Celebration Sunday!

Click here to see the video that was shown this past Sunday at New Life.

Thank you to all who took time to worship with us this Sunday!

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We are HOME!!!!

So after a wonderful, exhausting, intense, glorious trip; a few tearful goodbyes; and a 3 day trip, we are home!! I believe that I can speak for all of us in saying that we are wonderfully exhausted and have not stopped processing since we got off the plane yesterday.

I would like give you all an update of the last few days of our journey! On Thursday, we had an incredible safari! I feel like this was a time (along with Victoria Falls) to worship our God and observe the incredible things he has created! It was truly surreal to watch elephants and giraffes, hippos and birds, baboons and impalas in their natural habitat. I think this time was very refreshing for all of us and we were able to begin processing all of the intense things we had seen, felt, and done throughout the weeks before.

Though most of us were completely ready to be home, none of us wanted to begin the three days of travel it would take to get there. First we had to travel to Lusaka from Livingston on Friday (a 7 hour trip) by bus. We then stayed in a hotel in Lusaka that evening and got up bright and early to catch our 10 hour flight (by early I mean 5 am) to London. Once in London, we made it through customs, got yet another stamp in our passport, and headed to our hotel. We were able to get there early enough for dinner and some time to relax. We then went to bed and headed to the airport by 9 the next morning. We got on the plane to Philly by 1230 and arrived home by 330 in the afternoon (it was a 7.5 hour flight, but because of the time change we arrived in PA in the middle of the afternoon). Ray, Jake, Doug Shirk, Greg, and Steve were all waiting at the airport to surprise us! It was so good to be on PA soil and to see people from home! We then drove from Philly and arrived at the church by 7:45 (which would have felt like 12:45 to us). It was quite the journey, but was definitely worth it!

Please keep the team in your prayers as we are getting back into the routine of life once again and we are processing everything we experienced. If you’ve been on a trip like this before, you understand that this is not always easy. Please also keep the people we met in your prayers! Thank you for following us and supporting us in this journey!

I will be updating each day’s blog with more pictures (now that the connection is better) for the next few days, so please continue to check back!

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A Day of Awe!

Wow! So today was completely incredible for those of us here in Zambia! We were able to visit Victoria Falls, one of the “seven wonders of the world.” It was the most breathtaking, incredible, incomparable sight we’ve ever seen (I recognize I’m speaking for the group here, but it was pretty amazing for everyone!)! It was wonderful to see God’s vast and roaring creation and just worship Him in his majesty and glory! We were able to get another stamp in our passports by going to the Zimbabwe side of the falls as well as the Zambia side. On the Zimbabwe side, some of us went as far as you could go and saw breathtaking rainbows above the falls. On the Zambia side we all took pictures and walked to the end. We walked across a bridge and got soaking wet! It was such a fun and wondrful day! After seeing the falls, some decided to hike to a place called the boiling point, which is down into a bit of rainforest. You hike down until you can’t hike anymore and there you find a whirlpool of gushing water where all of the waterfalls rush together. If you look up, there are cliffs and palms and animals and water. It is quite amazing! The group who went there was especially proud to share the moment with Jay, who was a trooper with all of us!

We just want to praise God today for his incredible creation! We are excited to see more tomorrow as we go on Safari (We will get yet another stamp in our passport from traveling by boat to Botswana, where some of the Safari takes place). Please pray for safety for all of us.

I will do my best to upload pictures as soon as possible!

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A Day of Observation!

Hello friends! Today is the first time I have had the opportunity to communicate in a few days, so we will have multiple posts for you to check out!

On Monday, our goal was to leave Ndola for Choma by 6:30am. Since we noticed the bus was having problems the day before, Rachel and Lazarus decided to have it looked at one more time before heading on the road, so we were not able to leave until 12:30. This definitely set us back quite a bit, but it was worth it as we arrived safely in Choma around 10:30 that evening (the ten hour drive in the bus was quite interesting). We found that the road to Choma is not exactly straight, and much of where we were traveling was actually the bush (here in Africa, the bush is about as common as country/farming fields are to us in PA). The hardest problem was for Lazarus, who fearlessly drove us around potholes and big trucks in the dark on a dirt road. Praise the Lord, we made it without any problems! We then ate a very late dinner provided by a missionary in Choma and then went to bed for about 5 hours sleep. We then awoke for an 1.5hour drive to Macha, where we were able to meet Dr. Phil Thuma, who is the head of the research institute at the hospital. We had the opportunity to learn the fascinating things that are being discovered at Macha. Since the work of the research institute began just 7 years ago, they have decreased the number of Malaria cases in the nearby villages from 1400 per year to 43. They are doing things at this hospital that no one in the world is doing!

Afterward, we went to tour the hospital. This portion of the visit was extremely interesting for those of us in the medical profession, but was also a bit shocking and challenging for everyone who was observing that day. Though the hospital seemed in poor condition compared to American hospitals, it was much better than traditional healers or government hospitals in Zambia. I think witnessing this was helpful and highly educational, but also gave us a deep appreciation for the medical care of America. We do praise God for the people who are so diligently working at Macha to give Zambians health and a future without untimely deaths due to preventable disease.

We were also able to go to a village to a church where one of the administrators pastors. There we were able to learn about ministry to village people, church growth, evangelism, sacrifice, and service. It was very interesting to see the work of this church and this pastor in the community. We also went to woman’s village, where she showed us how they live daily in such an interesting place. They grow corn, have cattle, do laundry, get water, build gardens, etc. It was fascinating and almost felt surreal to be there. After going to the church and the village, we had the opportunity to have a traditional Tonga meal (something commonly eaten in Choma/Macha area) with the pastor and his wife as well as Dr. Thuma and his wife. This was quite a pleasure.

Following this exciting day, we headed back to Choma where we visited Choma Secondary School, where Rachel taught for 10 years before she and Lazarus were married. She was delighted to find that one of the students she used to mentor is now the headteacher (or principle). It was wonderful to come back and see the very evident influence Rachel has had on the lives of the people and children of this school. All of the team was very struck with the legacy both Rachel and Lazarus have created in Zambia and throughout the world!

I am having trouble downloading more pictures, so I will do my best, but I will definitely update more pictures when I come home.

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A Day of Worship!

Hello all! As I am writing, I believe many of you have recently left church. Here, it is about 7:30 in the evening and we have already had quite the day. Our day began with an incredible service here in Ndola. Two churches (plus New Life) came together for a service of celebration. There were different groups who sang, we danced, new life gave special music, P Doug gave the message, and we had incredible fellowship. Many of us said it felt like a glimpse of what we would find in heaven. When we sang the song that said “raise your hands all you nations, shout to God all creation, how awesome is the Lord most high” it felt so real!

After a lovely lunch at the Phiri’s home, we headed to a market where they sell food, shoes, and fabric. Many of us bought different types of fabrics that are used to make traditional african clothing. We left the market and headed back to the Phiri’s home for a time of debriefing and discussion. And now it is time to watch the World Cup! Jeremiah and Emmanuel have invited friends and we all will watch the World Cup from a projector in the living room! What a nice time of fellowship and fun with the group and new friends!

For the rest of this week, we are not sure when and what type of internet connection we will be having. I anticipate not being able to post for a few days and when I am able to, it might only be able to be text until the end of the week. I will do my best to keep you all updated when possible, but we will be doing quite a bit of travel this week. Tomorrow, we will be heading to Choma (an 8 hour bus ride). We will leave at 6 or 6:30 am and hopefully arrive in Choma around 4, where we will visit the secondary school in which Rachel used to teach. On Tuesday, we will head to Macha hospital to take a tour and we will also be visiting a village nearby. Then on Wednesday we will be heading to Livingstone, where we will experience curio shops and Victoria falls on both the Zambia side and the Zimbabwe side. On Thursday, we visit a game park, where we will go on a Safari. Finally, on Friday we begin our journey back to Pennsylvania.

We would covet your prayers during this time of long travel. Pray for safety and relaxation. We had to say goodbye today to new and dear friends, so we would also ask that you would lift these people up in prayer: for their churches, for their families, and for their organizations.

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A Day of Learning!

Today we were able to ease in to the day a bit (minus Doug and Terri who led a breakfast for Pastors and spouses). Some of us went to breakfast at a lovely little cafe and then the team was off to TCCA, where we spent the day in seminars for leaders of churches. First we had a time of worship and then moved on to the leadership seminar where there was a lot of dialogue. After a short break, it was time for the worship seminar, which I believe everyone in the group found very useful. There were many questions circulating the room. We then had lunch and the children’s ministry seminar began. Overall it was a lovely time of fellowship and learning. Some of us were also able to spend time playing soccer (Doug Shenk), playing with children, or learning more about the lives of the leaders in the group.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

Pray for us tomorrow as we will be ministering through worship and teaching with a combined service of multiple churches. We will also be spending some time in the marketplace and will prepare to head for Choma on Monday.

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A Day of Gifts

Hello all! Yesterday was quite the day! We began the morning with some bus problems (those famous African roads did the shocks in), but things worked out and we headed to Musonda! We began with presentations to the students of Musonda. We were asked to give them encouragement about school, faith, and their future and so Dan and the Kristys gave some biblical motivation! I’m not sure anyone who is reading this have ever seen so many children packed into a place so small. To give you a picture, the room was probably 20×30 and was holding 400-500 kids. It was insanity! The children then gave us presentations, where they shared poems, songs, and a skit (as they say “a sketch”). We then presented materials to the teachers and soccer balls to the students (you should have heard that cheer!). Afterward it was time to hand out the underwear.

Handing out the underwear was intense, rewarding, and challenging at times. There were so many children with immense need that we struggled with not being able to give to every child in the compound (we only were able to give to the children who attended school). The children were extremely appreciative and even hid the underwear in their shirts in order to run home with them! This project took almost 2 hours to complete!

Afterward, we had to say goodbye to the children of Musonda, which for some of us was very challenging. Please keep these children in prayer as they experience indescribable poverty and struggles that we cannot comprehend.

We then went for lunch with Prisca and her husband, where we also met 2 board members of PLAEP. This was a time of encouragement for the team at PLAEP and for those of us from Hershey. We were able to express our appreciation for what PLAEP is doing in the Musonda community. They also expressed gratitude for us by giving us beautiful gifts. It was a wonderful time of fellowship.

Since the PLAEP office runs a craft store, we as a team were able to go and purchase gifts after our lunch. Some of the team went to a market afterwards, where they bought Chatengues (sorry if that’s not the right spelling- – these are wraps that women wear here in Zambia). 4 of us went straight to the church, where Alicia and Nikki led a worship seminar for the choir at Riverside. It was an excellent time of discussion and encouragement. Afterward the team met up again and led a time of worship with different young adults from churches nearby. This was an awesome way to end our day! Most of our team (including Kristy H., Jay!, Doug S., Dan, Diane) sang as the worship team. We also had a time where the choirs shared their songs. They were incredible! It was such amazing time and we were able to close in prayer for one another!

Thank you for your patience and prayers!

Pray for upcoming travel and for the seminars that will be happening. Pray also for the children who we left, that they would remember the things we have spoken to them. Pray for the team as there are some aches and pains that people are dealing with.

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