Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Getaway!

At the end of September we had us a little weekend getaway.  Steve still spoke in a church that Sunday morning.  We went on Friday and just had some good down time.  It was also on the way to our State Side Conference, so it made that trip shorter or I should say it broke up that trip.


We stayed in a lovely house on a lake called the Broom Tree.  If you look closely, there is a Bible reference on the stone.  1 Kings 19:1-9.  It talks about Elijah running for his life.  He comes to a broom tree and sits under it all night and prays.  An angel comes with food for him to eat to give him strength.  This house is a place to get away from the rat race, a quite place to meditate on God’s word, to grow in God and to gain strength.  Also look closely in the windows, the main part of the house is unfinished!  When we arrived I was wondering for a few minutes where on earth we were staying!


On the other hand the walk out basement is a wonderfully finished cabin.  We fell in love.  Lane now wants a house at a lake when he grows up!


I, Rita, fell in love with the thick green grass.  I miss that when in Zambia.  It was too cold or I would have been going barefoot in it.


Beautiful view of Lake Gaston, with dock and boat house.


Since it was the end of September, I didn’t pack swim suits.  Silly Mamma!  It was chilly, but the kids went swimming anyways.  They couldn’t resist the diving board.


On Sunday I convinced them it was too cold to swim.  They took advantage of this little kayak.



Plenty of places to hang your towels.


The place had a Wii and we don’t, so you know what our kids were doing a lot of.  Also, movies on the shelf we hadn’t seen yet.  Steve fell in love with the couch.


Double bunks!  This room sleeps 10 people!!!


We hauled out the fire pit and made smores! 


I wish we could have enjoyed the deck more, but the cool weather and rain kept us mostly inside.


I think this one sums it all up for us!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lane turns 13!

On October 1st, Lane had a birthday.  We were going to be in Richmond at that time, so we celebrated his birthday early.


One problem we had, no matches.  After living in Africa, you would think we would have candles, matches, and flashlights.  But we didn’t!?!?  So we had cake with no flames.



Now we have three teenagers in the house!

Fun with the Schwarz Cousins!


Schwarz Cousins

This is a picture of some of the Schwarz clan!  Steve’s Uncle Bill lives in Ellijay, GA.  He and his wife had three daughters.  They are married and have children.  A few of those children are boys that are Lane’s age.  So lots of fun was had while there. 

Steve’s brother and wife came up for one evening to visit with us.

Koby (with the red shirt in front) killed a copperhead snake with a gun.  Tobias had fun skinning it.  The copperhead had a frog by the leg swimming in the little swim hole out back.  The frog was trying to get away and pulling the snake with him.  But he soon tired out and the snake won.  In the end though the snake lost!


Not sure what is so funny.


Playing Badminton




I have always wanted my kids to learn how to swim.  I just think it is something every child should learn to do.  While we were at Seminary, Tobias and Heather took one week of swimming lessons and learned how to swim. 

The summer of 2008 we lived in a neighborhood that had a pool.  So almost every morning at 9:00 we walked up to the pool to swim.  I was a mean mommy or so my kids thought.  I made Tobias and Heather swim laps before they could play in the pool.  This was to strengthen their muscles and make them better swimmers.  By the end of the summer Lane and Seth finally were putting their heads under the water! 

For the last three years in Zambia we have had limited opportunities to swim.  They swim in the lake at Isanga Bay, but we have only been there maybe three times.  At our annual mission meeting they have a big pool.  The kids almost spend that whole week in the pool.  Lane and Seth this last time were showing me what they could do.  They were swimming!  But I wouldn’t let them in the deep end yet.  There were just barely swimming.

We came home this July for furlough.  The first three weeks the kids walked up to my cousins house and swam in their pool which was an above ground pool that was only three feet deep, maybe four.  They were practicing their skills!

Then we went to South Carolina and went swimming at a friends house.  They have an in ground pool.  Lane and Seth both informed me that they were going to jump off of the diving board.  And they did!! And they didn’t drowned!  And I didn’t have to jump in and save them.  I am so proud of my kids.






Our Green Back Yard!

We normally don’t see this much green in Zambia.  This is our back yard in Moore, South Carolina.  There are vines growing in the trees and a branch broke off of one of the trees.  Tobias is using his knife to cut the vines and get them out of the yard before the guy with the mower comes.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Family Reunion

An aunt on my dad’s side of the family started planning a reunion for our family almost a year ago.  The second weekend we went to their farm for a fun filled weekend.  The whole extended family picnic was on Saturday.  Only my sister, a cousin, and their families were missing.  All the rest of us made it.  My aunt did all of the cooking for this event.  She is a wonderful cook and the food was sooooo good!  The corn on the cob was the best I have had in I don’t know how long.

Aunts, uncles, cousins, and 2nd cousins means lots of fun.  The adults sat around and visited.  We had fun catching up with each other and what was going on in our lives. 

Before we went to Africa we were at this farm for a similar family reunion picnic.   Every time my kids asked where we were going I answered with, “You know, the farm with the big old barn that you played hide n seek in and got so dirty!” 

So this year my children were on the look out for good hiding places before the other 2nd cousins arrived.  After we had eaten the kids went off to play hide n seek in the barn.  All was very quiet for most of the afternoon.  My uncle kept going out to check on them every once in a while. 

They played hide n seek for a long time.  Several times one or two children just couldn’t be found.  They had managed to find the best hiding spot.  At one time the goats were running around the pen.  Upon investigation at least two of my boys were running around the pen trying to catch a young goat.  After one family went home taking their little boys it got quiet again!?!?  They were in the grain wagon and now they were very dirty.

Playing in the soybeans


Heather is shown here as clean to compare.  She didn’t want to get in the wagon.  For the record our kids were told just how dangerous that can be.  The wagon wasn’t even half full, so they were OK. 

All in all the 2nd cousins had a blast!  The three that went home earlier were younger than this crowd in the picture.  I think those three were troopers in playing games with these older kids and no complaining was heard!!!!!

A Quick Update

We are in the states on furlough and have been for a month!  We spent most of that month living at my Dad’s, visiting my sister and her family, and visiting with Steve’s parents.  Part of one week was spent in South Carolina seeing Doctors.  Our company requires us to have physicals every so often.

While in PA we spoke in three churches already.  These were churches of our family members and not Southern Baptist Churches.  Anyone can be praying for us and this was a wonderful experience to visit and worship with these people.

Now we are back in South Carolina.  We spent this week trying to get organized and moved in.  Also, spent time cleaning.  Today, the kids have been a big help in cleaning the house.   It is nice to be back in a house that is built tighter than our African house and hopefully will not be spending as much time cleaning as we did in Africa!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Two weeks before we left Zambia for our furlough we had a baptism service and 8 people were baptized!  Six were Zambians and two were Lane and Seth.  They went out with their Daddy to Kasesha to attend the Baptism class.


Baptism Seth

Baptism Lane

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Our German Shepherd “Vern” came in and started begging.

<Digimax S500 / Kenox S500 / Digimax Cyber 530>

When Vern sits, he sits on his tail.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Our family loves strawberries.  We also love strawberry jam.  We have strawberry plants in the garden, but they do not supply us with enough strawberries for our jam usage.  Another missionary couple from the States lives on our side of town and grows more strawberries than we do.  Their gardener calls me each week to see if I need strawberries.  We usually buy them, wash, stem, and freeze them.  Then as we need more jam, I get them out and make jam.

Ever since our kids started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have been making strawberry jam.  Every spring in the states mom and dad would come to visit us in South Carolina in May.  Dad, the kids, and I would go strawberry picking.  I remember usually coming home with 9 gallons of strawberries.  Dad would wash and stem them with help from the kids.  I made lunch.  The whole afternoon was spent making jam.  I just stood in front of the stove making jam and filling jars.  I had two pans the same size for making jam.  While I stood and stirred, Dad washed the last pan I used.  He measured the strawberries out for the next batch of jam, mashed them up, and measured the sugar.  The whole day was spent picking, cleaning, and making strawberry jam. 

The last year that we lived in SC we lived near a strawberry farm.  So we just bought them already picked.  I made jam several times a week until we had what we hoped was enough jam to last us the year.

I love using Sur-Jell to make jams.  I had a friend in the states who made jams/jellies the old fashion way: no Sur-Jell.  I wondered why.  It is soooo time consuming.  Well, I packed Sur-Jell to make jam over here in Africa.  I did not pack enough!  I am not sure when I ran out but it was a long time ago.  I have been making jam ever since the old fashion way, but I am no good at it.  You use a spoon to test the doneness of the jam.  You let the jam drip off of it and the way it drips off is a way of telling if it is done.  By the time I think it is dripping the right way, it is over done.  We have caramelized jam and it doesn’t spread on bread.  I have a recipe that says to boil it while stirring for 20 minutes.  It usually is caramelized.  So when I make jam we boil it for 18 minutes.  It is a little runner than if I used the Sur-Jell, but it is what works for me.

Here are some pictures from making jam in 2008.  I love those big red strawberries.  To bad we will be missing the strawberry season in the states.





Not sure where Lane was.  I have no pictures of him helping.

Last week I made the last batch of strawberry jam for this term in Zambia.  It is the colder/dry season right now and while we are still picking strawberries, we are not getting enough to make jam.  So they are going into our oatmeal!  We might have to go buy some jam to make it to the end. Sad smile  The cheapest comes in a tin can and it very dark.  Flavor is not that great, but it will do.

God bless, Rita

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is for Grandpa!


T the Tool Man

Tobias can actually do work and here is a picture to prove it!!

When we lived in the states, every May one of my children went to stay with Grandpa and Grandma Martin for 2 to 3 weeks.  I’m not sure how old Tobias was when he went for the first time.  I do know he was in elementary school.  Grandpa was trying to get Tobias to help him do some work.  Tobias informed Grandpa that, “He was not made to work!”  He has since outgrown this thought, thank goodness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Esther Bible Study by Beth Moore

In January of 2009 some women in our church started this Bible study.  I counted out how many lessons there were and how many weeks I had to do this Bible study before we left for orientation in Richmond, VA.  There was enough weeks and so I decided to do it.  I had never done a Beth Moore Bible study but had heard a lot of good comments from other women.  This was also a way to get to know more women in our church.

Well, I never did get to finish it with that group of women.  Two of the weeks were canceled due to snow storms.  At the end I was just way to busy packing and feeling crunched for time that I wasn’t even getting my lessons/homework done.

I brought the book to Africa.  At some point I started it all over.  I read the book of Esther and I reread all that I had done in the study guide.  But I only got a week or two done beyond what I had already done in the book and then something came up and it sat on the shelf again. 

Then I heard about being able to download the audio, so that I could listen to the lectures that I had missed.  So I wrote down the lessons that I missed and Steve downloaded them for me.  This time I just reread the book Esther again and then just started where I left off in the workbook.  Again one or two more weeks were done and it again went back on the shelf. 

This week I got it off the shelf to see what needed to be done to finish it.  Only one lesson and one audio lesson!!!  Yea!  Last night I finished it!  It only took me three years and four months.

I love reading the book of Esther.  This is the second time I have done it with a group of women as a Bible study.  I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Bible study on Esther.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pictures from the Two Oceans Marathon

2001 TOM comp.

This pic is from 2011.  Notice how tired Steve looks.

2012 TOM comp1.

This picture is from this years race.  It is raining and he is looking much better than last year.

2012 TOM comp2.

Still smiling!!

2012 TOM comp3.

2012 TOM comp4.

Finish Line

2001 TOM finish comp.

Last Years finish.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finishing the Firsts

I didn’t finish the firsts, so here they are:  First time driving by myself for a long trip in Zambia.  Steve usually does all the driving.

First time getting money out of a ATM in Zambia.  I have done it in Jo’burg, South Africa.  Steve left what he thought was enough money.  We didn’t realize some accounts were not set up yet.  So I had to get money to pay for the guest house stay.  There are sooo many people all over the place, it makes me nervous when Steve is getting money out of an ATM.  All bank ATM’s do have guards there 24 hours a day. 

First time putting fuel into our vehicle.  Now I do have to say this is no big deal as all gas stations are full service.  You just pull up and tell them to fill it up.  But I do have to count out all that money to pay for it.  I can’t just swipe my debit card and it be paid for.  I have to count out the bills.  Then I had to remember to fill the book out with mileage, liters put in, amount paid.  I almost forgot the first time.  Then, Tobias took that over as he was riding shotgun.

Now this next one is not a first, but I hardly ever do it.  This is where I’m going to tell you that my husband spoils me and I live him for it.  Putting talk time on my phone.  Here we buy scratch cards and then enter the codes into our phones to get more talk time. 

Now this is a first, sending talk time from my phone to my husbands phone in Cape Town.  It actually is quite easy once you know what you are doing.

Many firsts for Rita in Zambia

Well, in the last post you see that Steve drove or I should say rode to Cape Town, South Africa.  I think Grant did all the driving.  What happened to me.  I got to experience a few firsts.  I have done these things in the states, but not in Zambia.

Sunday and Monday we just hung out around the guest house relaxing.  I did still have a few errands to run.  After a week of meetings and all that traveling, I just needed some down time to relax.  I spent a lot of time lying in bed or the chair reading a book and getting lots of sleep.

On Monday night, our team leader, Blake Kimbrough hitched up our trailer to our vehicle for me.  Then, He and my kids with Joel Scheafer’s help loaded up the trailer.  He then got it all lined up so that I could just pull out of the parking lot.  I don’t claim to have any knowledge on how to back up a vehicle with a trailer attached. 

Side note:  Joel Scheafer came down to Lusaka with his dad to see a dentist and he rode back to Mbala with us.  We were glad to have him along.  It turned out to be quite handy to have two teenage boys with us when the trailer came unhitched in Kasama.  They had to do quite a bit of cranking the wheel down to get the hitch up and hooked up again.  The trailer, I think was the heaviest it has ever been.

So, to the firsts:  I do drive, but Steve does all the driving on our long trips.  I drove from Lusaka to Mbala for the first time all by myself!  We did do it in two days.

When we first pulled into Lusaka at the beginning of this trip we met the Sprayberries.  They are missionaries who use to work with our mission and started the 40/40 orientation training we have here in Zambia.  They live along our route to Mbala and invited us to stop over some time.  I jumped right in an asked if it would suit for us to stop in on our way back.  I did ask them if I would have to back up that trailer.  Luckly, they had a circle drive.

So our first day we only drove about 5 hours.  I was all prepared.  While doing long drives to my parents house in the states when we lived in South Carolina, I learned that audiobooks keep me awake.  I can stay awake the whole trip with Steve driving, but put me in the drivers seat and I want to go right to sleep.  So I had two books lined up and that is what we listened to.

Wednesday, we left around 8AM to drive the rest of the way home.  I think we pulled into the Schaefer’s place at 5PM.  Lynne had supper waiting for us.  Tobias and Joel unloaded all of their things.  Then we went home.  It was so nice to sleep in our own beds after being gone 2 weeks and 1 day.

Steve goes to Cape Town, South Africa Again!

Sunday morning, after our drive back from Malawi, Steve and Grant Schaeffer left Lusaka at 4AM to drive to Cape Town, South Africa to run in the Two Oceans Marathon.  It took them 4 long days of driving.  They arrived Wednesday evening.

The goal this year was to run it in under 6 hours.  It is a 56K marathon.  They ran it in 6 hours 8 minutes last year.  This year  was cold and raining.  The finish line is on a nice grassy green field.  By the time they crossed it, it was just sloppy, mucky, yucky mud!  They did cross the line in 5 hours and 59 minutes. 

Steve felt much better prepared this year.  The hill training paid off.  Grant kept telling him to go on, but Steve was determined not to leave him.  Last year was Grant’s year and he wouldn’t leave Steve. 

On Monday morning Steve got on a plane and flew back to Lusaka.  He took a taxi to the bus station and got on a bus for Mbala.  He arrived back in Mbala Tuesday morning.  He had been gone for three weeks.  He is a homebody and was so glad to be back home.  But I don’t think he will be stepping back on a bus anytime soon.  We see lots of bus accidents here and after riding on one, we now know why they wreck a lot.

Steve kept texting me all night long telling me were he was.  He thought I might have to drive out to the junction and pick him up at 4 in the morning.  I would get a text that just said: Mpeka.  Then: Kasama.  These are towns on the way.  The last text said: backdoor.  It was 4 AM I was so glad I didn’t have to get up and drive some where that early in the morning to pick him up.

Back to Zambia!

Saturday morning we left Sun n Sand.  It took us 13 hour to arrive back in Lusaka.  We saw a very bad accident on the way home.  It makes you appreciate what the US has.  You also wonder how do they deal with this stuff.  The accident must have just happened.  People were walking down the road to it but haven’t arrived yet.  I wanted to stop, but then what can I do.  I have no medical training.  I don’t speak the language.  I can’t even call 911.  I can pray and so did.

We thank God for our safety in all our traveling.  In the last town before Lusaka we forgot about a big speed bump and the paint has worn off of it.  Steve slammed the brakes, but we still hit it a little to hard.  I think the trailer had lift off for a second or two.  When this has happened before, we stop and check things out.  Everything is usually alright and so this time Steve didn’t stop.  We got into Lusaka and wondered why when we are going slow the trailer is jerking us so much.  The trailer had come unhitched!  The chain was the only thing holding it to our vehicle!  We thank God for protecting us and those around us.  A loose trailer could be very dangerous.


I forgot to tell you that a church from the states comes to help us with these meetings.  The pastor came and preached two sermons for us a day.  The music pastor came and led the singing.  The youth pastor and his wife came and did what ever youth pastors and youth do!!  Several more come and took care of the children: nursery workers and VBS teachers.

We couldn’t do these meetings without their help.  So, Thank you very much Judson Baptist from Tennessee for helping us out this year.  We appreciated it very much.

Thank you to the church members back home for letting us have them for a whole week.  They gave them up for two Sundays.  Thank you for the sacrifice.


On Sunday morning we left very early for Lilongwe, Malawi, where we stayed in the Baptist Mission Guest house over night.  On Monday we drove the remaining 4 hours to Sun n Sand.  We arrived in time for lunch.

The first year here on the mission field we didn’t have this meeting – budget cuts.  As new missionaries we didn’t know what we were missing.  Now we do.  We have now been to two of these meetings.

It is a wonderful time of seeing other missionary friends that we only get to see once a year.  We get to have a blessed time singing and worshiping in English.  Until you have been overseas for a few years can you understand that.  It is just a blessing to sing and worship on your mother tongue.  That is the reason we need to learn ciBemba, so that the people we are witnessing to can hear the gospel message in their own mother tongue. 

The kids get to do VBS.  They loved it this year.  They changed rooms for everything.  Last year you stayed in the same room all morning.  This year music was in one room, story in another, craft in another.  I think this just broke up the morning better for them.  Heather got to be with the youth this year.  Oh my!  My children are growing up faster than I want them to!!

The biggest hit is the swimming pool!  Tobias and Heather can swim a little.  Tobias will go in the deep end, Heather stays away from it.  Lane and Seth actually are showing signs of learning to swim.  They are getting so close.  I’m hoping what while we are home this summer they will get some time to improve these skills.  It is a little sad for me to see other missionary kids diving off the diving board and they are only in 1st grade.  But they live in the city with access to a swimming pool.  Plus it is much hotter where they live.

Another high light for our two youngest is the swings.  They still love to swing.  We are seeing the need to have a swing here in our yard.  Still trying to figure out how to do that.

Swings comp

Seen in Lusaka

We go grocery shopping at Shoprite for most everything on our list.  Then we go to Spar to find things Shoprite didn’t have.  While in Spar on the dog food isle we saw Purina Puppy Chow for $90 US dollars a bag.  I couldn’t believe the price.  I quoted the Zambian Qwatcha price to Steve for him to calculate.  We then were wondering who had that kind of money and were there enough of those people in Lusaka for the store to actually stock this on their shelves?!?!?


You maybe wondering why we go to Lusaka so early for a meeting that doesn’t start until Monday.  So I’ll tell you.

We are driving a vehicle that we don’t own, our mission owns it.  So we have to get “Interpol” on it.  This is a paper giving proof that we have permission to drive the vehicle and to drive it into other countries.  Proof that we haven’t stolen it.  We also needed to get insurance to drive it in Malawi.

So on Thursday morning we left the quest house early to go to a lab and get blood work done.  This is in getting ready to come stateside.  We need to know what our cholesterol levels are.  Steve and I both are eating and will be eating a lot more oatmeal in the next three months.

Steve then dropped us back at the quest house and he went to get Interpol.  He spent the rest of the morning sitting in a queue (line).  At the Interpol office you do all the paperwork in the mornings and then the next day in the afternoon you pick it up.  Steve was getting worried.  He needed to do the paperwork on Thursday morning and pick it up on Friday afternoon.  We were leaving Sunday morning for Malawi. 

His number was never called.  But God took care of us.  Steve was wearing a shirt that had the words “Baptist Mission” on it.  A guy came out of the office, saw his shirt and started up a conversation.  I won’t give the rest of the details, but we got our Interpol.  Next time we will be coming a day earlier.  That was just too close.

The rest of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were spent running here and there shopping.  Pharmacy, grocery stores, and Live Stock Services where we loaded up on dog food.  This is our last trip to Lusaka before we leave to go on Stateside.  Se we needed to get enough dog food for Vern to last him the six months we are gone.

One of the highlights of coming to Lusaka is seeing other missionaries and their kids.  The kids in our mission call the adults Aunt and Uncle.  All the kids consider each other cousins.

Over a year ago in January, our team members the Adairs came to visit us.  We otherwise only see them in Lusaka and at meetings.  There oldest, Hutch, really likes Tobias.  Last April when we arrived in Lusaka to prepare for this yearly meeting he came out of his room at the guest house asking me, “Where are my kids?”  He wanted to know where my children were, he wanted to play with them. 

This year was no different.  We have stayed in the same room at the guest house every time we have come in for the last year.  Hutch saw that we were there and came right up to see us.  He loves teasing Tobias and playing with him.  They spent a good 15 minutes tickling each other and Hutch telling Tobias, “You stink!” He would then pinch his nose shut.  Next time I looked this is what I saw.  I guess Tobias didn’t stink too bad!

T and H comp

Traveling to our Annual Cluster Meeting

Once a year our cluster gets together for a meeting.  For us we actually start preparing for this meeting a week before it starts.  Actually, three weeks before, I started putting some baked goods in the freezer.  The Monday before the meeting we got the vehicle cleaned, all our laundry done, and packed up. 

On Tuesday March 20th, we left Mbala around 10 AM.  We only traveled 1 1/2  hours to Kasama.   Steve was not going to be back from this trip in time for certain deadlines.  So we needed to stop here and take care of things early.  First stop: DMV.  That is what it is called in America anyways.  This would be the 3rd time Steve has stopped here to get the trailer inspected/papers for the next year.  The first time it was too early: meaning the old papers are still good for some time yet and they wouldn’t do it.  I think the second time, Steve stood in line for forever and got tired of it.  He decided, we don’t need it until this trip, so left.  This time the line was moving and he got it all done.  This time also the guy actually came out and looked at the trailer and we had to turn on all the lights!!!!  They never come out and look at things.  We have gotten the trailer inspection before and didn’t even have the trailer with us. 

We stayed in the mission’s house over night.  We come to realize that where we live in Mbala is a quiet part of town.  We  were just falling to sleep when a fight broke out next door.  I was wishing for our dog Vern, I was wishing for imbedded broken glass on the wall and barbed wire, and I was wishing for a higher wall.  The guard was great and knew what was going on.  It became a chance to pray for the widow lady next door, for her safety, her salvation, and for her family.  Alcohol was the problem.  Alcohol is a big problem here in this country.

Wednesday we drove to Lusaka.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Preparing for the “Two Oceans” Race

Steve has been preparing for this race for a while now.  I thought I would just give you a picture or two of my now pretty lean husband. 

Race prep comp 1.

Just a little story to explain the bike.  In January 2012 we had to prepare our budget for the year 2013.  It is hard to think on ahead about how much money you will need for fuel.  You plan your trips and budget accordingly.  Last years budget was the first one Steve prepared I think for us.  A few more trips were made than we budgeted for and so the fuel budget was coming up short for the year. 

Steve was driving 10k to the Schaefer’s house to run with Grant five mornings a week.  So to save on fuel he started biking the 10k over to his house.  Run with Grant and then bike the 10k home.  He also started riding his bike just about everywhere he had to go in town here.  For a while the only time our vehicle left the carport was to take our family to church on Sunday and a family outing to the Schaefer’s for tea on Friday afternoons.

All this biking and running has slimmed Steve down quite a bit. 

Race prep comp 2.

Just a little side note.  Today Steve is trying to fix his bike.  On Tuesday was Luke Schaefer’s birthday.  He wanted his Auntie Rita to make him homemade vanilla ice cream.  Steve is usually in Maround doing ministry on Tuesday afternoons.  That morning Steve biked to Schaefer’s, ran, and then biked home.  He let us have the vehicle to go there in the afternoon.  He biked to Maround and then biked out to the Schaefer’s again for cake and ice cream. 

We loaded up his bike on top of our vehicle to go home.  We actually do this quite a bit with the kids bikes so that the children can all ride bikes while we are at the Schaefer’s.  Steve and I keep telling ourselves one of these days we are going to forget that we have bikes on our roof and drive right into the carport.  Well this was the day we forgot.  Steve’s bike got a little crunched up.  The seat pole was bent.  The back tire doesn’t work right and something with the gears is messed up.  Plus he needs a new brake handle.  The roof rack needs some work too.  The carport is just fine.

Birthday Party

On February 28th I celebrated another birthday!  My friend Lynne made dinner for us at her house.  It was  a day with no electric.  She made Curried Chicken and Naan bread.  It was sooooo good!!  Sebastian sliced cucumbers and made a wonderful tasting dressing that he drizzled over them.  Heather made the cake.  It was nice to relax, visit, and celebrate with friends.

Birthday dinner comp 1.

Birthday dinner comp 2.

Birthday dinner comp 3.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just Another Rainy Sunday in Africa!

This morning started out cool and cloudy, but there was patches of  blue sky.  Lane has been asking for cinnamon rolls for breakfast this week, so last night I made them with Heather’s help.  Steve baked them this morning.  A very nice smell to wake up to.

At 8:40 we left the house to drive to church.  On the way we picked up the Singoma family.  Usually our vehicle has 13 people in it to go to church.  This morning Wigan Singoma rode his bike to church.  We arrived at the church, unlock it and then start cleaning it.  We sweep the floors, dust the benches, and then rearrange the benches to how we want them.   The church next door was singing a song I knew.  So the Bemba words were running round in my head.  A new experience that happens every once in a while.

We were surprised with two visitors who rode their bikes 24K from the border of Tanzania to come to our church this morning!  Smile Two weeks ago Steve started doing ministry in Zombe.  It is 24K north on the Tanzanian border.  The one man he met while doing ministry there.  This man brought his brother all the way into Mbala to attend church this morning!!!

The rains held off until about noon.  First a cloud came in real low.  It looked like a fog would come right in the windows.  Then came a drizzle and then a down pour that kept up for over an hour.  No one had umbrellas.  So we hung around for a while just passing the time. 

The guys from the border needed to get back for a funeral this afternoon.  So we ran out in the rain to our vehicle.  Steve drove the Singoma’s home first.  We had to go in the back way.  The main road in front of the house isn’t really passible even with 4 wheel drive.  It has a lovely clay mud that just coats the tires.  Then he took us home.  Vern our dog didn’t even come to the gate it was raining so hard.

I sliced a loaf of bread, made popcorn, and hot tea, so that the guys would have something to eat.  Steve drove them home and hopes to be back in Mbala in time for his afternoon Bible study at 3 PM.

We usually rest on Sunday afternoons.  That is the kids and I do.  The kids if they have tests or quizzes on Monday study for them.  Quite often the electric if off.  Today though it is on at normal strength.  A rare thing.  So I did a go of laundry, thinking that Steve will need his running gear for in the morning, forgetting  that he is going to Kasama.  So he will not be running.  I also have started a bread dough, as I gave them my loaf of bread for tomorrow’s lunch.  

It is now almost four PM.  It is still raining.  Steve will not be home for another hour.  It is still letting down a heavy drizzle.  Supper will be popcorn.  So I am off to put up my feet.

Actually, Steve just called to ask that I send someone out to the gate as he is almost at it.  When it is raining this much no one shows up to the Bible study.  Seth got the gate.  The interesting thing is a strange car followed Steve in.  They just got done putting some gas in his car.  So we shall see what that is all about.

OK, update.  Steve got back to the church and loaded the three bikes on top of our vehicle in the pouring rain.  There were still people who live right there in Maround at the church.  So everybody loaded into the vehicle and Steve took them home.  It was 2:15 when all of this was happening.  He was not going to make it there and back in time for Bible Study.

Going out of Town just at Lake Chila they passed a slow going truck.  Wigan recognized the man.  He was one of the guys they have visited out in Kasesha, who had fed them lunch the one time they were there.  He had come in yesterday and was going home today.  So praise the Lord.  He took the guys home.  Steve and Wigan made it back to the church by 2:45.  They waited until 3:30 to make sure no one was coming before they came home.

The car was Steve’s friend George from Zesco.  He is being transferred to Isoka and ran out of money filling his car up.  So Steve helped him out.  He is going to Isoka for  part of this week.  He is going to bring us back Isoka rice!

OK, now maybe I will prop my feet up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Steve’s Saturday Morning Run

Steve is and has been in training for the Two Ocean’s Marathon which is a 56K run.  He and Grant Schaefer will be running this race again this year.  It is the Saturday before Easter.  After the run last year he decided he needed more hill training this year.  We have the hills, so this is not a problem.   Wednesdays is usually the hill training run.  A few Saturdays ago they did a pretty long run up this hill.  Grant is now in the states and so Steve is training here by himself.  Saturday mornings are when they do the long run.  So . . . . . . . .

This past Saturday Steve got me up at 4:50 so that I could drop him off at the bottom of this hill for a 20 mile run or 32K.  The elevation where he started at is 2,864 feet above sea level.  The elevation at the top where he stopped is 5,426 feet above sea level.  This is about a 1/2 mile climb straight up in elevation.   He made it and is feeling good.  It was raining when I dropped him off, but the sun did come out.  He is not a lover of working outside in the sunshine.  They usually start running by 6 AM.  He wanted to be running by 5:30 to avoid as much sunshine as possible. 

In the Two Ocean’s Marathon there is a hill called Chapman's Peak.  Steve basically ran up four and a half of those on Saturday!!  The following graph shows you the run.

Hills Mbala, Zambia 2012-02-04, Elevation

One morning a few weeks ago, Steve took these pictures of a full rainbow and the sunrise on his morning run.

Rainbow composite compressed

Please pray for Grant and Steve as they train.  Grant is in the States for a month speaking in churches.  Pray he finds the time to train.  Pray for them as they train separately.  Running with a partner helps to motivate you when it is pouring down rain outside and you would rather just stay in bed.  It is the rainy season!  Pray for them the week before Easter as they are driving down this year.  I think it is a long five day drive to get there.  Pray for them the Saturday before Easter, the day of the race.  Pray for Steve as he flies back home the following week and then rides a bus up to Mbala.  Pray for me!!  I will be driving for the first time all the way home from Lusaka with a trailer.  I can do long drives, I just don’t like to.

It took them 6 hours and 8 minutes to run it last year.  The goal this year is to run it under 6 hours.

God bless,

Rita for the Schwarz gang.