Monday, 5 August 2013

Dancing and Sailing....

We have decided to start a new blog for both me and Sydney since my adventures in Zambia as a single woman are now over. This blog will now chronicle our new life as a family as it grows and most especially our new life together and ministry here.

If you want to go back and read about my work here before with the orphan work under LION of Zambia, or read how we met and many of my personal adventures in Zambia since 2010, please check out the previous blog: .

People always ask about blog names- why did you chose them and where did it come from? We chose “Sailing in the storm” because it is a line from the song we danced to at our wedding “Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson. We feel it accurately describes us, and what we will face in our life and ministry together. It is not always easy here. Life in missions is often full of 'minefields' and 'storms'- but together and with the grace of God ever guiding us... we can dance and sail with joy that surpasses human understanding.

When I left off on the other blog I was explaining how we are in Lusaka temporarily and what our future plans hold. I can now be a little more specific since we have our set schedule and our feet on the ground a little more.

We will be staying in Lusaka doing something of an abbreviated internship here at Lusaka Baptist Church for the rest of this month, August. There are two main reasons for this time in Lusaka. One- that we get settled in our marriage and have time as a newly wed couple to get our bearings in Zambia before diving headfirst into the work. The second purpose is for us to get to know the church in Lusaka better, to interact with the church family here before we are sent out by them and for Sydney (and me, at a much more minor extent) to have opportunity to serve and minister while we are here.

Thus far, Sydney has taken up responsibilities preaching twice at Lusaka Baptist Church as well as Emmanuel Baptist Church (a church plant from LBC in Chelston, Lusaka). He has also ministered at two youth group meetings and (so far) preached at one Bible study meeting. Over the next few weeks we have quite a bit planned. Sydney will preach this Thursday at Bible study. On Friday, we will leave for Mpika (an 8-10 hour drive) so that I can see the place (I've never been there!!), we can interact with the people, potentially look for temporal housing and Sydney will preach both services on Sunday. Sydney will give a report at Lusaka Baptist toward the end of the month on our projected plans for the work in Mpika. We are also being interviewed on Tuesdays at the various cell/home fellowship meetings of LBC. We also may have opportunity to serve at the upcoming youth conference at the end of the month. There will be a “setting aside” service to set us apart for the work in Mpika on the 25th of this month. The last week of the month is the Reformed Baptist Family Conference and following that we will head north!!

It has been challenging feeling “here” but not settled, living from boxes and suitcases- but we know that the time is quickly coming when we will be able to settle more fully and establish ourselves fully there in Mpika. I am REALLY looking forward to that!

In other news, I wanted to give a quick update about Sydney's health. I have been rejoicing over my results from my biopsies- my body seems to be ridding itself of the precancerous cells found last year. Now the tables have turned and the focus is on Sydney.

While in the US, Sydney had a routine physical exam with a full blood workup. The results were a bit unfavorable, most especially to do with his liver readings/function and with the advise and help of Pr. Dunn's wife- we were able to see a gastrointestinal specialist the very day we were flying out. This was the second time Sydney's blood tests showed abnormalities in liver function (last time was in 2008) so we took it seriously. The specialist also felt that they were not looking good as well and gave us a LONG list of suggested tests and follow up exams. He kindly informed us also that it was going to cost us a small fortune.... being that we were leaving that afternoon we couldn't do any of it anyway.

We brought the recommendations and results to a doctor here from Kabwata Baptist Church who works at the University Teaching Hospital. ( If you followed my other blog- you will know that I have a special loathing for that place for multiple reasons. God, however, through MUCH prayer- gave us (read: me) grace and we spent about 3 days back and forth getting things done.) Many American readers will find it interesting considering what we pay in the US (and that small fortune the previous doctor spoke about) that it cost $2 for each lab work done, and $2 for a liver ultrasound. Our total hospital bill was $4.

Sydney had another blood test for hepatitis, a complete urinalysis and an abdominal ultrasound to look for liver/kidney damage.

The GOOD news is, the urinalysis results were fine and normal and he does not have hepatitis or any visible liver damage. The bad news is that while during the ultrasound, the technician found free floating fluid in Sydney's abdomen. We took the results back and the doctor said all things are great except the fluid- which is almost always a sign of liver damage. So we are essentially back to square one. He has given us orders for two more thorough and specific blood tests (the names of which I couldn't begin to pronounce) which can only be done at another lab somewhere else in Lusaka. We have yet to make that appointment but will do it before we leave for the Muchinga Province, where Mpika is found.

Please keep us in prayer as we seek God's wisdom and guidance especially concerning our health. It can be one of the easiest things for Satan to attack but we know that God is powerful and counts the hairs on our head. Nothing will happen to either of us that God did not call for so we have peace in that knowledge.

We had one minor issue here that was quite frustrating and irritating for me. As most people know, we sold almost everything when we moved so we are now starting the process of building back up again. The church family here has kindly furnished this temporal home for us but we will be moving to our own place soon and had to start getting a few things from here before we move. There was a stove provided for the time being here as well as a freezer, but no fridge and on the stove only two burners worked and the oven was not functioning- so since we needed these anyway we decided to purchase them now so they can be used during our stay here.

The fridge is fine, but the stove was/still is something of a nightmare. We chose what we wanted, paid and then I drove home and left Sydney to ride with the delivery truck. They brought the items from the warehouse and Sydney asked them to open the boxes- which they weren’t happy about. The first fridge had some damage so he sent it back and they brought a new one. The stove was scratched and damaged but he said it was the only black one left. Sydney called and we decided to just go for white. The white one was also a mess (missing a knob and a broken pin). So he settled for the one on display which just had a small scratch on the side (we thought).

They delivered them and when we hooked up the stove we noticed the whole thing was leaning to the side. On further investigation, we saw that a bolt was missing. We got a one year warranty so we drove back into town (and I HATE town) and the guy sent his technicians to the house.

He came and didn’t have the right part so the NEXT day, he came and fixed the screw. When we checked it again it was still crooked so Sydney unscrewed them both and lifted the hob to find the entire left side- the metal is completely bent down a good two inches. We have been calling back since Saturday and *surprise!* none of the phone numbers work.

We've realized we've been “had” and rather than wasting fuel, time and energy trying to chase these people down... we've decided to try and take it into our own hands and fix it. Which- praise God, SYDNEY DID! I held the hob up and he managed to use pliers, a screwdriver and a washcloth in a way only a man can- and the thing is now level and looking like new. Some paint is scratched off because of the way the metals were rubbing but it's a small price to have a working stove that we worked together to fix and set up- it was a labor of love. :) It can be really frustrating to know we paid full price for something and something less than top quality... and I know some people are thinking “you have a warranty, why not just go get a new one”. I can assure you there are 1,000 reasons why it is so much easier not to. Some of these things are unexplainable unless you come and live the experience with us!!

A side note- I had to laugh at a recent youth meeting we went to, a younger girl asked me if I was still working with the orphans. When I told her no, she said “Oh- then what do you DO during the day?” I gave a simple answer- “I am a pastors wife, so during the day- I take care of him!” But my oh my the things going through my mind! Laundry- by hand, takes hours. Cleaning the dust that's flying around (and even sweeping outside because it's concrete, not grass), Shopping, in Lusaka traffic (my nightmare) and long cues at the stores (AND when you have to hop from one store to another because the meat at one store is bad but they have the cheaper canned goods, and the bread at the other store is fresher but they have no vegetables.... etc), budgeting and recording our spending, pressing Sydney's clothes, Cooking three meals a day, washing dishes from those 3 meals cooked a day, visiting families or hosting visitors, cell group meeting on Tuesday, Bible study on Thursdays, youth group on Saturdays, church on Sundays, Family devotions followed by marriage devotions/book study with Sydney and somewhere in there I do devotionals and personal Bible/book studies in preparation for hosting ladies group meetings in Mpika and on top of all that we are having the car serviced, fixing stoves, chasing stove salesman, visiting the Chirwa's in Kabanana (only twice so far unfortunately), visiting Sydney's brother and keeping up with family issues here, trying to keep up with emails and messages from the US and organizing/ repacking/unpacking/sorting boxes and belongings. So yea, I just take care of Sydney :)

Either way, that's our relatively “scattered” and simple update for now. I hope to be more regular on this blog now that we are a BIT more settled! Above all else I can say this, we have felt so much love and support from God shown especially through LBC but many others this past month. We feel incredibly blessed and we have been talking and amazed by how God just keeps providing and providing whenever needs arise. We feel secure that we are walking in the right direction, and we can feel HIS hand guiding us along the way. We are very, very happy. 

"'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found."  -'Dancing in the Minefields' -Andrew Peterson

1 comment:

  1. Good to get the update and see the new blog!