We are the Davis'

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Campaign to Zambia

We’ve spent the past two weeks partnering with a group of 13 Americans, made up of people from our team’s supporting congregations. It was an awesome two weeks! So much good was done working with the congregations in the area and with villagers on educating their children.

We had a team that went out each day to work with three different church plants in the area. They all studied together, Americans and Zambians, about what evangelism means and how we can reach out to our communities. Then they would spend the afternoons going out with Zambian church leaders to local villages to spread the Gospel. I loved hearing about the partnership between Zambians and Americans as they worked together, and also the encouragement that was spread to these Christian leaders that are trying to bring Christ to their communities.

The education team was split into pairs, and each pair worked with two separate Zambian families. The goal was to help the parents better understand how they can help their children learn more at home and to spread the word in their area. We worked with Christian families, so they already see the importance of this concept. They will take the knowledge they now have and share with others in their community. Things as simple as having their children practice writing their names in the dirt every day and practicing math problems with corn cobs that are lying around—it was great!

The last day of the campaign was a medical day spent partnering with our local Mumena clinic. Thanks to everyone who was a part of sending these individuals over or who came to be a part of our campaign this year! It was a blessing!

Here are just a few pictures of our time together: 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Past few weeks in pictures

I'm way behind and had plans for more blog posts, but we are into the really busy time of year here in Zambia. Mom and Scott arrived this past Saturday in Lusaka, and Jeremy and I went to pick them up. They will be here through the campaign, so we have them here for about 3 more weeks! We are busy preparing for the group from America that will make up our campaign, and my body is "busy" as well just being pregnant. I am 14 weeks pregnant with a little sweet, surprise due in December! 
About 3 weeks ago, the church leaders and missionaries gathered for a full work day at the local clinic to improve the maternity ward facilities. There will now be running water and a shower room for mothers. The church leaders will present this gift to the community while the group from America is here. They are very proud of their work!
After much trial and error, we finally have a consistent youth study going with the Konkwa church. Here's a game of bush volleyball going on before we began our Bible study. This group is so dedicated. They even met without us last Sunday, while we were away in Lusaka. They will hopefully be continuing on as a youth program long after we are gone.
Visiting the chimpanzee refugee farm with Mom and Scott!
Scott's first day here, and he's already eating up the nshema!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Zambian News

I can’t believe it’s June! It does not feel like one year ago the group from our supporting churches came to hold their campaign here in Mumena. Now we are gearing up for them to arrive in 3 1/2 weeks. It is an exciting time of year for us, and it is as well for the locals as they prepare to greet their brothers and sisters from America.

When I think about a group coming to visit, I am reminded of the joy the locals experience and the honor they feel hosting those from a far, unknown land. I believe the most important and loving thing a visitor could do for a local is to visit them in their village. In Zambia, the greatest value is relationships. It is more important than food, work or sleep. To visit a Zambian, to sit at their home and learn more about them is a gift that is priceless to them.

Today, Jeremy and I went to visit a family in their village. Here was our welcome committee :

Here is a dear friend of ours. She is pregnant with baby #6, due in August.

This month the local churches have been pushing themselves to become more evangelistic. It has been awesome to see so many churches couple up to spread the Word. One of our church leaders goes each week with one of the missionaries, Sam, to the clinic near by to do outreach. Jason and Jeremy have a new Bible study point in a village that’s about a 20 minute walk away. They have had a couple of church leaders join them to go evangelize in this new area. And Jeremy has had multiple members from Konkwa church join him in a new church plant effort that’s about an hour bike ride away. God is good. 

Thank you for the continued prayers!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Wisdom of Discipleship

 Last week, I had a truly remarkable experience.  I was heading out to my Tuesday Bible study, which is held out under a bunch of shade trees, when Gift Siampongo stopped me.  Gift is a young man who has faced many challenges in his Christian walk.  He just completed our leadership seminar, where he studied the book of Acts.  I have been mentoring Gift, age 21, for the last six months, as he has traveled to many Bible studies with me over that period of time.  This, however, was his first time to ask to teach.  We have been studying and practicing many weeks now on lesson preparation and teaching.  He has been a very active student, and since the Bible study this day was to be from the book of Acts, I was thrilled to see him put into practice what he has learned. 

This 21 year old sat in the midst of 25 people, most of them older than him, and taught about the Kingdom of God through the book of Acts.  I felt so proud as I sat beside him not having to interject on anything that he said.  He was right on the money and conveyed a powerful message to this group of older, but less mature, group of believers.  This is the point of missions – to create disciples –as this young man will be here far longer than I will.  I can’t wait for those of you coming over to know this young man and hear more of his story.  He is truly an inspiring young man who loves the Lord.  He provides an example of the wisdom of Christ who through careful discipleship spread His kingdom all over the world.  Below is a picture of Gift teaching under the trees.

Gift is on the right

This is at the beginning, more people show up later.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finishing up the Muzha Seminar

We have completed our third out of four weeks of our annual “Muzha wa Yesu” (slave of Christ) seminar!  It has been our best yet.  This group of forty men have overcome significant challenges to make this school happen.  They’ve sacrifice time, money, and even food to come and be feed spiritually by the Word.  After this last week, the men will return to their congregations (who also paid money to help send each student) and teach all that they have learned for the rest of the year.  We are seeing great maturity with these leaders.  They have really grown in their knowledge of the Word and in their commitment to Christ.  I had an especially great time teaching a part of Hebrews.  These men relate to the Hebrews in many ways.  They face persecutions that could lead to things such as cursing from others, which is a scary thing for these people.  Many of our young churches have struggled with people falling back to their old belief system.  However, these men are learning to have faith and hope in the better promises of God.  I had them list the promises of their past belief system with the promises of God and see which are better.  It was a telling class, but they all agreed that God’s promises are better.  Of course, it’s easy to say that, but as the writer of Hebrews urges—we must live it.  I’m constantly challenged by the faith of these men.  They have to make very big decisions to give up the false security of their traditional practices.  It certainly challenges me to think on the promises offered in my home culture.  Things like putting faith in money, insurances, and comforts of life often times become a temptation.  Together with these Zambian men let us all consider the better, lasting promises of God to be better than that which is temporary.  Please pray for this final week for these men to have the strength carry on in learning and the courage to take the messages back to their homes.   
Blessings  - Jeremy

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Picture Post!

More pictures from the past couple of weeks...
Cuties Gail and Kathryn
Pizza (from scratch of course) with the Mellors!!
Church leaders studying in Ron Roger's class
Do you spy our pink house?
Sweet faces in the Kimplumba village
Brothers (for you Debbie & Meemaw)
Sweet friend's new baby

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 1

The first week of the Muzha wa Yesu (Slave for Jesus) seminar is complete. We have about 40 church leaders here for the month to study more about the Kingdom of God. Our prayers are they take back what they have learned to their congregations. It is going very well so far. There is an excitement for learning in the air!
Ron and Gail Rogers and Dave and Susan Mellor from our supporting congregation came to be a part of the seminar. It has been a wonderful week with them being here. Dave is teaching through Hebrews and Ron is teaching on the Heart of an Elder. Susan and Gail have been spoiling Erin and I and have been joining us in our ministry to the teens and women. Plus, we are doing some cooking lessons with Gail and Susan (we’ve made some amazing bread, doughnuts, chicken and dumplings…all yummy things!)We are just loving having both couples here!

 Of course, Dave had to mention that he is not sure he believes that the snakes are really out here. That very night, a gaboon viper was killed on their path to Jason and Erin’s house. Then, the next morning we were all worshiping at Kamponde church, and a snake went crawling up their wall. We all panicked in the middle of the Bible study as we watched it scale the crooked wall. But luckily the Congolese students were with us that morning. They quietly exited the building and the next thing we hear is a loud bang on the roof. The snake was killed, and we could all continue on.

Here are a few pictures of the first week. These are just of the seminar, I know I need to take some of us with the ladies as well!
Thank you for your prayers for these courageous leaders as they seek to leave what is “normal” in their culture and follow the ways of Christ. 
Jeremy and Mr. Jikata, who is now able to walk after our truck accident. He has been able to attend the seminar.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April goodness

So many wonderful things to be a part of this month!

Jeremy and I were able to head out to worship with our dear church family at Mushingashi this past Sunday. We hadn’t been to worship with them since early February so we were very excited and anxious to be with them again. This was the church body that walked three hours to greet us after our truck accident, stayed for 15 minutes to hug, kiss and pray over us, and then walked the three hours back. What a blessing to see this church reaching out to others, and we got to be on the other end of that blessing! We were so touched.
The grass has grown just a bit since we had last been out to the area, as you can see not much to see but grass at this point.

Erin and I had a great study with our sweet young friends this week. It is neat because Erin and I have been doing this study for over a year now, and Jeremy and I are now working with the youth at Konkwa church. Most of the girls involved in Erin and I’s Bible study are also part of the new youth program. It’s neat to see their maturity and desire for Jesus. Some of the youth actually came to set up for the church leader’s month long seminar coming up this next week. This was inspiring to see, and we hope by the youth continuing to reach out to their community, it will light the fire for the whole village!

Mr. Jikata, who was with us in the vehicle during the accident, has been released from the hospital!! After 3 weeks, he was able to come home and is walking. Jeremy and I went to welcome him home last night, it was very surreal. He is in great spirits, and I will be taking a picture of him this week, so everyone can see his happy face.

Lastly, we are very excited for the Muzha wa Yesu (Slave for Jesus) seminar beginning on Monday. We have visiting teachers coming in from the states—four people of which are from our supporting congregation East Brainerd—and we are just so excited! We are anxiously awaiting their Saturday arrival.

Please keep the church leaders in your prayers during this next month as they strive to learn and soak up as much as they can. We want this to be a time of spiritual nourishment for them so they can take it back to their congregations all throughout the bush.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Team "Not so Restful" Retreat

Our team is back from a retreat we took with Sonny and Eunice Guild, who were visiting from Abilene. Sonny and Eunice trained Jason, Erin, Jeremy and I for a year before we came to Zambia. They came for a two week visit, and it was so wonderful to have them here. We were fortunate to keep them in our home, and they spoiled us with pancakes and chai tea!
Our team packed up last week for a few days away for our team retreat. We were going to be staying in safari tents about five hours from where we live. It was a great few days away from our bushy homes, and we were able to enjoy a lake, wild game and restaurant while we were there. We were also able to reevaluate our work together and how we can encourage each other and be unified in Mumena.

The most hilarious part of the week (not so hilarious at the time) was when half of our team got stuck out in the middle of the game park. Jeremy and I had decided to ride around with the Love family (who also had their four small children with us) to go look for animals around our campsite. We were about three miles from camp when it happened. From this point on, I’ll let Jeremy pick up the story. 

I pulled around the dirt road having just seen giraffe, water buck, and a host of other animals when I faced two obstacles that hindered me from returning safely back to camp.  The road looked passable, and I was confident I could navigate around the dark, dense mud.  As I picked up speed to cross through, I here Whitney yell from the back seat, “Wait I need to role my window up!”  Fearing to carry a soggy wife back to my tent, I slowed down to all of our despair.  My lack of speed caused my front right wheel to sink into the sodden earth. All 9 of us filed out of the vehicle as Rick and I brainstormed how to get out of this mess.  Regretting the choice to wear Chacos, I was ankle deep in mud that was certainly mixed with all sorts of African droppings trying to shove branches under the tires to gain some traction.  After many failed attempts, we were rescued by our other teammates who drove up behind us.  With ease, their four wheeled  savior pulled us from our predicament.  Little did the men know as complaints welled up in our minds of our muddiness, the women and children were fighting off a hoard of fire ants running down the dirt path shredding any article of clothing possible to release the stinging buggers.  We all recovered from the trauma, piled back in the trucks and made it past our first obstacle.  Little did we know that the worst was yet to come.  On the other side of the first mud pit stood a large puddle of water hiding unknown depths.  I only had one choice.  Pass to the right where there was enough visible ground to cross.  Rolling up all the windows, I picked up speed and rushed through the mud pit to no avail.  We were stuck.  Instead of one tire it was all four with jelloy mud up to the axle.  Our teammates behind us in the other truck found a clear route and got out in front of us.  Safely evacuating our crew, we hooked the truck up and with several tries were unsuccessful. However, we were successful in getting our other vehicle stuck.  The African bush is not known for its reliable cell service, and the sun was setting over the landscape, though breathtaking, promised a bit of danger.  The only option was for me to run the three miles back to camp to inform our other team members.  Leaving 15 people piled in the back of a pick up, I headed out with my little dinky flashlight through the jungle.  Well aware of the dangers in the jungle, especially at night, I ran pretty fast.  Huffing and puffing through the jungle with rubbed-raw feet, one hand holding my heavy with mud pants up and  yelling every 10 yards to scare off any wild animals in my path, I’m knew I looked like easy prey to be devoured.  Sure I was going to die from exhaustion, I kept thinking of my wife and the women and children depending on me for their survival.  I trekked on. Wadding through a knee high crocodile inhabited river, stepping in various types of poo, and wrapped in spider webs I finally saw a light in the distance that pushed me the last mile of my 3.5 mile run, which I was ill prepared for to say the least.  I arrived back at camp, arranged transport for my team, a tractor for the trucks, and was relieved to see my wife had survived the event.  We returned with a good story, then I crashed in bed only to wake up with Malaria!

This is a true story written from my brave husband’s perspective! We are safe now back in Kaondeland and are preparing for our month long church leader seminar.

Thanks for keeping up!
With our family and teammates, Jason & Erin, at the team retreat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clueless for a title name?

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a bit out of touch with our blog recently, but with all that is going on the last thing I want to do is stop writing about our journey.
We have been so blessed with encouragement and prayers this past month, and I want to say thank you for it. This year has started off a bit unexpectedly for Jeremy and I, but we are very thankful for our lives this year.
In February, we made the decision to fly to South Africa for a few weeks of doctor visits. I had been having some trouble with a certain bacteria that had been stubbornly living in my body. After lots of antibiotics we were able to get rid of it and the pain has cleared up completely. We also were told this bacteria cannot do any damage to me physically if I were to get it again. It was a great time of reassurance and peace of mind.
However, two days after we had arrived back to Zambia, Jeremy and I were in a severe car accident that totaled the truck we were driving. The vehicle had flipped over and in the process, our dear Zambian friend who was in the backseat flew out the window. God was with us because we were able to get out of the truck with only scratches and bruises and quickly assist our friend who was on the side of the road. We are both extremely soar, but very thankful to be ok. Our friend, Mr. Jikata, is in the hospital. He does not have any broken bones, which we are so thankful for. However, he is still having intense back pain and his head was hit hard. Jeremy was able to go see him yesterday and the first words he said, as he was laying in his hospital bed were, “God was with us.”
We have been surrounded by our teammates, Zambians and special guests who just so happened to be arriving from the states the same day. Thank you for your prayers. We are very thankful.
We know this will be a process to heal from our pain and shock, but we feel very supported, and more than anything relieved that our friend will be ok.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. We love you all.

Whitney and Jeremy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

JW & JE Newsletter

I was just taught by Erin how to upload our newsletters to our blog. So I'll make sure I start uploading these each month. Thanks Erin :)  This is a newsletter created by Jason, Erin, Jeremy and I for our supporting congregation, friends and family to know what's going on in Zambia. Just click on each page and then use the magnifying glass to zoom in and read. 
Since we passed up our one year mark in January, we wanted to review our first year in Zambia and give our direction for the second year. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2012


I've been reading Mike Cope's book, Megan's Secrets. Mike Cope was the preacher for my church growing up and his wife was a mentor of mine. The book is about the life and death of their mentally disabled daughter and what she taught Mike about life. I have enjoyed remembering Megan, who was just a couple years older than me. I remember one time when my mom wanted me, as a 7 year old at the time, to understand God better, so she took me to stop by and visit Megan. I didn't understand it at the time, I thought perhaps I was suppose to be “doing a good deed” for Megan. What I later realized was I was the one who was being taught by Megan and by my mother. I had been the recipient of the good deed.
Mike refers to the idea of "waiting" in his book. I have been thinking about this idea of waiting this morning. Waiting is something that our American culture struggles with—we’ve got to learn how to wait, to practice waiting. As I look to see the fingerprints of God here in Zambia, in the Kaonde tribe, I notice that waiting is a God-given trait that they have accomplished. These people could wait all day long...and more.  I have lived here for over a year now and am still shocked every day by how they can wait. They don’t have vehicles so they don’t mind waiting all day long for a taxi or for a truck to drive by that may or may not give them a ride. They don’t mind waiting to start church for an hour or two if they know their family members are still on the way. They don’t mind waiting on food to be prepared- every meal they eat takes about 1 ½ hours to prepare. So why is it that they can have the patience to wait and I can’t? I think of the verse in Romans, “Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” This is a gift that can go unseen, but it speaks to those who may have little possessions but have much to hope for. In Mumena, Zambia there is a lot of waiting going on. I tell Jeremy over and over, I think what I have learned most (out of a very long list of things) has been the baby steps of learning patience and the art of waiting. Nothing happens fast here. We have had a broken truck for the past 6 months and guess what...it is still broken. It is a minor problem that could be fixed in the states within one visit to Toyota, but not here. Even when Jeremy and I went to the capital city which is suppose to be modern, the power went off on us in a movie theater, our first chance to see a movie in a long, long time. It didn’t come back on for several hours. I leaned over and told Jeremy, “if we were in the states, people would be extremely mad right now.”
I am thankful that God has me practicing patience, has me stopping to wait. After 4 pm here each day, everyone goes home to their huts in the bush. All of the lights go off, and there is nothing left to do. Sometimes you are just waiting for the night to be over and for day to begin again. So drastically different from my life at home. But wow, the blessings that have come from that nothingness at night. I have spent more time with my husband than I ever had. I believe God has something to teach me through the Kaonde people, just as he had something to teach me through the life of Megan Cope. These people that I live in community with hold the secret to waiting. They are waiting for something better. If they do know the Lord, I’ll tell you they are minute-by-minute waiting on Him. What else is there for them here? This world is not their home. There is the anticipation for something better.

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6

A few pictures of my flowers, planted back in November. You have to find a hobby here. This has been one of mine, and oh the joy that came in waiting! They are finally here and blooming!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growing in the Bush

       As I am feeling a bit sentimental about passing up our one year mark in Zambia, I thought today I would share a bit about our experience with the Mushingashi church. It's hard to believe we have already lived here throughout a full year. When we arrived in Zambia last January, our team divided out church plants that we would all work with. One of the churches Jeremy and I were assigned was Mushingashi. They were struggling and needed encouragement- strung out in the bush and isolated, poor leadership within the congregation and struggling with extreme mental poverty. In the coming months, the seed that had been planted within the church was growing. Two of the leaders were able to come to our month long seminar for all church leaders. At the seminar last April, the oldest church leader present and one of the Mushingashi leaders, Ezron, stood up and said he was convicted. He looked around at his 40 other Kaonde brothers and said, "We have got to start relying on God. We cannot rely on the mzungu (white person) anymore. We are not beggars." From there, things changed at Mushingashi. They felt a sense of ownership and excitement. We have been joining them in weekly Bible studies for one year now, and there are about 4 men and 4 women who are there every time. Now, one year later, they have their church built, with their own sweat and tears. Yesterday at our Bible study we finally felt ready to go down the road, even more into the bush, to a new place which is hoping to hear the gospel. In two weeks, Jeremy and I will go with the Mushingashi church on a journey to preach the good news to a new people. What joy it is to see a church ready to take the word to a new place and start up a Bible study in a village that could eventually turn in to its own church. I was feeling overwhelmed yesterday, as I sat surrounded by my brothers and sisters. Thinking back over the year, I looked around the room at the beautiful, dedicated sons and daughters of a King. One year ago, we were unsure if the church in Mushingashi would last, and now they are going out to help form new churches. The Lord is faithful.

Mushingashi's church hut
Ezron sweeping the floor, preparing for Bible study
the faithful women

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guest Post!

 I haven't been the best blogger since the new year, but there are reasons for that. Jeremy and I were stuck in Lusaka, Zambia's capital city, last week with some truck problems with Toyota. So, I will be catching up this week. However, I wanted to share Brian Davis' post he wrote for our team blog last week. Brian is my husband's uncle and our mentor since we have arrived on the field. He has been a missionary in Africa for many, many years. This blog post is just too good not to share. Enjoy!

Team Work, by Brian Davis
“… neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  Leviticus 11:44  KJV
Our apprenticeship team work skills were put to the test recently when Whitney came from our boys room and mentioned that she had just seen the largest wall spider in her life.  As the old missionary, I condescendingly told her that “wall spiders are our friends”.  That is missionary speak for “Whitney, get a grip.”  However, when Noah & Bryson began “ooing and ahing”, I thought that I had better check it out.  To my surprise a King Baboon Tarantula was perched high up on the boys’ bathroom wall.  Now we had a problem.
Surrounded by able bodied apprentices, I felt a bit put upon when they looked to me, the mentor, for the proper response.  Theologically believing that all arachnids are a direct result of the fall of man, I was none too happy about having to demonstrate my superior missionary skills in this particular situation.  Add to this that our “Ag apprentice” (Jason) is also a firm believer in the un-holiness of all spiders, and my back-up troops were thinning.  Taking my favorite fly swatter (steel reinforced with leather covering), Jason helped me up on to the bath room counter top… after which he promptly left the room.  As Sondra mentored Erin on how to give lots of advice from the adjoining room, I approached within striking distance of the tarantula.  Striking it with all of my force, I managed to send the thing flying across the room towards Sondra and Erin.  (Enter Jeremy with his high school football ethic kicking-in.)  Grabbing a 5 gallon bucket, Jeremy managed to catch the beast on the fly – and in one fluid movement, dumped it into the commode.
I don’t remember who flushed – God bless them – as I was struggling with a series of shiver spasms.  Whitney, bless her heart, was desperately trying to suppress her gag reflex.  And as Sondra and Erin struggled with their feelings of “If he had done it correctly, it would NOT have come flying towards us!”, I thought to myself, “What a team!”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zambian New Years

New Years is the Kaonde tribe's most important holiday of the year. Jeremy and I spent New Years day celebrating with Konkwa church. We woke up early to begin our bicycle ride to Konkwa to join them in their worship service. The church service was encouraging for Jeremy and I. At the end of the four hour service, everyone was still very attentive. My favorite part, besides my sweet friend's baby that fell asleep in my arms for two hours and who's snore was the loudest part of the service, was when it came time for the church to reflect on what they are thankful for. They each take a moment to stand up from the small log they are using for a seat to share how God has blessed them in the past year. It is humbling when you watch the oldest mama in the church quietly stand in her place and speak to the group about her blessings. She is well in to her 80s, walks two miles to church every morning and has outlived most of her children. Yet she is thankful for family and for a God that she is faithful to every Sunday. It was a pretty amazing moment.
After service, it was time to eat. The pictures can tell the rest of the story. There are thankful, happy people all over the world. God is working, even in places where we might feel a bit uncomfortable with the living conditions or where poverty strikes hard. Thank you for praying for our Zambian brothers and sisters. Happy New Year!
Here's my sweet snoring boy, Neva.
Nshema and beans!!

Washing hands for lunch.
Good friends