Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mission Zamibia Report From Our Friend Wayne

I got this letter from Bruce Burress forwarded from his cousin Wayne. Last month while Wayne was visiting with us we prayed for him as he was leaving for a short term mission trip to Zambia. Here is his report.

Just got home from Zambia yesterday afternoon and I'm now trying to adjust especially to the weather. Karen is quite happy that the weather is so nice (sunny&50degrees), I personally think it's a bit cold since I'm now use to 90 degree weather. The trip went well all flights were on time both coming and going. I was worried because the first 2 flights going and the last 2 flights coming home were on NW Airlines and I have had poor luck with them over the years, but everything went well. The flights on South African Airlines were very nice. They have been the nicest International flights that I have had. My only hitch was going, they made me pay for excess baggage from Johnnesburg to Ndola. After arriving in Ndola we traveled to Kitwe to the Mondola Ecumenical College where we stayed for one night. The next morning we were off at 4:30 am on our way to Zambezi. The trip use to take 15hrs. but the Zambian government has started improving the road so it only took 10 hrs.Half of the trip was on dirt roads and our driver was a wild man. I don't know how he could avoid all the bumps and pot holes he did traveling at 60 miles/hr.(120KM/Hr). Going out we were lucky because they had had a bad storm the day before so the dirt road was not too dusty, coming back was a different story. After 5hrs. on a dirt road our luggage had had a half inch of dust on it and our had completely turned to the color of dust, when we took a shower that night in Chingola on the trip home the water was brown from the dust coming off of me.
We arrived in Zambezi early afternoon and the orphans were waiting for us along with Pastor Bernard Lumene and his family. There were hugs and greetings all around.The kids range in age from 4 yrs. old to 16 yrs. old we think. Some of the kids don't really know how old they are. Zambezi is quite different from the rest of Zambia because it is so isolated. They people are very poor but they are not so poor and underfed as the rest of Zambia so stealing is not quite so rampant and there was very little begging. The people in general were very polite and friendly. The kids are very well behaved and very warm and loving.
We started right off the next morning going out to the orphanage work site. There were 5 of us 2 of were from my church and 3 were from one of our local Baptist churches. One of our team has a small construction company, one a small plumbing business and 3 of them are soccer coaches and in Zambis it's called football and it is the main sport. On Sunday afternoons after church, they play soccer. The orphan have a team that play other kids, the women of the church have a team that play other women's church teams and the men of the church also have their team. So every Sunday there are 3 soccer games one right after another on the same field which is kept mowed by cows and oxen grazing so one must learn how to avoid cow pies. The players play on the rough field some with tennis shoes, some with street shoes and over half with no shoes.
At this time the pastor's house is close to being completed. We help put in the plumbing there.We did no electrical work because they will not have electric at the site for at least a year or two. The walls are up on the girls dormitory. The girl's and boy's dormitories will each hold 48 orphans. There are presently in Zambezi over 100 kids living on the street and that doesn't count the orphans associated with the front porch orphanage or those orphans who are living with a distant relative and that is from a community of about 7000 people.We worked mainly on the dining hall and kitchen building. There are 2 large dining rooms with the kitchen between the two of them. The dining rooms will double as study areas and classrooms. Pastor Lumene's wife Betty teaches the kids English in the afternoon after they have returned from the local grade school. Average classroom size in the grade school is 61pupils.
We would start working at 6:30 in the morning and stop for lunch at noon. After lunch we would return and work only 2-3 hours because of the heat. We were all drinking about one gallon of water a day to keep hydrated. We were able to get most of the roof up and completed on the dining - kitchen building before we ran out of supplies. The basic problem is you have to travel 10 hrs. to Kitwe to get supplies. We were also able to build new benches for the church but even then we bought every screw that was available in Zambezi to build 11 benches. We would start our day with prayer and end our day with prayer.
We celebrated Easter there and it was a moving experience. A normal church service is usually 3 hours long with much singing and dancing by both the choir and congregation and much praying by the pastor and the congregation. They have a time when everyone is called to pray individually at the same time out loud. It very different. The people here are very religious and put their trust and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. When they sing they are singing not to themselves but they are singing to God. This experience was very meaningful to our team both in what we gave our time and money and what we received God's love and grace. We were blessed in what we accomplished and that we had very minor injuries and no illness.