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An African Adventure

"Welcome Mom and Dad"

I just returned to Kitwe from a fantastic trip with my parents. It was so great to be with them and have them experience a bit of Africa! Our time together started in Kitwe. We spent most of our time in Kitwe around my compound where they got to meet my friends and colleagues as well as let their brains catch up with their bodies. We went into town one day where we visited the market and the grocery store. My dad was impressed by everything that was available here. We also attended worship on Sunday morning at the church just behind my house and both of my parents loved the singing!

Mom doing puzzles and dad helping shell peanuts at my place

On Monday we started our journey toward Livingstone by bus, stopping in Lusaka overnight. We stayed with my friend Nancy, got to say hello to the Ellingtons, and went out for some great Indian food. The next morning we headed out early on the bus for Livingstone. My parents were glad to see some more of Zambia, especially the rural areas, as we rolled along. As we arrived at our hotel in Livingstone, several young men dressed as Tonga warriors sang and greeted us. Our hotel was within the park with Victoria Falls, so we walked over that afternoon to explore the falls and watch the sunset over the Zambezi river. On one of the trails we came across a troop of baboons and they walked all around us, which was exciting and a bit scary. I think they were preparing us for our upcoming game drives. We spent a couple nights there, enjoyed a sunset cruise on the river, and took a tour of the falls which left us totally drenched and amazed.

Dad, mom, and me on our Livingstone cruise

Then it was off to Chobe National Park in Botswana. We drove about an hour out of Livingstone, then crossed over to Botswana in a small boat at the point where Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia all intersect. From there it was about an hour to our lodge. The road runs through the park, so even on our way in we saw giraffes, elephants, and several other animals. The lodge where we stayed was magnificent. We were there four nights and three full days. We enjoyed a full day safari (boat ride in the morning, then lunch and an afternoon game drive), a walking safari, two more afternoon game drives, and one early morning drive.

Swimming elephant!

Dad and I especially enjoyed the elephants. I really liked watching them swim – they would bob up and down in the water, using their trunks as snorkels. Then one afternoon we watched a herd of elephants come down to the water to drink. When they finished drinking they moved to another place along the water where they either rolled in the mud or sprayed mud all over themselves. Then they moved over to the dry dirt and sprayed a layer of dust on top of the mud. Dad loved watching this, especially the way they would dig or stomp to loosen the dirt and mud. I also had fun watching the hornbills, they are quite goofy looking birds. Mom said everything was her favorite! It was so wonderful to be with my parents and to share this adventure with them. 

Hornbill

Joneses on safari 

Muddy elephants

Don't forget the dirt

Thanks for visiting mom and dad!


Posted May 30, 2012
Critters

I have gotten to know many critters during my time here in Zambia. Some of them are familiar, others are new. For the most part I try to keep them out of my house, but I do like the geckos. In fact I had a three legged gecko that lived in my bathroom for quite a while – sometimes he would fall off the wall after taking a misstep but he would always scamper back up. There are also a pair in my living room that like to play tag with one another in the evenings. Below are pictures of a few of the critters I have been able to capture on camera. We even had a chameleon outside the office one day but unfortunately I did not have the camera with me. Right now the butterflies are everywhere, adding even more color and beauty to Zambia.

I snapped this one during our Thanksgiving celebration,
the gecko was having a feast too - flying termite, yum!

This cat visits my garden & looks very similar to my cat back in the States

Skink - I'm pretty sure he is smiling at you

The frogs often startle my dog Colby, he jumps as well as they do!

This grasshopper was GIANT

A fly enjoying a sprinkle from some of my cookies

Butterflies enjoying the marigolds in my garden




Posted May 14, 2012
Zimbabwe

The group - Nancy, Libias, Grace, me, Pattison, Susan, Fred, Questa, Beth, Don, Kathy, & Lamiel

I spent last week in Zimbabwe with the Harare Synod of the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) and a group from Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC). The group from MAPC included Rev. Dr. Fred Anderson and his wife Questa, Rev. Don Wahlig and his wife Beth, Kathy Hoffman, Nancy Ost, and myself. We were accompanied by a group from CCAP: Rev. Libias Boloma and his wife Grace, Rev. Pattison Chirongo and his wife Susan, and Dr. Lamiel Phiri. We started our journey in Harare where we stayed with host families, conducted Bible studies in local congregations, and we each preached in a different church on Sunday – and all of this was done in two days! We arrived Friday, spending the weekend in Harare before hitting the road on Monday.

    
  With my hostess in Harare, Stella        Norton CCAP, where I preached on Sunday

Once we hit the road we were kept busy between the travel and conducting Bible studies in different congregations. Each day we would conduct one or two Bible studies in a congregation, depending on how much travel we had that day. We visited 4 congregations in Gweru, Bulawayo, and Hwange. For the Bible studies each of us would lead a group, with the help of a translator, in inductive Bible study. This was challenging to folks from MAPC, teaching something new and in such a different context. It was also challenging to the people in the churches, as most have never done a Bible study like this. Many are used to being told what the Bible means and we were asking them what they think. We struggled to get them to talk about their own understanding of the passage and often got canned responses. We also had some amazing moments as we experienced scripture coming to life in our midst. I wished we had more time at each place to get to know the people better, but at the same time I was glad to be able to visit many different congregations.


                          Nancy teaching at Mufakose CCAP















                 
Beth leading a group at Hwange CCAP

As we arrived at each church we were greeted with singing, dancing, and a meal. I continue to be amazed by the hospitality and generosity of people here. Wherever we went we were received with open arms and open hearts. We also received many beautiful gifts which you will see around MAPC to remind us of our partners, our brothers and sisters in Christ, in Zimbabwe.

Kathy enjoying the welcome at Gweru CCAP

Questa joining in the celebration at Hwange CCAP

At each church we visited we presented the pastor with an NRSV Study Bible and a Psalter. The pastor at the church where I was preaching on Sunday told me he had been looking for that Bible since 1997 but had not been able to find one yet. I felt both honored and humbled as I presented the Bible to him on behalf of MAPC during the worship service. Please pray that the Bibles and Psalters will be a blessing to both the pastors and congregations in Harare synod.

Fred presenting a Bible at Lobengula CCAP
Don presenting the psalter to Hwange CCAP

At the end of our week we spent a day in Victoria Falls, which is right across the border from Livingstone, Zambia. We could hear and see the spray from Victoria Falls right from our beautiful hotel! That last day we debriefed with the folks from CCAP at breakfast as they had to head back to Harare. Then we spent the day wandering through a curio market, visiting the falls, and enjoying the river by boat. It was great to have a day at the end to relax and enjoy the beauty of Zimbabwe. All in all it was a great trip and I was sad to have to say goodbye. It was wonderful to see the folks from MAPC and to get to know our partners in Zimbabwe. I am looking forward to returning to Zimbabwe in September and to MAPC in December! 

MAPC group with mist of Victora Falls in the background

Posted May 7, 2012
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