Friday, October 30, 2009

And So The Wind Blows

Today was the first time I’d ever been to an African or a child’s funeral and I’d prefer if it would also be the last. There seems to be something rather disconcerting about over half of a funeral’s attendance being fellow children, but such was the case as many of her school mates, church companions, and village friends were there to pay their last respects as well as to sing many numbers throughout the funeral program. We footed (myself more literally than most) about half an hour out into the bush to the graveyard, our way being marked by the sounds of the youth choirs singing in the distance. With everyone gathered around the gravesite, messages of condolence, sympathy, and encouragement were read to the family followed by a small gospel sermon. Then the hardest part began as everyone formed a line to view the body one last time. All the while there was singing from the school choirs going on in the background so as to put as much of a damper on the sadness as possible. The choirs continued singing hymn after hymn for the majority of the 2 ½ hour program while the casket was then placed and buried and flowers were placed on the grave. As they placed flowers on the grave they started with the family, then moved to the various groups represented such as ourselves (COZV), followed by each grade level of her schoolmates and finally her teachers. As each group went forward, a flower was handed to each person, then they surrounded the gravesite and all-together knelt down and placed them on top. After concluding prayers, everyone met briefly at her village before solemnly dispersing in their separate ways

Sadly, sin, evil, and hardship will be ever-present in this life until the coming of our Savior. We will never understand the full depths of each one, like why He calls some of His children home so young, but luckily there is One who knows all and promises to “work together good for those who trust in Him and are called according to His purpose.”(Romans 8:28) His un-ending promises are what we are forced to rely on during such times and I ask you to continue to be praying for her family and friends to feel His surpassing peace and rest during this time.

“Human life is like the grass; we grow like a flower in the field. After the wind blows, the flower is gone…But the Lord’s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever.” -Psalm 103:15-17

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Need Indeed

I have a bit of sad news/a prayer request to share. On Thursday night we got a call from one of our staff members asking for transport to the hospital; 2 girls had been in an accident and one of them was his daughter. They had been at an evening church crusade and then gone to get water when a pick-up truck (bakkie) hit them and then ran. When we got to the hospital his daughter, 14, was unconscious and not stable. The father, also the head elder of our village here and a respected elder in the community, did not stay with her for very long as he had to return to caring for his other 10 children he had left at home (some of them adopted from other family members). It wasn’t very long after we had returned him home that we got the call she had passed away. Although death around here is not all that uncommon, sadly, it is certainly struck even harder when it is a child and happens so suddenly and traumatically. I ask that you would please pray for him and his family and his other children. They are of very strong faith, but still need God’s mighty hand to uphold them during this time.

The other girl that was hit was coincidentally the stepdaughter of another one of our staff here, but sustained milder injuries and is thankfully doing much better.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


After having gone most of the summer with a constant influx and outflux of many short term volunteers, the past couple of months have seemed rather shorthanded. But these past 2 weeks was a nice refresher as we had a team of 10 from Mt. Zion, COZ’s home church, come to bless us with their time, love for the kids, and many talents. In addition to the sanity they brought of not being so shorthanded, they were able to build a floating platform for our water pump (so no one has to climb into croc-infested water every time the water pump has a malfunction) and professionally record many of our kids singing to make a CD for fundraising. (If you are interested in one, the link should be up on their church’s website,, sometime in the next couple of months once it is professionally produced.)
Now that this team has sadly returned home, we return to being very shorthanded. Would you pray about whether God is calling you to serve here either short-term or long-term? If you are interested, check out my COZ website link or contact them directly at for an application.

I post the above picture because as we were creating the cover for this CD, I was personally touched at the simplicity yet spiritual maturity and brutal truth that Dorothy’s quote brings. Living with these kids day in and day out as they now are receiving all their physical needs, I sometimes forget that the most important ministry of this home is found in the spiritual provision to these kids’ lives. These kids have the chance to know the gospel here and go out to become the future Christian leaders of Namibia!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Movin' Muchembelles

For so many parts of my life over here I sometimes question, “Am I really in Africa?”…then there’s others where its just clearly unquestionable and almost surreal. Last weekend was one of those times. Sunday was the Lusata Cultural Festival where I joined Jessica, Elton, some of their family, and 13 of our kids to the Mafwe Royal Establishment in Chinchimani, along with hundreds of other Lozi people, to honor Chief George Simasiku Mamili VII and celebrate their traditional history, culture, and heritage. Throughout the day there was a continuous lineup of traditional singing and dancing as well as a briefing of their history. Hands down my favorite dancers were the old women (Muchembelles), haha. About midway through the morning performance stopped as all eyes turned toward the arrival of the chief. As mats paved the way to his throne, he was preceded by many women in traditional skins, accompanied by his nephews as bodyguards, and followed by a traditional female singing and dancing group. One guy told me that if anyone would remove the fly switch from his hand then he would no longer be chief…no wonder he needed the body guards. In the middle of the procession, they stopped for the raising of the traditional flag. Then once he reached his throne those before and after him, as well as everyone in the crowd, got down on their knees out of respect. The dancers behind him then continued their dance toward him while on their knees, a sign of respect. Those who were either senior indunas (lower chiefs) or part of his royal party also wore skirts. To me they looked like Lozi Scottish, but apparently that is traditional dress for men of high respect. The traditional entertainment continued for a while before the mats were again laid out and the same processional group lined up to do a lap around the crowd. This time it would be with the chief proudly holding and displaying this ivory scepter given to the Mafwe people by the Germans in 1909. In doing so with 2 hands signified he was not yet ready to give up his throne. When not being used for this occasion, it is kept in a box covered in a cheetah skin, which came before him in the initial procession.

I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to experience the traditional culture here and watch things in person that I once thought I’d only ever see on postcards or National Geographic.