Zambia update…7.18.15

Today marks one week in Zambia, and we celebrated with a little change of pace from the rest of the week…starting with a later breakfast!

We took a walk to one of the local(full size) soccer fields to watch and cheer on the boys who gather there weekly for soccer on Saturday mornings with Push The Rock.  They chose their teams, and after that they rotated so that each of the three teams got to play a few times.  A couple of us officiated while the others hung out with the subs, enjoyed the sunshine, or just enjoyed the time with each other!

For lunch we headed out ‘into the bush” to visit one of our host’s friend’s village.  Some of us rode in the back of the pick up truck, and some squeezed in the cab.  We all made it just fine through the windy roads/paths until reaching our destination.  We were welcomed enthusiastically, and chairs were immediately brought from the house out under  a tree for us to enjoy some conversation while lunch was being prepared.  Lunch was prepared over  a fire, and some of the girls on the team were excited to get in on the action of helping make nshima.  Bertha showed how it was done, and our ladies did their best to do the same, though they really had no chance since she has been doing this her whole life!  They did a great job trying though, and that is all that matters.

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We took a ball and a Frisbee which kept the children busy.  The Frisbee was especially fun because these children had never thrown one before, but they caught on quick, and loved it!

After we ate lunch, we chatted a bit with our hosts, took a few photos together, and then headed back home.  We were grateful for their willingness to let us interrupt their lives, which is the way we see it.  Truthfully, in this culture, such things are to be expected among friends!  For being such a gracious host, one of our team members left Bertha with an apron, which she loved. She said she’d leave it on for days.

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When we got back, we quickly changed into our climbing attire so we could get to the top of a local water tower that has a great 360 degree view of the surrounding area.  Before the sun set, we just spent time laying there staring at this beautiful land, dry as it may be this time of year!  The sunset was great, though pictures can never do it justice.

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Team time after supper continued in studying of James, now in Chapter 3…and we had two players share their testimonies today, which was nice too!  All are pretty tired at the end of today, perhaps because some of us stayed up too late last night playing games:)

Tuyobonana ijunza(See you tomorrow),

the team

Zambia update…7.17.15

Today we said goodbye to the school we’ve been working at all week. It has been a blast getting to know the children and teachers, working with them on soccer skills, and of course sharing with them the love and message of Christ. We ended the week with a friendly game against the school team, who enlisted a couple teachers to bolster their squad as well.  After starting off the game playing ‘two men down,’ and digging an early 2-0 hole for ourselves, we came back strong to take the game 5-3.  We did get our 10th and 11th players after about 20 minutes or so.

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The real fun though was playing against children we’ve been training with all week!  Not only a chance to display skill and new concepts, but for us to also encourage sportsmanship and love in action, regardless of the score!  It would be fair to say that all the students and teachers, even if not playing, enjoyed the time immensely, as they stormed the field cheering with every goal.

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After the game, one of the team shared again, challenging the students to keep working on their skills, but more importantly, she asked them to consider the brevity of such things in this world, and that only Christ can satisfy in life…no matter what one’s skill level is!  The students and teachers then sang our team a couple farewell songs before we handed out some candy and bracelets, and thereafter headed home for lunch.  It is always tough in some ways to say goodbye after a week, luckily though we won’t be at the school again, we’ll see a lot of these children around the community, and at the Push The Rock Zambia rec center!

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In the afternoon we watched the weekly afternoon movie at the rec center(Frozen, which we picked!) with the children, and then joined them for various activities and games until the sun set.  We had supper, and now are ending the day with some Dutch Blitz and Tonga worship music  on the radio with some other young adults from the community…again this being held at the Push The Rock rec center.

We are looking forward to a change of pace tomorrow, though it has been an amazing week! Good night from Macha…

Team Zambia

Zambia update…7.16.15

Another day in the books…

We were commenting today that only a week ago most of this group met each other for the first time…hard to believe because of the unity of this group.  Seems like we’ve known each other for much longer!

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The Clinic Crew – L to R: Arold, Morgan, Noel, Shannon, Thabani, Tabby, Jared, Amanda, Ben, Boyd

 

The first half of today was a carbon copy of yesterday.  Then after lunch we headed out to play our second friendly match, which we won with a three goal outburst in the second half, as the game ended 3-0.  It was extra fun because many of the children from the school we’ve been working at were there to watch and cheer us on.  Another opportunity for us to put things that we have been teaching(like good sportsmanship and loving others!) to practice.

A real treat of the day though, followed the game when we went to join the boarding students at the school for supper.  It was another ‘traditional’ meal of inshima, cabbage, and beans, which we ate with the 35 or so boarding students who we’ve gotten to know quite well this week.  Each of them partnered up with various team members to teach us how to eat inshima properly and also just to chat with as we sat around the fire.  Our night with them ended as they sang several praise and worship songs for us before they headed off to bed.  We will definitely miss all these children when our time here ends!

On the way home, we stopped to take in the majestic beauty of the stars here.  Lucky for us, there is a visitor in Macha who knows a TON about various stars and constellations.  With his powerful green laser he pointed out many different things to us…some of us still couldn’t see what he was describing(various shapes in the stars!), but it was enjoyable to see so many stars due to the sheer darkness here in the bush.  While there, most of us saw several ‘shooting stars’ as well, which is always great.  It brought words to life for us…”God of wonders beyond our galaxy…”  He is mighty indeed.

We heard another team member’s testimony and headed to bed after it…after showers of course.

Tomorrow is Friday already, where does the time go…

Tuyobonana,

Team Zambia

 

Zambia update…7.15.15

We are half way through our first week in Macha, time is flying!

It was another great day under these cloudless skies.  Our time together as a team has been fantastic and its a joy to watch the team come together more and more each day, including our Zambian contingent!  We enjoyed another morning with the children at school, with a couple more team members sharing their testimonies with the children.  The special treat of the day was driving to the school…a much welcomed break from the long walk…and a very much welcomed extra 15 minutes to sleep in the morning!

In the afternoon, the ladies on the team worked with the girls who come by weekly for training on Wednesdays.  2015-07-15 15.56.37It was great to see all the girls show up, and even more fun to see the Push The Rock women out there working with them.  While the girls were ‘footballing,’ the guys on the team organized some football activities for the boys.  It was a busy afternoon with over 60 children coming by the Push The Rock Zambia campus, most of which were here for football, though some played various card games or put together puzzles.  We all found plenty to do…including playing a game of 5v5 versus some of the boys who were sure they would beat us…they didn’t, but had fun trying!

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Again after dinner, we had our Team Time, moving into James 2, and another one of the team shared her testimony. Team Time together has been very encouraging as we discuss our various lessons, but also hear how God has worked and is working in each other’s lives.

Off to bed as we prepare for a new day!  We also are looking forward to another game to play ijunza(tomorrow).

Good night!

Zambia trip…7.14.15

Another day is in the books in Macha!

The first half of today looked a lot like yesterday, with the addition of two of our team sharing their testimonies with the children at school during chapel.2015-07-14 07.50.08  Both ladies who shared did a great job highlighting the impact a relationship with Christ has made in their lives.  We love to share soccer with all these children, but it is an even greater opportunity and privilege to share the real reason we are here…JESUS!

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For lunch today the team was treated to a traditional Zambian meal, nshima and various relishes to accompany it.  There was beef, eggplant, and cabbage with buntele(boon-tell-eh).  Basically, cabbage with buntele tastes like cabbage mixed with peanut butter, which doesn’t maybe sound appetizing, but it is when all cooked together.  You’ll have to take our word for it, or better yet, come try it for yourselves:)

Most of the team enjoyed the meal, and we all enjoyed being able to eat with our fellow Zambian coworkers who have been spending the mornings with us as well – Thabani, Boyd, and Arold – not to forget Mildred and Hazel who prepared the feast for us.

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In the afternoon we all spent our time at Push The Rock Zambia’s rec center.  Some did soccer with the girls, some with the boys, others read with children, taught them card games, or even put puzzles together.  2015-07-14 17.49.52Needless to say it was a fun afternoon spending time with the many children who come by everyday after school to have fun and keep themselves busy until the (beautiful) sunset.

We continued our night with supper, followed by Team Time, and then another team member’s testimony.  It is always neat hearing each other open up and share, which helps bring us all closer together.  Unity is a great thing, and it is fun to be a part of it.  After discussing the game plan for our clinics tomorrow, we had to have a few rounds of Dutch Blitz!

Otherwise, it is good night from Zambia, tuyobonana ijunza(‘see’ you tomorrow)!

Team Zambia

Zambia update…7.13.15

We are tired, but that’s a sign of a wonderful day!

We headed out this morning in the cool of the Zambian winter(46 degrees today!) and walked to the school where we’ll be each day until Friday.  Luckily, the sun warms things up quickly, so it was in the 60s before too long. 2015-07-13 08.18.08 We received a nice welcome from the students and teachers(which included dancing!), and then headed out to the soccer field to get ready for time with the children.

The school has children from pre kindergarten up to grade 7, in all there are about 160 students.  For the first 45 minutes we work with pre k – grade 1, having them various games and challenging exercises.  Our next group to come to the soccer field is grades 2 and 3.  As these children are bit older, we are able to split them up in to small groups and have them cycle through 5 stations teaching various soccer related skills like dribbling, passing, and ball control. The last group of students come out then after a much welcomed 30 minute tea break, and this group is the grade 4 to grade 7 students.  With them, we do the same skill work, but then also assigned each one to a specific team for the rest of the week, who they’ll play games with against their friends and Push The Rock coaches!  Who doesn’t love to play?

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Speaking of playing…after lunch we walked to play our first game.  And when I say walked, we walked…and walked. 2015-07-13 15.38.10It took nearly 45 minutes to reach the field located within a little village community, home of the Macha Bulls.  The other team was ready for us and the game started with in some minutes of our arrival.  Our first half consisted of some missed opportunities to score, as well as giving up 2 rather unfortunate goals!  That being said, we did get one goal back before half time.

In the second half, it was some more missed chances, mostly by us…but late into stoppage time(probably about 20 minutes after the 45 minutes was up!) we scored a pair of goals as the sun set.  I give the credit to the team members who were on the sidelines, (well them and the ref who thought because there was daylight, we should keep playing)  because they got all the children who had gathered to start chanting “Push The Rock, Push The Rock!” It was the extra motivation we needed.

When the game ended we talked with the other team and children, took some photos, and started off towards home for supper.  Good thing we had flashlights because it was dark 45 minutes later when we got back.

One of our team members shared her testimony after supper, and our discussion on James continued, focusing on chapter 1, verses 2-12.  It is fair to say we are all pretty tired, but pretty pumped with how the day went.  For now its off to rest, we need lots of energy to start the day again tomorrow!

Thank you for praying for us…it was a fantastic day, we look forward to tomorrow…and the days to come!

The team

Italy update … 7.13.15

What a great finish to a great week in Mestre! Everyone woke up Saturday morning still excited about the Friday night ceremony with parents. It was great to celebrate the week together and give out awards and spend extra down time with the kids, just chatting and enjoying the night together over pizza. We headed into Venice Saturday morning and spent a good part of the day walking around, enjoying he sights and sounds, and shopping. Venice is just such a beautiful and unique place!

We headed home in the early evening in order to make it home for a farewell dinner at a family’s house out in the country. It was a fantastic meal with way way way too much food! Everyone from Il Faro (church) was there, as well as the “Aiuto Coaches” (assistant coaches from the week), and others who were involved and instrumental in making the week happen. There were sausages and hot dogs, pastas, salads, vegetables, appetizers, desserts, etc. It was a special night of celebrating the week together. The hard part was saying good-bye at the end of the night. We were headed out early Sunday morning, meaning that we would not see many of these people until next year, or longer.

There were many highlights from the week, but let me name a few:

* We invested in and loved on 77 campers each day in Christ’s name for 5 days

* Partnership with the Il Faro church in sharing Christ’s love in Mestre

* We invested in and mentored 9 junior coaches throughout the week

* Two helpers publicly stated that they wanted to start a Bible study with someone from the church

* Many parents begged us to run at least two weeks of camp next summer

* There were countless spiritual conversations that took place throughout the week

We are excited to see what God is going to do in Mestre. It is our prayer that we were faithful in serving Him this past week and now pray for the Holy Spirit to work in hearts and for Il Faro as it follows up with these coaches, campers, and families. To God be ALL of the glory!

One last meal together
One last meal together
Final dinner in Mestre
Final dinner in Mestre
Christian Character award winners - Mestre
Christian Character award winners – Mestre
Getting limbered up in Mestre
Getting limbered up in Mestre
Stretching in Mestre
Stretching in Mestre

Zambia update…7.12.15

Kwasiya! (Kwa-see-ya)…Good evening…at least, good evening from Macha!

The sun has set and all have headed off to bed…or at least in that direction.  It will be a busy week, busy but great in many ways!  Today the team enjoyed sleeping in a bit, before meeting for breakfast and heading for church.  Church was filled with joyous singing, clapping, and even dancing, followed by a sermon based on James 1.  We found it ‘ironic’ that James 1 was the passage being preached on as our team is studying James for this trip, and memorizing a good part of James 1 itself.

After the encouraging message for us to ‘grow up’ in our faith and persevere when we face trials, we walked back home for lunch, which consisted of french bread pizza and pasta salad. After an hour or so of relaxation,2015-07-12 17.07.40 we met to discuss some cultural tidbits, learn some history of Push The Rock in Zambia, and to prepare for our week of soccer clinics and games.  Of course we had to then play some soccer, 4v4 style, which all enjoyed despite turning a few more shades of brown from the dust (not from the sun as some of our team was wishing.)

Dinner was again delicious and we ended our night together with discussion about the book of James which we will be studying throughout our time here in Zambia.  One theme we talked a lot about was the mandate of our faith producing action.  As believers we MUST have evidence in our lives that is visible to others.  Not that our faith is based on what we do, but that our faith in Christ creates good deeds and actions, that is visible to the world.

We are encouraged that as believers, as soccer players, we can share his Word through our words and actions this week!  Time to rest, tomorrow will be here soon.

Twalumba!  (thank you!)

The team

Italy update … 7.12.15

Buon giorno!

Time to come home … :(. It has been a fantastic two weeks! More details about the last day and a half, but wanted to let you know we are on our way home and would ask that you pray for a few things …

* Traveling mercies as we go our separate ways

* The believers here as they follow up with campers and families

* Campers and families as they process what they have heard and learned

* The team as it integrates into life back home

Thanks for praying for us and we look forward to sharing the final details with you in the next day or so.