Wednesday, November 18, 2015



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!!!!

I'll Be Home For Christmas!!

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.

With Love, Daniel, Jen, Taylor, James and Eli