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Showing posts from October, 2010

Progress made in Serenje

On our first day in Serenje we met with the Pastors and Volunteers in the PAOG church building. That was the day the volunteers and pastors received their t-shirts. it was also the day that each of the team was presented with bright new clothes by Hilda - always so humbling to receive their gifts. We began with an overview and progress report on the Project - or to give it it's full title, the "Integrated HIV/AIDS response in Serenje". They compiled fantastic, inspiring lists of different statistics of progress made in year 2 of the project: 890 children received school jumpers 526 children received shoes 365 children received uniforms 371 Goats distributed 5 pastors attended Willow Creek GLS in Lusaka 700 farmers received 15kgs of beans, plus sweet potato vines and groundnuts 155 vegetable farmers living near rivers were also given seeds They also reported these very encouraging personal anecdotes: - There is greater unity amongst Churches and Pastors in Sere

Catherine's clients

So yesterday I told you about Catherine , one of the wonderful Serenje volunteers. Today I'd like to introduce you to a couple of her clients. Agnes ' husband died 10 years ago. Agnes (in the middle of this picture) is HIV positive and lives in Zambia Compound with 5 children. She has 4 orphaned children of her own plus an orphaned grandchild. (If a parent has died, the child is said to be an "orphan" - if both parents have died, they are "double orphans".) The project is supporting one of her children with school fees and uniform.We met her eldest daughter, 23 year old Harriet. Agnes makes a small amount of money by making and selling fritters in the market. Agnes is well at the moment, so Catherine visits weekly, but when she was ill earlier this year, she received daily visits. Catherine has been supporting Agnes for the last 3 years. She helps her both physically and spiritually . She has also been able to share some  practical ideas regarding hygie
Let me introduce you to Mrs Catherine Mumba . She is 42 years old. She is married to Peter , who is a peasant farmer. Together they have 6 children ranging in age from 2-21 years old. Catherine and Peter are both Volunteers for the Serenje Project. Every morning begins with Catherine making a 1 hour walk into the villages to buy produce, like cabbage, onion, rape and tomatoes.She walks with a group if women for their pre-arranged appointments with different farmers in the villages surrounding Serenje town (the Boma). Catherine and her friends then carry the produce back on their heads and backs to the Boma to sell at their market stall from 6am to 6pm. Remember she has 6 children too! Catherine has 5 clients. 2 of them are living with HIV and on ARV drugs. 3 of her clients are on TB drugs.She also has some school-aged children to monitor. Some of Catherine's clients need seeing daily; all are seen weekly. The support she gives them include spiritual encouragement; physical he

Serenje Volunteers

I planned to write so many blogs last week to tell you lots of stories and introduce you to all the different people we met in Serenje Zambia...but I was just to very tired! Seemed like I only had enough energy and head space for family / meals / laundry and work...everything else had to be left (tricky for someone who doesn't like to let people down / likes to think she's perfect!) However, another week and I'm much more myself and have some space (half term break I love and embrace you!) So here goes.. VOLUNTEERS There are 65 Volunteers - both men and women. Most of the volunteers are peasant farmers. They do an absolutely incredible job. It's these men and women who daily or weekly visit their clients. They support them - perhaps also collect their ARV medicines. They check up on the school children we're supporting - monitor their grades and attendance for instance. They work in the 4 communities (Kankoso, Kashitu, Chilisha and Mwasakano) plus the Boma (

Serenje Farmers

So, it's good to be home! Great to have our family back together again. Fab to sleep in our own bed. Wonderful to be back at Kerith yesterday - it's home. We had an amazing trip to Serenje, Zambia. We were away for 11 days, arriving home to the huge contrast in air temperature on Saturday evening! Thank you for your prayers for all manner of aspects of the trip  - we so appreciated them and were very thankful to God for safety, health and His enabling as we faced challenging situations. It was encouraging to be thanked yesterday for my blog updates. I hope and pray that they brought some of what we were doing to life for you in the UK. It's funny to remember where and when I sent those texts from - brilliant to have the technology! Thanks to Sarah and to Jacqui who made sense of my ramblings and posted the blogs. I hope too that you got to see the first film from the trip, which we showed yesterday in Church as part of the Serenje Gift days. Every image on that film has a


A hot day travelling down to Lusaka - we're on our way home now! We fly at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Woke up for breakfast at 6.30 a.m. today then had the excitement of seeing (and greeting!) a lorry load of 185 goats, that had just arrived and was heading for Kankoso  :)  -I can only imagine the joy singing and dancing that will greet the goats arrival in the villages! Really looking forward to coming home and seeing you all soon! Catrina xx


A fantastic final day in Serenje! We meet with the pastors and their wives tonight for a meal and to reflect and have a debrief the trip. Tomorrow we leave at 7a.m.  to drive down to Lusaka. Today has been possibly the hottest day - so that's been a bit of a challenge! Half of the team met with the pastors and leaders - they watched some Willow DVDs and found them very helpful and inspirational. The other half of the team had a hot and busy morning! We visited 3 local schools that we are hoping that these will be the next three schools that we partner with Bracknell schools. Loads of conversations and  information gathering and of course taking photos. I am so keen to bring all that we are experiencing here to you through images so you get a sense of the real lives and real places we are influencing. We also visited Zambia Compound where the teenage girls stay. They rent small houses or rooms and it's desperate, your heart is so moved, and we feel their predicamen


We had the privilege of speaking to 150 women today - Val and I taught a bible study on the fruits of the Holy Spirit - the women shared in small groups and also prayed together. It is such a privilege to speak to these hard working women - we prayed for less of us and more of God in our words. The women took many notes. We also had opportunities to pray for them. We distributed the penpal letters - which they were delighted to receive. We also gave each woman a gift of two postcards - Beccy designed them illustrating the fruits of the spirit - they looked beautiful and the women received them so eagerly. We were very moved by the women's response to Leah giving vision for the girls dormitory - they spontaneously came forward with an offering totalling around 125000 kwacha (around £17) - now that made me cry! The pastors conference went well again - they all said they felt a real sense of connection. Simon, Alan and Sola all spoke- and the pastors responded very p


Another amazing day in Zambia! The team are doing so brilliantly - giving selflessly being positive and continually engaging with the different people we meet. Its a challenge as the heat is so tiring as is the constant information gathering and questioning. Val and I have prepared for tomorrow's Women's Conference - we will be teaching on the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit. We went on 2 home visits today in the Zambia Compound - visiting ladies that have HIV and that the project is supporting. We went with Catherine who is the volunteer assigned to the two families - she is an amazing woman - mother of 6 children - she goes to the villages at 4am every morning to buy vegetables then sells it from 6am at the market. She has 5 clients and visits them all weekly - some of them daily. Such free and selfless serving of others is so humbling - the volunteers also have so little yet give so much. The men had a good day training the pastors. They shared and discussed the

Monday 11th October

Today has been another great day so full of very encouraging stories from the farmers who have been telling us of their agricultural successes. We saw the district commissioner today; he's a bit like the mayor. We talked with him and showed him the dormitory plans and he is so positive and supportive. We found out that he's a Christian too, so that's great.  He was the one that Ralph saw earlier this year and he gave him a lot of assistance in measuring the plot of land and making all the local arrangements. More school and farmer visits today in Kashitu which at an hours drive away is the furthest away of the four communities . It is all so exciting hearing so many positive stories of lives changed through the project - Just one tangible example is seeing children getting fatter! Another benefit is to know that orphans now have new school uniform and their school and exam fees paid too. This is all a direct result of our investment in this wonderful life-changing proj


A really good day again. Each of us went to a different church today. My church was a church of 30 it was very humbling to take part. After the services Simon and I went to the pastor's home for lunch – it was traditional Zambia food of nseema, greens beans and chicken - again very moving as they live in such humble circumstances and have few means themselves, yet they share so generously with us. This afternoon we were involved in a big gathering of pastors and volunteers involved in the project. We met orphans and farmers and they gave testimonies about how the project has transformed their lives - wonderful to see! We are all less tired than yesterday - and looking forward to eating the 2 chickens we were given yesterday :) (See Simon's blog for that!) Tomorrow we start with an official meeting with the district commissioner. Then we are out at Kashito community visiting schools orphans and farmers, which is an hour away . In your prayers please thank God we are all fe


 Hi GB here. I have received another couple of long text messages with news from Catrina. We are enjoying a balmy, sunny Indian Summer as the leaves are cascading down, but the weather is very HOT out in Zambia. Let's hear what Catrina says: Great day - very long – very, very hot so quite challenging We were out in the community all day - first we went to the site for the girls dorm . We shared Ralph's drawings and pans with the pastors so it was really exciting. Rob did lots of filming and I took photos today to help it all come alive once we get home. Next we visited farmers in Kankoso, Chlisha and Mwasakano. They were so grateful for the seeds, nuts, and goats they had received and also the support that provides money for school fees and uniform so that their children can go to school. It was deeply humbling to hear their stories. One lady, Bertha, a widow of 58 who is farming on her own and supporting her own two children and five orphans who she supports! We w

A Humbling Day

Yesterday was a humbling day for the team in Serenje.  They were overwhelmed by the fantastic welcome of singing and dancing that they received at Kanksoso  school - in Catrina's words "nothing can prepare you for that, so emotional and powerful!"  There were heart stopping moments when the children, so excited to each receive their pencil given by the children of Sandy Lane School, then also asked if they might have the empty box and wrappers to keep!... Even the smallest things in life that we take for granted - smaller even than a pencil- its wrapping- can mean so much, and the children of Sandy Lane School chose to make a difference! Hooray for Sandy lane!!  It was so exciting to see children back in school and to meet families who now have food! GOD IS GOOD!  Today  Today the team visit the plot of land where we are planning to build the Girls Dormitory and then go on to visit more families in Mwasakano and Chilisha. They may also see some more goats!!  Re

News from Serenje!

Hello GB here!  Well it's very exciting Catrina has managed to get through to me with some news! I did wonder if she had managed to access the blog somehow and felt the need to stop me blogging because she has sent lots of information through which I think is going to take most of this blog time to re-tell!!  Here goes. . . .  After a lot of travelling they arrived safely in Serenje - in the dark! ( I guess it's good to know that God goes before you is beside you and behind you at those moments!!). The team met Bishop Kisele and the other Pastors- Catrina says that they were all so humbled to meet them and to to hear that they had been praying for them - they are such beautifully spirited people!  From the meeting the team went to the lodge which will be their base whilst in Serenje. All the team were in good spirits after a very long day and lots of new experiences. ( I think Simon said on a Twitter that he had slept for 40 minutes since leaving England!) On to today .

Catrina in Zambia

Hello!  Well, I am your "Guest Blogger" for the next week or so whilst Catrina is in Zambia with a team from Kerith visiting the 4 communities in Serenje that we're partnering with.  So far I can tell you that they have arrived safely in Lusaka this morning (Thursday). After breakfast they were off to meet up with our dear friend Leah. Those of you who were able to make it to Real 2010 earlier this year will remember lovely Leah who does an amazing work in Zambia for The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia. I can just imagine the size of the hugs and smiles exchanged as Leah and Catrina meet up again!!  The main part of today is taken up with a 4-5 hour drive up to Serenge. Pray for the team for safe travel and good relationships with one another as they bump along in their pick up trucks!   Whatever you are about today have a blessed day!  Psalm 5v11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad;                      let them sing for joy.                     

Waiting at Heathrow

Waiting in heathrow terminal 5 - its a v calm atmosphere here! Flight leaves in an hour so we are all playing on our phones and enjoying the internet whilst we still have it! Excited for all that's ahead. We need your prayers though - the situations will be challenging and we will be stretched! Whilst I'm away I'm hoping to still communicate by texting the uk + so my blog will be written by a guest blogger - It will be great to report back to you how we're doing Off for the 10 hour overnight flight now - wonder what's for dinner?! X

Off to Serenje!

Thanks so much to all those who have written letters to Serenje women. I know that they will be humbled and blessed by your encouragement, love and prayers. Believe that your words will have a huge impact in another woman's life. So, as you read this, we will be finishing off the trip preparations ready to leave at 3pm. I will be delivering my childrens' cases to our good friends' homes...getting last minute essentials...and probably checking again that we have passports...and all the essential paperwork for the team. Please do pray for us whilst we are away in Zambia. We covet your prayers! So perhaps every time you wash your hands, you could think of us and pray - God hears even the shortest of requests! The team consists of : Simon and myself; Colin Boyle; Robert Plant; Alan Lander; Sola Osinoiki; and (hooray for another woman!) Val Cottee. Pray for protection and good health. Pray that we would be used by God to bless others - I know we'll be stretched - pleas
Ok, so I'm busy busy busy recovering from Willow and preparing for Zambia! So many lists to write and things to here's a list of thoughts, feelings and happenings: I've heard 14 amazing preaches over the last three days! Humbled that God would use us. Humbled that He would speak to us. Humbled by Kerith people's wonderful serving. So proud of all our volunteers. Excited to meet believers from other countries. Tired. What's lurking in my fridge after a week of neglect?! Must get: Dollars / Fish food / First aid kits / Mosquito nets / Gifts / Lists Lists Lists Thankful for friends that are helping our family Grateful for help. Blessed to live an exciting life Always reminding myself...only people are eternal!