Monday, March 23, 2009

Back in America

Well here I am, back in one of the United States. I've been back for a few days now, and I'm still adjusting. I tried to prepare myself for the shock of being back in America, but there was only so much I could do. I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed, and I'm missing Serenje. It's weird to think that I was just on the other side of the planet a few days ago. Yesterday I shared with the Brookside congregation about my experiences from the last 3 months, but it was a little difficult to communicate everything from the last few months in just a few minutes. It was also hard to put some things into words.
I have to apologize for not posting on the day I flew out, even though I said I would. I was planning on doing one more post but I ran out of my Internet card at the airport. Things have been going so fast since I got back too, I can't believe it's almost been a week already.
I want to thank everyone for all the support I had. So many of you kept up with the blog, stayed in contact with me, encouraged me, prayed for me, gave financially...I'm blessed to have so much support. I mean it sincerely when I say thank you...if you're reading this then it applies to you.

Above is the District Commissioner and I at the site just a few days before I left, below is some of the orphans (could they be any cuter?). I've put some new photos on the Flickr website (click the link at the top right of this page). Also, I promise I'm not annoyed at all by questions, I want to share this with as many people as I can. So feel free to flood me with questions, my email is and my phone number is 402-210-1204.

I can't say enough how much I feel like God is all over this project, both in America and Zambia. I'm excited to see what develops in the future, and I personally feel energized and ready to see what God has for me next. Yesterday I commented on how desperately this world needs Christ...and how they need love. I want to be sold out for that cause.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Leaving Serenje...

Well, I won't lie, it was hard driving away from Serenje for the last time (for now). I'm in Lusaka, getting ready to fly back to America tomorrow. My last week was everything I was hoping for, and as I'm starting to reflect on the entire truly was amazing. The best part is that God continued to show up, reveal Himself, and do amazing things...right down to my last day. I can say with ease that I'm leaving Africa knowing all the more how real God is. I don't know how to put it into words exactly, but God is so real and so alive...and so good.

I got to hang out with the orphans one last time on Saturday, they aren't any less cute than when I got here. I think this last time was the most fun we've had together. There was a lot of laughing, which can never be a bad thing. I literally was swarmed by them...we played this game where they all jump on me and pull my arms and legs, trying to make me fall over. I seriously wanted to steal them all and bring them home with me. I hope that I was able to show them God, and to show them love.

Construction is still moving along nicely. I keep thinking about how different it is than when I got there. The roof is being put on the last building and we're getting closer to the finish line. Now the main tasks are to finish plastering, to paint, and to do electrical and plumbing work. I hope I was of good help in doing the construction.

I did the Bible Study with the workers every day for my last week (I usually only shared twice a week). I also visited some at their homes, which was a very big deal to them. I also spent a lot of time with Sunday my last 2 weeks here. We hung out almost every day...that was a hard goodbye. I hope I was able to impact his life and the lives of the other workers.
I also got to preach in Church one last time yesterday. I've come to know more people in Serenje than I ever thought I would. At this point I never crossed town with out greeting several different friends. In my time here I was able to share the Gospel with literally hundreds of people directly and indirectly, I hope it made it into their hearts.

I also felt that I accomplished all the other objectives I had here, and I hope I did good work for Cornerstone and Brookside churches. But more than all of this, I truly experienced God. I'm so thankful for this experience and everything He's done in my life. I'm just in awe of how phenomenal He is. I love Him and I want everyone to know Him...I don't know what else to say.

Please check back, I'll be posting one more time before I fly out tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

1 more week..

Last week went really well. I was able to accomplish a lot, and now I'm feeling good about how things will finish up here for me. I was able to meet with the Deputy Headmaster (like a principle) of one of the main schools in town to discuss the possibility of putting orphans in school. I think it went really well, we'll have to see how it plays out in the coming months.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach at a church with well over 300 people in attendance out in Kamena, a village nearly 2 hours away in the bush. That was an amazing opportunity! We know of about 100 orphans in the Kamena area. During our time there we filled in Child Profiles that Navice and I made for each child, and we also got a picture of each one to go along with the profile. I felt good about it because it's a major step in the right direction to make sure we can keep track and no one falls through the cracks.
I reminded our construction workers this morning that I'm leaving in about a week...I'll miss them a lot, and I could tell they'll miss me too. I've also been trying to hang out with my good friend Sunday almost every day since I'm leaving soon. He keeps telling me how I can't leave and he's going to steal me and keep me here. He tells me every day that the time is going too fast and he'll miss me when I leave. I feel the same, we've become very good'll be hard to leave. Navice keeps telling me I need to stay longer too, I told Him that my mom doesn't like that idea.
So this is my last week in Serenje. As I've said so many times recently, I can't believe it's time to go back already. This may seem weird, but I've decided that I won't be using internet the rest of this week. So I'm cutting off my contact through the blog and email with your side of the planet. Feel free to continue emailing me, but I won't be reading and replying until I'm in Lusaka getting ready to come back to Omaha. God made it very clear to me that I need to do this...I want to focus on Him and my time left here. Thank you everyone for all your prayers and all of your support. For those who have been asking, I'm due to arrive in Omaha on Wednesday, March 18th at 12:49 PM.

PRAYER REQUESTS: That I would use my time wisely and finish strong...I'm sharing every morning this week for our Bible Study (we usually just do two mornings a week), pray for me to follow God's will on what to teach...I'm spending significant chunks of time alone with God in prayer and in Scripture, pray for me to focus in that as well...for all my friends that I'll be saying goodbye to for now...the picture above is an orphan named Zita (Zee-tuh), you can pray for her in any area you can think of, she needs it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kids Just Wanna Have Fun…

On Saturday I played football (what we call soccer) with about 30 of the orphans in Serenje. It was a lot of fun to see them having a good time. I was just emailing a friend earlier, and I mentioned how great it was to see them being able to forget for a little bit about the worries thay have that children shouldn’t have to be consumed with. For a while, they could just have a good time and be kids. My main goals were for them to have fun, for me to make them laugh, and for them to just simply feel loved. I was also going to share a story from the Bible, but we got cut off by the incoming rain, so many of them wanted to leave to make sure they could get home in time. I’ll share the story next time when we get together though. It was a great morning, and every time I see them I get more and more excited for the Hope Center to be opened. Being over here this long has made it clear to me that the Hope Center should make a big difference in many lives. I can’t wait!
My brother Graham made a good suggestion for the blog, so I now introduce to you…
Jack’s Top Ten Favorite things about Serenje, Zambia…
10) The Rainy Season. A lot of sun and a lot of rain…to me, it’s a perfect balance.
9) The landscape…amazing views…enough said.
8) There’s a Chess Club, I bet you didn’t expect that! And yes, of course I played.
7) The extremely bumpy dirt roads that my Hyundai Elantra would never be able to pass…driving in America will always seem dull.
6) The market…you never know just what you’re going to find.
5) Learning Bemba…Kulumbanya Lesa Yesu Kristu mulubushi wandi!
5b) Listening to the Zambians praise and worship God in their own music and language.
4) Navice and his heart for wanting to help people and follow God.
3) All my friends here…especially my good friend Sunday.
2) The kids…what’s the word for too much cuteness?
1) God’s presence…He’s just as active here as He is anywhere…and He’s amazing!
PRAYER REQUESTS: I just can’t seem to stop that clock from ticking, pray that I will be focused and intentional as my time here winds down…this week I’ll be doing a lot of meeting with school officials and exploring the way the system works here, pray that I would be able to work well with the school’s leaders and make progress, and that I understand what it will take to hopefully get some of the orphans into school soon…pray for my family, cause I love them and can’t wait to see them again and share with them. Thanks.
Special Note to Tribe: Hey guys! So I was trying to fall asleep last night, and I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve…I was too excited about being back at Tribe and seeing you all again. I’m jealous that I’ve missed so much of what’s been going on in Tribe for 2009. I promise I’ll share all of my experiences from over here if you share your experiences from over there with me. Deal? The only problem is that I’ve been trying so hard to learn Bemba that I might forget how to use English. I think my grammar and writing skills are already fading…anyways, me miss you lots, see you fast. Love you guys!