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A letter from Kari Nicewander in Zambia

spring 2014

Dear Friends,

“Well, where do you think she could live?” The reply came immediately. “With us, of course! It will be a great joy for our family!”

My smile conveyed my delight with this offer, but his response was no surprise. Having come to know my Zambian colleagues, I had every expectation that he would immediately offer his home. Yes, there is a young person coming to Zambia for a year. Yes, this person is going to volunteer in your community school. And yes, you will throw open your doors and welcome a yearlong guest with no hesitation.

I know the family. I know his daughters and his wife. I know him very well. And I have no doubt that they will provide a loving home to a stranger coming from the United States. As the Young Adult Volunteers come to Zambia, they will be welcomed with open arms. They will discover what an honor and privilege it is to work with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Zambia.

For me, these last few months have been a time of challenge and joy, confusion and hope, hectic preparation and impatient waiting. And now that there is some clarity on what is going to happen, I get to share it with you! My job description is changing, and I am excited to be taking on the position of Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Site Coordinator, along with HIV/AIDS Specialist.

This is in addition to my current job, so the new position is Church Growth–HIV/AIDS Specialist/YAV Site Coordinator. It is quite a mouthful, but it is a temporary assignment. I will take over these duties for one year, on an interim basis, in order to assure that all three programs can move forward.

I am thrilled to be coordinating the YAV site here in Zambia. It is a new site, and we will be welcoming four young adults, 22–24, to come and spend a year learning and serving in Zambia. It is a great opportunity to grow spiritually while also participating in the life of the community, sharing their gifts in CCAP programs. I can't wait to get to know the young adults who will be here in Zambia, and I am incredibly excited to share with them the joy that we experience here.

The HIV/AIDS specialist work will involve equipping church leaders to further address HIV/AIDS, particularly among young people, ages 15–35. We are gathering resources, creating workshops, and making contacts in order to help the church fight stigma, increase compassion, and offer information that is much needed.

I will continue with the other aspects of my job as well, and I feel that much of this work can overlap and create a beautiful opportunity for synchronicity. At the same time, it will not be without challenge. And so I ask for your prayers as we move into this new reality. Please pray for me, that I can find balance and peace. Please pray for the young adults as they prepare to join us in Zambia. Please pray for the HIV/AIDS projects and those affected by HIV/AIDS. Please pray for my continued work in discipleship and church growth. Please pray for Joel’s continued role in media support, as he also assists the young adult program.

It did not take long to find housing for all four young women coming to Zambia for a year. My other colleagues had a similar response. “Where will she live? With us, of course!” The generosity, the welcome, the hospitality was beautiful and real.

You have also demonstrated this generosity, this welcome, this kindness. Every time you give of your resources or your time, or offer letters of encouragement, you are blessing us with the same kind of grace. We thank you deeply for opening the doors of your heart and for offering your generosity and love.

As we transition into this new reality, we do ask that you continue to offer your financial gifts, prayers, and notes of encouragement. In this way you join with our partners in a radical and gracious welcome. As you give, as you share, you are a part of this hospitality, so that when the question is asked, “Who will open their hearts?” The response is immediate. “We will, of course!”

Thank you again for your support of our ministry. We feel deeply blessed and honored to witness such generosity and grace, both in our relationships with our supporters in the United States and in our partnerships here in Zambia. As we all continue to open our hearts and open our doors and open our lives, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

God bless,

Kari, Joel, Frankie, and Johnny

The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 141
Read more about Kari Nicewander and Joel DeJong's ministry
Blog: http://lovinglusaka.blogspot.com/

Write to Kari Nicewander
Write to Joel DeJong
Individuals:  Give onlineto E200492 for Kari Nicewander and Joel DeJong's sending and support
Congregations: Give toD507557for Kari Nicewander and Joel DeJong's sending and support

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