the Push The Rock Zambia center we heard our last two team members share their testimonies, as well as another Team Time spent discussing Philippians, focusing on Chapter 4:1-9.

For the soccer training today, we did a lot of shooting drills which the boys thoroughly enjoyed.  We helped chase and feed balls, laughing and encouraging all the while.  It was a fun way to end our ‘official’ time with them.  We know we’ll see them tomorrow though, as they are always around and will be at our game.  We are blessed to have such wonderful support…everywhere we go we have an entourage!

We then took a short walk to climb a 90 foot(ish) water tower to get a good view of the area…and to see the sunset!  Despite the clouds, we were treated to a pretty sky as the sun sank to the horizon.  Again, another reminder of the beauty the Lord has blessed us with here on earth. 58

Back home for showers and supper, it was then time for a few more rounds of Dutch Blitz.  Some team members also chose to watch a movie…Frozen was the feature film.  Those of us playing cards sang along to the movie instead of watching it.  Either way, a lot of fun was had.  It has been another great day in Macha, it is hard to believe tomorrow will be our last full day here.  Sniff.

Our internet situation has been resolved, so we have posted pictures on the Push The Rock Facebook page, please check them out here!

DCCS Soccer #1

Travel days always end being long days and Monday was no exception. The day started as we met at the school at 2am to board the bus and head to Newark Airport.  Arriving safely, we checked in and made it through security with no delays. We all grabbed something to eat and boarded the plane for Costa Rica. A 5 hour flight and we before you know it, we arrived in San Jose, and met our host for the week Nattie and loaded up our bus headed to Amaca, our home base for the next two weeks.  After getting settled in we enjoyed lunch of spaghetti pie, salad, and garlic bread. After lunch we headed to a local park to get some exercise and so we played 5v5 and some futsal.  Our game was cut short due to a thunderstorm and actually it ended up raining hard for the next two hours. It is rainy season here!  We retuned to Amca to change and get ready for supper.  It is safe to say that we will not go hungry these two weeks.  We had a beef vegetable casserole, salad, plantains and some great mole (fresh blackberry juice).  We finished our night with team time where Nattie officially welcomed us to Costa Rica, Liz H shared her testimony then finished with talking through logistics. By now it was 10 pm and bed was calling everyone!  We are looking forward to serving here and allowing God to speak to us as well.

Scott for the team!

Zambia Update #8 July 28, 2014

We started out the morning with a later breakfast and a tour of the Macha Mission Hospital. We went through the different wards, learned about the history of the hospital and how it runs, as well as about the malaria and HIV/AIDS research that is happening here in Macha! After the tour, the team took a walk down to the Macha dam. It wasn’t very full because it is the dry season here in Macha, but we skipped rocks on the water and enjoyed a new sight!

We heard a team member’s testimony before lunch and then ate an nshima lunch prepared by one of the host’s close friends. After lunch, we had an early team time, continuing to go through Philippians and talking about a spiritual mind. We took a quick break in the middle of team time to look at some hand crafted wood items and make a few purchases!

After team time, we headed out to MICS – singing lots of the Frozen soundtrack on the way – for our next game! We played a local team and ended up losing 3-1. But, we had a lot of fun together playing soccer and getting to interact with some new people. We came back to a delicious dinner and a night full of Dutch Blitz and laughing. We look forward to some new experiences tomorrow!!

We were going to put up some pictures tonight, but due to the small amount of Internet we have left, we can’t. We’ll be sure to put some up when we get some more Internet access in Livingstone!

Zambia Update #7 July 27, 2014

It is hard to believe we’ve been together in Macha for one week already.  We are grateful for the unity that has been formed, our common foundation in Christ being the key to that of course! Otherwise, all loving soccer helps too!

Today was a much anticipated and welcomed day of rest.  After a pancake breakfast we headed out the door to church, excited to worship together with our Zambian brothers and sisters.  We clapped, danced, and sang along to a lot of wonderful music before hearing the sermon which challenged us as believers to not let obstacles hinder our walk as followers of Christ.  It was an easy message to apply to our lives, I think we can all relate to making excuses for our choices and behavior at some point! The goodness is that He is a God of grace, if only we ask forgiveness and continue to submit ourselves to His will.

Almost three hours later we were back home.  The plan for the afternoon was rest…some chose to take a quick nap, some got their hair braided at the local market, and most ended up watching a local football(soccer) game at the nearby field.  The fun thing about the soccer game was that a lot of the children we have been seeing around and even working with, were there.  Many of our team could be seen holding them, playing with them, or just laughing together.  The game ended 1-1, with a second half goal from the local team, the Macha Sparrows, to even the score.

Dinner was  tacos(YUM), and then we continued our study of Philippians, this time moving into Chapter 3.  Following this discussion, two more team members shared their faith journeys with us.

It is crazy to believe we are starting our second week here, before we know it we’ll be leaving Macha(Thursday morning).  That just means we’ll have to make the most of our time that remains.  Below are some thoughts from one of our team members, thanks again for praying!  We plan to upload some more pictures tomorrow, so stay tuned!

My experience playing soccer here in Zambia couldn’t have felt any more familiar than playing soccer at home in the US. Sure, the field here may have bricks, cow pies, rocks, and a lot of dirt without a square inch of grass; and the people may play barefoot, while I play in cleats, and yes, after a week here in Macha, trying to learn the language more every day, I’m still without a clue as to what any of them are saying. But when I am on that field, playing football with these Zambian men, I realize it has nothing to do with the way the ball bounces every wrong direction, but everything to do with the people running next to me. When I look into the eyes of my teammates, I see my beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see my opponent celebrate a goal, it’s like I’m hearing the same cheers that I’ve heard all my life in the US. I’ve witnessed people singing in mourning for the loss of a loved one, and endless dancing in wedding celebration. I realize more and more every moment here, that although we live worlds apart, and things look a little different from place to place, we cheer, we sing, and we dance for the same things. And the same God lovingly sent His Son to redeem us all; one Savior, one world, one body – praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

Zambia Update #6 July 26, 2014

We started off our Saturday morning a little later than normal, getting some extra sleep! We headed out to the soccer field around 10 for soccer training with the local boys. They got to play a full field game while we hung out on the sidelines watching, cheering, and playing with the many other kids that were around!

We came back to a great lunch and then the girls got ready to go to a wedding! A close friend of our hosts had invited us to the wedding of one of her relatives. We arrived at the wedding to lots of music and dancing – which some of our team members joined in with right away! We ate a meal and watched as the wedding festivities took place! It was a great, and fun, experience! We also stopped on the airstrip here in Macha to watch the sunset on the way home! While we were there, the boys took care of some laundry and got a few hours to relax!

We ended the night with a time of devotions and having another team member share her testimony – as well as with lots of tired laughs and giggles. We are excited for church tomorrow morning and to see what God has in store for another day here in Macha!