Perceptions of Normality

The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121 v 7-8

How true it has been, that the Lord has been watching over my comings and goings over the past three months! Zambia already seems so far away, though I’ve only been home a week. I’ll miss so much about this amazing country: even things that baffled me when I first arrived, I grew used to and loved by the time I left.

It’s crazy how life in Zambia became so normal. For example, back in May I thought ‘I’ll never get used to eating nshima – and with my hands!’ but then it became the most natural thing ever. So then, it’s strange how everything at home becomes normal again: our excess of everything is astounding, yet it’s normal.

A few things back home took some getting used to, like being reminded that I can drink tap water without a problem, or that summer evenings in England stay light until late (the sun sets around 1800 in Zambia, so there was me thinking it was still the afternoon when in fact it was 2100. Time flies when you’re catching up with the fam!). Also, that British summer weather is neither predictable or reliable. After being caught in a downpour with only sunglasses, I’ve been reminded that carrying a brolly is usually a wise move (although it was a refreshing walk after 3 months of no rain!).

It’s true that Africa gets into your blood, though it took me longer than I thought it would. I wasn’t in love with Zambia from the word go by any means, but now I can say that I love it and I think there’s now a little part of me left in Africa. I don’t know how it happens or what changes – but maybe that’s it: Zambia didn’t change all that much when I was there, but I did by leaning on the Lord. And as I trusted Him with more and more, I loved his creation more too. God took me and moulded me to be more like Jesus. It’s Him that got me through this trip, and Him who changed my perspective so I could love Zambia and accept it rather than resent things that were out of my control. I’ve seen that I’m not in control one little bit. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but the flip-side is the truth that the God of the universe is in control. He holds all things in His hands, He goes before me, and He goes after me and He is with me all the time.

I’ve also learned that God’s family knows no borders. During my time in Zambia I have met so many amazing people, and I’m so grateful that God put them in my life, even for a short time. It is so cool that you can go all the way to Zambia and meet awesome girls of God from Scotland and Northern Ireland!

I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Of course I knew that before, but being in Africa has given me a better perspective: I’ve experienced God’s provision and care in such real ways. Our God really is an awesome and incredible God, and it’s Him who deserves all the glory.

Constant One, endless is your love: like a river can’t be stopped, you’re faithful. Constant One, who is like you God? Your mercy’s like the sun: always rising over us.

– Steffany Gretzinger

This song reminds me of the verse in Lamentations 3 which says: ‘…his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’ God really is the constant one: in the midst of all the changes, changes in culture and changing from place to place, He stayed the same, and he continues to stay the same too. God has been a real rock and refuge that I can run to when I don’t know what is going on, or how to cope with everything.

Zambia, I miss you already. This year has been one crazy venture, but God used even the difficult times to bring me closer to Him, so I can say now that I wouldn’t change a thing.

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To everyone who has prayed, read and encouraged: Thank You! And thank you too, to all of you who have been a part of my First Serve journey. This year has been amazing so thank you for being a part of it!

‘We’re getting there: we’re determined to discover all that you have hidden for us along the way.’

Endings and Goodbyes

It’s here: my final night in Africa. The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy, so leaving has crept up on me fast. I’m so excited to be heading home to see everyone, but I could so happily stay longer. I’ve met a new family out here; it’s hard saying goodbye.

At Oasis, we spent last week preparing for Mountainside’s Sports Day which was held on Tuesday. There were a lot of last minute things to be sorted out as ever in Zambia… we got covered in lime doing lines for the tracks (it’s harder than it looks: rusty machine/wheelbarrow + uneven ground = hard work), we got grubby constructing army tents as shelters (not the best day to wear a white t-shirt), and we still had flags and gazebos to put up on Tuesday morning (second time lucky on the gazebo front – camping chairs wouldn’t have provided much shade). Everything did come together eventually and it turned out to be an awesome event. By the end of the day we were filthy, sweaty and shattered, but it was really great fun! The kids got so into it: their chants/songs/dances to cheer on their houses were a-mazing.

It’s been great to spend my last days in Zambia with the Moyo family, and I even got to go along to the kid’s final awards assemblies. Schools are closing for holidays right now, so it’s been a time of winding down homework-wise, but busy activity-wise! Please keep praying for Nicki and Ziso – there are always things to be done at Oasis, but pray especially for the official opening of Oasis Village which will take place next Friday. DSC_1002DSC_1003cropToday was the final assembly at Mountainside Primary, and school is now closed for a month or so. Each class presented a song, a short play or a lesson and the kids received awards for 100% attendance. Many of the parents came to watch too so it was another busy morning!

DSC_0962This week I’ve met another amazing girl of God: Molly is also from Northern Ireland, and it has been a pleasure to get to know such a great sister in Christ. Whether it’s clinging on in the back of the truck, doing school drop-offs, babysitting, cooking nshima for lunch at Mountainside, or constructing tents and gazebos, I reckon we make a pretty awesome team.

This evening I am spending a last night at GLO. It’s been a time of fellowship, tea and cake – I’m going to miss these people and this country. DSC_1009FLAVOUR OF THE WEEK: Hazelnut = Nutella when it comes to ice-cream and mmm it’s good.

RIDE OF THE WEEK: Riding in the back of the pick-up truck was a tad tight along with a braii stand, two gazebos, a big crate of drinks and all our bags.

TRANSPORT TROUBLES: This week we’ve had to push a minibus up a small hill so we could jumpstart it, and just this morning the pick-up shuddered to a stop as we ran out of fuel. It took some pushing before we could roll into the fuelling station, but at least it wasn’t too hot for the guys at 0800 in the morning! There’s never a dull day in Zambia.

DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: Turns out a 12-seater minibus can actually carry 41 children and 6 adults – and I thought 31 kids was a squeeze!

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: ‘Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.’ Colossians 4v6. This verse, and James 3v1-12 both talk of how important our speech is. In James, the Bible says the tongue is like a tiny spark that can set a whole forest ablaze – that’s how powerful our words are. How can it be that we praise God and slander other people with the same mouth?

When the source of our life has changed, the words which emerge from the new source will be changed words. The need for our faith to be revealed in the words we use, means a constant committing of our thoughts and attitudes to God.

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting and praying for me during my time out here, I am so very grateful. I can’t believe that I’ll be leaving Zambia tomorrow; it has been one super crazy incredible venture. On getting home I’m aiming to write up an overall look-back/reflection, so look out for that soon (after I’ve caught up on some sleep!).

Welcome to Amano

Another week in Zambia has flown – the other day I referred to something back in May, and found myself saying ‘two months ago’. It’s now week 11, where did that time go?!

Week 10 was spent with a team from GLO at Amano Christian School, where we led their spiritual emphasis week. It was a pretty packed week, as each morning we led assembly, before meeting with each year group for longer sessions throughout the day. Our focus, or theme if you like, was worship and what that looks like in the life of a Christian. There was also lots of time for questions and discussions, which was great to get alongside the youth especially. DSC_0584b+w

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God.

A highlight I’d pick out would be singing and dancing with the Grade 1-3s. Those guys are so tiny but so full of energy, and it was super fun to praise God with them. They might be more difficult to have deep discussions with (‘What might some people worship instead of God?’ ‘Jesus!’), but they challenge me to not care how I look when I’m singing praise to God.

As well as the spiritual emphasis sessions, I was able to help out with Grade 2-3 English lessons each morning. It was cool to see how the school worked; most of our day was spent in the hall, so I enjoyed being in the classroom for part of the day too. Amano is an international school with around 140 students, and there are around 20 different nationalities represented there. It was amazing to see so many different people living, learning and worshipping together. DSC_0605b+wI spent the weekend staying with Ian and Marilyn Campbell in Chingola, before travelling back to Ndola on Monday morning. It was such a relaxing time, and lush to catch up with the Campbells; it’s been a while since we were in Livingstone together back in May. The weekend passed by with guitar lessons at Ipusukilo Orphanage, pancakes for brunch (massive treat), Youth Fellowship at Bethel Chapel (lots of volleyball followed by discussion on a book) and church services at Bethel on Sunday. It was also a pleasure to get to know Sarah – she’s a born and bred Scot who is staying at the Campbells while helping out at Amano. Over the past 10 weeks God has really blessed me with amazing people, and I’ve loved meeting more of His family out here.

FIRST ENCOUNTERS: This week I had my first real encounter with red ants. It wasn’t particularly drastic by any means, but I am so glad that I haven’t met them up close before now; those critters can bite eesh.

GAME OF THE WEEK: There’s been many this week; I learned ‘GEEZER’ with the youth at Amano, which takes a lot of concentration in a big group! We also introduced the Campbells to Dobble which got competitive – cheating at this game didn’t even cross my mind until playing with Ian…

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: ‘Miss Kirsty, why does your hair look like you’ve just got out of bed?’ Oh, the innocence of first graders.

DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: You can still be freezing sleeping under four blankets in Zambia. Though four more blankets and a hot water bottle later, and I was out like a light.

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: ‘Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?’ Job 40v9. God made all the stars, the mountains, the oceans… there is no end to His mighty power, yet I still put limits on Him. My view of God is too small. When Job questioned God, God’s answer didn’t satisfy his mind but it satisfied his heart. When Job realised that his view of God was far too small, he was no nearer understanding God’s ways, but he could accept them with thanksgiving.
God is sovereign and though we may not understand His ways, or even see them as contrary to what we do understand, we can still trust Him. DSC_0639-001

And Lord we want to lift your name on high, and Lord we want to thank you for the works you’ve done in our lives. And Lord we trust in your unfailing love, for you alone are God eternal, throughout earth and heaven above.

Coming up… This week I am back in Ndola for my last week-and-a-bit at Oasis. It’s a busy time with Sports Day and the end of term coming up, so there’s lots to be involved in.

Please pray…

  • For the awesome students of Amano School – that they will be continually challenged by the gospel, instead of it becoming mundane as ‘the norm’
  • For Ian and Marilyn Campbell – that the Lord will continue to provide for and protect them as they live for Him in Zambia
  • For Oasis and Mountainside Primary – that all will go smoothly at the end of term, especially for sports day!
  • For Sarah – that she will enjoy serving at Amano for the next three weeks
  • For Emily in India – that she will keep enjoying herself and leaning on God
  • That God will keep teaching me more about his greatness during my last few days in Zambia 

I can now count on my fingers the days ‘til I leave this beautiful country. Everyone says it, but time really does fly! I know there’s still much more to learn in these last ten days… Zambia never ceases to surprise after all.

Climbing a Mountain in Sandals

Camping in the bush for three days has been a whole new experience – but one that I have loved. God is so good and we’ve had the best time! The aim of this particular trip was to take the gospel to the people of Mankanda Village, Mkushi. GLO Zambia often runs camps this time of year for young adults, but this year it was our turn to be the mission.

Village life is an adventure: I have so much respect for these people and their amazing skills. It’s hard, but they make things work – cooking on firewood, bathing outside and boiling water to drink are all the norm in the village.
Saturday was our day to arrive, set up camp and get used to our surroundings, with the main programme beginning on Sunday. Sunday morning was church in the village, where we received a really warm welcome. Again, I was blown away by the beauty of African voices singing together.

In the afternoon, we played games using the grounds of the village school. There was a big game of football and a netball game, as well as games for youth and kids. It was challenging, especially with the language barriers, but fun to spend time playing with the people of the village. When it got dark, we set up a projector using a fuel-generator, and showed a film about Jesus’ life. It was amazing that some people chose to respond at the end of the evening, and came forward to be prayed for.

On Monday, we spent the morning at the farm harvesting sunflowers. Only the heads are needed: they are dried out for a week or so, before the seeds are used to make cooking oil, or ground and mixed with mealie meal to make nshima. The farm where we stayed belongs to Auntie Beatrice, who usually lives alone on her land. There is a lot of potential for the farm, but this means lots of work, so it was great to be able to help her out with the sunflowers. We also led a session on agriculture on Monday afternoon and were able to leave the village with a huge bag of seeds.

A highlight of the trip was climbing up a small mountain on Monday afternoon, even if it was a struggle in my sandals! Zambia is mostly flat, so it was a treat to climb up and get an amazing view. God’s creation is beautiful. The evenings we spent singing and sharing around the campfire were also pretty special – campfire smoke penetrates everything, but I love how the heat and the light gathers people together. DSC_0412

Being in Mankanda was an eye-opener to village life in Zambia. There is lot of work to be done there and there are so many needs. This year Auntie Beatrice has started a project to build a clinic in the village, as the nearest one at the moment is some 12-15km away. With no transport, there is a need for better access to medical care in the village. It has been amazing to see the work that is happening, and how much help is needed too.

‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.’

– PSALM 100

DSC_0176b+wPRESENT OF THE WEEK: The head sock (ie hat) that Maria bought for me hardly left my head all weekend. Yes, I’m in Africa, but I’m not sure I would have survived the cold that well without it. Thank you Maria!

GAME OF THE WEEK: Playing netball with Zambians is…different. What I thought of as a non-contact sport can get pretty aggressive here I’m telling you.

DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: Bathing open-air is surprisingly fun, but it can get a bit nippy with the odd gust of wind.

CULINARY DELICACIES: Sweet potatoes have been an almost-constant snack over the weekend. They’re slightly different to back home, but still tasty (I didn’t stretch to having them for breakfast though). I’ve learned a new way of cooking them too: bury under the hot ash of last night’s fire, then eat out the middle when it’s soft. It’s real camp food, but pretty good!

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: God has been teaching me a lot about humility.
‘But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ -Galatians 6 v 14.
Many times I forget that faith is between a person and God, and find myself judging others for the way they live out their faith because I always think that my way is best. ‘We forget that all of us have but a partial revelation of divine truth, and if we have understood things which others have not, they too have insights which we lack.’
1 John 2 v 15 says: ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ It is easy to condemn someone as ‘worldly’ because of certain habits or things they do, but I forget that I can be equally ‘worldly’ because of my inner desires and pride, which may not show themselves so obviously.DSC_0156Coming up… Tomorrow I’m going back to Kitwe for a couple of days to help Auntie Sheba with an article for MMN UK. On Sunday I head to Chingola with a team from GLO: we are going to Amano School to lead a spiritual enrichment week there.

Please pray…

  • For the people of Mankanda village – that they will come to know Jesus as their living Saviour
  • For Auntie Beatrice – that God will continue to sustain her and provide for her too
  • That God will keep teaching me patience as I face more new challenges this week
  • For my phone to last – thank you for praying so far; it’s still holding up at the moment, but by the skin of it’s (metaphorical) teeth
  • For our time at Amano School – that we will work well as a team and that God will lead any work we do there

 

Thank you for your prayers this weekend – God blew away my expectations and provided so perfectly like He always does. He is so good!

Photos and Photocopies

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update, so I’ll do my best to fill in the gaps.

My second week at REHOCH, Kitwe flew by. The main focus was compiling details and photos of the OVCs (Orphaned and Vulnerable Children) in the education programme, but there was still time to play with the kids at the orphanage. I also got to go along to a Women’s Empowerment Group in Kapoto community. At REHOCH, the chickens got more used to me, though some were a bit too cocky for their own good!
On my last evening there, our devotion was a send-off encouragement: ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ Ephesians 2v10. It was a much needed reminder that God had this trip planned – He knew what I would be doing beforehand. Saying goodbye to the REHOCH family was really sad, but I have learned so much and I am super grateful to God for my time there.

When I arrived back at GLO for the students’ graduation, I discovered I was the ‘official photographer’ – no pressure right? It was such a fun day though and the students really made the ceremony their own, with songs, dances and personal testimonies. There were more goodbyes too, as the guys all left GLO after the ceremony. It’s crazy how people come and impact your life for a short time and are gone again, but I’m sure that God has amazing things in mind for each of these guys. DSC_0968cropThis week my new best bud is called The Photocopier. I’ve been back at Oasis, and there’s been a lot of work to do in the office at Mountainside Primary as we get ready for next term. It’s an exciting time, as the end of term means Sports Day and special assemblies, but it’s also super busy! I’ll be back at Oasis for a final week later in July. 13566004_1071619339584983_1694387376_n b+wThere are lots of things that are tough about being here, not least being away from my family, but through it all God is here. He’s a rock and a constant, and I’m always amazed that He would listen and answer my prayers.

‘I’m not going to worry; I know that you’ve got me right inside the palm of your hand…
Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart, I will run to you, because I know that you are lover of my soul, healer of my scars.

You steady my heart.’

– Kari Jobe

DID YOU KNOW: Zambians call a hat a head sock. Maybe I just find it funnier than it is.

DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: Here you can buy Cashew and Coconut Cadburys Dairy Milk. Mmmm. Who knew that Africa did chocolate better eh?

UNWELCOME FRIENDS: After seeing cockroaches and a frog jump out of my room, I was even more grateful for my mosquito net to tuck me in at night.

CULINARY DELICACIES: As well as caterpillars, Zambians also eat grasshoppers, as I’ve discovered this week. Can’t say I’ve gone as far as to try them myself – they don’t exactly smell appetising, not going to lie.

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ John 1v14. Jesus came from heaven to live with us. Say what?! One thing I’ve been struggling with a bit this week is the issue of relating with people at their level. There’s a part of me that says ‘I don’t know how to do this, we are too different’, but Jesus came to us from all the glory of heaven. How much more different can you get? To share Jesus with people, we need to go and live with them and relate on their level, even though it’s a big challenge. Jesus gave us everything, and gave up everything to do that – it’s an incredible love and He calls us to love people like that too.

Coming up… Tomorrow morning we – me and a team of 20 from GLO – are heading off to Mkushi for a mission trip/camp. It’s going to be three days of camping in the bush. Zambia is throwing countless new experiences my way, that’s for sure.

Please pray…

  • That God will be protecting us this weekend, and for bonding really well as a team
  • For communication – out in the village English isn’t widely spoken at all, and my Bemba stretches to ‘Hi how are you?’ so I’m a bit anxious about communicating with people
  • That God will continue to teach me how to relate to people, no matter how different we are
  • For Em in India – she is over a month in now, so pray she’ll keep leaning on God
  • For my phone to last – it’s dying a bit on me and I don’t want to have to get another here

Thank you for reading and for your encouragements – I’ve got just four weeks left in Zambia now, so I’m trying to make the most of each moment and new experience. Your prayers are so hugely appreciated!

New town, new faces

Note to self: when picking eggs, don’t make any loud noises or sudden movement. Unless you want to be showered in feathers and dust and face a room of angry birds that is.

This week I’ve landed in Kitwe (a town north west of Ndola), where for two weeks I am helping at Renewed Hope Children’s Village (REHOCH). It’s been another week of new: new place, new faces, new challenges. I didn’t realise just how much work it took to look after chickens!DSC_0172crop

As well as an orphanage for 11 children, REHOCH supports 387 OVCs through an education sponsorship program. The vision is ‘To give hope to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children by offering them love, respect, security and a sense of belonging to a Godly family, with assurance for a better tomorrow’. REHOCH is, above all, an example of what can be achieved by prayer and faith – I am both amazed and encouraged at the work here, and I have been so challenged by the faithfulness I see around me. There is a lot going on at REHOCH, so here are some pointers for prayer already:

  • The main water supply comes from a solar pump which is temporarily broken, so pray for speedy repairs.
  • As an income generating venture, a school is being built on the site. Pray for the necessary funds for the finishing of the school, which includes plastering/wiring/plumbing/painting/windows/doors, as well as all the school equipment.
  • Funds are needed for another vehicle, which is so important to allow work to continue effectively.
  • Pray for Annie Sheba, the founder and visionary for REHOCH, that she will be sustained in God’s strength!

So far this week, I have helped out in the poultry, made a year-planner calendar for the office and written the newsletter. We have also combed through the sponsorship records, to put names and details to photos of faces. Getting photos of the kids we were missing sounded simple enough, but it didn’t take long for me to remember I’m in Zambia. Nothing is simple! DSC_0189crop

I’ve been in Zambia for 6 weeks now, which means I’m half way through this venture. Even though I’m trying to embrace every new experience, life in Zambia is hard. But that’s just it. For me it is an experience: I get to go home to every home-comfort I can think of, but here this is LIFE. It doesn’t stop. There is no break.
Being here, I have realised so many things that I take for granted at home, whether it be electricity, water from a tap, a kettle, toilet paper, having an address. I notice something new every day. You want a shower? You can be clean in under five minutes back home. But for many people in Zambia, bathing means going to collect water from a pump and boiling it on coals, before finally washing by standing in a bucket. Not a quick activity.
Every day things such as washing your hair present a challenge: is it better to wash myself in shampoo water, or wash my hair in soap water? Not gonna lie, more than once I have wished for the courage to shave my head!

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

-Isaiah 58 v 10

This week I went with Auntie Sheba to visit a couple of kids in the sponsorship program, who live in Kapoto – a local community. Kids were playing with kites made from plastic bags and mats on the ground were made out of sacks. Yes, it’s a different side of life, but when you’re left wondering ‘Is the same planet I live on?’ there’s obviously a big problem. I’ve been praying for God to open my eyes and my heart to the people here, and He sure has answered. The temptation is always to look the other way because, well, what can I possibly do? Yes, it’s overwhelming, but I have to remind myself that God is still sovereign.

‘We have the privilege of serving Jesus Himself every time we feed a hungry belly, each moment we give dignity to someone who has none left, when we share our extreme excess with those who have nothing, when we love the forsaken and remember the forgotten. Jesus is there.’

– Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

DID YOU KNOW: If you don’t collect them, chickens will eat their own eggs. Apparently they enjoy them so much, that they won’t go back to eating chicken feed, so timekeeping with chickens is essential. Also, chickens stink.

BREAKFAST SURPRISE: Coming into the kitchen one morning, I was met by a dead chicken in the sink. Not quite the wake-up greeting I had anticipated…

GAME OF THE WEEK: I have introduced the REHOCH kids to UNO. Colours and numbers are a pretty universal language, but sometimes still have to remind them of what the miss-a-go card means, or whose turn it is!

EXTRA-CRUNCHY TOAST: Plan A was to make toast in a pan for supper, but then one of the house mothers pulled a toastie-maker from the back of the cupboard. ‘There’s just cockroaches in it because we don’t use it’. Back to Plan A.

ON THE ROAD: So I’ve not only had my first experience of a public bus by myself, I’ve also experienced driving Zambian roads by myself! Turns out automatic car + lack of road rules makes driving in Zambia super fun, as long as you swerve the potholes (craters) of course.

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Psalm 62 v 8 says: ‘Trust in him at all times, O people: pour out your hearts before him, God is a refuge for us.’ As we pour out our hearts to Him, we grow closer in our relationship with Him too. Knowing God and being close to Him brings trust, confidence, peace, relief… and prayer is a channel for God’s power. The power of the one who made the universe can change circumstances, face struggles, meet needs. ‘It’s amazing how many coincidences occur when one begins to pray’.

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Coming up… I have another week here at REHOCH in Kitwe, before heading back to GLO on 26th June for the student’s graduation. Following this I will be back at Oasis, helping out some more at Mountainside Primary.

Please pray…

  • That God will continue the amazing work he has begun here at REHOCH
  • That I will get to know the kids here better, and that language/cultural barriers won’t be an issue
  • For Em in India – that she will keep depending on God whatever she’s doing, wherever she is

 

Living-stone it up

This week has been full of pinch-myself moments. By which I mean EVERY moment was a pinch-myself moment. There have been so many blessings and amazing things, so I’ve done a wee high-lights round-up:

#1 Chobe National Park, Botswana
Home to thousands of elephants, getting to go on a game drive and a river cruise around Chobe was super special.DSC_0482

#2 Giraffes up close
No sooner had the words ‘I want to see a giraffe!’ left my mouth did this fellow pop up right by the track. DSC_0499

#3 Driving through a herd of Buffalo
We thought our guide might stop at a distance to let us take some photos, but he drove right through the herd as they were crossing to the river. Talk about up close and personal. Also, did you know that buffalo are the meanest? They are the only animals to not have a mock-charge, so when they go for you it’s for real. DSC_0524

#4 Baboon watch
Kids will find games wherever they are and it was no different for these babies. Branch-swings provide hours of fun. DSC_0510

#5 Scottish company
It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to share all these experiences with these beautiful ladies. Thanks for sending them Peebles! DSC_0541crop

#6 Elephant encounters
Being up top on one of these amazing creatures was surreal. Elephants also eat 19-20 hours of the day because their digestion systems are so inefficient. DSC_0727

#7 Sunset on the Zambezi
Watching the sky go orange as giraffes and elephants went by along the banks, I felt like the luckiest person alive. DSC_0810-001

#8 Falls called Victoria
You can totally understand why they’re called ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ in the local language; the falls are beautiful and majestic. Thanks for the travel tip Renee – 60p to hire a poncho was def worth it. DSC_0966

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95 v 1-2

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FUN SAFARI FACT: Crocodiles can go a full year without eating and survive. What with them being cold-blooded, they need to bask in the sun to be able to digest. Otherwise they are essentially a fridge for the food they just ate.

ON-THE-ROAD RECOMMENDATION: The Fig Tree Café at Kabwe is a great stop for breakfast on the road, and the muffins fresh out the oven are to die for (who said you can’t have cake for brekkie).

DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: Avocado cheesecake is a thing. But don’t be fooled; there’s a reason two of my favourite foods have never been combined before.

TRAVELLER’S CHOICE: Fawlty Towers Hostel (oh yes) in Livingstone is an amaze place to stay. Complete with fire-pit to toast marshmallows around, it was a treat to spend a few nights there.

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Corinthians 12 v 9. God is sovereign, so he reigns supremely over everything, even the trials we face. His grace is sufficient, so he gives us what we need. One thing I’ve seen so much this month is that God knows what we need before we even ask, and His provision is perfect so we just have to trust Him!

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Coming up… Month one has come to an end, and June brings new opportunities and adventures. This week I am back at GLO, before heading to Kitwe next Monday to help out at an orphanage there.

Please pray

  • For Nicki and Ziso – for energy as they continue to work away for God
  • For Oasis Village as preparations are made to move new children in this month – pray that the kids there will be receptive and welcoming
  • For Ian and Marilyn Campbell – I am so grateful to God for this amazing couple who have been our own personal guides for Livingstone. Pray for the work they do in Chingola, for God’s blessing and provision for them
  • For Emily – coming to the end of her first week in India, that she will know God’s presence
  • That God will keep teaching me more about Himself, that I will be growing more like Jesus every day

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Just a glimpse of you sets my soul on fire forever. Just a taste of you, and my world’s alive with wonder. Just one touch from you, fills my heart beyond all measure; open my eyes, invade my life, my Lord.

– Rend Collective

Thank you for all your prayers, God continues to answer. He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine, to him be the glory!