Meet Nyawa

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The creation of Agape Village Orphanage in the middle of the Zambian bush is the culmination of many miracles, as founders Mickey and Jackie Bailey will tell you. Every step, from getting the land, to making the bricks, to getting 84 beds built and delivered, was directed by God. “We learned, when things would come up, things we were not sure how we were going to address, that if we were patient, God was going to bring us an answer,” Mickey says.

One of the most important miracles God brought to Agape Village Orphanage is the director of the orphanage, Nyawa Lungu.

As the construction of the orphanage moved closer to completion in 2011, Mickey and Jackie knew they had to find someone to run the orphanage and take care of the children. Though the couple felt welcomed and at home in Zambia, they had no idea where to start looking for a qualified person to run Agape Orphanage.

Concern began to mount. In March, 2011, a team of volunteers who had travelled to Zambia from North Carolina were with Mickey and Jackie and no one was really sure where to turn to find a suitable director. As Mickey and Jackie and their friends sat at dinner one night, discussing options, they received word that someone was waiting outside to talk to them about the orphanage director job.

In walked Nyawa Lungu.

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Nyawa says she ran into Mickey at a gas station a few months earlier and saw the logo for Agape Village Foundation on the van he was driving. She says she asked him about it and he told her they had a website. She looked up the website and started following the progress of the orphanage from the nearby village where she was working. She noticed when the website posted information about the search for an orphanage director. Nyawa prayed and thought about it for a while, and decided she’d like to learn more about the position. (Mickey says he doesn’t remember seeing Nyawa at the gas station and can’t believe he actually remembered the website address – a miracle in itself.)

Nyawa grew up in Zambia and went to college in Lusaka and England, getting a degree in child psychology and a certificate in nutritional hygiene. She has also completed some studies in nursing and computer science. “I have a passion for working with children,” Nyawa says. Before considering the job at Agape Village Orphanage, Nyawa worked in retail and at Hope Children Center, a ministry dedicated to helping local children in Serenje. “My conviction to help children grew after I had my own daughter in 2004,” Nyawa says.

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Mickey and Jackie can recount many instances where God answered their prayers in Zambia. But sending Nyawa when He did, was especially heartening for them and all the volunteers working to get the orphanage up and running.

After a formal interview and getting to know Nyawa, Mickey and Jackie knew they had found the right director for the orphanage.

“She was a blessing from God – one in a long line of miracles we’ve seen in Zambia,” says Jackie.

Today Nyawa oversees the care of 65 children at the orphanage, making sure they feel loved and safe and ensuring their spiritual, educational and physical needs are being met.

Nyawa says the best part about her job is the children. She says she loves the children at the orphanage very much and it is her passion to help them get the best education they can, and be successful.

Agape Village Foundation is humbled and so thankful for all the people God has sent who help make the Agape Village Orphanage a safe refuge for Zambian children. Nyawa is a true treasure. (Below, see some photos of Nyawa with her treasure, her daughter Faith.)

 

 

 

 

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Hope and a Future

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By Mickey and Jackie Bailey

Friends, to start a story of a great accomplishment at Agape Orphanage in 2017, we have to go back to 2016.

In October 2016 we returned to Zambia to visit the 65 children who call Agape Orphanage home. As always, it was exciting to see the children so bright-eyed and happy. We praise our God who has provided for these children a loving, Christian environment, food, medical care and a chance to be educated.

One focus of the October 2016 trip was to visit Reuben Village, a remote village close to the Congo, to check on a 4-year-old boy named Joseph who had recently lost four of his siblings to starvation. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of death in the Zambian bush. We planned to take Joseph’s mother and her relatives a 110-pound bag of maize, some cooking oil and bread.

The trip to Reuben Village consisted of a two-hour ride on a roughly paved road, a one hour ride on a dirt path, a river crossing in a dugout canoe and a one-mile hike into the village. Once there, we shared our supplies with Joseph’s mother and checked on Joseph, who seemed okay.

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Canoe Captain, taking us to Joseph’s village.

We first met Joseph and his older brother Mambwe when they were brought to Agape Orphanage by their mother a few months earlier. This mother had just lost four of her children to starvation and Joseph and Mambwe were malnourished. The two boys were left at Agape Orphanage and Mambwe began to flourish. Joseph, however, was so young, he found it difficult to be away from his mother and, consequently, stopped eating.

The options before us were for Joseph to stay at Agape Orphanage where there was plenty of food and maybe die of starvation, or to return him to his mother in her village where there was little food and maybe have him die there from starvation. After much prayer, our choice was for Joseph to be with his mother and to hopefully be happy and survive. Sometimes the choices that we have to make in Zambia are as hard as the bush is harsh.

On our long drive back to Agape Orphanage, we felt that surely we had done the most important thing God had intended us to do on this trip. There were plenty of other important things we would do back at the orphanage, but none so important as taking food to Joseph’s small village. Little did we know God had even bigger plans for this trip than we had even imagined.

Our Agape children attend a government school located about a mile from the orphanage. We have always known that the education there was not the best, but we had hoped that it would improve over time. That has not happened. A few days after our Joseph excursion, we found ourselves sitting in the village school, sitting with a class of 55 fourth graders. It was much worse than we had expected.

Though schooling issues were not even remotely on our minds when we came to Zambia on this trip, as we left the village school that October day, we knew without a doubt, God was nudging us to build Agape Village School. By May 2017, construction had started. And as you can see in the photo, God has performed another miracle in the Zambian bush.

Our journey with God in Zambia over the last eight years has been awesome! We have been overwhelmed by the way we have seen God’s power at work in Zambia and have surely learned that God’s plans are the best plans — and God’s plans never fail.

Please continue to pray for Agape Village Orphanage and we wish you a New Year full of opportunities to spread God’s love and blessings — and witness a few miracles for yourself.

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The Agape Village Orphanage School in October 2017, set to open in 2018.

“For I know the plans I have made for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

Update – November 2016

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Dear Friends,

It is always exciting to return to Agape Orphanage in Zambia, even after having been there dozens of times.  Among the many things that we planned to do on our trip this last October, the best was to meet the newest Agape children.  What bright smiling faces met us!  The wonder in this is that these children have come to Agape Orphanage from such bad situations, but it is evident that they now feel safe and loved.  This “gang of six” pictured right, consists of Michael (3 yrs), Juliet and Alice (5 yrs), Danny, Isaac, and Margaret (6 yrs).  It gives us great pleasure to see what God has provided at Agape Orphanage so that these young children can have a chance in life.

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Pictured below, the youngest children learned how to plant the sweet potatoes that we introduced on this trip.  Zambia does not grow sweet potatoes as we know them, and we have been anxious to add this nutritious vegetable to our wonderful Agape garden.  Once these potatoes sprout, there will be lots of sweet potato plants for the garden.

img_1206Watering a garden in Zambia is usually done totally by hand. Because the Agape garden feeds over 60 children it is quite large, and our gardener has been spending 5 hours each day just on watering.  We have, therefore, been wanting to install some type of irrigation system to help him with this job. In October, we installed a drip line irrigation system from our well, and all the gardener has to do is turn a valve.  Now he has lots of extra time for his other chores.

Another first for us on the October trip was video conferencing. For years we have dreamed of being able to connect in real time by internet to a school classroom or to a church in America.  On October 11 at 4:15 PM Zambian time, 10:15 AM American time, we connected to Sydney Boggs’ 3rd grade classroom in Efland, NC.  We were thrilled to finally connect after many failures.  The Agape children were very excited to see children in a classroom in America, and we could see that Sydney’s class was thrilled to connect with our children in Zambia.  The children shared names, talked about what foods they preferred, and then each class sang a song to the other class.  It was an amazing moment, not only for the children, but for the teachers and for all of us.  Thanks to Sydney who, along with her husband Zach, spent a month last summer at Agape Village Orphanage working and bonding with our children.img_3266-jpg

 

Education has always been a big concern for us.  One of the reasons we built Agape Village Orphanage was to make sure that these orphaned and vulnerable children could go to school, be properly educated, and have a better chance at life. We have learned over time that the government schools, especially in the “bush” where we are located, are often less than desirable. In our village there have been many times when teachers did not show up for class and, recently, our 3rd grade students did not receive complete end of term scores because their teacher had come to class intoxicated on so many occasions.  Add to this the fact that the classes our children attend in the local school regularly have from 45 – 55 children per class, and one can readily understand why we found it necessary to hire 2 full time tutors at Agape Orphanage this year.  Having Jacob and Friday working with our children each day at the orphanage has made a big difference, but this still has not resolved the issue and we are beginning to feel that much of the time our children spend in the local school each day is wasted time.

After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, we believe our next phase at Agape Village Orphanage is to build a school where our children can be properly educated.  It will be a private school, initially for first through seventh grades and with some space available for other local children.  Being private, we will have control over the quality of the teachers and the learning curriculum.  It is a big undertaking for us to build a school and to hire teachers, but we feel this is surely God’s plan for us at this time so that our “gang of six,” as well as all of our other children at Agape, have a chance at a promising future.  With God’s help and with your prayers and support, we will work hard to make this school a reality.

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Blessings from our Zambian family to yours,

Mickey and Jackie Bailey

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “ plans to prosper you….plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

 

Rejoice In The Lord

 

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“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!”          Philippians 4:4

All during our recent trip to Zambia, these words of the Apostle Paul rang in my head.  There was so much for us to rejoice about at every turn!

When our team of 6 finally arrived in Chitambo on Sunday morning after several long days of traveling, we stopped to worship with our friends in the village before going to Agape Orphanage.  It was Palm Sunday, and the people of Chitambo were processing to church waving palm branches of various sizes and shapes that they were able to collect along the way.  Not all were able to find palms to wave, but all were singing and praising God as they took the dusty walk to their church.

The worship was vibrant on this Palm Sunday morning, as it is every time we worship with our African brothers and sisters.  During the singing I was reminded that David danced before the Lord with abandon.  Why should I be surprised to see that here?  The enthusiasm I always feel in an African service causes me to believe that our African friends will surely be leading the choirs in heaven.

P3250959.JPGAs soon as the church service concluded, we left for Agape Orphanage.  What a beautiful sight met us as we reached the end of the long, narrow sandy road!  Agape Orphanage is truly an oasis in the middle of the African bush – an oasis that God has provided for many children, and for those who care for them.  Flowers are blooming at the base of each tree in the front yard where they have been carefully planted.  The ground has been swept clean with homemade African brush brooms, and carefully planted grass is beginning to spread from a corner of the front yard.  I feel much joy when I see all of this because I know that the same care I am seeing displayed on the outside of the building is, also, being given to the children who live in this place.

Upon entering Agape Orphanage, we saw the children waiting expectantly for us, as always.  We know that the shyness we now see will dissipate quickly as we interact with them – and it does.

Over the next several days we sing and we laugh; we dance and we hold hands; we decorate beautiful foam crosses and we make paper flowers; we fly kites and throw Frisbees; we twirl hula hoops and we write letters; we teach the children how to hit a ball with a bat and we watch them play volleyball.  And, in the midst of all of this, we wonder who is having the most fun – the children, or our team of 6.

Each evening before dinner is served at Agape Orphanage, the children have a time of devotion, usually conducted by a staff member.  One evening we were literally taken aback when one of our boys, Gasper who is 11, did the devotion.  Not only did Gasper have a wonderful message to deliver using 2 different passages of scripture which he tied together very nicely, but he did it all in perfect English!  This is really huge since these children have come from a bush culture where people mostly do not speak English, but one of the 73 dialects of Zambia.  What a thrill to see the results of both good spiritual training and good training in English.

Also, while in Zambia, our team did some outreach projects away from the orphanage on two days.  Team member and optometrist, Charlotte High, examined eyes in two different villages, screening for cataracts and giving out reading glasses to those in need of them. Peggy Perry assisted Charlotte, as did our Agape Orphanage Director and Matron, Nyawa Lungu and Annie Mutale.  Also assisting on one of these days were two members of the AVF Board in Zambia, Mr. Chansa and Mr. Lukwesi.

On the day that the eye camp was being conducted in Chitambo by the women on our team, Gerald Batts, Bill Deans and Mickey were busy installing a new radio antenna on the water tower at Chitambo Hospital.  These men worked many hours securing the antenna so that the hospital can communicate via two-way radio with out-lying bush clinics that cannot reach the hospital by any other means.  When this project was completed, communication was possible with even the farthest clinic which is more than 100 miles from Chitambo Hospital.  This will be a huge help to the hospital.

The second of the two eye clinics was conducted in Teta, where our friend Reverend Dan lives and has a church.  During the entire time that the eye clinic was underway in Teta, the Teta Church choir members were singing joyfully in new choir robes that were purchased for them by a friend in the US and brought by our team to Zambia.  When the eye clinic was concluded, the Teta Church provided a lovely African meal for us as a way of thanking us for the eye clinic and the choir robes.  It was a wonderful day of rejoicing, even though our dear friend, Dan, was not feeling well as a result of repeatedly having malaria over the last year.

On the day before we left Chitambo, Bill Deans, team member and neurologist, was called upon to examine a government official who was at Chitambo Hospital and was exhibiting signs of a neurological disorder.  The doctors in Chitambo were very grateful to have Bill there to consult with them.  We rejoice greatly that Bill was present to advise the doctors about moving forward to help this official who has been such a good friend to us and to Agape Orphanage.

Leaving Agape Orphanage is never easy for us, but as we left we were rejoicing over many things that took place while we were in Zambia. Most of all, we were rejoicing at the goodness of our God who has provided a wonderful home for the Agape children, who provides for their needs on a daily basis, who will never leave or forsake them, and who has plans to give them hope and a future.

Our God is good!  Rejoice!!

Jackie

 

 

Giving Thanks

 

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Dear Friends,

As Thanksgiving approaches, we count among our blessings the 50 precious children who now call Agape Village Orphanage home. We are grateful that they are there, and we are grateful that they all seem happy, secure, and energetic, and most are doing very well in school.  In fact, we are delighted to report that many of the Agape children are at the top of their respective classes in school!

We do, however, have concerns about the quality of the education that these children are receiving at the village school.   Part of the problem is that classes have
from 40-60 students per class, and one teacher.  Also, because of limited government funds, students must share books as well as desks.  All of this makes teaching and learning difficult.ZAMBIA NOV. 2012 411.JPG

In light of this, one of our dreams for the coming year is to hire 2 tutors for the children at Agape Village Orphanage.  Though costly, we believe this is necessary so that our children can receive a better education. Without a better education, their futures are very limited.  They presently receive tutoring from our Matron and Director, but these ladies have so many other responsibilities at the orphanage that they definitely need help with the tutoring.

Another concern that surfaced during a recent trip to the orphanage is with the orphanage well. Because there is an 8 months long dry season in Zambia, good well operation can be difficult. The Agape well has become muddy and needs to be reworked.  We are praying to find the right company who can do this job.

In spite of these concerns, however, we can truly say that Agape Village Orphanage is an IMG_3387.JPGamazing place – a safe home to 50 delightful Zambian children, and a place that provides work for 14 Zambian adults who are thrilled to have jobs.  It is heart-warming to be there.  God has been very good to us to allow us the opportunity to work with these wonderful children and adults!

The Agape garden is flourishing and providing fresh vegetables daily for the children, and land has been prepared for this season’s planting of 10 acres of maize and soybeans.  We are very grateful for the skills of the Agape gardener, and for the knowledge that our Director and Matron have about gardening and farming.  Together they have done a great job!

Thank you so very much for your continuing prayers and support for Agape Village Orphanage, and for orphans and vulnerable children throughout the world.

Blessings,
Mickey and Jackie Bailey

Simple Things

 

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Dear Friend,

The simplest things bring joy to the children at Agape Orphanage–“a raincoat for the walks to school during the rainy season, a new colorful towel of my very own, a toothbrush holder to keep my toothbrush separate from those of my friends, a new belt to hold up my pants that are a bit too big, a pencil box to keep my new pencils safe, a pretty pink heart necklace made by some kind ladies in America.” All of these are treasures you have receIMG_2782.JPGntly made possible for the children who call Agape Orphanage home.

Each time we are in Africa with our Agape children, we are reminded how starkly different life is for them than it is for children in our country. It is truly so different, that understanding this difference is only possible when one visits Africa.

But, we know that life for the children at Agape Orphanage is much better now than it was before they came to the orphanage. One can readily see how much healthier and how much more energetic these children are now than when they first arrived. They are eating many foods that they never ate before, and are learning how these foods are grown and how to prepare them–all of which is important for their futures. Also, the children are attending school and are being encouraged to take education seriously, which is vitally important if they are to have an improved quality of life.

Equally important, the children are learning that there are people a long way from Africa who care about them. They hear that it is the love which comes from God that compels people who don’t even know them to help provide for them, and that gives them hope. Thank you for being one of those people.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

Blessings,
Mickey and Jackie Bailey

Dear Friend,
 
It seemed like a dream! We were sitting on the Agape Orphanage porch with two chiefs, the District Commissioner, several high ranking officers from Social Welfare and Child Protection, four Zambian Rotarians, a minister, and the local doctor, and we were celebrating the dedication of Agape Orphanage. Looking over the crowd of invited guests, one could not miss the faces of the 50 smiling Agape Children who were bursting with excitement. They would sing for the gathered crowd after all of the dignitaries had spoken.
 
It seemed like just yesterday that we were clearing this land with the dream of building an orphanage. Now, a few short years later, Agape Orphanage is home to 50 children. We have been amazed to see how God has performed so many miracles to make this a reality in such a short time. We were overcome with joy.
 
As the many dignitaries spoke, each acknowledged Agape Orphanage as being a work of God, and each gave God the glory for all of the good that is taking place there. After we officially dedicated the orphanage to God, the Rotarians in attendance made their presentation to the orphanage of tractor and implements, hammer mill, and new water tower and tank. What a glorious celebration it was!
 
We have learned very quickly that when you are caring for 50 children, you always have someone with a cold, a cut, a rash, a broken limb and, sometimes, malaria. The local hospital can treat many, but not all illnesses. If a child is faced with a life-threatening situation, he/she must be transported 9 hours to a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. We were faced with such a situation shortly after returning from the celebration in Zambia. We are happy to report that our sick child has survived an extremely critical situation. He is still convalescing in Lusaka, but should return to the orphanage by the end of the month.
 
This kind of situation, in addition to providing for the daily needs of 50 children, comes at a cost, but God has been very gracious to provide for the needs of these children through friends like you. We thank you for your prayers and encouragement, and for your continuing support for the children at Agape Orphanage. And, if you have not partnered with us in this mission already, would you please consider doing so today?
 
 
Blessings and Shalom,
Mickey and Jackie Bailey, Co-Founders AVF
 
AVF Board Members:
Joan Ashby Jackie Bailey Mickey Bailey Gerald Batts David Benson Bob Bergland Melissa Bynum Farron Duncan Charlotte High Deans Richard Laney Peggy Looney Peggy Perry Mary Sue Smith Wendy Wilson Bunn Woodard

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