Friday, August 3, 2012

In Flight

Laurie and her team have left Lusaka and are flying over Africa as I write this. They change planes in Ethiopia, refuel in Rome, then fly on through the night and arrive at Dulles tomorrow morning (Saturday). After sixteen hours in flight and an eight hour layover at Dulles, they will fly on down to Florida for a jet-lagged time of debrief with Teen Missions staff. Then it's back home to Oregon on Wednesday, August 8.

(Laurie's mom)

Monday, July 23, 2012


Laurie and her team are now in the village of Mukema, where they will spend their last week of ministry. The team flies out August 3 and will arrive in the States August 4 for debrief. Laurie will be back in Oregon August 8th.

Reports from the orphan rescue units keep coming! Today we had a message directly from Laurie: 

Over the past couple of days, we’ve been playing with the orphans and helping the facilitators with jobs around the unit such as harvesting corn.  As for water filters, we will still be giving two to the unit and two to the local school.

Yesterday we handed out donated clothes to some of the people here.  The children were smiling as they realized that the clothing was now theirs.  It was sad that some of the clothes were way too big for children but still they were all very very happy to receive what they were given.   I am overwhelmed by how much more work there will be left undone when we leave.  Though our work here this summer is helping people, it is important to remember that the real work being done here is being done by the facilitators who labour here throughout the year to develop these communities.

Pray these teens through their last week in Africa! And pray for the permanent Teen Missions International staff who make their homes in these villages. 

(Laurie's mom)

Friday, July 20, 2012

From Lufwanyama on to Luswishi

Laurie’s team had a wonderful week in Lufwanyama, where they assembled bucket water filters, taught phonics to the orphans, and showed the Jesus Film in the Lamba language. As they distributed clothing to the children of Lufwanyama, team members were moved by the joy on the children’s faces but simultaneously saddened to see how much these clothes are needed and how many physical needs are not being met. I’m sure this mix of emotions will be the hallmark of these weeks spent in the Zambian bush.

The teens were, of course, sad to leave these loving and lovely orphans. The team has moved on now to Luswishi, where they will support the permanent Teen Missions staff members there who run the Luswishi Aids Orphan Rescue Unit. Keep praying! 

(Laurie's mom)

Monday, July 16, 2012

In the Bush

Laurie and her team spent their first night in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, then traveled on to Ndola, where Teen Missions has a permanent ministry base. They are now in their first bush location, Lufwanyama, and they traveled there by vehicle (not by foot!). Each time they approached a police roadblock, the team members began to sing songs in the local dialect, and at each road block the police smiled and waved the truck through!
At one point the battery tie down on the truck came loose and the batteries fell to the road and were destroyed. As the team waited on the side of the road for replacement batteries to be brought from Ndola, the kids again sang songs in the local dialect, and a group of people gathered to listen to them. The batteries finally arrived and were installed, and the team continued down the road only to happen on a serious road accident they might have been part of had the batteries not come loose.

Team members are sleeping well in their tents, thanks to warm blankets purchased in Ndola. Nighttime temperatures are in the mid-forties this time of year, with daytime highs in the seventies.
On Sunday the team worshiped with a local fellowship and had the opportunity to pray for a woman and her baby—the child was so weak he couldn’t hold up his head. What a privilege for these young people to be a part of village life in the bush. Pray that the hard things they see will translate into passionate prayer and zeal for kingdom renewal of all things!

(Laurie's Mom)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In Flight!

As I write this, Laurie is on an Ethiopian Airlines flight somewhere over the Atlantic. The plane will stop to refuel in Rome, and then it's on to Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. There they change planes for the flight down to Lusaka, Zambia, where they will arrive around noon local time Wednesday, July 11.

Laurie was able to call us from Dulles just before boarding. They flew from Florida to DC yesterday and then stayed in a hotel overnight. The fancy hotel was a real shock after two and a half weeks of boot camp, and when the girls entered the opulent room with feather comforters and fine furniture, they burst out laughing. The good night's sleep and hot showers were much appreciated before this longer leg of travel to Ethiopia and on to Zambia.

Thankfully, Laurie's blisters have healed into callouses and are no longer sore, but her boots fit poorly and she is somewhat concerned about her feet. The team may do a lot of walking in Zambia if they can't take a bus from village to village. Many of the kids on the team (including Laurie) have colds and are quite congested, so pray for comfort in flight and as they adjust to jet lag and the new environment and stresses of Ndola.

The team will be in country until August 3. Zambia is south of the equator, so it's winter there, which means nighttime lows in the 40s and daytime highs in the mid 70s. The teams sleep in tents, and those nights will feel cold!

Thank you for praying.

(Laurie's mom)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mosquito Bites and Blisters

Boot camp in a word: hard. 

That was the opening of our first letter from Laurie. Each morning begins promptly at 5:30 a.m. (except Sundays, when the kids are allowed to sleep in till 6:30). Can you imagine a teenager during summer vacation up at 5:30 a.m.? I have so much respect for these kids, who are living in tents, sleeping on the ground, and training hard all day for such skills as bricklaying, carpentry, digging, and laying concrete.

There isn't much personal time at boot camp. After an afternoon sponge bath from a bucket filled with water hand pumped from an in-ground well, the kids put on their fresh clothes for the next day before going to sleep, so they can just roll out of bed at the 5:30 wake up call. They're all scratching at mosquito bites and enduring blisters formed from long days wearing leather work boots. Tropical Storm Debby drenched boot camp for several days last week, and many of the kids slept with puddles inside their tents. At least I assume they slept despite the strong winds and heavy rain.

And yet, when we watch the live feed of the worship rally each night (4:15 p.m. Pacific), we see happy faces, including Laurie's! Here's more from Laurie's recent letter.

Loving boot camp isn't the point. The point is trusting God and remembering that a lot of the world lives like this, and not voluntarily. Still, this is really hard. It's funny, because I knew exactly what to expect about the lifestyle. It's myself I didn't know enough about. 

Boot camp lasts another week, and the team flies out to Zambia July 8th. I suppose life in Africa will seem like a breeze after boot camp. Every night at the rally we hear the kids chanting the countdown to their missions destinations: Eight more days! Eight more days! Even with mosquito bites and blisters and achy muscles, these teens are excited for the adventure (and hardships) ahead.

If you'd like to write to Laurie while she's away, you can contact me at and I'll reply with contact information and restrictions.

(Laurie's mom)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boot Camp

Laurie has been at Boot Camp in Florida for nearly a week now. Here are some photos of her with the Zambia team.

(Laurie's mom)