Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forever Friends

Friends: Angela and Maureen at Dr. M's in Lusaka
Friends: Lynn Hacker and Angela saying goodbye after a wonderful week together!!

Friends: A parting shot from the inside of the small airplane we flew in from Mukinge back to Lusaka
Traveling to Africa, specifically Zambia bonds people together in an amazing way! The long flights, airport layovers and travel challenges brings acquaintances to a new level of friendship. Although I have known Angela and Michael from TCPC and Trinity Christian Academy, we never had the opportunity to spend so much time together! I had met Lynn Hacker only a couple of brief times when she has been in the USA on furlough. This trip was going to prove to be a friendship making one!
As we prepared to travel, our families got to spend a little time together and enjoyed the discoveries that me made along the way regarding interests, travels and love for God's kingdom and purposes.
Although we are not all called to go, clearly Angela and I had it in our hearts to visit Lynn and bring encouragement to her.
Can you believe it? Lynn has been on the mission-field for 21 years? I have been in Kentucky for 20! This is the first time that we have visited her!!
The first working day in Zambia, we were at the Beit CURE Hospital of Zambia. Pastor Harold guided us through a devotional on Psalm 139 that describes how we are fearfully and wonderfully made and knit together in our mother's womb. It was a powerful and poignant devotional as we were working with children who were born with various deformities etc....yet our Heavenly Father knew this full well! The Lord has His ways and purposes. As Angela made new friends with the mothers and caregivers of the children, my joy was to make friends with the hospital administration and nursing staff.  We were being knit together as part of the body of Christ!  What a joy to meet mothers and staff who are trusting the LORD for their everyday needs and challenges!! It was a blessing to share the Good News to those who did not know the LORD.
Although Angela, Michael and I had very different roles during our time in Lusaka, we settled into a close little family, caring for each other.  We lived in close quarters in the guest house with several others whom we got to know and appreciate. Angela cooked supper for me one night when I was exhausted from teaching all day. Michael would bring me a bottle of water and help carry supplies after training times. I was able to share treats and host a dinner with the guest house occupants too.
Forever friends, indeed!!
As our journey took us outside of Lusaka and into the bush....Michael and I shared the backseat of Lynn's vehicle and bonded as we chatted and learned about Zambia from Lynn.
Throughout our time together, people said that Lynn and I looked like sisters! We kept saying that was because we had the same Father! It took a moment for some to catch on that we were talking about our Heavenly Father who had adopted us into His family.
Angela, Lynn and I enjoyed each others' company so much. We traveled back to Mukinge together on a 10 hour or more drive. We broke the drive up so that we could enjoy some African wildlife. It was such a fun experience sleeping in African huts. We learned a great deal from our new friends, the McBrides who owned the animal preserve. We were entertained and enriched with animal stories and information as we sat around the campfire listening to the hippos and monkeys. What a joy to experience the African bush with other people from South Africa, Germany, Italy and Great Britain! We too became a little family over the two days we were there. It is interesting that there are so many bonds that bind people together! Similar interests, similar experiences, similar likes.......
However, the most satisfying friendships and bonds that I experienced on this Zambian trip were the ones that come from God's people. It was wonderful to worship with fellow believers at church. It was lovely to share our passion for the LORD during devotions at the hospital chapels. We learned to appreciate our brothers and sisters from Zambia! We were bonded together in devoted love for the Lord, the poor, sick and needy.  During this trip, I grew to love, respect and appreciate Angela, Lynn and Michael. I saw how the Lord had prepared each one for this special time together.
It was so good for me to travel with Angela and Michael as I am usually traveling helped me recognize my rough edges that need smoothing!! Forever friends are the best....they are like iron sharpening iron so that together we might be increasingly useful for God's kingdom purposes.

A friend loves at all times...Proverbs 17:7
There is a friend who sticks closer that a brother...Proverbs 18:24

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I will fear no evil....

Michael and I are being silly waiting for Lynn and Angela to return...we are stranded but not scared! We had a spot of car wouldn't start, not even a slight cough from the engine.....dead....we needed help which was 10 km away! Lynn Hacker and Angela Rehorn set off while Michael and I stayed with the vehicle just in case help least I could drive the manual transmission on the right,  in a pinch after living in Australia
We were surrounded by the beauty of the African bush....also tsetse flies and mosquitoes too!

Michael and I climbed on top of Lynn's vehicle to watch and wait....we prayed too!

On the lookout!

Beautiful and dangerous bush...yet we did not need to fear as the LORD was with us and He sent help within two hours.....we had a true African adventure

So do not fear,  for I am with you; do not be dismayed, 
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

It is not often that one gets stranded in the middle of the bush of Africa! Yet most of us have times when we are in tough situations......we feel isolated, abandoned, unprotected and very vulnerable. Our little adventure was a great life lesson and illustration of God's faithfulness and protection. Thankfully, we knew that the LORD was with us and would never leave us! There was no room for fear in my it was protected by scriptures and capturing every thought in obedience to anxious for nothing! Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you......!
Is there someone to whom you can encourage with this important truth today?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Loaves and Fishes

Angela and I came to share our 'loaves and fishes' and nursing experiences...

Michael brought his friendship, soccer balls and love

These are the nurse who are taking our training and multiplying the information for God's honor!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday in Zambia-Same and Different

This is the church service program we received upon entering the sanctuary-SAME
Pastor giving the children a Bible lesson during the service-DIFFERENT

Wooden cross at the front of the church-SAME

Sunday morning came early for us after arriving very late on Saturday night. However, wild horses couldn't keep us from wanting to attend church and worship the LORD with our Zambian brothers and sisters. A, M & I were picked up by Tim and Melissa Ebbers. We attended St, Columbus Presbyterian Church. What is so exciting about attending church in another country is to observe the similarities and differences.  What a joy to know that we worship the same triune God, Father, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit! Since we are members of a presbyterian church in Kentucky, there were many similar aspects of the service. We said the Lord's prayer, the apostles' creed, and the appropriate responses to scripture. We participated in communion which was so special as we contemplated the significance of sharing this sacrament with fellow believers from across the world from Kentucky. We worship a BIG and FAITHFUL God who has provided us with a WONDERFUL SAVIOR who gave us these symbols to remember Him. This church remembers the LORD JESUS in communion weekly which is different to the practice at the church we attend in Kentucky. 

The dear brothers and sisters who had leadership roles in the church, they wore kind of a uniform. It was interesting to see the women and men who were elders wearing outfits that identified them.
The choir wore purple robes---that was different. 

As visitors we were given the opportunity to share a bit about ourselves. After our introductions the congregation greeted us with rhythmic clapping--that was different. Our church is so big, one could visit and they might not be recognized as a visitor.

After the service, the congregation shared a cup of tea and scones. There were samosas for sale too! Now how many people at our church would even know what a samosa is??? That is a different snack!

I could go on and on....however, the similarities are more obvious...the unity of the BODY of CHRIST unites us aside from the various differences in form and style of worship.

We were so blessed by joining together with our dear fellow believers in Zambia.

After church we went to Tim and Melissa's home for lunch....sweet hospitality was enjoyed by all.
Sunday lunch with family and friends is such a tradition for us....SAME!!

It was a blessed day!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Longest Plane Ride....EVER!!

Greetings from Lusaka, Zambia!!

Angela & Michael Rehorn and I were trying to decide on a good name for a blog while we were traveling. Of course 30 plus hours of traveling with little to no sleep can make one a little silly!

Why are we calling this the longest plane ride ever?

Check in at LEX-3 hours ahead

Flight to Detroit-1 hour
Layover in Detroit-4 hours
Flight to Amsterdam-7 hours 55 minutes
Layover Amsterdam-2 hours
Flight to Harare, Zimbabwe-9 hours 54 minutes
Layover in Harare-1hour (or so)
Flight to Lusaka-40 minutes

Immigration line in Lusaka- 1 hour 30 minutes

Waiting for luggage-0 minutes

Drive from Lusaka airport-30 minutes

Total number of hours to get to Beit-CURE Zambia=??

I am too jet lagged to add this up....I tried to get Michael to add it for me but he is busy playing 'football' (soccer for the USA). However, it is at least 30 hours!!

We were grateful that the trip was uneventful. We were grateful for KLM for their attentiveness and delicious food!! (Yes, we got fed...unlike on most domestic flights).

We are grateful for so many things during this long journey.......
*companionship of A&M
*no extra baggage charges
*no illness
*no plane delays
*no custom duties
*no drama, trauma.....
*every prayer answered for our journey!

So although the title sounds like we are complaining....we are not.  Instead we are saying that in this extremely looooong trip we witness the goodness and faithfulness of our Heavenly Father!!