Wednesday morning we were going to get an early start for Gwembe, where our friends the Wilcox’s live. Nasheem made the early departure compared to her pampering of us an easy choice. We lingered for coffee, spiced tea and a delicious breakfast that I was able to share with Ebrahim before he went to work. We started our journey down the main road and turning off after Monze to a pot holed obstacle course of a road. We drove by the turn off to Canisius High School where the first sports tournament of the year took place in January. I add this to the post as each mile or kilometer driven brings back this or that memory. This is the ongoing experience for all of us during the entire time we were in Zambia for this trip.
When we first got to Zambia in October of 1999, we didn’t get into Mazabuka until November. We watched over the Bowman’s church in Lusaka while they took care of medical needs in South Africa. People let us know that there were some other Americans in town. One evening I was driving down a road with Tom Cunningham when a vehicle pulled up beside us and we heard a big, friendly, American howdy. It was Wes Wilcox. We exchanged some info and made promises to get together. The Wilcox’s can be described as an oasis of Americanism for our family and vice versa. The denominational divides lose some of their significance when you are both missionaries in another country together.
As time went on the Wes and Laurie would become family to us. They shared our birthday’s, holidays, basketball, supervised our home schooling testing and shared war stories so familiar to all missionaries throughout the ages. We were all together on 9/11 and have shared that story in the past. Our last return to trip to Zambia found them in America, so it was great to meet up with them this time. Our only regret was that Blu and Darby, an excellent young couple, couldn’t meet with us. They run New Day Orphanage. Our visit consisted with enjoying coffee, a lunch together and a walk through their area of ministry. We took some good-bye and memory pictures and headed back to Mazabuka, melancholy is the word.
We made it back for church that night, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The note to take how each one felt as he walked home after prayer. The Pharisee with a confident face and the publican with head bowed, still in a haze about where he stood and how things would work out. In the sermon I mention one of my favorites, Danny Chiluba, the captain in the Tembo film and what a testimony he is coming from living in the sugar fields when he first got saved to now a permanent worker at Shoprite, married and with a child. I had just talked with him yesterday when Gerod and I were doing the shopping at Shoprite for the guys football night. I remembered hearing that Shoprite was going to give him a job, and asking him if he had the necessary clothes and providing him with a white shirt to get started. I could tell as I was preaching that the step back into the past had not landed well. The next morning while I was visiting with Themba, he walked by and let me know that I had insulted him and his wife. Certainly not my intention, would a stray word from the pulpit submarine what God was doing in his life? Just this week, I heard that he and the family are doing well much to my relief. There can be a fog that can engulf the missionary as well as the visiting pastor to a third world country. I was experiencing some of that fog.
We returned home to the Dawoudgee’s, after a little trouble with the vehicle. We watched a little football with the son and then went to bed, spent.