Why Do We Do What We Do???????

Photo by Laurie Hanson Thompson 2005
Psalm 139:13-14 NASB
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You,
 for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
A group of ladies from Baker Heights put Birthing Kits together to send to Zambia for the 2014 Medical Mission. 
Some people ask, “Why don’t you put this and that in? Why? Why? 
It is hard to comprehend the poverty that the majority of Zambian people live in. How do we as Americans comprehend  what it must look like for 80% of Zambian people to live on $2.00 a day or less?  A lot of Zambians do not even have that $2.00. Their survival depends on what they can garner from the earth.
Copyright by Shelia Holmes
For most Americans it is impossible to understand that the clothes on some Zambians back maybe the only clothes they own. When one looks at their feet, they are often bare.                                     
How do we as Americans understand that the field mice they catch may be the only food they and their family have for the day?
Copyright by Shelia Holmes

How do we really realize that a lot of the water they have to drink and cook with is the same water they bathe in, wash clothes, cook with, animals drink from, and they carry on their heads for miles to get it to their village?

Most Americans just do not have a knowledge base to understand.  

The first time I went to Zambia I was so overwhelmed by the extreme and widespread poverty.  Seeing truly is believing. It has changed my perspective.  And I thank God.
Back to the birthing kits.  What good can a piece of plastic, a scalpel, two pieces of string, two pairs of rubber gloves, two anti-bacterial wipes, four gauze, soap, a baby blanket, a tiny baby cap, an HIV/AIDS pamphlet and an Intro lesson the WBS do?
The plastic can provide a clean place for the mother to lie on to birth her baby.  The rubber gloves can keep germs off the baby and out of the mother.  The wipes can clean the birthing site as well as hands. The clean string can be used instead of dirty elephant grass or a dirty rag to tie the cord.  The clean sterile scalpel can be used to cut the cord.
The sterile gauze can clean the baby’s mouth, eyes, ears, etc.
The gauze can help stop some of the bleeding of the mother.  The HIV/AIDS pamphlet can inform them and others about AIDS prevention and the Intro lesson to WBS may very well lead them, as well as others to Christ.
Think about what happens when they do not have these things. They have a dirty birthing site, dirty hands wiping the eyes, mouth, and nose of the baby. They have dirty hands handling the cord and using dirty elephant grass to cut the cord. Possibly they will never learn about AIDS prevention. 
How will they hear if no one teaches them?  Remember the majority of the people in Zambia have no Bible.
Many women have to trek to hospital on foot or go by bike while heavily pregnant.  Some women who live in more remote areas cannot even make it to a health facility in time. These women are frequently forced to give birth at home in unsterile conditions and with little assistance.  
Zambia suffers from an excessively high maternal mortality rate of 591 deaths per 100,000 live births.  More than 50% of Zambian women receive no postnatal care at all. http://blogs.unicef.org.uk/2014/02/18/children-commonwealth-zambia-babies
Why take the time to gather supplies and make the Birthing Kits? Maybe we will get to be a tiny part of some ones precious birth. God knows the unformed substance of these children and He knows the number of their days.  Maybe we will be a tiny part of God’s work in Zambia. Maybe He wants us to have the privilege of helping one of these babies survive so it can grow up to serve him.
Some may have heard the story of Wellington’s birth on the side of the road on the way to the clinic. His mother and grandmother birthed him, wrapped him and carried him on to the clinic. Look what God has done with Wellington. What if he had not survived?
I am reminded that God does not need anything from us.
In Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
Verses 26-27 sums up why we take the time and trouble to put together a simple Birthing Kit and go to Zambia.
26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;.  
The focus is not on what we are doing, the focus is on what God wants us to do. Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,.
God does not need us to do His work but He blesses us by allowing us to participate in His mighty work. Thanks you God.
For a free Bible study go to:www.bigcountry.worldbibleschool.org

Out of Africa and Back Again.

 I never get used to this sight of a young girl child with 
a baby on her back and a water bucket on her head.
 One of the many buildings we have worshiped in.
A Baptism (the main reason I go)

My heart has been stubborn about being willing  to go to Africa in the summer of 2014. The trip has been planned for three years now but my heart has been hard and has said,”NO, I will not go in 2014.” 
One night as we laid down, I asked my husband if he had thought about going to Africa in 2014.  I fully expected him to say no I do not want to go because I am getting my shoulder replaced.  Instead he said, “I have thought about it.” That really shocked me. He asked me if I had thought about going.  I said, Yes I have thought about it and I do not want to go. You can go without me. He said, “I will not go without you.” So, I said, “Does that mean I have to go?” One reason it shocked me so much is that when he went in 2003 he promised he would never go without me again. I knew that he had made that promise and that he would not break it.  If he goes, that means I will go or he will stay home too.
When he went in 2003 I was as resistant as a spoiled brat child who wanted her way no matter what.  He was asked to go with a group of men so there was no way one lone woman would fit in.  As plans were being made I dug my heels in deep. 
I pouted, cried, got mad, you name it I resisted with all my might. 
Like that spoiled child I said, “I have always wanted to go to Africa.” 
On and On I went as the days and weeks ticked off to the dead line to buy tickets. 
The Sunday before the deadline the lesson at worship was one that was undeniably from God to me.  It also spoke to both of our hearts in a way that we could no longer ignore what had to be done. 
We did not say a word all the way home as our hearts burned like hot coals inside our chests. I almost chocked on my pride and selfishness.
After we had changed from  our “church” clothes into more comfortable clothes, he said to me, “Shelia, I cannot, not go.” My heart burned in my throat. I felt so much shame as I admitted that I was standing in God’s way. I choked the words out of my burning throat, “I know you have to go.”  This had been my thought on the way home as I tried to swallow my pride and selfishness.  I was so ashamed of myself at the realization that I, by my childish behavior, had to admit that I was rebelling against God and not my husband.
We both knew that I could not stand in God’s way any longer. 
We knew that he had to go and do whatever God wanted him to do. I knew that I had to do whatever God wanted me to do and accept what he wanted to teach me.
I do not know why my heart has been stubborn against going to Zambia this summer. I cannot put a finger on the reason. I can only speculate.  This has been a challenging year for us with our adult son who has dealt with a drug addiction for many, many years. This has been and still is a challenging time with my mother-in-law being sick and in and out of the hospital for the last two months. 
On one hand I am so excited to be going back to Africa again, for the fifth time. On the other hand I am feeling a little stressed to think that the trip is so close to being reality. 
I only asked to go one time. I know that if God is truly willing for us to go He will provide the way for my fifth trip to Zambia. Tickets are bought and plans are being made to go in a short time. 
We shall see what the future holds. I am now willing and ready if God is. 
We recently attended the funeral of a 90 year old lady who got into mission work when she was 65 years old. Her grandson read some of from one of her diaries she had kept about her mission work. He said Granny said, “You have to be willing to write a blank check and hand it to God. Let God fill in the amount. You have to be willing to do whatever God wants you to do.” 
Just write the blank check has become mine and my husbands motto. 
We have written a blank check to God about the trip to Zambia in 2104. We will soon know what He requires us to do. We just have to be willing to do it.
Philippians 4:4-9  
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


What Does Addiction Look Like???????????????

What color is addiction?
What economic class is addiction?
What sex is addiction?
Who is an addict?
Who can identify an addict?
Who can stop an addict?
If you look at this picture of this “happy” family you may never suspect that one of the people in the picture has struggled a long term addiction. You name it and they have shot it in their vain.
You may never know which one has struggled for over 20 years with a terrible drug addiction.
You may never know which ones in the picture have struggled with that person who has had a horrifying drug addiction. 
The choice is one out of three. 
Which one is the one? 
The woman in the middle? The man on the left? The man on the right?
They all look like fine upstanding citizens. They do not look like your common thief. 
They do not look like someone who would lie about anything to get their next fix. 
They do not look like some one who would stick a needle with a syringe full of cocaine in their arm, ankle, or wherever. 
Truth is, drug addiction comes in all colors.
Truth is, drug addiction comes in all sexes.
Truth is, drug addiction comes in all economic classes.
I was once told, “You cannot always tell who is an addict.”
Who can stop an addict from being an addict?
That is a very good question.
Can you?
Can I?
I am finding that I cannot stop the addict in the picture. So, there is a clue. I am not the addict. That leaves two in the picture who may or may not be an addict.
Who can stop an addict?
I hate the word addict. How can a person be described as “he is an addict”. What, how can that be? How can you say, “He is an addict.” He is a man. He is (insert name).  So how can you refer to him as addict as if that is all there is to him? 

Appeal: To Save the Eyesight

Appeal to Help Save Goodwin’s eyesight.

Mr Mwanza, Goodwin and Mrs Mwanza
Goodwin Mwanza, Shelia, Tommy and Brother Phiri
My husband and I have known Goodwin Mwanza since he was an infant. While Goodwin’s family was in our town they worshiped and worked with our congregation bakerheights.org.  
His family lived in our town for three years while his Dad worked three jobs and got three college degrees. Yes, you heard right. 
After his Dad finished his education they moved back to Zambia. His Dad was a Head Master at a High School. Sounds like a high paying job. Not by the U.S.A. standards but by the Zambian standards it was a good job. 
Shortly after the Mwanza’s returned home to the Southern Province of Zambia a group of four men from our congregation traveled to Zambia on a fact finding trip. My husband asked Mr Mwanza why he did not stay in the United States. He said to him, “With the degrees you have, you could make a lot of money in the U.S.”  Mr Mwanza said,”I never intended to stay in the U.S. I only came to get my degrees. The dream that Mrs. Mwanza and I have had for a long time it to go to the Eastern Province of Zambia to evangelize it. There is a great need to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Eastern Province and that is what we plan to do.”
Since the Mwanza’s returned to Zambia a preacher training College- The Chipata Bible College-has been built in the Eastern Province of Zambia. There have been six Mission trips to the Eastern Province of Zambia.  There are 10 full time paid preachers in the Eastern Province. There are many who have graduated from the Chipata Bible College and have gone out on their own and planted churches and preach with or without pay.

Goodwin has grown in to a fine Christian young man. He is 17 years old now. He teaches the children’s Bible class at the Hills View Church that meets at the Bible College. He is the top student in his class at school. He scored in the very top on the National Test that Zambia gives all students. He wants to get an Engineering Degree from college. There is only one problem he needs surgery on one of his eyes. He has Keratoconus and he needs immediate surgery to correct it before he goes blind. You may go to this link to read more about how to help. However: Please do pray and thank you so very much. http://fellowshiproom.org/2014/02/23/eyesight-goodwin/