Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pang'ono Pang'ono - "Little by Little"

After many months of itineration and a long journey to get here, we have finally arrived in Zambia. We will be spending a short time in the capital of Lusaka taking care of official business such as work permits and meeting with church leaders, and then within a week or so we hope to be heading down to Livingstone.

Our British Air flight landed in Lusaka at 6 AM on August 9th, two days after we left Baltimore. We got off the plane and were immediately reminded of the essence of life in Africa. Here, no one is in a hurry.

We had been seated at the back of the plane and as a result were near the end of the line to go through customs. For the first twenty minutes, the line didn’t seem to move at all. We stood and waited and waited and waited, and nothing seemed to be happening. Then, finally one very small step forward, followed by another prolonged period of non-progression. I found myself starting to get impatient, wanting to speed things up. Surely there must be another faster line that we could get in. After all, I have been waiting for this moment now for over two years and was anxious to get started in our missionary work! But there was no speeding things up. There was one line and we had to just stand patiently and wait our turn. And so we did.

It wasn’t long though – about half an hour, before the line started to move faster and faster. Soon we were at the baggage claim gathering our 10 bags and within minutes we were out of the airport and on the way to the home of some of our fellow missionaries. It was almost surreal the way we went from complete motionlessness, into a luggage gathering frenzy and then on to being waved right through customs (rather miraculously), then into the welcoming embrace of waiting missionary friends and finally zipping away in Speed the Light vehicles. What had begun in seeming inertia, ended in rapid progress. And it seemed perhaps, the perfect parable for the beginning of our ministry in Zambia.

Our next few weeks and months here are almost certain to be times of seemingly little progress. We will be setting up house (including building a kitchen in our house – plumbing and all). We will be studying the language and we will be focusing on building relationships with Zambian pastors and church officials. It will be a time of much waiting, a time of learning, a time of growing in cultural understanding, a time of sitting at the feet of others and gleaning from their wisdom and insight. And, like our experience at the Lusaka International Airport, we hope that all of this time of patient preparation will in the end lead to a time of great productivity. We sow in patience so that down the road we might reap in plenty.

Our prayer request then is that we would be patient in this time of preparation, and faithful in the little things. We are reminded that God took 40 years to prepare Moses for the task He was about to give him and that some 10 years elapsed from the time of Paul’s conversion to the outset of his ministry. It would seem that any successful ministry is the product of patient preparation.

We are so very grateful for each of you our supporters and friends, and we want you to know that you are a vital part of our work and our lives here in Zambia. With all of our love, as we prepare for the work ahead… Jerry and Paula, your missionaries to Zambia


Joy said...

I'm so happy to hear you guys made it safely to Zambia! 242 was praying for safe travels and easy re-entry into the country. We miss you guys, but are so proud to support you in your ministry and calling! You both are in my thoughts and prayers often (and on our refrigerator)! Forrister prays for "our missionaries, Jerry and Paula, in Zambia"... oh, from the mouths of babes. Godspeed, Irelands. Love ya! Joy

Joy said...
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Jerry and Paula Ireland said...

Hi Joy and all our friends at 242 - WE MISS YOU GUYS!!! Thanks for your prayers and support. Joy, if you aren't careful...Forrister just may end up called to missions! Blessings to all you guys! Love, Jerry and Paula