Friday, October 9, 2009

We are on our way home now, right now on a layover in Johannesburg, South Africa, getting ready to board a 19 hour flight back to Washington DC. I am a little exhausted but at least clean - nice showers here! We had a God-driven team - Paul with a get it done with a little bit of humor kindness, Patty with a gentle touch and a smile, Mary Ann always willing to listen and care, and Dr. Kelly with a caring heart all using the gifts God has given us to try to care for our neighbors across the sea.
See you all soon with a heart a little more enriched.
Lesa omepale,

Here is Patricia in white,. She is pastor Andrew's wife, a nurse, a teacher, a mom of 6, and an amazing spirit who holds this clinic down in Mpatamato. Here she is with this 84 year old woman and her caregiver, one of the older people I saw in Zambia.
We saw many many people in this clinic, the sickest on our trip - hopefully we helped alleviate just a little of their suffering, God willing.

Here is Pastor Andrew. He is a gentle God-driven spirit who has done remarkable things in this poor area of Mpatamato. Andrew and his wife, Patricia, a dynamo of a woman who is a nurse and raised 6 kids, started the Mpatamato project around 1997, and now they have a great job training program for orphans, teaching them auto mechanics, sewing, cooking, and hospitality, along with a home based care program following about 1500 HIV/AIDs clients in their homes, including 89 homes where kids are caring for kids, 14-18 yr olds caring for younger siblings. He also is a pastor and tries to get other churches in the area working together for the area. They also run a clinic, and that is where we worked for the last 2 days, seeing a lot of their sick home-based care clients and supplying meds here. God has led Pastor Andrew on an amazing journey, and after receiving a book from someone in Global Connections on "If Jesus was Mayor" he ran for mayor of Luanshya and won. We got to visit him in his mayor suite, the coolest place in town, with antelope skulls on the wall, and proudly showed us his mayor medallion. He is trying to use God power in government - prayers needed!

Muleshani, we have been in Ndola just North of the capital, another 8 hour very hot van ride Wed to get here. It is in the 90's hear and sweltering, but we are staying at a great lodge called Kapps lodge with showers and air conditioners! During the day we drive to a city just West of here called Luanshya, a copper mine city, and go to a suburb called Mpatamato - this is a very impoverished area especially lately with one of the coppermines closing - lots of young men roaming the streets and the sex trade is large here. This has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. We spent the last 2 days in a clinic set up by a community center called Mpatamato. Here, if you can see this older woman's neck, traditional healers are big here and do lots of "tattooing" or cutting to relieve evil spirits. But in this case just created a keloid, and very large painful scar, which unfortunately little can be done for. There is still lots of evil spirit talk especially in the older folks and rural areas.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Another major success. Many of you have read in the past about Frances. He was the eldest of 22 children being cared for by his aunt, who was one of the first Samfyans I met 3 years ago. He was also one of the first orphans sponsored by SCCP to go to college. Well, he finished teacher's college this past spring and was waiting patiently for a teaching job from the government, who despite the fact they only have 1/3 of the teachers they need for their schools, still do not have enough funds to hire the new ones they train. He FINALLY got a job and will be starting next month in a small village about 1 hour away from his home in Samfya. He is still looking on somehow in the future furthering his education to become a doctor though. Pray for him and his family!


Hey gang, this is Gilgal. I saw her for the first time at her home one year ago. She was recovering at that time with her recent illness with AIDS. She is a widow with 4 kids. At that time she was just given a microloan of $30 for a kitchen farm she was so proud of, making $100 that first year. This past May I saw her again, stronger and making it on her own. This time she is bright and exuberant and healthy. She got a second loan of $100 which she put in to knitting clothes, one of which she is wearing brilliantly. God is great!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is one of SCCPs home based clients on the left with his home based care volunteer. Early in the year he was quite sick with HIV but with SCCPs support and meds for his illness he got stronger and back to work. With a microloan of $30 and some teaching, he was able to build this great kitchen garden, which fed him and his family and made about $100 for himself. With continued success, he will be in line for a second loan of $100 next year to start another project. SCCP takes on 100 new clients a year with Willow and Bright Hope's support. We were able to train 24 great volunteers this trip how to recognize when clients were really sick and needed attention and also how to check on compliance with the meds. Lots of great things are happening in Samfya!!!


This is Bupe and her mom. Bupe was born 2 yrs ago with bad congental defects - spina bifida causing a bulge on the bottom of her spine and paralysis of her legs, along with deformities of her leg bones. Through God's ability to connect people, we ran into a group called Cure international - a group of American Orthopedic Surgeons and Neurosurgeons who try to fix congenital defects in far off lands like Zambia. Through a meeting at Willow Creek we found out they just opened a new hospital in the capital of Zambia this past year, and with a little fund-raising, we were able to hook up Bupe with Cure, Zambia. 2 wks prior to our visit, she had just had her surgery on her spine and leg and was doing great by the time of our visit, ready to try to get home. With a little work, the hope is to get her walking!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We have been working hard in the Bible School Clinic and home visits for the last 5 days. THis is Prosper in the red shirt - he has HIV and has been with the home program for 1 yr, unfortunately he has not been doing well for the last month, he may have TB. He was brought in from a home visit by our nurse Paul with bad dehydration, diarrhea - we pumped him with IV fluids and got him eating and taking new antibiotics and he felt much better. STill so much work to be done here.
Lesa omepale

Friday, October 2, 2009

Samfyan Eves

During the day we work hard in the clinic or hut calls, but in the evening we have relaxed well African style. Last night we had a dinner under this full moon on this bluff overlooking this gorgeous lake. Mark and Carmen are some of God's awesome people. They made this lovely dinner for us with an awesome dessert with Zambian tea and we stayed out there for hours laughing, telling stories, and singing. Paul was able to use Carmen's guitar and remembered lots of songs from the 70's including Mark's favorite, John Denver. Some of us even saw this bright shooting star that fell out of the sky. Believe it or not, not a lot of bugs out these nights - it is the end of the dry season.
I just got back from hut calls - saw some of the poorest people I have seen since coming, many without any way to get food, many sick with HIV and unfortunately because of how the government hospital runs things here - running out of meds alot which will mean they will only get sicker and the HIV will get stronger here. We will be working on ways to prevent it, including working with Heather, a young Willow Creek volunteer right out of college who will be here for the next year. Despite how much we put into this place, so, so much more needs to be done.
Will try to keep you posted as I can - internet access is sketchy out here.
Lesa omepale (God Bless) Mike
Hey gang, we arrived in Samfya Tuesday night and started working the next day. Been seeing and doing alot. After a 9hr drive through the only paved road from West to East of Zambia, we have arrived safely on the shores of beautiful Lake Bangwuela. We have been working in the Bible clinic we set up last year, seeing 15 people a piece each 1/2 day. Mary Ann and Patty have been very busy teaching massage and exercises to 5 bright Zambians who have been practicing on the many locals with back, neck pain. We are going on hut calls daily with the local volunteers to visit the very sick, and stopping in at the local hospital, pictured below, just to see how things are going. Still so much to do here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We made it

After a day and a half on planes, we finally are in Zambia. We have a great God-given team - Kelly, an ER doc, her mom Mary Ann, a physical therapist, Patty, who does massage and yoga, and Paul, an ICU nurse. Today we will be visiting Cure International Hospital - an American hospital of surgeons who fix congenital defects of little ones out here - I am sure you have seen the Smile Train ads which help fund them. We just had a 2 yr old Samfyan treated for spina bifida 2 wks ago and I heard she is doing great - prayers for Bupe and her parents.
We are in store for a 9 hour van ride across country today to get to our final destination - Samfya. I heard most of the potholes were repaired - you thought Chicago potholes were tough, these can swallow up vans - my butt will let you know how they did repairing them.
Tomorrow we will start working - thanks for all your prayers and support. Keep my two little ones in your prayers as they try to keep an I on my mom.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

With God's help, we are going out here to help keep this clinic running which we set up last year, teaching, caring, treating, and praying with our neighbors on the other side of the world. This clinic we set up in the Bible College of the town of Samfya - a small fishing town on the shores of a beautiful lake and surrounded by swamp. Here there is 95% unemployment and the locals are used to going to 5 funerals a week. In the three years that I have been going out there we are making a huge difference. We are now running medical teams out there twice a year, and Willow Creek also sends water teams, teaching teams, and even high schoolers to raise up local education.
Because of poverty, malnutrition, malaria, TB, HIV, overall poor health care and poor water supply, the Zambians survival is at stake, with the average length of life only 38, and 1 out of 5 kids not making it to their sixth birthday.

Prepping for travel

I am prepping for my 4th trip out here. We fly 19hrs from DC to Johannesburg, S. Africa, then 3hrs up to the capital - Lusaka. The next day we take a 9-10 hr van ride down the only paved road to Samfya - that dot up Northwest by the lake. We will come home via Ndola - in the Northeast dumbbell, in the heart of the copperbelt mines. Just a little history of this adventure first. Willow has been in this country ever since Lynne Hybels visited with Bright Hopes, another Christian group with a mission to help the poor and sick around the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zambia is the land-locked country stuck between the Congo and Zimbabwe - two hotbeds. Zambia though is extremely peaceful, so don't worry about us here! It is roughly the size of California and Nevada combined and has about 11 million people in it. Unfortunately, because of past colonialism, poor resources, political issues and other unfortunate events, it is around the 10th poorest country in the whole world, with 90% of its people living below the $2/d poverty line.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Blessings All,
Welcome to my blog site. Hopefully at this site you will get a feel for Zambia, a place that has captured my heart over the last three years. I hope to tell you a bit about the stories here - the stories of the children, of the mission workers, and of how God shows up big time in some of the most remote places in this World. As I am writing the start to this site, I am preparing for my fourth medical mission trip here, leading a group of 5 to work and teach in a few places in Zambia, but mostly in a small rural, swampy town called Samfya. This work is sponsored by Global Connections, an outreach mission ministry of Willow Creek Community Church, in association with another Christian group, Bright Hopes, both trying to help the poorest and sickest in this world.