SOME NEWS RE: MWINILUNGA

The LORD did something awesome for me yesterday.

For seventeen months I have been seeking ways to obtain letters of recommendation from Mwinilungan authorities and two chiefs to support my application for a work permit.

Well, the Department of Agriculture surveyed folk at the recent agriculture show about the training I did in Chief Kanyama’s kingdom. Receiving a good response from folk who have witnessed the increased harvests in the chief’s area the Department of Agriculture has provided me with a letter of recommendation. (I may have mentioned this before).

But I still needed a letter of recommendation from His Royal Highness, Senior Chief Konongesha.

In January last year he invited me to his palace 45km from Mwinilunga. Unfortunately I didn’t have transport to visit him. I have however seen this chief travelling back and forth in the boma since I’ve been here on holiday, and on one occasion he made an appointment to see me, but failed to pitch as he was busy with other things.

Meantime, on this holiday the LORD has taken me through a period of spiritual discipline. By the end of it I said, “Lord, I will never return to Mwinilunga.” The noise of four churches bands playing at maximum level on Sundays and Saturday afternoons – each one playing different songs – where I am living is so unbearable that I am forced to go walking for hours on end until the churches end their services, band practices or simply jamming sessions. On the other hand, one of the churches also uses hand drums and they practice twice a week, and I feel as though my head will explode. After I told the LORD that I will never return to Mwinilunga because of this, He quietly asked me, “But if I asked you to return, would you do so?” I replied, “Of course, but I need those letters of recommendation. If I get them I know it is You who wants me here.”

Then two days ago a World Vision staffer who is also a pastor in the African Pentecostal Methodist Church, who has the Senior Chief’s ear, assisted me to draw up a draft letter to give to the Chief for his perusal and approval. Yesterday we went to the Chief’s palace, 45km away, but it seemed more like 90km because the roads are so bad.

When we arrived, we were first taken to sit on a grass mat under a tree, and a chair for the Chief was brought out. But when the Chief arrived, he asked his sons (youthful chiefs-in-waiting who were being trained in protocol), “Why have you put these people here?” And he instructed them to take us into a special building.

You see, the World Vision guy is very dear to the Chief, for he has assisted the Chief greatly in helping the people in his kingdom. He is so loved for his work that this man is allowed into a special building for an audience with the Chief. Because I was with him and the World Vision guy was there to plead my case, the Chief welcomed me into this building.

Taking his place on his throne, he explained that his sister had just died and he was devastated. They were waiting for the body to be brought to his palace for burial. I apologised that we were disturbing him at such a time. Had we known about this bereavement we would not have come. He replied, “No, but hearing your case may help take my mind of things for a bit.” He welcomed me and invited the World Vision guy to present my case for a letter of recommendation re: an application for a work permit.

The Chief then invited me to speak.

Let me just mention here, this is no ordinary Chief. He is the Chairman of the Chiefs’ Association for the entire province, and he also presents to parliament.

The documents I brought with me were received by one of his attendants and taken to the Chief on his throne. He read through the letter that had been drafted for him to approve for signing, then asked me a few questions. He also advised on changes that should be made to the Department of Agriculture’s letter, in line with government policy. He said that once these changes were made to the draft, the letter should be printed on his personal (governmental) letterhead and returned to him for signing and his official stamp.
Firstly, I was deeply grateful that the Chief was willing to see me despite the loss he felt about the death of his sister. Imagine!

Secondly, the only people allowed to enter his chambers – this building of which I spoke – are Vice Presidents of countries, or corporations, and government ministers. Apart from this, only his closest personal friends and family are allowed in his chambers.

What a privilege I was afforded to be included in this. I am not sure if this is the case, but it seemed to me that the Lord wanted me to know that not only had he provided someone who had the Chief’s ear, but that He supported my quest for these letters of approval. In fact, before I met the World Vision guy the Lord told me to “press in,” and I got the courage to go to World Vision for assistance. And in doing so He provided exactly the right person to escort me to the Chief.

And to establish this approval even more firmly, I was even allowed into the most privileged context in the Chief’s domain, rather than being left outside to sit on a mat (the lowliest position), while the World Vision guy was in the Chief’s Chambers.

This is not a cause for uplifted heart, but rather, an opportunity to wonder at the Lord’s provision and His ultimate purposes.

The draft letter has now been printed on the Chief’s letterhead, and is on its way to his palace to e stamped and signed. All that is necessary thereafter, is to – at some stage (I have to raise the money first … Lord! Please give me a job!) – to return to Lusaka to submit these weighty letters with my application for a work permit.

May the Lord decide what is best.

Categories: Accommodation, Chief, Destiny, Dream, Faith of Abraham, God, Letter of recommendation, Mwinilunga, Permit, perserverance, Prayer, work permit, Zambia | Leave a comment

May 4 to 10 – Holidaying in Mwinilunga (Pt 5)

At 4:30p.m. yesterday I received an unexpected visit from two youths who were in Grate 12. They wanted to know why I had photographed them. The photograph was taken on my way to World Vision, and it’s a lovely scene of hedges of yellow flowers rising way above one’s head. These two guys were walking in the distance towards me, and they thought I was taking a photo of them.

So I explained that I was taking photos to post on facebook and on my blog. “What’s a blog?” they asked. I described it to them, then asked if either of them wrote stories – and thus began a wonderful evening, talking about writing of all sorts, starting a writer’s group, becoming agents of change in Mwinilunga, and so forth, until the sun set and I could hardly see them as they sat next to me on the small triangular, red polished stoep.

We have date to meet again at my place next Friday evening to have a Sabbath evening and a Bible quiz which I’ve designed. I asked them to bring along some friends. What a joy!

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | 2 Comments

May 4 to 10 – Holidaying in Mwinilunga (Pt 4)

Yesterday I went to World Vision. It was great to meet up with folk I had become friendly with since January 2012, and we shook hands and caught up with news. Yes! I was welcome, they said, to use the internet. Wonderful! But I would need to check with Mr Chinyama first. James Chinyama is the Operations Financial Manager at World Vision. When I walked into his office his first comment was about my weight (the Zambians are an honest lot). It was clear I was prospering. I explained that when Zambians put on weight, that might be true. But as for me, putting on weight more often than not means the opposite, i.e., that I put on weight because I don’t have enough funds to eat properly, and end up eating bread, bread, and more bread. He replied, “Oh! That we should eat more bread!” Apparently being overweight here is a form of beauty.

Anyhow, he asked me to sit down and we caught up with news. I told him of my heartbreak over the mess-up of my work permit applications, etc. He replied, “You have come on exactly the right day. This is fortuitous. Our Bishop of whom I told you, is arriving. He’s the one I briefed about you. You will meet him and tell him all about your project.” I replied, “I’m on holiday, James. I’m no longer interested in pursuing the work of Farming God’s Way in Mwinilunga. I lost Kw 13 million. I am not prepared to spend another kwacha trying to work here.” “No,” James replied, “You don’t understand. If everything works out, we will get you your permit.” I shook my head, and said, “Well, if anyone wants me to work here, they will have to fight for the work permit on my behalf. I’m done.” He asked me to give him a run-down of the full scope of what I had wanted to do previously, and he was once again bowled over by the vision. James also has a vested interest in it. He has land in Solwezi and wants to farm it. I told him I’m not interested in moving to Solwezi. It’s a health-dangerous place… terrible pollution, and the water is poisonous because of the mines in the area.

After our discussions he said he would call me after briefing the Bishop, and would come and pick me up so we could have a meeting that evening. At 10:22p.m. last night I received a call from the Bishop, breaming with interest about the Farming God’s Way project. He asked if we could meet on Monday at 5p.m. to discuss the matter further. I confirmed the appointment, saying, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Who knows what will come of this. But I’m relaxed. I’m not running after the work permit anymore. I’m on holiday.

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | Leave a comment

May 4 to 10 – Holidaying in Mwinilunga (Pt 3)

What did “under construction,” mean?

Well, the place was a mess, it desperately needed cleaning.

Also, the triangular en suite doesn’t have a ceiling; and there’s a space between the top of the en suite’s walls and the roof.

One can see where former inhabitants had no respect for cleanliness or keeping the walls clean, which are hand-stained a rust colour. Then there are nail holes all over the walls in strange places where one wonders what on earth could have been hung in those places.

But it’s my home. Oh! How I love it!

As for peace – well, that’s another matter. You know the sound of boom-boom, boom-boom minibus taxis make? Well, there’s a fair amount of this. Also, the New Apostolic church adjoins the property of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. More of this later. But yesterday they had a celebration. Strangely – and with obvious relief – I am not terribly affected by this noise. I’ve learned in the few days I’ve been here, that the noise soon “moves”; i.e. if it’s a vehicle blaring away with its bass booster’s boom-boom, it will invariably move away.

I would love to send the photos, but MTN has a reputation for being useless here. Airtel most definitely provides a better service than MTN. I need to find a way to download my photos. Unlike former times, this time I will take as many photos as possible – I’m on holiday, an can afford to do so now.

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | Leave a comment

May 4 to 10 – Holidaying in Mwinilunga (Pt 2)

I arrived in Mwinilunga at about 8:20pm and after offloading my things from the bus, took a taxi straight to Mrs Sameta. She urged me to stay a night at another friend, Mrs Chipaya who owns the Kajinga Lodge (a nice name for an ordinary house). But I said I could not afford to pay the exorbitant rate, even for one night. So I insisted that we go directly to the accommodation she had organised even though it was now dark and we would have to find our way down a rugged path.

In the meantime, while still in Johannesburg I had a firm conviction that, though Mrs Sameta had organised accommodation for me, I knew the place was going to be unsuitable, and had all kinds of arguments in my imagination about it. Unsurprisingly then, it turned out exactly as I imagined.

Actually, the accommodation’s location is truly beautiful and gloriously peaceful, though far from the centre of Mwinilunga town. But the condition of the unit I would rent was still in the raw cement state. As soon as we walked into the unit, the smell of cement hit me, and I knew that to stay there would court ill health within days, not forgetting aches in bones and joints. I looked at the wet patches on the unsurfaced cement floor, the ragged windowsills’ unfinished surfaces that had not yet been smoothed off and the space between the window frames and the window itself.

I now had visions of returning to Johannesburg the next day, for lack of affordable accommodation. I thanked Mrs Sameta for doing her best to find the type of accommodation I wanted. Though she urged me to try it out, I said I could not accept the accommodation, and suggested we go to the New Apostolic church to see if any of their guest cottages was available for rental. And YHWH, being the awesome God He is, had one just waiting for me. It was the last one available. Not only was one available, but it was “under construction” – in a different sense to the former one – so I got a huge discount. For R500/mth It’s a large room with an en suite…large enough to also cook in the room. Thank you Father YHWH for looking after me so well. Thank you, too, to everyone who prayed. Please pass this message on to Margie and Clive’s life group, too, for they also prayed for the best accommodation the Lord could give me.

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | Leave a comment

May 4 to 10 – Holidaying in Mwinilunga (Pt 1)

Hi Everyone – Was quite impressed with Intercape’s new drive to leave on time. I think we departed Park Station at 09h30 instead of 11h00 this time round. You should have seen what Beit Bridge looked like on our arrival. We had been making good time. But it was 4 May. Apparently the South African government allows Zimbabweans a duty free period at the end of each month. We arrived smack bang in the middle of thousands of Zimbabweans queuing along with bus arrivals and private individuals. Usually the SA govt immigration officers separate folk. But no, this time they lumped us all together. Passengers on our bus had to try and squeeze in where folk allowed us to do so. After about two hours I went to the front of the queue with a guy on our bus who wanted to assist me. He had already paid a bribe along with a number of other of our bus passengers. When the lady officer at the door saw him she was angry and called him forward. Apparently he nearly got a “NO ENTRY” stamp in his passport for trying to help me. Anyhow, as soon as she saw my grey hair she put me in 5th in the queue because i was “old”. Yeah, well no fine. I never thought my hair would give me preference. What a joy, but we still had to wait for the rest who had not been so fortunate.
We were supposed to arrive in Kitwe on the Copperbelt at 9pm on 5 May. No such luck. Instead, we arrived at 03h15 the next day. I had not slept for two nights by that stage. Trying to sleep while travelling through Zimbabwe’s heinous roads is impossible. But I will say this. The Verimark backrest is a godsend. Awesome. I think I would have been in very bad shape by the time I reached Mwinilunga had it not been for this backrest. It gets you in the small of the back, just where you need it.
After arriving in Kitwe at 03h15 I waited until 05h30 to while away the time. There were some of us who needed to travel to other centres, and our next means of transport only departed at 06h00. and 09h30 respectively. I took at taxi to the Likili bus station nearby at 06h00, put my three pieces of luggage into the hold of a bus that was waiting nearby (the driver kindly allowed me to do so as he was not departing straight away), and went off to see if Boccello’s was open. They serve a good cup of coffee. But of course, I was way too early at (by then) 06h30, so I just walked and walked and walked to get my legs into gear again after two and a bit days of travel. I also needed to change money. Unfortunately the Bureaux de Change only opened at 08h00. But eventually I was able to change money at the Post Office. I had already done so at the border (R1000 only) at 590 to R1. I got a better rate at the Post office for the rest of my Rands.
I can say that the Likili bus was the nearest thing to the bullet train. Eish! We travelled like the wind. Thank you Lord! Usually the Tickley bus stops at every little village and takes hours. Unfortunately for me, when we arrived at Solwezi, i thought we would be stopping over for an hour or two as per usual. But the Likili bus was an express bus (I only learned about this later). So off I sauntered to buy a toasted chicken mayonnaise sandwich. Twenty minutes later I happened to look out of the front doors of the restaurant, and there I saw my bus making its way out of Solwezi!! I had to abandon all thought of food and a refund, dashed outside, frantically looking for a meter taxi (minus the meter of course), and off we sped. But the bus was going so fast we couldn’t catch up. Soon we sped towards a police checkpoint. We waved, arms flailing out of the windows to indicate we were chasing after the bus which was fast disappearing into the distance. What was I going to do about payment? The money was adding up. The policeman let us through, immediately being able to interpret our gesticulations. But do you think the bus wanted to stop even though they saw us waving frantically? No. With one last burst of speed the taxi managed to veer in front of the speeding bus, and hooted and hooted for the bus to stop. Which it did. I learned that the young man – my seat partner – had told the driver I had left the bus in Solwezi – despite my things still lying on the seat. This cost me – at a discount – R116.00.

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | Leave a comment

HOLIDAYING IN MWINILUNGA

Apologies for not posting sooner. I had 142 emails to attend to as soon as World Vision gave the go ahead for me to use their internet service. If you don’t mind, I’ll copy my Facebook posts for the moment, until I can find a way to download my photographs. My cellphone provider – MTN – appears to be rather useless in Mwinilunga and I can’t seem to connect with them here to download the pics. I hope that by the end of the next week all will be up and running.

 

Categories: Holiday, Mwinilunga, Travel | Leave a comment

MWINILUNGA – “ARE WE THERE YET?”

A few months ago I came across a 2011 booklet – “Our Daily Bread.”

Their March 9 theme was, “Are we there yet?” and their theme scripture was Deuteronomy 8:2. It reads as follows: “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”

The writer refers to the times we feel as though we are wandering around in circles and we ask YHWH, “Are we there yet?”

In many ways this trip to Mwinilunga is to ask that question, “Lord, is this really where you want me? Am I “there” yet? If so, you will need to open the doors much wider than before. I can’t keep going back the way I came. I need to settle, have a home, build relationships, serve – in one place.”

So for those of you who can, I would greatly appreciate your prayers at this time.

Categories: Mwinilunga | Leave a comment

MWINILUNGA, 4 MAY

You may recall that in December 2012 I prayed, “Father YHWH, if you want me to go back to Mwinilunga, please provide the funds.” After praying I left it in the Lord’s hands. Joyously, in answer to this prayer the Lord provided me with a job on 14 January 2013 at the University of the Witwatersrand. My assignment ended on 15 February 2013 due to a bout of malaria.

I decided I would leave for Zambia as early as possible in the first week of May. Now, finally, there are only three nights left before l depart by bus from Johannesburg to the Beit Bridge Border (South Africa/Zimbabwe), INSERT and from there to the Chirundu border (Zimbabwe/Zambia).

The trip through Zimbabwe is awful. The roads are so filled with potholes and lumpy spots that few if any passengers are able to sleep on the bus. One is jostled back and forth, up and down. After one trip to Mwinilunga through Zimbabwe I wondered if I would ever walk properly again. Honest.

On reaching Lusaka’s Intercity bus terminus in Zambia (it’s not a pretty place), most passengers will disembark while the driver will attend to clients who want to board the bus to travel to Ndola, and Kitwe, towns situated along the Copperbelt.

My destination is Kitwe. If the bus is late (it usually is, because of Customs delays at former border post), I’ll sleep on the bus once we arrive in Kitwe. By six a.m. the next morning I will have to offload my three bags of luggage and take a taxi a very short distance to the Tickely bus terminus to book a seat.

The bus is supposed to leave at nine a.m., but if the bus doesn’t fill up immediately, the owner will wait until every seat is taken, which is usually by eleven a.m. (passengers know that the bus won’t leave without them, so they take the opportunity to sleep in).

To reach Mwinilunga the bus will travel to Solwezi, a six hour journey from Kitwe, where we will stop over. We are only supposed to stop over for an hour, but most of the bus drivers have lady friends in Solwezi, and only return about two hours later. I can’t tell you how infuriating this is. I will have already been travelling forty-eight hours by then. So any inconsiderate delays really stretches my patience – enough to make me want to shout, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” But I’ve learned that this doesn’t work at all.

After Solwezi another 3½ hours lie ahead of us. We should arrive by nine p.m.

All this is to say that my posts will continue as soon as I have determined what facility will be available to access the internet. World Vision used to allow me unlimited access. But they have a new manager to whom I need to introduce myself. Alternatively, if their facility is unavailable, I will need to use a USB modem. As soon as I’m online again, you will begin to receive posts.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HOLIDAY IN A TENT IN MWINILUNGA

The series on The Faith of Abraham will have an end.

From 6 May a new chapter and new direction will be posted, for I will be returning to Mwinilunga. This time it will be – Lord willing – for a 3-month holiday only.

Having only had only 6 weeks holiday in 39 years, plus 3 burnouts, I was near having a 4th burnout six weeks ago. Coming to my senses just in time I realised it was time to take a break. What better place to go where there’s no noise, negligible traffic, Miomba forests, turtle doves cooing in the trees, and the like, than Mwinilunga?

I’ve given up the fight – not for Mwinilunga, but, for a work permit.

I will not be discussing Agendas for development there.
There’ll be no talk of training poor farmers.
I won’t attend meetings with the new District Commissioner.
Nor will I deign to approach the immigration officers.

It will just be a time of rest – to also let the Lord do whatever He wishes to do in my life. This is also the period of counting the 50 days between the feasts of Passover and Pentecost – that is, counting the omer – the first (and best) of the firstfruits of harvestime.

I have begun “waving” the omer of my life before the Lord, thanking Him for what He has done in my life; taking me from where I was  as a young follower of Yeshua Messiah who flattened herself against a passage wall when someone walked past me, to a person who now has confidence to speak in front of crowds. I could never have achieved so much change on my own. It is by His Spirit. As the scripture says, “Never despise the day of small beginnings.

I am trusting YHWH for times of refreshing in the Presence of the Lord in the lead up to the day of Pentecost. But more – that He will provide me with a greater infilling of His Spirit, so that when I share His life with others it will be with the demonstration of the power of the Lord to work miracles of salvation…that there will truly be a harvest of souls for His Name’s sake.

The tent

I have always stayed at Mr and Mrs Chipaya’s Kajinga Lodge (sounds grand, but it’s just a four-bedroomed house) on visits to Mwinilunga. But, for years I’ve been praying for a tent. Whenever the idea came into my head I would ask the Lord, “Do I buy it this time?” But always the answer was, “Not yet.”

Then in December 2010, as I was walking down a hill thanking the Lord for the assurances that he had given me in the scripture, Job 5:15-27, (especially that my tent would be safe [see verse 24]), I passed a man who was waiting for a minibus taxi.

He called to me from where he stood and asked if I was a Christian. I answered, “Yes. Why?” He answered, “The Lord told me you are a Christian, and that I need to read you this scripture,” he replied, and did so.
I was amazed by this unexpected encounter. But I was even more amazed when he told me, “You know, as we have been talking I see a scripture on your forehead.”
“What scripture is that?” I queried, wondering what this was about.
To my astonishment he quoted the very scripture for which I had been thanking the Lord – Job 5:15-27. Wow!  Verse 24 of this chapter says, “You shall know that your tent is in peace, you shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss.”

The safety of my tent had always been a concern.
Who was going to look it while I was away itinerating?
The Lord at forst gave me the answer in Job 5 , and now through this Ugandan visitor to Johannesburg. In other words, the Lord Himself would ensure my tent was safe. Only He knew how he would achieve this.

What’s more, over the years I have viewed various tents to determine which one was best to buy, and settled on the one you see in the photograph. But each time both lack of funds and timing prevented me from buying one. But two weeks ago I had a leap in my spirit that it was time to buy the tent. I wondered how I would be able to do so, because the prices were unaffordable.

Then this past weekend, through a series of events that only the Lord could have organised, I saw a demo tent in a  shopping centre I had never been to before, nor would I ever have visited it as it is rather far from my suburb. The tent in the store was exactly the model I hoped to buy. What next caught my eye was the price – it was exactly half of what was being offered elsewhere.

The store manager advised that they had run out of stock. When I offered to buy the demo model he phoned around and learned that a store near my home had the very same model – though I had not seen it in that store when I had checked the previous week. When my friend and I returned to this store the next day, there it was waiting for me at customer services. I bought it on the spot.

After all these years the exact time to buy the tent had at last arrived – with the added half price-bonus.

You may be interested to know that the authorities in Mwinilunga don’t allow visitors to set up tents in or near the village. So I am keen to learn why buying a tent at this time is so important.

I’ll make sure you receive an update as soon as I know the answer.

Categories: Abraham, Accommodation, answered prayer, Burnout, Bushbaby tents, Destiny, Development, Faith, Faith of Abraham, farming, Holiday, Immigration, immigration officers, immigration officials, Mwinilunga, Permit, Provision, tent, the call, the vision, work permit, YHWH, Zambia | Leave a comment

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