Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Meagan's Return To Zambia

Lord willing, I'm on my way to the airport or on my flight to Asia when you read this. This is a combination of several blogs written by my wonderful niece, Meagan Hawley, and her move back to the African nation of Zambia. Meagan talks about her work and some adjustments. You have to love the pics of kids! You can find her blog at http://www.zambianhavenonearth.blogspot.com/
Keep me in your prayers as I begin my four week mission to Vietnam!


To make a ministry like the Havens work, it takes the hands of so many people. The most instrumental people in our babies' lives are the aunties, the ladies that care for the basic needs of our children. The Havens are a special place where each person has a particular role to play, and it really takes all of us working together to make the whole thing work.  

Aunties either work the day shift or the night shift, meaning they work either from 7 a.m.-5p.m. or 5 p.m. -7 a.m. While the aunties in the day have a shorter 10-hour shift, the babies are usually awake for more of their shift, so it's kind of a trade-off!

Each auntie has her own room she is responsible for, and she is specifically responsible for the bathing (3 times a day!), changing, and dressing of her babies, laundering their nappies (diapers), changing their sheets and blankets daily, preparing bottles for her babies, feeding her babies, and cleaning her room thoroughly. It's a busy, often exhausting day when you are doing that for so many kids!
Rejoyce at porridge time
Bina Lumba feeding
Bina Sebi organizing clothes

Bina Bombo washing the windows in her room
Bina Bombo changing Stella

Folding time!
There are also aunties who take care of the cooking and laundry, and still others who work on the grounds of the orphanage.

While the aunties care for the basic needs of the babies, they do so much more than that. They love them, they pray for them, and they invest in them. These women have hearts that want to love and serve, and it's my honor to work beside them as we try to do what's best for the babies. I have learned so much from them, and I am forever grateful for the way they've opened their hearts and homes to me. We're going to have a very sweet reunion in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm in this strange period of time right now. People are asking if I'm excited, and I don't know how to honestly answer that question. This is not really the time for excitement, I guess. This is a season of goodbyes, of grief, of letting go. And while I don't for a second doubt that I must go, I do feel every second the weight of what's happening. When I moved to Zambia last time, it was supposed to be for two years. Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no idea what all would come to pass in the two-years-turned-nearly-four. Had I known, maybe I wouldn't have signed up for it. I wasn't aware how painful it would really be to leave all those I loved behind. I was clueless as to how difficult living cross-culturally can be. My eyes had not yet been truly opened to the kinds of poverty and sickness I would quickly become intimate with. No one had told me of the lives I would love and lose. And I most definitely didn't know what it would feel like to be halfway around the world hearing that my niece was going to die. If God had laid all that out for me before I ever left, perhaps I would have thought twice.

Thankfully, He let me walk blindly, a bit naively, into a life that would change me forever. He led me where I could not have gone alone, and He held my hand through days I thought I'd never get through. He gave me my babies, He gave me the aunties, He gave me a purpose. He gave me the talents and temperment and heart that I would need to love these babies, to call another country my home, to walk away from the best family any girl has ever been born into. Because of what He's shown me there, I can't not go. My babies are waiting there for me.

So going back feels different this time. I'm not going into it blindly or naively. I'm counting the cost. I'm making a conscious decision to choose this road, even when I know what all it may bring this time. It will no doubt bring seasons of heartache and loneliness, but it will no doubt bring life and joy and purpose. How can I not follow again when He so faithfully led me before?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello everyone! I'm in busy preparation mode as I prepare to leave for Zambia on August 10. I'm currently in Austin, Texas spending time with one of my sponsoring congregations at Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ. It's been such a blessing to get to know so many people and start forming relationships that will hopefully last forever!

I know a lot of you who are reading this are long time supporters and followers of the work going on at the Havens, but I also have many new friends and supporters that have many questions. Although I hate to bore the rest of you with things you already know, I thought I would take some time before I leave to get everyone acquainted with the Havens, their history, and how the whole operation works. But for today, I'd love to show you a video of a few of our babies!


The aunties have lots of sweet songs they sing with our babies. One of these songs teaches the babies to greet in both English and Tonga (a local Zambian dialect). The song goes a little something like this:

How are you today?

Mwabuka buti?

After years of singing this song, I added a line to the end of it that just makes me happy. I tell them,

I love you so much!

And then in the sweetest, most precious voices you've ever heard, they respond with

Shooo ahhhhh!

This is actually the word "sure", which sounds like a pretty lame response to someone telling you that they love you. But it's something Zambians say often, and I just liked it. So here are some of my favorite kids (Emma, Mary, Katy, Linny) in all the world greeting you.

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