Sunday, January 4, 2009


So I'm sitting here on Sunday morning, eating French toast and drinking coffee before Church...and you probably thought I was eating bugs every day. Actually I've been eating very well, so please don't worry about me, you’re the ones who have to deal with the temptation of fast food.

We went to Lusaka this weekend to get some more supplies for the construction. On the way there, we took Novice's son, Festus, with us. He's starting his next semester of college next week at the University in Lusaka. The drive is about 5 hours or so, so we talked about all kinds of things (as I've said before, I'm a talker).

Festus is my age, and he's very smart. He knows a lot about the world and Zambia's place in it. Basically, it’s not as if he is isolated and knows nothing beyond Zambia. (I say that because I think often times we might think that everyone in Africa is very isolated and uneducated). He has heard a lot about America, but he wasn't sure if the things he's heard were true or not, so we spent a lot of time talking about it. By the end of our conversation, he was amazed at the great potential America has...he was laughing in near disbelief at some of the things I told him.

He loved hearing about our enormous network of multi-lane roads and highways, where we can pass through a city without stopping and potholes get fixed immediately (here it takes literally years and years, even on the most major of roads)...he was shocked to hear that we had high quality free education up to the age of 18, and that a bus would pick us up if we lived too far away, yet children don't like to go to school and some even drop out! (read that one again Tribers)...he also thought it was so great that you could take out a loan to pay for college or a house, and you didn't even have to pay it back immediately (loans are few and far between here, we told him how badly Americans abuse that concept too)...we told him that a majority of people have a car, and everyone learns to drive when they're a teenager (many people never learn to drive here, and certainly most don’t ever have a car)...he asked what our staple food was, and it was difficult to answer, because in America we eat different kinds of food all the time, usually whatever we feel like having is available...perhaps most fascinating to him was that most Americans can get a job very quickly and easily, but often times we won't settle for something we think is below us (here it can take months and years to find a job, even for someone that has a college degree, literally...years! Daily, we have people coming to our door to ask for a job)...also, most Americans never have to worry about electricity or running water, for the most part if you live in a home it has electricity, not the case here...we talked for hours and the list goes on.

I think Zack and I were both thinking the same incredibly blessed Americans are, despite our incredible abuse of these privileges. Festus asked if there was anything wrong with America too. We told him that many of us Americans have come to think that all these amazing privileges we have are our rights. We think it's our right to own a car, it’s our right to have a house, it’s our right to have amazing infrastructure, it's our right to get a loan, etc. Our economic crises in America is caused because we all try to live outside our means (even though living within our means would still put us above most of the world in terms of wealth)…the economic crisis here is that there are simply less jobs and opportunities than there are people. Even in our "economic crisis", Americans are amazingly well off...this was a definite reminder to that. (My point isn't that we should feel bad about how blessed we are, but maybe that we should keep a healthy perspective, not that I'm innocent either).

It was also a reminder of something else. I recently listened to a sermon by Ed Noble where he said that advertising is built on the idea that we think we could be happier, and that there are things we need to make us happier. It’s even clearer to me over here that no material possession or form of entertainment is truly fulfilling, those aren’t ever going to be the source of our happiness…ever! There are many many people here who have very little, but they are so truly happy. What do you think they’re happy about? I feel like sometimes in America we think it is impossible to be fulfilled without full security in our wealth and comfort. Are you truly fulfilled? Anyways, I’m starting to ramble, sorry.

Our trip to Lusaka went well, we had no delays and we got most of the things we needed, thanks for the prayers. We hope to accomplish a lot on the site this week, so pray for that please! Pray for our obstacles in making progress, that we would overcome them quickly and easily. Thanks all! Email:

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