We haven't had internet for a while, so I'll start from last week at this time.
Thursday, was wonderful. We start each day with a Bible study and we have been reading through Matthew. We just finished chapter 6 that morning and something sparked questions from the kids. I had no idea, but almost an hour passed by and we had just been talking and reveling in the verses and Gospel for the whole time. All the kids, Mwansa especially, seemed to have hoarded up questions their whole lives until that very moment and they all came pouring out. Things like “How do you become a Christian?”, “What does being a Christian mean?”, “If you die before you repent of the last sin you committed will you go to Heaven or Hell?”, “In the second coming, will it be God or Jesus who comes back?”, “Can you explain the 3 in 1?”, “Will we be separated in lines of boys on one side and girls on the other on judgment day?”, “Will the trees be judged if they had bad fruit?”, “Will we be able to see the people in Hell when we're in Heaven?”, “Will there be cockroaches and mosquitoes in Heaven?” … I mean... they really stored them up. I answered the questions to the best of my ability and encouraged them to always be looking to the Bible for their answers and if the answer was not really in there (i.e. “Will I have to wear white or will we be in regular clothes... and where will we sit?”) then you might as well just wait and see.
I used an analogy James had used in his sermon on Sunday. I asked them- if you are a Christian and profess Christ as your savior and then you don't pay your bus fee and before you have a chance to repent you die- will you go to Heaven or Hell? They both said Hell- and I went into a discussion of works vs faith/true salvation. I also talked about the opposite, and how some people live to the very last minute as a wicked person and right before they die God saves them and they go to Heaven (i.e. the theif on the cross)- but you can't wait because of that because if Jesus comes tomorrow it would be too late. At this Richard got very wide eyed and confessed that he had not payed his bus fare before. I asked him what he thought he should do about it and he said “Repent! EEEEmediately!!”
I prayed for them today after class that they would take to heart what we talked about and not be confused by various “prophets” and “witches” and TV ministers- there's so much to lead you astray and confuse you. I encouraged them to make their Bible their best friend and really look to it for answers. Mwansa asked if it would be OK if we had Saturday Bible class, so I'll be doing that with the Williamson kid's and Maureen's kids starting this Saturday. Pray I have the wisdom to answer the questions appropriately and that they can grow and learn to appreciate and love God's word.
On Thursday afternoon we went to Kabanana to visit a house we might rent to use as a meeting place for the kids we're supporting there. We got a chance to see the house and we really liked it so we will see how we can do for pricing/negotiations. There will be work that needs to be done (painting, plumbing work, fixing some outlets as well as getting furniture etc.) but hopefully this will be the place. After seeing the house we visited Memory and Barbara's school to work out some of the payment. The place is just awful- I've never been there when kids were actually learning, it's tiny and the teachers seemed to be making a lot of excuses- in short we found out that Barbara's attendance is spotty and she can't read or write so she is expected to fail her grade 7 exams. We called for her and she came and we had a chance to talk to her about all this and kind of lay it out for her.
I really hate that part. Everyone was telling her, what are you going to do? You're going to fail- why don't you come.... a lot of hard stuff and I could see she felt on the spot and while I know it's necessary... I am the kind of person that gets to those points in a round about way and cushions it so I just wanted to hug her and tell her she could pass and everything was OK. Sigh. I'm definitely a different breed when it comes to that kind of confrontation.
We then walked to visit a school we may be transferring the kids to (it's much nicer- and will give the kids a much better education). As we walked I stayed back with Barbara and talked to her about singing and her passions and interests... I let her know that if she didn't pass then next year I'll tutor her and we'll get her where she needs to be as long as she's willing to do the work. We quickly saw the Tembo's (the mother is not doing well) and then had to head back.
Friday was good, as Friday's tend to be. We swam in the afternoon then Maureen was watching the kid's and I went over and we all played together. Saturday I had a thorough cleaning morning and got a lot accomplished then we had our Bible Study. It went very well, I thought. A lot of questions were answered and after an hour and a half I had to cut it off and have them save them up for next week. (Please pray for these studies- Ian, Sarah, Emma and Mwansa especially are really interested and engaged- and I see the wheels turning....We are studying James. )
Saturday afternoon I went to the Young People's group and they were having an evangelistic sports day in the park with the neighborhood kids. It was well over 100 degrees and I was not really about to go play football so I sat and talked with some of the kids and got to know a lot of the young people my age and older that were there so that was good.
Sunday I went to Kabwata Baptist for Sunday School and Morning Service then we went back to Mount Mukulu for evening service. In the morning service, one of the girls I met the day before (Chanda, she actually was the girl who's wedding I went to the day I got here) asked me to sit with her. Her husband is an aspiring pastor and is running the youth camp coming up in December. She asked if I'd like to help (they need counselors and people to help out with the ministry) so I will hopefully be doing that.
I really really like Mount Mukulu. For some reason, maybe because it's smaller, I've found it much easier to get to know the younger people there and talk to the people from the church. There are specifically a few people I've met there (Mirriam, Tickey, Brian, Chisenga, Chanda and Isaac, that have asked for me to keep coming back and join the choir/join the YP...) I'd like to be a part of it because the first Sunday I was there I was in the prayer meeting and one of the women was talking about how the YP group is suffering and needs to get back on track. I was invited to their Young People's group this Saturday and they will be beginning their concert practice for the Christmas concert. I'll have to make a choice between KBC's YP group and MMB's YP group for this Saturday- but it's nice to have things to do!
The week this week went well. Monday was a holiday (Zambian Independance Day)- so we had a “fun day” of school, went swimming and then I went with the Williamson's to go see some entertainment. There was dancing and karaoke- and a clown/juggler all the way to a “Michael Jackson” performance (they really love him here). It was fun and I got a chance to buy a dress there, which is nice because I don't have any here and I haven't finished the one I've been making. This one older kid had asked me for my number as we were walking and I was ignoring him but he and his friend kept following us and saying please, what's your name- please, your number and once he tried to touch my arm. A woman came up to us and asked if they were with us. Megan told her no, and actually they were bothering us. She told us to be careful because she was watching and they'd been following us and they'd steal from us. “That's what they do” she said. We quickly got to the car and as we were pulling away I saw the boys go start yelling at her. It was nice to see someone concerned for a stranger and have her be willing to put up with that just to warn us. Other than that small part- it was a great day and a lot of fun to get out and do something.
Tuesday we went out in the afternoon to get my packages and check the store for a few things I needed. God has really blessed me and I was able to get the pantry and stove I've had on my wish list! It was a big purchase, but a necessary one. Enock came with us to help carry things and watch us/the car downtown. We got out the very first place downtown and two men immediately started calling to Megan and I-- “Ladies, Momma” so she quickly grabbed my arm and we walked arm in arm down the street. We both kind of laughed, feeling like little kids linking arms and walking together and Enock said “It would really be best if you keep your most serious face on in these situations” we had to explain we weren't laughing at or to the men, but rather at the fact that we were basically holding eachother and walking this way. He didn't really understand why it was funny because people here hold hands out of respect to show the other person you're listening- especially when walking. Not two minutes later we got to the post office and turned to see him holding hands with a man and walking down the street with him- no wonder he thought we were weird.
So I got my packages (two from my Mom and one from my Aunt Ruth) and then made a few other stops and finally made it to the appliance store. I picked out the things I wanted and of course didn't have enough money (its almost all cash here) so we had to go to the bank then come back and as the store owner's son told the worker what to go get what I needed, we heard the worker say- we are all out of that one. The store owner's son said, “Ok get (whatever the code was) instead.” Megan said... “uh... is that the one she ordered? The same thing?” and he assured us it was. Needless to say- of course it wasn't but it's not worth the trip downtown and the complaint about it. What's important is I got the things I needed and so much more!!
That evening I gave putting the pantry together my best shot (read: took everything out and stared at it for an hour) and then James came to the rescue. He put the basic frame together and the next day Enock finished it. I had gone inside to peak at it and told Enock, “It's looking good!” He laughed and said “I wish you hadn't seen it- I was going to trick you and tell you I failed to put anything together and we'd have to hire someone else!” Yea... it was that obnoxious. Enock spent most of the day putting it together so I paid him for his labor and when I was at the store I got him a carton of milk. Megan has told me how much he loves milk but I really didn't realize. I called him into the kitchen and got it out of the fridge and I've never seen a bigger smile. He said “Oh Madame, that is Very good... VERY good” and started laughing. I asked him if he wanted a cup and he said, if I didn't mind, he'd like to take it home and share it with his wife. He said “It will be a banquet- she doesn't even know I am bringing it, she will be surprised!” A carton of milk referred to as a banquet. It puts things in perspective doesn't it.
So today he went to town, got the parts for the stove and set that up for me. He really did a great job and went above and beyond so that I wouldn't have to move the kitchen around. When he finished he said “Now- where am I going to sit for my meals?” (it's pretty tight in there now) I promised him something baked in the stove since he went to all the effort to put it together. I am very thankful for his willingness to help and do a good job and especially to Megan and James for basically letting him work on my stuff instead of what he usually does for them. It was a huge help.
I was supposed to go to Kabanana today, since it's Thursday, but mid morning I started getting sick about every 15-20 minutes and had to end school early and cancel my trip. I felt pretty rotten until about 3 and then I ate a cracker and had some water. I kept that down so at 4 I had some rice. So far, so good. Still rumbling and gurgling but things are staying where they should.
That was a lot to write and I'm very tired so my writing has progressively gotten worse, but I hope at least somebody will read it. :)
It has been an interesting week in terms of lessons for me. I have been shown so much grace and given so many blessings that I really don't deserve. There's no other way to describe it but chalk it up to God's goodness to the most undeserving creatures. I am learning lessons in disappointment (like when you get the wrong pantry or get sick an hour before you're supposed to go to Kabanana) but God has reasons for all of this and I am learning to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.” So far it has, and in ways I couldn't have imagined and most definitely don't deserve. I was given so much this week. So much. Thank you, each of you- you know who you are. Everyone who's prayed for me or given financially or sent a package or given their time or labors here or gas and time to take me downtown or stay up building a pantry... People show love through giving, and I am feeling very loved. I hope those who have given never for a second think it is unappreciated or unacknowledged. I am humbled, and I have a very happy and full heart. (There's a song we've been singing in school thats a kid's song but completely appropriate... "Running over, running over- my cup is full and running over. It's the Lord's happy day, I am happy! Happy! Happy! My cup is full and running over!!)