Friday, August 25, 2017

ZAMBIA CHRONICLES 2.0 - Building Projects

I have learned many valuable lessons through the process of leading this transformative project in the village. God is growing me, challenging me to trust in him – knowing with bold assurance that he has called me to this work. I must keep my hands to the plow despite the onslaught of negative commentary and disbelief that comes from the naysayers (remember Nehemiah as he attempted to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem).
God is also teaching me great lessons about his faithfulness. He is so patient as I learn about how life and community work in another culture. During this trip, especially, with the loss of my phone, I better understand the challenges that are imposed upon a ministry and a society when there are limitations with transportation and communication options. The best laid plans are often executed at a snail’s pace, BUT praise God for steadfast fortitude to stay the course. Faithful is HE who calls you, who also will do it (I Thessalonians 5:24).
The Resource Center is still under construction. Lord willing, the building will be finished by November 1st. The first time I approached my “little school in the village” my eyes welled up with tears. Our builder was plastering the inside of the literacy schoolroom, and a cart being driven by a team of oxen was delivering sand for the plaster. The scene was surreal. I unveiled the new Community Resource Center banner my first Sunday back at Big Tree Baptist Church. The people cheered and clapped when they saw it. There was a real sense of “community bonding” when I hung the banner across the ring beam of the Center. The people are beginning to embrace our motto and are finding such positive identity in these words: pang'ono pang'ono ndi mtolo (translated- little by little makes a bundle). Everywhere I walked in the village, people would repeat those words to me. It had become a special greeting. As Robert Zulu said, “It’s a great motto because it describes perfectly what we’re trying to accomplish.” The people realize we are starting a great work from humble beginnings, but little by little things are really taking shape.
Here are the practical lessons I learned about building construction in the village:
1. Never start building at the beginning of rainy season (November). Wait until May/June to begin. It'll save time and money. 
2. When your builder is a full time farmer and part-time builder, the construction will only progress after his crops have been planted, then harvested, and then sold at market. We’re moving slowly, but we’re getting to the finish line.
3. When your project manager, overseer, and builder don’t have “talk time” on their phones, communication efforts are greatly hindered.
I’m so glad to have discovered these challenges exist because more effective methods can be developed to address the issues. That’s what I’m doing, so I appreciate your prayers for wisdom. 

Look at my "little schoolhouse in the village."

I unveiled this banner at Big Tree my first Sunday back in the village. It pleased me so much to hear the people cheer and express their pleasure. God is doing great things!

Mr. Manza (my builder) and his assistant, Mr. Blackwell hung the banner for me. I was just securing one the corners that had come loose.

Zachary Tembo and I discussing the progress of the building construction. I LOVE my glass window panes. They were totally unexpected, and I was so happy to be able to wash them. It is such a beautiful structure to me, and will be made even moreso when the ladies from the sewing program hang curtains and add their special touches to the inside. 

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