Monday, December 17, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Oh Tannenbaum

Well, well, here we are mid-December and still no sign of snow. I’m sure it won’t be long now before it comes. I usually spend my evenings sitting by the window wearing my toque and mittens on a string, clutching my “Crazy Carpet” waiting for it to come. But I usually get too sweaty and have to give up. Plus, this past week I’ve been reintroduced to the wonderful world of socialization as my friends, Stephanie and Susan, from down south are up visiting. It has been marvelous having people living with me other than the ants, cockroaches, spiders, and lizards...and nice that I don’t have to spray these guests with a Raid like agent.

This past week Susan found a 180cm, $20 Christmas tree at the store so she bought it. We brought it home and that evening embarked on assembling it. We soon realized why it was probably only $20 while all others around here seem to be much more. Turns out the bottom two pieces didn’t actually fit together as the “trunk” of the tree on both parts was exactly the same size making for quick improvisational tactics to get the tree standing. We tried several things involving sticks, branches and old plastic bags and finally after a treasure hunt around the yard in the dark found a piece of old piping which we used our MacGyver skills to contort into a perfect solution. So now we have our trusty Tannenbaum and a most excellent foam nativity scene sent to me in a package to adorn my humble abode in a Christmas fashion.

This past Saturday I had what will probably be on my list of favourite African memories. I took all the kids at Chisomo, the centre for street kids I have been working with, to this water park called Adventure City for a little Christmas party. There were 44 kids from the age of 10-18 and we had an awesome time. Christmas is a hard time for these youth as it such a family oriented time. It was awesome to see them able to just be kids, having a blast on the slides and doing crazy flips and dives into the pools. The safety standards are not quite what we are used to back home which makes for more fun as your allowed to do pretty much whatever you want on the slides like go down 15 at a time! My favourite was probably swimming with two little 11 year olds, Danny and Anna, and helping Anna conquer her fear of the slide and just trying to teach them how to swim. It breaks my heart that these kids are so young. Danny ran away from a family who was beating him and travelled 5 hours to Lusaka by himself and spent some time on the street until someone brought him to Chisomo. Anna was being sexual abused by her step-father and so followed her sister and ended up at the centre. And each one of these kids has a heart breaking story like this.

My involvement with them is like a catch twenty-two as the more time I spend with them the more I get attached to them and see relationships really beginning to grow and it kills me to think that I am going to have to say goodbye and leave them in a month and a half. My heart hurts just thinking about it. I am going to do an all-nighter with them in January before a lot of the kids who are being sponsored to go to boarding school go back, which will be like a last hurrah!

Action Zambia has recently rented a tiny office space in town so we can finally get our office out of a home so I’ve been putting time there painting and helping to get it ready to move into (not myself moving into…although that would cut down on transport time getting there). My idea of splatter painting in neon colours was not taken to like I was hoping. So instead I will secretly paint a delightful country mural with the art skills I learned from Bob Ross on PBS, complete with several “happy, little trees.”

Guitar teaching and bible study in Kasupe continues to go well. Peter, my guitar prodigy, is really catching on quick and a great youth so I’ve pretty much decided that I will give my guitar to him when I leave and hope that he can use his newly acquired skills to be a leader in the community and his church.

I also had a meeting with the Rural Health Committee this past week and we are hoping to do another day of giving out food and health supplies to really vulnerable families. This time of the year is when the food starts to run out as the crops are just being planted and won’t be ready for another couple months and last years supply has run out.

And that has been some of the highlights of December so far. I will be heading down to South Africa on Thursday to spend Christmas with friends from the team and their family who live there. I hope all the hustle ‘n’ bustle of the season hasn’t gotten the better of you and that are having a joyous noel. If you want to get away from said hustle just come here…there is certainly a lack of hustle in these parts! And remember the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Take care!!



“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

~Matthew 11:28-30

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Empty Space

I write you from a seemingly very empty space…and I’m speaking quite literally, not referring to my mental capacity. The house that I live in was furnished almost exclusively by another couple on the team that had moved into a place where they did not need much of their belongings, working out quite perfectly for the both of us. But oh, how the tides have changed. Said couple is now moving into an unfurnished home requiring said belongings and thus bringing us to the current state as I listen to the reverb of my typing, sounding much like the typewriters of old. So now I currently have a hot plate and blender to my name. It’s all one really needs really. Blending can be very cathartic while creating delicious treats that are easily accessible through a straw. And with all concrete walls and tile floors I’ve found entertainment in singing Latin words loudly and listening to it bounce of the walls. Plus, this pillaging has provided a much better space to practice my gymnastic floor routines.

Moving on…with such a transitional time in the life of Action Zambia there has been need for assistance in the administrative area so I have been working in our office at least one day a week to help out. So if in the near future this mission suddenly disintegrates you’ll know why.

This past week marked a significant national holiday for our American friends and seeing as this is a predominantly American team I stuck a feather in my cap and joined the festivities. There was no turkey but there was pie for which was something to be truly thankful for.

Last week I was able to finally visit a dear woman who is on the Rural Health Committee that I work with who just lost her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Sakala had been married 43 years this November. They had been living on a farm out near where I used to live but now she will have to move into town with relatives. She shared how here in Zambia widows are often treated very poorly…it was shocking to hear what families will do these poor women. Luckily, Mrs. Sakala’s family has been very supportive but that is not the norm. Often, families will blame the widow for the death and make her walk around on her elbows and knees and they will take almost everything from her home and leave her with nothing. And when she goes to stay with other family she must be in seclusion while the man of the house is there. I hope to be able to visit with her at the new place she is staying at here in town. It was shocking and heart breaking to hear that is how these women are treated here.

I was also able to participate in a seminar put on by our CROSS team (the HIV/AIDS ministry). For the last five months the team has been training individuals and leaders in several churches to better deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic and equip them with some counselling skills. So on Friday all the people from the different churches worked with got together for a seminar. In typical Zambian fashion I was asked to lead the music last minute and completely unprepared but it all turned out in the end.

And those are the highlights of days gone by. Some days are good, others present ample opportunity for “character building” but it’s encouraging to know I’m not in it alone. I think having an empty home could be a good thing. All I really need is Jesus anyway. Thank you to you all for your love and support over these months and your prayers which I’m sure have done more than we could possibly know. Take care and stay warm…or don’t bother with a heater, just come here. We could blend and sing Latin words together!


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
~Jeremiah 29:13

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: I scream, you scream, let’s all scream…ICE CREAM!

Have you even gone say 9 months without tasting the sweet, sweetness of real ice cream? And then one day, in a seemingly miraculous act, your dormant taste buds are reawakened to said sweet, sweetness, like manna rained down from heaven? And you think this is THE best thing that could have ever happened to you? And then half an hour later you remember that you are borderline lactose intolerant? But that first half hour was magical. This may or may not be a factual life story that happened recently. Dairy products are often very expensive and of poor quality here in Zambia. Therefore, when this mysterious “Sonia” and her “Italian Delicatessen” presents itself in the local grocer’s freezer, one must pounce, no matter the consequence.

Time seems to have quickened it’s step the longer I am here. I remember when I first got here it seemed like time crept by, everything was new and exciting and the days and weeks seemed to last longer. But now in the routines of life here, even though the pace of life is usually at a steady crawl, the days and weeks hasten by.

As I believe I mentioned last time I was preparing to embark into the world of sex education, helping lead two Saturday seminars for youth from a local church. And once again things did not happen as planned. The first Saturday we had put all this planning and preparation in. Including a somewhat awkward visit to the local photocopy place where the only male employee there was the one to help me make photocopies of female anatomy diagrams. We arose way to early to get to the farm, to be the location of the festivities only to have to eventually cancel because an hour and a half after we were to start only four youth had shown up, the rest at least another hour from coming. It was pretty disappointing. But it wasn’t all for not. We had an impromptu water balloon fight with the four that were there with the balloons I had prepared for a relay we were going to do. And we did a half day of discussion and teaching which I think went really well. The best laid plans…

For this past Saturday we decided to just keep it to a half day and have it at the church itself. Two hours after the planned starting time we began! I led some music to begin with and taught them some new songs which was fun. All in all the day went well. Most of the teaching and discussion was done in the vernacular which I think was good so they could really understand and discuss. It is such an important topic to tackle here, especially with the way it is handled traditionally and frequency of abuse and myths.

Last Sunday the women of our team sang at a church. I was playing guitar and when we broke into harmony suddenly loud noise erupted from congregation and I thought someone had passed out around me or something but I guess it was because they liked it, but I totally lost my concentration. It was a fun experience. Then today in church this massive millipede crawled right past my feet. As it moved past this elderly woman next to me turned to me with this terrified-like smile and sat with her legs straight out until it past. This is Africa!

It seems the rains have come. There is a wild lightening storm taking place right now. Although the combination of the heat and the rain often make for a less than pleasant environment, unless you’re a big fan of sweating. The other day I was walking and got caught in a downpour. I was in jeans which immediately changed states form being cloth to lead. Then the rain stopped and the sun came out again and it was like an instant sauna, except I don’t usually walk in lead “trousers” in a sauna (pants here means underwear…which has got us North Americans into some pretty funny situations). Really cleans out he pours. But I know here in Lusaka we have it pretty good compared to what it could be, like in other places in the world. So I will embrace it.

And that’s another lengthy snapshot into this adventure that is my life. Apparently it’s the middle of November, how did that happen? I can’t wrap my head around it and the climate here. It’s about time for those Christmas portraits! Book now, ask me how! You should all book your appointments with the Abbotsford Sears Portrait Studio now. Tell them Shannon sent you and I’m sure you’ll be in for a treat!

Take care of yourself now. Love and peace from Zambia!


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Trimester Four

As I left you last I believe I was still holding out hope that the highly anticipated rains would make their traditions Independence day debut…but alas, my waiting was to no avail. They did not come. I went to bed with a heavy heart knowing something was a miss. I got over the devastation pretty quick. But never fear, today the rains came! It was a nice hiatus from the November heat…there are two words I've never put together before…except at home when my sister and I would insist on keeping the heat off in the house as late in the year as possible, until appendages went numb with cold, just to be obstinate, yet frugal children. I took advantage of running in the rain. It felt like the good ol' days in the motherland…and I don't mean Russia…I've never run there. But then it got dark and lightening came, and since I usually run holding a long conductor rod I decided it probably best to get indoors.

As you can tell, this past week hasn't really held all that much in terms of captivating action. I've gone about my business as usual: choir, teaching guitar, Bible studies, visiting people out in Kasupe, riding on mini buses and waiting for hours, the usual. Although this past week my patience seemed to hit an all time low with the unwanted attention I seem to attract from the men here for the fact that I am white, female, and out in the open. So of course why wouldn't you yell degrading comments at me! When I stayed in Mexico several years ago guys used to think that they could impress us by squealing their tires as they drove by…and let me tell you it worked. I was impressed every time. Not so here. But I feel my patience tank is topped up and I'm ready to take on another week.

It was also a hard week in that I received news of two deaths. That stuff never seems to gets any easier. One was the mother of a youth named Edmond leaving him now an orphan who can't afford to go to school and forced to live with difficult relatives. The other the husband of one of the dear ladies on the Rural Health Committee that I've been working with.

There are these ladies who sit on the corner of my street and sell produce and whatnot everyday. So one day last week I sat down with them and they invited me to eat nshima with them (the corn meal like staple here). It is usually eaten with some kind of "relish" or sauce. This day they had something I had never heard of before. I couldn't understand what it was but it looked like little green leafs in a bed of oil. I delved in (you eat it with your hands) which caused them great amusement as apparently my nshima technique could use a little work. With every bite they would be on the edge of their seat to watch me try and eat it and then would break out into laughter. I'm thinking of coming out with my own Zambian comedy special that just involves me eating nshima and saying my full name.

This coming week is panning out to be a busy one, which I'm all for. Among the delicacies mounted on my plate is this Saturday I will be joining with the CROSS team (our HIV/AIDS ministry team) to do a day long seminar for 20 youth on sex education with a Biblical perspective. This Saturday we will be meeting with the girls and then the next Saturday it will be with the boys. This is a topic that is not really addressed here in Zambia, at least not properly. So this a pilot project to see where youth here are at and get feedback and info on how we could structure a longer program for youth. So there is a lot of preparation still to be done for this.

I am entering my fourth trimester here in Zambia. Don't worry, I am not a pregnant sea lion nor alpaca. Rest assured I am not a pregnant anything but nine months have gone by since I set out from that blustery Toronto airport. My time here has been anything but what I expected it to be. It's been hard and challenging on a whole but I'm learning to count it all as a privilege. It's a privilege to be here, to learn the things that I am, to know these people, to get a glimpse at the things that break God's heart every day, to gain a new perspective on just how much I need a Savior, and to see just how great a Savior we have. So these last nine months have seen a lot of development in my thinking and in my spiritual growth…even though I spent a lot of time kicking, wanting to get out of here at times…going back to the pregnant sea lion analogy…or just a the pregnancy analogy. Looks like I'm all prepared for this Saturday!

Well, that's about it for this week. I should stop procrastinating further and get back to the tasks at hand. I hope November is treating you all well and you are enjoying your saved daylight. Thanks for all being part of this adventure. I can't seem to express my gratitude sufficiently. Take care.


"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." ~Lamentations 3: 22-26

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: These flip-flops were made for walking

These flip-flops were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these flip-flops are gonna…disintegrate right into the ground. So this week marked my first week without any sort of vehicle to use. For the past several months a team mate who was back in the states graciously let me use her vehicle while she was away. A humongous help. But those days are behind me now and it’s back to the world of public transportation. I prefer to walk when I can, I quite enjoy it really. It may not be the most efficient of methods of transportation, although, as a I found today, neither is the public transport system.

Today I spent approximately five hours in transport time to get to the farm and back for an hour and a half program. Here’s how it works. I had to get downtown to get on another bus to take me to the farm. However, at the bus station you wait until your bus is jam packed before you commence. Meaning if you get on and it’s not very full, you wait. The bus I got on was fitted for about 30. I was number 3. So after well over an hour the bus was finally full. Then of course we had to stop at the gas station. Two hours from the time I left home I had arrived at the farm (a trek that normally took me about 35 minutes by car). I had a lovely time teaching guitar and tutoring another youth in math (luckily it is grade 7 math). Then it was time to head home. The buses don’t frequent that area very often so I waited about an hour and a half for a bus to finally come my way. By the time we got back to downtown with all the stops another hour had gone by. By this time nightfall was fast approaching and not desiring to be traveling in a bus for another hour under the cover of darkness I opted to hire a cab to take me the rest of the way home. Perhaps walking isn’t as inefficient after all. But I was entertained by watching the events around me. Such as at the station men come around and try to sell you random things. I witnessed one trying to sell a man on my bus a pair of nail clippers. My busmate took the clippers, proceeded to clip his nails, and then decided not to purchase them and gave them back to the man at the window. Note to self: don’t purchase nail clippers at the bus station.

This past week there was another baby shower! This time it was for the wife of one of our Zambian team mate who works with the HIV/AID ministry. So Andrea and I did all this preparation and baking and it turned out to be one of the most awkward events ever! I think this was a little unusual for a shower to be had before the baby is born but the whole time the woman looked like she wanted to be anywhere but at this shower. I pretty sure it was just a cultural thing because at weddings and bridal showers the bride always looks like she wants to be dead too, when I’m pretty sure that’s not what’s really going on. We didn’t make them eat chocolate out of a diaper…maybe we should have, it may have been the kick start that party needed.

Today on the 24th of October, the year of our Lord, Zambia celebrated 43 years of independence. I had a stunning sweater vest made displaying the Zambian flag colours and name which I proudly sported along with my Zambia toque. If you recall, I once mentioned that everyone told me that on this day is when the rains would come. Anticipation was high for me on this day and although at one point there were several clouds in the sky…no rain. I did see several people carrying umbrellas. And why wouldn’t they because they were probably thinking “it’s October 24th…it’s gonna rain!” There are still a couple hours of October 24th left. I will not loose hope until the strike of midnight.

Living here in Zambia over these last through months has begun to paint a picture of humanity. I’ve seen the beauty of the people here, the preciousness of their souls, the forgotten and overlooked and shared glimpses of what God must see in his unfathomable love for those he created. But then the picture is tainted with strokes of deep sadness and the broken souls that each of us are. I think I used to see things to be more separate, like Zambia was very “other” from myself and my country. And superficially it is, we look different, the culture is different, the language is different, the economic conditions are different, our countries are separated by a vast space, and the surface problems may be different. But deeper at the souls of people we are really all the same. We all have this emptiness inside of us that aches for a relationship with Jesus. And we can try and fill it with stuff, or other people, or empty religion and trying to be “good.” But when it comes down to it none of that satisfies the void. Our hearts still ache for the restoration of that perfect relationship with our Creator that was broken long ago whether we realize it or not. It’s encouraging for me to think that whatever “programs” or “ministries” we have here aren’t in and of themselves going to make a difference, because sometimes I feel like I screw up everything I touch here. But it’s this relationship with Christ, no matter how cliché it sounds, that changes our lives and fills us with purpose and meaning and love. And it’s for everyone, no matter poor and overlooked or wealthy and noteworthy, free for the taking.

And with that I will bid you “adieu, adieu, to you and you and you” for the evening as I wait for the rain on this 43rd Independence Day. I hope this electronic message finds you well. A reminder…you only have about three more months to come visit, so book your tickets now. Take care my friends!



“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: The Guests

I am pleased to report that in the days gone by since I last wrote I have managed to keep all my digits and limbs intact and securely in place. My stitches are gone leaving me with only a memory of past events…and a nasty scar. I’ll be back to “Thumb War Champion” material in no time.

It’s been a hectic week with what seems not a whole lot to show for it but it’s been good. My friends Susan and Mike came up from Sinazongwe (Susan is the nurse who I used to live at the farm with who now works with an organization called Missionary Ventures International, and Mike is the also a member of MVI and the trusted team mechanic) on Monday…just in time to help me celebrate Thanksgiving: Canadian style with Americans! Nothing like forcing Americans to celebrate your holidays. I made a little makeshift feast and it was nice to have friends there to share it with. It’s just not the same if you have to eat a whole pumpkin pie by yourself. I even wore a “harvest sweater” even though it was 30 degrees Celsius outside.

So Susan stayed with me this past week and on Thursday our friend Stephanie (who I used to share a hut with!) returned from a short trip to the states. So there were three of us in this itsy bitsy house but it was fun. So I spent most of my spare time running around with them trying to help them get everything done and all the supplies they needed before heading back down to the bush and generally hanging out and catching up. We threw a baby shower for two of our pregnant team member (Andrea and Elise). It was a good time. I insisted that we incorporate a game that involved eating a mashed up chocolate bar and green jello out of a diaper with no hands. I hope that it sticks as a Zambian tradition and can be passed down from generation to generation.

This afternoon I invited my church choir over to my place for our practice followed by a little BBQ. It was fun to have them all over here. They brought all the sound equipment and seem to think that every song we sing should have a drum loop from the electric keyboard and so they pumped one out of the speakers. I’m sure the neighbours thoroughly enjoyed our time as well!

And so it goes here in Zambia. It’s been eight months and it seems the more time goes by the less I understand about why God put me here. God doesn’t really need me here, I mean, He’s God…he doesn’t need a broken human like me to do anything for Him. But I’ve been thinking that it’s like parents and children (I’m around a lot of children and wondering if I really ever want to embark on drudgery of parenthood:). Like when a parent lets their kid “help” them do something even though by doing it themselves said parent could complete the task immensely faster. They let their child “help” because they love them and that is how one learns and grows, even though the kid usually makes a bigger mess than to begin with and the parent ends up cleaning up the aftermath of the “helpful deed,” but the parent still loves them and is even proud of what would normally be thought of as aesthetically displeasing…or something of that matter. I think this is the way it is with I and God. I want to help Him. He lets me. I make a mess. He cleans it up and still loves me anyway.

Thanks to all of you who are here with me even though not physically. I miss you greatly. I end with the classic words of Stevie Wonder, adapted by Shannon Storey. “I just wrote to say I love you, I just wrote to say how much I care, I just wrote to say I love you and I mean it from the bottom of my heart!” Ahh, Stevie. Until next time...



“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grown tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: All Up In Stitches…

Although there may occasionally be a dull moment here in Zambia, apparently not a dull knife. Opposable thumbs help to make us some of the most dexterous creatures on earth, but not so when said thumb is severed with a sharp metal object such as a knife. Perhaps severed is too harsh of a word…it makes me think like it is hanging by a thread. Not so in this case. It was a day just like any other, the sun was up, so was I, and there was a cabbage to be cored. But one slip of the hand and bam…blood everywhere. I kind of just stood there for a while wondering what to do next. This seemed like no match for my Dora the Explorer Band-Aids. So I wrapped the “opposable” in many paper towels and napkins and headed to the neighbours. Stephanie was kind enough to drive me to the clinic where my new good friend, Dr. Joseph from Egypt, kindly stitched me up; three in total. It was a gory scene but I watched every second of it. It even squirted out blood everywhere just like one of those fine television medical drama shows. But now I’m back home and admiring my new battle scars. Sadly, it was at the hand of a knife and cabbage rather than a crocodile. Check it out on the blog:

Until next time…stay safe and have fun!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Snake Holder…

The days roll forth with their every steady timing and it seems that October is just a hop, skip, and four days away. As many of you are embracing the new found days of fall here in Zambia my long john and sweater days are far behind me (although not Christmas sweater days…I will wear a good Christmas sweater no matter what the temperature if one can be found, perhaps it’s called “sweater” for a reason) as summer sets in here. I have been warned endlessly that October will be the hottest month, so come Monday I’m expecting something big, real big…and hot. I have also been told by several Zambians that on October 24th, which is Zambian Independence Day, the rains will come…always on October 24th. So needless to say my expectations for the month are pretty high.

I have been back to Kasupe several times to continue with the choir, bible study, and guitar lessons. I have also spent time walking around visiting people including several widows in the area that I have come to know. These are probably some of my favorite times here in Africa, just being able to walk the dusty roads removed from city life and visit with people, and it’s probably something I will miss the most going back home where I assume it won’t be kosher to spend an hour talking to someone while at work. Or just showing up on peoples doorsteps…although I may keep that up, so watch out! I have been visiting one elderly man who recently lost his wife (the woman I wrote about in previous emails), Mr. Chilenge, who yesterday asked me if I told people back in Canada about the people I met here and if I would tell you about him. I said yes. Mr. Chilenge lives in a small house in Kasupe and desperately misses his wife of 47 years. His own body is failing him as he has been ill recently, I think partly the result of a broken heart. He also misses his wife’s cooking as he made a comment that his son “just isn’t able to prepare things like she did!” You can see the weariness in his eyes as life on this earth becomes so cumbersome. We spent time talking about Jesus, Heaven, and praying.

Coming back to the farm and Kasupe now that I don’t live there has opened my eyes how much I unknowingly invested my heart there with all the relationships I’ve made. And coming back and having all these kids from all over the area shouting my name and waving, it somewhat overwhelms me. It makes me think that maybe all the time I thought I wasn’t doing anything and was “wasted” may not have been.

Life in the city is going well, I’m all settled into the new place with my new friend cockroaches. We have a good time. It’s great to be closer to everyone on the team. Life goes on as normal…if you consider finding cobra’s eating frogs in your yard as normal. Swift action was taken to defuse the situation. Here I thought that I was getting away from all this by moving into the city, but instead there are more things living here inside and out than I ever saw at the farm.

Speaking of snakes, which just happen to be a high ranking fear of mine, I did something most daring in nature this past weekend. I held in my hot little hands the cold blooded stylings of a python. Yes, I held a snake. It was a highly supervised affair. I believe I am now in high contention to be Steve Irwin’s successor. I was thinking instead of Crocodile Hunter I could be “Shannon Storey: Snake Holder…But Then Get’s Kind Of Freaked Out and Has to Put it Down.” I think it’s catchy. I will post the pictures on the blog as soon as I get them.

And that’s been a recount of day gone by. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say I think you are awesome! Even if some of you who are reading this I have never met…I’m pretty sure that when we meet I’ll think you’re awesome. Thank you so much for your prayers and support…it’s what gets me through. All the best wherever this finds you. And please go out and enjoy the fall colours for me.



“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: City Dwellings

As the ides of September have come and gone I write you from my new city dwellings. This past week I relocated all my belongings to a new abode which is located more in the city of Lusaka than where I was at the farm which was about 20km outside of town and took anywhere from 15-30 minutes to get to, depending on the road and what large truck decides to pull out in front of you and go at idling speed all the way…not that that has ever happened, it’s just hypothetical.

So the new place is a small, small, house on the property of a bigger house where a family on our team, the Allens, currently reside. So it’s nice in that I have my own space yet I’m not totally isolated either. Not only do I have the Allen family to keep me company but it seems a plethora of cockroaches and spiders. Last night I killed four cockroaches and two big spiders in the span of about half an hour. My method of operation was a can of “killing” spray which I realized a little two late was probably the wrong method in an enclosed space as I felt a little light headed the rest of the evening.

So moving has been a big part of my week here. Those pack-elephants just don’t move as fast as one would desire.

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to record the choir from the church by the farm of which some good friends are a part of. They sounded great although insisted on using this cheap keyboard complete with drum loop to play along with their singing on distorted speakers and they wanted that to be recorded with them. I loved the sound of them just a cappella so we recorded each song a couple times with the keyboard and then I made them sing it a cappella. They are coming again next week to finish up. They wrote all the songs themselves which is quite amazing! Now is the tedious process of editing it all. I’ll post some clips on the blog when I get a chance.

I had a good time with the kids at Chisomo again on Tuesday. They are also great singers so I’m setting up a time to record them as well. Guitar teaching is going well. Tomorrow I’m giving the “string changing” lesson as one broke the other day…most likely from all the killer 80’s solos I’ve been teaching.

On Saturday I had the youth from my church trek out to the farm to play soccer and some games. It was a typical Zambian event of meeting at 1pm, which actually meant 1:30pm, leaving for the farm at 2pm. Finally getting there at 3pm after picking people up. The original plan was to leave at 3:30pm or 4pm but ended up leaving at 5:30pm and by the time I had dropped everyone off and gotten lost in the process and back home it was about 7pm. But a good time none the less.

This afternoon I had a meeting with the Kasupe Rural Health Committee of which I am honoured to now be a member of. The topic of discussion was getting mosquito nets to distribute to the hundreds of needy people in the area as well as bags of lime which is used to sanitize the pit latrines. If you recall from previous writings and blogings this is the committee of elderly women who I made push a Landcruiser when I killed the battery on our home visits…and they still allow me on the committee!

For all of you in Abbotsford I hope you partook in the feastings at the annual MCC Sale, an event like none other. I can’t believe I missed it…and all that fine Mennonite cuisine and quilting. I think I shall attempt to make some Portzelky. There’s nothing like drowning your sorrows in fried dough, am I right!?

Mit herzlichen Grüßen,


“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.…He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls”

~ 1 Peter 2:2; 24-25

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Seventh Inning Stretch

I hope you all had joyous Labour Day. I now certainly hope not to see any of you in a photograph wearing white. How appalling. That no white after Labour Day thing is a good rule of thumb for here, except everyday should be Labour Day because if you wear white you are asking for trouble. You’ll get a solid 10 seconds in your best whites before you look like a McDonalds swirl ice-cream cone of white and brown. Especially if you are 3 years old. I am not…but I have a young friend, Payton, who is. This Sunday he was wearing a brand new white shirt his grandma gave him for his birthday. As we were walking into church Elise, his mom, says to me, “so how long do you think that shirts gonna last?” Literally, thirty seconds later Payton is face down in the dirt.

I’ve been here approximately seven months now and it seems that the novelty of being in Africa is finally wearing off. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this place but all of the sudden one (being me) realizes that this is life. The things that used to be quirkily amusing now seem more annoying than amusing. Such as the street lights (which are called “robots” here…no, they are not electronic men/women, they are just like home) at major intersections that have been not working for the past 5 months and so it’s just a free for all to get through. For some reason it seems the four way stop procedure does not take effect here. Then there is the realization that the problems and pain in this country are far deeper than you could imagine and the overwhelming helplessness and exhaustion that brings. But then there is the upside to this seventh inning stretch, such as I’ve made some great relationships here, I’m getting a new perspective on life and what it is to be a follower of Jesus, and realizing maybe we in the West are not as lucky as we think we are.

The schools are just coming back into session now so this past week was again more quiet than usual. I had a good time at Chisomo on Tuesday doing a Bible study with about 25 youth. I have a couple new guitar students. The problem is that guitars are ridiculously expensive here so we learn on an extra one here at the farm.

Wednesday youth Bible study here at the farm continues to go well. It’s a small group but I think I prefer that because I seems to free everyone up to really ask some good questions and think about what we are talking about. One guy, Fisher, told me that the next day he goes and teaches the things he learns here with a group of his friends which was so encouraging to hear.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to experience a Zambian “Kitchen Party”. This is something similar to a bridal shower. So it’s a little ladies gathering for the bride who is getting married and the event is geared at stalking up the bathroom. Actually, no, you may have deduced from the name that all the gifts are meant for the kitchen! So the bride comes in covered under a cloth being led in with her family in what looks kinda of like an African conga line…perhaps it could be a “Congo” line. Haha. Then they do a little dance. And the bride takes a seat in the front and has look down the whole time and look sad. There is a whole spread of food and plenty o’ dancing. The ring leader of the party kept looking at Elise and I and saying in Bemba that they were going to make the “Mzungu’s” dance. I broke out into a cold sweat and conveniently looked occupied and refused to make eye contact with the woman…I think she could smell my fear. The last time I tried the traditional dancing I think I dislocated a hip. They say that if I practiced I could do it…I would rather be able to walk.

Here’s the latest on what I’ve ingested. I went with a Zambian friend, Daliso, to this sketchy market place to eat what is called “set.” What it is is nshima (the thick porridge-like substance that is the staple here) served with a chicken head, chicken feet, chicken liver, and chicken intestine. What a treat! So I ate it all. It didn’t taste bad, it didn’t really taste like a whole lot. I ate the eyes and brains and all. Daliso said I could use another set of both. My mom would probably agree with this statement since I am enthusiastically eating this stuff. You can check out pictures on my blog:

Tonight I was driving home with Susan, who is back visiting from Sinazongwe for the week, and we drove over a snake. We were told that it’s not a good idea to drive over snakes because they can attach to the bottom of you car, get up under the hood, and slither into the car. We didn’t mean to run it over but she didn’t see it and only I did before it was too late. So we freaked out. Susan was driving and I was in the fetal position for the rest of the ride home. I don’t like snakes. But I would probably eat one.

We’ve made it through seven months! Thanks for taking on this adventure with me as we press on. I hope this letter finds you well. Feel free to drop me a line or seventy about what’s going on in your life…even some pictures…but remember I better not see anyone in white now. (Actually, I think that rule is ridiculous…I’m gonna wear nothing but white!)

Love from Lusaka,


“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~John 4:13-14

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: On the Move

As usual I will update you with the latest weather report here in Lusaka, Zambia. Things are starting to heat up as I have once again employed the use of the squeaky ceiling fan. The winds continue to blow creating clouds of dust that give me the illusion that I am getting a tan, only to come to the sad realization as I see my “tan” in a puddle on the shower floor.

This past week has been busy but good. I was involved with leading a workshop/Bible study on HIV/Aids at Chisomo drop-centre for street kids. You may recall me mentioning doing this back in May as well. So I was there every day and we had a group of 13 youth between the ages of 11 and 17 attending. It went really well. On Friday morning we took 10 of them to be tested for HIV. This is always a nerve racking experience. You can see the anxiety and fear on the kids faces as they wait in the waiting room to be called for the counseling, then get their blood tested, and nervously wait for the results. And it’s not only the kids who are nervous, I was pretty much a wreck. But the results came back and all 10 were negative! The look of relief and joy on their faces was priceless as they would walk out of the room after receiving their results. Although we did have one girl in the group who is 15 and already knew she is HIV positive. So hopefully the things that we learned and talked about in the workshop we stick with them and help them to make right choices and rely on God to face the struggles and temptations before them.

My favorite moment was when Mary, age 11, just found out she was negative and was talking to me a mile a minute, telling me she wanted to be a news reporter, her favorite, colour, her favorite food, etc. She went on non-stop for about five minutes straight. I couldn’t get a word in. She told me that when she became a news reporter she would buy me a big house and a nice car. I told her she didn’t need to. She insisted. Then was my favorite line. She takes my hand and looks and at me and says: “I will never forget you, Sheila! Hmmm, seems like you already did!

So I will be working more regularly with Chisomo which I am excited about. I will be doing a weekly Bible study with them and hopefully going and teaching them some music. I also hope to go along with another guy to do outreach on a weekly basis where we go visit the kids still on the street, bringing the ones most in need to the centre, and also trying to reconnect kids with their families. Don’t worry, Mary, “Sheila” will be back!

This past week there was also a camp happening near the farm for about 40 orphans put on by a guy from my church who runs an organization called “In Community Care for Orphans,” the goal being getting sponsors to help these orphans continue to live in their community, rather than taking them out of it. So this was their yearly camp and on Thursday night I was invited to their campfire time to teach them some songs. We had a good time. The kids ranged in age from about 10-18. It was their last campfire so they were handing out prizes for different things like the “most helpful”, “the best example”, “most improved behavior”, etc. Coming from the West I was expecting the prizes to be some cool gadget or toy like we would give out at home, but was given a bit of a reality check when the prizes were actually things like soap, toilet paper, and toothbrushes. Things these kids needed desperately and were so happy to receive.

Then there were my usual activities at the farm such as youth Bible study, choir, and guitar teaching. And then of course there is my new nightly routine of thoroughly inspecting my mosquito net to make sure no pestly mosquitoes have infiltrated my defenses. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to the gentle hum of a mosquito trapped inside the net with you, buzzing around your ear while you slap your head in vain trying to rectify the situation. Few things are more annoying…except maybe having a lion trapped inside your net with you. I’ve yet to experience it but I imagine it to be unpleasant…they are big, they purr loudly, and there mane would be all up in your face. It’s one thing to be eating my a mosquito…that itches. But being eaten by a lion…that hurts.

One more thing and then I must let you go. I will be moving come the middle of September into town. There is a small, small house on the property of one of our families which I will be soon occupying. This will mean that I won’t be so isolated from the rest of the team, especially as we have two new families joining us, and it will be more convenient as it will be a lot closer to everything. I will continue to keep up my ministry here in Kasupe but it will mean less driving as right now I am pretty much having to make the trek into town at least once a day and this way will only have to come this way a couple times a week.

So all in all I’m excited about this new chapter in my time here with moving and involvement with street kids. I hope you all are well and thanks you once again for what you mean to me.

Love from Zambia,


“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because

of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” ~Titus 3:4-5a

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: The Windy City

The weather patterns in Zambia seem to work like clockwork. I mean you wouldn’t want to set your standard wrist watch to it, it’s not the atomic clock or anything, it just seems very predictable. Stable in a sense. You always no what’s coming. I like that. Because it seems like nothing else about this country works in this fashion, nor has anything about this trip followed this road called “expectancy.” So at least the weather can. They said it would get windy in August. So coming from BC where the only thing predictable about the weather is that it will probably rain when you really don’t want it too, I didn’t think too much about it. I was thinking maybe a gentle northeasterly wind to come passing through now and again. But no, they actually meant it gets windy. It’s like Chicago out here, the Windy City (which I recently learned bears political meaning rather than barometrical significance, but I still choose to think of it meaning the latter). In the mornings I sometimes lie in bed and listen to it. Sometimes it sounds angry. Like it wants to blow my humble abode clear over, sending my thatch roof a sail. Other times it sounds calming, like it is bringing forth something new or just letting you know it’s there. I like the wind. I like the way you can feel the wind even though you can’t see it, you know it is there…surrounding you, pushing you, holding you. It is real. The wind reminds me of God, of His Holy Spirit who is with us. And even though I know God is real, sometimes it’s nice just to feel Him, like the wind.

There hasn’t been a whole lot new to report going on this past week. It was yet again another goodbye as we saw the Stein family go back home to Minnesota after a year here. They were working with the community schools and Steve was serving as our interim director and with him leaving we currently have no one leading us here on the field. Tim Hilty is standing in as our “Officer in Charge” and I am thinking of making him a badge, vest, and beret to wear to all our meetings. But at least this week with another goodbye we got to say “Hello” to a new family joining our team, the Melville family, who I’m happy to say have greatly increased our non-American contingency as they are from the UK although were living in California. The common-wealth contingency is rising up here in Action Zambia! We and the Queen will eventually take over.

My weekly activities continue on as normal, although numbers seem to have dwindled this past week at the different events. Perhaps it has something to do with the schools being on break…or it’s me. I have started teaching one of the youth how to play guitar. So we’ve been meeting three times a week which is fun.

Finally, here is the latest rat report: I have not eaten any this week but as I sit in my hut there is the distinct aroma that is neither sweet nor pleasing, but rather the something dead. Now if you recall I mentioned previously about my rash outpouring of poison in a moment of intolerance and I’m sure all you animal rights activists are singing I’ve gotten my just dessert. I’ve searched everywhere, can’t find it. I think it may be in the thatch of the roof. I’ve noticed several fly larva showing up this morning…a sure sign of something dead Mr.Gondwe tells me. I guess I’ve learned my lesson. Just because something wakes you up every night doesn’t mean you should bombard it with poison. A lesson probably best learned before I have children.

And that concludes another long-“winded” August letter. I am so blessed to have people like you, who support, encourage, love, and pray for me…and put up with my nonsensical ramblings (because if you got this far, you indeed do!), it blows me away! I’m so thankful for you. Have a great week and eat something weird for me.



“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Monday, August 6, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: And then there was one…

Hither, I bring forth to you another account of the events of days gone by. And it came to pass that it was week bitter sweet in nature…I ate a mouse Sweet & Sour style! Actually, that is a falsehood. It was for the fact that I had to say goodbye to my two good friends, Susan and Stephanie, with whom I have lodged with for my entire say here so far, Stephanie being my esteemed “hut-mate.” They have moved 6 hours south to a bush area called Sinazongwe to do medical ministry there with another organization. So this past week I, along with Tim, Andrea, and their daughter Irene Hilty, were able to go down with them to help them move and get settled in. It is beautiful down there and they are on a lake inhabited by many crocs and hippos…swimming is not encouraged! While there we unpacked their oodles of medical supplies for their clinics, painted the clinic, spilled the paint all over the floor, had to scrape it off the floor until it was completely gone, organized and inventoried all the meds (I think Andrea and I butchered every single name except for maybe Tylenol…and we barely pulled that one off…but we had a good time doing it). It was nice to be able to help them transition a bit. The directors are a South African family and I learned that every meal must have some type of gravy, and exorbitant amount of salt, and of course followed by a dessert, which no matter what it is they call “pudding” which must include a thick custard. So I took a little trip down heart attack lane…but I wasn’t complaining!

It was hard to see them go as that leaves me the lone single ranger here…although I through a mean “Solitaire Party” on Friday nights. But I’m excited for this opportunity that they have to use their gifts for God’s glory down there. And they are only a hop, skip, and a 6 hour bus ride away!

I returned to Lusaka to some sobering news. The elderly woman, whom I believe I mentioned in my last letter, who was suffering from a lot of pain in her back passed away while I was gone. I was shocked to hear the news. I still don’t know what she died from, and probably won’t, but was taken into hospital and then the doctors and nurses went of strike. That’s Zambian health care for you. It’s heartbreaking but a good reminder of the urgency this country needs to hear the hope of Christ for their salvation.

The youth choir continues to go well. I think close to thirty youth are showing up on a weekly basis…although it usually takes a good hour for them all to trickle in. We have a lot of fun, they aren’t the best singers in the world but they’ve got heart and enjoy swaying to the beat! We’re working on the singing part. I usually do a short devotional with them and this next week have invited those who want to do a Bible study to come on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday kids club is also going well. This past week I led it by myself. Usually Chalo, one of our Zambian team members, helps out and does a bunch in Nyanja so they can understand more. So we sang a lot. I taught them a bunch of new songs. We learned about Noah and I showed them how to do three legged races (symbolizing how the animals went on the ark two by two!). We had a blast. It’s those times with the youth and the kids that make the struggles and challenges here easier to bare and remember why I’m here.

As for this weeks peak into the life that is Africa…several local kids killed a big spitting cobra right outside our property this morning. A couple weeks ago one of our guys found a dead one and brought it home and then put in on my doorstep, knocked on the door, ran away, leaving me with the nasty surprise. I was not amused. Although I was slightly amused when he did the same to Susan on her doorstep and she screamed.

Also, my hut, of which I am now solitude in, has rats. There is a small ceiling above the shower and bathroom of which the rats seem to make their nocturnal home. So often I hear them scurrying around and making a ruckus up their. They have yet to jump off down to where I am. So a couple days ago a put a big ol’ box of rat poison up there, box and all as it instructed me to and sure enough in the middle of the night I hear them going to town on that box…it was so loud couldn’t sleep. My only comfort lay in the cruel yet satisfying knowledge that their obnoxious little lives should soon be through.

Well, on that uplifting note I will draw to a close. I thank you again for all your support, prayers and encouragement. Words don’t seem enough to convey how much it means to me. I wish you well this week.

God Bless,


“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Team Time

The past three weeks held my first experience hosting a team here in Zambia and oh, the times we shared. There were 10 people here from California, most in their late teens or early twenties so it was great getting to know them and work with them. They were a great team and a huge encouragement to me personally, as times of late have been a bit on the discouraging side.

This past week we were able to meet with a local Rural Health Committee in our area consisting of five of the cutest old Zambian ladies ever. They do home visits to the many sick and vulnerable in our area. So I along with two girls from the team, one being a nurse, were able to come alongside them and join them. So on Thursday we had them select 8 homes that they thought were in the most need and we were able to go visit them and bring them a bag of Meali Meal (what they make the staple food out of) and a blanket. We had a blast with the ladies. I killed the battery on the truck midway through and so these five ladies and Alisha and Esther (from the team) had to the push the car as I attempted to start it. A feat I had never taken on nor conquered before. But after four tries the unthinkable happened and we actually got it started. I can’t believe I made five old ladies push start a land cruiser! But we were all quite proud of ourselves none the less!

It was challenging experience to see such heartbreaking need. Most of the families were widows who had taken in several orphans and the widows didn’t work or have much means to support their expanding families. One elderly woman was paralyzed from the waist down and has taken in several children. She would get herself around by dragging herself along the ground. The whole experience just seemed to reveal just the hopelessness that exists in this country and it’s hard to feel like there is nothing you can do to “fix” it. It just drives home that this country’s only hope is God and His salvation through Christ.

We were also able to visit an elderly woman several times in her home who was suffering from some severe back pain. The nurse from the team, Alisha, was able to teach her some stretches and give her several massages to help temporarily alleviate the pain. This was another situation were you just feel so helpless because you see someone in such pain and there is so little that can be done for them here.

On a lighter and perhaps more disturbing note…I ate a whole mouse! That’s right fur and all…it was cooked, don’t worry. It was actually not too bad, tasted like chicken. Although, lately I’ve found myself foaming at the mouth and have taken a craving to cheese and making holes in walls. I also managed to slip some dried caterpillars into the taco meet for dinner one night…I’m not sure if my shenanigans were appreciated by all. I suppose I should have warned them the dinner may contain traces of caterpillar for all those with severe insect allergies.

Then on Friday we invited a bunch of the people in our area over for an open house. So for the occasion we slaughtered a pig and two chickens and I had the privilege of slaughtering one of the chickens (as is the woman’s role here). It was a first for me…I’m thinking of opening a new business called: “Shannon’s Slaughter Shack!”

This Saturday is a sad day as I have to say goodbye to Stephanie and Susan who will be moving six hours south to work with another organization doing medical and midwifery work. I have lived with them for the last six months (and shared a humble hut with Steph) so it’s hard to see them go…and that leaves me as the lone single person here, but I’m excited for this opportunity they have. I will be traveling down with them this weekend to help them move and see where they will be living.

Our team is still going through some struggles and we are still very much in transition, topped with seeing two close friends leaving makes things a little discouraging for me personally at the moment. But there is still much to thankful for and with and for God I will press on.

So thanks for reading another verbose letter…I hope it finds you well. Check out my blog for pictures of events gone by, such as mouse eating and alike!



Friday, July 13, 2007

Mary Phiri Hupp

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.”~ Psalm 77:13-14

A journey that started many months ago came to fruition this past week. I first met Steve and Patti Hupp in April when they came to Zambia for the first time to meet the little girl they were going to adopt, a two-year old heart breaker named Mary. In June Patti returned to Zambia to complete the adoption and bring Mary home, a process that should have taken no longer than three weeks…so here we are six weeks later to tell of the miracle of Mary. Trouble was a brewin’ when the courts went on strike the first week Patti and Megan (our missionary who helps facilitate adoption) were here, essentially putting a halt on any progress to be made. Working with the Zambian government is difficult at the best of times, it makes it even more difficult to work with when they refuse to work. The strike ended about a week later but the effects of the strike lingered delaying the getting into court to get things finalized on the Zambian side. Then a four day Zambian holiday put another obstacle into it all compiled with a stubborn passport guy (I believe Passport Guy is indeed his official title!) who has the ability to bring forth adult tears in his office, helped delay progress even more.

Finally, with things finished with the Zambian side it was off to the American embassy to get documentation and a visa so that Mary could go home. This has always been the smoothest part of the process…until this time. A new hard nosed lady in the embassy decided to make things difficult and was requiring that they provide the embassy with a death certificate of Mary’s mother to prove she was in fact an orphan and Patti was not abducting her. I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to find official documentation in Zambia but to give you an idea…the filing systems in government and official offices is comprised of stacks and stacks of papers on the floor with little rhyme or reason to it. So trying to find a death certificate from a woman who lived and died in a compound is nearly impossible. To complicate things further their flights were continually having to be pushed back and changed in the busy season of flying where little was available and the cost of changing was substantial, compounded by the fact that Patti had left her two young children and husband behind in Indiana for well over a month now. With this new requirement hope suddenly looked very bleak that realistically they could get what they needed and fly out mid Thursday. Suddenly the horrible reality set in that this adoption may not work and Patti would have to leave Mary behind because what the embassy required was impossible to find. Tuesday and Wednesday things did not go well again with working with the embassy and there was only Thursday morning left before there flight. There was only one hope of left of trying to submit a letter from the nuns and the orphan home where Mary was first dropped off to try and satisfy the requirements of the embassy. So under the cover of darkness on Wednesday we set off with a letter to be signed by the sister at the home which didn’t say what the embassy wanted but short of making things up it was the best we could do. We had the Sister sign it and raced to the embassy. I stayed in the car with Mary. On the way in Megan suddenly realized that they had the wrong paper and the one they needed we had left with the sister. So back to the nunnery! We got the right paper and raced back, not without a Chinese fire drill in front of the embassy so I could go park the car with Mary. Now this was a long shot by far but God is a God of miracles and on July 12, 2007 a miracle occurred. With hours until their flight was supposed to leave the embassy accepted the letter and granted Mary her visa to go home Indiana. To God be the glory because there was no way this should have worked in the situation we were in. So on Thursday Patti and Mary Hupp took to the air to go home. I think God taught us all a lot through this situation. Of the many things onne being the power and necessity of prayer. Another, that our plans are not God’s plans but he alone is God and is in control.

So that’s the story of Mary. We are so excited for the Hupp family. You can check out pictures on my blog and flickr site: (go to the photographs link in the sidebar for more pictures). Take care!


I will tell of Your miracles, I will sing of Your deeds

You did not keep silent, You did not hide your power from us

Though our hearts grew faint and we could not see

Your remained faithful to an undeserving people

Your grace and mercy abounded

Christ has conquered our enemy

You made a way where we could not go alone

You led us despite our unbelief and have humbled us

Your work sings of your power and glory

You are the Living God, our life, our hope, our victory

May we live all our days for You, for You are good, Your love endures forever.