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

 

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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

Back Home in NC

For those of you who may have wondered – yes, we have arrived safely home in North Carolina. Mickey and I were not able to report on our last several days in Africa because we lost our internet capability there during those last days in the country.

The last few days in Zambia were quite busy and much was accomplished. When we returned to Lusaka to fly home, Nyawa and Annie went back to Lusaka with us for one last bit of shopping for the orphanage. They returned to Serenje the following day on the bus, laden down with many more boxes of supplies. We were grateful to have Nyawa and Annie working with us while in Zambia on this trip and we are grateful that they have answered God’s call to work with us in ministry to His children in the Chitambo area. They are two very capable and hard working Christian women who want very much for the orphans in the Chitambo area to have the opportunity for “hope and a future.” Please pray for their ministry at the Agape Village Orphanage, especially as they now begin their work there interviewing the orphans whose names have been submitted by local pastors, teachers and community leaders.

Robson, foreman at the orphanage, believes that the main building will be completed by mid-April. If so, children should be moving into the Agape Village Orphanage within a few short months. To God Be The Glory!!

Blessings,
Jackie

The Rest Of The Story

This is the part of the return trip from Lusaka that we didn’t include in the blog yesterday:

Back on the Great North road and close to Mukushi we noticed a quick movement of some sort and a big puff of blue smoke about 100 yards in front of us. When we got to that spot we saw a van – one of the local “buses” carrying 8 or 10 people- that had cartwheeled off the road and had landed upside down in a ditch in the tall grass on the side of the road.  We stopped immediately to see if we could render aid and ran to the upside-down van.  People were trying their best to get out. Some were bleeding, others were crying and some seemed to be walking around in a daze not believing what had happened.  

I  helped several people out of the destroyed van and tried to check to see if everybody was accounted for and conscious.  I then did a little first aid on the ones that were bleeding and tried to reassure them that they were ok. There were 2 or 3 small babies on board but all seemed unhurt.   One woman, however,  kept saying “my baby, my baby” so I immediately went back into the wreck to see if I could find her baby. After not having any luck it dawned on me that this woman is probably pregnant.  I returned to her side to see and, yes, she was very pregnant. What a relief!  

Miraculously no on seemed seriously hurt.  Some  had deep cuts and would need some stitches but there was nothing life threatening that we could tell. This is a ” LUCKY” group of people.  By this time others had gathered to help and someone had arrived in a vehicle that could transport the injured to town.  Fortunately this happened close to Mukushi where there is a clinic, so about 20 minutes after all of this happened someone loaded up all of the bleeding into a car and off they went to the clinic.

There is never a dull moment in Zambia!

Thursday Jan. 26, 2012

This morning we headed out to the orphanage to off- load all of the supplies that we brought back from Lusaka.  With the help of some of the workers it didn’t take long to empty the van.  

Since we have been in Lusaka the workers have been bricking up the support poles in the dining  hall, which looks really good.  They have also started erecting more homemade scaffolding so they can box in the other ceiling beam.  We met with the plumber and went over some details about how we wanted the showers done.  He is a nice guy and is doing a fine job. He has requested a cell phone.  I also spent a lot of time with Robson going over how we would do the  gutters and discussed other details. 

This afternoon at 2:00 PM we had a meeting with the local Agape Advisory Board at the Chitambo Hospital to introduce Nyawa and Annie to them.  By 3:00 PM only 4 members were present.  We have learned that the Zambian culture is not very punctual.  That can be very frustrating at times and this was one of those times!!

During our meeting Rev Royd slumped over and became almost unconscious. He has had malaria for 3 days and today it just got the best of him. During the rainy season malaria is wide spread here and it is sad to see so many people sick with malaria. We took Rev Royd out of the meeting to get him some help and in 30 minutes he was up and about acting as though nothing had happened.  

As we were leaving the meeting and preparing  to return to Serenje I got a call that Robson had fallen from the homemade scaffolding at the orphanage and needed our help. We rush back to the orphanage, scared to death to see what condition Robson was in.  Expecting something would be broken for sure, I was relieved to find him standing, holding his rib cage and with a really bad scrape on his left side. We took him back to the Chitambo Hospital where they gave him  ibuprofen and valium.  It seems Robson had escaped with a bruised or fractured rib and a pretty nasty scape on his side.  We were much relieved that Robson was not more seriously injured.  He is a good man and we believe a very important part of God’s plan for the Agape Village Orphanage.

Just another day in Zambia!  

Blessings,
Mickey

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