HENSLEYS   FOR CHRIST IN ZAMBIA
UPDATES

 

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 :) ).


 

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. 

 

 

 


 

We have arrived!

After nearly 4 years of prayer and seeking God’s guidance, weeks of preparation, many helping hands, and prayers from you, the Hensley family has arrived in Zambia.  We arrived last Wednesday, and have been settling in since.  We are so very thankful that God delivered us here safely, and that He has led us to this wonderful place.   

We are currently staying on a plot of land with a wonderful house on several acres.  We are blessed in that our boys have room to run and roam in a place that is well maintained and is very safe.  We are not sure exactly how long we will be at this house, but could be moving as soon as the first part of April to our more permanent location.  There are a couple of things that have yet to finalize, but we should know the answers soon.

We are already adjusting to life in this country, and are learning our way around town to obtain necessities.  While many people here speak English, most also speak a local language called Bemba.  We feel it is important for our family to be able to communicate in the local language, and we have begun learning as much as we can from the workers here where we are staying. 

Zambia is nearing the end of the rainy season, but as I write, we are experiencing our first Zambian rain.  It is a very heavy downpour, and our younger boys have put on their swim trunks and are outside getting soaked.  We are so thankful they are enjoying themselves, and that overall, our children have adjusted very nicely. 

Internet connectivity has been a bit of a challenge, but we think we will have a better solution in the next couple of days.  We hope to have some updates and pictures posted to our web site soon at www.hensleysforchrist.com, so feel free to check there often. 

Thank you all again for your continued support and prayers!  We will send additional updates soon.


 

Final Arrangements Are In Place

We are getting excited as God continues to prepare the way for our family.  I returned from Zambia on Jan 10th after spending several days finalizing several arrangements in Zambia.  God continues to bless and re-confirm His calling for our family.

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with several of the Wiphan staff in Zambia and begin to foster those relationships.  I can attest that God is truly at work in the hearts of those serving Wiphan and it is thrilling to see the Kingdom work being done there.  The discipleship of staff and students of Wiphan continues to be a main focus the Lord has on our hearts.  We also look forward to other ways the Lord will use us at Wiphan and in our day to day living.  Thank you for your prayers for wisdom and continued clear day by day direction. 

One big change to note is our travel date has been moved back to March 3rd.  There were many factors we needed to consider before we made this change.  Travel complications with regard to an overnight layover in Toronto was the primary concern.  We plan to have 21 checked bags, plus our carry-on luggage.  An overnight stay would require us to retrieve our checked bags during the layover, take them to the hotel, and bring them back to the airport the next morning and recheck them.  It wasn’t an ideal situation with many young children.  In addition, we hit a few date hurdles with other final prep items, including our permanent house in Zambia, temporary housing, etc.  God truly blessed in this situation as He arranged details so it cost us almost nothing financially to change the flight date.  In fact, it may have saved us money in the long run, by changing dates/tickets.  We can only give Him the glory. 

Our housing situation was in limbo for a few months, but again, God has worked wonders in the situation.  When we arrive in Zambia in March, we will spend our first month in a fully furnished temporary home.  Around the first of April we will move into the permanent residence we have shared about.  The missionary family currently in that home is not able to leave Zambia until April, so the Lord put together some intermediate plans.  During my recent trip God truly blessed by providing the opportunity for us to rent the temporary, fully furnished home without the need to sign a long-term lease. 

The Lord has also provided a vehicle for our family, provided all final arrangements go through.  We found an older model van with relatively low miles.  The Lord brought this van to our attention several months ago.  It was still available while I was in Zambia, so I was able to drive it and meet the owner.   Interestingly, when I asked (both Zambians and expats) about the model/reliability and price, I learned the vehicle is a sought after one and the price was a good one.  In fact, two separate people mentioned they would be interested in purchasing if we decided not to.  I was further comforted to see the owner the day after I met her during a local church/worship service! 

We are eager to be where the Lord has called us and to begin building relationships and working with Wiphan.  We are also very mindful of our children’s and family’s needs and will likely take a few weeks to settle in and become familiar with our new surroundings.   We want to be sure our family is relatively adjusted and stable before we begin additional ministry. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement as we wind down our time in the US, and prepare to set foot on African soil in March! 


 

THE LORD HAS PROVIDED A HOME

The Lord has provided a home for the Hensley’s in Zambia! This is an incredible story of God’s power and provision. In recent months we have been researching housing in Zambia but we were not actively or consistently pursuing a home. Rather, we were going to wait for Jason to look for a home in Dec. or Jan. when he takes a solo prep trip to Zambia. What we learned in our research about housing was; rental homes are hard to find in Zambia and even an older three bedroom home can often rent for the equivalent of $1000 or more. We have prayed to rent at or under that amount. – It wasn’t looking promising… BUT we serve a mighty GOD.

A missionary family contacted us a few weeks ago and said they will be leaving Zambia much earlier than expected. They are currently renting a NEWER, FIVE BEDROOM house for UNDER $1000 and thought that perhaps we might be interested in the house! (We were hoping for a four bedroom and absolutely willing to do a three bedroom). WOW!! The current renter continued to send us pictures and information about the house and we could hardly believe our eyes. This house had provisions we were not expecting: hot water heaters, screens on the windows (not common and will help keep mosquitos out – a malaria deterrent), the renters are also willing to GIVE US their two dogs and snake killing cat. These are all answers to prayer and more.

We were likely going to have to land in Ndola, drive to an empty house (without beds, or furniture or food). We will have to immediately shop for the basic necessities. However the Lord seems to have provided another amazing bonus in this situation. The owners of the home own the beds in the home and have allowed the current renters to use them. The renters are confident that the owners will let us do the same. This means that on night one, we should have beds to sleep on. After 36 hours of travel and an overnight layover, this will be a welcome blessing. We are so thankful to the Lord for providing the house, the extras and the advanced knowledge of it! It makes us wonder, how we could ever doubt our Lord and His leading or faithfulness. Thank you for your continued Prayers!


 

WE HAVE A TRAVEL DATE

Lord willing, we will leave on FEBRUARY 6TH 2015! Tickets are purchased and the countdown begins! Please be praying for us to manage our time well and to accomplish all that has to be done before we move.

We felt led by the Lord to step out in faith and purchase tickets even though we still have 38% of funds to raise/save and our house hasn’t sold. As we finalized the details for February travel, the Lord brought a potential buyer for our house; we’ll know for sure in a couple of weeks. The Lord also provided a home for us in Zambia – see below. Even if we sell our home it will not be close to enough to provide the remaining need. Please pray that the Lord will provide the remainder of our need in His timing and for us to manage our time well in the next three months.


Funds Provided as of Mar 3rd, 2015
 
"The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His." -Francis Chan, Crazy Love

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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