Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Sunday.

And celebrate we did.

"The Choice", a play performed by our church. We had to explain to Shantel that it was all acting.

Our brown eggs. I searched through all the cartons at the grocery store to make my ideal dozen that were all the lightest ones.

We had to get a little creative.

Our Zambian Easter eggs! Beautifully unique.

Easter pudding!

Mexican Easter Dinner.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Well, against all odds it is true. Shantel learned how to ride a bike. In only an hour!
It was a rough start because our bikes are a little too big for her. Also, there is a big difference between teaching a small child and 12 year old child, who is unbalanced and throwing almost 100 pounds from side to side. But she did it, triumphantly so.

After one of her more severe wrecks I said, "Are you ok?"
And she said, "Yerrr. Strong women have to go through hard things, but they get up and put themselves back together."

Friday, April 15, 2011


Sophie and I wanted to take the opportunity to make a trip to the House of Moses while Shantel is here with us. It's our favorite place to freely give our spare time and it is also a good teaching opportunity. It's an chance to teach an orphan that the undesirable things she has endured in this life can be used by God for good.

Shantel has a choice, and when she chooses to be like Jesus, her focus will not be on herself but on others. That may seem like a lot to ask of a 12 year old. It's a lot to ask of myself for sure and I've had twice the amount of time for growth and maturity that Shantel has had. But, the Lord's hand is on Shantel unlike anything I've ever seen in a child. Who He is in her makes me stand back in awe and try to take it all in.

I still can't see the full picture, but I know enough to see the good deposit he has placed in her. And he has placed her in my life for a reason. I see that as more than something to be enjoyed, but a great and also fleeting opportunity to guard and increase the harvest that is now and will be brought out of the life she lives in Zambia. She will reach people that I never could, and I know she will.

Last night when she was skyping Auntie Nelly (Neely) I heard her say this when asked what she wanted to be when she grows up"

"I want to be a missionary. Anywhere."


Shantel is a leader, that is for certain. And since she's been staying with us, we have been frequently finding this little crew on our back porch in the evenings. Shantel invites them over to do flashcards and they love it! She makes friends wherever she goes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

day one.

Shantel is here! She is settling into our home just fine, not without a few bumps in the road, but nevertheless just fine. Here she is holding her new journal when she saw the room we had prepared for her. She has her own space and still plenty of quality Auntie time, a good balance.

We enrolled Shantel in a school just up the road from our house for what is called "extra lessons", meaning that she can be tutored in all her subjects while on break. That might sound dreadful to most 12 year olds, but Shantel was so excited that she couldn't sleep last night.

I walked her up the road at a very early hour to speak to the "sister in charge" at the Tionge Basic School. She informed me that since Shantel was not a student there, the fee for 2 weeks worth of lessons would be $8. In Zambia, school costs money for every student that attends. Shantel's family has never had the funds to send her to school over and beyond the usual three-term year. So, this opportunity kept her awake most of the night and woke me up to her intentionally noisy chores in the kitchen at around 6 am. She was so ready to go that we ended up arriving almost an hour early.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

my girl.

Last year on Palm Sunday, I was privileged to delight in the joyful presence of a little girl named Shantel--an Easter gift from heaven.

Those of you who have been following my time in Zambia or my blog have a pretty good idea of the battle she has been through in her 12 short years.

Almost exactly a year ago, in spite of all she was struggling through as an orphan, she stood beside me in church on Easter with her hands raised. Shantel became a Christian before the church that Sunday, although she had been a believer for quite some time.

Since she popped into my life in February of last year, all that we've been through can best be described as a roller coaster--a thrilling ride with as many ups as downs. Through the many highs and lows, together we have not ceased moving forward towards a sweet victory. The victory is preceded by a vision held and the vision preceded by a promise:

"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow" Deuteronomy 10:18

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling" Psalm 68:5

There have been prayers for protection, open doors.
Prayers to sustain, prayers for strength, prayers to preserve.
Prayers for the vision to be upheld, prayers for justice, prayers for the lion of Judah to show himself.

And let it be known that God has answered them all, every one. As if that was not more than enough to show Him faithful there are more blessings falling on us, as abundant and as sure as rain.

I will be with Shantel again this Easter, and celebrate we will--

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,
and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.
Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that
your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

1 Corinthians 15

With all He has done, it's as if I've seen him here walking among us once again, performing miracles and defeating death.
Her life is a testimony of His resurrection.
And to me it is a good and perfect gift.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


There are many things in this life that I call beautiful.
Here is one of them:

Beauty is only 9 years old.
She lives in a house that burned down, but has two rooms still intact.
She has to worry when it rains.
She has to stay home from church with her sister at times to protect the little that they have from thieves.
Her surroundings are not quite beautiful.

But, Friday her mother told us a story.
Beauty is a member of a GEMS club here in Lusaka. Her mother is one of the counselors for this group of girls. Beauty asked her mother why one of the girls in the club wore the same outfit every Saturday to church. She asked if it was because she had no other clothes to put on. Her mother told her that this was probably the reason. So, Beauty went right home and gathered up a few articles of the precious little clothing she has and took it to club the following week. And now that little girl can wear clean clothes whenever she wants.

Our Father makes his daughters beautiful and He begins his work in places no one can see.
He works from the inside out.
And though few people could see this small soul giving so freely, He did.
He named her Beauty for a reason, even if just to teach me what it looks like.