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)
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.
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.
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.