This past weekend we took a long journey to Katoya, a village in the bush of Western Province in Zambia for a Women’s Conference. Our trip took us through the Kafue National Park and about 1.5 hours out from the closest town of Kaoma. It was a journey that began right away with some challenges. We prayed about the trip and felt that it was one we should take, so we packed up and readied ourselves for a few nights in the bush.
The morning of departure, Lydia, the intended program director and lead speaker called to say she was very ill and was headed to the clinic. We began praying right away and made the decision to delay our trip one day. After spending the entire day for observations she was sent home with medication but certain that it was not wise to make the journey. She asked us to pick up the other ladies in Lusaka and continue on without her.
Our vehicle, which has had numerous mechanical issues, acted up just one day before so Daniel decided it was best for he and the kids to travel with me. These issues and the day long delay allowed us to spend extra time in prayer. There were others who joined us in praying for this journey as well.
We started off on Friday morning and things went well until the town before entering the park. We hit a speed bump harder than normal (they are everywhere) and the vehicle lost power. It would not go above 3100 RPM’s. We stopped, turned off the vehicle and prayed. When we restarted, the check engine light had gone off and it was running normally. We decided to continue the journey and prayed again!
We arrived just after dark and a young man was waiting at the turnoff to guide us to the church. He had been watching for us for hours so we wouldn’t get lost! When we pulled up the whole group began to clap, cheer and sing! They hugged and greeted us with love. It was the most emotional greeting I have experienced, and for here in Zambia that is saying a lot! It brought tears to my eyes and I was filled with joy that we had persevered.
On Saturday, I awoke at 4:10 am to the sound of ladies singing songs of praise. It was so beautiful! They transitioned into prayers and then began preparations for bathing. They boiled water and carried it in basins to a bathing area they had created. (It is basically a grass wall stall with straw material on the ground so your feet won’t get muddy. But, for Daniel and I, they set up a place in an abandoned mud hut so we could have more privacy. They always overwhelm me with the kindness and generosity with which they treat guests. It is really hard to even handle sometimes. I have learned so much from them.
After a nice sponge bath and breakfast the ladies began gathering in the church. I was the first speaker after the singing and devotion. So by the time I was speaking it was about 10am. I was in the middle of my session when Eli, my youngest, ran to the front of the church and told me that they had found a snake. I have no idea how, but I remained calm and told him to go directly to his daddy and tell him and then I continued teaching. In hindsight, I really don’t know how I had such peace. I just didn’t feel fear and I was able to finish my lesson without disruption. It was truly, the peace that surpasses understanding!
Later, after we finished the session I went to Daniel and the kids to find out what had happened. They explained that James was playing with his catapult (slingshot) and saw the leaves moving near the path. He shot at it with a clump of dirt and thought it was probably a lizard. He said he used a short stick to move back the leaves and realized it was a snake! It easily could have struck him. He showed the village kids that were with him and they began to beat it with sticks and stones to kill it and about that time Daniel came up. It was very short and stout and we now know it was a puff adder and "This species is responsible for more snakebite fatalities than any other African snake. This is due to a combination of factors, including its wide distribution, common occurrence, large size, potent venom that is produced in large amounts, long fangs, their habit of basking by footpaths and sitting quietly when approached.” from Wikipedia.
I realize that there is a chance that nothing would have happened but with all the people traveling on the path I really believe that we were protected and safe because of the prayers. As I thought back, our friend Elias was praying with us and specifically prayed this scripture from Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. I didn’t know that would be such a powerful Word of protection for our trip! Wow!
As we went to sleep that night we could hear drums beating as the traditional ceremony nearby was going on through the night. I looked up at the stars that were so incredible! I could see more stars than I ever have in my life and I thanked God for bringing me on this crazy, amazing, unbelievable journey and never leaving me alone through all He called us to do.
As we departed on Sunday, we were able to leave boxes of Bibles in the local language with the pastors and say farewell to new friends! We travelled home through the park and were able to see elephants, warthogs, antelope and monkeys. Even though our vehicle, lovingly known as “Squeekabishi” struggled with the problem and gave Daniel a lot of frustration, we were able to make it all the way home without being stranded! I just want to praise God for His protection and provision!
Is it easy? No. Is it fun? Not always. Is it worth it? Absolutely!!!!
We have now been here in Zambia for a little over a year. Our original plans were to be here in Zambia for two years then return for a furlough in August 2016. As God has continued to open doors and has moved our hearts, we feel like it is more clear that we are to be serving in Zambia for an extended time. We have three teams that are looking at plans to return to serve here alongside of us next spring/summer/fall of 2016. We are serving in multiple locations all over Zambia and opportunities continue to open up. It is AWESOME!!
With all that being said, we are still running under budget levels on donations/support available to do this ministry. At our current level we will likely be out of resources by the fall of next year and be forced to come back to raise support to continue. We have prayed about it and we really think it would be more wise to come back in the early part of 2016, for about 4 months to share about what God is doing and try to engage more partners in this ministry. We truly believe that if more people hear what God is doing, they will be excited to join us in this work! We also have real life examples and stories to share that we believe will help people who were cautious before, be more confident to join us.
So, we have purchased tickets and are returning home on Christmas Eve!!! We will be in the U.S.A. until April 30th, 2016. During that time we need your help connecting with people that would enjoy hearing about what God is doing in Zambia, Africa! We can also share a few fun stories about our family’s adventures. We are currently working on a schedule and need to fill it up as soon as possible. We would love to visit your church and we will have 17 Sundays while we are in the states. We also want to talk with life groups, Bible study groups, Sunday school classes and family gatherings. Small friendly groups are great because people feel more free to ask questions. We can’t wait to share because our God is an amazing God and it is exciting to tell what He has done!
We are so very thankful for each one of you and what you mean to our family! I think that time away from loved ones and friends makes it all the more appreciated when we are able to hear from and connect with you and it also is thrilling to think of seeing each of you again soon! We love and pray for you often.
planning to post in our blog a little more regularly and share updates as we
adjust to life and ministry here in Zambia, Africa. We wrote this update
for Hands On Mission and decided to share it here as well.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
For the message of the cross is
foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the
power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the
prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe?
Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the
wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through
wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message
preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks
seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling
block and to the Greeks[foolishness, but to those who are
called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of
God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of
God is stronger than men.1 Corinthians 1:8-25 (NKJV)
Muli Bwanji? (How are you in Nyanja)
has now been in Zambia, Africa for six months and God has been so gracious to
us! It has been a big adjustment to make this our new home and land but the
adventure of it has been amazing. God is very clearly seen in our lives here
and we have had opportunities to join God in His work here in many ways. We
have been privileged to share, preach, and teach in local churches, new church
plants, discipleship groups and training classes. We have been able to teach
children and we were extremely blessed to see and participate in the giving out
of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! It was an unbelievable gift as we had
hoped we would be able to see them delivered while we were here.
As we have
moved around our new town and country, we have encountered people inside and
outside the church, people of various faiths and beliefs. We see many different
and competing ideas of “Who Jesus Is”. Wrong ideas even in the church. Christian
perverted ideas range from Jesus as a genie to grant self-edifying wishes if I
only do the right things to a legalist taskmaster demanding performance to earn
love and acceptance. The other faiths such as Muslims and Jehovah Witness,
denying the deity of Jesus and totally missing the point of who He is. We know
many in the world doubt if He ever existed. “Who Jesus is?” is the critical
question for our world, past, present and future. As we approach Easter and the
day we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world
rejects Him as their Savior and many think it foolishness. For those that call
upon His name, it is our very existence! The world knows Him as a good guy,
prophet, angel or myth. This wisdom of the world, these deceptions of Satan
lead many to death and onto the broad road that leads to destruction.
time here we have been able to share who Jesus is and help many people get to
know Him. Helping people understand more about the One that they believe in and
we pray that will lead to a deeper more abiding relationship. To the ones that
do not believe, that it would be to their salvation. Our aim is to build the
body of Christ, to encourage believers, and make new worshipers of Him. At
times things seem to move to slowly, other times overwhelming. Thankfully, it
is God’s mission, and He is the director of the timing, tasks, and results.
reflect on all that God has done and allowed us to do in these first six
months, we are amazed! Zambia is becoming our home. Our children are developing
friendships and adjusting to time away from family. God has provided and
protected us in so many ways. Ministry has started strong and we are enjoying
our service here.
training in church cell groups up to three times a week has been going on for a
few months. Pastor and leadership training began this month as Saturday
intensives in two locations. Plans are to conduct week-long trainings at the
more remote locations after rainy season. Our desire is that this would spur
and excite more to go deeper into the Word.
we took a relief trip to a village near Kaoma, in Western Province, after a
fire destroyed many homes in a village. In the Kaoma area we are looking for
wisdom and direction on assembling the equipment to show the Jesus film at
night, after the day-long training classes for the leaders. If we do get the
set up and equipment needed to show films in villages we could extend that to
Southern Provence as well. It would be an excellent evangelistic tool and we
would love to follow it up with discipleship classes.
also started up a program of encouragement to visit more of Bishop Alfred’s
Kanjuye’s churches. Last Sunday we spent the whole day in the village of Mpande
and had a great service. We give God the glory for the great things that He has
and is doing in Zambia.
for your prayers and please continue praying. Watch for
photos and updates on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thecarpentersmission
learning, More Interpreters, Guidance/wisdom/finances to set-up Jesus film,
Leadership training program, Church(s) encouragement, Children’s ministry,
Short term teams, Revival/awaking in Zambia, Our children’s education, Family
Our daughter was looking at our website and blog and said it was all about what Daddy and Mommy had written and she thought other kids might enjoy reading about what she and her brothers learn and experience while planning, packing and moving to live in Zambia. I thought it was a great idea so here is her first post! I'm Taylor Carpenter (10) - I'm the oldest of 3 children and I have 2 younger brothers. I will go to 5th grade in Africa. A lot of people ask me how I feel about moving to Africa, I tell them I am sad and excited. I'm sad because I will miss my friends and excited because I'm moving to the other side of the world! TAYLOR (10) Hello my name is James (9) and I will be moving to Africa soon and it will be very very very cool and I already have this friend that lives in Africa and he's already been to my house so I know this guy from Africa and he is really cool and he speaks more of what you speak say English but is kinda a different type of English. JAMES (9)
Hi I'm Eli (5)and I'm getting to go to Africa and I am going to go to school there. If you come to my house and you can get to ride on an airplane with me and you can go. I get to go to Africa it's very very soon and very very awesome! ELI (5)
MANYcaring folks have expressed concern about our family traveling to Africa and ask about our safety while traveling and living there. There is always risk in traveling to the third world. There can be concerns of political unrest, being targets of crime, health and disease risk, fears of water and food safety, and the ever present questions about access to health care and the quality of which. I will address the issues in two ways: first I will address the risk in Zambia and second why would we endure any additional risk and why we are going to Zambia.
FIRST,what is the risk in Zambia? While there is always things that we will be unaware of as Americans that have yet to live in Zambia, but in the process of doing our due diligence we have found that the Lord has blessed us by sending us to a country that is, for the most part, friendly and welcoming to Americans. It is a nation that is officially open to the preaching of the Gospel and has a relatively low crime rate, except for minor theft, but a very low violent crime rate. It is politically very stable by African standards. While the healthcare system is not on western levels, by any means, they are able to handle most illnesses. In extreme cases, Johannesburg, South Africa is close enough if we are faced with a serious medical emergency or condition needing advanced western style care. If the emergency begins while in a remote area, the access would be limited and hard to access whether domestic or otherwise,
so there is some risk in the medical arena.
This is a region that has a high
malaria infection rate but they also have significant experience in treatment
if such tropical diseases occur. The main way to combat malaria is through
prevention, by limiting time outside during mosquito prime time, sleeping under
mosquito nets, and taking preventive medication. Water born pathogens can
always be an issue even in the city water systems and we necessarily must be on
guard to ingestion of unfiltered water or food and glasses contaminated with
untreated water, but this is likely to occur accidentally over the next couple
of years. We have spent much time in researching the risk, and while we do not
know everything in the way of risk and dangers, we have addressed what we know.
While there are truly some risk and issues in the country of Zambia, it remains
one of the safest, most stable countries in Africa, with reasonable access to
medical care and ways to limit exposure to malaria and water born disease.
SECOND,while there are some risks, we must ask and
have asked ourselves many times, why are we going to Zambia? We are going to
answer the call of Jesus Christ to join him in what He is already doing there
and to bring glory to Him. So for our safety, health,
security…. who greater can we depend on than the Lord? He is our rock and
fortress. Furthermore, what greater thing can we do for our family’s wellbeing
than to be obedient to the Lord? Now, I know you might be thinking, bad things
can and do happen to people following the Lord. The Lord does not always
deliver out of “The Fiery Furnace” but just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
said; even if He does not deliver we will still trust Him! He promises blessing
and to bring glory to Himself either way. So we are glad and thankful for the
fact that Zambia is a great place to land in the third worldtropics; good people, good weather, and a
good Lord waiting on us there! But, to be honest, even if this were not a
welcoming place and it was froth with danger, peril and persecution, we (I
pray) would still go, because we serve a big God and we trust He knows what He
I hope this comforts those of
you who are worried, but if you are still worried or concerned please turn that
into prayer for our safety, health and well-being.
ANOTHER WAY TO KEEP UP WITH US! ESPECIALLY IF YOU LOVE TO CHECK FACEBOOK!
We have created a Facebook page for The Carpenters Mission and we would love to have you "like" our page to keep up to date on what we are doing, how things are going, and how you might be able to pray for us. We are so thankful for each of you that are excited and interested in what we will be doing in Zambia, Africa!
To find our page: www.facebook.com/thecarpentersmission
EXCITING UPDATE FROM THE CARPENTERS MISSION! The Carpenter’s Mission, is a non-profit missionary organization with the purpose to be on mission for Jesus Christ in Zambia, Africa. Your prayers and support are vital!
Tickets have been purchased for departure on August 20th, 2014
The tickets are purchased and we are headed to Zambia! We felt that God was saying that it is time. So ready or not here we come!
In all seriousness, this is a great step of faith for us because there are so many things that are not done and ready to go. The monthly support is currently standing at about sixty percent, but we feel lead to step out on faith. God will provide. We ask that you pray and ask God what part you could play in this mission.
Our monthly pledges were at 42% with our last update and now they are at 58%!! We are so thankful and thrilled to see God providing but as you can see, we still have a way to go! Please let us know if you plan to partner with us!
A special THANK YOU to all of our dear family in Christ that choose to join us in this mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to the world! We are so thankful for you and your support! Many blessings to you! When we see your names come up when you donate or encourage us, it literally causes us to be in awe of the awesome power and love of God exhibited through each of you!
This ministry is starting in the seedling stage and as the Lord continues to rain down blessings and opportunities we can see the future of this ministry grow into a great fruit producing tree! One thing foresters are trained to do is to see the potential of a future harvest! “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore PRAY the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Foresters prepare the soil, plant and fertilize then watch God's amazing work as a stand of trees grow and mature into beautiful thriving forests! God is faithful!