Are you ready to go lizard hunting?

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Have you ever tried to explain a great experience in worship to someone only to realize they weren’t really getting it? After a passionate attempt to explain it to them we throw our hands up and say, “Well, I guess you just had to be there.” Sometimes the best words still fall short of telling the whole story. 

I wonder if that’s what Philip was feeling in John 1:45. Philip has met Jesus and is running to try to explain to his friend, Nathaniel, why he should come and meet Jesus too. Nathaniel doesn’t seem convinced and poses a cynical question to Philip. Philip is wise enough to know when it’s not a good idea to argue. He doesn’t even respond to Nathaniel’s question. Instead, Philip says, “Well, come and see for yourself.” 

There is a great Shangaan proverb which says Mahlo ya kwahle ya tiva hi muyevuri, or literally  The eyes of the lizard are only seen by the hunter who kills it. The meaning of the proverb is that somethings can’t be known until you experience them for yourself. We can listen to stories from our friends or family, but ultimately the gospel is something we need to experience personally. When kids in Zimbabwe get to hear a bible story tied to things in their own life, by their own teacher, it allows them to experience the gospel in a whole new way.

The next time someone seems ready to argue or be cynical about life, maybe you need to ask them, “When’s the last time you stared a lizard in the face?” You can remind them that some things need to be experienced firsthand, so why not come and check it out. We are confident that our Savior will not disappoint and that God alone has the power to soften hearts and open eyes. So, what’d you say, up for some lizard hunting?

Zimbabwe Update

The elections did not go smoothly. There were small outbreaks of violence alongside accusations that the election results were invalid. Despite these setbacks, the country still progresses in a positive direction. Multiple countries are engaged in talks with Zimbabwe to increase business and trade. I am reminded of the fact that the success of the Kingdom of God is not tied to worldly powers. In fact, when things are difficult, the impact of teaching on things like courage, patience, and endurance become all the more important. Both teachers and students need the encouragement and a reminder that God specializes in bringing hope to hopeless situations. There are many signs that things could be brighter for Zimbabwe in the coming years, but even if they are not, the church will just shine all the more. 

Lawson Family Update

Our last Sunday at Woodruff Road Christian Church is September 16. We move out of our apartment the following Monday. The tension around Zimbabwe elections may slow down our immigration paper-work, but we still hope to move to Zimbabwe in the fall. It is likely we will be USA until at least the end of October. The extra time will gives us the perfect opportunity to come meet with groups and present more about what Eudo is doing.

Pull in Your Tail!

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Have you ever tried to teach a family member how to do something new? There is a strong temptation when we see someone doing something ‘wrong’ to step in and quickly take over. Sometimes the best thing we can do is give someone instructions and then step away and let them try on their own. There is a Shona proverb that goes: 

Gudo guru peta muswe kuti vadiki vagokutya, which translates to, 

“Pull in your tail, old baboon, so the children can play.” 

If the old baboon is too close, the younger generation will accidentally step on his tail and the older baboon will have to react in order to keep the respect of the group. If we want to raise up the next generation well, sometimes we need to take a step back and allow those who are younger to lead. One of the greatest ways to help kids feel valuable is not by telling them they are valuable, but by entrusting them to do something of value. 

As Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered over the past several decades, there have been fewer and fewer mentors and leaders investing in the next generation. Through a weekly in-home activity,  Eudo wants to equip parents with conversations that empower families. Every kid needs someone who believes they are capable of great things! In some ways, believing kids are

capable of ‘great things one day’ is a lot easier then trusting them with important little things right now! This week, let’s see if we can put our trust into action and rely on someone else. For families with kids, check out the ideas below:

For Families with Younger Kids

Allow the kids in your family to make a meal this week. Make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with them making in your absence, because you’ll want to stay out of kitchen and let them have at it! (Make sure they know they have to clean up whatever they use).

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 Isabelle prepares a salad in Chiredzi

Isabelle prepares a salad in Chiredzi

  For Families with Teens

When I was a young teen my youth minister allowed us to host our own dinner parties. We would plan the meals, cook, serve, and clean for the group. Consider allowing a teen in your family to have their own ‘fellowship meal’ with their friends at your house. One day they may be hosting small groups or Bible study and getting a start in hospitality early is great training. After you’ve set a budget and a few ground rules, stay back! It will be hard not to intervene, but keep your ‘tail’ out of their way so they can learn on their own!

Devotional Thought to go along with activity: 

Not long after a toddler starts learning to talk, God wired them to say, “I can do it myself!” God knew they have too much to learn to sit on the sidelines and wait. The result can be a painfully slow half hour where a toddler tries to spread peanut butter on their own crackers, but such lessons are more effective than watching Alton Brown prepare perfect ribs. I’m sure when Jesus sent out his disciples in Matthew 10 (or the parallel account in Luke 10) they felt they were not quite ready. When Peter knocked on that first door, I bet the message wasn’t as smooth and composed as it would be later on the day of Pentecost. Jesus did not wait until his followers were just as good as he was until he trusted them with a serious mission.

    All too often we assume that with a little more study, a little more preparation, then we will leap into action full of confidence. Sometimes what we need to do is jump in with both feet and realize that certain lessons can only be learned when we are putting our faith into action. Paul ends a prayer in Ephesians 3 with this powerful line:

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

    Don’t miss that last phrase. The incredible things God is going to do that are beyond our imagination he is going to do through us! Some of the greatest impact Eudo has had in Zimbabwe has been by empowering young adult volunteers like Tafara and Trevor (pictured right) to develop their own testimony and present it at revivals. Let’s pray this week that we invest in the next generation like Jesus did and trust them to do some amazing things in his name.

 Trevor and Tafara at Eudo Event

Trevor and Tafara at Eudo Event

Water is Heavy! How much Can you Carry?

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In many places in the world, people carry their water from a central source, back to their homes. For many, this daily trip to the well requires a lot of strength. A standard water container (a ‘chigubhu’  pronounced Chee-goo-boo) is 20 liters (5.3 gallons), and carrying two back from a well weighs 90 pounds! For this week’s challenge, let’s carry some water to think about what life was like for everyone in the Bible and many people in the world.

All you need is a container to carry the water. Take a walk around your neighborhood carrying some water. Don’t give up if it’s tough, just stop and take a break! If you really want to challenge dad, get two 5 galloon buckets, but you’ll want lids unless you don’t mind getting wet. Although a standard water container is 20 liters, it’s not uncommon to see very young children carrying 2 liter containers from a well as parents train them to help the family.

For kids in your family, use whatever container would seem like a good challenge. Here is a table with weight for reference:

2 liter bottle = 4.5 pounds

 1 galloon jug = 8.4 pounds

5 galloon bucket = 42 pounds

Show us how much your family can lift, post a picture on Facebook on our Eudo FB page with #Eudo!

 Boaz Lawson demonstrates his strength.

Boaz Lawson demonstrates his strength.

Devotional Thought to go along with activity:

Can you answer this riddle: 

What’s never thirsty but always drinking? Alive, but never breathing? answer: A Fish!

It’s easy to take something like water for granted. Anytime we want a hot shower or cold glass of water, we can turn on the tap without a second thought. For many people of the world, and for most of history, the process of carrying water was something that had to be done every day. Even when clean wells are dug in Africa, those surrounding families have to send individuals who can haul 5 gallons (20 liters) of water at a time back to their homes. You may not have thought about it, but when John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan, he would have been able to see plenty of people washing their clothes, taking baths, and getting water for their homes. 

 Grade One Student At Snack Time

Grade One Student At Snack Time

It may be tempting to look at this glass of water and think, “All there is to drink with dinner is plain water?” Somebody go and get a glass of water. Go ahead, I’ll wait. How long did it take you get a glass of water? What?! That’s so fast! The truth is, the fact that we have plenty of clean water to drink that we don’t have to carry for miles and miles is anything but plain, it’s amazing! 

Isaiah 55:10 describes God’s promises like the water he blesses the earth with, producing all kinds of fruit and nourishing life. As we pray tonight, let’s thank God for the gift of water, and lift all those who must struggle to find and bring water to their homes.

Maybe you should play with fire?

In Zimbabwe, families often share stories around a fire. These stories can re-tell proverbial fables or remind a family of forgotten history. In The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“For in Calormen, storytelling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.”

For our activity this week, let’s work on our storytelling! Plan a night this week where you can gather around a fire (or use some old paper towel rolls and yellow construction paper to make a living room campfire, but don’t forget the marshmallows!). Have everyone who is able come ready to share a story. Here are some suggested ideas:

For Parents

    1. “Did I ever tell you about the day you were born?” 

    2. “Let me tell you about the time Uncle TJ lit the backyard on fire…” (or some story from your siblings growing up)

For Kids and Everyone:

    1. Retell a Bible story in a dramatic way (David and Goliath, Daniel & Lion’s Den, or Paul & Silas are good options). 

    2. Describe the earliest time you can remember saving up money for something. What was it, did you finally get it, and was it as good as you hoped?

        [for more storytelling ideas, here is a .pdf download with 500 prompts from the New York Times]

 Living Room Fire = paper towel rolls + yellow construction paper (According to recent scientific studies, if marshmallows are present, it's a real campfire).

Living Room Fire = paper towel rolls + yellow construction paper (According to recent scientific studies, if marshmallows are present, it's a real campfire).

Devotional Thought to go along with activity: 

(to be read aloud as a family)

    Storytelling is the primary way God’s people have shared the good news. In Jesus’ day, less than 1 in 10 people could read, very few people owned any books, and certainly no one could google to find out information. You might be surprised to know that even those who could read, never read silently. In fact, the first instance we know of a person reading silently is in 397 AD when Augustine describes how strange it was that Ambrose could read without moving his lips. (Check out this article from Stanford about it).  That means that most people experienced Scripture and history through shared spoken stories. One person in the Bible put it this way, “What we have heard and learned, that which our ancestors have told us, we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts.” (Psalms 78: 3,4) We need to make time in our lives to retell the amazing stories of what God has done and continues to do in our lives.  The stories that we tell remind us who we are and how we fit into God’s story.

    When we first start learning to tell a story, it can be tough. We aren’t always sure what to say, or how to make it sound interesting. But it’s an important thing to practice. There are things that God is doing in your life that will never be heard if you don’t learn to share your story! Let me start tonight by telling you about the time…” [Finish with your own story or retell a Bible Story]

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Let's take a Walk!

Big, Big Story Activity Week 2

In most parts of the world and in most times in history, people walked where they needed to go. For students in rural Zimbabwe, they walk between 1.5-3 miles to get to school everyday (2 - 5 km). Since most schools start at 7:00 a.m., students have to start walking to school pretty early. Sometime this week, take a 1.5 mile walk (2km) and talk about what it must be like for students around the world. If it’s raining today or too cold, check out this video of Elon Musk’s favorite riddle about walking (it was also used as part of the job interview from Microsoft for a long time): https://youtu.be/OOzzncDp2oE

Devotional Thought to go along with activity: 

A friend of mine from eastern Kentucky used to joke, “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” It’s easy to miss the fact that walking long distances is the backdrop to much of the New Testament. Both Jesus and Paul spent a good deal of time traveling between cities with their companions by walking and talking as a group. Walking is such a common experience that the verb for walking around becomes an idiom for living life. Check out this verse from Ephesians 4:1:

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life [walk] worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1, NIV) (for other examples of this verb see: Colossians 3:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:12, 1 John 1:7)

    Pray for all those students who walk to school, as well as those who live too far from a school to be able to attend one. This week, let’s think about who we are ‘walking with’ and what we are talking about as we walk along. May the where and how we walk be in a way that reminds others of God’s incredible blessings and love.


For an 8.5 x 11 printable prayer card, click here. Otherwise click on the link below. Don't forget to like us on Facebook or visit on the web at www.eudo.world

 Prayer Update Week 2

Prayer Update Week 2

See Better in the Dark!

Hi there!

Welcome to our Eudo update with the Lawsons! Each monday we will put up a couple of fun things (sign up for our updates to have them delivered right to your inbox):

  • A highlighted aspect of life in Zimbabwe, with a fun activity to go along!
  • A devotional thought to read with the whole family as you do the simple activity
  • A daily, Monday-Friday prayer request list to save or print 

Are you ready to partner with us in prayer AND extend your family's global connections across the world? Good! Let’s go!

Big, Big Story Activity: See Better in the Dark

Electricity is one of those things that is easy to take for granted. Like many places in the developing world, Zimbabwe experiences regular power cuts and many rural areas have never been connected to power. With the sun setting around 6:30 pm, many students eat their dinner and do their homework by candlelight. This week, try eating one meal with your family using only candles or flashlights for light. For the really adventurous family, try to go from dinner all through your kid’s (or personal) bedtime routine using only candles or flashlights (be safe with candles!). We’d love you to snap a picture of your family eating by candlelight and post it on our Eudo FB page with #Eudo! 

Devotional Thought to go along with activity: 

(can be read aloud while you eat your dinner by candlelight)

Can you answer this riddle:

If you shine a light on me, I disappear, You can only see me when you can see less, what am I?

    Did you guess the stars? Although it can seem like we can’t see anything in the dark, the truth is there are some things that we can only see when it’s dark. The stars are the farthest things humans can see with their own eyes, but they are completely invisible in the bright noon-day sun. In the same way, sometimes we need to turn down all the bright lights (and power down the screens!) to notice, to remember and to be thankful for all the gifts that God gives us. As we turn down our lights it helps us ‘see’ all our brothers and sisters in the developing world. As we eat our dinner tonight, let’s try and notice all the things we have to be thankful for. Also, let's lift up in prayer all the students who must study by candlelight in Zimbabwe.

For an 8.5 x 11 printable prayer card, click here. Otherwise click on the link below. Don't forget to like us on Facebook or visit on the web at www.eudo.world

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$400 raised toward Chicken Project!

Thanks to the kids and families at WRCC's VBS who raised $400 toward chickens at Joyous Christian Church in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. They were told If they raised over $300 Nathan and Tessa Lawson would get pied in face, so there was serious motivation! Thanks to Joyous Christian Church for your hard work in church planting and Greenville for your generosity.