Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back in the Good Ole' USA

After an all night flight from Jo'burg, the team had an 11 hour layover in Washington, DC. As much as we miss our Zambian brothers and sister and the children, we praise God and thank Him for bringing back to American soil safely. Families and friends, thank you ALL for your prayers.....we'll be home soon.

Posted by Barbara Ihle

Look at the results of our final ministry day (Wednesday). The orphans were THRILLED!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I can honestly say this trip has not been what I thought it would be. I didn’t expect our flight to be delayed, cancelled, and rerouted. I didn’t expect to feel the fatigue and frustration that comes from not being able to sleep on a plane. I didn’t anticipate our bags being lost and not having half my clothes for 5 days. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to see the extent of the extreme poverty in Zambia.

More importantly though, I didn’t expect to be welcomed by a group of children singing beautiful music as we stepped out of our van. I was surprised as I was almost trampled when the children and adults crowded me to see a picture of themselves on the camera as they giggled and squealed. I didn’t expect to see the joy and laughter from children playing with a huge ball of duct tape. I didn’t expect my heart to melt when a little child would tug at my skirt and reach her arms upward. I didn’t expect the joy I would feel as I slipped a dirty, dusty foot into a brand new shoe. I didn’t expect to wash dishes with a homemade scrubber and water from a hose outside or to use a homemade broom made out of tree bark. I didn’t expect to jump in icy cold water which took my breath away or to eat nshima, rape, and the neighborhood chicken. And I didn’t expect to feel such a special bond with my brothers and sisters in Christ half-way around the world. But most of all, I didn’t expect to feel so blessed when I was suppose to be the one blessing!

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
At the beginning of this year, it wasn’t my plan to be in Africa, but now I’m here. Pastor Navice told us last night that we are not here by accident; we are part of God’s plan.
Yesterday’s verse in VBS was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
The Lord is teaching me and I am still learning that His plan is best and that even if it’s not what I was expecting, it’s still very good!!

- Shari Holmes
Monday and Tuesday were filled with VBS programs for the orphans at HCC. The team put together a creative and exciting group of activities and crafts for the kids to learn biblical truths and stories. The children loved the high energy skits, bubble machine, super soakers, and personal love and attention.

We were blessed as they sang for us and recited dramatic poetry. Many of them have dramatically changed from our time here 2 years ago. Navice commented how at the beginning, the kids could only eat a very small amount of food. But now, they are much healthier and can really put away the enshima (corn staple), greens, and beans. It’s been thrilling to see their faces, as we give them brightly colored sandals. Most of them only have one pair of shoes for school, and they get quickly worn out.

It’s hard to believe that we only have one day of ministry left in Serenje. Praise God for answered prayer, health, and the joy of serving!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Update

We began the morning with breakfast prepared by the guys and a devotional led by Chris. He wrote this poem at Kundalila Falls yesterday, he entitled it:

The Kundalila Falls ~ Chris Ihle

In the pounding water, I listen for your voice,
In the clear pools, I look for your face.
The mist off the water refreshes my soul,
As I wait for you LORD.

What are the words you want me to hear?
What the sights you want me to see?
The mist off the water refreshes my soul,
As I wait for you LORD.

My ears are eager for your voice,
My eyes await the splendor of your beauty.
The mist off the water refreshes my soul,
As I wait for you LORD.

A pounding voice never do I hear,
Nor a vision in the pool do I see.
Yet the mist off the water continues to refresh my soul,
As I wait for you LORD.

Then I realize it was not in the pounding water,
Nor the cool clear pools,
But you were in the mist refreshing my soul.

It was amazing that only a few days ago when we visited Teta, there was just a building without a roof. By Sunday, we were all together, Zambians and Americans, worshiping in a beautiful space with a new roof. It was a humbling experience. Pastor Navice called both Dan and Aaron out to share messages with the congregation. Both messages brought tears to the team. At one point, when Dan was sharing a scripture verse from Revelation 7:9-11, he had to stop and pause as he became a bit emotional as the very thing (the Nations worshiping together) was happening in our presence.

The shoe distribution after the service went well except that we needed more of the larger sizes. It was heart wrenching for us to not have the appropriate sizes for the older children and have them do without today until we can purchase the correct shoe sizes tomorrow. We arrived at Kamena church at the end of their worship after our time in Teta. With Pastor Navice’s assistance, we all greeted and prayed for the church. We had another shoe distribution for the orphans there, nearly ninety in number. Again, we needed more of the larger shoe sizes. We will remedy tomorrow, Monday. The generosity, hospitality and gratitude of the Zambian people humbles me to the core. They have so little, and yet to “bless their church” they said, we were given a meal of nshima, rape (a green vegetable similar to kale) and chicken before we returned to Serenje.

The team is in good spirits and VBS begins tomorrow for the orphans at HCC. I believe the construction team will be beginning construction on the playground equipment, helping Joshua, HCC’s caretaker, lay brick on his house or both. Please keep the team and Zambian people in prayer....the need is great here in the rural and extreme rural.

Posted by Barbara Ihle
(These updates are from Friday)

Church Construction in Teta- We arrived early today with the goal of completing or nearly completing the roof we began constructing the day before. The Brookside construction team of Aaron, Zach, and myself worked in close partnership with Pastor Henry and his crew all day long and were ultimately successful in getting a majority of the roof completed. The spirit and camaraderie between the two teams was amazing. Several times, as I was working on top of the roof, I gazed around at the beautiful African landscape and marveled at what a surreal and deeply spiritual experience this was and how blessed I was to be a part of it. At the end of the day, the three of us were invited into Pastor Henry’s home for a traditional Zambian meal of Enshima and great conversation. It was great day!
Posted by Mike Lempke

School Visit in Kamena-Arriving in Kamena we were welcomed very warmly by the people. They were all standing outside waiting for us. Soon after learning where they wanted us to set up, Kettie (Navice’s wife) took me off to show me where the bathrooms were so that I could tell the rest of the group. After that, she asked if I wanted to see banana trees. I, of course, was curious and really wanted to. We went for a short hike (I thought) which turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. As we walked the trails, we walked by her and Navice’s past home and I got to learn about banana trees. Soon after that, we returned to the school. At the school, we got the joy of working with a couple different groups of children. There were 100ish kids each time that all packed into the small school room to see what we were doing. During this time, we got the chance to show a short movie of Jesus’ life, one of us got to share our testimony; we did a small activity with the children, and then lastly pray for them. Before we left, we pulled out a ball we made out of duct tape and hit it around with them. Good time!
Posted by Alissa King

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Catching up with the past couple days...

Sorry for the lack of updates. Internet access has been unavailable. This update was written Friday morning here in Zambia:

Church construction in Teta – When we pulled up to the church yesterday and opened the van doors, we were greeted with Zambian praise as the women of the church met us with singing and dancing. The Brookside men are helping to put a roof on the new church building. It was a joy to work alongside the local men of the church and share construction tactics! They completed the trusses yesterday, and hope to install the corrugated metal roofing today.At the end of the day yesterday, the whole team was invited into Pastor Henry’s house for an authentic Zambian meal! It was an amazing experience for everyone. The generosity and hospitality we have experienced is very humbling!

School Program – We did a presentation to about 100 elementary aged school kids, packed tightly into a classroom. Using a digital projector, we shared some family photos and an animated video about the life and miracles of Jesus. A couple team members shared testimonies and we presented the gospel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Brookside staff received a text that the Zambian Team got all their bags and they are on their way to Serenje. It has been a long few days to get there, but they will arrive at the Hope Children's Center today and begin the work they've been so anxious to do. Depending on the internet availability in Serenje, the team will update this blog periodically.
God is faithful! We are here in Zambia! It has been quite the adventure to say the least, but we were able to fly to Amsterdam, Nairobi, and finally Lusaka. With all that, we arrived only a couple hours later than planned.

Our bags are not here yet, so we would appreciate prayers that they would arrive soon. We are learning to be flexible and to improvise. We just need to buy some groceries and we'll head off to Serenje.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The flight from Chicago to Washington DC has been canceled due to mechanical issues. We're waiting to find out what the plan is. Pray that God will make another way!

Good-bye Omaha! We're eager to see what God has in store for us, and hope to have more updates soon. We should be boarding our plane in 10 or 15 minutes, and then the LONG flight begins.