Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Europe Pt. 4

Valencia, España

Well quite a bit has happened since I left Burgos. Sorry it has taken so long to post this. I will do my best to share everything that has happened from Wednesday until I left España. So sit back grab something to drink and prepare for fast trains, more random encounters, fascinating architecture, and amazing God stories!
Pedro is next to me on the right (mouth open)
    I left Burgos on Wednesday morning and began my journey toward Valencia, a Mediterranean costal city. After switching trains in Madrid I was aboard what would become the fastest land-moving vehicle I’ve ever been on in my life. Yes, we went from Madrid to Valencia at blistering 184 mph (300kph). On arrival an old friend from Mexico greeted me. Pedro, his sister Susy, and the rest of the family used to live in the same apartment complex with my family and I. They are a wonderfully unique family and only part of it is because they are Spanish Gypsies. I had the opportunity to build a friendship with Pedro in Mexico because of our mutual love of music and an occasional hankering for a game of pool. We shared the good news of Christ with him then, and though the seed was planted the reaping would happen later. Soon after he returned to España he gave his life to the Lord and is now ministering in a local church. His sister, who was baptized by my father, while in Mexico, proudly calls my mom and dad her spiritual parents. We had the opportunity to attend a church service the evening that I was there, and the Lord spoke some great things to me through a couple of the pastors and I left there with an overwhelming feeling of peace and the love of the Father. It was hard to leave Valencia, but believe the Lord is going to take me back there with purpose sometime in the future.
Sagrada Familia
     From Valencia I caught a bus to Barcelona, where I wasn’t really sure where I would be staying, but after seeing the “Sagrada Familia” and grabbing some dinner and wifi, I found a wonderful hostel on the southern side of the city. The next day was dedicated to exploring Barcelona, and it did not disappoint. I walked to the top of Montjüic, saw the Olympic village from the ’92 games, and the most magnificent view of the city that extends from the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea. It is quite a tourist town; it was often that I walked by American accents and many other languages unknown to me. I can see why though, it teems with beautiful architecture, great food, and people with style. 
 I had the great fortune of meeting a gentleman who stopped in for some Paella at the same local restaurant I did. Herbert Cartus is a music/theater instructor from Germany, loves traveling and I just happened to strike up a conversation with him while I was finishing my dinner. We got caught up in conversation that ended with us exchanging information and him graciously offering me a place to crash if I happen to visit Germany. This is possibly my favorite thing about traveling. These random people make it such a great experience if you’re willing to just step out and say hello.

Barcelona's Cathedral
     I wish I could say I got plenty of sleep before catching the 6:00am flight from Barcelona to Roma, but an hour is not a lot for anyone. Once again I had a great encounter because of Barcelona’s tricky bus system to the airport. This time it involved an Argentine gentleman about my age. We shared a taxi to the airport and ended up hanging out a bit before our flights went their separate ways. Thus my time in España concluded, and a new chapter in Italia was about to begin.

A view of Barcelona from Montjüic.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Europe Pt. 3

Arco De La Victoria, Madrid.
  Its fall, and it actually feel like it here in Burgos, España. Yesterday was the kind of day that made for a great stroll through the city. I went to the city center where there are all sorts of old historical gems peering down on pedestrians scurrying about, enjoying the warm sunlight. I sat in a one of the several squares decorated with a fountain and surrounded by old apartment homes and shops. It was the perfect place to sit down and process the last several days of my time here in España. Saturday was full of unexpected encounters and great teaching that made for a great trip to Madrid, and Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to worship with Iglesia De Burgos.
Kris Vallotton bringing the word.
       I had planned on attending this conference in Madrid with Ty and others from his church well before I came to España. I was thrilled however, when found out the guest speaker was Kris Vallotton one of the leaders and teachers at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He spoke about healing, which is a very much a part of the culture at Bethel, but this wasn't just physical healing. He began to share about healing the WHOLE person, body, spirit, and soul. It was interesting to see how physical healing relates to deeper things within our souls. It ties into inner healing, which is a subject dear to my heart.
Ty on the early morning ride to Madrid. 
    Aside from enjoying this engaging word, I met a few people that I will be in future contact with. Some sooner than others. One, for instance, is a young lady named Rebecca. She is from New Zealand, but studying and living in Rome. She agreed to show me around a bit, and find a place for me to crash. These random Jesus encounters are one of my favorite parts about traveling. So exciting!
     On Sunday Iglesia De Burgos (Church of Burgos) celebrated their third anniversary of what they call "Fusion", which is when two churches merged into one. The celebration included many people bringing all sorts of delicious finger foods. Before that, however we had a wonderful worship time and I was graciously invited to play the piano with the worship team. The service was unique. There were pauses in between the songs which allowed for anyone in the church to pray out loud something the Lord had put on their heart. It was a great outlet for each person to worship the Lord in their own way. Once again I was blessed to be a part of the great body of Christ.
      Tomorrow the adventure continues as I begin to make my way toward Valencia. More on that later. There are more exciting unplanned stories to come. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Europe Pt 2 Trains & Spain

Catedral De Burgos
    Traveling on the train has been pretty simple, and its a wonderful way to see the countryside. I realized one of the most important tricks to taking any hassles out is getting there early. Though this isn't a natural trait of mine, when it comes to success or failure in a foreign country one learns to adjust. I am so glad that I bought a Eurail pass. While I still have to buy a ticket, the price for me was 4 Euros versus 40+ Euros.
       Part of traveling that is exciting for me is meeting complete strangers. On my train ride from Bordeaux, France to Burgos, Spain I struck up a conversation with Janet, a young lady from South Africa. She was in France for a wedding and was spending her remaining vacation time exploring northern Spain. The day continued with more random encounters. As I was getting off the train in Burgos a gentleman asked me if I spoke spanish, and if had ever been to Burgos. He was a writer and professor, and not only did he offer me a ride into town, but also a tour of some historical spots in the city the next day. So my buddy Ty and I took a small tour of the Catedral De Burgos as well a few other landmarks that were rich with history, courtesy of Jose.
Arco De Santa Maria
   The cathedral was easily one of the most amazing pieces of architecture I've ever seen. The intricate carvings on the outside were remarkable. I was told that their are more than 600 figures carved around the outside. Each one made to perfection, only time has worn down the exquisit statues. Leading the way into the square adjacent to the cathedral is the Arco De Santa Maria. Made for emperor Carlos V, the arch marks an important entrance through the old city wall. Throughout the city there places that make you just stop and stare. Simply wonderful.
     Today has been a lazy day. I was able to sleep in and then just lounge around the house. The weather is chilly and rainy much like London and Paris were, so not exactly ideal for exploring, but i think that will happen a bit tomorrow. There is too much in this town to stay inside on the couch the whole time.
     So with that I'm off to sleep. Tomorrow holds new adventures that I should prove to be exciting.
 Until Next time.

Ty and I

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Europe Pt. 1 - London & Paris

The streets of Paris

    It has been a few days since I’ve posted which has provided plenty of material for me to share with you. I’ll start with London, my full day and first night away from the rest of the team, and then move on to Paris, sharing one of the most adventurous walks of my life through a breathtaking city (no pun intended).
     London. It was a bit nippy as I jumped on the tube and headed into downtown. My first adventure alone in Europe was to simply attend church. I say simply, first I had to find it. That proved quite simple since Hillsong Church London meets in a well-known theatre not far from Soho. I walked in to welcoming smiles, and the graceful direction of Kenny, a young lady who guided me to my chair in time to catch the last two songs. Worship was wonderful. I was so blessed to be in the same atmosphere with so many other believers on another side of the world.
The view from the Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur 
Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur
     The sermon came from Pastor Steven Penny (I believe that is the spelling), and was a “right now” word for me. He shared about the “Right Hand of God” and how we have the ability to be God’s right hand men and women. You see God’s right hand mentioned throughout the bible as the hand of power and valiance. Pastor Steve took it to another level, explaining our need as Christians to be “right handed thinkers” not allowing a “left handed thought” keep us from walking in the fullness of God’s power. I was encouraged, as I begin this next leg of travel, to valiantly walk as God’s right hand man! I am leaving tons out from the sermon for the sake of time. Hit me with any questions if you want to know more.
   After church I set out on foot without a certain plan, only the desire to take care of some hunger pains. It was chilly, so I stopped in a local pub and grabbed some soup and bread for brunch. Then it was off to find the hostel I was planning on crashing at that night. Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel sounded like the kind of place I could enjoy and, for 18 pounds, could afford. I checked in then, continued my trek around the streets of London. The sleep was good; though it was a bit odd sleeping in a room with several other people I’d never met. I awoke before the sun and made my way toward the St Pancras International Train station to catch my ride to Paris.
Arc De Triomphe
     I arrived to a chilly Paris, and the immediate inability to communicate. That more or less handicapped a bit of my day, but I wouldn’t let it keep me from a great experience. As far as experiences are concerned Paris didn’t disappoint. It actually surpassed every expectation I had. I came to the understanding that while the French in Paris aren’t necessarily mean, they just don’t really speak English or care to. It reminded me of some places in the U.S. where if you don’t speak English you’re not really going to communicate. I had one gentleman ask me if I needed help as I stood on the street corner looking at a map like it was also written French. In his broken English, and my immediately acquired French-accented English, I was able to start heading the right way. I stumbled upon the Arc De Triomphe while looking for the Eiffel Tower, and discovered a city bathed in art and culture. I was kicking myself for not at least trying to pick up a little bit of French before trampling its streets. 
Dinner in Paris
So from my start at the Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur to my resting point at “Hotel Printemps” and everywhere in between I found ol’ París to be a place I would love to revisit, with more French of course.
    So as I ride toward España and another culture to appreciate, I’m leaving a country that has not disappointed. Au revoir France, until next time. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zambia Pt. 6 Our last night..

Well this is bittersweet. Looking over the past 14 days in this wonderful country I can't help but stop and think about how great this journey has been. Yes, this is my last post from Zambia. I am sad to go, but not terribly because I truly believe I will be back, though i'm not sure when. Tonight I write from Lusaka, we are spending the night at "Flying Mission Zambia" and it has been delightful so far. But let me stop and glance back over the past two days at our time in Livingstone. I know I promised a post much sooner, but this is all I can do. This recap will be a reminder to me as well of our amazing experiences.      Our first day of activities in Livingstone took us to the beautiful Victoria Falls. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it was definitely a sight to see. It is the dry season here in Zambia which seriously depletes the amount of water that comes over the falls. But the depth of the gorge was another wonder altogether, especially when you crawl to the edge and look over! Yeah, I might have gotten a light scolding from our tour guide, but it was still exhilarating. After the tour of the top we hit the trail toward the banks of the Zambezi River. The spot we went to was called the "Boiling Pot" which is where the water comes dashing down through rapids, swirling into dangerous whirlpools that would demand the demise of even the best of swimmers. So of course we went and walked on the edges of it.

Peaking over the edge of the gorge
I climbed the rocks by the water to get a better view of the rapids and the shear power pouring through the channel. As I was climbing I realized that during the rainy season the very place I was scaling would be completely submerged in the swirling waters of the great Zambezi. I watched the river, with its decisive direction, only deterred by the few well grounded rocks that demanded its surrender. Even now it makes me think of life here in Zambia where it seems as though the effects of generations of compromise, or down right selfishness, have set in motion a great consequence that demands the lives of many each day. My prayer is that we would be as those rocks, standing strong in the way, uncompromising in our foundation, and with the very power of Christ changing the direction of an almost certain demise. The truth is the same can be said of any place we live, perhaps the raw reality isn't as apparent in small town USA, but the need for those who are willing to stand up and stand out is absolutely there. We are called to be rocks in the Zambezi of this world, to not be "conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, But be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Maybe thats just for me, but then again maybe not :)

On the banks of the Zambezi (Also please note there was apparently time travel involved on our hike)

    Our last day of tourism was one for the books. Though I wasn't entirely thrilled to wake up with the sun, I knew what was in store for the day would be something i would never forget. Our activity for the morning was to go on a "Lion Enounter". Which simply means I had the amazing opportunity to walk with, pet, and even hug, thats right put my arm around and HUG. A. LION!!!! It was one of the most incredible things i've ever had the opportunity to do, and I would absolutely recommend anyone, who has an opportunity, to do it as well. I'll be completely honest, afterward I had no desire to do or see anything else. Nothing else could compare! This most definitely was a great period, or comma, to my time here in Zambia. The country is beautiful as I have overstated in these posts, but the greatest thing is its people. Their smiles, their laughter, their incredible songs of worship. I love them!

    Here now is one last shout out to our team! Each one deserves to be mentioned by name. While I might have done a few things that made her uneasy, our fearless leader (my sister) Hannah kept the vision, and worked behind the scenes to make this a great trip. Justin, co-leader and king of "Writing Big Words". Linda, my mother, willing to step out, hearing God's call and speaking truth. Keith, fully believing that this trip would be the catalyst of change in his life that he would look back and recognize in months and years to come, boldly speaking the words put on his heart by the Holy Spirit. Tiffany, willing to love, work, and play and find that she is changed perhaps more than she even anticipated, from this trip. Crystal, when challenged she did not shy away, but poured out love on each child she encountered (as well as sharing with us her healthy knowledge of all things medical. There is so much I didn't know before this trip). Rachel, allowing herself to be used/stretched in areas of ministry, she boldly took on the task. Craig... where do I start. He's an unending source of energy, joy, love and excitement (I can only imagine what he was like in his 20's, though we were reminded often, haha) Heather, maybe quiet, but observant and even a bit surprising at times, overall willing to serve and give (all good things)! And last but not least, Brookllyn. The youngest, and the one who laughs the most (you can fact check me on this, but i'm pretty sure she wakes up laughing, and laughs herself to sleep) She's also the one who was willing to do what it takes to finish the task. I am super impressed by her heart and i'm excited to see how the Lord continues to use her. I would be remiss if I didn't mention our bus driver Edward, and excellent man, full of joy and faithful to care for our team at all times. 
   This is a great team, and I am so blessed to be a part of it. Each one different, but each one important to the big picture, His glory, His fame! 
    So with that we close this chapter. I can't end this post without thanking all those who are continually supporting us with your prayers. We have been sooo blessed to remain healthy, and also protected from any injury, so thank you VERY much!!
   That is it from Zambia, but please stay tuned because a new adventure begins for me within the next couple days, as I visit beautiful Europe and experience different cultures, foods, and, of course my favorite, people. 

The Zambitious team!!! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zambia Pt. 5

Bananas at Baluba Farm
 The end of our trip in Zambia is near. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind as I look back at the past week. I’m glad I was able to share these posts otherwise it would be a struggle to look back and remember what we all did and where it was done. We sealed our time in Ndola last night with a grill out party at Daniel and Karol’s home. It was such a pleasant time of relaxing and fellowship, before we headed off to Livingstone, which is where I am writing this from.

The Pederson's: Daniel, Joshua, Karol and Emma 
Yesterday started off very much the same as the other days we’ve been here. Only before we went into town we stopped in at the “Baluba Farm” which is part of Kaniki Bible College. We arrived a bit late to the Lifeline offices and then headed straight to the market to do a little souvenir shopping. Once through we headed back to finish a paint project at Lifeline, and then off to the Pederson’s house to party! To just sit down and hang out as a team with Daniel, Karol, Joshua, and Emma was a delight. They are one of the sweetest families I’ve ever known. So willing to love, so willing to serve without looking for recognition. After Daniel and I beat Craig, Keith, and Justin at a game of darts it was time to fire up the “brye” (Grill). Dinner was something to write home about. The small sausage links that tasted like brats, the delicious pork chops, and the tomato with fresh basil leaves… It was delicious!! We then sat around a bond fire and shared about the week and what we felt the Lord had revealed to us through the trip. After several prayers and words from the Lord came the hardest part of all, saying goodbye. To put it lightly, it was hard. I will miss that family so much! (At least till I go back).
Simon, myself, Dinky, and Craig jamming out on the lawn on the second day.
   This morning we started getting up and rolling at about 4:30am, which is early, but it was especially early for me because I had said some goodbyes and spent some time with my new friend Simon before packing and bed. I think I got an hour of sleep, but we all were going to have plenty of time to sleep on our twelve-hour van ride to Livingstone. And let me just say that is a long ride, but we made it safe, ate, took a swim and I am beginning to fall asleep as I write this. So I will leave you all with a short one this time. I’ll share more about Livingstone soon. 
(This was supposed to be posted last night, more to come from Livingstone soon)

A delicious refreshment on the road to Livingstone

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Zambia Pt. 4

  What day is it now...? Oh we've been here a week! Wow! Yesterday was a day of ministry and work for some of us. The ministry was playing with a group of HIV positive kids in the "Nasansa Project" which was within eyesight of the Democratic Republic of The Congo. The work involved arranging the warehouse for the pump assemblies back at Lifeline.
Robert and I
    The ministry team was Mom (Linda), Brookllyn, Crystal and myself, with the leadership of the Dentist and Margaret. We drove down the dusty, bumpy, roads lined with people staring or waving. Three small children, playing in the dirt, sing/chant something in Bemba as we rumble by. We pulled into the project center to the sight of children running around. The children that were a part of the project were sitting on a mat toward the back of the building. I sat down by a boy who told me his name was Gift, and we began to toss a football (soccer) back and forth. That grew to include Dan and Johnny, two more boys from the project. And we played football, or rather kicked the ball around a bit. We then played a couple more games before they headed in for lunch. I was sitting by the children as they ate and was completely floored when a little boy, named Robert, looked up at me smiled as he stretched his hand out to me with a piece of bread. I said "No its ok" and then sat there truly in awe of what had just happened. It was the child who had nothing, no guarantee of a meal for tomorrow, who was offering to the one who had plenty. I was just amazed. Could I do that? Would I? ... His smile, as he continued to eat and glance my way everyone in awhile, warmed my heart. I may be wrong, but i think I've learned more than i've taught on this trip, and that is quite alright. After a small demonstration on proper teeth cleaning, the kids were off and so were we.
    Our work back at Lifeline didn't take as long as we anticipated, which lead to an early home arrival and some swimming at the Kaniki pool.
Canoeing with the boys
    Today was our first full day off. In our plans was a trip to Nsobe game preserve. It was nice to just relax a bit, go canoeing with a few of the kids that came along, and even get a line wet. The highlight definitely was going on the game drive. We spotted some antelope, some guinea fowl, and a few other species of antelope that can't name. Then we found them, six giraffes wandering through the thickets nibbling on trees. The photos I took weren't great with my iPhone, but I was able to get within about 20 yards of them as I flanked the rest of the group to try and get a good angle. They were incredible, such massive animals. I couldn't get

much closer so I headed back to the truck and we headed off. There was a herd of antelope just off the road in a field so we slowed to a stop. We waited a few minutes, then Justin, Keith, Daniel and I took off after them on foot, as they hopped of in several directions. It was a fun way to end the day. Well, either that or riding home in the bed of a pickup truck with the wind blowing through my hair.  I began to drift back to thoughts of the many children I had met over this past week. The Lord began to show me how they had each expanded my heart in different ways.

Like Abigail, who beat the HIV+ odds of survival by making it past the age of 5, and was living, loving, teaching those around her at age 8. Or little Moses, so frail from the same disease, who was content to just sit on my lap without saying one word to me. To Gift, also HIV+, who was stuck to my side as we played and sat around together. It all kind of hit me right there. I had the opportunity to care for and even love these kids even if only for a few moments and nothing else i've done really compares. Yes, that was probably the best way to end the day.

I may have learned a lesson this time...
One last quick note. There are moments that you realize "You know, I've been here before and the last time it didn't go like I planned", and you stop what you're doing to avoid a similar outcome. Then there are times when you just throw that caution to the wind and say, "Naaa this is different". Well today was unfortunately like the latter, and i'll get to the story. I was boasting about the strength of my amazing 48oz Nalgene water bottle to our Zambian driver Edward. I proudly told him that it was unbreakable even if it was thrown up in the air and allowed to hit the ground. I demonstrated and was happily correct. Then our friend Daniel showed up, and I continued to explain what had taken place, and asked him to prove me right once again by throwing it up as high as he could. Once again I was right, this thing IS unbreakable. So for the last time I had my friend and teammate Justin Coffman seal the deal with one last toss. Well... yeah they're very breakable. Perhaps it was Justin's touch, with those biceps he has, that bottle didn't have a chance. Or maybe I need to just trust my gut that this may not be such a good idea. Either way it made for a good laugh for all of us.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zambia Pt. 3 - Mulishani!

I just had to count how many days we've been here. The time has flown and the experiences have continued to be amazing. We've continued working with "LIZ" (Lifeline In Zambia) and their many projects around and outside Ndola. Yesterday we went about an hour outside of town to the "Kutuba Project" which is a school with about 300 children. The school house is literally a two room hut that will no doubt be destroyed in rainy season. Today I had the opportunity to work with a small team installing a pump for a community not far from town. That was an adventure of its own.

The schoolhouse
 We arrived at the "Kutuba Project" to the sound of singing, yes all the children were singing songs in anticipation of our arrival. You could tell there was an excitement to see the "Muzungu"(White People). It was such a wonderful time! We played all sorts of games with them, starting with the staple game, Soccer, then we tried a few others that were a blast. For any Bible Memory Campers out there, yes I was successfully able to pull off "Birdy on a Perch" in Zambia! We then presented the a skit that I believe made the gospel message very clear. After nearly every child raised their hand to receive Jesus into their hearts and lives (Praise Jesus!!), we prayed with  

The children lined of for lunch!
them, then began to sing songs in Bemba. I've some how managed to learn two songs in the local language, and I love each one. What I love even more is hearing those children belt out these songs in tune and whole heartedly. "Ta kwava Uwaa banga Yesu" (thats my phonetic spelling of course) simply put "there's no one, there's no one like Jesus". This is one of my favorites. And there is nothing like hearing this upbeat song from the mouths of a bunch of beautiful children. It was such an great opportunity to spend the day with these kids.


Immanuel and I on the road to the well With water.
 Our experience today involved a pump installation project. It started off good, only to be derailed by a nearly dried up well. So we set off on foot not far down the road to another well that had a healthy amount of water in it. Our pump system had a few glitches that needed working out so we had to leave it in the hands of Immanuel, an installer from the area. Our leader on this project was a gentleman that truly blew my mind. Chris, a native Zambian, is beyond well educated with a PhD in agricultural science. He has had the big well paying job, but when the Lord got a hold of his heart, things began to change. He felt the Lord call him into the ministry, but not just any kind, he calls himself an "agricultural missionary" as he preaches the gospel along with teaching villages how to live self-sustained through farming. His heart is so big for his people and it is no doubt the Lord has raised him up to bring true change. Powerful stuff!
Chris and I installing the pump assembly.
   Our afternoon was fun and tiring as we put together a bit of a program for the children of the "Kaniki Orphan Project". For me and the rest of the guys it mainly involved football (Soccer). My team totally got pummeled 8-4, but it was a lot of fun (despite my 3 hand balls... Fail!). We then shared the gospel with them and had an overwhelming response (God is such a Champ!).
      Our evenings have been suger coated with such great Zambian food cooked by Katherine, one of the staff here at Kaniki. Delicious is an understatement, and tonight was no exception. We've had a wonderful time working with a few other missionaries down here. Zoe (Mama Z) and Signe (Raindrop) have been a lot of fun to hang out with. Zoe is from England and is a wonderful musician serving with "Kaniki Orphan Project", Signe (Pronounced "Seena") is from Denmark and she is spending a couple of months down here working with Lifeline. Quick shout out for Zoe, she has an album available on iTunes that is going to help support her while she is here in Zambia. If you would take a moment to preview it or potentially buy it, just know its going to help out an amazing work over here, and I endorse it!  The link is  http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eight/id560137363 .
      Once again I am blown away by our team, we've had a great time with each other! Talk about favor, I believe only one person has gotten sick this whole time and it was only for one day. People are praying and God is blessing!
    There is SOOO much more that I know I am leaving out, but I will leave you with this for now.
Mulishani is the greeting here, the proper response is Bweeno, which is super close to bueno, and from all of us here, we are Bweeno!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Zambia Pt. 2

    Its day 3 and it has been quite a time so far. The last post was about our first day, and I feel like that was an eternity ago. Yesterday we split up into two teams, one worked on installing a pump and sealing it up to prevent continued contamination, and the second team (the one I was a part of) visited the home’s of HIV/AIDS patients. It was such a humbling thing to sit with someone who has little life left. I was left mostly speechless, except for a prayer. My mind can’t comprehend it, my heart hurts when I try to grasp the weight of it. We visited three homes with a volunteer who takes two days out of his week to serve with “Lifeline In Zambia”, the ministry that is truly doing a great work in this area of Zambia. 
Mr. N'Kunde and I after home visits
N’Kunde (Nkoonday), the volunteer who served as our guide, has such a heart for the people. It’s amazing to me how he would just sit and listen, and encourage the people. What a concept, just caring enough to be around them, not trying to fix their problems, but to be with them through those problems. That kind of care is no doubt something that I want be prevalent in my life.
    Today we once again split up into teams, and this time I had the opportunity to hang out /play with about 22 kids that were part of a program set up within Lifeline to build relationships with and serve HIV/AIDS infected children. Though this whole time there has been a language barrier, (they mainly speak Bemba) we were able to have a great time with them. After a few failed attempts at “Birdy on a perch” we settled in with some crafts and then made balloon animals. 
Moses and I
  There was a young boy there named Moses who at one point was sitting in the corner alone not participating in crafts time. So I called him over and had him sit in my lap while I made balloon animals for the kids. Moses is about 3 or 4 years old and I found out today that because he is HIV positive the chances of him living past 5 are slim to none. I know that is hard to hear, but that is an everyday reality over here. We pray and we love on them. It was a great opportunity to be able to spend time with these children and to let them capture a piece of my heart. 

     In some ways it feels like we have been here awhile, in others it feels like we have just arrived. I am glad that we have quite a few days left for ministry. I am thoroughly impressed and blessed by Daniel & Caroline Pederson (The missionaries we are serving with). Their hearts for these communities are so big! The fact that they have chosen to raise their children in a place where they are exposed to a very extreme reality is such an amazing thing.
     So after three days our hearts are expanding continually for these incredible people. We have much more to learn, much more to experience. I hope the next time I write you I will be even more changed than I am now. Thank you to all who keep us in prayer, we feel it and are blessed by the Lord’s grace as we minister.