I'm a married woman. It's been long since I've updated but it was unavoidable with the slurry of things I have had to get done over the past few months. Last time I wrote Hannah and her father were just arriving in Zambia. Their trip was quite fruitful and we had a great time with Hannah. The kids loved having her around and especially loved her sports and crafts! The HOPE staff also had a goodbye party for me, which was humbling and touching. I will miss them! Pictures from her stay with us and the party are on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.713206287724.1073741830.100300199&type=1&l=1dd597d104 (hannah's visit)
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.712629887834.1073741828.100300199&type=1&l=2db2812448 (goodbye party)
It was quite a hectic time because while she was with me, my lease on the house was up. We were in the process of packing and moving out- to nowhere basically- while she was living there. Finding storage space for my things as well as a place for the dog and cat to be kept was hectic- especially since we were also selling most of the furniture and applying for membership at LBC- quite a few things going on at once.
However, the Lord gave us strength, the furniture and appliances sold, the house was returned and belongings and pets were given homes while we were gone.
When I got to the states, I had my surgery almost immediately. I wanted to get it over with and get the results before the wedding! The results, praise God were quite favorable. They took 3 biopsies and it seems my body is repairing the abnormal precancerous cells itself! A year ago, there were 4 precancerous areas. 12 months later, there is only one spot of concern. The doctor said it could be treated, and all of this could be over and done with but the recovery time was quite long and with the wedding and travel coming up, I opted out of treatment. She told me at my age and health I should be able to rid myself of all the cells over time, most especially if I have children right away.
So, that was great news! We busied ourselves with wedding preparations stateside, including a beautiful wedding shower thrown for me by the ladies at the church in Flemington, NJ, while Sydney spent 3 weeks in Mpika, getting to know the people there. Lord willing, we will be going there at the end of August/ beginning of September. We are now members of Lusaka Baptist Church and they have interest in sending him to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Mpika. So Sydney was able to acclimate himself to that area and the people there, and lay a foundation for our return after the wedding.
Sydney joined us in the US in June, and it was a whirlwind of appointments, preparations and finalizing details up until the wedding. The wedding, on the 22nd, was absolutely beautiful and we had a blast. We hope everyone who was able to attend did as well- pictures of that are also on facebook. So, I am now a married woman- we were able to get a marriage licence in the US, as well as the one we have from here, which will greatly ease our travel back and forth- and visa situations. I got a spouse visa in addition to my residency here. Mrs. Sydney Bwalya Kombe :) It is taking some “getting used to”, but it was a long time coming and I prayed for this man for years. He is far more than I asked for and deserve- thank God.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.720701517224.1073741841.100300199&type=1&l=172fad660a (wedding photos)
We had our honeymoon in Ocean City- Sydney's first trip to the beach/ocean. It was so relaxing after such a hurried time of preparations, but still much to short! After that, we were able to go to the Reformed Baptist Family Conference in Louisville. That was great to see and meet so many people who we pray for, who pray for us, who read my blog and also to catch up with friends and family.
Over the course of the month, Sydney gave 3 reports on the work in Mpika and Zambia (once in New Jersey, once in Indiana, and a mini report at the missions prayer meeting at the family conference), and preached also at Pr. Alan Dunn's church in Flemington. It was such a fruitful time of refreshment and we were humbled and overwhelmed by the support and love rendered to us while we traveled and visited. We were simply blown away. Words cannot express our thankfulness for people's generosity and loving hearts toward us. There were many friendships sparked and kindled and we are eternally grateful for the love and prayers of our family in the U.S.
We returned to Lusaka on Thursday, the 11th. We were put up in a lodge for two days while accommodations were finalized for us here in Lusaka. We are again greatly humbled and thankful for the love of our mother church here in Lusaka who has not ceased to be sure we are cared for and looked after. We have such a powerful example to live up to here from LBC- and we hope to emulate it at Emmanuel Baptist once we begin full time. We are now in a home in Kabulonga, just about 5 minutes drive from where I used to live in Chalala. We will be here getting to spend time with our family here at LBC, as well as traveling to Mpika and planting our roots deeper there over the next few weeks. The plan is, Lord willing, to relocate to Mpika after the LBC Family Conference at the end of August.
I was able to visit Kabanana twice last week, seeing the kids and Maureen on Thursday and visiting Pr. Chirwa and Fanny on Saturday. It was so amazing to get out of the car and be met with running/leaping hugs from the kids and “MISS KATTY ABWELA!!!!” (Miss Kat has come!) So good to see them and give them hugs. Alex's first concern was to tell me he tore his backpack and needed a new one! He didn't miss a beat. Morgan asked to see my ring and said “So, it's really done then, and you've left surely?” I won't be driving to the market for backpacks or doing any of those things again but I am thankful for the time I spent with them and could serve them, and I look forward to opportunities ahead of me.
The car was in a complete state of disarray when we got back- many things which needed to be attended to before I left and some new just from sitting for 3 months, but either way it was barely functioning (when we could get it started at all.) There is a mechanic at LBC who spent the entire day Monday, and even another hour today working on it, and now nearly everything has been replaced! (New battery, spark plugs, ball joints, brakes front and rear, all fluids replaced and many other things I didn't understand.) Sydney spent the whole day there with them making sure things were done faithfully and thoroughly. One of those moments I was so happy to have a husband! Last time I needed work done I dropped the car at the mechanic (a different one), picked it up 2 hours later and paid the bill--- and left with the exact same car, exact same parts. Sometimes honestly can be hard to come by, but we are thankful for a faithful church member who came to our rescue!
Anyway, we are settling in here in Kabulonga for the next 7 weeks or so. Sydney will be taking up some preaching/teaching at Lusaka Baptist during this time... as I type he is at the desk with about 4 books open furiously reading and typing away preparing for prayer meeting/Bible study which he will lead tomorrow night.
I'll update more on the church and work in Mpika when the time comes, and when I don't have laundry to be folded... :)
God has been gracious to us. We are both waiting to wake up from this dream- but until then we will continue on without looking back, trusting Him who's hand we are holding as we run....