Our trip to Zambia was full of blessings. We left our house at 4:25 am Wednesday the 29th. We rode a coaster (small bus) to the train station. The bus was packed full of our team members and our luggage. We arrived at the train station with several minutes to spare, and then the train was about 1 hour late in arriving. There were not enough compartments for our families to have our own, so our family was split up between the two compartments with the other expat families. Then the third compartment had our Tanzanian staff and guest. Our family really enjoyed the train, as we were able to get up, walk around, go to the bathroom, drink, eat, lay down or sit as we felt the need. Riding the bus, we often dehydrate ourselves because the stops for the bathroom are few and far between!
Sleeping on the bumpy jerky train was a bit challenging, but laying down was marvelous. The children with us (six of them) enjoyed the freedom of being able to play and associate during the trip.
The ride was not without some challenges, of course. There was a derailment of a freight train on the tracks that took several days to clear, so we were unable to go to our final train depot by train.
|Train parts along the tracks|
|Road side market in Zambia (picture from the bus)|
|People selling things to the train passengers (window shopping)|
Our border crossings on the train were very smooth (except one of our Tanzanian staff forgot to get his paperwork stamped as exiting but we got that resolved - fast work Bill - way to go!)
The Tanzanian staff also got highly questioned at the border, but after talking to our treasurer who was with us, we got through to the Zambian side.
After getting off the train, Bill got us a mini-bus (coaster) to take us to where two cars were waiting for us from Riverside Farm. We were glad to see friendly faces, and then we took another 5 hour car ride. We arrived somewhere between 11pm and midnight one day after starting our journey. I was thrilled to see our name on a piece of paper on the door of our room as we walked into the "White House." It is nice to know you are in the right place. I slept like a log in my bunk bed.
The Outpost Centers International Retreat had started Thursday night, so we missed the first meeting. The following days of meetings were TERRIFIC! We had 27 people from Kibidula there and two others from Tanzania. There were about 150 people total registered.
The meetings were practical and encouraging. They covered many aspects of missionary life and work. The reports by the various mission stations was very encouraging. God is working in marvelous ways all over the world. We had reports from North America, Central America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa. There were a couple of people from Australia but I don't know if we had any mission reports from there.
|Some different style of mud huts in Zambia|
It was a blessing to see the work taking place at Riverside Farm and two other mission stations in Zambia. The one that we visited is on the Zambezi River. We saw many hippos in the water there and even heard a few of them making noises.
|Hippos playing in the Zambezi River|
|The grave of the missionary brother that was killed by an elephant|
|The famous baobab tree|
Two of my new friends have their father buried there on the property. He was a victim of Malaria while working as a missionary there at Riverside many years ago. We heard many stories and it was very touching to see what has happened and what is happening in the various mission fields.
One of the staff caught a large python as it crossed the path on a nature walk.
|Taking a nature walk up the mountain at Riverside|
At another mission station, they have just built several classrooms. There is a preschool and a "pioneer" (or lay evangelist) school there. They had just started their first classes, and we were asked to do some short presentations/talks to them. So we put on our teacher caps and taught in Zambia.
|Giving a short health talk to the students|
When the meetings were over, we split up into three groups for the return. Eleven went by car, eight by bus and 10 by train. We were on the train again. We were only 6 hours behind schedule for the return trip. The wreck had been removed from the tracks. We saw many broken down train cars here and there along the tracks throughout the trip. Okay the one thing I didn't enjoy on the train was the bridges. I admit that.
|Another Train bridge crossing|
We had 5 children for the return trip. They enjoyed each others company and spent a lot of time in our compartment. Our family was together for this return trip.
We started the return trip between 8:30 and 9 am (I think) on Tuesday and got home Thursday between 3 and 4 am. We got to bed at 4:30 am. It was a great trip and I praise the Lord for providing for our going and returning. We had nothing stolen or lost (that we know of!) We met lots of new friends for which to keep in contact and also to pray. It was a blessing.
So we are back in our mission station home. We leave for the big Union wide health meetings in Dodoma in two weeks. Doug has been running around trying to fix water problems a bunch yesterday and today, and the neighbor just came over again to say it wasn't working again, so he will be off doing that again in a minute. He has a lot of solar work ahead of him along with going through new materials that we may use for our next teaching session which starts in July.
Someone asked Doug today (Friday) if we were still fundraising for a vehicle for the medical missionary work. The answer was "yes" by my husband. I asked him, did you mention that we have received not one penny toward a vehicle yet? He said "no." Hmm. So we still need much prayers regarding that. I really don't like asking people for money. God has a plan.
Back to typing up translated materials. God is faithful and His timing is perfect. I have a lot of material to go through, type up and so much more. No time for boredom on the front lines!
Thanks for reading, thank you for the prayers, thanks for everything!