Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pray for Planting

Right now, Marlin Rice is on his way to Zambia. Marlin is the leader of the Z8 Project at the Hope Center, which is the agriculture program designed to help grow food to feed the children. Marlin has done so much work studying, planning, teaching, and implementing this program. And right now he's on his way to teach and oversee the second planting season.
(Here's a picture of Marlin teaching planting methods last year)
The rainy season starts in November in Zambia and this is when the large crops, such as corn (maize), sweet potatoes, and beans are planted. (The gardens are kept year around growing tomatoes, sweet corn, onions, cabbage, spinach, and many more things.) So Marlin's task in the next week is HUGE! The Hope Center was laid out very intentionally to take advantage of the wonderfully furtile land. And now God has blessed the Hope Center with a NEW hector of land (about 2.5 acres) in addition to the 5 hectors we had before.

Here are some ways you can be praying for the Z8 part of the Hope Center Project:
  • Pray for Marlin - for safe travel, for energy and health, and for continued wisdom as he leads and teaches the Zambians new and more productive methods of farming
  • Pray that Marlin and Joshua (the full-time farmer at HCC) will be able to find all the supplies, seeds, fertilizer, etc. that they need
  • Pray for our Zambian friends - First, we need them to volunteer to make this happen! Second, pray that they would have a heart for all that is happening at the Hope Center and desire to be involved. Finally, pray that God would bless their efforts and give them understanding of the new things they will learn. They can then take these skills home and apply them to the food they grow for their own families.
  • Pray for good weather
I'll post more from Marlin as I get word about how the trip is going.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

HCC Profile: Joseph Mwila

It's hard not to fall in love with all of the children at the Hope Center. But last summer, I really connected with three little boys: Joseph, Kenny, and Andrew.
But last year we had two translators for 50 kids and no real opportunities to talk with them one on one. On our trip in early October, I had a chance to sit down with a couple kids and hear a little more of their stories. Joseph told me more about his life.
Joseph is about 12 years old (birthdays and ages aren't nearly as important there as here, and many people don't know how old they are). He is in grade 5 at the Boma Basic school in Serenje. Right now, he lives with his aunt who works in the market in town. His older brother and mom have both left to try to find work elsewhere, and his father died several years ag0. (Joseph said he died because the blood dried up in his body. Not sure what that means.)

Like most boys his age, Joseph loves to play soccer and basketball. And he also really loves school and takes it very seriously. He stays at school late each day to study because he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. He especially likes science and math.

Joseph use to get aid from the local government agency in Serenje, but because of the abundant number of orphans in town, they were past the limits and he was kicked out of the program. His aunt brought him to Pastor Navice. He was receiving help from Cornerstone with food distributions even before HCC was built , but now he gets a hot meal every day at the Hope Center. He said he really likes coming to HCC every day because he is being helped.
During my interview with Joseph, I could tell he was being quite shy because the other kids were listening, too. But later, he took me aside and tried very hard to tell me something in English. He couldn't come up with the right words, so I asked if he wanted me to get someone to translate. He said, No, he wanted to find the right words so he would tell me the next day.

I was curious what Joseph would say. And I was sad when he didn't come at his regular time the next day. But just as we were closing up the kitchen he arrived and I sat with him while he ate. He had thought very hard about what he wanted to say. And in very careful English, he told me, "When I go away and finish school, I pray God will bless this place because they gave me food." My heart melted to see the genuine gratitude in this young boy. He wasn't coached into saying this, it came from his heart.
Pray for Joseph and the other 49 children being fed daily at the Hope Center. They all come from very difficult backgrounds and yet they have hope. This hope is not just because we are feeding them, but because they have the chance to hear the gospel and come to know the God of Hope who has a plan for each of their lives.