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.