Monday, June 08, 2015

June 2015 Update - Part 1

Our kids were discussing at the dinner table recently: Time has flown – we’re already beginning our fourth month here and it doesn’t seem possible, yet it seems like our plane landed here much longer ago.   It’s been two months since our last formal update.   Please forgive our late e-mail. This will be the first of two back to back updates; we want to thoroughly update you without writing one long novel.  In this letter we will focus on sharing how God is working in our family life and in the next letter share about ministry at Wiphan and other opportunities. 

God opened the door for us to stay long term in the temporary house we moved into upon arriving here.  We had two options after the first (house) plan changed.   After much prayer, the Lord made the choice clear for our family.  (You can see photos of the house and grounds on Mandy’s facebook page).  God truly has woven together a beautiful arrangement which has allowed our kids to adjust more fluidly and our family to settle without further moves.  We continue to grow in our relationships with the three people who were already working here; Zenia, Steve and Reuben.  They are all professing believers and we have been mutual encouragements to one another.  We’ve laughed with them and cried with them and discussed much about the Lord, families, culture here, and world events.  They are around our age and have several children each.

Our house in the USA is back on the market and we hope to sell.  We had renters planning to move in the first of May/June but their plans have changed.  We trust the Lord to sell or continue to provide as we pay for two homes.  Please join us in praying for this situation.

Jason has adjusted to his USA work schedule and we are enjoying having family and ministry time together in the mornings.  He has enjoyed spending time in God’s Word in the mornings and not having to rush off to work.   He has been working in the garden, building relationships with Steve and Wiphan staff and others. 

I (Mandy) finally got behind the wheel and began driving shortly after our last update.  It took me awhile before I ventured out on my own, but I finally did.  Driving here is quite a challenge and requires focused concentration.  Driving on the left side of the road is reason enough for concentration, but people sometimes cross the center lines, buses pull over randomly – partially blocking lanes to pick up passengers, there are several speed bumps, potholes/craters in the paved and dirt roads and many pedestrians and bicyclers who also share the road.  Fortunately, cell phone use while driving is against the law here!  

Our children are all doing well.  No major illnesses or significant problems adjusting (yet).  They miss their grandparents, family and their friends.  Cameron told me recently that he misses having stairs in our house.  Mostly, they are happily busy with homeschool, playing, finding new creatures, building and creating and making new friends.  Life is pretty simple, but full here.  Megan has been writing an article about once a month for our local newspaper.  We are grateful the West Plains Daily Quill is printing her articles which openly honor God.  Megan has also recently begun blogging about life here in Zambia.  Alex has been working in the garden and learning much as he helps.  It is a joy to watch him grow as a young man in humility and embracing hard work.  Jackson has shown incredible talent and creativity re-creating so many interesting things; kites, stilts, carvings, fishing pole, slingshot, etc.  Andy has shown unusually amazing skills playing soccer.  He is quite strong and accurate with kicks and often challenges 12 year old experienced players here.  Cameron has made quite an impression on everyone he meets here.  He has two Zambian nicknames; one given by kids and the other by adults.  Interestingly they mean about the same.  They mean one who is young but is also like one who is older or carries himself with “swag.”  Oh, dear.

The Lord continues to grow each of us through His Word and the changes and challenges of life here.  It has been a wonderful experience as He seems to be changing and growing us in our weaker areas.  Overall life is becoming normal (a new normal).  We continue to learn Bemba through many teachers who challenge us and patiently teach.  We are also beginning to settle in to familiar places around town and thus we are becoming familiar with certain grocery clerks, waiters, and market vendors, etc.  This is important as we establish relationships and connections here.  While we are serving with Wiphan, we also desire to share Christ and encourage those in our everyday lives.  Please continue to pray for God to build these relationships and to give us patient hearts as relationships take time. 

God is so Good and we are thankful to be His children.  Above all, we simply love Jesus and seek to know Him more and live fully in His will.  We stumble and we fall and we stumble and we fall, but we are thankful for His grace which picks us up and strengthens us and encourages us to fix our eyes on Him and continue.  We are weak, but He is strong. 

Thank you for your faithful prayers, and support.  While we were sure before we left of the Lord’s calling us here, He continues to confirm our being here and the timing of our coming.  He is even showing us glimpses of His purposes in weaving our lives with certain people here and faithfully and quickly allowing us to build deep relationships with both believers and unbelievers.  We look forward with joy and anticipation to see how God will change hearts and lives.    

Briefly as we close:  because we don’t have a mission.  We post prayer requests and blog updates and other information here on our web site. We are also posting fairly regular updates and photos on Facebook.  We hope to update the website consistently and more often and we also plan to add a photo gallery at some point.  Please bear with us as we are still settling into routines and responsibilities here.  We are trying to balance our time and it’s incredible how many unexpected things come up in a day or a week.  Thanks for your patience.  We WELCOME and are thankful for your personal e-mails, texts and calls.  We have US based phone numbers – so NO international fees for calls or texts!  Our e-mails are jason@hensleycrew.com and mandy@hensleycrew.com.  Our respective phone #’s are 417-274-1597 and 417-274-3122 (but please keep in mind we are 7 hours ahead of central time :) ).


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"The kingdom of God throughout the world will not be established by "Lone Rangers" but by the people of God working together." -Jerry Rankin, former President, International Mission Board

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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