We aren’t in the US anymore, Toto

July 18th, 2016 Posted by The Howells' Blog



At various moments throughout the last two weeks, one of our clan has turned to the other and said, “Hey!  We’re in Africa!”  There are so many things we have become used to already.

  • Driving on the left side of the road.  Brad had to jump right into this and hasn’t had too many mix-ups!  Amber has even driven a little bit!
  • Contacting plumbers, electricians, and carpenters to adjust things in the house.
  • Shopping in the markets, negotiating for prices, and navigating the grocery store.  We even had one day where we didn’t have to to go that grocery store at all!  That must mean we are settled in, right??
  • An hour drive to church… which is 12 miles away.   That’s right.  The church we have visited is along the gorge of the river that divides Zambia and Zimbabwe.  2/3s of the drive time is up a dirt and rock road that makes us very thankful to have the truck we have.  
  • Climbing our yard’s wall, following army ants, spying on lizards, playing frisbee in the dirt, building with Legos, navigating poor video connections with family and friends (Google Hangouts has worked the best, FYI)
  • African mornings are CHILLY!  As you can see in the first picture up there, hoodies, jeans, and hats are necessary as the mornings can be down to 45 degrees.  Average day time temps are currently around 75.  This weekend may get up to mid-80s.  So while you all are suffering heat-waves, it feels like Fall over here!
  • Taking pictures of what may seem ordinary but reminds us that T.I.A. (this is Africa) – see below!

(a sample of our daily views around the house – that’s Harold, the nice mosquito-eating spider in the corner of our bedroom)

(kids enjoying life in Zambia)

(landscape from our drive to church)

We have been so pleased to see how God has answered prayers.  One big one on behalf of our kids was that we would find good friends.  Our mission partners, Jeremy and Courtney Emert and their kids have been fast friends.  Right off the plane, the kids were connecting and playing with each other.  Living with them for a week certainly helped but we are often asked, “When are we going to have a play date (or sleepover) with Olivia, Jude, and Lincoln?”  We were able to bless them by taking their kids for the first of many sleepovers while Jeremy and Courtney had a long-overdue date night.

We have been able to sit in with the Immersion Interns (also known as the Elijah Experience or EXP) during their devotions, worship, and debriefs.  Brad’s cousin Hannah McCarty has been part of this group and it has been fun to connect more with her and hear her story as God has radically transformed her heart.  

God worked in these teams in a very amazing way recently.  Early on Saturday  morning, (the day of our game drive to see the animals in the pictures) someone broke into the house where some of the team was staying and stole a bag with 24 passports (from 3 or 4 different countries!).  The team was planning on leaving for the small country of Lesotho (pronounced “le-SOO-too”) which is inside South Africa.  Without passports, the team was stranded.  Many prayers were offered, including “God, just have the thief throw the bag over the wall with all of our passports.”  On Tuesday morning, this is exactly what happened!  The bag was found back inside the wall with all 24 passports present!  

The work at the Music Academy has not begun yet.  We have been encouraged to protect our time of “settling in” but we also have had some roadblocks   We are working on getting some furnishings.  It’s hard to teach and learn if you don’t even have chairs!  Currently, we also are limited on instruments.  The instruments we collected this year are on a boat in the Atlantic ocean and are scheduled to arrive mid-September.  In the meantime, we are looking at some music theory classes to help build the foundation levels of music reading.

The team Brad is working with includes Likando (on the left), who plays flute at the Royal Livingstone Hotel right by the Victoria Falls, and Steady (in the center) who has worked with vocalists and church choirs in the Livingstone area.  We are working on a few income-generating events to help support the academy.  Meetings with them are an educational experience for me.  I (Brad) learn “new” words: for example, traffic lights in southern Africa are called “robots” and “mahala” means free.  They are also full of smiles and laughter.

We also have an official PO Box here in Livingstone!  Our regular mail address is:

Brad and Amber Howells
PO Box 60250
Livingstone, Zambia

We have Zambia phone numbers now so our other communication methods are slightly different.  For all those who use Apple devices with iMessages, you can still text us using the howellsfamily@poetice.org address.  We can also receive Apple FaceTime calls through that address.  Non-Apple people can message us through Facebook, Skype (Bradford.Howells), or Google Hangouts (bahowells@gmail.com).  We have decent internet so emails and messages are pretty reliable.  We are 6 hours ahead of you in the Eastern Time Zone, so 9 AM for you is 3 PM for us. 

As you pray for us, here are some specific things you can lift up:

  • That the shipping container with instruments arrives safely, on time, and with no hassles.
  • We need classroom furniture for the music academy.
  • The EXP team safely ministering in Lesotho this week, and their return drive (20-28 hours).
  • The upcoming Reach4Life event that will minister to and educate 150 youth in the Livingstone area August 5-8.

On the day of our flight out of Grand Rapids with our family, and again for a morning devotional, Brad shared about how God is faithful to His promises when but they are often tied to a command to obey.  As we sign off from our first Zambia email update, our prayer is that you experiences His faithfulness and promises as you obey!

-Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  (the promise)  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (the command)”

-Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you (the promise); you need only to be still (the command).”

-Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will with over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”