Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Dedication of Baby Mercy

Meet baby "Mercy" Sikatianka!

A few weeks ago, her mother began feeling labor pains in the middle of the night. But in Sinazongwe, there is no hospital, no ambulance or emergency room.
So her mother, Mabey, got up and WALKED the 3 HOURS, crossing a river
and climbing hills, to a local government clinic
where she was admitted under the care of a midwife.
She delivered not long after arrival somewhere around 1am,
a healthy baby girl.
Stanley and his wife have 3 older girls.
When we found out they were expecting, we joked about them hoping for a boy.
Having a son is a big deal in this culture.
Stanley replied, "We want whatever God gives us!"
So, just a few hours after delivery, Mabey was discharged from the clinic at 6AM to begin her journey walking home! Can you believe that? Even being aware of the limited medical care, I was shocked that she walked home just 5 hours after giving birth! I was filled with a huge wave of thankfulness for the medical care we have available in the US!
But this story is not uncommon. Many still deliver at home for this very reason.

"Mercy" is the 4th daughter to Stanley and Mabey Sikatianka. Stanley is the leader of Siankwanga Baptist Church. A few months back, while waiting for the arrival of baby #4, Stanley shared with James that they wanted to dedicate this child to the Lord in front of the church. This is their first child since becoming believers in 2009.
Stanley had shared with James that they had chosen a name for the baby.
They wanted to give her MY name!

So Siankwanga Baptist Church invited our other church plants for a day of celebrating together! Many people walked over 2 hours for the celebration.
We really had no idea what to expect. In our minds, it would be a normal church service.
Little did we know that it would turn into 5 1/2 hours of singing and teaching!
I was beginning to get a little worried. After 5 hours of church, there was still no sign of Mabey and the baby. I kept thinking, "Where are they?"
So, we learned a little about their culture this day.
When presenting a new baby, the mother and child stay at home.
When the service was almost over, all the women from the church go to the house and bring the mother and baby while singing and dancing the whole way!
They are literally rejoicing together over this new life!

When I heard about them giving her my name, I wanted to be a part of her dedication.
I prepared to speak to the church in CiTonga for the first time!
I read from 2Timothy and explained how important it is for the parent to teach their children the Word of God. I challenged them to pray for their children and speak Words of life to them.
James gave a charge to the parents to commit her way to the Lord and asked the church to be accountable as well.
(The ladies at church cheered after my first sentence. I know how much it meant to them to hear me speaking in their language! This is a continued prayer request for me. Pray that I will continue to find the time to study and practice the language!)

Let me just say how wonderful my kids are! They endured a 5 1/2 hour church service, sitting in the dirt! They always sit right with their Zambian friends!

And when they get tired... well, they can rest with their little friends too!

Taylor could not wait to hold baby Mercy!

Our prayer is that Stanley and Mabey will follow the Lord Jesus all of their days!
Please be in prayer for Stanley as he is seeking the Lord's will
about going to seminary next year!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our 7 Year Old!

On June 25th, Micah turned 7 years old!
It is still hard to believe that this is that 6lb.15oz. bundle
that was placed in our arms 7 years ago.
My how time flies!!!

So thankful for my handsome son Micah!

(thank you Nikki for the cake supplies!)








Micah 6:8
"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God."

Our Summer Girls!!! (Part 2)

Not only were Kat and Jess a blessing to the Tonga and our ministry,
they were a HUGE blessing to our family also!!!

They SURPRISED our kids with Vacation Bible School
that they put together themselves.
Splish Splash 2011 - African Style
My kids had a blast with all kinds of American crafts, games and
YUMMY treats!

I enjoyed having extra help in the kitchen too! I was having to prepare for a team and to feed 21 people for a week. Kat and Jess made Pigs in a Blanket, 80 Cornbread Muffins, 6 Banana Breads, 6 Cinnamon Breads, Sand Tarts, 80 Biscuits, a birthday cake... and I'm probably leaving a few things out! They were such a blessing to ME!

They played puzzles with Micah, (without a picture to go by) :)

... nail and hair shop with the girls

and even found some time for tigerfishing on Lake Kariba!

What a blessing these two girls from Arkansas :)
have been to our family!
How awesome it was to see their love for Jesus
and their desire to see the nations worship Him.

Please pray for Kathryn and Jessica as they continue to serve the Lord this summer.
This week they are serving at World Changers 2011 in Chattanooga,TN along with
over 100 other youth from our church. My prayer is that many other youth
will catch the vision... that life is not about what you do...
It is about what He has for you to do!

Just Do It!

Our Summer Girls!!!

Meet Kathryn Dillard and Jessica McClintock!
Best known as "Kat" and "Jess".
These two high school students from our hometown in Wynne, AR gave a month
of their summer to come and serve with us in Zambia!

They enjoyed attending Bible studies with us!
Here we are with some women from Siankwanga village.

It is not hard to fall in love with the children in Zambia!
Jess is holding baby "Marci" on the day of her church dedication.
Her dad, Stanley, is the leader at Siankwanga Baptist Church.

Kat's buddy stays in Siapaka village.
We fell in love with this little girl as she sang LOUDLY the
praise choruses at church.
She sang, "Jesus knows my name"
Praying this sweet little girl grows up to know the love of Jesus!!!

I took Kat and Jess to a Longezia Mission, a clinic run by missionary friends of ours in Sinazongwe. We went to observe their program for malnourished babies. My friend Karin, carefully coaches the parents in how to care for their babies and provides the much needed milk for many sick babies and orphans. This little guy is a 16 month old twin. He weighed only 13 pounds.
We are thankful that the Englebrechts are able to provide care for these children.
They share the gospel with each family that is in their program.

Recently, James was given the opportunity to speak at Sinazongwe High School to their journalism club. Kat and Jess were able to share their testimonies to these high school students of how they put their faith in Christ!

During their stay in Zambia, Kat and Jess put together a Sunday School curriculum for our church plants to begin teaching children. They modeled this for each of our churches, by teaching a Bible story, sharing what it tell us about God, and sharing a memory verse with them. In the picture above, they are teaching the children the song "Deep and Wide"
Our prayer is that these children will come to know how deep
and how wide the Father's love is for us!


We're Connected!!!!

Hallelujah!!! We are "online" at our house! After 2 1/2 years of no luck with internet access in our home, we recently purchased a new cellular modem through a different network AND.....

We are online! You see that little green light? He's my new best friend! ;) All joking aside,we are so happy to now have a better way to communicate with family and friends. I even held a 2 second skype call with my Dad. It stayed on long enough for me to hear, "Hello sweetheart!!" :)

This has been a poor excuse for a blog!!!

Between homeschooling and living far away from reliable internet, I just gave up on being able to keep it up. Every 8 weeks we go to the capital city to restock our groceries and take care of other business. I never seem to find the time to do this! So... here's hoping I do a better job! :)

** *This post is dedicated to my good friend, Suzie Rodgers. Thanks for not giving up on me! I've owed you this post for a LONG time now!***

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Zambia Mission Family!!!

Isn't this a great family portrait??? :) We just returned from our Zambia Baptist Mission Prayer Retreat. Our mission is celebrating 50 years of Baptist work in Zambia this year and we spent much time praying and thanking Him for all that the Father has done here and asking him to continue to use us to finish the task! Our theme was Praying Persistently. What a blessing to be with one another in the presence of our King! The Lord spoke to me through the following verses. Psalm 2:7-8 "I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me,"You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession." Join us in asking the Father for the Nations!!!

What a great family portrait! The Zam Fam!

James led worship with our good friend Mike Smith

The Protea Safari Lodge

What a beautiful place! What a blessing to be able to stay here!

Micah and "his boy" Easton Helgren fed a baby Bushbuck that came up to the hotel restaurant! It ate bread crumbs out of their hands!

Girls, Girls, and more Girls! :)

Uncle Kevin tipped the scale! :)

A fun time was had by ALL!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our hippo! :)

For a while now, we have told you of the hippos that live in our lake but have yet to "see" them. A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids down the road to swim. While there we heard a loud SNORT from the other side of the bushes. We got our camera and sure enough, about 20 feet off the shore, our hippo swam by! The kids call her "Gloria" (off the movie Madagascar). I hope this is as close as we get to "Gloria"! :)