Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Pray for the official Grand Opening of the Hope Center which will be tomorrow (Thursday, 25 June). The whole community will be coming out. 50 "officials" will be there. Even the District Commissioner (like the governor of a state) will be there and will give a speech. A lady was found that could bake enough cake to give everyone a small piece. Amazing! May God receive glory.

Today three women walked up with five orphans. They heard about the Hope Center and wanted to know if we would take them in. My heart breaks - so many yet to help. But we are here and may God give us great increase.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Update

Here is Team Zambia/USA. There were three exhibition games as we presented the goals and nets. Huge welcome for us - and for the gospel as it was presented each time!
Navice is holding one of the Hope babies whose mother dies at the child's birth. Because of HOPE there is a thriving young child. Navice is an awesome leader here!
This is why we are here! This is one of the Hope orphans named Susan. She has changed dramatically over the last months. Full of joy and HOPE. Her father died of bledding (?). Because of the Hope Center, Susan (and 150 more) are fed and in school.

The team needed a sabbath so we took an "American day" to Kundalila Falls. Though not as spectacular as Victoria, we were the ONLY people there. IT was very cool - and very needed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some sweet images

This is one of the familes that warmly welcomed us as we brought the gospel to them. She has 13 children! When I told her my wife was one of 13 she cried out, "I didn't know white people had that many!" She gave us a gift of ground nuts (peanuts). Everywhere we went, we were warmly welcomed and received.
Here is one of the steel goals going up at the Serenje school. Today a bunch of our guys took these also to Kamena and Teta. We'll go back to all these schools in a few days for an offical opening of the goals - complete with NETS. I told little Caleb that it will be just like FIFA!
Here is one of our teams who went village-to-village and home-to-home. A couple of these guys are actually not Zambian. See if you can spot them.
We think we may have set a new Zambian record (to be verified by Zack and Randy). We had a total of 42 people in our small Hope truck. I was white-knuckled praying that one of the nursing mothers didn't fly out when hitting a bump! Yikes. This was when all the evangelism teams were heading home (plus a few extra passengers):

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quick Update

We have sporadic power and cell connection... but here is a quick word for now. Thanks for praying!

Hello all…

I wish I had an image to display. I will work to get one put up soon. Our team is doing very well! We have already had a number of incredible adventures – and we are just one week into our time in Zambia.

Our team split up and went out to remote villages sharing Christ alongside our Zambian friends. We were a LONG way from home!!! But God was good and many, many people became Christ-followers. Three new churches have begun and are promising to be strong and vibrant. By next weekend, one of our church-planters will be back in those villages, following up with training for the new believers, teaching them about baptism, and leading more people to Christ. We are living in the book of Acts!

I asked two of the young pastors if they imagined living in their homes for a long, long time. “No,” they both said immediately, “we’re ready to go wherever the Lord calls us. But we won’t remain where we are.” These men are willing to pack up their young families and go into even more remote and primitive places for the sake of the gospel. I am shamed by their passion for Christ.

We are now back at the Hope Center. The guys are painting, digging, cleaning, plumbing, scrubbing the glass windows, etc, etc. There is a joy in our group, even through the hot, dirty work.

Last night we prayed under the majestic stars. God is in this place!

Pray as we present the soccer goals to three schools. They are ecstatic that they will get REAL, steel soccer goals – complete with nets! We will use this as an opportunity to build goodwill and the gospel.

Two other organizations came to town recently, attempting to begin orphan works. The city counsel shut them down, saying that they were unprepared and too disorganized for the work here. They told them to go visit the Hope Center so that they could learn how to do it right! Now the city has added land to our parcel for growing more food! Praise God – HE has blessed.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Team Going Today

This is the team that will be going to the Hope Center today. We'll stay for about three weeks and have a LOT of ministry on our hands. Clockwise from top, left it is Stan Hayek, Nathan Berthel, Nic Wheeler, Graeme Dodge, Jeff Dodge, and Alex Register.

Church-planting - We will split up onto 5 teams to preach the gospel and plant churches with our Zambian friends. Sleeping under the stars and going to remote villages ... bring it!

Warm Clothing for the Children - It is winter there and it gets cold, especially at night. We are taking along official "Hope Center" sweatshirts and sweatpants for the Serenje orphans and we will purchase warm clothing for the 100 kids we minister to in Teta and Kamena.

Soccer outreach - A Zambian friend is welding soccer goals for us and we're bringing nets along. We'll construct and donate these in three places - a HUGE gift for them. We'll use these opportunities for outreach to kids and teens ... and the adults, too!

Construction - One of our teammates (Aaron is coming from Brookside Church in Omaha) is a contractor with the skills necessary to complete a lot of projects at the Hope Center. We need water hooked up, electrical work, and tons of odds-and-ends that he will give focus to and we will help him with.

Bible training - Tim Day will join Jeff Dodge for a week of training with the church-planters. We'll cover the book of Hebrews and the Doctrine of Christ.

Grand Opening of the Hope Center - There will be an official celebration that will welcome the children, the families, and the whole Serenje community. This should be an incredible experience!

Pray for a bold advance of God's work!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

(This post was written by Jen G. in Serenje on April 30th. Although it was written a while ago, you'll enjoy the story and the "updated" pictures.)

Multi-Purpose Building

Wow! It is hard to believe that this is the last day at the orphanage. There is still work to do and the men will continue once we are gone, but SO much has been accomplished in the last 6 months. Of course, the final day was a little stressful trying to complete all the last minute things. Men were working on getting glass in the windows, hanging doors, installing latches and locks, building and varnishing picnic tables, putting up shelves, ceiling strips, and finishing the rock planters around the buildings. The two big projects of the day were to get the water running and the electricity working. About noon when the tank was hoisted onto the water tower and the last pipes were connected, there was running water in the sinks and toilets! What an accomplishment.

In the midst of the crazy day, one of the workers approached Zack to see if he would be willing to go to the hospital to drive his wife home - she had delivered twin girls the day before (The doctor had never detected two babies during the pregnancy so they were only prepared for one baby. What a surprise!) Otherwise, the new mother would need to walk the 2 km to their home. We pulled into the hospital and they brought out the two girls (it is customary in the African culture to wait several days or even weeks before naming a baby - to ensure they survive, etc.), so the mother and I each held one of the babies in the cab on the way to their home. Both babies looked healthy and weighed about 2.5 kg each at birth. The mother and I carried the babies into the family’s two room home that barely fit the mother, myself and two chairs in the first room. It was quite a humbling experience to be a part of life’s little miracles! I will be excited to visit them when I return in a couple months to see how much the babies have grown!

We got back to the site just as it was time to knock off and Pastor Navice and the workers had gathered to say their goodbye’s. He was just in tears as he expressed his gratitude for everyone who had been a part of the project and for everything that had been accomplished. The workers were also thankful for all the skills that they learned and the bonds that were formed between themselves and the Americans and also amongst each other. A lot of good has been done in this community and I hope they are all proud of what they were able to accomplish it! Some of the workers stayed around to help finish some of the projects. Right at dusk the electricity from the generator started and all the buildings lit up! That brought tears to my eyes! All in all this was probably one of the best days in Serenje! Here are some of the final pictures I took around the site.

Men Putting in Window Panels, Flower Boxes

Kitchen with Shelving and Sinks

Kitchen/Living Room area of Guest House

Guest House and Water Tower

Girls Bathrooms

Looking at two classrooms in Multi-Purpose Building