Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ashley's Visit

Ashley came to Clear Lake with Tim, who had a meeting on site at NASA today, so we got the whole day together! They came in last night, and after the boys were off at work today, we got to have girl day all day long! I hadn't seen Ashley since her wedding day, and it's been hard having one of my besties now living in College Station. She helped me pick out the Bible study I'm going to lead this fall at UBC, and we ran some errands before a yummy, though rainy, lunch at Panera. We spent all afternoon previewing the Bible study we'd picked out, talking about Zambia while looking at my pictures, and just being girls! What a treat! We weren't exactly productive housewives today, but it sure was a joy to have great quality fellowship. The day ended with dinner at Waels, an Assel favorite, with several other Sunday School friends. Praise You, Jesus, for precious friends!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Real or Fake

Ugh. I knew this day would come. Sorry Mom, but I am my mother's daughter, which I knew meant that this blonde hair of mine would not stay blonde much past turning 25. Mom had long, silky, beach blonde hair, just like I've had for ages, until she was about my age, and then it started getting darker. I'm now there. It is growing in brown, and if something isn't done soon, instead of the pretty sun high lights I have, it's going to look like a major hair disaster struck.

It doesn't help that some type of mineral in the water in Zambia coated my hair and made it even darker all over. Being back in the States for two weeks has washed out most of whatever that mineral was, but my hair is still much duller than it was before.

So, the big question now is whether I want to pay every 4-6 weeks to keep it Tinker Bell blonde (what Isaac calls it) or pay once to get my hair to match my roots and be done with it. Isaac said he married a blonde and wants it to stay that way, but I don't know. I better decide fast though because I want this done before school starts so my kids don't think I'm nuts!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Isaac and the Sea

Just so no one thinks Isaac was home sad and moping that I was away for 2 1/2 weeks, here are some pictures of his deep sea fishing adventure. Isaac has been wanting to go for months, and of course the day he scheduled the trip a tropical depression was brewing right off the coast of Galveston, but he still managed to have a decent day, despite the rough seas. He was after red snapper, and though he caught a few, all of them were too small to keep. Hopefully we can both go this fall or next spring and bring home lots of good eatin'!
See, God even provided a rainbow!
I think the mackrel on the end is his.

It started raining when he got back to the dock, but that king mackrel is now in our freezer waiting for me to cook him!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Too, Shall Pass

I found out this evening that the entire older baby nursery at HOM was quarantineed with measles and no one outside of the care givers could handle the upstairs babies as many of them aren't old enough for the MMR vacination yet. Several of the babies, including a few of my dear hearts, have been in the measles wing of the hospital. There's not a darn thing I could do if I were there, but I physically ache to be there anyway. It seems like the worst of it is over, so hopefully things will be loud and chaotic around the house again soon!

Mama Irene, who oversees all that happens specifically at HOM, came down with Malaria last week. Irene is the most precious, passionate woman I met while in Zambia. My day wasn't complete until I'd sought her out for a hug and kiss. In true Irene fashion, she's been at work as much as possible, though she feels miserable. I don't understand how she got malaria when I only saw one mosquito the entire time I was in Zambia. Pesky little boogers.

I heard from Marissa that last week on of the ladies at Zambeadzies was beaten by her husband so badly she couldn't come to work. When I read those words, bad words came out of my mouth, I'm ashamed to say. While domestic violence is sadly common in Zambia, I was hoping it wasn't nearly the problem in the Christian households. Pray for these families to be broken out of this cycle and for each member to find their identity and power in the Lord of Lords.

My heart aches. I want to go home so badly. I know there are so many more things these hands of mine could be doing there. Pray for God's timing on our return, and pray God opens doors for me to use these hands here in the mean time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Today was hard. First, I don't enjoy having gobs of people asking me about the trip. I love sharing stories with my close friends, those who I know understand me and understand my feelings and thoughts. For the rest of the world, well, I wrote the blog for a reason. So, my first day back at church was a bit of a bombardment, and it was hard not to snap.

The other hard part was the stagnant, complacent, lack of feeling that was church today. Please don't misunderstand me: I adore my church. It is a wonderful place to grow in the Word and to plug in to different ways of serving others. However, after spending my last few church services in a country where it seems no one goes to church out of obligation but out of pure determination to praise their Maker for another day, the lack of enthusiasm for the service, from the congregation to the pastor and his sermon, was more than I could handle today. I'm not sure why Zambian churches have so much passion for worship. Perhaps it's because so many of the folks literally live day to day and must depend on the Lord for survival. That's not the case in the States most of the time. We forget all we have to be grateful for. I don't know; maybe Satan just has a stronger hold on America and its churches right now. I'm not the expert, but I left church disgusted today. Isaac was too; he couldn't handle watching family after family leave before the service was over, like they couldn't wait for one more praise song to get to their cars. We spent a lot of time in prayer for our country today, asking for renewed passion for worship and learning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stories of HOPE

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE. ~Jeremiah 29:11

This will be the last of the blog posts on my actual trip, but Isaac and I are already praying and planning a trip for us both to go to Zambia, hopefully in the not so distant future. God is moving in mighty ways all across Africa, and after seeing Zambia with my own eyes, I understand a bit better why. While there is rampant poverty and a despairing lack of basic education, the vast majority of the people are genuinely happy. They have learned the meaning of placing their hope in the Lord and building treasures in Heaven instead of on Earth (Matthew 6:19-21). Material things do not mean much to most Zambians, but relationships, especially the one they have with their Father, always seem come first.

In a nation that is full of internal peace, unlike most of Africa, Zambia is a long stretch ahead of the rest of the continent. No civil war has ever occurred on Zambian soil, and isn't likely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. The people work together and are united in common goals. However, the financial infrastructure is just not there for them to expound on such programs as housing reform, free education, and proper sewage. These seem to be basics to us in America, but are novelties to many in a nation where HIV/AIDS has nearly stolen an entire generation of brilliant minds and bodies. However, HOPE for the future is bright since Zambia does provide the medications necessary for moms not to pass on HIV/AIDS to their children. While one generation may suffer without parents, at least they have such a bright chance of not growing up with one nasty disease.

Because of the despair of poverty, I find it humanly impossible to blame the parents or extended family members faced with the thought of abandoning a child. In many parts of Zambia, each second is simply about survival. Often, abandoning a sickly newborn might mean other children in the family have a chance of living. Sometimes, with the death of the mother, leaving the baby behind is the only option a poor father or grandmother has. There aren't programs like WIC and Medicaid in Zambia to be an option for these families. For that reason, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to step alongside those at Christian Alliance for Children Zambia and use my hands where God is doing wonderful things.

I met several kiddos through CACZ who are living testimonies of Jeremiah 29:11. Here are a few of their stories (keep in mind names are changed):

My first day at House of Martha, I met several of the older girls and had a fun time talking about school, food, and singing. After we left, Sandra told me the story about one of the girls, who had only been at HOMa for about 6 years, which isn't too odd as sometimes, older children are placed in the care of CACZ because of abuse or the death of the family members who were caring for them; not just babies come to CACZ. Minnie had been brought to HOMa when she was about 10 years old and was unable to walk or talk. At that, my chin hit my knees as we continued the drive back to House of Moses. I had just walked around the playground with a nearly grown woman and visited with her, but six years before that had been impossible?!?

The story kept going though. Minnie had come from an orphanage that was being closed by the government (if she wasn't walking and talking by age 10, I'm glad it was being closed), but Minnie hadn't been placed there for the same reasons many other children had been. About 12 years ago, a group of hunters was out in the bush, tracking animals. In a clearing, they came upon a troop of baboons, which isn't uncommon in Zambia. What the hunters saw next shocked them: a small girl was with the baboons! The hunters managed to coax the girl near enough to them to pick her up, but that decision infuriated the baboons; one of their family members was being taken away! After a valiant effort on the part of the baboons to attack the hunters' jeep, the hunters managed to drive off with the little girl, who was probably about 4 years old. No one will ever know how Minnie ended up with the baboons or what happened to her family, so she was placed in orphanage number 1, where apparently she never received what she needed to thrive.

Fast forward to 6 years ago. Minnie was brought to HOMa and began going to school at the Terry Woods School at the house. Fast forward to last week. When the students made their own journals with the group from Georgia, Minnie wrote and drew in hers just like the others. She has a passion for cooking and has taken over the kitchen, even though the caregiver do all of the cooking for the kids. Hopefully this will lead to her being able to stay on as a worker at HOMa, even after she's aged out of the social welfare system.

Because of the faithfulness of many to live out James 1:27, God has a perfect HOPE and FUTURE planned for Minnie, and she knows it!

Alex also lives at HOMa. He's about 13 years old, and loves to work with his hands. Alex is the self appointed big brother to all of the younger children and makes sure they listen to the adults and helps them learn. He also loves to play soccer with them. I don't know how Alex came to live at HOMa, but I sure wish someone would adopt this amazing boy. The only fault he has is his age. At 13, he's too old for most families, whether Zambian or from somewhere else, to want to adopt him. He's so mild mannered and such a helpful soul, that I can't imagine why age would stop a family, once they met him.

Regardless of family status, God has a HOPE and FUTURE planned for Alex, and the beginnings of it are being constructed literally before our eyes. Ngobelos are buildings in traditional Zambian villages where young adult men and young adult women are moved to learn how to be productive, stable citizens in the community. CACZ is using the same concept at HOMa, and the girls' ngobelo was opened almost a year ago. The boys have waited anxiously for theirs to be built, and construction is underway. Attached to the boys' ngobelo will also be a skills center for both the boys and girls to learn employable skills as they grow up as godly men and women of the faith. Local churches are working with CACZ to mentor and help each young adult adapt to society outside of the protection of the walls of HOMa once they enter the 'real world'.

What a blessing for Alex and the other older children! Because of the faithfulness of many to live out the words of James 1:27, Alex has a HOPE and a FUTURE!

Loulou and Aggie:
I've written a lot about 2/3 of my precious Trio of Trouble. The twins are roughly 20 months old and have the biggest, sweetest smiles! When Loulou and Aggie were first brought to HOM, their outlook was bleak.

Trash is commonly burned in Zambia as Waste Management has yet to exist there. A man about to light a trash heap on fire saw something moving and went to investigate. On top of the trash heap he found Loulou and Aggie. I'm not sure if the man brought them straight to HOM or to a social worker who brought them to HOM, but they quickly arrived here to be loved, cherished, and nourished.

I doubt it took long for the twins to become the dolls of the nursery. They thrive on attention and light up with smiles when they receive it. A family is trying to adopt them, for which I am ever grateful. I have no idea if the family is Zambian, American, or from somewhere else, but again, God has a HOPE and a FUTURE for these two precious girls who stole my heart, thanks to people who chose to daily live out James 1:27.

The Preemies:
In June of this year, a set of twins, brother and sister, were born to a couple who live out in the bush. Sadly, the twins were incredibly early, and the mommy died. Refusing to lose his wife and his children, the dad brought the twins to HOM, where he knew they could be fed and cared for, as he was too poor to buy formula.

Weighing in a 2.2 pounds each on their arrival to HOM, the twins sleep cuddled up in the same crib at HOM. Many visitors seem scared to hold them, but they were my favorites to coo over as we slowly waltzed around the nursery together each evening. They are now one month old, and Brother weighs 4.4 pounds, and Sister weighs 4.18 pounds. I've never met two stronger babies, mentally or physically. They will suck with the force of a tornado and grip my fingers like The Hulk if tried to let go before they were ready.

As soon as these darlings are big enough to eat nshima, Daddy is coming back for them. Because of people who daily live out James 1:27, it is easy to see God's HOPE and FUTURE for these darling babies.

To those of you who helped make this trip possible for me financially, may God bless you in return! To those of you who prayed continually, and there were many, thank you to the depths of my being. To my incredible husband, the thanks of many Zambians, grown and still growing, have been sent to you. Not many husbands would so willingly and selflessly send their wives halfway around the world alone to fulfill a childhood promise. Thank you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Highland Baptist

I finally made it to church at Highland Baptist today. The building is new, but this is the same congregation Zambian Acapella Boys Choir, and therefore my brothers, came from as little boys. It was pure pleasure to be with the folks that helped bring them up spiritually and turn them into the men they are today.

My friend Chembo also goes to church at Highland and she graciously took lots of pictures of the service and even some video so that I can show everyone at home my other 'family'. Chembo also translated the service as the pastor only knows Nyanja and I only know a few words of it. 224 people were in the service this morning, and everywhere I turned I was receiving hugs and smiles. Of course, I ended up with a few small children in my lap at various times, but that just seems normal around here. The little girl I held was dear Matthias' Denise. She's a doll, but I'm still in shock we're all grown up enough now that some of us have kids! What happened to running around the back yard with a soccer ball and basketball?

The guys singing
Zac, Obrien, Geoffry, Kelvin, Frank, Kennedy, Me, Martin, Matthias

After church, we all headed to lunch at Arcades for chicken and chips. Yum, yum! On my next trip to Zambia, I'll make sure that the first 7/8 of the trip aren't when the guys are out of town. We had so much fun, and I'm glad Chembo got to join us!

Chembo with me at Arcades


Meg and I went on safari to Chaminuka Friday and Saturday. The lodge is about 45 minutes north of Lusaka. Don and Jane were a very interesting taxi for us; I don't want to leave them!

Within an hour of arriving, we'd had a glass of wine and were off to find out horses for a horse back safari. We quickly discovered how much like the Hill Country Zambian bush looks. It's a bit eery. However, the animals are completely different. We saw several types of antelope as we rode along, and three herds of zebras. I rode Champion and Meg rode Edward.

After lunch and some time just watching the wind blow by, we loaded up for a game drive. Our first big find was this guy:

and three of his friends. What a sight! We saw the antelope species again and found this new friend:

and his small family of wife and two kids. Three male giraffes found us and we watched them teach the youngest of the group how to fight. It really was play fighting, so it was very entertaining. Moses, our guide, dropped us off for our cheese tasting where he and our cheese expert Isaac engaged us in a lively conversation discussing current American politics. Wow.

After dinner, I ended up on the balcony of our room mesmerized by the stars. I'd never seen THESE stars before!!! It's an interesting concept to think I've lived 25 years and only seen one half of the constellations visible from Earth. I found a few of the big ones and just stared. Gracious, there sure are a lot of stars out there! God knows every one of them because He made them. Even better!

After breakfast on Saturday, Meg and loaded up for another game drive where we found the elusive cape buffalo. Score!!!

We also found more giraffes and the wildebeest we'd been itching to see. There aren't words to describe what it's like seeing these magnificent species in their own habitat instead of the zoo. On our way back to the lodge, we talked our guide John into taking us by the horse stables to meet Matches:

His mommy died as she was having him, so some of the staff pulled him out and made him a cozy hay pen to keep him warm and safe as he grows big and strong. He's a 3 day old kudu (antelope species) and just precious. Granted, he'll be tame, but they are fairly certain he will be accepted by a herd when he's big enough. Awesome!

Thank You, Lord for Your amazing creation and the opportunity to bask in it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I SAW MY BROTHER TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 12 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, that's out of my system now. Excuse the screaming, jumping, and dancing. Kelvin and the rest of ZVC (Zambian Vocal Collection) came home from Finland early this morning. I spent most of the day in Kalingalinga at Chifundo, and I needed to stop off to see Frank on our way out. Kennedy was also there, Frank's brother, so that was my first treat. It turned out that the keyboard I brought with me didn't need to stay at Frank's, but with Obrine, so we headed off again, after tons of hugs, laughs, and a few old stories. When we stopped again, we weren't at Obrine's but at Kelvin's! I couldn't believe it! Obrine was there, and Zacchaeus and Martin too. Oh the hugs and laughs!! There are no words. Zacchaeus didn't recognize me, but when Martin said, "Zac! It's Laura!" the look on his face was priceless. I was 13 the last any of them had seen him. We had a beautiful visit. This day was 12 years in the making, and I praise my Daddy God for every step along the way. It was worth the wait, and Sunday, when we're all together to worship the King of Kings will be a day of immense joy and celebration.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Marissa took Lindsay, Meg, and me to Zambeadzies today. It was a wonderful, full day experience.

My brother Jeff told me I had to ride the mini-buses like a real Zambian while I was here, and since Marissa knows the ropes of Zambian public transport, I requested we do that today. It took us an hour and a half to go probably 5 miles, but it was exciting! We rode one bus from near HOM all the way into downtown Lusaka, and then from Lusaka to the Chipata compound where the Zambeadzies headquarters is. The bus station in town is a busy, busy place! You find the bus you want to get on and then wait for it to fill, which is why our transport time was so long this morning. Vendors come up to the parked buss es trying to sell their goods. We politely declined and just enjoyed the scene.

Lindsay, Marissa, and Meg with me on the bus
The eight ladies who work at Zambeadzies are incredible. Most of them are fairly young, and to most, the Zambeadzies project was an answer to prayer as they were desperate to find work to help support their families. Violet is the director and also the pastor's wife at Jesus Army. The morning flew by as we learned to roll beads, schlack them, and then make jewelry. I had no ideas the beads would be so easy to make, but they are! There is a huge supply of plastic, wooden, and clay beads to string up with the paper beads to make fun patterns. I ended up making 1 necklace and about 8 or 9 bracelets. As we worked, the ladies told us their stories and then had us tell them ours. It took me a while to convince them I was old enough to be married, and then once I did, they couldn't understand why I didn't have children yet. Le sigh.
All of us, minus Elizabeth who was out sick.
We were served nshima, beef, and cabbage for lunch. Yum, yum, yum. When it tasted just like I make it at home, I knew I was doing it right, which made me super happy. Thanks, Bridget for being such a good teacher!
Chitenges are the fabric skirts Zambian women often wear, and Lindsay and Marissa were wanting more fabric for themselves. Violet overheard us talking about stopping at the Chelstone market to shop on our way home, and offered to take us to Kamwala, which is a HUGE district of shops right near downtown Lusaka. She was also wanting to go there to purchase more of the colored beads we put between the paper beads to make the cool patterns. Violet has a big van (with 7 kids and 4 foster children, she has to!), so she loaded us up with Grace, and off we went. I enjoyed seeing downtown Lusaka as we drove. Kamwala is unlike anything I've ever seen. The best I can compare it to is the scene of street vendors in Boston where literally everything is being sold. Many of the vendors have real shops and others are in wooden shacks. The girls found their chitenge fabric and then we hunted for beads and more string. Violet lead us in a line and Grace followed behind us so no one got lost in the crowds. We said we felt like chicks with their mamas.
After a trip back to HQ to pick up the ladies that are dropped at the bus stop each evening, we grabbed a bus and headed home. It's not a far walk at all from the stop to HOM, and after sitting so much on the buses or making bead, the cool air, sunset, and tromp home were quite refreshing! And as always in Zambia, worth more than a few belly laughs. Yes, we're always laughing around here!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mopani Adventures

Mopani are worms. I ate one today. No, I didn't like it, and no, I don't plan on having one again, but I promised Matilda that if she cooked them I would eat one, and I kept my word. It was fried crispy, and I just wasn't a fan, though Banda swears they're even worse raw. I'll take his word for it!

The Georgia team is leaving in a couple of days, and they were needing a traditional Zambian meal, so Matilda and Sarah whipped up a feast for us. Aside from the Mopani, everything was amazing. We had braised chicken, pumpkin, creamed pumpkin leaves, spinach, stewed okra and tomatos, stewed spinach, cabbage, and of course nshima. Yum, yum!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Zambian Birthdays

In Zambia, it is a tradition for friends and family to dump a bucket of water on the head of the birthday person. I think I like cake, singing, and blowing out candles better, but traditions are traditions! Today is Barbara's birthday. She is the team leader of the group from Georgia, and a good friend of Sandra's, the VP of ACE. (Nanny, you're coming with me next time. If Barbara can do it, you certainly can!). Anyway, the kids at House of Martha had pizza, soda, and cookies to celebrate their Aunt Barbara's birthday. Tonight, we had a wonderful dinner and then her favorite of ice cream and cookies. Barbara thought she had managed to go all day without a surprise bath, until dessert time. As Banda lit the candle in her ice cream, Christine, one of our AMAZING house staff, came in with a bucket on top of her head. We all watched Barbara cringe and smile, trying to be a good sport, as a bucket full of soft baby toys dumped over her head! Christine knew how to do it just right! Way to go!

P.S. Somewhere, one of the team has some cool pictures of me reading to a throng of kids in the play house fort today. I'll try and track them down soon.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day from Zambia!

Dinner was all-American tonight! Ruth and Sara made us hamburgers, potato salad, and chips, and we had yummy cookies for dessert. We'd already prayed for our country in church, which was a great way to start Independence Day. Standing around our all-American meal, I said we needed to sing, so we sang 'My Country Tis of Thee' (which is the same tune as God Save the Queen, so that got us a few odd looks at first in this former British colony) and then sang and very rousing chorus of 'Star Spangled Banner' with firework sound effects and a roaring, "Play ball!" at the end. Gotta love happy, blessed Americans!

Lord, turn the hearts in our nation back to You, the way our founding fathers intended.

Church in Kalingalinga

TIA=This is Africa, which means things don't always go as planned. Due to miscommunication, I never made it to Highland Baptist today for church where my brothers grew up, but I did get to go to church in Kalingalinga at the church the Georgia team was visiting. It's called Jesus Army, and it was an absolute blessing to be there.

The congregation was so excited to greet us, and made us feel completely at home. Joy was everywhere as worship began. What a treat to be in a church were everyone wanted to be there, and where everyone had a heart in tuned with the Lord as we worshiped Him and all He does.

The Bishop reminded the congregation that today is America's birthday. He talked about how our country was founded to be a place for people to worship the one true God freely, but how we have fallen from the plans of our founding fathers. How right on the mark he was! I'm sure he was slightly afraid of stepping on our toes, but he hit the mark perfectly. He prayed for our country, that it would be a leader for the world in following the will of the Lord. What a blessing to know that our Zambian brothers and sisters are praying for us. Praise You Daddy God for new mercies every day!

The sermon was about Joseph being sold into slavery from Genesis 37. The point of the sermon was that bad things will happen to us and these circumstances are used by the Lord to move us to the place He wants us to serve Him. Also, the people who are put in our lives to help protect us, like Reuben had been protecting Joseph, are sometimes removed, as Reuben was, so that God can move us, physically or spiritually, where He needs us to serve Him. Such truth!

Meg, Robin, and I were not expecting the pastor to ask the three of us to read the scripture, but we did. It was fun reading a phrase or two and then having it translated into Nyanja for those that don't know English well. Then the pastor asked me to pray before he began the sermon. Um, me? The lady who stumbles over her words and says "um" a lot between phrases as she prays? Ok. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to quickly pray "God us me." and he did. I don't have a clue what I prayed, but I do know no "ums" were uttered, and everyone told me how much they enjoyed what I said after the service. That's great, because it means God worked through me, as I prayed. Praise you Jesus! The whole experience was very humbling, and I'm grateful for a time of learning the Word with such strong, solid believers.

After church we headed to Arcades for lunch and craft shopping. I have some beautiful things to bring home!

Tomorrow, Meg and I want to go to Chaminuka Game Reserve for a safari overnight trip, but their phones are down. Don is willing to drive us out there, so please pray there is a room available. It's a long holiday weekend here too, so we have absolutely no idea what to expect, but we definitely want to see the animal side of God's creation while we're here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Well, I didn't end up getting to play football (soccer). Enough of the faculty attended that Meg and I ended up on the sidelines, but that was a very exciting place to be! The tournament was at the Olympian Stadium in town, which is a huge, walled in complex with four soccer fields. There is also a huge pavilion type building for meetings and such. As the teams began arriving, the energy grew wilder! One team brought their drums with them, and Marissa, Robin, and I danced with them as they got pumped for the game. The little kids from House of Martha sang and sang before their game and after they won (GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!!!!!!!). I love listening to the children singing. It's amazing.

For the actual tournament, the older girls in the 7 Faith Works Community school begin play in May. They compete until the first weekend in July each year to determine a winner. This year the winner was Ngombe Christian School. They are all very talented girls, and it was fun to watch them play. It's so different from the States: barefeet or socks, no shin guards, and no plush grass, but they know the sport, and they adore it. When a team scores, all the fans for that team (in this case, the classmates and teachers) run to the field and hug the players. It's quite a sight!

Pre game pray huddle for House of Martha


HOMa vs Garden Presbyterian

All 200 some odd kids waiting for the award ceremony.

Ngombe Christian School gets to take home the trophy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cute Stories

In Zambia, any weather below 80 degrees is considered at least 'cool'. Personally, I think I'm practically in heaven with highs in the low 70s and lows in the uppers 40s. However, I have not stopped hearing, "Laura, do you have on stockings?" "Laura, don't forget your stockings!" and other similar comments before going outside. I just have to smile. It's nice being loved.

"Uh-oh" is apparently universal. Aggie pulled off her sock, held it out to me, and said, "Uh-oh". One little boy rolled a ball under a crib and exclaimed, "Uh-oh!" When the beginning walkers fall down, they say, "Uh-oh!" When someone pulls off his/her pants, an "uh-oh" is heard. It's so gosh darn adorable!

Teeny tiny baby twin boy "H" was as awake and alert today as I've yet to see him. I liked hearing his meowing cry. The boy is strong, too! He would not let go of my finger for anything. I need to take a picture of just how small his hands and his sisters' hands are.

This afternoon we went to House of Martha to hang out, but the kids didn't care that we were there; the World Cup game was on TV! Soccer is just more important than visitors sometimes. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fun Day!

Today has been a day full of bigger babies! My Trio of Trouble (Loulou, Aggie, and DD) didn't let me down when it came to hugs and play time, which is always why I'm going to bed at 9:00 tonight. Ha!

This morning we visited Bill and Bette Bryant House so that the Vaughans could say goodbye as they leave on Saturday to go home to Louisville. We went for recess, between lunch and naps. Now that the yard is all cleaned up thanks to Matthew's creative garden idea, they have lots of room to play. The house mom brought out balloons, which were a huge hit, especially with the breeze! I think the teetertotter is my favorite toy there. Yes, I did ride on it!
Road to B&BB Home
Matthew's Garden


Meg arrived today from Michigan, via a one month stop in Mozambique for mission work. I'm hoping to have yet another partner in crime while I'm here now. :) She just graduated with a social work degree, so between the two of us, I bet we could fix all of the world's problems. We'll see...

I finally got to visit House of Martha today. It's for the older kids, so there is a bigger play ground, picnic pavilion, school house, and a girls' ngobwe. Ngobwes are community living centers that allow them to learn how to live and work as a community so that they can be ready for society as adults. The boys' ngobwe is being built, along with a skills and craft room. Sadly, most of the kids were off site at soccer (excuse me, football) practice, so I'll have to go back soon to visit with them.

It seems one of the bigger baby boys might have measles. I knew there was an outbreak before I left, and it looks like we may now be dealing with it too. Please pray for him and the other kids.

If you aren't on Facebook, click this link if you'd like to see a local project and learn how you can help families in Lusaka learn to be self sustaining.

Thanks for all of the emails. I love hearing what's happening back home!

Zambia: Days 1-3

What a week! I hit the ground running, just like I knew would happen. Uncle G was at the airport waiting for me and was so excited to show his country to me. He loved hearing the story about how I ended up here.

As soon as I got to HOM, the entire staff was present for Monday morning devotions. On Mondays, the house moms from the older orphanages were present, along with all the staff on the business end, who work here in the office at HOM. Within an hour and a half of being on the ground in Zambia, I was already singing and dancing in praise and worship. Um, hello! It was perfect!

In the older nursery, which is downstairs, are all the babies who can crawl and walk. Upstairs are the teeny tinys. When you don't want to be mobbed by 3 or 4 older ones, it's nice to go upstairs and cuddle just one.

For lunch on Monday, Jane and Don, who are good friends of Sandra's and staying here 6 months, took me to Arcades to meet up with the group from Georgia/South Carolina. We also got my Zambian cell phone working and exchanged some cash.

In the afternoon, I had a great time getting to know the babies and the staff.

Tuesday morning after the G/SC team left for Victoria Falls, I got to visit Bill and Bette House, which cares for 2-4 year olds. It was lunch time, so I didn't get to see their preschool work, but the kids loved playing with my blonde hair. I never dreamed kids who are so used to visitors would go so nuts over my blonde locks. It really was hilarious!

By the afternoon, it was obvious one of the older girls (maybe 15 months old) had decided I was her new best friend. For the blog, I'll call her Loulou because that's the tag I keep adding to her first name. Loulou has a twin who's nickname is Aggie. Loulou is just precious, but talk about an absolute royal fit when I leave the room. I finally took her to the dinning room with me to journal write for an hour or so just to keep the screaming from filling the entire house.

Wednesday was exciting as I finally got to go to Chifundo and see the school where my brothers went. Kalingalinga is full of beautiful people, and I enjoyed getting a tour of many parts. At Chifundo, I taught a lesson on international trade (Three G's and Silk Road) to the 9th graders and just got to have a great chat with the 12th graders. I get to go back next Thursday to set up the overhead projector I brought with me and show them some of the rest of the materials I brought. I also got to meet our friend Given's family and a new friend named Chembo, who is a grad of Chifundo and the University of Zambia and just a doll.

After my return to HOM from Kalingalinga, I went to the downstairs nursery to see Miss Loulou. Turns out, Aggie and their best friend Dd (again, a nickname given by me) decided to attach themselves to me too. Anybody want three ADORABLE ~15 month olds who desperately need to stay together? :)

I've gotten to know two of the house staff really well the past 3 days. Mama Irene is the house mother at HOM, and she's amazing. The passion she has for Jesus and these little babies rocks me to the core. My great-great grandmother was Mama Irene, and now I have a Zambian Mama Irene too. Oh, the hugs I get from this lady! Ruth is my precious new friend who cooks for all of us, and I love to sit in the kitchen with a baby and listen to Ruth talk while she works. She's a soft spoken jewel that fills me with joy just to be near.

It's Thursday morning now, so I'm going to get the day started with some cuddles and this afternoon I get to go to House of Martha to see the 5-12 year olds. I have a huge delivery of supplies I brought with me, so I'm excited to take them. :)
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