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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

(written on the morning of July 1)

Greetings from London once again! I am in transit on my way back to the States after being in Zambia for the full 6 weeks. A lot has happened in that time but it still doesn't seem like it has really been six weeks since I was sitting in this very same airport lounge. I'll definitely miss all my new friends and hopefully I'll see most of them again at the annual conference at the end of the year.

After returning from the AMT bush expedition, most of my time was spent in the warehouse or doing other work on base. I spent a day and a half putting the final welds on the AMT motorcycle stands and also did some work on a couple vehicles and helped Paul with some plumbing. Jeff had a problem with the clutch in his Land Rover and my old nemesis the Pajero kept overheating and had a strange noise coming from the brakes. We got them sorted out as best we could but we should have parked the Pajero on the edge of the gorge and 'accidentally' let it roll off a long time ago. The Pajero has been around for a long time and has been used for a vast number of trips to villages to do ministry, but it has been run into the ground and rebuilt so much that it's rapidly approaching the end of its life.

AMT had to go out for the 4x4 driving practical exercise so we all got up early and drove one of the DAF trucks out to a dry sandy riverbed to do some recovery training. It took longer than expected to get the truck stuck but eventually we were able to stick it well enough in the sand to get the class digging it out. We got the truck out in time to collect more sand for our volleyball court, buy lunch in town, and take a break to celebrate JJ's birthday. JJ is one of my college buddies that I've been in Bible study with and now he's in the AMT class.

One vehicle related highlight of my week was that I got to drive Dan's Land Rover to the airport myself for the first time ever. Keep in mind that this is a stick-shift, left hand drive vehicle and it's a 45 minute drive to the airport on a dirt road through a village, then a tar road all the way into and through Livingstone. It was just a quick trip to pick up three people but it was pretty sweet. I also got to drive one of the big DAF trucks on the base for the first time.

I climbed both water towers on the base several times in the past few days. Paul has been devising a plan to install some special valves and fittings to make the water supply system work more efficiently so he needed me to climb the ladder up to the top of the tower to replace some parts.

The Angola team returned on Thursday night and had loads of stories to tell. It turns out that only a handful of the team were able to get in to the country and then the police made them leave shortly thereafter even though they had legit visas. It was a bummer that they didn't get to Angola as planned, but God opened doors in Zambia's Western Province and a lot of cool ministry happened there. The Gospel was introduced to new villages, relationships with area leaders were strengthened, and the team made contact with a hard to find people group called Bushmen. (If you've ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, you'll know who the Bushmen are. Seriously, that movie is for real.)

Now I'm heading back to Madison and moving on to my next adventure. Through my traveling, finishing college, and working, I've seen more and more how awesome life is when I'm closely following Christ. It might not always seem like it when I'm just going to work or some other “normal” activity, but life is not merely good, life is epic.