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.