Thursday, July 29, 2010

Im Home!

Im Home! Im healthy, happy to be home, and a little sad not to still be in Zambia. Can I have the best of both worlds? All my friends and family in the US and the kids in Zambia? More once I get some rest :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It is crazy to think that this adventure is almost over. Between the planning, packing, travel, and all the time with the children in Zambia - this has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I have seen the hand of God in everything from the planning, staying healthy, the ability to renew my visa after some complications, special moments with the children, and tutoring everyday.

I bought "sweeties" (candy) at the market and gave all the children a piece today. They rarely get candy so it was a special treat for them. One of the girls named Marcy, instead of eating her piece of candy, decided to go give it to Bernard because he always provided for her, so she wanted to give him something in return. It touched me so much that she was willing to give up her treat to say thank you.

I wanted to share a touching story of the twins Joseph and Mary who are the youngest children here. Bernard and Betty, the directors, went to a church conference about 5 years ago. They saw an old women carrying two infants and helping a physically challenged woman. The old women knew that Bernard and Betty cared for orphans and vulnerable children. She asked if there was any way they could take Joseph and Mary. At that time the Orphanage was not built, so Bernard and Betty promised that one day they could take Joseph and Mary. Joseph, Mary, their mother, and the old woman who was their grandmother lived in a tiny tiny tiny shack where Joseph and Mary slept on a piece of plastic outside....Today, Joseph and Mary live at Front Porch Orphanage. They each have their own beds, three meals a day, take showers daily, and have the love of the staff and the other 35 children here. Joseph hates getting his hair cut. One time he screamed "they’re putting fire on my head" when the person was cutting his hair. Joseph loves giving me hugs and Mary loves singing "Amazing Grace" although she has only learned the first few lines of the song… so far so she sings them over and over again. On video Joseph said “I pray for Jesus. I pray for Jesus” when I asked him to say something to everyone. These two children have captured my heart and I am so grateful to God that they have a bed now.

On Saturday some of the small children were my "special helpers" and helped carry my laundry that had been hanging outside to dry back to my room. I told them thank you for being my "special helpers." They wanted to stay and play in my room so we listened to a song and danced. Then before I realized it, they were going through my trash. They wanted my empty boxes and broken glasses to play with. At first, I told them to put it back but then I realized that since they have no toys and the trash provided their toys. The next day at Sunday School, one of the boys brought the broken glasses to show everyone his new toy. God can use our trash in the strangest ways to bless others.

I start my travel back home on Monday which will include 2 days of bus rides, 2 plane trips, and a lay over. I will arrive back on Thursday. I ask for prayer for me during this time because traveling is physically demanding and quite tiring. I also ask for special prayer for the children and staff as we transition my departure. I have written all the children and staff individual letters and prepared my final sermon, yet I know it will be very tough saying goodbye to all the children. I have seen God in each one of them and how they are so special in God's eyes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Hi Everyone,

Below is a letter that Bernard wrote to Churches in America about Gift - a boy that lives at the Orphanage. I wanted to share this letter with you. One of my prayers has been about his future.

Bernard writes...

"Here is a story of Gift Masuwa to help FPOZ friends to know about his life before joining the FPOZ family, his life and achievement as Front Porch Orphan, and how the Orphanage would like to help him for his life after FPOZ.

Gift Masuwa is an Orphan and Disabled child who has gone through a very tough life of crawling ever since his childhood.
In 2002 when he was identified by our project, the FPOZ, Gift was satisfied to receive a wheelchair that we call Personal Transportation Energy “PET”.

Since then, the FPOZ staff decided to take care of him by enrolling him at school though already advanced in age. When Gift joined school, he could not catch- up easily, he struggled with formal education for many years until the staff of the school where he was learning from advised us to orient him in some skill training for effective help.

We took time with Gift to find out what could be the best for him. He decided to go for tailoring skill.

Luck enough we have in Zambezi a Vocational Skills Center called “Zambezi Development Trust”, where for Seven months now Gift is being trained. And two months from now, Gift Masuwa is going to be the first FPOZ to graduate in Tailoring Skill and have an official Certificate in Tailoring. PRAISE GOD FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT!!!!

Yes, we have achieved what God wanted us to achieve for Gift. But we still feel that one more thing is needed to be done for this achievement to be truly effective in Gift’s life regarding his status.

Your financial support will enable us to provide a brand new Sawing Machine and construct a small two roomed shelter to help Gift settle his life as he soon leaves the Front Porch Orphanage.

We want you to know that your support is always highly appreciated by our UMC congregations and the Zambezi community at large."

From us,
Pastor Bernard & Betty Lumene

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hugs and Monkeys!!!

Greetings Again From Africa. I am 15 days away from leaving the Orphanage and 19 days away from being home. I cant believe time has flown by so quickly.

When I arrived at the Orphanage most of the children did not really understand the concept of hugs. They started to slowly warm up to the concept of hugs. Little by little they would start coming up and hugging me.

Today I received at least 50 hugs. The children run up to me (I have to brace myself sometimes) to give me a huge hug. I can feel their love for me and I hope they can feel my love as well.

One of the young boys named Joseph wants 10 hugs a day. He comes towards me with his arms high in the arm which symbolizes a hug. It is so precious. I got a video of him doing this.

The children continue to teach me daily and I treasure my time with them. The children have very little one on one time with an adult so I try to have special time with each one of the children. They love to play soccer, cook, sing, dance, and watch TV. They have tested my patience several times and always want something out of my bookbag even if I have nothing in there to give. They work together and enjoy making sure their rooms are clean and laundry is neatly ironed. (Thats right, even the boys iron!) I have a few stories I want to share with you that touched my heart.

There is one child at the Orphanage that is in a wheelchair. He has the best attitude. Life in Zambia is very physically demanding and I cant imagine the hardships he goes under to be in a wheelchair. He tells me how faithful God is to him and how there is a time for everything. He talks about God's blessings in his life and how lucky he is. Can you imagine - a boy in a wheelchair saying this? After I heard him tell me this I thought I should never complain about anything again.

Today as I was packing up my bookbag at Sunday School, one of the youth saw me put money in my Bible for the offering. He asked me if he could have some money for offering. He did not want the money to buy new shoes, some candy, or something fun at the market. He gave it to God. He had the biggest smile on his face when he walked up and put the money in the offering plate. This child literally has two pairs of shoes and very little clothes. It was truly touching to see how he wanted to be able to give to God. How many times in my own life have I not given enough to God and instead gone and bought new clothes?

The children love love love to color. They call it "Painting." When I arrived there was no crayons nor paper. Thanks to some generous people, I was able to bring both! We have enjoyed making Bible story books, notes, and pictures. They are very talented and have given me several bring home. Last Saturday night everyone was painting. I painted a picture that said "Remember that God loves you and always shine for Jesus." I gave it to a boy named David. David and his younger sister both live at Front Porch Orphanage. He is the nicest boy and would do anything for me. He wants to serve God. He said the next day at the youth meeting, "Sister Ashley painted me a picture that said "Shine for Jesus" and I want to pray that I can continue to Shine for Jesus." - I started to cry.

This week I laughed alot - I helped three 8-10 year old boys do their laundry. We do laundry outside in large tubs and hand wash everything. I think there was more water on us than the actual clothes. Soap covered the ground, the clothes, and us. Kendra and I taught the children how to dance to the "Macarena." We also taught the children "Mmmbop" by Hanson. And I SAW AND HELD A MONKEY!!!!!! I have pictures and videos to prove all of these.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pictures of Gods Love

So many updates....Things are still amazing and I am so blessed! I cant imagine being anywhere else this summer!

Kendra arrived safety last week! Its been really nice having another missionary to talk to and to share the work load with. We are doing the same things - tutoring, teaching, leading Bible Studies, etc. Its also been so refreshing to have someone to laugh, talk, and pray with. We have enjoyed ministering to the children.

The children are on "holiday" Monday and Tuesday. We will be doing "art camp" and "music camp" in the mornings and tutoring in the afternoons. We will be teaching them Amazing Grace which will be beautiful and inspiring! I plan on video taping it and posting it when I get home.

Last night I took art supplies and stickers to the dining hall and all the children (from ages 4 to 18!) colored for 2 hours. It was so much fun. They have very little "fun" activities to do here so they had a blast. Even the older boys loved the stickers!

Today in Sunday School we talked about the stars in the sky. I love love love the stars at night. You can see so many. I am amazed how God has created this world.

I was able to renew my Visa which was such a blessing. I had to take a road trip to the border and after some slight complications I was able to renew it. I am so relieved that it worked out. I was starting to get a little worried. God is good and everything worked out. The countryside is BEAUTIFUL so I enjoyed the trip alot.

I am starting to get sad that I will be leaving in 3.5 weeks! Its crazy to think that my trip is more than half-way over. However I am ready to get home - to take a hot shower and eat Chinese Food! Plus, I miss my family alot!

Finally - I write alot of the children letters or draw them pictures. Last night I colored a picture for David and wrote on the back "God loves you so much! Never forget that! You are so special and always shine for Jesus" Today he told the Youth Meeting that he wanted to Shine for Jesus and was thankful I reminded him that. I started to cry I was so overjoyed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Shoes

I experienced total Joy today.

Bernard asked me if I had any extra money to help buy shoes for three of the children who had no shoes for school. I gave him money so the children could go buy their shoes. I have taken pictures of many of the children's shoes and will post when I get home. The children's shoes are old and falling apart. Most have 2 or 3 pairs.

Hannel is the sweetest boy and SO smart. He writes me stories and loves to do long division. He loves to pray and reads the Bible more than any other person I know. He went today and bought his new shoes with Bernard. I have NEVER seen a child smile so big. He was so proud of his new shoes and showed them to me with such joy. He said they were the perfect size for him and that he was going to take good care of them. He did not know that I was the one that paid for his shoes. I was so happy that I could do this for him. It was greater than any Christmas present I have ever been given. God totally blessed me today by Hannel's new shoes.

If you are interested in buying shoes (or anything else!) for the children, email me at and I will give you all the information. They need anything and everything!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Week of Adventures!

This week has flown by. Seriously, it feels like it still should be Monday! Its been another good week in Africa.

God seems to continue to surprise and bless me in the most unique ways. While I have not had any "mountain top" experiences, I feel that this experience in Africa is slowly changing me over time. Its like a long hike with a slight incline and a beautiful view. This afternoon I sang worship songs with the children and had the most fun. Its moments like those that are simply perfect.

I preached this past Sunday morning which was a wonderful experience. It was interesting because I only had 3 weeks to understand my congregation and the Zambian context. Services last from 9:30-11:30/12:00 which is long but they seem quick and full of energy. I preached about healing and asking God for healing in our lives - Mark 1:40-43. I hope it was meaningful to everyone. Bernard translated for me so the people that only speak the local language could understand me.

Zambia (and most of Africa as I have been told) is a very relaxed place. If you are told to arrive at 9:30, you can arrive at 10 and still be on time. The same is true with leaders in the church. This past Sunday the youth leaders did not show up and I had to teach the lesson without any prior knowledge.

One of my favorite sayings from the children is "Can I carry this for you?" At first, I wondered why the children always asked to carry my things. But then it hit me, they want to carry my Bible because they dont have one. They want to hold my jacket because they only have one. It reminds me why I am here. I am here for them. I am here to minister to them and show them the love of Christ. In return, they have shown me how joyful life can be with or without material things.

I am so grateful for the amount of prayer, rest, and relaxation I get here. Everyday I lay down for an hour in the middle of the day and either read, watch movies on my laptop, or take a nap. This time has reminded me how important Sabbaths are in life. While this is not a typical "Sabbath" being Sunday - the day of worship and rest. But it is a time of rest for me. I pray for 15 minutes before I relax. It has been the greatest spiritual and emotional journey for me. On Wednesday three American came to tour the Orphanage so I did not get my hour of rest. The rest of the day just felt "off." However, it was good to speak to other Americans for a few minutes since I havent seen one in 4 weeks. I am trying to figure out more Sabbath time in my life once I return in August.

I am still tutoring and teaching...and love it! I have identified the children who need extra help. They bring me their books everyday and we study. I require alot of the children to read out loud to me to help their reading and English skills. I have found they LOVE to read. Most of the children read more than I require everyday. I am so proud of them!

I have started attending the women's meeting at the Church everyday Tuesday and Thursday. It makes me feel like I am back home in the US at my own small group. I lead a Bible Study this past Thursday for the women.

Today I went to the Farmer's Festival. The festival had all the farmers bring their finest crop for selling. I bought 8 oranges and 3 tomatoes for 2 dollars! Yum! I got sunburned...bad! Most of the children had no clue what was wrong with me. I explained to me how my skin type can get burned and that it would be back to normal in a few days.

I have had a headache for the past two days and pray that it goes away soon!

I am sure next week will be another wonderful week! Until then...

Friday, June 18, 2010

No Internet Next Week

Hi Everyone...I wont have internet next week. Dont worry if you dont hear from me. Im fine and everything is well. The pastor is traveling to get Kendra, another missionary, and will have the computer with him. I will update you when he gets back. Pray for traveling mercies for them :)

Love you all dearly. Thanks for all the prayers and support :) I am SO glad that I am here. I love Zambia and all the children!


My favorite food in Zambia is popcorn. We typically have it 3-4 nights a week. Its homemade, flavored with salt, and so yummy! Its better than American popcorn from the microwave. I will be making it this way when I get home!

(Be shocked!) I have been helping with the cooking alot. In fact, I have gotten good at cooking Nshima. Look this up online. Its a traditional African food. I do not do alot of cooking in America because I simply dont have the time.

Prayer and Devotion

My favorite time of the day is from 9-9:30. All the children and myself gather in the dining room. We have devotion. We normally sing a song, I speak for a few minutes about the Bible/God, and then the children say their prayers.

Most nights everyone bows their head and prays out loud all at the same time. In my tradition in America, I have never heard 35 people praying out loud at the same time...but its beautiful! I enjoy hearing a room full of noise talking to God. It makes me think that Heaven might sound something like this.

The Look

In Zambezi there is one major shopping center that has a bank, several small stores, and a market. I love to see all the locally grown produce and fish at the market.

I have noticed that when I walk to the market with some of the children I see people looking at me. I am sure they are wondering where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. In my head I say "Those People are giving me 'The Look' " It makes me laugh :)

Proud Moment

As you know, I tutor and teach alot! I feel like this is bootcamp teaching or student teaching. I really enjoy it and I LOVE to see when the kids are learning.

I want to tell you about three of the children that I am so proud of!

Anna - She is one of the nicest girls you will meet and a little quiet. She is in early high school and has been having issues in math. We have spent hours working on problems like (-1) - 3 + 4 =? or -9 + (-8) - 7 + 10 =? If you want to know how to do these problems when I get home, let me know and I will come over and teach you. Anna was determined to learn it. Frankly, she wasnt catching on. She would come find me to get help even when it wasnt time to study. We worked, and worked, and worked. And she got it! I am SO proud of her! She can to any problem I give to her! Way to Go Anna!

Sandra - She is a sweetie but has problems paying attention. We have been working on memorizing Bible verses. She has been working on memorizing John 3:16. Today she was able to say the WHOLE thing without my help! We had not worked on this verse very much so I was shocked that she could remember it.

Chinyama - He is the funniest and nicest boy. Every morning he practices reading with me. He is in 4th grade. Today he was able to read the entire story without my help! :) Every word was pronounced correctly and he even knew the tough words.

I am so proud of them! :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Pictures - Sorry!

Sad News..I cant seem to make the pictures work. I will try again another day. I want to show you all the beautiful children! :(

I want to introduce you to children every few days/post. Joseph and Jacob are the first two. I teach a class every morning from 8:30 to 10:30. Both of the boys are in my morning class. They are excellent students and so well behaved. Jacob and Joseph are twins and they have an older brother and sister who also live at Front Porch. Their mother is still living but is mentally handicapped. She comes and does laundry at Front Porch to earn money for food. Before the boys, brother, and sister moved to Front Porch, they lived in a run-down house and had very little to eat. There was no money for clothes, school tuition, or anything else. Today they are healthy and happy! Jacob's smile is so sweet and he cracks me up. Joseph is an excellent reader for his age and the sweetest boy. It breaks my heart because each of them have about 5 outfits each. Their clothes are worn out but they dont seem to care. I promise to show you pictures when I figure this thing out. They love going to school and love God. I love hearing them pray. It brings tears to my eyes.

So lets be honest...I was hoping to see a monkey while in Zambia. No such luck. I was busy doing the dishes when Obian asked me to come see his special surprise. It was a living pig. I told him I would not get within 5 feet of the pig. The pig is no longer living. I have also seen dogs, cows, goats, and tons of bugs.

The wonderful people of McKendree UMC donated many old t-shirts from a variety of youth retreats, VBS, Great Day of Service. I bought the shirts to Zambia and gave them to the children. They were SO grateful. Every day I see at least 10 of the children wearing their shirts. (It makes me feel like Im home again) Bernard, the director, told me that typically they get more clothes donated for girls. They have several shirts. However, the boys only have a few outfits. It breaks my heart to see the little amount of clothes they have. I remember my closet back home that is full.

All the children are amazed by my hair. They think its so soft. One child admitted to me that he thought it was a wig. :) They attempt to make new hair do's for me.

Another child named Monica writes me letters everyday. I always write back. Two days ago she wrote me a whole page. She talked about her childhood, her father's death, and how she was sad not to have a father. She and I talked later that day about she would see her father in Heaven again and that she has 35 brothers and sisters here. She also was sad that she didnt have a brother and wanted to see a picture of my brother. She seems sad alot and it breaks my heart. Her mother is still living but has no way to provide for Monica, or Monica's sister Mary. Her mother comes and visits the children once a month.

I spend about 25 percent of my time working at the Church connected with the Orphanage. I went to a "Section Group" which is where several family members of the church gather for prayer, devotion, and support. Their stories amazed me, their faith inspired me, and their wisdom was divine.

When I went to bed on Saturday night the only thing I thought I would be doing at Church on Sunday morning besides attending was leading the devotion. I found out Sunday morning I would be teaching Sunday School and leading youth fellowship. I did some quick planning. I taught the youth group the game "Charades" and we talked about the verse 1 Timothy 4:12. I taught about Jonah in Sunday School. I had fish stickers so it was the best story I could think of in 2 minutes to plan. :) I find it interesting that EVERY time they meet they collect an offering and everyone tries to give. These people have alot less than "We" (Americans) have but they give everything they can to the church.

75 percent of my time is with the kids. I tutor and teach alot. I check their notes, school work, and homework every day. All 35. This is no easy task and takes a long time. I help the ones that need help if I understand the subject. (I know nothing about the government of Zambia, woodworking, or the local language) Alot of the children LOVE learning and are frustrated with their schools. The teachers dont teach all the time and they simply dont have enough work to do. I bought notebooks and in my free time create worksheets for the children to do. They LOVE them and fight over who gets to do the lessons. I teach Bible Study with them, lead prayers, and do alot of pastoral care with them. We might be simply playing a game and one of the children will want to talk about something in their life.

When returning home I want to help raise money for the children. There are several things on my "to do" list for them. They have no books so I would like to raise money for that and they hope to build another building soon. If you are interested in helping, please let me know. They also ALWAYS need money for food.

One final note - I am living with the director/pastor and his family. They are wonderful and have truly welcomed me. The food is good, bathroom is clean, and they give me enough privacy. Its fun to interact with the children (4 of them - 3 boys and a girl ages 14, 12, 10, 8, I think). I hated the food while in Japan but I can honesty say I have enjoyed every meal here. Its been fun learning to live with total strangers but we have quickly become a family. I am so grateful for that.

Emotions and Jesus

These past few weeks have brought every kind of emotion. I have been joyful, sad, homesick, worried, scared about going to a new place, lonely, happy, and excited. I cant believe that I have completed ¼ of my adventure! CRAZY! There have been moments that 2 months seems like a long time. I am getting a little bit worn down of the amount of poverty. I am only one person and I know I can only do so much in my time while I am here. I am also missing certain parts of American life – the food, hot water, and clean drinking water. It seems that every time I start feeling sad, one of the children does something that makes me realize why I am here and I say “Thank you Jesus for pointing that out to me!” One day I was feeling sad about being gone from my life in America for so long and one of the children asked me to read them a certain Bible verse. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.

Simple Joy

The people here find the most joy in the simplest things in life. By far, this would be my favorite thing here. It seems that life is slower, simpler, and not rushed. I enjoy going outside every night and simply staring at the stars for a few minutes and looking at the sunset every night. How often back in Atlanta do I actual go outside to look at the sunset? (And you can never see stars in Atlanta)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Town

Today Bernard took me around the township of Zambezi. It is beautiful and everyone was so friendly. I toured the hospital, bank, market, and saw the g
Publish Post
overnment buildings. I am so impressed with the medical care they have in Zambezi. They have three medical doctors, one I met. He seemed very smart and told me that if I happened to get sick that he would take good care of me. They have a dentist and eye doctor as well. The hospital offers educational programs for malaria, HIV, and diet. They might offer other programs as well, but I just happened to see these programs.

I spent the morning and afternoon tutoring the children. I worked on math, english, and a little science. I was able to go to choir practice tonight for a few minutes. BEAUTIFUL! I have NO talent to sing, so it was a real treat to hear them.

Every night we gather for Bible study and devotion before bed. Last night I handed out all the t-shirts from McKendree UMC. That was a real treat!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Greeting From Africa!!!

Greetings Everyone!

I have arrived! Boy, it was a long long long trip! I arrived in South Africa after 17 hours of being in the friendly skies. The plane was full except for the seat next to me! Delta lost my luggage so I only had my carry-on which basically had nothing in it for my over night in South Africa. I stayed with the nicest women named Ruthie. We talked about churches, God, South Africa, and men. J
I took a plane to Zambia on Thursday and was greeted by Bernard and Dru. Bernard is the pastor in charge of the Orphanage. I exchanged money and got settled at Dru’s house for the evening. Dru is a wonderful missionary from the US. She runs a school for children and works very hard for the children of Zambia.

I left the next morning for Zambezi, which is my small village that I am living in. The bus trip took TWO LONG days! It was a bumpy ride and very crowded. It was tiring emotionally and physically. I arrived at the Orphanage around midnight on Saturday night.

At my site there are two primary ministries – the Orphanage and the Bethlehem Parish United Methodist Church. The pastor is in charge of both of these ministries. At the Orphanage there are 35 beautiful children and teenagers. The church (or parish as he calls it) has about 100 every Sunday morning.

I was most impressed with the youth group here, which is mostly members of the Orphanage. I have attended and helped lead the program, but almost the entire program was lead by the youth! One youth lead songs, one youth prayed, one youth did an excellent Bible study, and one youth lead games. Literally the only thing I did was offer words of encouragement, participate in the games, and lead a prayer. The pastor believed in the youth’s leadership and it has paid off! I was most impressed how they listened to one another.

I have LOVED LOVED LOVED meeting all the children and teenagers at the Orphanage. They are so friendly and sweet. I am tutoring every morning and afternoon. I will start my church duties next week which include preaching and teaching. I have worked on math homework, read, and colored together. Today I went to the school to collect a shoe that one of the children left at school. They are beautiful singers and pray the sweetest prayers. I spent the afternoon working on math with Monica, who is an orphan and has lived here for about 2 years. She doe not get a lot of one on one attention because of the large number of children. I hope that her math will continue to improve over time.

There is so much poverty here. It is overwhelming to me to see it at times. Most people live in mud houses that are a single room for an entire family. There diet is only foods they can find. The schools are two rooms and they have very few books – maybe 20 total. The Orphanage cant afford books for the children to read.

The staff at the Orphanage are amazing! They are true saints and do a wonderful job! I am so honored to work with them. They literally work 24/7 for the children. The pastor/director has worked hard educating me about Zambia, the children, and the needs of the community.

I love how most of the Zambian people have gardens. We have three gardens and most of our vegetables come from there. It is a great way to eat for cheap. People don’t use a lot of paper here either so there is not as much waste.

Random Zambia Fact – There aren’t really public restrooms. You have to pay to use the bathroom. Its about 20 cents.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Im in Zambia

Hi Everyone,

This will be the world's shortest blog post. Im here in ZAMBIA!! HOORAY! Things have gone wonderfully and I am doing good, except really really tired. Delta almost lost my luggage but it was found. I am so happy! I have seen the hand of God through my entire travel time. Everyone has been wonderful!!! :)

Happy side note - the entire plane was full on the way to South Africa (16 hour flight) EXCEPT the seat right next to me! YIPPPEEE. Ashley got two seats for the price of one!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Here We Go

In ONE day I will be boarding the airplane. I cant believe the time has come! This trip has been a long process and its finally here. I cant wait to meet all the children at the Orphanage. That is what I am most excited about. I am NOT looking forward to the 4 days of traveling - yuck!

I know that God is going to bless my time and that God is working in amazing ways in Zambia. I have already heard wonderful stories and cant wait to see things with my own eyes!

Prayer Requests -
-ALL my traveling
-Fellow missionary Kendra who will be joining me in about 3 weeks and her travels
-The wonderful sweet Children - who are a gift from God
-My family - That God will continue to watch over them while I am gone
-My wonderful hosts Bernard and Betty - who run the Orphanage
-My other great hostesses that are allowing me to stay at their houses for a night - Ruth and Dru

Therefore I will praise you among the nations, OLord;

I will sing praises to your name. Psalm 18:49

He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Good News

Good news! Everything worked out with my host in South Africa! I will have a place to sleep! Hooray! One Day! One Day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

South Africa

Everyone say a little prayer....

I have a 15 hour lay over in South Africa. I had lined up a host that a Candler staff member knew. However, something is wrong with my email account and I cant seem to get in contact with her. Pray it all works out before I leave Tuesday! I have NO clue what to do if I cant get in contact with her!

Friday, May 28, 2010


I am really lucky.

I have been thinking alot recently about how amazing people have been to make my trip possible.

-My family - Who isnt freaking out yet about me being in Africa...
-My host(esses) along the way - I am staying at several people's houses and people are driving me around different cities....
-Tamlyn - former missionary in Zambia has answered all of my questions and calmed me down.
-McKendree - They are letting me take off for 2 months!

There have been several people who have helped me get ready - Zach bought me luggage tags, Aaron paid 18 dollars to make sure I got a package before I left, Lindsey walked around Walmart for an hour with me picking up supplies...

God has really provided.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It Set In

Im nervous. My butterflies and general nerves came today. I know this is going to be the most amazing experience, but today it really hit in that I will be gone for 2 months. Thats a long time! But I am still excited!!!

Where God guides, God provides!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Final Plans

Excuse the long silence in between posts. I am READY to go!!! It has officially hit me that two months is a long time, but I am sooooo ready!

I finished up finals at Emory (YAH!!!), moved home, worked, hung out with family, and worked hard hard hard on my travel plans.

I officially got my visa! YAH!

I got all my shots! YAH!

I got all my paperwork done! YAH!

I have all my travel plans done! YAH!

I got commissioned by my Church! YAH!!

I have bought ALL my supplies! YAH! (Except razors because I forgot to buy them...random, I know :) )

I have my "phone tree" made for Zambia.

I took a three day class at Emory for the "Advanced Summer Con Ed Internship" which was amazing. I am getting class credit for going to Zambia. The class was amazing. It helped me think about ministry, missions, and congregations. I am studying and reflecting on how the church can have a holistic view of missions. Some questions I hope to be answering this summer are...
-What is the best way to do missions?
-How can we encourage people in local congregations to do missions?
-What are the best ways to do partnerships?
-How do we do local and worldwide missions?

I got an email from an amazing girl at the Orphanage and I wanted to share it with you...Dear Visitors,I greet you in the name of our Lord and I say how are you?I am a Zambian girl by the name of Lizzy Kaonga aged 18 years, born on 12th May 1992. I am doing my simple grade 11.On behalf of my fellow brothers and sisters at Front Porch Orphanage, I am writing this letter to you because I heard that you are planning to come and visit us for the first time. We will be very pleased to see you coming here at Front Porch Orphanage of Zambezi in Zambia.We shall appreciate if you will come here to help us in everything. Please our visitors, come and see Front Porch Orphanage, come and help us in our education because it is the only important thing that we are fighting for in this place so that we shall become somebody in future.Come and help us in clothing and food. God will bless you and your entire family of yours when you will come and help us. As the Bible says that help orphans and you will succeed in your entire life.Please come because we need your help.From Lizzy Kaonga, Front Porch Orphanage girl.

Doesnt she sound amazing? I cant wait to meet her! She sounds like a beautiful daughter of God!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I just got an email that my passport and Visa application arrived to the Embassy! Hooray! Now, it just has to be processed and make it back to me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Honored and Humbled

Last week was filled with random but very important tasks. I applied for health insurance, worked on my finance stuff, and applied for my VISA. It took me FOREVER to figure out the paper because the directions made no sense. I finally called up to the Embassy in DC to figure out what the heck was going on. Then, I gathered a million documents and copies to ship off so I can legally enter the country. I mailed it via FedEx. Oh my goodness, the store was dysfunctional and it took at hour to mail off a package. Lets hope and pray it actually gets there.

I am honored and humbled that a Sunday School class at Duluth UMC is giving me a very nice gift towards my trip. The really exciting thing is that I didnt even ask for it! I was so happy that I started crying when I found out about it. They are truly generous people. I am so humbled by how willing people are to give for Christ.

I "officially" told all my youth and their parents this past week. That was tough. I wanted them to realize how much I truly loved them. Im not leaving forever so it will be a blessing to only say "goodbye" for two months. They have embraced me and want to know what supplies they can send over. I am collecting t-shirts to bring. I am going to try and coordinate a "McKendree UMC t-shirt day" and have all the children in Africa and everyone in McKendree wear their shirts on the same day.

The pastor that directs the orphanage is amazing. He is a true blessing.

I cant wait to meet all the children! That is what I am most looking forward to. I hope they teach me cool African songs!

Cool quote I read the other day : "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trip Planning

This week I did more trip planning but nothing really exciting to report. I got all my medicine filled for the trip. I used Briarcliff Pharmacy. They are amazing and really worked with me and my budget. I officially got my plane ticket and my visa bill for the trip. I paid my visa bill because I didnt want that big of an expense sitting on my card. I also organized all my huge stack of paperwork that is needed for my trip. I am meeting with a group on Friday that will hopefully sponsor Bibles for the kids!

The "big" thing I did was teach my parents how to use Skype. Its an awesome program that allows you to video chat with someone. This will hopefully make the trip to Africa easier on my parents!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here are some of the pictures I have received so far. Enjoy!

Here is a link of a newsletter from the Orphanage. You can better learn about their ministry by reading it:

Why Zambia? Why this summer? Why an Orphanage? Why Missions?

“He has told you, O mortal, 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.” Micah 6:8

Here is the big post...

I have had many people ask me "Why" questions. Such as "Why do you want to do this?" "Why Zambia?" "Why missions?"

Jesus said : "Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me." Matthew 25

First and foremost, I feel called by God to do this. I have had a burning desire to be in mission for an extended period of time for about 8 months now. I have seen God's hand throughout my entire planning process and I know that God is going to bless my time in Zambia. I will have the opportunity to feed and clothe a precious child of God. I have done many mission trips in the past that have been a week, but being in Zambia for an extended period of time will allow me to get to know the people and minister to them better. I hope that I become a better pastor someday because of my experience in Zambia.

I choose Zambia because I have a great passion for community, faith, pastoral care, and health development. I will be the first missionary in Zambia at this Orphanage. I love love love children and teens. I cant imagine growing up without parents so I hope that I can help these children. I have been studying HIV/AIDS in school, I work as youth director, and I love missions and community development so this seemed like the perfect fit!

General Information about what I will be doing:
I am flying out of Atlanta on June 1 and returning home August 1. I will be working and living in a rural village in Zambia in an Orphanage. There are 35 children whose parents have died from AIDS. I will be a "house mom" and pastor while I am there. I will be leading Bible studies for the children, cooking, helping them with their English, and general chores. I will also be connecting with local churches and helping to provide leadership. I am taking a leave of absence from my job and will be returning in August. I really really really hate to leave my job for two months because I love it. My mission organization is the General Board of Global Ministries.

If you could like to make financial donations to my trip to Zambia you can send them to :
McKendree UMC
1570 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
In the check you need to write "Ashley Fitzpatrick and Zambia Orphanage"

If you have extra Bible, school supplies, or medical supplies that you are willing to donate, I will be accepting any donations to take to Africa with me. Please contact me via email at and we can arrange a pick up. I would love to take a Bible and give it to a child in Zambia from one of my friends in the USA. You are more than welcome to write messages in the Bibles if you like.

"Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Airplane Ticket

I bought my airplane ticket! Another thing checked off the "to do" list which seems to be growing everyday.

Now it feels like Im really going! Yah!

However, I am started to get alot more anxious about my trip. I hear about summer plans people are making and it makes me sad I wont be there. I wont be there for father's day or for some wedding or some youth group events or fourth of July.

Also, I am asking for prayers with my flight schedule. Since I am going to a rural village in Zambia, transportation will be difficult to say the least. My schedule will be:

Day 1 - Leave for South Africa - 16 hour airplane ride
Day 2 - Arrive in South Africa that evening. Spend the night in a hotel by myself in South Africa
Day 3 - Recheck into the airport. Fly to Zambia. Go to Customs, Get my visa, go to the Embassy. Spend the night at a friend's house.
Day 4 - 12 hour bus ride and finally arrive at the village!

I dont travel well to say the least. I get motion sickness and cant sleep well on planes or buses so prayers will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Good news! I started to stress about money for this summer a few weeks ago. I made my budget a few weeks ago and was shocked by the final figure. I have a little money saved to spend on my trip but mostly I need it to pay my bills back at home.

I am super super super blessed to be a member at McKendree! They pledged 1000 dollars towards my trip!!! Yah! :) :) :) And I got 250 dollars from Emory! Im off to a good start! My final budget is 8000 dollars which includes my bills back home. So at least Im on the road to being able to afford it!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Here is my first post about my trip to Africa. Its getting late so Im not going to share much tonight. There is much to share at a later date.

Tomorrow is my final appointment to get shots before my trip. Last week I had to get 4 shots and tomorrow another 3. Fun, Fun! I am also going to be starting to take Malaria pills soon and going to switch my allergy medicine. I got a clean bill of health from my doctor so the only thing left to do after tomorrow to prepare medically is buy a first aid kit! At least one thing on my giant "to do" list is done

I never would have guessed planning a mission trip would have been this much work. While I love doing it, there is only so many hours in a day! :)