Tuesday, June 16, 2009
On the road again
Today we discovered that we could get pizza from town delivered to the base. It was amazing. Now I can honestly say that I've had pizza delivered to my tent in Africa.
I led welding class throughout all of last week and we finished on Saturday. The class was split into 4 teams and each team had to complete a project by the end of the week and their grade would be based on the quality of the finished project. The students were eager to get practice with the welder once we got out of the classroom and they saw how cool welding actually is. Some groups didn't have enough practice time during class so they came in during their free time to get some more instruction. The project for the class was to build motorcycle stands to make it easier to work on all the bikes on the base and by the end of the week we had 4 stands almost completely done. Everyone seemed to enjoy the class and they definitely got some practice with the basics of arc welding. Hopefully they'll never have to use what they've learned in an emergency situation but the knowledge will be there if needed.
We've since moved on to the 4x4 driving portion of the training and I've been tag-teaming the instruction with Ciaran, one of my Overland staff buddies. We did a day of lecturing and watching instructional videos of pro 4x4 guys and we'll get out to do a practical demonstration next week. The practical will most likely consist of Ciaran and I getting a Land Rover stuck in a dry river bed and the class trying to get it out by digging, winching, etc.
Today we packed one of the expedition trucks and we're heading out into the bush tomorrow. The AMT class goes out to do village ministry 3 times during the course and I've been invited to go along this time, their second trip. We leave tomorrow morning (Wednesday) and it will take about 6 hours to drive to our destination and we'll be there until Sunday. Overland has worked in the village we're going to and actually a conference has been set up for us with about 50 Head Men from villages in the area. I've never been on one of the African expeditions and this should be a good one to be on. The trip is actually part of what the sector manager is working on in that area of Zambia so it's a big help to him that we're going. Sector management is a strategy that Overland uses that puts a missionary couple in charge of reaching and developing the villages in a specific plot of land by using short term expeditions, the LIFE Project, SAM Project, and the Rural Pastors Network. These are all partner organizations or branches of Overland Missions designed to bring humanitarian aid, social work, Christian discipleship, and sustainable agriculture and microenterprises to villages in need. So far there are active sectors in Zambia and some upcoming ones in the neighboring countries.
The Victoria Falls expedition returned on Friday and it sounded like it was a good one. The members really enjoyed it and had some excellent stories to share with us. Even the team leaders said it was a really fun and productive trip. They were at a location about a 12 hour drive away and they actually went right through where we are going for our expedition. Their team have all boarded planes to their respective homes so the base is relatively quiet again. There's about 34 people on the base now but there will be only 8 or 10 after the AMT expedition leaves in the morning.
I've received more info about what we'll be doing at the conference and in the villages. The conference is a leadership conference of Head Men hand picked by the local chief himself. Overland staff will be speaking at the conference from Thursday through Saturday and we will take turns sitting in on meetings. We will also be doing evangelism at the conference meetings and in the villages nearby. This is a very unique situation and it has the potential of raising up strong Christian village leaders and impacting the life of the chief of a large area of Zambia. It's kind of a big deal.