Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love Letters (News): September - October 2009

View Love Newsletter 2009-10

Above is the link to the newsletter in PDF format for printing and easy reading. You can also download it and print it out from there.

Below is a copy of the text from the newsletter:

New Christians at Kankuwa

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Two weeks ago after the Bible study at Kankuwa, two people wanted to become Christians. We taught a brief lesson about baptism and then two others said they wanted to be baptized again because they did not know what they were doing the first time. That afternoon the four of them were baptized into Jesus.

When one of the women went home her husband was angry with her because she was baptized. However, the church met with them over the next week and helped calm him down. Please pray that he will also listen to Jesus and follow Him.

New Restoration Bible Study

Last month we started a new Bible study for many of our friends who attend denominational churches. We want to teach them to follow only the Bible. They have enjoyed hearing this new idea and are beginning to understand how they can follow Jesus himself rather than doctrines that change his teachings.

Harding Visitors

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We had an excellent visit from a group of Harding students who are currently attending Harding in Zambia. While they were here, they attended some classes about missions, went to a Seminar with the Congolese refugees, and had an early Trick or Treating for our kids. Everybody enjoyed their visit and we hope Harding will come again next year.

May God bless you and your family,

Rick and Karen Love

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Love Letters (News): August 2009

View Love Newsletter 2009-08

Above is the link to the newsletter in PDF format for printing and easy reading. You can also download it and print it out from there.

 

Below is a copy of the text from the newsletter:

Many exciting things happened in August. We were able to participate in a marriage seminar, the churches had many great meetings, and two of our friends had babies.

African Marriage Seminar

Fieldon and Janet Allison have been missionaries in Africa for over 20 years. They are traveling through Zambia and teaching marriage seminars as they go.

We invited 10 married couples to come and attend the three day seminar. The seminar’s purpose was to train the couples so they could teach others. We also attended the lessons. They were very helpful and were well suited for the village context. The Allisons understand this culture well and taught what was most helpful for them. We hope that the couples will improve their marriages and teach others as well.

Youth Seminar at Campande

Seeing the need to reach to the youth in Mumena, Campande church held a youth seminar and invited all the young people in the local area. The meeting was from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Two local leaders taught as well as Brian Davis and myself. We taught how each person must choose which path they will go.

One young man was baptized into Christ and many others have started to attend on Sunday morning. The leaders at Campande church have decided to have meetings for the youth at least twice a year. Pray that the other churches will also begin holding youth seminars and that the young people will dedicate their lives to Jesus.

Lucia’s Baby

Karen’s good friend Lucia had a baby at the end of the month. She wanted Karen to be there, so we took her to the hospital and Karen helped her throughout the night. The baby was born at 2AM. Karen and Emily stayed with Lucia and helped her care for the baby the rest of the night. Lucia asked Karen to choose his name, so she chose Daniel after Karen’s brother.

May God bless you and your family,

Rick and Karen Love

Friday, July 3, 2009

Love Letters (News): July 2009

View Love Newsletter 2009-07

Above is the link to the newsletter in PDF format for printing and easy reading. You can also download it and print it out from there.

 

Below is a copy of the text from the newsletter:

Everything has slowed down a bit here since most of the visitors from America left during the first part of July. Our family has moved where the Bruingtons used to live before they left. The bigger house has been a great blessing to us now that we have three children. The people who come to the weekly Bible studies are continuing to grow in understanding and love for others.

Kankuwa Church Update

In the last newsletter, I mentioned a man named Gladson. He had been persecuted by his family because of his father Sawanda. Well, about a week after writing the last newsletter, Gladson was physically attacked by his brothers with the support of Sawanda, his father. He escaped by fleeing from his village. Since then, he has been renting a house in a nearby village, while getting ready to build a new house.

Still after being attacked, Gladson has refused to go to the police. He has forgiven his father and brothers and continues to pray that they can change their hearts and come back to God.

Gladson has lost all of his possessions and continues to love those who attacked him. His example has truly been a blessing to the Kankuwa church.

At the same time while building his new house, he has continued to help lead the church. They have completed the new church building, organized a seminar for August, and continue teaching and inviting everybody in the area to learn about Jesus.

In the past three months, they have gone from 8 people to about 40. About 20 people have returned and many visitors are now regularly attending. These people have seen the love of God through Gladson and now they are also following Jesus without fear.

Because everyone has heard what has happened to Gladson, many Christians from the other churches in Mumena want to help him. They have arranged a work day on August 29th where they will be making mud bricks for his house.

All of this has shown how God can turn an evil situation into a blessing for His family.

John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – HCSB

Family News

This month we moved into our new house. In addition to moving, I also have been building some furnishings that were unfinished.   Now we have a place for everything and can organize our house. This really helps us feel at home here. Also, Matthew’s birthday was last month. He was glad to have some of his friends, the Bruces, visit from Solwezi. We played many games like bobbing for apples and musical chairs.

With the campaigners gone, there are four families remaining: Don & Rita Boyd, Brian & Sondra Davis, Phil & Paula Sullivan, and us. Phil & Paula are here for six months to help the team and work with different projects like well drilling and education. More than that, Paula has been a great help for Karen with the children.

We are glad to be a part of this team and can see how God is blessing the Kaonde through our combined efforts.

 

May God bless you and your family,

Rick and Karen Love

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Love Letters (Missions): Appropriate Technology – Wooden Wheelbarrow

Appropriate Technology means introducing innovative ideas that actually improve peoples lives. The technology must be appropriate to the needs, culture, knowledge, and abilities of the people. It should be something they can accept and “run with” by making additional products or spreading the use of the technology. This is positive development for the people.

American Tractor VS Manual Labor

Americans can’t ship a tractor to Africa and expect the people to benefit from it. Its not realistic to the actual needs and abilities of the people. Let’s consider just the economics of a tractor among the Kaonde and compare it to hiring piecework (piecework is the wage that the Kaonde pay each other for manual labor – about $2.50/day):

  Tractor Piecework (hiring neighbors)
Initial Cost $20,000 - 40,000 (donated) $0
Fuel per hectare (100m * 100m) about 5 gallons  
Cost per hectare $20 (just fuel) $14 (common wage)
Maintenance $5,000/year $0
Benefit Makes Americans feel good about donating. Providing piecework prevents your neighbor from starving.

 

The bottom line is that it is cheaper to hire piecework (and it helps the people you are hiring) than the fuel for a tractor.

So what can we do?

I believe the greatest changes are the little things that can help the people on a daily basis. It takes much time and understanding of the culture in order to see these possibilities. Since we live here and see the people’s struggles we have the time and insight. There are many ways the Kaonde could improve their lives, but we must be considerate of how they can accomplish those changes. For hundreds of years, western technology has been pushed onto the Africans. However, they have not benefited much from it because it is not appropriate African technology.

The Wooden Wheel Barrow – Appropriate African Technology

A wheel-barrow can save hours a day and relieves suffering because the women can push the wheel-barrow instead of carrying the weight on their heads and eventually injuring their necks. I asked the team about this idea and they all thought that this would indeed be a very useful tool for most people, but it is beyond their reach. A used wheel-barrow from town costs $20, equivalent to about two weeks piecework (minimum wage which is more than most people earn in the bush). Also, the transport to town to bring back a wheel-barrow would cost an additional $12.

So, I started asking my friend Nixon Mofya about this idea. (He is a young man who translates for Bible studies while he is not at school.) We looked at the idea of buying used wheel barrows from town and transporting them in bulk to the village area. However, the cost was still too high for most people.

So, we decided to design a cheap wooden wheel-barrow. It uses locally available wood (which is mostly used for firewood) and a few supplies from the market in town (nails, some short pipes, and a piece of rubber used by the shoe-repair men). The material for this wooden wheel-barrow is about $4 and is easily transported. (Compare this to a new metal wheel-barrow from town which is anywhere from $20-$70.) Best of all, anyone can fix it if it breaks. Even the wheel is made from wood with a rubber pad around the surface and a metal pipe around the axel to give it some durability.

 

Wheel-Barrow

A wooden wheelbarrow with 6 20 liter water containers (200 lbs)

 

Nixon and I spent about 2 mornings making the first one. This was a good way to spend some time with him and others and it showed that I as a missionary am interested in the people's lives in the community. After the first one was finished, others are building them now by copying it as a model. Every village can easily afford to make one or buy one from someone who is building them. So with a some serious thought, we can introduce simple ideas that can dramatically improve their lives. Eventually, the people will get the idea that they can improve their own lives by using the resources around them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love Letters (News): Emily Mutende Love is Born

Emily Mutende Love was born at 18:45 Cairo Time (11:45 AM Central) on March 15, 2009.

She weighed 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs) and is very healthy. She has a full head of hair.

Since Emily is truly “African American”, we wanted her name to be appropriate. We chose the word “mutende” which means “peace” in Kiikaonde as here middle name.

 

Emily holding Rick's thumb

 

A few days ago, we drove to Mukinge mission hospital which is about 1.5 hours from our house in Mumena. We are staying at the house of an American doctor who is visiting the states. This has worked out well and we have been able to relax in a home environment and wait for Emily to arrive. We will return after Karen has a few days to recover.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Love Letters (Culture): Rumors and Lies

Living in Mumena, it is amazing to see the power of the rumor. Rumor is the main source of knowledge for the Kaonde people. Most everything they believe is based in what they have heard from others by word of mouth. In addition, this is a major entertainment for their lives. Most Kaonde sit around the camp fire each night listening to the latest rumors. This is their news, their entertainment, and their culture.

The best thing I can compare this to is junk email. However, most educated people who have access to email know to be skeptical of anything they read in an email forward. Even someone who is very gullible does not waste much time talking about what they have read in the latest email forward.

 

However, rumors are treated quite differently by the Kaonde. First of all, they don't have any concept of fiction. Everything they hear is considered true. Even the educated in Zambia are taught by rote memorization. So everybody is taught to believe everything and doubt nothing. Very few ever doubt what is spoken. Even fewer think rationally about the rumors or say to themselves, "That doesn't even make sense."

 

This way of thinking is often called puddle thinking. Each random belief is considered true. It is never evaluated or doubted in the person's mind. Because of this lack of reasoning, many contradictory beliefs can be "true" at the same time.

 

This all makes for a culture where lies spread like wildfire. In fact, the entire set of spiritual beliefs comes from these rumors. Each person's beliefs are based on what they have been told from their family, friends, neighbors, witch doctors, and others. Education and books (like the Bible) have very little input compared to the hours spent listening to these rumors each day.

In addition, rumors (just like news) focus on negative, extreme, or bizarre events. So because these are the main things that people talk about, it effects a person's concept of reality.

 

For example, in the 1980s a landowner killed a python on his farm. Soon after, the village where his farm workers lived started having fires. Each day a hut would burn down because of these spontaneous fires. The people started fleeing the village because they believed the spirit of the python was angry at the farmer. A local witch doctor told the farmer to make a certain sacrifice to appease the spirit of the python.

The police recommended the farmer should listen to the witch doctor. Because most of his workers had fled, the farmer finally relented and made the sacrifice. However, the fires continued.

Finally, a deranged boy was found starting a fire.

 

Clearly, from the story and a little thought, all the fires were caused by the deranged boy. However, if I tell this story here in Mumena, most people will have a different conclusion. Because they have more belief in bizarre spiritual events, they will believe that the spirit of the python had really started the fires instead of the boy. Even if I could convince them that the boy had started the fires, they would still believe that the python had something to do with it. Maybe the python had made the boy demented. In fact, as they retold the story to others, they would probably completely forget about the boy and embellish the parts about the spirit of the python. The focus is on strange and spiritual mysteries rather than evidence and logical thinking. After all, a story about a small boy starting fires is not nearly as interesting as an angry python spirit attacking and destroying an entire village.

 

I have thought about using this story as an example of how mysterious events often have logical causes. However, I am afraid if I mention anything about the python spirit, the point would be lost. The power of suggestion is so strong in this culture, that even if I tell the listeners that the story is a lie, they will still believe the story is true. Even some of my well educated friends will ask, "Is that true?" whenever I tell them about something that is obviously impossible and contradicts many of their beliefs. "What do you mean, 'Is that true?' Of course it's not true, use your brain a little bit. Why did you go to school for 12 years if you won't even think about what you hear?"

Love Letters (News): Christmas Time at Mumena

Our first Mumena Christmas was a beautiful hot and sunny one with rolling hills of green grass and trees. If you just close your eyes you can imagine they are all covered with snow and you can hear the far off distance sound of slay bells ringing.

 

The kids woke up excited knowing Christmas morning was the big day to open all the colorful presents under the tree. Matthew woke up to a train set already set up and ready to go. First we all set down and opened our stockings or "socks or Ocks" as Lydia would call them and try to put them on her feet. After that we had some fresh out of the oven blueberry muffins and hot chocolate. Then, with our bellies full, we tore into the Christmas presents patiently waiting under the tree. The kids had a ball. Every time Lydia was done opening a present she would look at us and say, "More, more, more." She sure picked that word up quick. Matthew was a great big brother and helped pass presents out to little sister as well as help mommy and daddy open theirs. Matthew and Lydia got a new marker board (with washable markers) that they absolutely love as well as a "car mat" to drive cars on through a little town. Even though Lydia is our sweet little girl, she has a fascination with cars and trains.

 

After our exciting morning of presents, muffins, and hot chocolate, we all (the team and some other missionaries who drove down for the occasion) met together at the Bruington's home for a delicious feast of turkey, ham, pork, and all the traditional Christmas trimmings. We even had our favorites pumpkin and pecan pie. We then spent the rest of the day playing games and enjoying one another's company. The whole day was a fun and relaxing day. We thank God that as much as we missed our families back home we were able to enjoy our "African" family and grow closer together praying for each other and for our families far away.

God bless all of you far away and know that we are well and love all of you so much.

Karen

 


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Matthew and Lydia in their new chairs


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Karen and baby showing a baby outfit


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Rick, Matthew, and Lydia playing with a toy