The 2009 Container Has Arrived!
Despite the many obstacles it had to face on the way here, our Container has arrived safely in Zambia! Normally the process of getting a shipping container across borders and importing it finally into the country can be quite challenging. There is a lot of red tape, paperwork, and sometimes even problems with corrupt authorities and their expectations. We were surprised and pleased to find that our container arrived with very little trouble whatsoever-- and not by any exceptional feat of organization on our part. In fact, the seal on the door hadn’t even been cut, which means that the border and customs authorities didn’t look inside. (While we don’t have anything to hide, we still prefer that it remain closed, as the temptation to help themselves to the contents is often too much for the poorly paid government officials.) Another risk when shipping containers overland in Africa is physical damage. The roads are generally in terrible condition, the drivers are generally apathetic to the content’s condition, and the handling between trucks is usually very rough. It is with great joy, and surprise, that we can report only two broken cups (from our own personal supplies). None of the boxes of Bibles, school supplies, or materials suffered any damage. Praise God for His protection!!
Once the Container was cleared by Zambian customs, we were able to begin unpacking the contents. Several days were spent just sorting out the Bibles, school materials, what belonged to ourselves, and the items of the missions who split the shipping with us. We were able to bring our own household items back to Kabwe, ending our days of “camping it out”, which made us all very happy and much more comfortable! There’s something about having your own plates and your own sheets that makes life just a little bit nicer. God has indeed been gracious in providing the means for us to have these treasured items from the USA. As soon as the boxes were sorted and replaced in the Container for storage, we were able to begin distributing the literature and school supplies.
The Hand of God was truly with us, and on the Container, throughout this whole process. In many ways, the Container Project never should have happened. From the colossal amount of materials needed to fill it, to the funds needed to ship it, to the difficulties involved in bringing it into the country, this was a daunting project from the beginning. However, the Lord showed us every step of the way that this was HIS project and He, of course, had everything under control. Often our needs, such as donations of Bibles and books, funding, even a place to store and sort the materials in Phoenix, were offered before we’d completely realized the need was there!! “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”(Matt.6:8) God’s provision has been incredible. We are so thankful that He has allowed us to be a part of this incredible project.
Now it’s time to distribute all the wonderful materials inside the Container! We have Bibles, Christian discipleship materials, textbooks, school supplies, and stationary. These items are already being put to use around the country, as we visit pastors, teachers, and fellow believers in need.
As we continue to use the Bibles and materials from the Container, we pray for the Lord to open doors for evangelism and discipleship. We are looking forward to several training seminars in the coming months. Having books and materials to give to the people who come will make these discipleship training sessions much more effective. Pastors, church leaders, teachers, and believers will have resources to take home, becoming more effective for Christ in their communities.
The last challenge facing the shipping container is the African elements. Please pray for the Lord’s protection against water damage (it’s rainy season now), termites (they are HUGE, and they eat EVERYTHING), theft, and vandalism. In this respect, we are grateful for the overwhelming number of opportunities we have to distribute the materials.
We want to especially thank everyone who has been involved in this project. We’ve had many people give generously in materials, use of facilities, and the necessary finances to pack and ship the container. We’ve also had great help from volunteers who helped load and unload the many tons of books and materials. We would never have managed if we didn’t have so many faithful Saints laboring with love and giving with such generosity. Praise be to God!!!
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)