Wrap Up: Missing Entries

What another amazing year of ministry!  It was so busy this year I could not find the time or internet connection to blog all the wonderful testimonies and stories that I hoped to.  So to give you a quick overview of the year I am including short testimonies with photos of the stories I wanted to share.  Unfortunately, there will not be a Window Into Africa 2010.  

But instead of the Gallery I hope you are blessed by the testimonies!

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An Ebenezer Christmas

I was curious how to say Merry Christmas in the local language so I asked a few locals.  The response I received was a bit shocking.  They did not have words for this saying.  I asked why and they replied that Christmas was not a big event to them, but a foreigner’s holiday.  I asked if they celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and they said no.  I asked if they were believers and they said yes.  So I asked them what they actually did on this day and they told me it is a day like others, just they get a holiday from work and can drink all night.

This might sound shocking to you, but here in Zambia the majority of the people profess to be Christians, while at the same time hold also 1-3 other “spiritual” beliefs and walk strongly in local tradition.  It has been a struggle I come up against time and time again when ministering the truth to the same people.  All I can do is continue to minister truth to those who will listen and are hungry and to the rest I can only pray.

With the children of Ebenezer it is a different story.  These children have been raised out of deception and fed daily huge amounts of sound biblical truth.  They are blessed to know the truth and be set free.  So I asked them what Christmas meant to them and they all replied it is the glorious day our savior was born.  They went around the room and mentioned all the blessings they had in 2010 and gave thanks to God. So this year I brought a birthday cake to the children, we lit a candle, and all of us sang happy birthday to our Jesus.  The children sang and worshiped, ate an abundance of rice, chicken, sausage, and never ending sweets, opened some gifts, and even had a dance contest. I thank God for these children and pray that one day they will be a light of truth into this dark part of the world.

 

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An Art Encounter with the Lord

The children at Ebenezer have come from such devastating backgrounds it is often hard to get them to let you in.  I have been doing prayer ministry and counseling with them and I often find that I must come up with creative ways to connect with their hearts to be able to make a difference.

I have been focusing on finding each child’s natural talents and God given gifts and encouraging them in these. One way I do this is through Art Therapy.  This past year I have given a few of the older boys art lessons and have been blessed to take them on a couple of field trips visiting art exhibitions and artists from town.

Last week I had an art contest and 4 of them tied as winner so I awarded them with a field trip to visit a local artist who, like these children, grew up in the village, was given a second chance. He made a career of his talent, even schooled in Europe and toured all around the world with his work.  He and his wife encouraged these boys, got them out of their shy shell and had them interacting in the art gallery for hours.

At the end of the day as I drove the boys’ home I asked each one how this artist helped to add something to their lives and to my surprise they all opened up and responded boldly and excited with an answer.  To summarize what they all said, they were given a message of hope this day, hope that the future can be anything they set their hearts on with determination and God’s help, no matter what their circumstance.  As I looked into my car mirror I saw the hope manifest into huge never-ending smiles on their faces.  This day added a milestone to their lives that they will always remember and I will not soon forget either.  Thank you Lord for your supernatural hope and for your creative ways of speaking to each of us.

    

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 Field Trip to Makuni Park

A field trip into town is a HUGE day for the children.  This day I was asked along with their house mom to take 17 boys to a local festival at Makuni Park and the boys had the time of their lives!  They were blessed abundantly with a jumping castle, donkey rides, playground, face painting, live music, and all new experiences that they had never had before.  They arrived home so tired they nearly collapsed. It was a God given Great Day!

  

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Special Delivery

It is 7 am. I woke up with excitement this morning.  I jumped out of bed onto the ice cold floor, quickly ran to my closet and grabbed several layers of clothing and tossed them on, brushed my teeth in a mad dash and was out the door.

I drove down the concrete road until it turned into dirt, lined with rock and multiple ditches.  I carried on the bumpy path until I crossed the railroad tracks and entered the compound.  I turned down a road and watched as all the little children ran out barefoot on the road, pointing and screaming “Mazungu”, the local word meaning white man, a novelty around here.  I pulled up under the giant boabab tree and turned off my car. Instantly I am surrounded by children covered in dirt, clothes in tatters, and no shoes on anyone’s feet.  I walk forward with my escort into a yard with a small mud hut and concrete two room house.

There has been a funeral two days ago.  Now the family from far away villages park themselves at this relative’s house and become “home” until they can obtain enough money to get back to where they come from.  One lady is washing dishes in a bucket, while 10 children sit around a fire for the only warmth they have.  An elderly male sits in a large chair off to the side overlooking the entire scene.

Peter rushes to greet me.  He hurries me past the multitudes of his extended family along with the six children of his own and into the concrete house.  His wife emerges with a bundle wrapped in what looks like 10 blankets.  “Is something in there?” I ask.  She laughs and hands me the baby.  All I can see are tiny little eyes peeking out at me.  With complete chaos around me he rushes me back to my car.

I stop and ask him where the other two children are.  He calls them from out of nowhere.  Covered head to toe in dirt, bellies extended form malnutrition, two little girls walk out and gaze up at me.  They have never known their father and have  just lost their mother, Peter’s sister, to AIDS.  Peter tells me they are only 2 and 5 years old.  I greet them as they remain silent and watch them quietly walk away to blend into the small tribe of other children.

We arrive to Ebenezer Childrens village and are greeted by two very excited house mothers waiting at the door with open arms.  They unwrap the little bundle to see that her skin just sags from her tiny one month old body.  The only nourishment she had was from her mothers breast as the mother lie in a coma before dying three days ago.  The house mothers clean the baby up and prepare a bottle.  They ask me her name.  “Toomba”, I reply and they just look at one another in silence.  Toomba in the native language of Tonga means Owl, a witchcraft curse among the locals.  Mrs. Chara arrives and immediately renames her “Malaika” meaning Angel.

The children gathered outside the baby room door.  They stood quietly as one whispered, “Can we see her?”  They all gathered around for the new arrival, excited as the first baby marks the beginning of an abundant new chapter in the Ebenezer Village.

A short while later Ebenezer received Malaika’s two sisters, so the family can be a family once again.

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Baking Day

One of my favorite times as a child was baking in the kitchen with mom.  The memories and life skills I got from that magical time stays with me always.  I am blessed to pass this experience on to several very eager children at Ebenezer.  I surprise the children with a new recipe, new ingredients they have never used or even heard of before, and the moto, “A good kitchen is a clean kitchen”.  Once their hands are all cleaned and ingredients layed out on the table we pass them around, sniff them, learn some cool things about them, then the baking begins with lots of hands ready and willing to make as big of a mess to clean as they can!

 

  

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Blog Design

Ebenezer Child Care Trust Livingstone

“A place of restoration for broken lives, and a haven of rest to the weary children experiencing tragedy at a young age.”

I have spent many excited hours, days, and weeks working on a blog for Ebenezer.  It is finally here, please check it out and see the Amazing work and miracles the Lord is doing in this place!

PLEASE CLICK HERE:www.ecct.wordpress.com

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Birthday Party

Can you remember the excitement of celebrating your birthday as a child?  Maybe you still feel that childlike enthusiasm coming on when your day is right around the corner. I know I do.  The children at Ebenezer have a different memory of their birhthday.  It was not a time that was celebrated.  For most of them it was a time they actually numbed out. These children come from some of the most neglected and abused homes in Zambia.  They never experienced what it was like to have someone rejoice in their birth and over their life.  Ebenezer pours the truth of the word of God into their lives and tries to restore that which was taken from them or never given. Birthday celebrations are just one way to restore to them just how celebrated their lives really are, to us, each other, and to our Father in heaven.

  

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Ele Rescue

The boat landed on the island with about an hour of daylight left. 15 of us emerged and began to scope out the sky for the helicopter. Heiko flew over in his Mircolight and sent an emergency message to our ground crew via the walkie talkie. A herd of elephant were coming our way and would be in front of us within only minutes if we didn’t move quickly. We rushed back onto the boat and went further down the island. As we hit the shore the helicopter flew over us signaling our direction to follow. Suddenly the Heli landed and we took off running towards it. My camera equipment hung around my neck nearly choking me as I arrived breathless at the scene.

 

There he was, 500 pounds of orphaned baby elephant. The vet managed to dart him with a sedative from the air giving us a window of less than an hour to tackle thislittle guy to the ground, create a make shift carrier, and transport him onto the boat so we could get him safe into the enclosure in the national park until he could be transported to the elephant sanctuary.

You never realize how much a baby ele can weigh until you have to carry one a quarter of a mile. The physical exhaustion of the team was tremendous by the time they managed to lift him onto the boat. The vet checked his vital signs, took blood samples and determined he must be only about a year old if that, and extremely malnourished. For some unknown reason his herd left him behind on the island.  

     

It was Heiko who first discovered the little guy while flying over the island with his passengers. For two weeks he kept seeing this little one and another slightly larger one all alone. He knew that once the waters raised these little guys would have little chance to survive on their own. He made a few phone calls to elephant orphanages and stumbled upon Kafue Park Ele Rescue. Within only a day they were here and managed to arrange for a team to help. I was honored to be asked to photograph the event, I was ecstatic actually.

Day one, Rescue number one, was a complete success!

It was fantastic preparation for the second rescue…

This time the ele was darted in the middle of a marsh. We began to run toward the ele when one of the team members, only two feet in front of me, fell into the quicksand-like marsh up to his chest. We managed to pull him out and carried on after the ele cautiously over the labyrinth of sponge like grass covering the muck beneath it.

When we arrived to the ele he was already down. The team made a carrier and began the trek across the marsh. This ele was heavier than the last and the team could walk only a few feet before laying him down again. The treacherous terrain did not help and time was burning fast as his sedative was wearing off.

 

 We managed to get him on the boat and to the shelter just in time for him to wake up and begin charging the walls of his enclosure.

 

What an exciting week!

As I sat on the boat with both of the eles I got to touch their skin, feel their tongue with my finger, rub their toes and ever so rough skin of their feet, feel the wire like hair of their tales, play with their jumbo ears and see the blood flow in the veins. The Lord reminded me that all creatures, great and small, have been created by His hand and for a purpose. What a miraculous design that once again points to the master artist and grand creator of all, so that when man marvels upon it he can say, “Only God!”

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One Response to “Wrap Up: Missing Entries”

  1. Wow, look like such an adventurous job!!!! You are doing awesome work for our Lord :0)
    Blessings, Gaby

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