My week has been... interesting. It has just felt "off". With relationships with friends, school... there have just been a lot of issues and it's easy to get 'down'. I have felt Satan's strong attack on me trying to get me off focus and it's been a tough fight. I wasn't prepared when he came swinging and it took me a few days to lace up my gloves and really start throwing punches back.
One positive thing is that the car process has been started! With the donation from Riverside I felt comfortable covering the rest myself and just starting the process, trusting in God to provide the rest soon. (Pray!) The money has been wired and God willing, the man getting it for me will be leaving Wednesday for South Africa to pick it up and drive it back. There's light at the end of the tunnel! Even traveling to a barbeque on saturday, a friend, Isaac, was with me and just said, "Man, it's embarrassing the way they act! I just want to look at them and say "Ufuna chani?!?!" ("What do you want!?") I think it's hard for even Zambian's to understand until they ride the bus with me and see- and when I have a male with me they are much more tame, so you can imagine.
I mentioned my difficulties in school in an earlier post. I had a talk with the WIlliamsons and it was extremeley helpful and encouraging. They reminded me that as much as I am soft and nonconfrontational, there are times when your yes has to be yes and your no be no... or else noone will take my word seriosuly. So no matter how much Richard pouts and I feel awful inside I have to stick to my guns. Sigh... being a mother must be so heartwrenching. I'll need a very strong and stern husband to even it out, because Lord knows I hate the word "no" and use it as little as possible. I was remembering how in my old job I used to be called "Milkn' Cookies" It was my nickname, and they called me that because when the kids needed discipline, I was always giving them treats and love. It's like instead of a time out I gave them milk and cookies hoping that showing love would convince them to change. I am slowly learning that "spare the rod, spoil the child" concept... but I have a feeling deep down I'll at least be a cupcake, if not milk and cookies :) (on a side note, the next morning Richard came up to me and gave me a hug and asked for forgiveness... thanks for your prayers for him. God has big plans for that boy.)
On Saturday I went to a Braii, which is a barbeque, and it was great. It was put on by the Mount Mukulu men's ministry for the youth. There was a seminar, and the speaker discussed sexual purity in an open forum. Very interesting to hear the cultural differences and see all that unfold yet the gospel truths hold fast. It was a good time to hang out and get to know some people better and I look forward to more Saturdays like that.
On Thursday, my trip to Kabanana was quite discouraging and we need a lot of prayer for wisdom in our actions from here on out.
We first went to the Dakas home. It was very frustrating and discouraging. Nelia is still refusing to go to Sunday School and is a part of the Catholic church. She and Joseph both refused to speak to us when we were there. They did not shake our hands or greet us- and neither of them said a word. This is week after week of this behaviour and we have been discussing, especially with Nelia, some consequenses. When we began this work we made it very clear that we would be visiting and checking on them and we wanted to get to know them and be able to talk and minister to them. We also stressed that the requirements of this support would be attendance at school and sunday school. Felix was not there, but his mother informed us that he is very ill and may need surgery. Fanny said that the place he's going is very untrustworthy and has a high fatality rate even for minor surgery. Megan and I will be taking him to get a second opinion and more acceptable care hopefully this week. We sense that there are unhealthy things going on behind the scenes in their home, and they need a lot of prayer.
From there we went to the Tembos. Mrs Tembo was outside with Memory's baby, and did not get up or greet us (that is VERY unusual for her, and rude in Zambian culture as a whole). When we went inside, Memory, Nathan and Morgan were there but none of them got up or shook our hands and greeted us. We felt as if we were imposing and forcing them to be hospitible when they didn't want to be. I asked Memory if she was excited to be out of school and how she was spending her time and she said "I haven't been good- I have a cough" That was it. It seemed as if it was negativity and complaints wherever we turned. Morgan then began asking questions, through Fanny and Maureen, to me. This was also rude, to me, because he knows English well enough and could easily have spoken to me, I was sitting next to him. He was asking about why Americans do this or that when the Bible talkes against it- as if to put me on the spot. Finally the conversation fizzled and we just left. On an encouraging note, Nathan was off getting paperwork done so that he could get a job and start bringing in income for the family.
On the way past, we saw Memory Z. She talked to us for a minute then started to walk away. We asked where Francis was and she said he was in the church building. She went in to go get him and then came out and told us that he said he was busy and didn't want to see us. We were shocked. That is VERY unlike Francis and we were wondering what on earth was going on. Finally he came out but was speaking very softly. I asked him how he had been and what he was doing and he mumbled something inaudible. I just looked at him and he said "Maybe you didn't hear me, I said nothing." That was it. This was someone who normally chats my ear off until I am driving away and here he only had one sentance to say to me. Barbara was off on an errand so we didn't see her or Christian.
We set off for home quite confused and irritated. In Town, between bus stops, Fanny, Maureen and I just stopped to discuss how the day went. We feel as though because now all of them are out of school and are not being financially supprted at the moment - they don't NEED us. They don't feel the need to be polite and hospitible because they aren't getting anything physical for the next few weeks. Also, we feel as though the mothers might be fed up with having us come each week and being forced to stop their work and show us hospitality. We are really looking forward to getting a house so that the kids can come to us, as opposed to us invading their homes each week. Please pray for their attitudes and apathy towards us, that they would learn to be thankful and show this through kindness towards us. Because of all this, we have decided during the holiday season while they are out of school to go every other week, until we get the house up and running. We also have decided that we may have to start showing consequenses for their actions. Unfortunately this will most likely begin with Nelia. She is the only one who will not go to Sunday School and on top of that she does not speak or interact with us. We hope that if we do stop supporting her it will be an example to the others that our "yes is yes and our no is no". If she came back and was willing to try again we would give her that chance, but we think they need to be shown that this is a privelege and not a right. As it is, Memory and Nathan have now graduated and are out from under the wing of our support. We know of countless numbers of children who need and want to be in school and learn more about Christ- and we want to give these opportunities to those who are willing to put in the effort. An hour of Sunday School once a week is not a lot to ask for school fees, uniforms, shoes, medical care and food.
We went to Kabanana today for church, and all of the kids were there except for Memory T. and Francis. We were told that Francis was sent on an errand by his brother in law and so he couldn't come. We got a chance to talk to the kids and especially Felix to find out how they were doing. Our reception was a little better today but most of them did leave quite quickly. Barbara hung around to the end and seemed eager to talk and told me she missed me on Thursday. It was interesting to see them in Sunday School. Christian was very engaged, listening and singing and clapping to the songs with vigor. Wisdom was a bit more apathetic, but I know he's had a cough and isn't feeling as well. Memory Z. seems to be very influenced by freinds and those around her who are doing bad or talking. We got a chance to meet a lot of potenial kids to "fill slots" of those who have graduated etc. One especially caught our attention. He is 15 and in 3rd grade. He works odd jobs to raise 5,000 kwacha (about a dollar) and is sending himself to school. He is someone who has shown is willing to do what he can to get an education, and we feel as though he deserves this opportunity.
Pray for us. We have a lot on our shoulders right now, between a trip to Ndola and a Christmas celebration there as well as a Christmas celebration here. We also need to figure out their school situation for the upcoming year and decide if and who we will be taking on in addition to the kids we sponsor now. Next week Megan and I will be doing Thanksgiving dinner for Maureen and her four kids, Enock and his wife and child and Perjuite and his wife and child. On Saturday I have a concert at Kabwata with the YP from Mount Mukulu. Today I was asked by Curtis, Fanny's husband, to head up the YP at Faith Baptist in Kabanana. We have had people in an out doing odd jobs and spraying for bugs, painting.... there just seem to be people everywhere, and James (Maureens oldest son) is moving into our house tomorrow... Its easy to fall prey to discouragement and anxiety and worry.... we have a lot to do and time passes so quickly. I also have been starting to worry financially again after haivng made such a big purchase but it's so rediculous even writing this now- knowing what he has done for me since coming here and what I am confident he will continue to do. We will continue to "not grow weary in well doing" and not worry because "tomorrow will take care of itself", but we will need your prayers to help us do that.