We are the Davis'

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New President, Yellow Fever Shots, Women's Seminar

We have a new president here in Zambia. You may have seen it on the news. His name is Michael Sata, also known as the “King Cobra”. Zambia has handled the transition in government relatively peacefully. This transition was even recognized by President Obama and applauded for the peace Zambia is promoting through the change. Please keep President Sata in your prayers as he leads Zambia.

Jeremy and I along with Brian, Sondra and their boys are all going to Cape Town, South Africa next month. We will be staying in separate places, about an hour away from each other, but we are quite excited! I am sure I will have tons of pictures from our trip, but that will be next month. Brian and Sondra previously worked in Cape Town for years doing missions before they came to Zambia. Since they are retiring from the field next year, this will be their last trip to Cape Town. Jeremy and I are going more for a good get away and vacation in a first world country, but I will get to meet some of the people I have been hearing about for years. Jeremy spent his first African internship in Cape Town years ago. I say all of this to explain why we were at an urban health clinic in Solwezi getting yellow fever shots…yikes!

Before Jeremy and I came to Zambia, we received all of the shots necessary to live here. However, yellow fever was no longer required for Zambia. Well, the law has changed in Zambia and now it IS required in order to leave the country and go to South Africa. Panic set in for me as I realized our time crunch AND realized that this would mean getting my shot here…in Solwezi. It made me feel a lot better that Brian and Sondra also had to get them with us. We all headed out to town, which is about 45 minutes away. We picked up our viles, needles and such (all neatly packaged and unused) and headed to the urban clinic to get our business taken care of. I was nervous. Well, all things went well and the shot was actually really easy and harmless.  All well and safe. The doctor was kind to us. We are now officially set to go to Cape Town. And let me tell you, if I can get a shot in Solwezi, I can get a shot anywhere.

The women’s seminar is this weekend, and I am anxious for it to begin. This is our first time to spend this much time with the women alone. It will be great for language learning since most women do not speak any English. All of our women on the missionary team will be teaching a different, simple technique to help these church women learn how to teach children’s bible classes. Pray for the 30 or so women this weekend that come for fellowship and training to be women of the Lord. There are lots and lots of children running around the churches every Sunday, and of course, these women all have many children of their own. However, I think they are nervous and may feel a bit inadequate to teach. Pray for understanding, excitement and a sense of responsibility to set in with these very qualified women. They are a wonderful group of ladies!

Monday, September 19, 2011

An Anniversary Party!

Last week, I was sitting in our living room when Cosmas Lilamono came to our door to greet Jeremy. Cosmas and Jeremy have been friends for six years. As they were talking on the front porch I heard the words “party” and “19 years”. I immediately ran out to ask why in the world I heard the word party? I have lived in Zambia for over eight months now, and there has never been talk about parties in the Kaonde culture. Of course, I am sure they have them, but usually it involves large amounts of alcohol and witchcraft. But, Cosmas began to explain to me that he and his wife, Josephine, would like to celebrate their upcoming 19 years of marriage! I was blown away by this. I cannot tell you enough how uncommon it is here to do anything with your wife. Most couples do not even eat together. They do not share money, they do not think of each other’s needs. For Cosmas and Josephine (our dear friends and some of the first Christians in Mumena) to want to honor each other with a celebration was just amazing to me. Jeremy and I were pumped! 

Well, yesterday was the day. Cosmas was very excited, and he had been updating us on things he was preparing. He was making a peanut cake. It calls for affordable ingredients he can manage, plus he can make it in a pot over the fire. We arrived and Josephine was wearing a new bright shatangi (material used as a skirt) and her best wig! I personally think she looks more beautiful without the wig, but a wig signifies a big deal here. All of their boys were jumping around with excitement. We sat with them at a small table they had borrowed from their church and ate chicken and nshema. Eating meat is a big deal and only happens on special occasions. When the cake was brought out after the meal, Josephine and Cosmas cut it together with one knife and then fed the first bite to each other. Again, I was shocked and so happy. It was funny because after they did it, they wanted Jeremy and I to do it as well. I explained to them that it wasn’t our anniversary, but we did it anyways for them.After a wonderful meal and good fellowship, the big boom box came out and all the boys started dancing. 

It was a great celebration and all I could keep thinking without tears pouring down my face, was how these sweet boys would be impacted by their parents marriage. Would these five boys lead the next generation in a completely new idea of what a good marriage looks like? What it means to really become one and love each other unconditionally under God’s headship? For people living in a constant state of mental poverty, what happened yesterday would have never suggested these people thought they were poor. I am thankful for a God that gives you new insight and a new worldview once you decide to let him. I pray that church leaders like Cosmas and wives like Josephine will continue to impact and change their villages by their example. 

Cutting the cake, with all their kids watching

Jeremy and his namesake (this one is for you, Meemaw)

Jeremy dancing with a Lilamono cousin

The whole family

Learning some moves from Josephine

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

Ezron. A 72 year old village head man living in a village called Mushingashi. Living most of his life without God, he is now a church leader. Always the first one to worship on Sundays and Bible studies on Wednesdays, he’s always the last to sit down. He walks around making sure everyone has a chair, though culturally he should be the one with the best seat. When it comes time for him to pray he bows to his overworked and worn-out knees praying with all of his heart. When presiding over the Lord’s Supper, he is overwhelmed with emotion as he thanks his Savior in tears—a cultural sign of weakness. Every time I encounter this man all I can think about is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

A village headman, elder in the community, and formally lost man was not born with this character trait. It is not something that he strives for as an achievement that will increase his blessing. No. This is a man who understands who he is in relationship to his King. Because of his self-awareness, he doesn’t mope around feeling helpless, but he lives as an empowered adopted child of the King. So he molds bricks to build a church building, mostly on his own, he visits village to village to encourage the members, and he hosts devotionals around the fire at night for the surrounding community. This man is not weak, but humble. This is a man that lives with the knowledge that he is constantly in the presence of God.

“For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” -Isaiah 57:15

Ezron (the one standing) teaching at the Family Seminar last month.
As you approach the Beatitudes, remember that this is not a code of ethics or morals. They are not personality traits that you are just born with. It’s not a law for which you can attain righteousness. It is an emptying of self. This is a description of how a Christian, every Christian, ought to live in an environment of grace. This is what Christ came to die for.

“ …while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” -Titus 2:13-14

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Matt. 5:3

There is no one who is in God’s kingdom that is not poor in spirit.

Here are some verses to reflect on as you empty yourself and allow God to fill you up, becoming poor in spirit: Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 5:1-11.

Blessings as you go through the orientation of the life in the Kingdom of God.

Suggested reading for more study on the Sermon on the Mount: Studies on the Sermon on the Mount. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do you know Him?

I spoke to a drunk man yesterday as I was leaving a Bible study in Mushingashi. He, of course, approached me blubbering many things. I asked him to come to the Bible study next week and he said he needs to as he is a "backslider". Then I asked him if he knew Jesus. He responded, "Yes, he is my redeemer". I responded if you really knew Jesus you wouldn't be drunk like this and "backslidding". After I said that I continued home on my hour bike ride through the bush. As I was riding, I could not help but reflect on my statement to him regarding my own life. I spend many hours studying the Bible and learning about Jesus, but do I really know him? You could ask me almost anything about who Jesus is and I can tell you. However, in that same day I could criticize someone, or speak harshly to my wife, or neglect to show love to someone in a conversation. If I really know Jesus, how could I still be battling sin? How could I have a selfish bone in my body? It was easy for me to see that drunk man and many others here in Zambia who know stuff about Jesus, but recognize that they don’t really know him. However, do I really know him or do I just know about him? Jesus says, “if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” What are those commandments? Where is the law written down so we can follow them(a common question among the Kaonde people)? How can I know and come to love Jesus and how will that be shown through my life?
Whitney and I are beginning a study through the Beattitudes and would encourage anyone who would like to study that along with us to do so. I believe there are some key principles that will help me actually know Jesus and not just know about him in these teachings. Hopefully, our journey through getting to know Jesus through the Beattitudes will encourage you as well. -Jeremy

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mumena's Family Seminar

This past weekend was the first family seminar for the Mumena area churches of Christ. The best part of the family seminar was it was planned and decided on by the church leaders. They are beginning to see the value and importance of guiding your family in the ways of the Lord.
We had been planning this seminar for a couple of months now. The church leaders and missionaries felt it was important for every family to pay for the portion of their food they would eat during the weekend, so that this could be a sustainable, annual seminar if they preferred it. Also, the missionaries did not provide transport to get to the seminar, so we were pretty nervous about how everything would play out and if anyone would even show up! It was a leap of faith on our part and theirs.
We ended up having around 140 people come, made up of husbands, wives, grandparents, youth and children. It was very humbling as we witnessed groups of families walk here and pay for their own food. It helps, bit by bit, to overcome the mental poverty that is so prevalent here. Some churches are located within just a 20-30 minute walk of our area, while others are a 6-8 hour walk. A few families and church members left their villages at 6 am just to be here! Quite humbling. They have my upmost respect.
The seminar kicked off Friday night with a meal and devotional thought by Jeremy. It was so nice sitting around the fire that evening with 140 of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I shared a seat with my good friend, Josephine, and held her baby in my arms. I felt the unification that comes with living in Christ, and blessed to be in the presence of people who sacrificed a lot to come to the seminar. What a blessing to be in the family of God!
Saturday we had split classes for children, youth, married couples and single mothers. It was a great day of classes—both Zambians and Americans taught. The first session I helped Ellie Rodriguez (one of the missionaries here from TX) with the childrens class. Ellie is a grandmother who loves children, so I benefited as much as the children did just watching her interact with them and teach. The kids were so cute and excited to be doing something so new. All of the families who attended were either sleeping in the dorms or in the school building. Both lodging options have electricity, so the kids had a lot to be excited about with that!
The second session I spent with the youth. The youth sessions were amazing. During the first session, Erin, Jason and Jeremy taught on what it means to be a son or a daughter of God. Then, during the second session Erin and I worked with the girls. We then had them use their creativity to create something for God-either a song or a skit. We split them in to three groups—two groups came up with skits, and the other group a song. They did such an amazing job. We were completely blown away when they performed for the whole group around the campfire that night.
Overall, the seminar went really well. I hope the church leaders are inspired to do this again next year and many more years to come.