Dear Family and Friends,
Much has happened since we last wrote to you. First off, we took a team of nine Preteens to Zambia—Ndola to be precise. It was an adventure. It always is when traveling with Preteens! The first leg of our journey took us up to Dulles Airport where we were met by a parent of one of the teens on the Zambia Teen Team who had coordinated not only a meal for that night, but a box truck to store all our luggage in overnight. They got to practice on us before the Teen Team arrived. One of our kid’s dad lived nearby and came to visit us at our hotel. Yes, the airline put us up at a hotel before our flight the next morning. My brother Jim, who lives in the area, also came for a short visit. It was wonderful to get a good night’s sleep and a shower before the long flights to our destination in Africa.
We were met at the Ndola Airport by Doug and Barb, the base coordinators and good friends. Also with them were Oscar and Thomas, both of whom we had met before on their visits to the States. It was good to see familiar faces. We sorted all of our teams’ luggage and drove 15 minutes to the Zambia base. The Preteens spent their entire project time at the base. The Teen Team, after a few days of sorting and repacking, traveled to a remote place to drill some wells near Lake Mweru—a largely unreached area where Teen Missions is beginning a work, primarily through our Sunday School program.
Because the Teen Team was there for such a short time, Gay, the teen leader, and I had decided to cook together to feed our teams. Because of the remoteness of the teen project, Gay ended up doing a lot of shopping while I, along with my other two lady leaders ended up cooking for both teams and making travel food for them.
Once our kids got unpacked and settled in the dorms, Bob got them started on our project—putting in a sidewalk between the school building and the quad area where we stayed. During the rainy season it gets quite muddy and slippery on the downward slope to the Quad, where several of the staff live. The Quad is also used as a conference center with a kitchen and dorm rooms. People have slipped and hurt themselves, so they are appreciative of the sidewalk. It will be much safer now during the rainy times.
Originally we thought we would be building forms and pouring concrete, but instead we used pavers. There was a fair amount of work to be done digging out the old pavers (it took 3-4 kids to carry one once they’d dug it out) and widening and leveling the path. A mixture of sand and cement was put down and leveled, then the pavers were laid in a specific design on top. The final step was spreading the sand/cement mixture between the pavers and lightly wetting it down. I liked the idea so much, that we’re thinking of doing a similar project in the area of our driveway that we had to dig up when we had the water line leak last spring. The team also began a sidewalk connecting the student dorms and the classroom building, that the Zambia Bible school students and staff finished.
We shared in two church services as well as their children’s programs. Everyone enjoyed the songs, the puppets and the dramas they did. We taught a couple of songs to each of the children’s groups that were a lot of fun. Besides the church services, we got to participate in a couple of Sunday school programs; one at the base and another at a nearby school. And last but not least, we were privileged to share our presentation with the Zambia Bible school students.
At the end of our time in Zambia, we drove to the southern part of the country to see Victoria Falls, go to a game park and go on a sunset riverboat cruise. While the sightseeing was wonderful, there was a lot of preparation that had to be done including food for five and a half days’ travel and sightseeing. Fortunately the place we stayed in in Livingstone had a kitchen we could use, although with the daily power outages the electric stove wasn’t of much use. (We had the same daily power outages at the base, but with a gas stove there, it didn’t slow us down much cooking-wise.) We saw elephants, hippos, baboons, warthogs, impala, water buffalo, white rhinos, zebras, giraffes, birds and monkeys on our game park safari. On the sunset cruise on the Zambezi River we saw many colorful birds, crocodiles and hippos, as well as a beautiful sunset. Victoria Falls, called Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders” by the local people, was gorgeous. Even during the dry season you can get wet from the spray from the falls—there is an incredible amount of water coming over the falls that are more than a mile wide.
It seems like you can run into Teen Missions people anywhere in the world. Not only did we get to reconnect with Zambia staff we had met when they traveled to the U.S., we got to see Kaluba who was a Missionary To America back in 1995-1996. At one of our rest stops, a girl came up to us because she recognized our T-shirts and had been on a Zambian Team. Her leader was Kunda who was our bus driver.
After our team debriefed, Bob and I did lots of laundry, put Boot Camp stuff away and worked at catching up both at home and at Teen Missions. Then we had a hurricane—Dorian. We are exceedingly thankful that God moved the storm further east out in the ocean. Thank you also to our African staff and students who we understand prayed mightily and boldly for the storm to move away from our location. We got some wind and a couple of inches of rain—we’ve had worse thunderstorms, but we didn’t know that when we were preparing for Dorian. This is a time when you find out how much stuff you have that you don’t need! Fortunately Chico, a friend and staff member, came and helped us put up the larger pieces of plywood over our windows. Bob and I did the smaller ones. This storm has motivated me to see about getting hurricane shutters! The plywood is too heavy and difficult for us to manage any more. Because we are heading out to California to visit the beginning of October, which is still hurricane season, we are leaving the plywood up. Living in a dark house is getting old and we will be glad to get everything put back in order when we return from our trip west.
By the time you get this letter, we will have returned from our trip to California to visit family, friends and supporters. It’s been a few years since we’ve made the trip, but we are looking forward to seeing as many people as we can. As we continue to serve the Lord at Teen Missions, we are thankful for the people who have supported us with prayers and finances. You are the reason that we can do what we do. Thank you.
Servants in Christ,
Bob and Paula Yost
955 Butia St
Merritt Island, FL 32953