28 October 2011

Seamless in Lusaka

We are so thankful to the Lord for a very smooth and productive trip to Lusaka last week. Since Jamin was born, Jenny and I had been approaching this trip with apprehension. We knew it was entirely possible that we would get all the way to Lusaka, find the correct office, wait through the lines, and only then realize that some document we'd never been asked for before would be required. The six hour bus ride home with no progress to show for our time would not have been our happiest moment.
Enjoying Coffee with Jenny (and Jamin)
But God was working to iron everything out, and we're thankful. Though we got off to a late start last Friday, we were still able to get on the first bus out of town. The trip down to Lusaka was much quicker than I had anticipated, and we arrived in Lusaka well before 11:00am.
We didn't know exactly where to find the records office, and at first our taxi driver didn't know either, but he made a guess, drove for less than a minute from the bus station and dropped us off at precisely the right building.
Our time at the records office also proved surprisingly swift and efficient. We found the man in charge of birth certificates quickly. I think I saw him wait on one person before us, and one other party came to the office before we left. Jamin's Zambian birth certificate was in hand within an hour of our getting off the bus. We were shocked by the way doors were opening for us. God was answering your prayers!
The next day we continued to find a surprisingly easy path set before us. When we arrived for our 9:30 appointment, we were told that we were missing a couple items to apply for the US certificate of birth abroad and Jamin's passport. But there weren't any lines at the embassy, and they were very understanding when we told them that we were from out of town and needed to complete the applications all in one trip. A quick email or two and a trip to the print shop was all we needed to acquire what we needed. It was still before 1:00pm that day when we had finished everything possible for the trip!
Both afternoons and evenings Jenny and I were able to enjoy some much needed rest. We had coffee at a cafe in the mall, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at a Thai restaurant. I made a little bit of progress on grading a few papers.
Two couples made the trip possible and deserve huge thanks. The Shermans took care of Josiah and Jonas while we were away. Their task was especially Herculean because both were struggling with some unidentified stomach bug the entire time. The Clarks, our new friends and hosts while we were in Lusaka, were an enormous blessing and help. They gave us a number of rides, saving us taxi money, and provided for a number of our meals. They were true Christian examples of hospitality.
On Monday Jenny and I enjoyed our birthday among friends back home. The trip came at a busy time, so I had to jump right back into work, but I had been quite refreshed by the change of pace and progress on this passport project.
Almost there!
Twice recently I've been asked for a list of specific prayer requests. Here's how I replied:
  1. Pray for the students as they finish their year; all of the semester-end review has the ultimate purpose of helping them let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly.
  2. Pray that Jamin's passport will be completed within the next couple of weeks.
  3. Pray that we are able to find an affordable way to move our stuff from Zambia to Kenya without having to pay to get it over the Atlantic only to turn around and take it back again.
  4. Pray that our leads on a deputation vehicle materialize into something affordable, reliable, and workable for our newly enlarged traveling family.
Thanks so much for praying!

05 October 2011

Returning Home

Nile Baptism
 During our second week in Sudan, we were able to witness a baptism in the Nile River. Phillip, one of the students in our doctrines classes, had asked about baptism after one of the lessons on being born again. I wasn't sure initially what he thought about the relationship between baptism and the new birth. But several of us talked about the relationship between those two events, and it became apparent that Phillip is banking on Christ alone for his eternal joy. What a thrill to watch this believer display his identification with Christ publicly for all to see!
Heftalump: 11wks = 17lb 3oz
That week Kevin also became ill, probably with malaria. I was thankful that he had had the foresight to pack the malaria medication and that he was back to teaching his full share of hours within a couple of days.
At the customs office on our return to Zambia, the officer took my work permit and other documents, quickly scanned them, and then said something that surprised me, "Welcome home." I was taken aback at first, but what he said rings true with my affection for this place. We are so grateful to God for granting us yet another place on this earth to call home while we continue our pilgrimage toward Christ's kingdom, our final resting place and truest home!
After returning from Sudan, Kevin and I jumped right back into classes. I have been pretty busy catching up for the last week and a half, but life is slowly returning back to normal.
Next week Jenny, Jamin and I are hoping to get to Lusaka, Zambia's capital, to hurry along the documentation Jamin needs to leave the country. Please pray that we are able to make significant progress on this trip.

Thank you for mentioning us in your prayers!
Cell Billboard Celebrates Independence with New S. Sudan Flag