Friday, November 27, 2009

All Six

Thanksgiving has been the first major holiday I’ve spent African style…but what exactly is African style? Well, to start, we had to special order the turkeys a couple of months ago from the capital. I really wanted to deep fry one, but I could not find a cooking thermometer in all of Katima…nor did anyone even know what one was. We had cranberry sauce only because Jessica also bought it in the capital months ago. Seasonings were touch’n’go’n’guess…but luckily all the guesses turned out delicious.

The tablecloth consisted of 2 matching traditional cloths (shetenge) sewn together on top of a bed sheet that happened to match. The finest of all matching dinner glasses in the land were blue and plastic, but at least matched the tablecloth! The centerpiece was the best though…African pumpkin stuffed with African flowers.

I mistakenly decided to see how hot it really was outside, so I stuck a little alarm clock/thermometer gizmo outside for a little while. After only half an hour, it had completely wigged out and probably would have burnt up had I not rescued the little guy when I did. But anyway, after it finally calmed down, it read 102 degrees!!!! By far the hottest thanksgiving I’ve ever had. Once everything was finally ready, all the Americans in all of Katima sat down to enjoy a wonderfully scrumptious thanksgiving dinner—African style—all six of us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Makua with a Camera

This past Saturday afternoon was the baptism I had referred to in my post about the church crusade (Lightbulb). As usual, the church was full and the whites were limited…to me ( I love Africa) They carried out the majority of the service in Lozi, the local language, but I soon became an expert when all of the sudden the word “camera” came out in plain English. I quickly perked up as I glanced at the camera sitting in my lap, and I figured they were looking for someone to take pictures of the people getting baptized, but I wasn’t about to raise my hand in the middle and saying, “Ooo, ooo, I do!” Soon enough, someone came from behind and tapped me on the shoulder and called me outside and asked me to do just that. I was very happy to do it, and even happier that I didn’t have to go “Ooo, ooo, I do!” to be given the opportunity. Then came the dilemma of where would be an appropriate place do it culturally, but found that out soon enough too. They called me right up to the front once it was time to begin the actual baptisms…I don’t know why I ever ask questions.
But anyway, leave it to the makua (white person) with a camera to get called to the front of the church to take impromptu photos of 90 baptisms!! It was a wonderful service full of singing and, naturally, lots of dunking…all in the wonderful name of Jesus of course!! Almost the whole time the congregation was singing different hymns in Lozi that would become very soft every time the pastor raised his hand for the next baptism. I was grateful when he got to Beerina because I got to hear what he was saying in English. He did it in English for her because her native tongue, like many of our kids at COZ, is Kwedam, one of the hardest languages in the world to learn…I don’t blame him for doing it in English :-)
Everything went very smoothly…and rather quickly for the number of people…except for one thing. Near the end there was a large (and very loud) political parade that made its path right by the church. The national elections are coming up this weekend and everyone has been doing some last minute rallying and campaigning. It was kind of similar to the time I was in a church in Mexico and a catholic festival parade went by shooting off canons right outside the church doors. That time the canons just so to happened to fit in with the message…but the political parade…not so much. Please be praying for the elections this weekend. So far this young country has been rather peaceful, but pray it stays that way!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Decked Out

Shoprite, the most recent grocer addition to the up-and-coming Katima area, is now in full swing for the Christmas season. Every aisle and checkout station is fully decked out, the overhead signs are decorated, all Christmas items are fully stocked and on the shelves, a Christmas tree with toys under it is displayed prominently in the front of the store, the staff has all donned their Santa hats, and there is even Christmas music playing!! I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still in Africa! Some things are the same no matter where you are…

Monday, November 9, 2009

When I Grow Up...

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of updating the prayer cards for our child sponsorship program. This not only included getting updated pictures of all the kids, but also conducting mini-interviews. The questions included things like what they enjoyed doing, what they wanted to be when they grew up, their favorite verse or Bible story, and how they wanted their sponsors to pray for them. I say privilege because to really had a blast doing it. Below I have included 2 little top ten lists that highlight my experience. The first shows the extent of spiritual maturity in what God has been teaching them lately and the second shows the true uniqueness and hilarity of some of our kids, especially the younger ones.

“God has taught me…”

10. To take time to listen (Nawa, 13)
9. To be happy no matter what (Efa, 12)
8. To trust Him in all circumstances (Kado, 16)
7. To love people who hate me (Della, 15)
6. To accept things just as they come (Annia, 18)
5. To finish up my work, to listen, to be good, and to be kind to people (Joshua, 7)
4. To be kind to others no matter what the circumstances and to be available to Him and others. (Dorothy, 16)
3. That whatever the situation, God is always there for me (Nicky, 16)
2. To be strong in what I believe and work hard towards it (Nico, 16)
1. He died for me, He cares for me, & He’s always there for me (Albert, 15)

“When I Grow Up, I Want to Be…”

10. A store keeper (Marsela, 7)
9. A truck driver (Isaac, 4)
8. A cooker (Esther, 6)
7. A cowboy (Micah, 7)
6. A model (Elisa, 8)
5. A karate man (Joshua, 7)
4. An FBI agent (Matthias, 13)
3. Touch the ceiling (Jonathan, 4)
2. A man (Gideon, 6)
1. Old enough (Luka, 7)

If you are interested in sponsoring one of the children here, check out!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Lightbulb

So lately I’ve been goin to this local crusade at night with Jessica, Elton, and some of the kids. Jessica’s grandfather (by marriage) was the leader of this huge 3-week “Bringing Hope to Katima” crusade that ended this past weekend. It always started out with 1 or 2 local choirs singing a couple songs as the sun finally crept behind the lowest trees, but then, for about an hour and a half, her grandfather would preach into the night. In this lovely BYOC (bring your own chair) event, the topics ranged from Daniel, to the second coming of Christ, to Baptism, and all were solid, well-researched sermons. It was really neat to go to a huge open-air church meeting in another country, being 1 of 2 white people among hundreds (maybe even a was dark), in the sand and the coolness of the African night air with the beautiful stars above you while learning about God’s word. Basically, I really loved it.

The most exciting part however was that on the night about Baptism, 2 of our older kids went forward wanting to publicly profess desire for Baptism. The funny part comes where the one girl wanted me to go up with her…of course I did, but somehow they placed me in the very front of a good-sized African crowd facing an even larger one…like a bright white lightbulb amidst the darkness…o the things I do for these kids, but well worth it for sure!! :-P