Monday, August 18, 2014

The Number After Thirty Nine

I walked into my fourth decade today.  I was not bothered by the big 4-0 as much as I was a bit more introspective today.  I wonder what my life has been these past forty years and what my life can be in the next forty (plus!) years.  Have I lived well?  Has it all been for the glory of God?  

I have had the privilege to travel to fourteen different countries outside the USA in these past forty years.  I have seen more countries than some but not as much as others.  I have lived outside the USA for almost 11 years of my life.

I have a marvelous husband and three fantastic children.  It is my joy to live and minister in Zambia.  As I look back on my life, this one verse is speaking to my heart today:

A man's heart plans his ways, but the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

I am so grateful for the twists and turns that my life has taken; all the places I have seen, the people I have met, the gospel that has been spoken.  A few times, the Lord has taken me places that I did not want to go but, oh!, the beauty of allowing Him to direct my steps.  He has made all things beautiful even through the ashes of my grief of not getting my way.  I want my heart to be His - totally and always.  Trusting Him every day.  Praising Him in every way.  Lord, let it be so for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Teenager in the House

Our volunteer team wanted to do a surprise birthday party for Hadassah while some extra friends were in Lusaka.  We totally surprised her!

 On her actual birthday (July 28), we invited some friends over to the house to celebrate.
The kids always get to choose their birthday meals.  She chose fried chicken strips (thanks to Jeff), mashed potatoes, green bean bundles and....italian cream cake!

We are very grateful for all our friends who made 
Hadassah's 13th birthday so special!

Friday, August 1, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

The new homeschool year has already started for us.  Many people have had questions on what we use for homeschool over here in Zambia, so I thought I would just tell everyone.  
Feel free to skip this post if homeschooling does not apply to you. :)

Above is Levi's Second Grade Curriculum.  
From the top down:
Rosetta Stone Spanish, Abeka Readers, Christian Light Readers of Helping Hands and Happy Hands, Explode the Code, Science in the Beginning, Horizons Math 2, All About Reading 3, Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills 2nd grade, Language Smarts C, A Reason for Handwriting and Traditional Manuscript Handwriting.  Not pictured is Adventures in Phonics C because I forgot to put it in the picture, Mystery of History Volume 4 because they have not released the hardcopy (we are using a download for now) and The Drive Thru History American History Edition DVDs.  These are just the basics as we have lots of other books that go along with these, especially living books for history but I didn't want to pile all of them up for you to try to see...

Above is Zoe's Fourth Grade Curriculum.
From the top down is Abeka Spelling, Kay Arthur Bible Studies, Rod and Staff English 4, Meaningful Composition Writing Curriculum, Rosetta Stone Spanish, A Reason for Handwriting Cursive, Science in the Beginning, Horizons Math 4, Lightbearers Worldview Study (this is actually for middle school but I am adjusting it for all our children and it is the Bible that we all do together), Bob Jones University Reading 4.  She also is doing Mystery of History Volume 4.

And, Hadassah's Eighth Grade Curriculum.
From top to bottom is Abeka Spelling, Bob Jones University Literature, Deeper Roots Bible Study (we love these!), Rosetta Stone Spanish, Teaching Textbooks Algebra, Lightbearers Worldview Study, Bob Jones University Writing & Grammar and Bob Jones University Science 8.  Not shown is Mystery of History Volume 4.  This doesn't look like much (I realized as I piled up her books) but all of these subjects are very well rounded and in depth.  She also has a myriad of living books that go along with the Mystery of History as does Zoe.

Below are a few pictures of our school room...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Show and Tell from our Castle Hills Team

This will be a very long post with lots of pictures as I show and tell about the team from Castle Hills.  Who's with me?!

For the children's ministry, we separated the kids into three groups (Music, Story and Games).  Below is one group during the Bible Story.

Very young children are put in charge of even younger siblings.  This is a common sight all around Zambia.

Handing out crayons...

There was never enough time for the kids to finish coloring but they were fascinated with the chance.

We had to show the kids what to do with the crayons...

They quickly learned how to do it!

These three girls almost always come to my children's ministry each Wednesday.  From left to right: Sarah, Hadassah, Mary, Ruth and baby Abigail (Ruth's sister).  They are some of my favorite girls.

A shot outside at game time...

Another shot, notice the girl on the far left who is caring for a younger sibling (all day with no diapers).

Some of Levi's friends...

 This cutie let me hold him for quite a while which is a bit risky as all he had on was the hat and a shirt that was at least two sized too big...

The baby's leg and foot were so dry and rough.  When you think of babies, most people think of soft, supple skin.  Not here in Zambia, his poor little leg and foot were rougher than my hand.

Beautiful smile, precious girl...

This is Peter.  He literally attaches himself to me whenever he sees me.  He is not ever very far away.

More Peter...

And again, Peter who is reaching for my camera.  Notice the baby that I was holding back on the back of his older sister who really looked to be about 5 years old.

Playing outside.  Again, notice the baby on the back of a sister...

Zoe and friends...

Zoe, taking care of one small girl who fell asleep.  

After 5 days of children's ministry, twice a day - we showed the Jesus Film.  Here are just some of the kids who gathered to watch it.  They began running after the bus when we arrived.

 Waiting for sunset to start...

 The team blessed us with their left over snacks.  
This was one of the BEST thing that they gave us the whole time!!

Thankful Thursday

Counting gifts has been one of the most life changing things that I have done.  Here are some from my 1000 Gifts List.  
Again, the kids picked the numbers....

#423 - A desire to change

#19 - Time by myself, to think

#300 - Hugs from Susan S.

#215 - The joy of serving others

#10 - The security of my husband's love

#15 - The Bible

#29 - A "good morning" with a smile from Zoe

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday

This is something that I have been meaning to do for a while.  
I'm not promising that it will be done each week but I am going to try to do some of these regularly.  

I have been reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Really, this book is life changing in so many ways.    I am nowhere near journalling 1000 gifts as I am just about to hit 400 but I am committed to keep going. Here are some random things that I am thankful for (I had the kids pick numbers):

#44 - Dark baby boy with his head on my shoulder

#340 - An anniversary card from Zoe

#50 - Messy, long brown haired 8 year old girl in the morning

#118 - Time with the Lord - oh please, change me!

#219 - That six year old boy...

#393 - A visit/chat with Suzie

#350 - Praying for my mission family

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Purple People

Monday was a public holiday here in Zambia.  The Lusaka Baptist Fellowship Churches held a parade and conference on that day.  We were asked to walk in the parade.  We were pulled up front to walk right behind the band who were right behind the Lusaka Baptist Fellowship banner (seen below).  I guess it's not like we could blend in in the back anyway, so why not put us all up front! :)
Here in Zambia most all the denominations have 'uniforms' or specific colors that they wear to signify to which church they belong.  The Baptist color is purple.

 Below is me, Noria and Suzie.

Before the parade, we all gathered up at the Freedom Statue.  Our missionary friend here with us is John.

The kids are waiting to begin the march with Hannah and our newest missionary, Julie.

Walking along, having fun - Hadassah and Hannah.

More smiles - Hadassah, Julie and Hannah

It was a big parade with lots of churches.

Snaking around the corner, there are even more that can't be seen.

After the parade, we ended up outdoors for the conference.  On Monday, Jeff preached twice with the time interspersed with lots of singing and celebrating.  This year marks 50 years of freedom from British rule.  Even though Independence Day isn't until October, this was a special day to celebrate with Zambian Baptists the freedom that we are given in Christ.