Archive for the Missions Category

Wrap Up: Missing Entries

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Journey, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Revelation, Travel, Unity, Unreached People, Visions and Dreams on January 13, 2011 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

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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Got Shoes?

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Jesus, Love, Miracles, Missions, Unity, Unreached People on June 23, 2010 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

So how many pairs of shoes do you own?

Me…I won’t answer that question, it is embarrassing just how many.

Can you imagine what it must be like to never have owned a pair of shoes?

I woke up this morning shivering as I reluctantly got out from underneath my warm cozy blankets. I shivered getting dressed, stepped outside into the biting African winter morning and struggled to get my car to start. As I drove down my dirt road bundled in layers of clothes I passed 2 small children walking only in shorts and a t-shirt, their little feet bare on the cold ground. Several more children ran from inside their dilapidated houses without doors, also barefoot, just to greet me as I drove by.

Can you imagine what it must be like for those children to look at 200 pairs of shoes, some with the top designer names, and be given the opportunity to choose one pair…your first pair of shoes?

Today I was blessed to help deliver 200 pairs of shoes to a village an hour drive into the bush. We arrived and emptied the used donated shoes onto the floor in an “organized manner”…small ones to the left, big ones to the right.

The children lined up. Smiles lit up their tiny little faces. They walked in and began to select from the piles. But something was strange to my westernized mind…they weren’t taking the designer brands…not the stylish Nike or Adidas, nor the designer labeled women’s shoes, but they were grabbing any color, any style, and any condition of shoe just to find one that fits, not even a close fit, just one that would cover their feet. By the end of it some of the hottest shoes in the west remained laying on the floor not chosen.

I stood silent in awe. I realized that in a world of plenty we lose sight of what is really important, the heart of the Father. In the same time we make idols of the things that grab our attention with fancy marketing. I could see how these distractions could keep us from valuing what matters most, God’s unfailing love and perfect provision.

As we get dressed tomorrow morning and go into our closets to decide which shoes to put on our feet, may the children of Africa encourage us to first put on the armor of God and the shoes which really matter the most, those of Peace, so you will be fully prepared- Ephesians 6:13-17. Then we can stand against the temptation of the enemy in a world with so many distractions while standing strong in His presence and being victoriously clothed in His intimacy which radiates from within us.

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An Austrailian Radio station put a call out for shoe donations….

70,000 pair of shoes later and here we are, the first container of 15,000 has arrived to Ebenezer in Africa!!!

Children here in Livingstone are not allowed to attend school without a pair of shoes on their feet. Most of the children’s families can’t afford to eat, let alone buy a pair of shoes.

 This donation has been able to supply all 342 children at Ebenezer Orphan School with shoes each term, all of the children at Ebenezer Orphan Homes, multitudes of destitute villages, many of the surrounding orphanages, and all the children that come to us in need for a very long time to come.

 When the Lord gives a blessing it is always abundant!
 
The work has been tremendous for us the past several months since the container arrived, but to see the beaming faces of the children as they pick out whatever shoes they like to have is priceless. I don’t think I will look at a pair of shoes the same…
  
Thanks to the Lord in the highest and God Bless you Austrailia!
 
Love and Light,
 Anita in Africa
 

Graduation Glory!

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Journey, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Revelation, Travel, Unity, Unreached People, Visions and Dreams on May 17, 2010 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

Exciting news…

 I just graduated from Southeastern University!!!!

Only one month after I was saved in my home church, Christ Church of Orlando, I told Pastor Paul I knew my purpose in life: the Lord had showed me in a vision that I was to be a missionary in Africa!

He paused, encouraged me, and then told me that I needed to go to Bible College first. I remember in an instant my heart felt heavy. I was thinking how on earth could I go back to school after being out for nearly a decade? I was 27 years old and long gave up on the idea of college. I wondered how I could possibly wait four years to finish a degree before going to Africa to fulfill the purpose God created me for. In the naivety of the newness of my walk, I thought I was fully ready to go the next day and help save the world if I could.

Pastor quickly told me Southeastern was a great school, so I decided that if that’s what it takes to get me to Africa I better hurry up and enroll. That’s what I did, the very next day!

That was four and half years ago. Looking back, it was one of the best times of my life and biggest times of growth in my spiritual walk! I completed two of the greatest years on campus and then finished my degree online as I traveled through Africa on the mission field. I was warned by the many wonderful professors at the University that it would be extra hard trying to keep up with school while working full time on the mission field. They even tried to convince me to hold off until I graduated, but my call was so strong and in faith I told them I was going to do it for the Lord and work the hardest I could to graduate at the top of my class and contribute all the praise to Jesus.

That is exactly what I did. I have graduated with an overall 3.7 GPA. The professors were right, it was the hardest thing to do, but with Christ’s strength in me, I did it!

On Saturday, May 1st, 2010, I graduate! While my classmates gather in Victory Church, Lakeland, Florida, I am at the heights of the Victoria Falls where the statue of the great missionary David Livingstone overlooks this natural wonder. I am throwing my cap into the spray of the Falls with exuberant joy! I had just completed this exciting chapter of my life in the midst of my hearts desire, in the middle of my life’s purpose, sharing this dream with my husband who is just as excited as I am. 

With the rush of the mighty Zambezi water flowing over the falls every second of every day since the beginning of creation, not one drop of water is ever the same. God hand crafted each and every tiny little detail of our lives such as this, with the greatest pleasure. I stand overwhelmed by this magnitude of raw beauty and stealth power. I realize that like each drop of water going over and never returning, my life has also been. Daily the old is fading away to make space for the new transformation of my life.

The day I was saved in my church November 25th, 2005, I understood that my life was not my own. Jesus had placed in me the passions and desires of my heart that He had created me to experience. The love of Christ flooded me and gloriously wrecked me once and for all. I promised Him I would go any where He would lead me and I would never leave His side. I came in faith to Africa to serve my beautiful Jesus and be His love to this nation, but at the same time, He was wooing me even closer to Him…

And this glorious day, my graduation day, I am reminded that the best is still to come. As this chapter closes and a brand new chapter opens I wait in joyful expectation. So I say, “Father, I will continue to walk in reckless faith, for in deeper understanding of you, your love just keeps getting better!”

God Always Provides

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Uncategorized, Unity, Unreached People on March 29, 2010 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

It is raining. Mud splashes onto the window of the van. There are hundreds of broken down shacks along both sides of the old railway line. It is 10 in the morning and the track is filled with people staggering through the mud.

Brian, the social worker for Ebenezer and I are driving down the pothole lined dirt road into what the people here call the ZSM compound. The Zambezi Saw Mill compound is named after the old Saw Mill that built this settlement for their workers a couple of decades back.

Today only the run down homes remain. The families have been out of work since the mill closed down and now new generations of children are growing up in an area that won’t be able to give them a good chance at life. It is said that this is the most neglected place in Livingstone. This place has the highest HIV rate, crime and theft rate, alcohol and prostitution rate, and worst sanitation in all of Livingstone.

As we pull up to our destination I notice a latrine dug in the front of this run down house. There are bags that had once been used to hold cement, now sown together to form a sheet trying to give a bit of privacy from the masses walking past. Next to the latrine is a small pile of charcoal. This is the only source of income this family of 9 has, generating less than 50 cents per day. As we walked to the door the husband and wife came to joyously greet our unexpected arrival. We greeted the family and sat down to hear their story.

The father is deaf and mute, but it hasn’t always been that way. Excited, he runs into the house to get us a letter he has been holding onto for the past 10 years. It is a recommendation from one of the big hotels in Livingstone where he worked as a steward with the highest praise. He wrote into the dirt, “I am willing to work for anything”.

The wife began to show us around so we could see the house and its dilapidated condition. Plastic bags covered holes in the roof and over the walls that had collapsed from the rains, while rocks were stuffed into other missing areas to try to meet with the roof. There are partially erected walls on a foundation, completely exposed from the top, in the back yard. Here her sister’s family lives.

Ebenezer enrolled two of her children just last week. Mary, grade 2, and Munalula, grade 0, two beautiful children whose smiles reached ear to ear. She had 5 other children, 2 sets of twins (one recently died) and a single child, who are all too small for school. She tells us that they have not eaten for 4 days and the children are so hungry they could barely get up for school this morning. Her giant smile transforms into weeping as she tries with all she can to hold back the tears. Brian and I sit speechless for a moment, then he encourages her and reminds us that God always provides.

As we drive back to Ebenezer I ask Brian how he handles experiencing these cases every day. He says, “Each time it breaks my heart. But I feel honored that I was called to help the one who is placed in front of me. Through Ebenezer Child Trust I can bring children hope and watch as the school and the word of God begins to transform their lives.”

When we get to school I tell Mrs. Chara how devastating this family’s situation is. I tell her about the father of these children who would never be able to find a job in his condition. Without hesitation, Mrs. Chara told Brian to offer the man work at the orphanage as a grounds keeper and to start the next morning.

My heart leaps with joy! I am reminded again that God truly does provide. He takes people in the worst conditions that seem nearly impossible and within an instant changes their futures. At the same time He uses the faithful and obedient to be His hands and feet.

I thank the Lord for Ebenezer and the hope this school gives to the hopeless. I am excited that I get the opportunity to watch how Mary and Munalula lives will be transformed in the coming days, months, and even years. I praise the miracle of today and anticipate the lives we will get to touch tomorrow, and it is possible because people care enough to open their hearts, reach out, and partner with us to assist in giving these children a second chance at life!

Protected: 2009 Recap: Giving God All the Glory

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Journey, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Revelation, Travel, Unity, Unreached People on February 9, 2010 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

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Seasons Greetings: In the Presence of Angels!

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Journey, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Revelation, Travel, Unity, Unreached People, Visions and Dreams on December 15, 2009 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

 Merry Christmas!

Love,
Heiko & Anita

 

In the Presence of Angels
by Heiko Held 

Heb 12.22… you have come to thousands of angels in joyful assembly. 

I am in the midst of 300 angels…they are children, in prayer, their eyes closed, but their hearts wide open, thanking and praising God  for what He has done in their lives.

And just in front of me, a little girl 6 years old , her hands raised high into the sky;  even standing on her tip toes, to reach higher – her little hands turned upwards – touching Gods heart!!

It is the Christmas party of the Ebenezer school, and these angels were earlier singing and celebrating the birth of our Savior in a Christmas play ….Many of them are orphans, neglected or abused in their homes, but here at the Ebenezer school they can experience the tangible love of God…while their little hearts are reflecting Gods love back to Him… All for His Glory!

The Lord takes pleasure in His people. Ps 149.4a

A Day in the Village; A Lifetime in the Heart

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Healing, Jesus, Journey, Love, Miracles, Missions, Photography, Travel, Unity, Unreached People, Visions and Dreams on November 30, 2009 by Heiko & Anita in Africa

The heat has been tremendous the past few weeks. The rains are about to begin. We have been anticipating the arrival of Debra and Sy from Orlando (Debra is from my home church, Christ Church of Orlando).  They emailed us asking if we happen to live anywhere near where they would be traveling to throughout Africa.  As it just so happened, they are actually arriving in Livingstone!  They are coming to Africa for the very first time and it has been a lifelong dream of Debra, a dream since she has been a little girl. I am excited to have the privilege to show them a glimpse of this part of the world and share with her a tiny part of that dream…

We visited a village called Simonga.  The population is about 3,000, a rather large village.  This is the only village in Zambia run by a female Chief.  Her name is Elizabeth; she had won Miss Zambia back in 1970! We had the honor to meet with her on her porch as she educated us about her village and the local customs.  She stands firm in female education requiring all of the village girls to attend school, unlike most villages.  A statue of a woman stands at the entrance of the school to remind the village of this decree.

Her grandson took us on a tour throughout the village so we could see the actual lifestyle of the people of this area.  Everyone greeted us with warm smiles, laughter, and a surprised shout of “makuwa” (white person) as we walked by.  We arrived at the school and met the head teacher who took us into one of the classes.  The children sang Jesus songs for us as Debra and Sy handed out notebooks and pencils.  They rely completely on funding and donations to function at this school so they were all very grateful to receive. We moved on through the  village and the children began to gather.  We gave out sweets to the children who started to mob us in droves.  It was a fantastic day in the village!

Afterwards I drove them past one of the orphanages I work with called Ebenezer. They had brought us a huge suitcase full of things for the children (thank you Debra, Sy, Carolyn, & the lady in Debra’s apartment complex), including about a hundred pair of children’s underwear that is much needed.  I will be delivering all of it to them for Christmas this year.  We are very thankful, it will be joyously received!

It was sad to see them leave our little part of the world. But I rejoice in the miracle it was that the Lord happened to organize for them to visit us, out of all the places in Africa, right here in Livingstone.  They are off now to enjoy the rest of the beautiful continent of Africa and Heiko and I pray they return one day soon.  If not, we trust their lives have been touched, their eyes have been transformed, and most importantly, their hearts have felt the Father’s love through the eyes of every child in the village; for it is that same love that reflects in our hearts and helps us to fulfill each one of our dreams…