Thursday, October 5, 2017

Our Kids and Their Ideas for the Future

When I got back to Zambia after my sabbatical I found out that our elementary kids had reached Jeremiah in their 4 year Bible study. Jeremiah is a tough book to read, but the kids have done very well in learning about metaphors and analogies as well as wonderful truths.

Some of my favorite verses from Jeremiah are those dealing with God having a plan for our lives which He knew about and ordained from before we were even born. 

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the give you a future and a hope

Aren't those beautiful? The kids loved them too and after some discussion, I assigned them a writing project to tell me what they thought they were good at and what God's plans might be for them.

Here they are:

When I grow up I will tell others about Jesus and tell them to love one another and to love your neighbor and to be kind. I will preach the gospel and be a missionary.
Beauty—10 years old

·         I am good at running and Science and Bible Reading. When I grow up God wants me to be a baker. I am good at playing baseball and kickball.
Chola—12 years old

·         What makes me special? I am different from everybody else.  I am good at games, and coloring, and drawing pictures, painting and singing.
God knows that I am special.
Elias—13 years old

·         What makes me special? I can draw pictures and sing and do my math book. And I can dance. 
Queenie—11 years old

·         What makes me special? I like to build things and I like to help people. And I do things that please God and please man.
Johnny—11 years old

·         [When I grow up] I will be singing and teaching how to crochet. And I can make boxes for dolls.
Sandra—9 years old

·         God wants me to have a baby in my life.
Maggie—6 years old

·         I want to be a missionary. I want to speak God’s Word. And to preach to people about God.
Jennifer—9 years old

·         When I grow up I want to be a police officer. And I want to serve God very very much and to forgive people—men, women, and kids. I love God and Jesus very much. I love the Holy Spirit.
Nathan—8 years old

·         When I grow up God may want me to be a leader to His people. I am a special child of God because He put His Holy Spirit in me that I may have His strength. I love Jesus and my Father who watch over me. I am happy he forgives me and my sins. When I grow up I would like to be a pastor.
Moriah—8 years old

·         When I grow up I will be a scientist and a missionary and a hero. I am good at patience.
Denny—8 years old

·         When I grow up I will be a teacher and tell others about Jesus. I love Zambia.
Janet—10 years old

·         I like myself. I want to be  a missionary and become a dad. I want to read the Bible and learn about God and become closer to Him. I want to do everything I can do, and learn to be gentle.
Henry—10 years old

·         I think that I am good at drawing and I like drawing sometimes. When I don’t have anything to do I start drawing. I like drawing trees, mountains and the sun. One day I would like to be an artist. I think God made me special at drawing.
Theresa—11 years old

·         I like to help people do things. I like God and Jesus because they like me and you. I like to play, read, work and draw. When I grow up I will be a missionary.
Ernest—11 years old

·         I want to be a policeman.
Peter—8 years old

(Almost) Exactly Eight Years Ago: I Nearly Died!
Exactly Seven Years Ago: Holla If You Love Surprises
Exactly Six Years Ago: Joy In The Morning
Exactly Five Years Ago: Signs of Summer
(Almost) Exactly Four Years Ago: People Still Do That??

Monday, September 11, 2017

Yet Another Adventure

When you read this I will be winging my way across the Atlantic. So looking forward to enjoying fall again. Sweaters, boots, tights, brisk breezes, ahhhh!

Our last few shopping trips have been pretty ordinary. I guess it was time for an adventure. Keep reading to find out what happened.

A couple weeks ago we traveled to Mansa via Terra Nova Farm where Tom stopped to work some more on the French Trough that is running along the driveway and making the place look so posh that people keep stopping at the gate hoping to get a room at our luxury resort. :)

I meanwhile worked on the security guard’s time sheet. We have a nice system of buttons which he scans with a wand so we know he’s made his rounds each night. We then pay him according to the amount of rounds he makes each night—up to 12. This gives us peace of mind and keeps him on track. Once I’d done this I fell asleep in our cozy little security house while Chewy kept me company.

We moved Chewy to the farm a few months ago since he was not happy at the Children’s Home. He was much more likely to be found mixing it up with the female dogs of the village. It made more sense to move him to a less populated area where he could also work off his adolescent energy.—much like the plan for Terra Nova Farm ultimately. We plan to move our older children there so they can study half the day and spend the rest of the day working off extra teenage hormones/energy on the farm. Chewy is just the pioneer. LOL And he loves it there. Every time we drive in he runs up with a huge doggy smile on his face. His coat is shiny and sleek again. Makes my heart happy.

When we reached Mansa we visited a few government offices, shops, and the bank before they closed just to tick a few things off our fairly extensive list.
That evening we spent at a hotel preparing for the big push of the next day. It was an early night to bed so we could rise early the next day.

Friday got off to a good start. I finally managed to find clear glue for a fun project I want to do. (I’ll share it when I do.) We went to the bank again and then I headed in to Shoprite—our grocery store—while Tom went to run around to all the various shops that are necessary to completing a shopping trip: hardware stores (yes, plural), agriculture store, animal feed, granary, etc.

My time in the grocery store is worthy of its own post so I’ll have to do that some time. Did I tell you all that our store burned down last year? It did! And the temporary store they put up during construction is tiny! It’s quite an adventure getting all our list filled. But, I managed—and in pretty good time too.

When Tom came to pick me and the dozen crates, boxes and 60 cabbages up he assured me he only had a few errands to run and then we could be on our way. It was approaching noon, so this was good news.

Tom wanted to get the truck checked out because an odd light had come on the dash and we weren’t sure what it meant. The truck was running well, but we wanted to get ahead of any issues. We went to a mechanic we’ve worked with before. The shop came well recommended so that was reassuring. This day however, Tom and I both noticed that the mechanic looked a little hung over. Unfortunately this isn’t an uncommon thing to see in laborers so we didn’t pay it a whole lot of attention. (I wish we had though)

I decided to leave Tom to sort out the truck issues and to pick up the remaining hardware items while I walked to the lunch counter to get our order started since it can take a while.
My food had just arrived when I got a phone call from Tom. 

It went like this:

Tom: Our mechanic has hit a pedestrian and the police have impounded our truck.
Me: That’s not remotely funny. I don’t like that joke.
Tom: I wish I were joking. It really happened.
Me: …….
Tom: I’ll call you back when I know more.

Tom tracked down our truck and got the story from the police. Apparently our mechanic had swerved off the road while looking at the dashboard and hit a pedestrian hard enough to snap off the side mirror. When the door popped open and he saw someone lying on the ground he panicked and swerved back on the road (with the door still hanging open) and hit a car. To his misfortune (though we were grateful) a police officer in another car observed the whole thing and immediately arrested him. We were also so thankful that the impact with the other car did no damage to our truck.

As per procedure our truck was impounded and taken to the police station while the investigation could be carried out. This was worrisome to us as all our belongings were in the cab—including our two laptops—and two weeks’ worth of groceries (perishables too) were in the truck bed.

Thanks be to God, nothing was damaged or stolen.

Now came the waiting game. We had to sit outside the station in the hot sun waiting for the police to take statements from everyone involved and eventually formally charge the mechanic with drunken driving, driving without a license, reckless driving, and fleeing an accident. Whew! We were so glad that we weren’t dragged in to the situation—just inconvenienced.

Another good thing was that the mechanic shop is actually owned by a good Christian family and one of the owners came right over to inspect the damage to our truck and find a replacement mirror. The police wouldn’t release our vehicle until we had that repaired.
Four hours later we were finally able to finish our last couple errands and get on the road. Driving at dark is never fun—and less so on pothole covered roads, but we were so glad that we were actually getting to go home and our truck was not incapacitated. We pulled into the gate at 8:30 PM

God continues to look after us in the midst of our adventures.

And that dashboard light? Turns out that trucks have something called an engine brake that you can use when going downhill to save your brakes and gears. Who knew? We didn’t! Apparently the day before when Tom had the truck cleaned someone had bumped the switch and turned the engine brake on. The light was just letting us know it was on. Steep learning curve (see what I did there??), but that’s life. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Amy Waxes Poetic

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little ship. She was perfectly made. The Master Shipbuilder had seen to that. He and His Captain had special plans for this ship. 

For many years she served the purpose for which she was created. But her missions were not without peril. Many times storms ravaged the little ship tossing her around and taxing her masts and sails. Other times she got too close to shore and her hull was scraped by coral reefs. Barnacles gathered on her underside and small cracks developed all over.

Still the ship served her Captain faithfully always looking forward to the next adventure and pointing her bow into the wind. Ready and able to do what her Master had created her for.
But over the years more stress showed along the body of the ship. Her sails didn’t raise or furl quite as quickly as they used to. The masts creaked and groaned in strong winds. The rudder didn’t respond as well as before.

Occasionally the Captain would steer the little ship into a sheltered harbor or peaceful port, but she didn’t fully appreciate these times. She wanted to work. To be a blessing. To fulfill her purpose. So, stubbornly she would point her nose back out to sea and because she was a free vessel and not bound, the Captain would let her go.

However, she continued to get worse and showed serious signs of breaking down. Patchworks weren’t going to do it anymore.

The Captain and Master Shipbuilder decided it was time for the ship to have a rest. To spend some time in a dry dock having her weak spots attended to. Her hull needed polishing, her masts needed strengthening, her sails needed mending, and her rudder needed adjusting.

The ship was sad about this decision. She was made for the high seas. She was made for adventure. She was made to serve. How could she fulfill her purpose if she was stuck in a dry dock merely being tended to? Perhaps she would never make it back into the water. Perhaps her Captain would lose sight of her if she wasn’t in the middle of the action.

But she yielded to the Wisdom she knew He had and the Love that she knew would carry her through.

The beginning of her time in the dry dock was hard. She missed the open waves. She didn’t know if she would ever be the same. Plus, the renovation and reconstruction was not without pain and difficulty. Hard, crusty barnacles had to be shaved off. Large pieces of wood had to be removed and replaced with new wood. Her sails needed intensive repair.

But, day by day, she began to see the change. Old, dry wood began to gleam under the ministrations of the Shipbuilders’ workers. She felt that she could breathe again with much of the debris and corrosion removed. She learned to enjoy the rest and peace of the dock.

Soon her Shipbuilder and Captain decided she could head back into the water again. Much of the renovation had been completed and she was needed for more missions. However, she would need to avoid rough waters and stay away from shallow shores where damage could be done to fresh repairs. Her freight loads would need to be monitored so as not to weigh the ship down and cause her to ride too low in the water.

They wanted her to come back for regular repairs and maintenance to avoid getting as worn down as before. This would help the ship to fulfill her purpose once more.

One day she may be ready for the high seas again. But for now, she is happy to be back at work doing what she was created for. And now she is much better about letting her Captain guide her through the seas and is giving him control of the wheel.
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