Hello wonderful people of West Plains! Many exciting adventures have taken place since I last wrote about my family’s journey.
For anyone who may not have read my last article, my family felt God’s calling on our hearts to move to Zambia, Africa as missionaries for two years. My dad has felt this calling for quite some time, but we were waiting on God’s timing of when to leave. We purchased plane tickets last November to fly out of the U.S. on March 3rd to embark on this new adventure!
We landed in our new hometown of Ndola on Wednesday, March 5th, and were greeted by many new friends and many beautiful Zambian faces!
I have already fallen in love with not only the country itself, but the people in it! Everyone is so friendly and warmhearted and the land abundantly fertile and green.
During our first full day here, we discovered many new creatures. We found a millipede that was over five inches long and almost as big around as my thumb. My brothers were particularly excited to learn the millipedes were safe to touch and hold. There are also many tarantulas here as well….Those, however, are not safe to touch. Lizards are found everywhere (including in the house…). Some are only a few inches long, but we have seen some over a foot long.
At the house we are renting, there is a woman named Zenia who works as a housekeeper. She has been very helpful in teaching us the language and customs of the Zambian people. She has also laughed many times at different things my brothers have done! I have already grown to love her very much.
I was in our dining room the other day, when I heard Zenia out on the veranda laughing and yelling, “No, no, no, no!” As I walked out the door to see what was wrong, she looked at me, still laughing, and said, “Oh! These boys are crazy!” We soon discovered that she was shocked that my brothers would touch and play with a toad. They aren’t harmful, but in Zambia they do not touch them because they are dirty.
We also have developed a relationship with the gardener named Steve. Seeing him ride through our gate every morning with his huge smile just makes my day! He has also been very helpful in teaching us Bemba and culture here.
On Saturday, we had the chance to have around twenty neighbor kids (ages 4-15) over to play. We enjoyed their company for probably two hours that afternoon. The girls taught me many new games that all involved dancing around and singing in Bemba. My brothers enjoyed doing flips and cartwheels with the boys. And we all enjoyed playing football (soccer) together. I can’t even express the joy we experienced playing with those other children! Learning their names and learning about them was so much fun! I’m hoping that we continue to have the chance to develop relationships with them, and teach them more about God and his Word.
The children were very curious about us and “what tribe we were from”. We weren’t exactly sure how to answer that, but they seemed satisfied with the United States as our answer. As they asked us questions and we gave answers, the circle of kids around us listening just grew and grew. By the end, every one of the kids had stopped playing and was sitting around us listening.
They also got a thrill out of quizzing us on our Bemba words. The girls would look at me and say, “House: Ing’anda. Now you say.” And after having me repeat the word over and over, they would move on to a new word. But then, a few minutes later, they would point at our house and ask, “What is that?” and have me say it again. They would laugh and laugh when I would say the words wrong (which happened frequently…).
Traveling into town has offered many new experiences. Driving down the roads, there is hardly ever a moment when we don’t see people walking or selling things beside you. Sometimes they are selling beautiful woodwork or fabrics. And other times they are selling rocks. This is often a person’s only way of making a living…. It isn’t uncommon to see women carrying large baskets of goods on their heads as well. It’s amazing to watch how they can balance them with such ease!
One example of the cultural differences I have mentioned would be the importance of a greeting. In America, if I were in Walmart and wondered where I could find the milk, I would simply ask an employee and say something like, “Excuse me sir, where can I find the milk?” Here, that would’ve been very offensive! We would always greet that person with a handshake and a “Hello! How are you today?” before we ever asked our question.
Another difference would be the importance of keeping our legs covered. This is most important for a woman, but it applies for a man as well to some extent. So, we never wear shorts in public.
We are learning many new things every day we are here. And every new adventure offers much excitement and new memories that we will remember forever.
We are also looking forward to beginning our ministry at Wiphan (which I spoke about in my previous article). We plan on stopping by for the first time later on this week, and will begin working with them very soon.
I will continue to write updates and send them to you periodically. In the meantime, we would greatly appreciate your prayers for our family! Please pray that we would listen carefully to God’s voice and His leading in our lives, and that His light would shine through us daily. We again have a website which you can visit for further updates on our family: http://hensleysforchrist.com/