Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 2015 Update

Wednesday will mark three weeks of living in this beautiful country.   While three weeks is a relatively short time, much has filled those precious days.

We’ve spent time resting, meeting dozens of new people, adjusting to life driving on the left side of the road, figuring out that tomato sauce is really ketchup, and listening and learning in order to begin understanding the culture here.  We have had some sweet time with the Lord individually and as a family.  We have also dealt with a sick child and prayed about a permanent housing situation.  The Lord seems to be making our decision clear. 

We are so thankful for the Lord’s clear direction in many areas and for Him showing glimpses and assurances of His provision and how He has woven people and circumstances together to reveal more of His great glory. 

I will attempt to give a brief update of our first (almost) three weeks:

Week  1 –  Settling in and resting mixed with trips to the grocery store and purchasing “talk time.” We greeted new friends and others who asked to visit.  We began getting to know Steve and Zenia (Gardener and Housekeeper) hired by owners of the house.  They are incredible people and very open and willing to share about Zambian culture.  They have big wide smiles and we love it when they laugh.  They are intrigued by our boys who love frogs, millipedes, lizards and grasshoppers (huge here)!  They teach us Bemba, the names of trees, and are very open about Zambian culture.  They are strong believers and incredibly trustworthy.

Victor and Grace Chibangula stopped by with their niece and Santi (youngest daughter).  We asked them to stay for dinner and they did.  We enjoyed their company and catching up with their life and answering questions they had about our time here.  They stayed for about 5 hours and it flew!

We also visited Wiphan and greeted many of the administration and some staff.  We went during lunch time and were able to see the kids form the long line to receive lunch from “Mama Monica,” the beloved cook. 

We realize the few Bemba words and phrases we know are what really seem to warm people to us quickly.  We are excited to learn more!  It’s FUN seeing their faces light up even when we fumble through it.

We were incredibly blessed by several who helped us home from the airport and brought some essentials and meals for our first few days in country.   So thankful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of others.

Week 2 – We enjoyed hospitality invites from new friends and we lived through a “fuel shortage” which lasted about 24 hours.  Not a crisis, but we were close to Empty.  Because of the shortage, we attended our second worship service with a church that meets close by.  Mostly expats and missionaries and a few Zambians attend.  It’s incredible to learn about all the ways God is being glorified here.  It is also fascinating to listen and learn from others serving here.  We have MUCH to learn.  A young Zambian told us we would be true Zambians if we stayed for 10 years!  God allowed us to cross paths with a woman who has been a missionary in Africa with her husband for 51 years in Zaire (present day D.R. Congo) and Zambia mostly.  Her husband was imprisoned for 10 days at the beginning of the DRC civil conflict and was to be shot.  The Lord spared him and they have continued on serving in the bush of Zambia.  We have been invited to come visit them at their home in the next few weeks.  We also met a North Korean man who escaped into South Korea when a young boy.  He is now living and working in Zambia as the sole funder for a school not far from Wiphan.  He is a pastor and dearly loves the Lord and serving Him! 

Our kids were “pressed” in the crowd for the first time.  They also attended a birthday party for a new friend; A Texas themed party complete with sweet tea in a mason jar.  We felt so at home.  The kids also began playing with some new Zambian friends that live across our dirt road.  Football (soccer) and several song/dance games and lessons in Bemba too! 

We visited with the Jackson family who currently live in what was to be our permanent home while in Zambia.  The short story is – they must remain in the country longer than expected.  They have been on a roller coaster of changes (going home to the US, not going home, going home, not going home and so on).  Once we arrived and we learned of this latest setback for them, the Lord also showed us quickly that we had other options for permanent housing.  We told the Jacksons we were happy to be the ones to adjust so they could have SOMETHING stable in their lives.  Moving for them, would be too much.  And so, we began praying for God to make clear which house to choose.  ….Stay tuned!

Week 3 – Cameron became ill and we had our first experience at a medical clinic here.  Wonderful!  Super nurse, fantastic Doctor!  The experience was positive even for the one getting poked and blood drawn.  It couldn’t have been the Doctor offering his piece of cake and chips (office birthday celebration) to his new little buddy or the fact that he feigned backache after carrying Cameron to the exam table and proceeded to tickle him!? 

The neighbor children have continued to come and play and we went out our gate to meet a grandmother of one of the kids on her way home.  She politely invited us to come and meet the other Zambian families who live inside the gated property across from ours.  They all live within close shouting distance of one another.  They are the parents of the 10-15 kids that come to play.  We stepped over the “biting” ants.  (If you’ve read The Poisonwood Bible novel you’ll understand).   They were all so friendly and welcoming and offered us fresh grilled maize.  All of the families were cooking in their outdoor kitchens when we arrived and we couldn’t stay long because our crew needed a momma to cook in her kitchen too.  We experienced our first major power outage during this week (off two hours in the evening and then about 8 hours the next day - Pizza time at Pizza Inn!  It wasn’t the same as the US.  Some creations better and some not favored, but we’ll likely return and try others and a few new favorites. 

In closing, we are thoroughly enjoying the process of building new relationships.  Coming from a culture that operates mostly at a drive-thru and “eat and run” pace, it is difficult and yet refreshing to slow down to a 30 - 40mph pace of life.  It is a good reminder that the most important things in life (Our growth in the Lord, family growth, relationships with purpose and value, and God’s work in our lives, take time - Lots of time.  I’ve had a few moments to literally stop and smell drink in the aroma of the roses and the jasmine; to let the wind actually blow through my hair and brush my cheek and to be thankful to the God who sent them all. To deeply appreciate the help we have received to get here.  And the help we’ve received since arriving.  It took a woman preaching a sermon I’ll never forget to convict my heart (judgmental in the first place), to remind me the paralytic on the mat needed help to get to Jesus.  He had to humble himself to accept help to do what he could not do for himself at that time.  Yes, our family has come to serve and to “do” because we love the Lord and we will. But for these last several days and weeks both before leaving and after arriving, it has been a humbling reminder that we’ve needed much help. 

A wise and discerning friend noticed before we left  - the Lord was weakening me/us in many ways before leaving.  Weakening us to receive….  Receive God’s abundant love and grace and sacrificial help of others laying aside everything to “carry our mat.”

 I am reminded:  ‘And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.’  2 Corinthians 12:9

Thank you for your enduring prayers, encouragement, and support.  Thank you for your friendship and love and thank you for walking this journey with us.  We are deeply grateful for each of you and your desire to partner with us in prayer and giving.  We love walking with the Lord.  He is the thrill of our lives and we hope He is yours too.  We truly are expectant and thrilled by watching Him work in and around us and we are hopeful and excited as we’ve begun the journey of building relationships and discipling at Wiphan.  Evangelizing others who don’t have a saving faith in Christ Jesus, and loving people as Christ has loved us – with His great grace.  On our own we are incapable and unequipped, but by the power of God within us and through the Holy Spirit we pray to see lives changed and relationships with Him deepened, including our own. 





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"It is the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world." -Charles H. Spurgeon

Jason & Mandy Hensley
2547 CR 6380
West Plains, MO 65775

Email: Zambia@hensleycrew.com
Phone: 417-274-1597 or 417-274-3122

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