News and Notes, and an Address
We’ve posted some new pictures on the photo section of the blog. Check them out!
Last week was interesting. On Monday afternoon, I got a call from a Bible Translation Committee member. He wanted to know if we could come to Petauke (a 4 hour drive) by Wednesday to meet with some Nsenga chiefs. That was an offer we couldn’t refuse!
So we quickly re-arranged our schedule and headed to Petauke early Wednesday morning. When we arrived, the usually-quiet Chimwemwe Lodge was bustling with excitement. Lots of people in patriotic clothes were gathering around. An armed soldier (not a security guard) with a metal detector wand met us at the gate. A Zambian flag was flying proudly, and a red carpet was rolled out in front of the executive suite.
As it turned out, the reason that the Nsenga chiefs were assembled (and thus available to meet with us that afternoon) was that the PRESIDENT OF ZAMBIA was coming to Petauke to meet with them that morning. Wow!
So, we waited in our room and quietly had lunch, while VIPs bustled in and out and the whole place was quite the hive of activity. After several schedule adjustments, the President arrived by helicopter. He met with the chiefs to discuss issues important to them (with an eye toward Tuesday’s presidential election), had a meal, and helicoptered off to another town about 70km away.
Then it was our turn. Several of the chiefs had rushed on ahead, to try to continue the discussion with the president. But the Senior Chief and one other remained. It must have been quite a contrast – after the President of the Republic, three American missionaries! But the chiefs were very welcoming to us, joking around (especially with Sean) and warmly thanking us for coming to Zambia to help the Nsenga people.
The Senior Chief had a speech (I will re-print it later) that neatly describes what we hope, by God’s grace, to accomplish here. The most encouraging thing is that they see us as being here for the same reasons that we see ourselves as being here – to bring the Word of God to the mother tongue of the Nsenga people. We are happy with the unity of purpose that seems to exist even now in the earliest stages of the project, and we were very glad to hear both chiefs offer us their support in our work.
On Thursday, we explored Petauke some more and opened a Post Office box. We can now receive mail in our new hometown! You can write to us at:The Plugers Box 560135 Petauke Zambia
We were also able to meet with the son of the woman who owns the house we are hoping to rent. We are negotiating with them about repairs that can be made to the property. The custom in Zambia is for the tenants to deduct the cost of any upgrades they make from their monthly rent. The issue is that the expense of upgrading to all-day running water is (relatively) high, and our landlady does not wish to subsidize all of the cost. We are working to find an arrangement that will allow us to have our water and for her to still get a rent check. Things seem to be moving in a direction that is agreeable to everyone, but until we move in please continue to pray for our housing situation!
We also spent a day in Chipata, about 2 hours from Petauke where we will be able to do much of our “city shopping.” Sean met up with two Italian boys about his age who like Lego as much as he does. They are also home-schooled, and we are excited for the potential of collaborating with their family at times with school work and other activities.
Now we are back in Lusaka for at least a week. Presidential elections are Tuesday, and there is a bit of uncertainty surrounding that process. Most people are confident that the polling will be orderly and peaceful – but some are not so sure about the post-election events and the announcing of the winner. Please pray that things will run smoothly and that there will be as little disruption as possible in the day-to-day running of the country.
Thanks to all of you for your prayers and for your interest in our work. If you have a chance, drop us a line! We would love to hear from you.