2017 Kenya Trip: A Prayer Calendar

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Me alongside Brenda and the other children (playing with my phone! haha) at the World Reach Orphanage in Kenya back in 2015

On Friday February 9, 2017, I’ll be returning to the World Reach Ministry Centre in Kenya, following up on the first mission trip I took after beginning this blog. I’ll be returning from the trip 9 days later on the 18th. Prayer is such an essential part of missions, and so as I usually do, I’d like to share with those who read this blog some of the things I’m praying about for each day of this journey. Would you join me in these prayers? Below are the goals of this trip, and my prayer requests, one for each day.

Ministry Goal: to bring back video and photography for the purposes of creating a promotional video for World Reach’s Bible Institutes, as well as for other World Reach Orphanage and Clinic ministry fundraisers and projects.

Spiritual Goal: to encourage the pastors, children, and staff at the Kenya ministries through our fellowship, and work to serve them in any way we can.

June 9, 2017

Pray for Bruce and my travels to the airport in Atlanta from Birmingham, and for our smooth and safe connection through Istanbul. Also, pray for God to open doors in our random encounters during our travels with people from around the world for Gospel-sharing, and encouragement.

June 10, 2017

Pray for God to prepare the hearts of the children at the World Reach Orphanage in Kenya for our arrival, that they would receive us with joy and anticipation. Pray for opportunities for us to encourage and show Christ’s love to them, and help them grow in their faith. Also pray for World Reach – Kenya Director David Magiri’s preparation for our arrival, and for our driver Patrick’s safe travels to pick us up from the airport.

June 11, 2017

Pray for God to prepare the hearts and minds of the students Bruce will be teaching for an intense week of study. As they anticipate their graduation, let them not lose focus on the task at hand, and faithfully pursue the wisdom God is offering them through Bruce’s teachings in their final class at the World Reach Bible Institute. Bruce will have to teach a course that typically takes five days in four days so that graduation can be on Friday, so focus, awareness, flexibility, patience, and enthusiasm for the content will be required from Bruce and the students.

June 12, 2017

Pray for Bruce, that when he awakens this morning, God gives him confidence in his preparation for this class, and that throughout today God speaks through Bruce to his students. Pray that God gives us both awake and aware minds (jet lag mercies!) as we spend the first day at the World Reach Centre in Kenya after the long journey from the United States.

June 13, 2017

Pray for my time with the kids at the Orphanage in Kenya, that it would be a time of joy and encouragement for them, and our bond would grow stronger, and that in the short time I have with them, God would use me to help drive them to His will in their lives. Also, pray that God would guide my ears to stories that would inspire prayer in the hearts of those who love and support the children in the United States, and my eye camera to glimpses of their life that would give people around the world a glimpse into what God is doing in and through these wonderful kiddos in Kenya.

Also pray for my interviews with the students at the Bible Institute throughout the week, that they would share with enthusiasm their story and how the Bible Institute has made a difference in their lives, so that we can raise prayer and financial support for new students around the world to attain this experience.

June 14, 2017

Pray for the widows that meet for fellowship, prayer and encouragement at the World Reach Centre in Kenya. Pray for consistent provision for them of all of their needs, and that they continually recognize God as their Provider. These women are faithful prayer warriors, and despite their needs, they would be the first to ask you how they can pray for you! Click here to read the article I wrote about them in 2015.

Pray for Janette Magiri, as she leads them in their Bible study and prayer, and while you’re doing that, prayers for Janette’s role as head housemother at the Orphanage and head of administration at the Centre in Kenya would be greatly appreciated! Janette is a hard worker, a wise wife and mother, and a faithful follower of Christ.

June 15, 2017

Alright, crunch time! This is the final day for Bruce and the students to finish their course. Pray BIG that they can get through all of the content, and not just fly through, but that even in the shortened amount of time they have they receive every drop of wisdom through their studies. Pray that excitement for the next days’ festivities don’t distract from the truths that Bruce speaks in his teachings, and the focus the students show as they display their understanding through exams.

June 16, 2017

“9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:9-11

Today, after two years of hard work, time away from family and community, and passionate pursuit of wisdom and growth in their walk with Christ, the students of the World Reach Bible Institute in Kenya will graduate. Pray for them, that when they return to their families, churches, and communities, God would keep the wisdom they gained held close to their minds and hearts, that they would share generously and that God through them would spread the Gospel across Africa and strengthen the Church in Kenya. Pray Philippians 1:9-11 over them.

June 17, 2017

Pray for our time at the Muthetheni Clinic, that we may be an encouragement to their staff, and that in the few hours we have there, we can get the material to document their story through video, photography, and writing, to share with our friends around the world to show what God’s doing, and what is possible in the future through the Muthetheni Clinic ministry.

June 18, 2017

Pray for our safe travels, especially for when we get back to Atlanta at approx. 7:40 PM at night. It’s likely that we will be driving from Atlanta back to Birmingham that night, so pray that we would be awake and aware for the drive if we have to do that.

Pray that this trip would have a meaningful, encouraging and fruitful impact on everyone involved, including the students that Bruce taught. Including the children. Including the widows. Including the people that will hear stories of and see glimpses of these ministries through our documentation during the trip. Including the friends, family, and supporters praying for us. Including us. Including you.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed! haha Thank you so much for any prayer you offer in support of Bruce and my ministry this week. May God bless you and keep you throughout the week we’re gone.

Agape,

Michael (The Missions & Media Guy)

 

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Kwathu Feeding Programme Part 1: “Give Them Something To Eat.”

IMG_7029When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” – Matthew 14:13-21

IMG_7065“Michael… come, grab your camera, I need you for something!” Jeannette, one of the leaders at Kwathu Children’s Home urged me. I rushed from my work in the office to grab the camera. She led me to the red metal gate of Kwathu Children’s Home and pushed it open just enough for us to get outside, and see… between 70 and 90 children from “The Bush,” or the community surrounding Kwathu, all stood patiently at the door looking at us. After I snapped a few photos and videos, the children got in line, had a sticker placed on their hand, and ran to the playground. As they played, tables were being set, pans of nshima, cabbage, and beans were being taken out and clean water was being prepared for an event that would show me a glimpse of how powerfully life-changing a ministry can be to a community of people when they are working under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Kwathu Children’s Home’s weekly food programme. 70 children in need were about to be provided a meal, some their only full meal of the week, through the Spirit’s inspiration to the leaders at Kwathu, the hard work of the Kwathu staff, and the Lord’s provision through the gifts of people like you.

IMG_7278Once the food was prepared and hands were washed our team spent time serving the children, and some of their mothers by feeding them, washing dishes after them, and enjoying their company. Remember when I said that 1 in every 16 people in Zambia was an orphan under 15? Well, it was at the art and food programmes at Kwathu where I saw what that looked like. Children no older than 13 were carrying their baby brothers and sisters on their back, responsible for caring for them. Many of the children in the crowd that came were either orphans or had parents who couldn’t provide for them. Jeannette even explained to me that some would take their meal and store it, so that one meal could last them the rest of the week! Every Monday, throughout the afternoon, between 70 and 90 children come to Kwathu for what might be their only full meal of the week. It was heart-breaking to think about, but at the same time, it made me realize what a blessing Kwathu Children’s Home was not only to the children staying there, but to the people in need in their community.

IMG_7380With the current state of the economy in Zambia, food is a valuable and expensive commodity. Jeannette, Agrippa, and the staff at Kwathu could have understandably turned the crowds away, telling the community they don’t have enough to feed them, but that’s not what Jesus asked. As a matter of fact, just as Jesus instructed the disciples in Matthew 14 to “give them something to eat,” out of their five loaves of bread and two fish, I was told that the Lord came in a dream to one of the leaders at Kwathu Children’s Home, instructing them to feed their community. And just as Jesus provided then, He is providing now. How do you think they come up with enough nshima, cabbage, beans, and water to feed an entire crowd of children and their mothers? Jesus has called his followers from all around the world from Tandeka in Germany to Grace Klein Community in the United States to raise the funds that allow the leaders at Kwathu to afford enough food to provide for those in need in their community. Jesus has called the house mamas at Kwathu Children’s Home, and they have put in the hard work of preparing up to 90 meals for every Monday, not including the Kwathu children, which from my observation, was a process that took a lot of time during the week. Jesus called the leaders at Kwathu, and they organized and arranged it, and weekly go to IMG_7331the market to buy the food. Jesus called the advocates in the United States and Germany to spread awareness of its needs and fundraise so that the $215 a week could be provided. The body of Christ, from Zambia to Germany to the United States, is working together to feed this crowd of 90 children, so that their bellies may be full, so their ears may be open to the Gospel.

When they began this food programme in November of 2015, they wrote about it to their followers on Kwathu’s wordpress blog:

“As Christmas is getting close, people are getting excited and stressful preparing feasts, buying Christmas gifts and more. Why not think of sharing this Christmas with somebody you don’t know? This Christmas, We have decided to reach out to our community around us and identify families who are struggling. We are going to feed about 80 children living around our property of which our children will serve, entertain and worship with them. God has opened this door for us to minister around our community but to do so; we need to feed them first. This feeding program is not just for Christmas, but an ongoing event as long as God provides. We have seen children around our plot who are living in poverty and in need of a little help. We provide clean water to them but we also realize that they need more than just clean Water. So many children around us don’t go to school, they don’t have a proper meal, clothing, to mention a few.

What will Jesus do? What will you do? How can you help?”

Since that November post, Jesus has been answering that question. Those 80 children, and more are being fed. The leaders at Kwathu explained to me that in order for this to continue into 2017, and beyond more funding will need to be provided, and we must trust in the Lord for that. Just as He has provided through His followers in 2016, we trust He will for 2017, as well. So pray about it. Is Jesus guiding you to be a part of His body helping feed the children in need in the community around Kwathu Children’s Home(“The Bush”)? Would you like to help the children of this growing African nation of Zambia to grow spiritually and academically, providing them hope for a bright future? If so, click on the button below.

If you noticed, this is only Part 1 of a 2-Part series about the Food Programme. This one’s about what the program taught me, the next post will be what the children that came to the program taught me. Thanks for your patience, and for reading, and I hope I’m giving you guys at least a glimpse into what I experienced at Kwathu Children’s Home.

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An Open Letter to The House Mamas at Kwathu Children’s Home

IMG_8358Dear House Mamas at Kwathu Children’s Home,

As I write this open letter after my work day on this Friday, around 5:15 P.M. U.S. Central (12:15 AM in your local Zambia time) you are probably just now preparing to go to sleep in your designated room of the Children’s Home. You probably woke up this morning at 4 A.M. to prepare the porridge for the children’s breakfast, to feed them, and prepare them for school. Then, after the children were led to the van to be sent to school, you began washing clothes for yourselves, the staff, and the numerous (18 when we were there) children, cleaning the home, preparing lunch and caring for the children that stay behind because they are too young for school or need medical attention. One day this week you brought the children who need to be taken to the hospital for rehab to be cared for. After preparing the nshima, beans, and cabbage for lunch, and feeding everyone, you began an “in-between” meal, and dinner, while also preparing for the children’s arrival home. When they arrived, you took them inside, allowed them to play, served dinner, helped them with their homework, bathed them, and prepared them for bed. On Monday you served between 50 and 190 children from the community with meals, and tomorrow on Saturday, you will prepare to provide them a time of art, play, and learning the Gospel. I have probably missed so many responsibilities you have  during each day, as when I visited it seemed like you all never slept, but the purpose of this open letter, from a team member that visited only a few weeks ago, is to thank you.

IMG_7807Thank you for the tireless work you put in each day to put 4 meals on the table for so many children, so many staff members, and when they come, so many team members. Thank you for guiding those children, loving and caring for them, and disciplining them when they need it. Thank you for loving on and cooking for those many children who come to receive a meal through the Kwathu food programme. Thank you for the endless amount of hand-washing clothes, preparing water in a pot outside for baths, and the care you provide for the dogs at Kwathu. Thank you for the ways you loved on our team during our stay, because when we were sick you were helping care for us, when we were confused you helped guide us. You taught us everything from how to eat nshima, to how to make those bracelets, to the ways to embrace the Zambian culture and love on the children even more. Thank you so much for all of those works, but most importantly, thank you for ministering to us, and showing us an example of the virtues outlined in Proverbs 31. Here are some examples, addressed to outside readers.

“She Gets Up While It Is Still Night”

“She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.”  – Proverbs 31:15

Sometimes during my trip to Kwathu, I beleived that the house mamas never slept. They were always available to help, whether it was the middle of the night, or at 3 or 4 am when they woke up to prepare breakfast for everyone.

“Clothed in Strength and Dignity”


IMG_7670“She sets about her work vigorously;

    her arms are strong for her tasks.” – Proverbs 31:17

“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.” – Proverbs 31:25

“She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27

These ladies showed me a whole new level of hard work. There wasn’t a time where I saw these ladies not contributing to the home. They were strong, capable, and had mastered each of their crafts with precision, performing in a way that showed everyone in the home love and compassion, working with a joyful smile, “laughing at the days to come.”

“Open Arms To The Needy”

“She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.” – Proverbs 31:20

This could practically be a mission verse for the art and food programmes Kwathu Children’s Home has started, and exemplifies these women’s work as they prepare and serve the food to those in need in the community, and prepare tables for art classes.

“She Makes Linen Garments and Sells Them.”


IMG_7736“She makes linen garments and sells them,

    and supplies the merchants with sashes.” – Proverbs 31:24

The bracelets that the mamas at Kwathu Children’s Home helped the children make can be found at the BeMoreRandom Store at any Family Fun Night, Helena First Friday, or several other Grace Klein Community events. 😉

“Wisdom and Faithful Instruction.”

 

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One of the Leaders of Kwathu Children’s Home, Jeannette Phiri

“She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” – Proverbs 31:26

The children of Kwathu Children’s Home are in good, wise, and loving hands. When I came back to the United States that message was clear to me. It could be seen not only in how the leaders and house mamas gave instruction, but how the children received it, as the older children knew their roles and responsibilities well, and when they needed assistance it was always provided with love. Part of their wisdom came in knowing when it was time to laugh and when it was time to get serious. During a birthday party, they would bake a cake with the BEST icing (Yes, better than anything you’ve tasted! 😀 ) Then dance with us during the party! When a child was disobeying and needed to be disciplined, they of course were stern, but when they cooked they were joking, when they cleaned they were smiling, when they were helping one of the children, Francis set up speakers and a computer for music, they were joyful. I am so thankful for the wisdom they imparted on our team, in everything from eating nshima the right way to the ways of life in Zambia. These children at Kwathu are so blessed by their love and presence, our team was so blessed by our time with them, and when they return home to their own families, I know those families are blessed by their presence as well.

Concluding the Letter

IMG_7977So House Mamas at Kwathu, once again I thank you for the job you do, and thank you for the joy you do it with. I wrote this letter openly in hopes that my readers would ponder and appreciate the work you do that opens the doors for a bright future for the children of Kwathu Children’s Home, and the work you do to contribute and bring the Gospel to your community. I write it openly because, when we hear about ministries caring for, providing for, and serving children around the world, it’s always focused on the children: where the children came from, where they are now, and what they grow up to be. Many of my stories of this journey will be the same. Rarely do we read about the people who form the foundation of the ministry to those children, the people working so hard to ensure those children are provided with every chance at a bright future, the house mamas and staff. But this one, this open letter is dedicated to you, the people who are forming the foundation of the children’s growth. I am praying for you, your families, and your ministries. Thank you for showing me what joyful, vigorous, wise, hard work looks like.

Thanks and Blessings,

Michael Kline

The Missions & Media Guy

If you’d like to support these House Mamas, this staff, and the children they serve and provide for, click on the button below!

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My New Friend Anna: Up… Up!

Featured pic Anna

Introducing Anna!

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” – Mark 10:13-16

 

Quick Overview of Anna Stories:

7 Days In A Week

The Godzilla Dog of Kwathu

The Hospital

Up… up.

Full Article:

“Uncle Michael, Uncle Michael… Up! Up!” A small child, hair braided and face in a smile runs up to me and raises her arms in the air. I pick her up and she points. She looks at me and says where she wants to go, “I want on swing!” “I want to go to Aunt Rebek!” or in some cases, “I want to see a Benji (one of the Kwathu dogs)!” Who is this vivacious little lady leading me and my teammates around Kwathu in our arms? Well, allow me to introduce you to my new friend Anna, an inspirational girl who captured the hearts of our team, and one of the children being protected, loved, and raised at Kwathu Children’s Home.

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The head of our team, Jason, carrying Anna. They seem to have a lot in common!

Anna was the first of the younger children to remember my name, and from the very first day, she called me, “Uncle Michael.” I say this as if it’s special, she knew everyone on our team’s name by the third day, and addressed us like she had known us her entire life! The first time she asked me to carry her was on the first day, and having Anna in my arms became a common theme on the trip. She loved being carried by pretty much anyone, but particularly by me and another one of our team members, Rebekah, or “Auntie Rebek,” as Anna called her.

Anna was always smiling, always looking for some mischief, and also I must admit, she could be a little bit sassy. If your sunglasses disappeared, or your hat, or anything else that she could find a way to play with, you know where to find it, in the hands of Anna running around the children’s home enjoying it. She would always give it back without much complaint, but if you couldn’t find it again later, you knew where it was! Her assertive and vocal personality also made her a leader to the younger children, even though she’s only 5! In that vain, let me tell you an Anna story I won’t soon forget:

7 Days In A Week

It was Thursday night, Day 10 of the trip, and we had just had an exhausting day of mostly office work. The eyes of our team members were glazed over, staring into the distance with looks making apparent the need for sleep. In this condition, we were waiting for a worship night when 5 of the kids including Anna ran into the middle of the room. After Anna asked us to pick her up a few times, She began to sing a song she learned at school:

“Sunday, Monday! Tuesday, Wednesday! Thursday, Friday… Saturday!! There are seven days, there are seven days, there are seven days in a week!”

Then she repeated, but louder. Then more of the children chimed in, and they got louder, and soon, in the middle of a room full of exhausted adults, Anna was leading the children as they ran in a circle screaming the “7 Days in a Week” song. If someone tried to change the song, she would sing louder to get them back into place. Sometimes, she would even stop in the middle of the song on “Thursday” or “Friday” and just start all over again, getting the rest of the children to go right along with her! All of the adults were too exhausted to stop her, and I couldn’t stop laughing at the experience. This is the assertiveness and bold character that Anna lives every day with. Her joy is bold, so bold and assertive that other children, even a little older than her follow right along. This boldness would also be shown in the facing of her fears, specifically the fear of one of the puppies at Kwathu, Benji, or as I called him, “The Godzilla Dog of Kwathu.”


The Godzilla Dog of Kwathu

Benji

Benji doing what he did best on the trip… chewing on stuff.

Benji. Say the name and you will incite fear in anyone under the age of seven at Kwathu Children’s Home. When they see this puppy, they scream and run in fear (like in a Godzilla movie, hence the nickname). The puppy has a tendency to chew on some of their toys, and sometimes try to bite. However, there is one child who is willing to boldly go where no other child goes, and ask to see, “a Benji.” That child… you guessed it… is Anna! Does she scream and run when he gets too close? Of course! But when she senses Benji in the room, she walks to you, and asks to be picked up and points and says, “I want to see a Benji.” Then you show Benji to her and she lets out a mix between a laugh and a squeal, smiling until you get too close. If you put her down, she runs away from Benji, but when the other kids run away in seemingly sheer terror, Anna seemed to run away in a playful way, screaming and acting terrified, but with a small secret smile on her face. That’s how she handled fear. She is always so much quicker to a smile than a tear.Which amazed and inspired me, considering the difficulties she struggles through due to the difficult upbringing she was subjected to before she arrived at Kwathu.

The Hospital

The following is an excerpt from Kwathu Children’s Home’s update last year in April, when they first received Anna:

“Meet our cute little girl who recently became one of the newest members of the Kwathu family. Anna was admitted to Kwathu Children’s Home on the 18th of May 2015 through the assistance of the Livingstone Social Welfare office. She is a sweet 4 year old girl who unfortunately has been a victim of child abuse. In the past four years she has been physically abused by her mother who is a mental patient suffering from a condition called schizophrenia, and her father who is an alcoholic and has since abandoned the child. After being admitted to hospital for about 3 weeks, this little girl was diagnosed with moderate malnutrition, anemia, malaria and a wound infection which was a result of severe burns on her body. She also suffered a broken left arm in two places as shown by an x-ray result. This is one of the disturbing cases of child abuse we haven’t encountered for some time since our home opened.”

This is the life this joyful and lively little girl came from. She has healed from many of her wounds, but still goes to the hospital every week to rehab due to burns on her finger. Yet… after the abuse, the loss, and the suffering, she still trusts. This is the girl that is the first one to learn everyone’s name. This is the girl that runs to you, raises her arms up, and exclaims, “Up! Up!” asking you to pick her up and bring her places. This is the girl that loves and leads the other children around her in song and in play. This is the girl that boldly stands up to “a Benji.” And for one final encouraging story, this is the 5-year old girl that when I was so sick I was bed-ridden, she walked up to me with a big smile and said, “Uncle Michael! Uncle Michael! You look like you should go to the hospital with me!!”

Up… Up.

Sarah and Anna

Anna looking at a picture by one of Kwathu’s visitors from Germany, Sarah.

Anna is just one of the children Kwathu Children’s Home has rescued and is raising to a hope and a bright future, walking with Christ. From abuse, disease, and a broken home she came, and to a loving home with mamas to love and guide her, 4 meals a day provided for her, an education to prepare her for a bright future, friends to play with, medicine to heal, and spiritual mentors to guide her in her Christian walk she arrived. Just as with the people bringing little children to Jesus in Mark 10, people brought Anna to Jesus Christ’s followers at Kwathu Children’s Home. Now, I hope you’ll join me in prayer that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide Kwathu in taking Anna, and other children like her into their arms, and continuing their ministry to bless them. It makes me wonder, when was the first time she told someone, “Up! Up!”? I expect that before she ever exclaimed those words, Christ was working in the mama’s, the staff, and the people everywhere who contribute to this ministry to take her in His arms and lift her, lift her up… up out of a broken home, and into a hope for a bright future.

Would you like to be a part of the hands that bless these children, or the arms that take them in? To Donate, click on the button below, it will take you to the Donation page of Grace Klein Community, then designate your gift to Kwathu Children’s Home. Would you like to serve on a short-term, mid-term, or long-term mission to Kwathu? Then e-mail natalie@gracekleincommunity.com.

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Zambia

Zambia America flag copyLast week I returned from a trip to serve at Kwathu Children’s Home in Livingstone, Zambia. The 14-day journey that brought me from Alabama to Zambia and back taught me so many lessons, brings me so many emotions, and challenges me in ways that before the trip I hadn’t considered. As I was off the web during this journey, I’ll be sharing about the people I met, the lessons I learned, and the stories I brought home over the next few weeks, but before I share the journey, I wanted to introduce you to the small country in southern Africa where Kwathu Children’s Home is located, whose people I have come to love.  So without further adieu, here are 5 things you might not know about Zambia, that I have learned from my experience in Zambia, and my preparations for the trip.

    1. Where Zambia is on a map…                                                                                         It’s perfectly OK if you don’t, if you had asked me where Zambia was on a map before November 2014, my answer would sound something like this: “Uhh… Africa?” Below is the Google map, and if anyone ever asks you, this is how I describe it verbally: “Zambia is in sub-Saharan Africa, South of the Democratic Republic of Congo and a couple countries north of South Africa.”
    2. 13427723_1068599019887301_5476123190477435639_n

      Two of the children served at Kwathu’s feeding programme

      There are roughly 16 million people in Zambia, and 1.2 million of them are orphans under 15…  If statistics provided by UNICEF are correct, then just about 1 in every 16 people in Zambia is an orphan under 15. Not 1 in every 16 children, 1 in every 16 PEOPLE… The greatest cause: HIV/AIDS. 800,000 of those orphaned children have been affected by HIV/AIDS, again according to UNICEF.Population statistics according to: World Bank Population of orphan statistics according to: UNICEF

    3. Zambia is a Presidential Representative Democratic Republic that has struggled to get its Christian population to vote.  Imagine walking into church on Sunday, and before the pastor speaks his sermon, he introduces a political leader in your community, who teaches the congregation about the roles of the president of Zambia, the roles of district representatives and mayors, and then teaches what a “running mate” is. That’s just what happened when our team attended church in Livingstone, Zambia. Kwathu Children’s Home’s leaders explained to us that polls had shown that most Christians didn’t vote in the last election, and the government is now running a campaign to educate Christian voters. This is an important issue to Zambia, since more than 85 percent of the Zambian population is Christian, and Zambia claims itself a “Christian” nation according to its Constitution, established in 1996. This is also an election year, so in August when we are preparing to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Zambia will be choosing between a third-term for their current President Lungu, or one of his opponents.
    4. Climate fluctuations have been the central cause of many of the country’s economic struggles, particularly regarding the price of food and energy.         Over the past year, Zambia has suffered through a drought, instigated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. Zambia’s primary source of electricity is hydroelectric, and when the drought began, even their hydroelectric system was in need of renovation. The drought has caused energy prices to skyrocket. Kwathu Children’s Home Director Jeannette Phirri explained to me that during the “dry rainy season,” there were some days where electricity would go out around the community during the shortage. This drought has forced the government to import energy, and invest in the development of renewable energy sources. The increase in energy prices has had a domino effect on the prices of almost every product produced in Zambia. The drought has also had an effect on the agriculture industry, particularly the corn crop used to produce corn meal, or “mealie meal” as they refer to it, which is used to create the staple food of Zambia, nshima. Prices of corn meal in Zambia have tripled in the last year, and the government is pursuing measures to regulate the price of corn meal, since its production and consumption is so vital. It is estimated that floods and droughts have cost Zambia $13.8 billion over the last 30 years.
    5. Kwathu Children’s Home is a short drive away from one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia.                  
      IMG_5865

      The light reflecting off Victoria Falls made for several rainbows. Here one of our team members, Denver posed in the middle of one.

      While not the tallest or widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia is considered one of the largest waterfalls in the world. It is more than twice the height of Niagara Falls, and almost 2,000 ft. wider. It’s located on the Zambezi River, and borders both Zambia and Zimbabwe. From personal experience, it is a mighty and incredible sight to behold, and the vacation spot for many around the world. Definitely worth the visit!

I chose these facts to present as an introduction to help form the foundation for my future stories from Zambia and Kwathu Children’s Home. After all, sometimes it might be nice to know a little about that small country one of your friends went on a mission trip to. Still, after this trip, the one word I think when I hear the name “Zambia,” is “hope.”   Zambia’s people and leaders strive for the improvement of the lives for its citizens, which is rare for nations in that area from the world. Zambian UN representatives are co-facilitating declarations to end the HIV/AIDS crisis by 2030. The Zambian government is teaming up with investors to switch their primary energy source to solar power, with the goal of having sub-Saharan Africa’s cheapest energy. Zambian people are beginning to realize the potential of its agriculture industry, and its government is beginning to respond. And as for the struggle with orphans and parentless homes, places like Kwathu Children’s Home stand to provide a healthy and happy childhood and hope for a future for the children of Zambia, and in the case of Kwathu Children’s Home, using that platform to spread the Gospel and glorify the Lord in the process. At the end of all of the measures, declarations, and planning, and at the end of all of the cooking, cleaning, bringing children to school, disciplining, and everything else that goes with caring for and loving the children lies a generation preparing to grasp the future of this beautiful nation known as Zambia.

 

 

 

15 Things You Can Pray About For Our Team To Kwathu Children’s Home

13221014_1048475638566306_1513598313105018618_nI did it for Belize, I’m doing it for Zambia! For all of the prayer warriors praying over the team going to Kwathu Children’s Home next week, here are 15 requests you can pray for while we’re on the trip!

  1. Pray for the unexpected divine appointments in our travels from the United States to Zambia. When traveling internationally, you never know who you will meet, so let us be a light for Christ to each individual we encounter.
  2. Pray for the families of the missionaries traveling, the mothers, wives, daughters, sons, extended family, and friends back home who will be missing us and praying for us on the journey. Pray that the Lord continually comforts them and reminds them of our purpose in serving Him through serving and loving His children.
  3. 13177220_10209565222744270_1081431202784218575_nPray for Evan Moon’s recovery from brain surgery. Evan was originally intending to join us on the trip, but on Thursday, May 12th Evan was sent to the ER, and soon thereafter learned that he had a brain tumor. Even in his hospital bed, he has been changing lives for God’s glory, (Click here and read each article with “Moon” in the title to learn more). Please pray for him in his road to recovery, and pray for his family’s peace and comfort, and financial provision. If you would like to donate to their medical bills, learn how at gracekleincommunity.com/donate.
  4. Pray for the missionaries and staff at World Reach while I’m gone. Pray for the Lord’s work through World Reach to continue and flourish in mighty ways while I’m on this mission, and that through the trip and after God continues to open my eyes to new ideas to advance the many ministries that World Reach supports and represents.
  5. Pray for my colleague at World Reach, Brooke, who will be handling some of my tasks at World Reach while I’m gone, that the office isn’t too lonely and the work isn’t overwhelming.
  6. Pray for the hearts of our missionaries who have never been overseas before this trip to Kwathu Children’s Home. Pray for their patience, flexibility,  forgiveness, and that God will use this experience to challenge them and open their hearts and minds to new realities, while also softening their hearts for His children in Zambia.
  7. Pray for the hearts of the children as they meet us for these short two weeks, that they will be open to receiving us and enjoying our company. Pray that their hearts will be open to our ministry, and that our hearts will be open to learn from them, as well.
  8. Pray for my meetings with Jeannette and Agrippa, the leaders at Kwathu Children’s Home. Pray that the Lord inspires us in each meeting, and helps us dream BIG, while also keeping in perspective the realities of ministry. Pray that through these meetings and my time at Kwathu,  God provides me with the stories, the photos, and the videos that allow Kwathu’s ministry advocate in the States, Natalie, to dream even bigger when I return to the States.
  9. Pray that whatever God’s purposes for us are outside of what we have planned, that we accept them, embrace them, and enjoy the ride. Trips like this tend to have many twists and turns in regards to planning and the plan changing. Pray that the Lord uses that to accomplish His good.
  10. Pray that the supplies we bring with us to bless Kwathu Children’s Home will be used in a way that provides for the children and staff, and blesses the community around them in Livingstone. So many of you have given household needs for this trip, pray that your gifts to this ministry are used to bring God the most glory possible.
  11. Pray for all of the Grace Klein Community efforts that are going on while we are gone. Many important volunteers and staff members are on this trip, so pray for the Lord to keep everything running smoothly, and if you have the time to volunteer or attend their events, do so! You can find many opportunities on their website!
  12. Pray Galatians 6:1-10 over us, that as we work as a team, we strive to do good to everyone, handle differences with gentleness and grace, and bear the loads we are given with joy.
  13. Most importantly, just pray that whatever God does on this trip, He uses it to teach us more about Him, and draw us closer to Him.
  14. Also just as important: That God uses your prayers and support of this trip to draw you closer to Him and His will.
  15. Pray for our safe travels home.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for us, as we come upon a week until the trip. I’m really excited to see what God has in store, and I can’t wait to share my experiences from this trip with you all when we get back. May the Lord bless all of you in this time, and if any of you have prayer requests for me, always feel free to put them in the comments!

Thanks and Blessings,

Michael Kline

The Missions & Media Guy

Kwathu Trip Post #2: A Musical Way to Support Kwathu Children’s Home

So if you’ve been on my Facebook page, or the Grace Klein Community Facebook page, you’ve probably seen your fair share of ways to support the team I’m joining to serve Kwathu Children’s Home, and have fun doing it! T-shirt Fundraisers, yard sales, and even a March Madness bracket have been used to take a bite out of the costs of traveling expenses and supplies needed for our mission to provide for and show Christ’s love to the children in need at Kwathu Children’s Home. But did you know that on Saturday April 16th you can support our mission by beating a drum?

Come on over to A4One (450 10th Avenue S, Birmingham, AL 35216)  at 6 PM and join our team, along with so many other families for a night of learning, appreciation, and enjoyment of African music and culture, as our friends teach you how to play the Djembe Drum! Admission is only $5, and there will be so many door prizes available including:

$50 Taziki’s Gift Card, Taziki’s Hummus Coupons, $50 Honey Baked Ham Gift Card, $25 Ragtime Gift Card, McWane Science Center General Admission Tickets, McWane Science Center Free Kids Entries, Seeds Coffee, Compelled Designs Jewelry, Advocare Products, $25 Inverness Golf & Repair, 5 x Jimmy Johns Free Subs, $50 Shell Fuel, $25 Banana Republic, $25 Callaway Golf, $25 Land’s End, $25 Nike, $25 Staples, $25 Bass Pro, $25 Barnes and Noble, $25 x 2 Itunes, $25 Regal Cinema, $25 The Cheesecake Factory, $25 Steak ‘n Shake, $25 Olive Garden, $25 IHOP, $25 Starbucks, $25 PF Chang’s, $25 Panera Bread, $25 Subway, $25 Outback Steakhouse, $50 Home Depot, $50 Lowes, $25 GAP, and $25 Old Navy.

Not to mention, we are raffling off a Djembe Drum! There will even be food, desserts, and face-painting entertainment, so this is a perfect event to bring out the entire family to show support and love to the children of Kwathu Children’s Home in Zambia from across the Atlantic Ocean! Want to RSVP and learn more about the event? Click Here to learn about the event and RSVP!12970859_1182294008449783_7948092462520380498_o