Welcome friends, old and new, known and unknown! It has been my desire to share with you how the Lord is working in my life as I serve the Lord on the mission field of Kabwe, Zambia. There is an old black and white movie called The African Queen. It is about a boat that travels down river. This blog is not about a boat. It is however, about my travels on the mission field of Kabwe, Zambia. By the way, did you know that my name means queen. For many years I have been burdened for souls in Africa. That is why some of my friends call me African Queen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Death is Part of Life - Part 1

Death is a normal part of life here in South Africa.
Not a month goes by when we don't have 
at least one or all of the weekends of the month 
filled with night vigils and funerals.
Zulu tradition: the deceased person's clothes laid out
and a candle lit beside it.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 
(see end of post for the rest of the passage)

Since I have come to South Africa,
a big part of my ministry has been visitation. 
A select group of people that I visit
are some of the gogos from our church.

I go to be a blessing to them through
 the singing of hymns and the sharing of Scripture.
Every time I leave their homes, I too am blessed.

Visiting with Gogo Zondi
Most of these gogos have nothing.

I was taken back one day when we walked
way down in the valley to visit Gogo Zondi.

Gogo Zondi
She was 103 years old and a joy to be with.
After one of our visits to see her,
she handed me some money.

She said that I must give it to Pastor Don for the church.
(It was 20 rand which is equal to about $2.50.)

Many of the Zulus have the attitude that we should give to them, but here was a lady who had nothing,
but was willing to give to the Lord’s work.

Shortly after that visit, Gogo Zondi passed away.

How I love the area that she lived in.
 This part of Embo is called iBah. 
I always say that if the Lord allows,
I would like to one day live here with the people.

iBah, where Gogo Zondi lived
(See the funeral tent at her home on the side of the hill).
 The long walk to gogo’s house was not the same anymore.
We would no longer be going to see our dear friend.
As we laid her body to rest that day,
I looked around at the many people who were able to come to her funeral to hear the Gospel.

Gogo Zondi's funeral, where she was buried.
There are so many people in iBah who still need to turn from their traditional ancestor worship,
to trusting in the One True and Living God.

Another lady from our church who recently passed away was also from that area.

My dear friend Nelly is without a doubt in Heaven today.
Lodiwe and I would visit her frequently
during her boubts of illness. 
Sadly, two days before Christmas
the Lord took her home to be with Him.
As we mourn her loss,
we also celebrate her love for her Savior. 

During one of our visits to see her, she asked if she could tell us what the Lord had been teaching her lately. 
She opened her Bible to Psalm 23
and read the first few verses :
1.The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
3  He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
4  Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comforteth me. ~Psalm 23:1-4

Nelly was comforted that she knew the Lord was always with her, even through the valley of the shadow of death.

After one of our Sunday services at church,
a few weeks after that visit,
she came up to me and was praising the Lord about the spiritual growth that she had seen in Londiwe.
 It was such a blessing to hear her say, “Londiwe is no longer a girl she has matured as a woman of God”.
I can’t wait to introduce you to Nelly in Heaven!

My grandma, Anna Mae  Leiphart
As most of you know, my grandmother passed away in November.  It was a difficult time, especially for my mom.  I had a hard time encouraging her from so far away.  Hearing her cry as we talked on the phone about all that transpired during that time, tugged at my heart. 
We praise the Lord that 8 people
 received Christ at her funeral.

The Lord also used her death in another way.
One of the young Zulu woman that I have started discipling is Sindi (pronounced  Seen-dee). 
Her gogo passed away a week after mine.

Sindi's home is the first door on the left.
When I went to share some encouraging words from the Bible with the family, what I said to them meant a lot more because I had also recently suffered the same loss
(but I was not able to be at my “gogo’s” funeral). 
I was however, able to be at Sindi’s gogo’s funeral.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~
I have been working on this post since November.
As I am getting ready to publish this,
 I just found out that my Grandma Frey
has just passed away.
I am praising the Lord for her life and all that she has taught me.
My grandmother, Helen Sarah Frey
(this was taken the day before I left for South Africa)
After my grandfather passed away,
"Gram" lived with my parents.
If you walked by her room in the morning, 
you would see her sitting in her chair reading her Bible.
I will always cherish this memory of her.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I began this post with the following passage.  
No matter what "season of life"  you are in,
remember the very last verse -
"He will make everything beautiful in His time".

(see the beginning of this post for the start of this passage)
3  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9  What profit has he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?
10  I have seen the travail, which God has given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 ¶  He has made every thing beautiful in His time:…