September 8, 2023
Hello from Ndola, Zambia!
As you’ll remember for my letter last week, Traci Blagg, Alyssa Schoonmaker, and I left from LAX on August 29th, and arrived in Lusaka on August 31st where we went directly to the Breath of Heaven Children’s Village. On September 6th, my Zambian son Mika, the Breath of Heaven Worship Center Pastor Katongo, and I flew about 55 minutes North to Ndola where I am one of the teachers at the School of Ministry.
Here’s a pic of Mika getting ready to board the plane to Ndola – this was the first time he ever flew in an airplane. He had a blast looking out the window of the plane, as you can imagine. He’s also an amazing travel partner, constantly watching out for his papa Ron. Those who know our story know he’s also hoping to become a pastor, so coming to this school of ministry with me has been just great for both of us.
And this picture is of the school of ministry. There are about 31 students, and in this picture the guy in the middle is leading us in some worship.
And this picture is really amazing, even if it looks like I’m just having a conversation with someone you don’t know. When Michael Aplikowsky and I were here last year when I spoke for the Zambia Vineyard national conference, this guy – Leader Muleya – was one of the waiters in the hotel restaurant. We prayed with him and learned that his dream is to take care of orphans, and his first step was to get a truck drivers license so he could make more money to care for orphans. Well, our prayers were answered, and he is driving a truck, and has purchased his first plot of land for orphan care. I texted him as he was just crossing the DRC border, and he said he would drive another 40 minutes cuz he really wanted to see me again. This is a picture of us reconnecting when he arrived. Later on that day we took him with us to an “Encounter” night of worship and ministry. It was so amazing to see him again a year later with several of our prayers already answered. I was able to introduce him to Katongo who Leader wants to be a mentor for his ministry.
We’re once again having some great “Holy Hello’s” at the hotel restaurant. I asked one of the hotel managers if we could pray for anything and asked her what her dreams were. She told me that was a complicated question and she’d get back to me. This evening she told me she was ready to receive prayer and took Katongo and me to her office for some privacy. It was an amazing time. Katongo had several prophetic words about her situation and her family that turned out to be 100% accurate. The woman literally fell to her knees weeping as we prayed and prophecied over her in her office!
I’ll share more stories with you when we get back to Oceanside. Please continue to pray for us as there’s a lot more ministry to be done before we board our plane back on September 12th.
Men’s Breakfast and Ladies Hike/Walk
It’s the 2nd Saturday of the month, and that means it’s time for another Men’s Breakfast at Ty’s Burgerhouse, 515 Mission Ave.
Our Speaker this year is Ted Lawler, the founder of Breath of Heaven Children’s ministry. Guys, you’re going to have a GREAT time with Ted.
Our monthly ladies walk will be a Carlsbad Beach Walk. Meet us in the grassy area at the corner of Pine and Carlsbad Blvd. at 9 am. It’s a great walk in a beautiful setting! Please call or text Kathy Green if you plan to attend 760.583.1779.
Steve Rogers Back in the Pulpit 09-10-23
This coming Sunday, Steve Rogers will be back in the pulpit speaking on the topic, “On a Mission with God.” He’s going to be preaching about living our everyday lives here on earth the way we would if we really understood what it means to be not of this world and to be citizens of heaven even while we’re living here. Should be quite an empower and inspiring word.
Women’s Ministry Events
Here’s a couple more notes from the Grace Vineyard Women’s Ministry:
A Personal Note
Quite unexpectedly, around the time you all were having a baptism at the beach last Sunday, I got word that my dad had just passed away. That was a shock to the system!
Here’s a picture of dad and our family at his 90th birthday party last November. I’ll share what I wrote on one of my Facebook Posts this week:
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death”
The apostle Paul wrote that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Imagine this: dad was sitting in his usual chair, having some heart trouble (actually, in the process of having a fatal heart attack). His beloved wife of 32 years is kneeling beside him, she senses it is time for him to go, she assures him that she will be okay (because he would default to feeling the responsibility to be present to care for her) and blesses him with permission to go. He squeezes her hand and says, “I love you.” Minutes later he is no longer in his body but in the presence of the Lord.
I ask you – did he “see” death?
I think not.
This is how Christ followers see death.
So, we grieve our loss, but we are confident that our loved one is not gone in the permanent sense of that word; rather it’s more like someone going to the other side of the planet and having no cell phone coverage while they are away, so you can’t talk to them. You know they are there, and you are confident that you will be reunited again. And since we already know what’s like to wait for something for a long time, and eventually, upon experiencing that something we say, “that really wasn’t *that* long of a wait, and it was worth the wait,” we believe it will be like that when we are finally reunited with our loved one.
I thought some of you who have lost a loved one recently might find those words encouraging.
Please pray for me and my family during this time. It’s especially difficult being all the way over here in Africa. I’ll have a lot of ground to cover when I get back into Oceanside next week. Because he went to heaven in such a beautiful way, mom has tremendous peace and is doing very well. I’m also finding myself reflecting mostly on the very joyful time my dad is having right now, and that brings me lots of comfort. Nevertheless, grief is very real, and I expect to go through the emotional ups and downs that are all part of the process.
And with that I’ll close, as it is very late her in Africa, and I have a big day of teaching starting tomorrow morning.
See you all soon!
With love and blessings,
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