Wednesday

Things are still going well. Yesterday, we had a good study with Bennett going through Ephesians 4 and then again in the armor of God. We studied with Ernset in the Market, too. He wasn’t as interested in studying, but we spent about 1.5 hours being frustrated. We looked for Lucumbe, but were not able to get in touch with her, and we hope to catch her today.

Victoria came by yesterday–but she missed us. Today we’ll be studying with her at 3. We came for a morning study with Christabell today, but she got called in for work. This afternoon we hope to meet Jennifer, Victoria, and Lucumbe. Everyone has been asking how the rest of the group is doing and if they’re back safely. We keep telling them that we assume that we would have heard if they weren’t! :-)

Well, all for now. Take care!

Matthew

Hi!!

—-Original Message Follows—-
From: “Leslie A Tiensvold”
Subject: Hi!!
Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 07:42:30 -0500

Hi everyone!! It seems every time I come into town to send an email, the power is out!! The power is not reliable here at all, but it works out ok. Normally if the power is out there are more people in the streets to talk to. The rest of the group left this morning. We have our work cut out for us. We have a very long list of people to continue studying with. Especially a couple of new Christians whom we want to strengthen before we leave. There have been seven baptisms so far! God has done great things. I love studying with so many people who just want to open their Bible with us and read God’s word. Saturday, Matthew and I went to a ladies house to study with her. On the way to her house we ran into a couple who I had talked and studied with earlier. The husband had not been to church in years but went last Sunday after some encouragement and study. So we stopped and talked to them and then talked with their neighbors. They all followed us to Jennifers house to join in on her study. When Jennifer was not home, we all went to the ladies house and studied on her porch. We found out that they too were Christians and the guy who had not been to church in a while could not read. So we studied with them a little from Acts 2 and about walking in the light, finishing the race ect. and showed him how he has been blessed with a neighbor who can read. They are now planning on studying together every lunchtime. They seemed really excited and we wrote a list of scriptures to help them as they study together. It is moments like that which make all the hard work and the good it does evident. To see people like Bennet who was Baptized last week who just seems to get it and can not wait to learn more, to seeing Christians really beginning to understand the importance of encouraging one another to walk daily in Christ. I love seeing that and I love the people. I wish it were as easy to set up Bible studies in America! I wish it were this easy to talk about Jesus! We starting studying with the cook this morning. We studied creation, the godhead and the existance of satan. All of this was new to him! He just wants as much of God’s word as we can give him.

I know I miss worshipping in English only and it will get tougher now with the rest of the group gone and our nightly devos in English no longer. We are planning on continuing studying with the ladies at the front desk and they love learning english songs, so at least we will sing a little! :) They are really wonderful people!

Well, I just wanted to tell you all I love you and can’t wait to talk to you again!!

Love,
Les 

The Group Just Left

Hello from Zambia! It is Monday at 2:11 PM. We just got back from taking the group to the airport. No major security issues. Their flight leaves at 3:10–we’ll probably hear it. Livingstone International doesn’t get much jet traffic so it will be pretty obvoius. Leslie and I are excited about our last week and a half here. We have more  Bible studies and things to do than we know what to do with.

It was good to see the baptisms. Yesterday, I preached at Livingstone Central. They are all so eager to hear and so very encouraging. I met the director of an orphanage. Leslie and I are planning to go there this Wednesday and work with the kids for a little while.

So much has gone on since the last time I posted-I don’t even know where to begin. Many in our group have just gone to the markets in the afternoon and brought a Bible–and found that people flock to them for study. I think we’ve had two baptisms that way already. Leslie and I are planning to spend quite a bit of time there in follow up. It is frustrating to go tot he market. Many of the people are terribly poor–some are not. After we preached in Mukuni Village the other day, several responded and four or five were baptized. After the baptisms, we went to the market…and it seemed like everyone who responded said, “Come to my shop, I was the one who repented!” I bought from one guy that I had talked to for a couple of days, and I did not want to buy anything else. I had a t-shirt in my bag so I gave it to his friend that I had studied with as a gift. I told him that since I could not purchase from him, I wanted him to have something. He was very disappointed and said, “You have no kwachas for me too?”

Most of the people are really amazing, though. Almost the entire youth group from Riverside came to see our group off this morning. Two of the ladies that we have been studying with, Victoria and Petronella, walked to the lodge this morning just to see us off and sing with us before we left. They stayed with us about an hour. It is really exciting to get to continue to study with them.

Well, that should probably be it for now. We have study to do! Thanks, and keep praying for us and the church in Zambia!

God bless!
Matthew

Last Day

—-Original Message Follows—-
From: Aarek Farmer
Subject: Last Day
Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 23:35:40 -0700 (PDT)

Today is our last day in Livingstone.  We leave for the airport today at 12:45 to fly out at 3:10.  Last night the Riverside members came and gave us a ‘farewell party’ which means they sang alot for us and the children quoted memory verses.

Words can’t describe how amazing this trip has been.  On Friday night we had another baptism.  I never imagined having this big of an impact on the people here.  One of the members last night told me that Christians throughout Livingstone have been encouraged and want to make a change to start doorknocking more on their own, because they see the impact we have made in the areas around here.

I want to give you another reason to be proud of the people you know on this trip. Every member on this team sacrificed the money they were going to spend on a boat ride on the Queen Victoria which takes you to see the sunset on the Zambezi River. Everyone wants to put their money to better use.  After seeing the need for Bibles, they decided that they want to take that money and use it to buy Bibles and have the church distribute them.  The Zambians were amazed that a group of young people were willing to do that.  We will take the money and probably buy Bibles in the states and mail them back here.  I was so pround when the suggestion came up.  We will also use the money to for other needs that the churches in Livingstone have.

Pray for us as we leave today.  Leslie, Happy, and Angie will stay behind for a longer period of time.  They will do followups on those we have already studied with.

We are looking forward to being back in America but will miss it so much here.  Thank you for putting up with my lack of grammar knowledge and poor spelling habits.  When time is money here, that was the last thing on my mind.

We will see you in a few days.
In HIm,
Aarek

God is Amazing!!!!

—-Original Message Follows—-
From: Aarek Farmer
Subject: God is Amazing!!!!
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 08:59:22 -0700 (PDT)

So we had one baptism last week.

We went to Mukuni VIllage the last few days and had a gospel meeting and we baptized 4 there after we drove for ever to find enough water to do it.  Then our prayers were answered today for a young man, Bennett from the Market that we have been studying with since we have been here was baptized only minutes ago.  Today has been a great day.  We are all wore out…but it was great to hear that Kevin made it back so thank you for your prayers  We have two more full days here.  We will leave for the airport on Monday and be back on Tuesday.  Kevin had delays coming back or hopefully we wont’ have that problem.

Each night we have had reflection devotionals and we have all learned so much on this trip. Be proud of the friends and family that you know on this trip.  They have truely been a pleasure to work with.  Thank you for what you have done to help them along the way up to this point.  We came here expecting to encourage and we have baptized 6 already and the trip is not over.

Kevin we love you and miss you.  Thank you for all you did while you were here.  This computer is terrible sorry for the errors and the errors in all my eamils time is money on this thing, hope you understand.  Today was the first day that I believe that everyone is truely looking forward to coming back to the states so that we can make changes in our own lives when it comes to talking to those that we love that have not been baptized.

We love you.  Well see you on Tuesday or soon after.
in Him,
Aarek

4 days left….

—-Original Message Follows—-
From: Aarek Farmer
Subject: 4 days left….
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 05:16:55 -0700 (PDT)

Things are going well here as usual.  Kevin left today.  He went to the airport packed and ready yesterday and then we realized he was a day early.  He should be in the air on his way to Johanesburg as I write.  We finished up the VBS today at Sunset Academy School. We had two days of it during the morning.  (Just Heard Jud and LeAnn have a new Baby….congrats.)  Tomorrow we have a Gospel Meeting at Mukuni Village.  It will last through Friday.  We have been doorknocking today again.  We split up into groups.  You should be proud of the people you know on this trip.  Whenever we have free time they want to door knock.  Today Jess and I had a Bible study with a lady from the gas station.  People are so willing here.  I know I have stated that before but it is true.

We have alot to be thankful for….as we have mentioned before the purpose of this trip will not be measured in baptisms but all of the seeds that we God has allowed us to plant.  Hopefully when we leave the Christians here will be able to take over.  We have been told many times how encouraged the churches are here and that is a big relief.

Continue to pray for us, pray for Kevin as he flies home and pray for the souls that we come in contact with here.  We love you all.

Things are going well.

In Him,
Aarek

one week to go….

—-Original Message Follows—-
From: Aarek Farmer
Subject: one week to go….
Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 06:12:56 -0700 (PDT)

The gospel meeting is over…..today we were going to go to the village to do another gospel meeting but there was a funeral in the village so we had to postpone.  Everyday we have doorknocked and had personal bible studies. It has been amazing.  Yesterday we went on a safari in the afternoon. We saw elephants, zebras, giraffs, warthogs, but no rhinos.  The sunset was amazing. I bet our team has about 3 million pictures total.  Kevin leaves tomorrow for home to attend his sisters wedding, be sure to pray for him as he leaves.  He leaves Tuesday at 1:00 ish.  Thank you so much for your prayers, the rest of the week we will be invovled in more doorknockng, a vbs, and a gospel meeting hopefully.  On Sunday all of us guys will go to a different congregation to preach.  We are all looking forward to that.  Things are still good…no one is sick and all is well. We will see you in a week. 

In Him,
Aarek

Zambia–Saturday evening

We’re here and everything is going great. This was my first chance to make it to an internet cafe. My team spent 6 hours in Bible studies yesterday before the 3 hour gospel meeting! Things are going great. Everyone here has been amazing, and we have all learned a lot. Zambian food…not bad! I don’t anticipate starving to death! :-)

Preaching with an interpreter was a great new experience. Way too much time to think though–that always causes problems. The gospel meeting has been getting larger every night. This morning, the men all went to a village (that I cannot spell) and worked for a few hours. Every single person except for one older man was very interested. We’ll see how it turns out–if they show tomorrow, which is anyone’s guess…but it was very rewarding to see how excited they were to hear simple Bible stories we all take for granted.

 Yesterday, we were workign with a group of people and they wanted to hear the story of Noah and have us teach them from it. We looked at it and then 1 Peter 3 and 2 Peter 3 and we all learned a lot.

The singing down here is incredible. There’s no way to describe African singing but amazing.  Everything really has been amazing.

It’s about 80 degrees during the day here with a cool breeze. Stars down here are beautiful, as there is not as much light pollution. The mosquitos probably require certification from the airports, they are so large…but they seem to be afraid of DEET, so that’s good. No one has gotten sick or injured, so we’ve all been really blessed.

 Tomorrow, we are going to worship with the Riverside church of Christ–but each day, we keep losing different men from our group. I’ll be heading to a village to preach where we hope to have a baptism or two from today’s studies.

The language barrier has been really interesting. Almost every person in the church here can speak multiple languages. Tonga is the most common african language here, but others speak beemba (sp?) and loze (??) and a few others, with many speaking some english and other languages. Every time we look at Acts 2, we keep thinking about how handy that whole speaking in one language and everyone udnerstanding would be.

In our Gospel meeting and preaching, we’ve been working through the parables of Jesus. It has been really neat to see how many people knowthem and want to hear them. When we’ve been meeting people at their homes, they often ask us to “Share the Bible” with them. I try to ask what they want us to read (since many of them don’t have Bibles in their language) and time after time they have asked for different parables.

The country is beautiful. It looks sort of like Kansas–pretty flat. One girl in our group (sigh) asked, “Was the Lion King filmed here?” The people are poor, but it is an interesting mix of contrasts. Outside of a single room house will be a satellite dish sometimes. Some families that are wearing all of their clothes simultaneously have cell phones. This isn’t true for everyone…most of them aren’t quite that way, but it is still very interesting.

In a lot of ways, it is like camp. Very open, very outdoors, very dusty. There are many people who are very sick. Even the animals often times look skinny. (Many families have dogs.) It took some getting used to at first that they closed the gate to our hotel at night (The Southern Comfort, ironically) and the walls are high. We have a guard who patrols all night. Many of the neighboring compounds have barbed wire, electric fence, iron poles, or even broken bottles embedded in the top of the walls much like the Berlin Wall. We have not seen a hint of crime while we’ve been here, though. Lots of begging, and many people in the market have tried to cheat us, but nobody has felt threatened or unsafe.

The economy is weak, but it has improved since the last time Freed sent a group. $1 USD buys about 3000 kwachas. To put that in perspective, I’m paying 150 kwachas per minute for internet.

We’ve all gotten pretty much over jet lag, and are starting to get used to how things work here. Our gospel meeting tonight starts at 1500, so we have to leave soon. Know that we’re all thinking about you and thanking you for your prayer and concern. Will email as soon as we get a chance! Everything has been wonderful–thank you for your prayers and support. Leslie and I will see you on June 9!