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.
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!