Posted in Missions of LIFE

A Man With A Mission

Tony Reddy. An Indian Man, Dot not Feather, as my husband, Keith, lovingly refers to him. Tony was born in Durban, South Africa, as were his parents. His grandparents were born in India and moved to Durban. Tony has a wife, two sons, and a daughter, his  daughter is married and has a young baby. Tony is 51 years old, a diabetic, a husband,a  father, grandfather, ex drug dealer, ex Hindu and a man of God. Tony is a modern day Paul.

The ministry he has is the most God led venture I have ever witnessed. Tony travels through out the continent delivering God’s message, ministering to churches,in the bush, that he helped build in the past 25+ years,  areas many do not know exist.  Tony will cook food for the people of the area, once he reaches them. He will treat their wounds, physically and emotionally. Tony takes the sick to clinics and hospitals, he councils couples, he teaches the children, he finds homes for the children left behind by either neglect or death. When the people tell him of their needs he either gives what he has, or helps them find what they need. He advises, admonishes, exhorts and supplies them with the Word of God and brings them the Salvation, they, we, all need.

Tony has been doing this since his own salvation.  Prior to this Tony was as far from God as anyone could be. He was a major player in the drug world in South Africa. He was of Hindu belief. And then one day God removed the scales from his life and he became a catalyst for God.   Tony gave up his worldly power and wealth for nothing in this world and everything in Eternity.

Tony for years has been supported by the meager giving of those he helps and the here and there donation from someone who  see his ministry and want to help support. Tony’s salary comes from God, as does all of ours, but in a way that takes way more faith, and he has it.

I just spent a week teaching a class, and Tony has been our ‘host’/point person this week. I was able to see him at work this week. I am humbled.

I flew here from the states on large jet, had meals served to me on the plane, watched movies as I flew, had a toilet to go to.  I complain a bit about the tight quarters, especially on the prop job we rode from our smaller to larger airport in Houston. I complain about the rice cake they give on the US flights instead of nice GF bread on the  European side of British Air. I don’t like that I have to bathroom in the weird little toilet after everyone, and wonder what the moister on the toilet lid is. I get a bit miffed at the attitude of the stewardesses, they are so condescending sometimes. And flying for 2 hours then 10 hours then a layover in a London airport, even with a bit of sight-seeing there, and then another 10 hours to Lusaka, is a LOOOONG trip!

On the other hand; Tony drives from Durban a 2600 KM trip. He does stop a few times on the way, but not to sight see, he stops to visit churches, drives through areas with barely roads to check on people and give them encouragement and God’s word. Once there he, many times, is needed to carry someone somewhere, usually the hospital.  Tony will set up camp and make a meal for those in the general area, he makes the meal with the rice, tin fish and supplies he brought, maybe a chicken he purchased up the road. Tony builds the fires, unloads the truck, cooks the meal, everyone else, then himself, his companions (now his 21 year old son, and his daughter if she can leave the baby at the time, and maybe another female friend who can sometimes make the trips as the cook) eat. Other stops include patrol road blocks that are numerous, what they are looking for very few know, other than a bribe. Tony does not pay, so the stops can be lengthy, but to Tony they are opportunity to present the Gospel, to the men with AK 47’s. Tony and his companions will sleep on the side of the road, sleeping either on the ground or on the seats of the truck. The truck is a good Toyota Hilux, but it is still a truck.  The bathroom, no worries of others dribble, I suppose.  A shower, if can afford to use water, is a bucket of water.  I am humbled.

When I reach my destination this time, I am a bit disappointed by the accommodations. It is not bad, but the quaint cabin/huts are just that, equipped with beds, and blankets, a real toilet, a shower with a concrete bottom, no air conditioning, they do have electricity. The grounds are wonderful, we arrange to have our meals made for us by Jessie the cook, they are all meat, starch and at least 2 vegetable dishes.

Tony stays with whomever will ask him, but usually he will sleep on the floor of the church he is visiting. This trip he brought his son’s twin mattress, packed on trailer, because he has been having some back pain. Tony cleans up at night after all is dark by  pouring a bucket of cold water over himself.  The toilets are either outside or the holes in the ground used as toilets.  Tony’s meals are what he makes for himself, after he builds the fire, he eats rice, tin fish and maybe something he gets at a small vegetable stand. Tony sacrifices so much for the people of the churches and they rely on him for so much and respect him so, yet, they do not offer to help or feed or shelter him very often, it is a “culture thing’ Tony says.  I am humbled.

After my mission is finished I say my goodbyes,go to the hotel nearest the airport I will fly from, wash the week of roughing it off, have a sit down dinner, again.  I will board my plane and fly home and be greeted and loved on by my family, get to tell my adventures and give all credit to God and tell of the amazing things He did on this trip. My main concern will be if my luggage gets back at the same time I do.   I will possibly return to Africa and another mission in a year or so, but NOT soon!

Tony does not end his mission, Tony only packs to go home for a short time, he will continue his mission at home. Tony will travel another 5 days to get home, more stops at churches, at road stops. Each time he visits a church he may have to add a day  or some travel to help someone in need. With each patrolled stop he will have to wonder if there will be consequences to pay. Tony will sleep on the sides of the road. Tony will touch and change more lives on the way home. I am humbled.

This man goes and does with no guarantee of his safety or financial support. Tony does not have a church that will support him, or come and get him if he is in trouble or runs out of money. Tony does not ever spend money on himself, his needs, he even gives what little he has so others can travel and eat. I AM HUMBLED.

I type this from my air-conditioned hotel room. I do not think I will eat dinner tonight, not as a sacrificial move, but because I ate too much at lunch, as we shopped at the Mall in Lusaka.  Keith has just dropped our mission companion at the airport, and seen her safely on the plane, she will stay in a nice hotel before flying home tomorrow.  We will fly out tomorrow.  Tony is in his Toyota truck with his daughter and son, possibly pulling over soon to build a fire and cook the evening meal.Tony will be home in about a week, his wife will greet him with the love he has missed for a month. His daughter will hold her young baby after a month of being away, and be held by her own husband. His son will unload and put away all of the traveling gear, and replace his mattress on his bed, before he can sleep in his own bed. If they return near Sunday, Tony may prepare for giving the service, in the church that he used to pastor, in Durban. Tony’s phone will ring, there will be a need, a crisis, and he will leave and council, and advise.  Soon, he will repack that trailer, and travel for days, changing more lives, answering the call of the Lord, in a way that humbles me and shames me.

God, I want to serve as Tony does,  as Paul did, yet I fail.  Thank you God for giving Tony the will, the ear to hear your call, the strength to overcome this world. Bless him, with health, finances, and your amazing grace.

Posted in Missions of LIFE

Bicycles for GOD

This is what $1000 will buy in Lusaka. 8 bicycles! They are actually more expensive than some of our bikes here, but maybe not more than those ‘expensive’ Shwinns we have.  These are Eagles. Very sturdy!

There are villages and churches that are ‘off road’ even more off road than some 4×4’s go.  So bicycles are perfect. Also diesel is quite expensive here, as are the cars, so bicycles are more practical.

These bicycles were presented to 4 ministers in the Chibombo area, one of them a woman, as you can see. The other 4 will go to ministers in Serenge.  They ride MILES into the bush to their church or other churches to preach and teach.  These bicycles will change lives for an eternity.

Posted in Missions of LIFE

Continuation of Day 1

I am awake for a bit, it is day 2 in Lusaka, but I will continue on day one if I can remember it all. None of this will post until about day/evening 6.  You will be reading week old material. We ARE on African time!

The bicycle purchase, I spoke of earlier, was brought on by a donation of funds $1000, from a young couple in MBC. Keith and Tony went to purchase the bicycles, so that Tony could distribute to different Pastors here in Zambia, remote areas.  Bicycles are a great commodity, they rate the same as cars, and maybe even more needed than a car for most.  A bicycle does not use fuel which is quite expensive, 565,000 kwacha to fill a Toyota truck with diesel. Which is $113.  $113 would make us cringe at the gas pump. Here this is an AMAZING amount of money, here in Zambia. Another bicycle benefit, they can reach the remote areas where there are no roads, only paths that meander from hut to hut, area to area and through the brush and pop up beside a road.

The main roads here are paved and pretty decent, those we see, compared to the ones we traveled on in Uganda.  They are maintained, but they are not US roads.  There are speed bumps every few miles, usually with armed police on the end of them checking vehicles for whatever they seem to not have or have too much of so the police can charge them money right on the spot.  The speed bumps are twice as wide as ours, and not as big of bumps, which one would think makes them better.. Nope.

The speed bumps are several in a row, about 6 and are spaced about an American speed bump apart, so it is actually a bit like driving over railroad tracks 3 in a row.  Tony hit some fairly fast last night, they were not lit nor marked and the police were not out, that was actually kind of fun, or maybe I was just goofy from lack of sleep! Riding a bike down the side of the road you miss those bumps, and pray the cars miss you.  The shoulder of the road is wide enough for a body, or a body on a bike, that is it.  The cars /trucks are right on the line that separates the road from the shoulder, I do not know that I could walk or ride on that shoulder.

The bikes, being a great commodity, are not cheap! Each bike was about $120, so we were only able to get 8, instead of the 10 that was wanted.  That was a talked down rate also.  They are the big Shwinn riding bike type. They need to be pretty sturdy because they are really used here.  One of the pastors getting one rides miles into the bush, where a car cannot go, to preach.  He rides an old broken down bike, this new one will allow his wife to ride on the back and attend church with him.  These bikes are changing lives of the pastors and the people of the church by allowing them pastors and wives.

There is so much we take advantage of in America, the land of opportunity, I am always humbled here.

After the bike purchase in Lusaka we drove the bikes and trailer they were on to Chibombo, this is where we were actually staying and teaching.  Julie is flying in at 6pm it is 11AM, we have accomplished all the ‘errands’ we could in Lusaka, so it seemed a good idea to drop the trailer and get the rooms arranged for us all.  The drive is only 100kl which is about 60 miles.  We stopped and ate dinner at one hotel/restaurant about 1 , after leaving Tony thought we might travel to this restaurant for meals, if need, from our teaching church, not realizing we were as far from Chibombo as we were. We drove half an hour more, and more, then finally found our B & B turn off, drove up a dirt road, past some locals homes and to our home away from home for a week.  We arranged for the B&B to become B&B&L&D, and unloaded the suitcases, I cringed at the cement floor shower, and we reloaded into the Toyota, made our way to the church so we could unload the bicycles. Another 20 minutes.  After unloading the bikes we then went to the pastor/bishops home so we could let him know we had stored such precious cargo at the church in the locked storage and to drop off some women that would be attending the conference that we picked up at THE corner of Chibombo, they had been calling ‘Daddy’(Tony) since we were in Lusaka loading the bikes to let Tony know they needed a ride to the pastor’s home.  Once we arrived at the pastor’s home we then had to meet and greet the Pastor and his family AND go in and sit in the house because they asked us too, it would be impolite not to.  We all sat for about 3 minutes then said we must go. By now it is about 3:30.  We start back to Lusaka, to pick up Julie at 6:00 60 miles away , 2 and half hours before needing to be there.

Every truck that existed must have been on the road ahead of us or coming at us on the way back to Lusaka, every police road stop was interested in looking at every truck that was in front of us at the stops.  Once in Lusaka we found that every vehicle in Lusaka was in front of us or beside us trying to cut in front of us.  We arrived at the airport, which 6:45.  POOR JUILE! Her plane arrived 10 minutes EARLY. So, there she is, by her white self, Julie, at the airport for almost an hour.  Ironic, flight arrangements had been juggled around so Julie would not have to be sitting alone in any airport coming or going ,(we are branching off on our stop over in France) so Julie flew with the others and flew from there to us.   So here is Julie, waiting out front of the what seems deserted airport at 6:45, she had tried to text me, but I had turned off my phone, the roaming had completely drained it. After myriad of impediment, we had Julie. She was very fine.

We ate a wonderful meal at the Hotel where we will be staying the last night here (not going to chance the impediment trying to catch a plane that flies out at 8am.) We then started our trek back to the B&BL&D. We passed it in the dark, when we reached Chibombo we realized it, Tony turned back. (When he turned around is actually when WE realized anything, we three had fallen asleep and our heads were bouncing and mouths drooling, at this time)  We looked at each odd sign on the side of the road for the next 20 miles. Turned around when we ‘knew’ we had passed it again, drove some more, turned around again and then, the sign popped up just where it had been the whole time, under the large antenna tower.   Nothing has lights out side, signs, roads, homes.  It was like looking for …something in the dark of Africa.  We made it to our beds late late late, actually it was probably, about 10 PM, but to us it was 2 days to late.

Posted in Missions of LIFE

Day 1 Lusaka

We landed in Lusaka about 6:30 AM, walked down the stairs onto the Tarmac, just like the old movies. The sun was rising, still in the west, it was literally red. Beautiful. The smokey smell was the next welcome from South Africa, I think everyone here is always burning something the sky is always hazy from the smoke.
It took forever to get our baggage, but this time it was not mechanical failure and then human error. It was that one man was unloading 3 packed luggage trailers as fast as he could.
Tony was waiting with his usual smile.
Our first stop was the hotel we will stay one night in next week before flying out. They had asked money up front, but did not need it now. We talked them into letting us use a room for a quick shower. It was great!
Next stop exchange $ for kwacha we got a lot more back than we gave
Then a sims card for our phone
Then a drive on the wild side to buy 8 bicycles. It was a questionable area. The shop owner took us to his to get 6 of the bikes. He will not keep them at the shop because they would be stolen. The guys strapped the bikes on the trailer while I napped. I was and am so tired. This will continue in the AM. I am sleeping while I type zzzzz

Posted in Christy's Concepts

He is getting the bags, I hope

Ok, short quick one from inside prop job was previous. Keith is now in terminal A waiting for them to unload the baggage, then he will check them then he will go through security. We have a bit of time, I think.

The flight from MIdland was a prop plane. Keith says American used to be the ones with prop jobs and Continental had all jets, now someone bought someone and swapped planes, I guess. Once we were on the plane I was excited we were on row 5, thinking it would give us a head start once we landed to get Keith to the baggage. Not thinking about them also needing to get on the ball and get the baggage off the plane. Well we settled in, somewhat, then the stewardess asked for some of the people to move to the back to balance the plane. One person moved. Then she asked for 2 more. Keith moved. After I posted blog I moved. I think just enough later to miff the attendant.
On the way over we saw the fires in the hill country. In the middle of lots of trees, a forest . We need rain. We need relief from these natural disasters.
Well we are waiting to get on the plane WE. And our bags are on. No thanks to Continental The baggage thing broke, jambed actually, and no one came to tell the 15 passengers(customers) for an hour. Our bags were literally stuck on the slide and no one would go get them. I found a British airline lady in the 1st class club, Susan, she did some amazing things. God also delayed our flight just enough so when Keith did get the luggage it was possible for him to get the bags rechecked within the hour limit. God is good!

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Posted in Christy's Concepts

1st Snaffu

We are about to load on the plane to Houston. We had a Small problem that could be big once we hit Houston. Continental check in chic “says” we can not check bags through to Lusaka we have to pick them up at the outside security area and get them back in to Gate D go through security and recheck baggage before British closes their baggage acceptance. Keith just moved to help balance weight. Closing doors

Posted in Christy's Concepts, Missions of LIFE

Wearing a Missionary Hat

We are blessed to belong to a church family that believes in WE , the church body, being the missionaries of the world.  Instead of supporting one family or person to be located in an area of ‘need’, we equip ourselves and take the step out and touch many with the gospel and then follow up teaching and equipping of those who are new believers in Christ, to go out and do what we started ourselves.  The commissioning Christ gave to his disciples just before ascending in the clouds.

Keith and I are going on a missionary trip, in addtion to five women from our church.  Keith’s mission is mainly to try to open the road blocks (literally) for a missionary that is located in South Africa.  Stop points hamper getting from one church to another by hours, even days.  IF we can obtain a pass of sorts, travel can be more efficient for us and him.  Keith will also be teaching a Mens Ministry of being Godly Men.  I and another woman will be facilitating ‘Changing Me’ a study of being a Godly Wife.  We teach the study and also teach how to teach the study, so these women can go out and teach to others who can teach to others….. There will be 3 teams in 3 different areas, this will reach hundreds!

I am honored to be a part of this mission! Blessed that God would call me to do this!

Now I just need to get out of the house!  I absolutely HATE leaving home!!!! Once I am gone I am fine, but right now I am not.  I fly out in 4 hours, and am posting on my blog.

I am praying for Wi Fi in Zambia.