Taylor, Amanda & Lilly live in what is known by Family Legacy as AmCom (American Compound) I think! They have done so many fun things to their home that we jokingly say it's their own "Americana". They've added a concrete sandbox and white Pickett fence. Perfect for Miss Lilly to be able to play outside. The kids had a ball once the sand was delivered and the gate was secure keeping the neighborhood lab, Dallas, out of the yard. They also have a neighborhood garden that they hope to start seeing some vegetables. There are 5 homes - The Hughey family (4 kids), the girls' house, the guys' house, the Roberts house (1 4yr. old) and then Taylor & Amanda's house. In these pictures the kids are helping Oscar wash Amanda's car. Yes she has her own car and handles that whole thing quite well.
Each week the American Ambassadors are given a tour of the Tree of Life. This is where the children that were once living in the worst of circumstances are brought to live. When one does CampLIFE, they become an advocate for the children in their group. Through "Blessing Time" with each child, an Ambassador learns about a child's life. If they feel the child is in serious need of assistance, they will turn that information into the proper authorities. Those are the children that now living at the Tree of Life. But for the other children, all are in great need of assistance so the Ambassador comes home and attempts to have those children sponsored. It is important for the Ambassadors to understand the process and see the amazing recovery these children make by living at the Tree of Life. They attend school and church at the Tree of Life also. It is their new community.
We had the privilege of having Taylor lead this tour. He was really good at it!! Also each time their is a tour, the children there sing for us and them they take the Ambassadors to their homes to show us around. There are now approximately 380 children at the Tree of Life.
Every one of Lindsay, Chris & Kevin's kids were either already believers or they accepted Christ the week of camp. Each day they learned more about the Gospel and how to share it in preparation to share the Gospel with their community. On Thursday the Ambassadors met their children in their communities. It is always amazing how bold and eager they are to share Christ. Many accepted Christ and some asked for them to pray over them to chase Satan away. There is great darkness in Zambia and Satan is clever to our weaknesses. Jesus is their hope.
CampLIFE began at Tree of Life about noon with campers and American Ambassadors finally meeting. Week 7 was the largest camp this summer with over 1,000 children.
On Tuesday, Chris' group of boys served lunch to Lindsay's girls and on Wednesday Lindsay's girls served Chris' boys. This is a concept that has to be taught over and over as no one models serving others for these kiddos to learn from.
For the 1st week, Amanda and I kept the children home so everyone else could do camp and work. We called it our own Dream Camp!! One thing though, it started with Emma running a temperature. Hate that!! Lilly got a new sandbox in the backyard that the kids loved and played in all week.
CampLIFE week begins bright and early on Monday with a tour of Lusaka and the outlying compounds that surround the city. Taylor led the tour on Kevin, Lindsay and Chris' bus so that proved to be a lot of fun for all of them. And they were able to visit other American Ambassadors that we had met previously on the plane. They stopped at one of Family Legacy's Christian schools and were able to tour classrooms and interact with the students. They all looked so nice in their uniforms. Family Legacy is building Christian schools in each compound for our sponsored children to attend. Teachers are being trained by American teachers that spend quite a bit of time there in the summer. Scores are showing that our children are doing well in their schools.
After being picked up at the airport at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, we headed to Taylor and Amanda's where she had a breakfast casserole and muffins ready for us. Amanda had all of our rooms set up so nicely and made us all feel so welcomed. She is so good at that! We were thrilled to be there but all struggling with being tired. We rested a while and then pushed on through the day.
Sunday morning we all went to church at the Tree of Life and had our 1st reunion with our Blessing House family and Lezi, who had been in my CampLIFE group the last 2 years and had just recently moved into Hallelujah House at the Tree of Life. It was a wonderful time of worship and fellowship. Following church we had dinner on the patio of the Legacy Center for all of the Americans. The center has been completed and it looked beautiful.
Following lunch and shopping on the grounds, Kevin, Chris and Lindsay met their partners for the week and learned some camp songs. Each team had a chance to get to know each other better, talk about and pray for the upcoming week.
So as I wrote earlier, this wasn't an easy trip. We began with 16 bags, 5 carry-ons, 2 backpacks, 2 purse/bags and a stroller. Often there were frustrating moments, not much sleeping happened and as seen in the pics, seating arrangements weren't always appreciated! But British Airways was usually very helpful and accommodating.
One of my favorite things to do is to chase down items when I am working from a list. As mentioned before, this year we decided to donate clothing for the children that live at the Tree of Life. Below are the clothes sorted and ready for delivery to the Tree of Life children. It was exciting to see everything laid out!
We're back from Zambia and obviously didn't get to blog once! I will attempt to now catch up from beginning to now as we gather everyone's pictures. Between limitations with technology, time (Grammy babysat from Monday to Friday the 1st week) and activities, it just didn't happen and I'm sorry.
This was a difficult trip but every bit as exciting as previous trips. I hope the Loucks consider it a great trip in spite of a few hairy flights and their kids adjusting to new situations! When traveling to Zambia, you fly 2 full nights with about a 10 hour layover in London. We spent some of that time in a day room where there could be showers and naps (thank goodness!). Coming home are day flights with a over night layover in London. Let me just say we love The Sofitel at Heathrow Terminal 5! We arrived home late Sunday afternoon and getting through customs and such never went smoother. That was a huge blessing to end the trip that way.
I'll begin gathering snaps now and continue with posts regularly.
So it's time to head to Zambia and this year we're taking Lindsay, Chris, Tanner and Emma. YIKES!! J/K ! We are really looking forward to this incredible family opportunity. We will head out on Thursday afternoon and will return on August 4th. I know I only write during this trip time, but there's not really that much going on during the other times. This also seems to be my best way of delivering information since I don't really know how to use Facebook and this seems a little less like I'm telling everybody all my business!! And besides, most of you know what's been going on in our lives and with our family.
Amanda, Taylor and Lilly seem anxious for us to get there. They have really settled in to their home and with their life in Zambia. They have a home church where Taylor leads worship every other week, Amanda has a playgroup once a week, she meets for coffee with friends once a week, and she has a little business selling cookie dough and wonderful cookies (a real treat there). Lilly communicates so well with us on Face Time and on a regular basis. I'll try to share a little video below just sent to us by a friend who has been in Zambia the past week. In fact, this friend is the very person who introduced Taylor to Family Legacy in the 1st place. It's all Jan's fault that they live so far away!!!
Since last summer, one of my precious CampLIFE girls, Lezi, was rescued from her abusive situation and just last week moved into her new home, Hallelujah House, at the Tree of Life Children's Village. I will get to see her and celebrate with her next Sunday at church. I can hardly wait. Our kids at Blessing House are growing like weeds. Amanda, Lilly and Taylor celebrated the 1st birthday of Blessing House last Saturday, July 6th with the kids. Amanda brought out a cookie cake and lemonade and it was a 1st for most of them. Lilly has become very comfortable with the kids too and always has a great time with them. We will be in church with them on Sunday also. I'm just giddy to see them all.
Lindsay and the kids have been shopping for kids in Zambia. She put out a call to her mom groups to see if anyone would like to be a part of showing Christ's love to the children of Zambia. It was amazing to see the donations of clothes and money come in. We were pretty cleaver too with the shopping! We hit Once Upon a Child, a used clothing and toy shop, on a 70% off of clearance items day. Then 2 days later we hit another location and all clearance was only $1 per item. It was crazy fun and exciting!! We got jeans, tops, dresses, shorts for the boys, you name it we got it!
I guess I better get to bed. I'm picking up Tanner and Emma for a morning play date so Lindsay can have a couple of hours to get her things ready for the trip. Be praying for us as we pack our 16 bags of necessities and not so much necessities!! Also pray for our health, safe travels, the little ones as we travel and patience from travelers around us as we begin this journey on Thursday afternoon.
Love to all of you!
Video not working!! I'll work on that another day!