Year in Review

Wow! 7 months has just flown by. I have been in Zambia since May 2012. It has definitely been a challenging year and has taken a lot of perseverance and strength to push through it all. But it's been worth it. For the big success and the little successes--it's been worth it. Here are some of the highlights of 2012.(Click on any of the photos to see a bigger picture)

Knitting Program:
Our knitting program is an ongoing success. Along with having a good amount of sales and orders from the community, we have been able to build strong relationships within the group. We worked through the conflicts and issues that are common to this kind of small group by bringing in Jesus' truth and love to every situation. As a result, the bond is between the ladies is stronger than ever and they are learning to learn and respect one another in new ways.
I have lots of hats and knitted goods for sale this Christmas. All proceeds go directly to the ladies and to the program.

Music and Play Programs: 
Misheck has been teaching kids how to play drums and giving piano lessons. Not only do they learn a new skill, but these types of lessons are invaluable in building relationships and getting to know the children better. We also have "play time" daily. Kids have the chance to build their co-ordination skills while playing in a kid-friendly environment (ie no one is drunk around them). We encourage them to bring their friend and for the boys to "bring a sister". We like to make sure girls have a chance too.


There is nothing more exciting or important than football in Africa :) So we use it to connect with our local youth. Misheck has been coaching our local team for several months now. I don't know if they are undefeated, but I have never heard that they ever lost a game. They compete with other village teams that are generally within walking distance. These boys are building friendships and learning what it means to support one another as a team. We would love to have sponsors for this program to help buy footballs (we go through lots), uniforms (we have about half a team's worth of uniforms and no shoes--the kids share the jerseys) and other costs.

The Library/Resource Centre

Nothing gets done in Africa quite as quickly as you think it could. Time seems to need to be followed by "X2" or even "X3" to be accurate. So, the library project has taken time and extra money, but I'm happy to say it's 90% done. We only have the interior fixings left. Am also happy to say that it's looks gooood. People in the community have been coming to check it out and have expressed interest in the programs we want to run there. If you would like to contribute to the costs to finish this project, we are short about $500.

This project has always been  about empowering people. Sometimes in teams or groups and other times one person at a time. Misheck has been my right-hand-man through this entire journey and my goal was always to train him so that his life would be changed too. He has brought God's love and truth to the kids, the football team and the community. He has learnt  leadership skills, planning skills and time management. He's also learnt computer basics and helped me with book keeping. I know he will pass on these skills wherever he goes. He also got married this year!

What's next: The good news and the bad news.
The bad news is that Zambia is an expensive country to live in. We have also had a lot of challenges because of certain people wanting to keep the community under their control and hindering growth. All this has taken a very heavy toll on Misheck and I.
The good news is that I will be returning to Zambia early in 2013, but I will pursuing Hope Ignited projects on a very limited basis. The first reason being is that I need to be able to generate "day-job" income for myself and the other being that some things need to be sorted out within the community/partnering organization.
With his new skills, Misheck will also be moving on to another job--but it's only just across the river.
So Misheck and I will be committed to keeping up the sports, music programs and knitting projects. I would also like to get the sewing program off its feet and start a literacy program for adults. Our goal will be to nurture these few things to help them grow strong. If we can raise up other local leaders, we could also get more started--but we'll see where it all ends up first.

Thank you: 
So that's the big scoop for 2012. Thank you so much for your support, prayers and love. We look forward to where God will take us in 2013.

God bless.

Beat the Drum

Last week, Marissa, a missionary from South Africa, visited our project and shared her drumming skills with the kids. It's always fun for them to have visitors and learn something new. Marissa will come and visit us one more time this week before she heads home.

Good progress is also being made on our renovations for the container. Last week we finished the roof and framed the doors and windows. Soon we will be working on the inside finishings.

Cutting the container for the window

Door and two windows added

September News

Hello from Zambia! Lots has been going on over the last few months, so I'll give you the updates in photographic order.

We have been progressing with sports and music programs for the kids and youth. Misheck has been holding weekly piano and drum lessons for a group of kids.

We have also introduced basketball which is drawing a good crowd. It's nice to have a sport that both the boys and the girls like to participate in. Sports and music have been a great way to build relationships with the kids and also give them a chance to have healthy after-school programs.
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school

We are hoping to get more organized with teams and potentially a youth day with soccer, basketball and frisbee in the next month or so.

Our library project is also going well. We are currently temporarily hosting the library in our office. Kids and adults have been visiting to check out the books. Often Misheck and I will read to the little ones or help the older youth with their comprehension--they especially seem to like the science books.

A few weeks ago, just before my dad came to visit, we started the container renovations. I am so excited at how the progress on the roof. This will be just in time for the rainy season in a few months.

The container will be the permanent home of the library and a future home for our sewing program (our sewing machines require special electrical set up so we have been waiting to get these renovations done).

Raise the roof!
The roof covers our entire foundation and gives us a sheltered space outside of the container where kids can read and hang out--safe from the hot sun or rainy downpours.

Dad arrived on August 19th. It was great to have him come visit and see the where I live. Of course, I had to put him to work! While he was there he did lots of manly jobs like cutting and welding and we finally got our swings back in motion! Way to go Dad!

After a few days in the village, Dad and I headed south for some much needed R&R. We spent several days in Livingstone and a couple over the border in Botswana. It was so great to have him here with me, to see all the sites and I finally got to see elephants! Yaay!

Thanks for all your support so far. If you would like to help us with our library project or support any of these programs, please consider visiting the "Donate" page. Also, please continue to keep this project and all of us in your prayers.

Cheers and blessings.

Knitting Group

Our knitting group is doing really well. We've been selling lots of hats because it is winter here in Zambia. Nothing of course compared to Canadian winters, but still cold enough, especially at night! The night guards especially appreciate the warm hats. We've also had orders for baby outfits and kits. Fantastic!

Here are a few photos of our hats around town.

New Home for the Container

We finally moved the container to its new home this week. Whoo hoo! It was pretty exciting. Thanks to Lungisha Breakdown Recovery Services in Ndola, we had this beautiful crane pick up the container and move it on to the foundation. It was amazing to see how easily it just lifted the whole thing. What a relief it was for me after the chaos we had the first time round.

It was all too much for all the kids in school and everyone came out to watch--but honestly, who could blame them?? It's not everyday that they get to see this kind of spectacular machine in motion.
Where the container was originally dropped
Almost there...'s done. Look closely and you'll see the sun rays of happiness :)

A big thanks to Kevin and Paul from Lungisha for making it all possible! Next: renovating the container!


I'm back in Zambia! Well, actually, I've been here since the beginning of May. But what a roller-coaster I've been on. Immigration tried to send me home (work-permit refusal) and that's taken a lot of my time (sleep, energy, life lol). We have, however, managed to get a few things on the go.

Thanks to a generous helping hands, we hope to have the container moved to the foundation next week.

In the meantime, we've moved the books into our office as a temporary library. Kids and adults can come and read the books while on the premises. They can leave them bookmarked and pick up where they left off the next time they visit.
Jonathan in the office/library
We've also got a twice-a-day kids program at the school. Misheck uses the time to teach kids music or give them a chance to play. Sometimes we do sports and I've started teaching them baseball (during my demonstrations on how to hit the ball, I got a lot of my immigration frustrations out--haha).

Kids playing darts and working on eye-hand coordination.
The knitting ladies continue to do their work and we have starting the sewing program. We've decided to do quilting/patch-work type of sewing to help us tap into a different market than the usual clothing sales. It also works well because we won't have our sewing machines up and running until the container is renovated. For now, we are teaching them to sew by hand--a handy skill to have anyway.
Knitting group with their wares

That's all for now. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


I have been in Canada for about 2 months now. It's been great to be home with friends and family, enjoying cool weather and eating at all the favourite haunts.

While here, I've also been working and fundraising to support Hope Ignited's projects. I've spoke at three churches, sharing pictures and stories. The knitting and bicycle program stories were big hits--as well as the pictures of the caterpillars I ate. 

All of the knitting project goods were sold as of yesterday. The ladies will be really excited about this when I get back.

We also had three fundraising parties. All of which went really well. We had lots of fun doing jewellery exchanges, catwalk parties, 50/50 draws and silent auctions. Thank you to everyone who offered their space, helped organize and contributed food and prizes.

The Catwalk

I'm leaving in just a few days (May 2) until December. There is still opportunity for you to support financially and help with this year's projects. The issues of personal housing and ongoing monthly support are still needs. If you'd like to contribute, please click the "Donate" page and help me meet our goals.


Knitting Group

About three weeks before I left Zambia, our knitting group started their projects. It's been really exciting to see the ladies working together, building relationships and teaching one another. One of the ladies, Hilda, had never knit before. She completed her first sweater (black and white one) and a toque. Way to go Hilda!

I will be selling the items while I'm here in Canada to raise money for the program (and for the ladies) and to create awareness of our little project. If you are interested in any of the pieces below, please let me know. They are all children's sizes.

Check out the video on the right of the ladies working and singing.

(Clockwise from top left) Josephine, Hilda, Astrida, Violet, Mavis and Violet.


Honesta receiving her bicycle.

Jonathan and his dad receiving the bicycle

Misheck and Simon handing out tickets for the first round of distribution.

Day 1 of the distribution--everything was so tidy.

Dad choosing for his daughter--aww. Day 3 distribution...not so tidy :)

Violet took home one of the blankets.

Honesta and Jonathan on the way home from school with their bikes during the first week.

Proud of her new blouse.
Loveness having fun.

Round 2 of the shop. That's me!
Line up outside on the women's day.
(Trying) to keep it orderly.


Long time, no type, eh? Sorry for the long delay. Internet has been a real problem here over the last few weeks. We've also been really busy.

Here are some of the highlights: 
We handed out all the clothing in two different ways. The first was over 3 days. We gave out tickets and people came to choose for their families. They came per assigned section of the community. Each ticket was valued at one piece of clothing and we gave out about 1000. When all was done, we had enough to go again--which was a great provision of abundance!

Round two consisted of a first come-first serve plan. We separated the clothing for the women and the men. Women were on a Saturday, men were on a Sunday. People could also bring a child not attending the local school and pick up something for them. For each person who came through the door, they took two pieces of clothing. I'm sure we served at least 300-400 people between the two days.

We also gave a gift to each of the approximately 300 children at the Give Hope Community school. Children got a bag of two pieces of clothing and chose either a teddy bear or stickers.

It has been really great to see people around the village wearing the stuff. I feel encouraged when I drive by a little kid and recognize a jersey or outfit that came from the container. I think most people have kept what they were given and have not tried to sell anything at the market--that was my biggest prayer.

We have also started the Bike-to-School program. We gave bikes to four kids to reduce their travel time to school (from hours to minutes). Sometimes I see them on the road when I'm going to and from the village. They are so thankful. They come by and visit and you can just see the joy on their faces. It's wonderful! We also meet with them bi-monthly to help them find ways to earn money (legally!) for their bike maintenance and cope with any peer pressure. (Legally you say??--Yes, apparently being a loan shark is a common way to make a few bucks here. Lend it out with interest...we are helping them find other ways lol)

Now that the bulk of the clothes are distributed and our room is a little more empty, we've been able to start focusing on knitting and sewing programs. We sorted all the materials and tools last night and the knitting crew went home with their first projects. Sewing is a little slower to start because we are waiting for our teacher to be available.

Well, putting it all into one posting sure makes me feel like I've been busy :) How encouraging! Sorry I can't put pictures up at this time...internet is tooooo slow. Will try to do something soon, I promise.

If you would like to support these projects, please consider a donation. We will need some tables for the sewing program and also still have some needs as listed on the Donate Tab at the top of the page.


It's Here!!!

Escorting the truck to the farm
The container has finally arrived! Wow! 4 to 6 weeks was really 4 to 6 months but it was worth it! Everything arrived in perfect condition--nothing even shifted inside. When we opened it it looked exactly like the day when we closed the doors. The fragile things like the dishes, cups and even my coffee Bodum were even in tact. What a miracle! (click on the pictures for a closer look)

Heart Attack #1: Manually lifting the wire for the truck
There were some definite "heart-attack" moments as we manually tried to get the container off the truck, but everything went ok--my biggest prayer was that no one should have to go to the hospital and no one did :) It had rained a lot the night before and the truck could not get into position next to our foundation (of course, everything is dry now lol). We will have to deal with that part later.

Tractor getting ready to manually pull 'er off.
Heart Attack #2: Tipsy!
We unloaded the container the night before --in the dark and in the pouring rain. Everyone was so excited, I couldn't have stopped them if I tried. It turned out to be a blessing considering how hard it was to get the container off the truck the next day.

Everything was moved into a secure classroom at Give Hope. We have now sorted it all and are preparing to start distribution of the clothes and one-time donations this weekend. Then get our programs rolling!

I can't believe this day has finally come! I was so giddy when the truck was following us down the road. This has been a two-year long project with all kinds of ups and downs. Even over the last few weeks everyone--the community, Misheck and I -- all were just becoming exhausted by the wait. But how hope fulfilled fills you with new life (Prov 13:12). We are all rejuvenated and beyond excited at what 2012 will bring.

Thank you everyone for your support. It would not have been possible without you.