We have been visiting a lot of people. A lot. And with that comes new folks to this blog and our newsletter, so just a little FAQ before I get started…
Our goal is to send out a quarterly newsletter. I say “goal” because you know how it goes with goals… sometimes we miss the mark. Ministry, kids, personal craziness, etc, etc, etc. We do, however, intend to communicate with a newsletter on a quarterly basis and we aim to share ministry updates. In other words… just a bit more formal.
Here, on this blog, I write my personal reflexions and experiences as a missionary in Africa. It is not nearly as formal, and I do this: 1. because I enjoy writing (though I do not claim to be a “writer.”) 2. because I believe it is good and right to share my personal life and experiences with others, and 3. because I think there are at least a couple of people out there who are interested in how life is going for us as we serve in Africa.
If you are just now joining us, you can expect an email newsletter about 4 times a year and an email link to this blog (at best) every couple of weeks and (in reality) about once every couple of months, but I hope to get better about that.
WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!
We love nothing more than sharing about what God is doing through us, in us and despite us… and we LOVE sharing about what God is doing in Zambia.
This is Rob and I with Pastor Wafuka and Lily Kapolesa. They live in Zambia.
In fact, Wafuka IS Zambian… a national pastor with a call to serve in his own community.
Wafuka and Lily used to live in Swaziland. Wafuka was living in Swaziland as a missionary learning and working with Teen Challenge Ministries and a community development ministry called ICBC. While there, he met and married Lily, who was also serving in Swaziland as a missionary. After this time, Wafuka felt that God was calling him home, and asking him to implement this ministry work of Teen Challenge and the ICBC concept in his community of Kafue.
I am telling you about these people because they are the folks we will be working and partnering with in Zambia. We are SUPER excited about that. We love them already.
And here we have a picture of a little community just outside Kafue, Zambia.
It is in this place that Rob and I are going to serve in Zambia.
You can see from the photo that life is pretty simple in rural Zambia. Here, and other places like it, the needs are great. Families still haul their water, malnutrition rates are high, rates for disease like HIV/AIDS are high, but educational opportunities and job opportunities are minimal. The list could go on from here.
This place needs a ministry like ICBC.
What is that, you ask?
“In Community By Community” is a community development ministry. The goal is to come alongside a pastor and other leaders in the community and help identify the needs within that community. We will develop relationships, encourage, pray, even help train and educate, but the idea is to have community members identify needs and solve problems.
We (not just us, but many people who have worked in communities like these) know that issues like water and food security, orphan and vulnerable children care, and health will rise to the top of the list of needs. We will work alongside community members to find solutions to these devastating, life-draining problems.
But we don’t just want to bring relief, we want to bring transformation. Using local talents, a church, community center, a clinic, and a preschool will be built. The materials will be Zambian, the builders will be Zambian, and the teacher, health care worker and pastor will be Zambian.
I love that. Rob and I have dreamed about working with national people right in their community… living alongside, learning the language, being with the people, doing things the Zambian way.
And all of this will be done within the context of the local church, where ministry is central to the work and evangelism is a product of the work.
We are excited about that too. We have seen that a national has way more impact in a community, especially lasting impact, than we ever could as foreigners, and for us to come alongside local people and offer the support they need to become effective workers for the Kingdom… what an opportunity to transform a community!
So what will you be doing exactly, Rob and Jen?
Rob will be leading and coordinating the construction projects. As much as possible, local laborers, both skilled and unskilled, will be utilized during the entire process. The local builders will be building with traditional, kiln-fired mud brick using traditional methods. Great care will be taken to build safe and durable buildings to serve generations of Zambian believers. The end goal is to have buildings that community members can look at with pride and feel a sense of ownership that they helped bring it to reality.
Jennifer will be keeping things organized with bookkeeping and record-keeping. She will also be the one to communicate through newsletters and this… the blog. Her role is to free Wafuka up from many of the admin tasks so that he can fully invest in his passion, Teen Challenge ministries, and do what he does best, pastor. Jennifer also has another role as an educator. When the preschool is going up, Jen will go out, and identify preschool teachers and offer training for a quality, early education school. Again, Zambian builders and a Zambian teacher.
Those are our specific tasks, but in all of this we both feel called to develop community, and for us that means being relational, and investing in the lives of our new friends. Even in common tasks, like gardening or repairing a car, we expect relationships to happen and friendships to flourish.
The mission: Transforming communities for Christ through holistic ministry.
The process: In Community, By Community – Helping to build a Christ-centered community that reaches out to those in profound need, drawing them into a life-giving relationship within the local church.
So how can we help you, Rob and Jen?
We do need your help.
Consider partnering with us both financially and with prayer. We are raising support and it is expected that we are 100% funded before we go. Our goal is to be in Zambia sometime this May. This is a steep goal, but we know that as people like you learn about this ministry and become excited about what we are doing, the funding will come in. Join us. This is a ministry that will encourage you as you watch it grow and develop. It will bring you joy as you meet the people through us and learn about how they are investing and growing in their own community. You will be inspired when you are a witness to the Holy Spirit at work through the hands of His people.
If you feel that the Lord is asking you to partner with us, please visit the website for The Antioch Partners, our sending agency. They make giving easy. Most people find that automatic giving is a simple way to keep things, well… simple.
Check out our “Connect” page for other ways in which you can help.
I also added photos to our space over at Picasa. There is a direct link on our “Snap-Shots” page.
Thanks for walking this with us. We love you all and are encouraged by your support!