Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elijah's Adoption Update

Thank you to all of you that prayed for our trip to Lusaka this past week! We had a great time and a nice break. Our meetings went with the US Embassy and social welfare office, we got some helpful information.

After turning in some additional paperwork, we are now waiting for the official notice of adoption to be prepared by the social welfare office of Zambia. Once the letter is issued we have three months to wait until we are summons to court to finalize the adoption. The final step of our journey is for Elijah to be an American Citizen. We have been told by the US Embassy the best option for us is to wait until Elijah has been in our home for two years (Jan 2013) Then he will be automatically eligible for citizenship.

Elijah is such a Joy and Blessing! We are so thankful for him!

We are waiting and trusting God for His perfect timing in all of this. Thank you so much for all your continued thoughts, prayers, encouragement and love!

September 2011 Prayer Letter

September 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
As we leave the pleasant cooler season behind us, we in the Southern Hemisphere gear up for some “real” African weather. For our family that means putting away our space heaters (honestly, it does actually get cool enough to use them sometimes) and making sure all fans and air conditioners in our home and vehicles are in working order. It also means once again making sunscreen a part of our daily wardrobe. At church there are some definite advantages to the hot season, the most noticeable being the start times of our Sunday service. Because of the cold and the fact that many people use the sun to tell time, people generally wake up and get out later during the cold season than they do in the hot season. So during the hot season, things will get underway considerably earlier at Fallsview Bible Baptist Church. As an American preacher, there is something ingrained inside of me that wants to hurry through my message as I see 12:00 and 12:30 come and go on my watch. Most Zambians are not concerned in the least, but starting earlier will enable me to fit into a more “normal for me” schedule for church. More importantly, it will also allow us more time for our after-service Youth Bible Club meeting!
Recently the LORD has seen fit to send more adults to our services. In the 11 weeks following our 3rd anniversary, we have averaged 95 teenagers and adults in our Sunday morning services. This represents an increase of more than 20 from our adult average before our anniversary. Our total attendance, including children, has averaged 165, including our fourth-highest attendance ever (behind only our 3 anniversary Big Days) of 191 a few weeks ago. God has moved in the hearts of several of our members as well, with many responding to the call to surrender to God’s will for their lives. Three in particular have indicated a call on their lives to serve God in a full-time manner. Please pray with us and these believers about a Bible institute and training program that is in the preliminary stages.
Finally, thanks for all your prayers for us, especially Elijah. He is a joy to our home, and we are blessed to watch each new milestone in his life. We will be in Lusaka the first full week in September meeting with the American Embassy and the Zambian Social Welfare Office to discuss Elijah’s adoption. Our prayer is that his adoption will go smoothly and steadily. We would greatly appreciate your continued prayers for our wisdom and understanding of the whole process. There are times that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is the next step to take. Once again, thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and sacrificial support for our family and ministry over the years in Zambia.

May 2011 Prayer Letter

May 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
Our life and ministry in Zambia have taken us in several different directions lately. We have enjoyed learning and growing as Elijah’s parents. Preetika was recently blessed to enjoy her first Mother’s Day. Also, these past few months have found us (patiently?) waiting for the paperwork for the adoption to progress through the system. We are encouraged to have received a fostering document that appears to give us guardianship of Elijah until he turns 19. I say appears because few things in Africa turn out as they first seem to be. With that being said, our social worker has assured us that the document for foster care carries plenty of legal weight. The process of adoption here seems alternately too easy to be true and impossibly difficult, with unreasonable delays for incompetence and red tape that seems to be used as a way to avoid the necessity of creative problem solving.
For example, we are currently working on obtaining Elijah’s birth certificate. When at the office that handles such documents, we were sent to the hospital to procure a birth record that was needed before issuing the certificate. Reasonable enough, so far. However, at the hospital we were told that a record of birth could not be given by the hospital if we were not sure that he was born in that hospital (the only one in Livingstone). Of course, many babies are born at home or in clinics in and around Livingstone. Despite our repeated explanations about Elijah’s story, no one was able to really give us the solution to the fact that we did not know where he was born. Since nobody knew how to handle it, they did the next best thing—they passed our inquiry off to someone else. We finally tired of this exercise when we were told to go to the office and person whom we had started with. We eventually made some progress by going to a rural health clinic in a nearby village, whose head nurse (who also happens to be the chief’s wife) knows the Hadens well. She kindly gave us a birth record with Elijah’s full name and date of birth (both chosen by us), indicating that he was born in that village (Mukuni Village). We are still working on getting the actual certificate, so please continue to keep this and the entire adoption process in your prayers.
In the ministry we have watched lately as the LORD has breathed new life and excitement into our youth as they participated in a Youth Conference during the holiday month of April. They made several spiritual decisions in addition to competing in some Bible games like a Bible quiz, Bible-memory contest, Sword drills, and preaching and singing contests. They were encouraged with how well they did this year as compared to last year and were able to attribute the growth and improvement to our Sunday Afternoon Youth Bible Club begun after last year’s conference. We continually marvel and praise God for their eagerness to serve Him.
While our young people have been encouraged to press on in their lives for Christ, we have also mourned the loss of two of the charter members of our church. Both men were part of the first 10 we baptized nearly three years ago on the opening Sunday of our church. Even though Mr. Aaron Sililo (78 years old) and Mr. Benard Banda (58) were considered old men in our church, they both possessed a humble spirit and child-like faith. It is such a comfort to know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for those who believe in Christ (II Corinthians 5:8). Seeing their heart for the Lord through their questions and our discussions about the Word of God truly made them a blessing to know.
Thank you for your prayers and sacrifice, which enable us to be on the mission field preaching the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.