Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Update from Lusaka-Day 3

I'm so sorry there are no photos to post yet. We have been pretty busy and have had limited internet access so far. It is 7:00pm here as Jacky and I sit outside on the porch of our lodge covered in Deep Woods Off with my laptop running on 220V electricity playing Matthew West’s song One Less (if you get a chance listen to this song). Josie is asleep in our room behind us. It has been a busy day adjusting to Zambian culture and learning our way around (a little), but let me start by catching you up on our trip over here.

God has repeatedly demonstrated His leading and goodness to us in our journey here. The drive to Atlanta was uneventful, but we are extremely grateful for Ben Robinson’s help in getting us there. It was quite a scene as a convoy of 3 people, luggage, a stroller and a baby made their way through the check-in line. God even allowed us to have a friendly gate agent as we checked our 9 bags plus the stroller and carry-on. The person in line next to us was denied access to the flight due to visa problems and the person in the opposite line was charged an extra $60 for 2nd bag. Yet our 9 bags were all accepted without fees or hassle.

Thank you for your prayers for our travel with an overactive almost-two-year-old. Josie actually did very well on both flights. She slept the majority of both flights in the seat between us. At the London airport they had a small play area for kids so that helped keep her entertained during our 9-hour layover.

We made it through Zambian customs without any problems. The initial British Airways gate agent told us that it would be $150/person for our visas. However, when we got here, it was only $50/person and Josie was free. The visa is only good for 30-days, but can be renewed for free. There remains some question as to whether a tourist visa expires and is able to be renewed after 90 days. Others have assured us that it will not be a problem, but please pray that the adoption would be completed and that we wouldn’t have to find out.

All of our 9 bags made it through and we met James Williamson who drove us to our lodge (bed-and-breakfast style guest-house). We are staying here until Thursday when the Williamsons’ return to the US. After a shower (finally!), and a little unpacking Megan Williamson drove us around town showing us some of important locations. We won’t have a car, so any travel we do will either be by taxi or walking. Thankfully, there are two small shopping centers within walking distance (about ¾ mile). We already see God’s provision in this location. Other friends we know who have adopted from Zambia have not been within walking distance to anything, so we are grateful to save on many of the taxi fares. For those of you who have not read Jacky’s blog (www.heartacrossthewater.blogspot.com) we received a free double-stroller prior to coming. This has already been a blessing as we had initially intended to bring one of the cheap folding strollers. That never would have withstood the thousands of rocks and potholes that line the edges of the roads we walk. However, we are praying for this stroller to survive until we can return home.

Our first stop with Megan was the Social Welfare office downtown. Elizabeth, the social worker we will be interacting with, was supposed to meet us. However, in common Zambian fashion, she wasn’t in her office. After a brief phone call, she agreed to meet us later that afternoon. The other social worker told us that we should go to the orphanage and they would tell us which children were available to adopt.

While waiting, we drove to the orphanage where we hope to soon meet our daughters. The orphanage is divided into three sections; House of Moses (kids under 2), Bill and Bette House (Kids 2-5), and a house for kids over 5. At the Bill and Bette house the kids were in their preschool class, but we were able to briefly step inside the classroom and see them. I think there were about 15 in the class. One little boy and girl were especially affectionate as they ran up to Jacky and me wanting to be held. Josie was a little concerned about mom and dad suddenly holding two other kids, but as we walked away, was already asking, “Play Kids?”. Hopefully we’ll be back soon. The head of the orphanage told us that Social Welfare would be the ones to give us a list of children available for adoption. She was not able to release any information. So the run-around began.

We headed back to Social Welfare through the chaotic driving scene. Elizabeth was there this time. She accepted a copy of our home study and told us she would contact us. We talked for about 5 minutes and left praying and knowing that our God is powerful over the hearts of men and social workers with African time schedules. We have not yet heard back from her. Please earnestly pray that she would contact us soon and so that we can get this process started. Also pray for wisdom for us how much to continue to prompt her without overstepping cultural boundaries.

James and Megan had us over for dinner last night where we tried some of the local flavors. Mealy-meal (think of grits as thick as play-dough) and peanut butter chicken are both common foods and both good to eat. They have a very nice family and of been so helpful to us in many ways. We are continually grateful to God for his timing in bringing us together.

They have a very nice house by Zambian standards. Although there will be adjustments to our normal life in Alabama, we really are blessed with our living situation. They have a full-time night watchman for security, so we feel very safe as we are surrounded by an 8ft wall with an electric fence above it. This is very common in Zambia. There is no air-conditioning here so it is quite hot here in the afternoon. The climate seems to be similar to Alabama in late May- Upper 80’s and humid. The rainy season will be starting soon which means that the temperatures and humidity will climb as they head into their summer (southern hemisphere). We will not have internet in the house, but there is an internet cafĂ© at one of the nearby shopping centers, so Jacky will probably be able to connect there a few times a week. We did purchase a local cell phone. Phones here receive incoming calls for free. If you want to, you can call us. Our number is 260-097-615-8523. African calling cards can be purchased inexpensively at local stores in the U.S. I know that our Money Store’s sell a card that can call here for 3 hours for $10.

We are already thankful for our Steri-pen that we brought. We debated whether or not to bring one, but have already used it countless times to purify our tap water and not have to buy bottled water. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Steri-pen uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.99999% of bacteria and viruses. It takes about a minute to purify a liter of water with no chemicals or filters.

The jet lag kicked in last night as we were awake with a little girl wanting to jump on our bed at 3:00am. It didn’t really matter too much because Jacky and I were awake too. Hopefully tonight we’ll sleep a little better.

Today we spent the majority of the day traveling around the Kabanana compound with Katryn Belke, another missionary from New York who lives on James and Megan’s property. We were told what we experienced today was a lot closer to the “real Zambia”. Kabanana is a very poor area of town where the majority of people live in extreme poverty. The scenes reminded me of my time in a South African village, so again I was thankful for how God had already prepared us for this trip. The work that Katryn and the Williamsons do in the midst of the people of Kabanana is very special. They partner with a local church plant from Kwabata Baptist Church (Conrad Mbewe) to identify kids and single-parent families that have the greatest needs. They then work with these people on an almost daily basis to provide food, school, evangelism, Biblical training and work opportunities. The needs are overwhelming and my words and pictures will not adequately describe the scene that can only be experienced. One of the stops today was to visit the little store that they had helped a local man start. It was a tiny 8x8ft room built onto the side of his house, but it provided him a way to sell a few necessities and buy food for his family. With obvious joy, Katryn shared about how the pastor had baptized several new believers last Sunday whose lives had drastically changed from lives of crime and violence as a result of their ministry. I am both humbled and ashamed as I see the devotion she and others have to the ministry here. She lives on a tiny amount of money she receives from relatives and uses her personal savings and a few random donations to continue the work. There is a big need for additional people to step forward and provide funding to support a child ($35/month) and also to support their ministry in general. It seems like a much better and biblically grounded option than some of the other ministries where money is given monthly, but there is little contact with the recipient. Here, the kids are held accountable, connected with a biblical church and Katryn takes the time to update donors with specific prayer requests on a weekly basis.

This afternoon we visited both of the nearby shopping centers just to map out the walking route and purchase some milk and juice for Josie. The ridiculous British security felt that despite the fact that we had already been through U.S. security and never left the secure area, the juice we brought for Josie was somehow a security threat, so they confiscated it. Guess two parents and a baby really do look like terrorists.

Well time to wrap up this addition of “War and Peace”. I’ll write another lengthy novel at a later time.

Please pray earnestly that all the paperwork would be completed in the next ten days.
*Most recent update: We have names of 3 children at another orphanage in the city. Social Worker Elizabeth is reviewing their files and if everything looks good we MAY get to meet them tomorrow!


  1. Thanks for the update! Prayin for every espect of your journey! Keep the updates coming!

  2. YAY, Lewises! Sounds like things are going well. Can't wait to hear the news when you choose your girls. :)

  3. Wow! God is faithful! Our hope is in Him alone! Praying and excited. Sounds so much like places we have lived. Praying for the process and God's wisdom and peace for you!

  4. Thank you so much for the update. I love hearing all the details of your trip. It sounds like God has already blessed you in so many amazing ways along this journey and I know He will continue to do so. We hope you are able to meet the kids tomorrow. We are praying for all of you. God bless you and all of your kids.

  5. Praising the Lord with you and constantly praying! Thank you so much for taking the time to update us! It is a joy to hear about your journey!