Sunday, July 24, 2022

Drifting Down the Mighty Zambezi...

Hello all! 
Just wanted to share a few quick pics of our enjoyable drift down the mighty Zambezi. Those with a keen eye might spot a couple hippos frolicking around!

Kari Wales

A Little Recap from Livingstone

The Lord has loaded up the last couple of days with blessings upon blessings. As each day blends into the next, it's sad to think that this amazing experience is almost at its close. But as I said, God has been so good, not only to us, but also to Pastor Ibrahim, Pastor Victor, Pastor-in-training Rafael, and all of those others who have assisted us throughout our journey. God has also granted us with so many wonderful encounters with schools across this country. Not only have God's saving Words reached the souls of thousands of children through us as His mouthpieces, but they have also reached the hearts of the teachers and directors at these schools. On Wednesday, my team had gone to a preschool of about 50 children run by a young man named David. It turns out that David had organized this school by himself in the hopes of helping children grow up in the right way and away from the bad influences of the world. In fact, he hopes to set up more schools like this around the area. Pastor Ibrahim and Missionary Ohlmann talked with him for a while and he seemed very interested in the ministry. He was all for everything they had to say about what we confess here in the CLC. David said he wants to join the church service coming up on Sunday as well as the Bible school Pastor Ibrahim has here in Livingstone. In fact, he was  also very interested in having Pastor Ibrahim be the pastor in charge of all the doctrinal oversight at his current school and any future schools he might establish. Isn't it incredible how our all-knowing Father places us in each and every place at just the right time with just the right people? 

"However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' — the things God has prepared for those who love him—"

1 Corinthians 2:9

Alright, onto the events of Friday. We started the day with a lovely breakfast at the "Basil Cafe" located inside of our hostel. This place is beyond wonderful. There's free coffee and tea offered all day long, and, if you place an order before 3 PM, you can get free delicious pancakes (more like crepes) that come with lemon juice and sugar. 

Anyways, we were picked up by Pastor Ibrahim and our drivers, Barnabas and William at 9 AM to leave to the first of two schools for the day. Both teams traveled together. We arrived at the first school and were greeted by around 300 children sitting outside. This school was beyond excited to have us coming as visitors from America to spread the Gospel of Christ with them! They greeted us with a letter read by one of the school girls, the choir singing their national anthem and a worship song, and a song sang by some of the smaller children. Henry, Noah, Andrea, and Amy took over the older kids while my group (Candy, Kari, Kaylee, and I) took the little ones. These kids were so ready to listen to the Words of Jesus and were ready with an answer to every question! It is so awesome to see the little lights shining in each of their faces as these kids talk about their ever-loving Savior. We got to hand out 300 little crochet hearts that Beth Kranz graciously made for these kids. The school sent us off with the utmost gratitude and joy. A young boy closed us with prayer and then we took off together to school number two. 

School number two was also split into two groups of older and younger kids, which we took respectively. Now school was getting out for other kids around this time, so it was getting a little rowdy. But they still gave us their attention and the Lord still granted us with the great chance to speak of His perfect love and gift of forgiveness and life through His Son. 

After we finished up at the schools, we returned to our hostel around 1:30 PM and had almost 2 hours until our event of the evening: a sunset cruise on the great Zambezi River. We were picked up around 3:30 by a shuttle going to our destination. However, there was a tad hiccup in our excursion. The first flag of suspicion was raised when the other people on our shuttle were dressed really fancy and we were in very casual clothing. The second flag was raised when we approached the triple-decker boat and there was a red carpet ready to take us aboard. Well, we walked on board and did a few circles until they told us we were on the wrong boat. This seemed much more realistic, but it was cool to at least look at the "Lady Livingstone." We eventually found our designated boat and settled in the lower deck.  God had blessed us with the most beautiful weather for the occasion. We saw lots of hippos half-submerged near the shoreline as well as a crocodile chilling on a log. The sunset was sadly covered by some clouds on the horizon, but the rays still managed to peak through some spots. 

And that about wraps up the day. We only have a few days left in the beautiful country of Zambia, but I'm so thankful God has put me on this journey! I can't wait to see what he has in store for the rest of the trip!

In love and in Christ,

Erica Oster

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Coming to an end...

Hello friends, 

Our time in Zambia has been amazing and we are sad that it is starting to come to an end. A couple days ago, we went on a safari at to Victoria Falls which was so cool to see and we all really enjoyed it.
We have loved being able to go to different schools in Lusaka and Livingstone. They just got out of school on Friday for a month break and we leave in a couple of days. Today we taught at the church in Livingstone and got a lot more kids than we thought we would have which was great. 
One of our drivers, Barnabas, turned 36 today. To celebrate, we bought a cake, sang to him, and pastor Ibrahim poured water on him. There was a little girl at the church who also had a birthday today and turned 1. She loved the cake. 
Tomorrow we plan on singing 2 songs during the church service for the congregation and might go to the ground to play football tomorrow afternoon. 
We definitely will miss being here but we do all miss everyone back home and are looking forward to seeing y'all again.

In Christ,
Kaylee Koenig

Friday, July 22, 2022

In Awe of God's Creation...

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—Psalm 104:24

After ten days of travel and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with more than 2,000 children in Lusaka and Livingstone, we took a break to enjoy and stand in awe of some of God's amazing and beautiful creation at Victoria Falls and Mosi Oa Tunya National Park. It was an incredible day blessed by our Savior!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Safari pictures

"And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:24-25. 

In Christ, 
Andrea D'Onofrio 

Mosi Oa Tunya

Hello from Livingstone, Zambia! Today was our day to explore and we were spoiled with a safari and trip to Victoria Falls. The falls were initially named Mosi Oa Tunya by the natives which means "The Smoke that Thunders". This is a fitting name because the waterfall creates the most beautiful smokelike mist as it crashes into the rocks below to create a thunderous boom. As we walked along parts of the waterfall we were showered with the "smoke" that even ponchos could not seem to protect against. On our safari we saw saw elephants in the distance as they crossed the Zambezi River, zebras, giraffe, rhinos, impalas, king fisher, crocodile and hippos. We are truly in awe of God's beautiful creations and so grateful for this experience and will return to teaching tomorrow! 

In Christ, 
Andrea D'Onofrio 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday blessings from Lusaka

Dearest friends back home, 

Mungu ni mwema! (God is so good) Where do I even start? It is Sunday evening here and we are finishing a beautiful day spent teaching and worshipping with our fellow Zambian brothers and sisters. We traveled back to the Shimabala village where we taught yesterday and joined in a worship service. When we first arrived to the church there were a few adults and children gathered around. After some time had passed, Pastor Ibrahim led us in hymns as we waited for more people from the village to join us. It is common in Zambia to sing until a crowd forms as it signals to others to come and join for church. Once Pastor Ibrahim had determined there were enough people we started the church service and joined in a confessional liturgy with more hymns. 

With the aid of our translator, Raphael, Todd preached on Ephesians 2. We are all familiar with this chapter because it famously discusses how we are saved by grace through faith. Yet, I saw it come to life in a way I had never seen before through the worship of this congregation. As they sang several songs in their native tongue and danced, the characteristics of a strong and great faith were evident even without understanding the words. A select group of women called the "choir" processed from the entrance of the church to the front where they sang and danced with the biggest smiles, joyful faces, and the most beautiful voices. It was the most pure and humble worship to the Lord glorifying and thanking Him. This truly was the most impactful part of the trip thus far for me. I was so moved that I joined in with the dancing and was soon after joined by several other mission helpers. After service, we passed out candy and bouncy balls for the children to play with and exchanged many hugs, high-fives and smiles. It was remarkable to see the Spirit of the Lord hard at work and to see their joy and love for Jesus. I pray I am blessed enough to return to this village someday. 

Afterwards, we all traveled to a nearby village where my group taught. The children were so eager and excited to hear what we had to say. We finished our evening with our nightly walk to a nearby mall for dinner and then came back for prayer and hymns around the fire. Tonight we were blessed to have Pastor Ibrahim join us and he reminded us of two things: to pray for those back home as they are in turn praying for us and to not grow tired or loose our zeal for teaching throughout these long days. I think it is safe to say that our fervor for teaching was strenghtened after today's worship service. Tomorrow is our last day teaching in Lusaka before we make the voyage to Livingston and I write this with a heart of joy thinking about what seeds can be planted tomorrow.  

Thank you for your continued prayers back home as we plant the seed of the Gospel! Here are two verses heavy on my heart tonight. 

"None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God. Ransom for him-for the redemption of their soul is costly" -Psalm 49:7.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" -John 10:27-28.

Lord's blessings to you,
Andrea D'Onofrio