Friday, September 6, 2013

When Knowing the Right Answer just isn't CuTTiNG IT...

The Jalowiec household had a few hiccups the other day.

Ok, to be honest not the whole house. Only me.

I was hit with something very hard and still can't quite put my finger on what it was, but the effect of it was quite obvious.

I know the reasons behind the emotions and the tears but I also knew the right response I was supposed to have. Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalms 119:165. Trust. Have Faith. I know. I KNOW!!

My knowing wasn't cutting it. There was a gut wrenching emotion that clouded my head and truly rendered me a bit useless for a few days. There are things I have justified in my mind that would incapacitate one for a season. Death, divorce, infidelity. None of these have happened to me, so what was my problem??!

First term missions. Unrealized dreams. Letting go of Normal. Realizing time continues. Falling short on personal goals. Every emotion in List A has an appropriate reason on List B to which I can draw the line and connect them.

My prayer was for Peace. God's Peace. I had notions of what I NEEDED in order for that Peace to become a reality. Every notion was met with a physical impossibility for that to happen. Truly God's peace was an impossibility in my mind. He would have to move mountains. Actually bodies of water and connect continents.

I was hit with a sense of powerlessness and inability to control anything. Even involuntary actions seemed difficult. Like Breathing.

Like a brand new baby, I felt powerless and vulnerable. All the while knowing Rock Solid Truths that should have pulled me up by my bootstraps and buoyed me on the wings of Knowledge and Faith.

Call it Emotions. Hormones. Peri menopause. Call it whatever you want but scripture tells me I can at ALL TIMES trust Him. That God will NEver Leave me nor forsake me.

And in my mind that meant I should NeVeR feel down. Ever. I should take every hit and rock of the dinghy my frail life floats on in stride and ride the waves of eternal peace and faith in the ONE that has me in the palm of his hand.

But that was my spin on God's truth. Sorrow, Anguish, Pain, Gut-Wrenching. None of those were forever excluded from the list of human experiences once my faith was placed in the One that destroyed Death.

When one is fighting a river, the best way to reach shore is to stop fighting the current. To let it take you, but to position your body in such a way that the current will bring you to the safety of shore.

When one is drowning in a rip current, the way to free yourself is to remain calm to conserve energy. To Tread The Water. And the worst thing that could happen is another weaker or equally matched swimmer try and help. Often that results in two fatalities.

I felt like I was drowning for a while there. In real emotions. In real struggles. In real life things that I had and have no control over.

That I find myself in situations, of my own choosing, that have caused repercussions that effect our entire family seems good reason to blame myself for many things.

Our children are facing struggles and obstacles directly because of the choices we parents have made. They have things different than I imagined, which in my mind makes me believe their life is more difficult for them.

I imagine a non-existent alter-reality of what Life would be if I made different choices, more humanly logical choices, that would mean we all live in a land of Sunshine and Rainbows and Eternal Bliss. 

Until I snap out of it and listen to the Voice of Truth. WHY were these decisions made?

Life is Messy. Life is Hard. Life, apart from God, is impossible!

But God.

Why would I sacrifice the Open Hand of Blessing from God in exchange for human logic? Do I truly think a life I can imagine is better than the one an Eternal, All Knowing, Wise and Loving Father God has planned for me and FOR MY CHILDREN?! Have I forgotten that it is God that has asked us to walk this road? That in His plan, he KNEW what this would mean for my children, and that HE HAS A PLAN For them as well??

Truly, I know the right ANSWERS for the emotions and struggles I face. The answer isn't what will get me through. It is GOD.

One can memorize answers to pass a test and still have no understanding of the matters of the exam.

I have learned a bit more of God whom I serve. He is gentle and loving. And he isn't worried about my human questions. He Glories in them because HE KNOWS that I am seeking HIM and HE KNOWS He will never fail me! In knowing God I can bare fruit of His Good Pleasure.

He also made me in this human form. He created the spirit that is who I am, and he made my emotions to bear physical signs of anguish and he collects them in a bottle. He KNOWS me. In His ever loving and gently ways, he gives me intimate knowledge of HIM and lets the storms rage on. He loves my vulnerability, for in that He knows I must rely on Him. That gives me peace. And certainly NOT in the way the World gives it!

In the same way these struggles and hard things draw me to Jesus, hardships and struggles will draw my children. And that gives me peace. God's Peace.

I have choices. I know they have choices.

I have fallen. I know they will fall.

But I choose God. And while I cannot choose for them, I can pray.

And maybe that is the real reason for it all in the first place.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Discipleship takes many forms...

I have only a few weeks left with my son here in Zambia. He is ALWaYs one to be busy doing something! He has taken a liking to doing projects of any kind and wood is one medium he especially likes! 

He made me a lounge chair, and took great pleasure in training Benson right along side of him. A good teacher shows the job first... 
and then lets the student get some hands on experience. Supervised. We had no idea if he had any experience at all with hand tools. He is a gardener, and while he works a mean rake, that would take a bit to chop off your fingers!
 He quickly got the hang of it and they discovered a common passion for wood working!
 We got the plans from and if you have a desire to make anything wood, I recommend it! The plans are all in pdf, and he printed them off and they were so simple to follow! Here in Zambia they have no idea what a washer is. Seriously a confusing thing to us! Levi and Benson took sheet metal and drilled it, and cut their own washers for the project.
Assembly was well supervised by our canine trio! Tusser (puppy on left) is our newest addition. She should grow to be well over 50 lbs and promises to be a great guard dog! Malasha (center) is actually the Pestke's dog, but we needed a full grown dog for our home, and they have been more than gracious to let us borrow her. We may never give her back! She is so sweet! And Pepper Corn (right) is Savannah's puppy. She will nip the ankles off of any would-be offender. They are quite the group, and we are well alerted to anything unusual around here!
And Voila!! The finished project!! We need to wait for the wood to fully dry before any staining or varnish can be applied. I LOVE IT!! We need to get wood for about 6 more of them!! What I loved most was the plans said the project should cost about $25 USD to build, and additional for the fabric. We got the wood here for less than $12, and the fabric is a chitenge that was $4! Not a bad deal! And come October when the temps climb well over 100, I think this will get much use! This with a sprinkler aimed right at me!
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Loving Living in Chipata

What I love about living in Zambia

While there are other places in this world that certainly may seem more “appealing”... like being called to Hawaii, I love that we are ministering in Zambia. It definitely has its setbacks. Round trip tickets would be much easier to purchase regularly if we were called to Peru. Or Dominican. Also, I don’t particularly like sharing my home with no less than 9 species of ants. Just a personal preference. That there are three of the most deadly snakes in this region, and perhaps the greatest global killer buzzes my room on a nightly basis while I sleep, also plays a role in putting this place in the “less than romantic” category of the “Best Places to Live”, still, I love living in Zambia. 
Micah and Savannah Walking the Great EastWest Road.... eating Sugar Cane. 
Yes, we are missionaries. Yes, God has placed a special love in my heart for these people. With that being said, I imagine there has been a great more mysterious work in my heart and head by the Lord than I can even fathom. Glory will certainly reveal it all. 

All that being said and aside, I love living here. I pray this is not a result of my obvious “honeymoon” phase. Three months is hardly a long time. I think, though, that to rehearse the good things about any situation goes a long way to gaining contentment. No matter where you are. Some may call it optimism. Others may say it is being spiritual. There may be a personality slant that causes me to want to “look on the bright side”. Whatever it is, I am glad that I can! Also, I am glad that I don’t have to look very hard to find thing to appreciate here! 

I love the Saturday Market. 

I would start with something in the food category! Why it is called Saturday market I have no idea, because it goes on six days a week! Regardless, it is great. Whatever is in season can be found. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, dry beans, potatoes, cabbage, and green beans are always in season somewhere and are a staple to the diets here. Dried fish of many varieties is also readily available. Gross, but available! Each day the price of things varies, and it is always fun. Green beans will go from K3 to K10 in price for a “cup”. Basically the cup is a small plastic mug that is heaped up and another little handful tossed in for basera, “a gift”. As a reference, K5 is about $1. I will often spend K20 ($4.00) and get enough veggies for a week! 

I love that they have a European style work day. 

Basically that means they usually open around 8 am close about 12 ish until 2 ish, then open again until 4:30 or so. Notice all of the vague language! It can be nerve wracking at times for we very time-driven Americans. Many times we have gone to the shops, and waited by a locked gate for someone to open the shop. Forget fines to the establishment for not holding to the posted store hours! (You can tell I have previous shopping mall-based experience!) For some reason, though, I like the laissez faire of it all. 

I love the Multiculturalism. 

Whether white, brown or black skinned, when talking to someone for the first time, one never knows what accent will come out! Muslim looking people that speak with an Indian/African accent, Blacks that speak like Brits, and whites that have a German flair. Or American, which more often than not, throws me off now! The way people dress, commute, shop. It is all so different! 

I love that you can buy bread on the corner.

There are two grocery stores in Chipata: Spar and Shoprite. There is another store called Highway bakery. Pretty much if you want bread, one of those is the choice. Bread goes for K4, and only highway sells sliced. It costs K6. Yeah, I know! In any event... opinions on who has the best bread is up for grabs. Mostly because depending on the day, bread form any place tastes different! There are people that go to the grocery stores (Not Highway!) in the morning and buy dozens of loaves, and then take them to their staked our corner. Most of the stores open around 8 and close around 6 or 7, but because of the bread hawkers, there is usually no bread! They sell you the bread on the corner for K5.5 and pocket the difference. This is literally their job! Entrepreneurialism at its best! They are there on the corner morning, noon and night. If I am ever driving home after 7 or 8 pm, and I will often get a loaf just to be on the safe side, and pull over and several will come running to the car door to be the one to score the sale. “Madame, Shoprite or Spar!” “White or Brown!” Invariably, they will not have change! I am sure it is their ploy. Two loaves, K11. All I have is K12 (10 and a 2). “Keep the change!” Music to their ears! So I pay the extra for them selling on the corner, and give then Basera for the convenience! 

I love that it is unpredictable. 

The power is sketchy. The internet is speedy for a minute, and then painfully slow for hours. Because I am on a bore hole (a well), I am blessed to have water. It needs to be purified to drink and I don’t cook with it either, but it runs regularly. A far cry from our missionary partners up the hill a ways! We are blessed to supply them once in a while! A bit of inconvenience on their part, but I enjoy the unexpected visits and usually the tea and conversation that accompany them! Everything is unpredictable except the weather, which totally throws me off because that is the exact opposite of the previous 45 years of my life! There will be sun nearly every day. If it is the wet season, there will be rain too. But sun before and after the rain! And I love that the Whole Town gets in a flurry because new street lights get installed at the only intersection (of many!) that has a light! 
The New Robot (light) 
I love that I have (almost!) become a morning person. 

It seems that by 6 am, most days, I am awake. That is not the way I was in the states! I think my nocturnal chemistry thrives in this environment.  One theory I have is perhaps my body is still on EST and waking up at 6 am in my current time zone is midnight in my native timezone! Regardless, I like being up early. Usually by 9pm I am pretty tired. This place literally shuts down by 6pm. The sun is completely down regardless of the season, and seriously there is little to do after that. There is no mall, no little restaurant to get a quick bite, no coffee shop to catch up with friends at. Driving after dark is akin to suicide or insanity at best, so friends here are of the same opinion. At 6, we all shut’r down. We currently have no TV. (Well we have one, it just doesn’t work! We need a little convertor. Waiting for a box!) Usually after a few rounds of Boggle, Scrabble, or Farkle, the night is ready to be put to bed.  Or a movie on the projector and it is everyone to their own corner. We love our kindle apps, and solitaire or FourPics are great games, but seriously. After two to three hours of any of it we all need a little alone time! 

I love that I have bananas growing in my yard. 
And not only Bananas! Mango, lemon, orange, papaya, coconut, custard apple (I know, I had to google it too!), grenadilla, and a bunch of herbs. Seriously a fruit salad. Except they arent all ready at the same time, but still! I hope to start an avocado tree. Won’t bear fruit for years to come, but I can be patient! 

Bananas, Lemons and Poinsettia Tree, all in my yard! 

I love that Life Survives in even the Harshest of Conditions. 

That goes for people as well as plants and animals! The leaf in the picture above is growing through a brick wall. There are little plants growing all over in cement drive ways and concrete walkways. Dogs roam the streets everywhere! You wouldn't believe the canine serenade that begins every night after dark. Tens of dozens of dogs all howling, barking and scrapping their way through the night. But the people, as well seem to thrive on almost nothing. No real money, no real education to speak of, very little hope and even less opportunity. That is perhaps one of the blessings though. These people are tenacious. They are strong of heart. That "life" has dealt them a less than optimal situation, they survive. 

That was not our Saviors plan, though, was it? Survival? In this life only? Ah, no. Not that at all! His plan is LIFE, and that More Abundantly!! 

I love that the Lord has allowed us to be part of HIS work here in Chipata. That he has given me all these extras as well... that is just part of how Good He Is!! 

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Friday, March 8, 2013

The Pre-Boarding Drama!!

The last few days in the states were a whirlwind of emotions and packing! We ended up packing 4 extra bags over our allotted 10 bags, fully expecting to get gouged at the airline for overages and fees. We weren't... but that is a whole story in itself!!

We arrived at ROC at 4:30 am plenty of time to check in for an internationally connecting flight. This was not without many obstacles already in the morning!! We were borrowing a friends 15 passenger van, and loaded it late the evening before in order to be able to wake and go in the wee hours of Monday morning. The vehicle has damage on the rear door panels and they need to be closed just so and hard in order to latch. Well, at 3:45 we began looking for the keys to start the vehicle... it was about 17 degrees and a little warmed up would be nice! Well at 4:05 the keys are located. Then on the way onto the main road the back doors decide to fly open... and Dan stops to try to close them... and the hinges aren't holding them in place very well. I am riding in a vehicle behind, so we drive up behind him to give some light and he finally gets the doors closed well and latched. WOW!! This is so stressful already! The GOAL is to get to the airport so we can board the plane... then it is all up to the Pilot and GOD!

We finally get to the airport and have the multitude of friends help us unload all 15 check bags, 5 carry on roll bags and 5 personal bags into the airport. Dan and I go to the gate and begin the check in process, and they REFUSE to check us in because we don't have a visa for our final destination, nor a return ticket. It is now 4:55am.

Well we don't NEED either! We are MoViNG to Chipata for years, and Zambia doesn't require a visa prior to entering, we can get it at the border. We try to tell the agents at the Jet Blue counter, and they are having nothing of it. They are starting to say something about FAA regulations... and then backpedal to state no, it is THEIR regulations. We begin praying. And PRAYING!! Literally it is at their mercy at this point. If they refuse to let us go, we don't go!

We email our partner in Zambia who calls us immediately! He offers to have anyone in Zambia call them to clarify this glitch, but the people behind the counter say it is the decision of the supervisor.... who isnt even there yet. It is now 5:10am. No one is saying good bye, because frankly we don't know if we will be leaving!!

They decide to begin checking our bags... because they were so in the way of EVERYONE trying to check in there, I would imagine! They weigh all the bags and put the tags on them, but they are all stacking up behind their counter, and not going onto the conveyor belt to go to the plane. It is now 5:18 am. We ask some of the friends waiting with us to go hold a place for us in the security lines. We are hopeful against hope!  While weighing our luggage, somehow they come up with a fee of $370 for the 5 bags... when we knew from the website that three of them would be $200 each, and the other 2 would be $150 each. You do the math, but someone seriously added wrong.

The supervisor FINALLY comes and takes our paper work for our work permits in Zambia and goes to the back and calls, writes letters, plays darts... whatever she is doing.... but is TAKING FOREVER!!!! WE still have yet to go through security! Our plane is scheduled to leave at 6:03 am!

The supervisor comes out and says she needs to make another call, and can she have our passports... it is 5:27 am.

FINALLY... she comes out and says we are clear to go... it is 5:40am. All of our friends that have been waiting with us... about 30 or so people... begin to grab what is left of our bags and we run to security, hugging the few people we could while wallking. My boys didn't even really get to hug their sister. I never got a proper good- bye with some of my dearest friends in this world. I don't understand the why's behind it, but I do understand at that moment we ALL knew deep in our hearts everyones desire was for us to go! We were all praying for it and the Lord answered! Perhaps good-bye wasn't what was needed... but a sincere collective desire for everyone to want the Lord's will be done!

We got onto the plane, and were in shock. Literal shock. It was like we couldn't believe we were actually leaving after literally 50 minutes of thinking this wasn't going to happen today.

Let it suffice to say, I have no airport pictures. We didn't say goodbye while waiting, because we seriously didn't know if it was going to happen. We felt odd saying good-bye when we were thinking how to get the bags all back in the van. We were wondering if we should try to get another flight on another airline? Should we ask for a waiver of responsibility for them should we be turned away at JFK? For in truth that was their worry. Well... no pictures to document the departure, but we are in Chipata now... so I guess that is proof that it did happen!

Next... the FLIGHT!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Before we Left...

We had in impromptu lunch at my Favorite Place... and put it on FB for anyone to join... Here we are! 

 Forever friends even though life just keeps getting in the way... 
 New friends too... 
 We took the place over! 
Some of the greatest people on the planet! 
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

A look into my baby girl's perspective...

We have one week and one day before we make our global shift. There is still plenty to be done, but I got this letter today that my youngest sent as a group email to her friends. So great that imam one of them!!

In any event here is the letter, complete and unedited.



Kind of precious, insightful, and optimistic. Real. And a little vulnerable. I just love this little one. The Lord surely has blessed me with some amazing children!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The missing Peace

So I will not forget this is the outline condensed version of the ReNew conference from FBBC last weekend. Some great teaching and reminders of the truths that can steady us I. Our walk with the Lord!!

Session 1
The reality: Sin and separation from God!
My response : Sinner's faith! Romans 5:1
Red Herring: Good Works! Ephesians 2:8-9
Revelation: The Saviors Blood! Colossians 1:2a Peace now, heaven later, Holy Spirit now an direct access to God!

Session 2
Reality: life is a circus!
Response: Phil 4:6 in Everything by PRAYER!
Red Herring: Anxiety!
Revelation : God's perspective! Philippians 4:7

Session 3
Reality: there is a Cost
Response: Believe! John 14:1
Red Herring: Fear!
Revelation: the Comforter and vision through God's lens! John 14:27

Session 4
Reality: the Mystery of the Magnolia blossom - fruit comes from (what seems like!!) destruction!
Response: We Act! I Thessalonians 5:23
Red Herring: We Forget!
Revelation: God Does the Work! I Thessalonians 5:24 He has promised and He is Faithful!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

20 Sleeps!

And the countdown begins! 

I didn't count the sleep that should occur on Monday the 4th, because I don't tend to sleep well in cars, planes, or anything that moves for that matter! 

We are trying to stay calm and organized; low key and collected. The comment from Zorro comes to mind... 
"Captain Harrison Love: The lady and I were trying to dance. 
Alejandro Murrieta: You were trying. She was succeeding."

Only I am not the lady succeeding! 

I have a few "very important" things on the "To do" lists. 

Like taxes. And getting all of our paperwork in order for the Work permit in Zambia. And vaccinations. Packing 10 pieces of luggage. 

I have a few "mid important" things on the "To do" lists.

Like incrementally larger clothes for my children. Medications for the next few years. Tossing what could not be packed into 10 pieces of luggage. 

And I have a few "it would be nice if they got done"  things on the "To do" lists. 

These are the things I have no problem getting accomplished! 

Agh! My quadrant thinking skills would be a good thing to employ right now! I will be forcing my life into Quadrant 1 if I am not careful!!!  

OK.... off to complete something... ANYTHING! on the "very important" list!! 
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Friday, February 8, 2013

It took me long enough...

One of the things I learned on deputation was that my boys somehow managed life in a camper and all that entailed because they saw the benefits it provided. One of which was I did their laundry.
I was stunned one day when my boys were chatting by themselves and one said, "Well we don't do our own laundry now." And another said, "Yeah, that is a great thing!"


Now before thoughts run amuck and you think they have been doing their own laundry since early childhood or worse yet that their laundry never got done, hear this!

Once they were old enough to help fold, they did that. Once they were old enough to understand how to load (and not OVeR load!) the washer they began doing that. I would once in a great while grab their baskets and do it. I would OFTEN tell them it wasn't acceptable for their CLEAN uNFoLDeD laundry to stay in the basket! But... they did their own.
While traveling in a camper, the laundry was more than not done at a laundromat, and Dan would drop me off for a couple of hours at a time, or I would go myself. I enjoyed the time away to be by myself and read a book while surrounded by massive washers and the hum of dryers. It was a challenge to decipher whose was whose when all three boys wore pretty much the same size everything! They became similar to houses with many sisters. Many things became communal except the few precious items.

There have been several occasions since then that I have done all the laundry for the whole family. They boys would be quick to say, "Mom, you don't have to do that!" to which I say, "I know. I want to!"

Why do I want to? Because I remember their conversation in the camper those many months ago.

It is such a small thing! I know it hardly even seems worthy of documentation, but to me it has become much bigger.

As my children grow up, have their own cars, their own jobs, their own life, I have less and less of a place in their day to day things. I am and always will be their mom, but they are just so independent now!! When my oldest son came home from college the other day for a whirlwind 44 hour weekend, he brought his laundry, for reasons frugal, I am sure!

But I seriously enjoyed doing his laundry. I loved the memories that flooded my mind and heart with each item that I could remember him wearing.
The t-shirt he wore when all my boys went to the baseball game in KC, MO.

The sweats from when he went to the barn to replace his transmission. Twice! An oil spot still hasn't quite come out.

Jeans with a paint spot from when he air brushed a gift for a friend.

I thoroughly loved doing his laundry! I was blessed to have the gift of my son and to still wiggle my way into his life in this small, behind the scene way. He probably gave it no more thought than "Yes! Don't have to do that!" But I enjoyed that time more than I ever thought I would.
Oh! that I would have learned to appreciate these moments long ago! I am sure it is the fact that he is staying in the States, and we are moving to Africa. I am sure me nearing my 46th birthday and the "M." years are quickly approaching. I recall the stories from friends sobbing for an hour about a blown out light bulb or laundry detergent commercial and realize my time is surely coming.

But in truth, I think it is more than that. Time with them is short. Time with them has always been fleeting, I just believe it with every fiber of my being now!

From now on, I pray I will appreciate it all.

I am more thankful for the times I need to do something for my children, or because I have children! I couldn't even imagine how uneventful my days would be without them. Or how clean my house would be. Or how truly different my life would be.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ladies Conference

Here is the audio from the conference in Kansas City. It is a testament of the last seven years of my life and what the Lord has taught me and brought our family through in practical teaching, with the theme of WATER.

The arrow can be right clicked and the lesson downloaded, or you can follow this link and have all of the sessions in a download host sight.

When trying to pray about what to teach, I remembered what Elizabeth George said in a recent study I did. She decided she shouldn't try to prepare and to teach them something that will change their lives... But teach them what has already changed her life. Truly this is the same for me! The second lesson is from her study "Loving God with your whole Mind!" and there are 5 other lessons in that study. I encourage you to search that out as all 6 are amazing!

Session one: Learning Of Mikveh 

Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”

Session Two: Loving God with Our Whole Mind

Philippians 4:8 “Finally brethren whatsoever things are TRUE...”

Session Three: Loosing the Ties that Bind

Psalm 1:3 “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Session 4: Living Like Achsah
Joshua 15:19Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

Coffee Cup Campaign!

We are in New England visiting a couple churches that are now more like family than anything, and we were presented with a (literally!) Big Check that was the proceeds from a "Coffee Cup Campaign" they began on our behalf. The church was impressed and moved into action after they read of the "start up costs" involved in relocating our family to Zambia. The seniors class labeled these cups and for several weeks placed them around the church to collect whatever people were able and wanting to give. They set a goal and by God's grace.... met the goal!! Praise The Lord for you all Cornerstone Baptist! Truly we feel like part of your family and are honored to go Reach Zambia on your behalf and for the Lord's Glory!