Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have pretty much just been a walking cultural blunder lately. It's not really even all cultural, it's more of how I am mixed with a third world culture and a language barrier--INAPPROPRIATE.

Prime example of the day:

We went to visit our favorite neighbors (little Sophie's house that I have mentioned in previous blogs) and were quickly surrounded with scores of children. We proceeded to greet all of them that crowded around us and then I made my way into the yard to greet the elderly women seated on the ground, who are culturally not expected to rise for visitors and are to be greeted by a youth (me) on her knees.

We shook hands and then I came to one lady and she pointed to her cheek. I smiled at her and leaned in to kiss each side of her face which is customary in this culture.

I "kissed" the side she was pointing to (just kind of the kissing gesture) and then went to the other side, touched her cheek with mine and made a kissing sound.

I came up for air and she was still pointing to her cheek and tilting it up towards me, so I thought geeeeeeeez that wasn't even good enough, I have to ACTUALLY kiss her.
So I laid one on her.
A full contact, awkwardly yet sufficiently-prolonged, cheek kiss and as I pulled away I noticed her cheek was swollen to about four times the normal size.
She was trying to tell me she had a toothache!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HUGE cultural/situational blunder. Needless to say, all of the other women and Sophie got a reasonably sized kick out of my mistake. What can I say I'm a jokester, sometimes I'm just not aware of it.

You never know...one minute you're kissing old ladies and the next minute you realize she does NOT want the kisses, she just wants some Tylenol.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Thank you everyone for praying for our little sister, Shantel.

When her true guardian was scheduled to come back into town from his new home in Livingstone, her "mother" panicked and sent her away.

While this was sudden and unexpected, I see it as an answer to prayer.

Shantel is currently enjoying a month-long break from school and a holiday at her Auntie Yvonne's house.

She is resting, watching TV, and being a kid. While she is so mature in life and in faith for her age, she is only 11 years old. She's just a kid. And she needs to have a child-sized burden every once in a while.

It makes me smile to get her phone calls up to ten times a day. We talk in the morning and before bed, with quite a few reassuring calls in between.

She's just checking in and she wants to make sure that we are still here. We have not left her. She can still talk to us. She can still hear how much she is loved. She can still be valued.

She needs to be reminded that there are two people in this world who fight for her, her Aunties, who would give all that they have in this world to come to her defense.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter is Over.

Evil cannot manifest itself more clearly than in a person who abuses children.

Shantel had evil thrust upon her when we returned from church on Easter Sunday.

Shantel came home to an angry stepmother and her boyfriend. We followed shortly after with the excuse of bringing a jacket back to her little brother. We knew we needed to be there to divert their anger away from her,
a big white distraction.

We walked in on a bit of a predicament. Shantel answered the gate in tears.
They were all sitting in the grass outside the confining walls of the tiny shack.
Our presence was in no way welcomed or appreciated. All in the name of “saving face” the mother greeted us. The problem was obvious, but we asked anyway.
After hearing a long list of Shantel’s shortcomings, the boyfriend started in.
In a broken combination of Nyanja and English, this sleezy, lazy, worthless, evil example of Satan’s dominion in this world began his mockery:
“Do you think I’m afraid to beat you to death?
Do you think I’m afraid of these whites? Do you think they came to defend you?
I’ll slap you right here in front of them. I’ll beat you with them here to watch it.
I’ll beat you until you shit.”
He sat lounging in his chair with bloodshot eyes and a haughty smile, challenging us.

"The lion has roared--

Who will not fear?

The Sovereign Lord has spoken--

Who can refuse to proclaim his message?"

This man shook my hand when I reached out to him.
He introduced himself as “Joseph, the father of Jesus”.
And there is Satan. As many times as I’ve seen Jesus here, now I’ve seen a physical manifestation of what he battles against.

"Let justice roll on like a river."

Africans fear lions. It’s ironic that my God is a lamb but also a lion, a king. He is fierce in defense of the fatherless. He defends the orphan.

"They will follow the LORD;

He will roar like a lion.

When he roars,

His children will come before him trembling."

Let us get one thing right:
Easter is over.
He’s not on the cross. He isn’t broken. He’s alive. He’s the King. He’s the Lion.

I want everyone to see the Lion. Let us all pray and storm the gates of hell. Christ is interceding on her behalf, let’s join him. While this mountain seems too big, this sea seems too wide, this mustard seed too small, like Abraham we will all have faith and see the testimony of the Lion. Everyone watch. Taste and see. This will be a testimony of the Lion coming to defend his kingdom. It will not be a story that you hear, but one that happened right before your eyes. This testimony will be our own experience.

Amos 3:8... Amos 5:24...Hosea 11:10


One child occupies my every thought.
Every moment of my rest, vacation, working hours, time with Zambians, time with Americans, conversations, prayers. She consumes them all.

Shantel was a heavy burden on my heart during our trip to Livingstone, occupying every moment and every thought. The Lord told me he wanted her in church with us on Easter morning. I told Sophie and we tried to find a way. There was no opportunity for us to get to her, there was no way her stepmother would allow her to come with us. I gave up.

Easter morning dawned and a little surprise was at our gate, Shantel. Her church was locked and she came to our house. Shantel, right there at our doorstep, where He continually brings her. It was right.

Shantel worshipped with me on Easter morning while tears poured down my face. Her little hand in mine, we raised them together. We sang:

“Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!"

Shantel accepted Jesus this Easter. Shantel came into the kingdom. That is why she was needed in church Easter morning.

He moved a mountain. He made a way when there was no way.
He spoke and told me His will. I couldn’t make it happen and He fought for me. I only needed to be still. I only needed to know His will so that when He made it come to pass, I would respond correctly and walk confidently in the center of it.

What if I missed it? What if I said no? What if I sent her home? What if I refused to bring her 5 year old little brother on the 4 mile walk? What if I let my fear of men tell her to go back? What if I just acted out of what I thought was best, and missed His will?

I wish I could explain the ways the Lord speaks to me. And no, it’s not always through the word. Sometimes my spirit just knows. Sometimes the very core of my being communicates with His and without an ounce of doubt, I know what He wants of me. It was this way with Zambia. It is the same with Shantel.

And this is all that I really want anyone to remember—you know the voice of your Shepherd. Tune into it. Do not doubt it. Do not explain it away. Do not miss His will. The consequences are too great. The wealth is one too rich to miss.