Greetings from Zambia! I'm sure everyone is getting excited for Christmas Day! I know I definitely am although it feels a bit different when the temperature is roughly 90 degrees outside! Besides that, our home feels "christmassy" with our tree and "fake snow" that has been sprayed on it. Marsha (Jessi's mom) sent a bunch of wonderful Christmas decorations along with some others we purchased and received from my family so the house has a nice feel to it.
I just returned from Siachatema (a village roughly 2 hours from our farm) and I had the most wonderful two days there. I stayed with Rev. Mwikissa (our 86 year old bible school teacher who I took home for the break) and his family. I have been pondering the scripture in Thessalonians that says "we shared not only the gospel with them, but our lives..." and I believe that this sums up what a missionary is to do. We had some wonderful times of prayer and sharing the word of God, but we also had some wonderful time of fellowship where i got to experience their world. We went to the man-made lake and learned how to catch fish with nets (which we then ate that night with our nshima - very good). I learned how to tell when different fruits are ripe, how to pick them and more importantly, how to eat them (some need cracked open on rocks and others have much more complex methods).
The greatest part was at our worship service last night. I began teaching them some songs and playing guitar (which they love) and then i asked for them to teach me some music. Well, of course, they can never just sing, but there is a dance that goes with every song. After teaching me for quite some time (I'm a slow learner when it comes to dancing), I decided that they needed to learn a dance that I knew. I started singing a song "Takwaba Uabanga Jesu" (There's No One Like Jesus) and slowly taught them the electric slide to it. As they caught on it was the hit of the night! We worshipped God to the electric slide while singing tonga words...it was a really beautiful thing...really. I hate religion...the dry, legalistic form that the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to mold people into...I love Jesus...He is alive and always showing us how to get to someóne's heart. I made true friends last night with many people including a head man (the guy who owns all the land in a particular village) who invited Jessi and I to come and spend some time in their village. Christianity is not constrained to a formula...it is a way of life with the utmost purpose being to glorify God. It's focus is relationship...first with God...then with people.
Even now tears come to my eyes as I think about the reality that the greatest gift the people in Siachatema will have for Christmas is a Makua (white man) who came and taught them the electric slide. Look around your neighborhood and see who you can bless this holiday (not neccisarily with gifts- but with yourself). Jess and I love you all. We are praying for you and wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.