Wednesday, July 3, 2013

birthday gifts

Happy 30th birthday everyone! Thanks t everyone who has been having fun with us these last thirty days! Your kindness to me in the form of blessing Choshen Farm has been fantastic – what a wonderful gift!

30 for Bethany's 30th shebang!! thanks to all who donated!
This is the seventh year that I am celebrating my birthday in Zambia. In Bible times, seven was a very significant number – one signaling rest, remembrance, and intentional acknowledgement of God’s goodness and provision. I’ve been thinking about all of the good gifts – birthday and otherwise – that I’ve received over these last seven years. I started making a list wondering if I could reach as high as thirty. But thirty came and went and I couldn’t stop listing! Holy moly, I am one loved child of God! 

throw back to 2007
And so in honor of my seventh Zambian birthday and my thirty years of life on this planet, I will share with you 30 of my favorite gifts from the last seven year period of my life. Prepare for picture overload. There’s no better way to document how richly I’ve been blessed!

1. Being given the privilege of naming a baby – miss Beauty Kunda. She’s so old now – and still gorgeous!

the Kunda family on the day Beauty received her name.

More blankets than baby, but I could tell she would be gorgeous.

A beautiful young lady she certainly is!

2. Being fluent in an African tribal language. Abena Bemba baliwama!

receiving a Bemba bush note

3. Experiencing the myriad blessings of the body of Christ.

These ladies were influential in helping me decide to marry Jeremy!

4. The adventure of cooking on a brazier.

I've come a long way since the days tuna sandwiches and salad

I've also learned a few tricks along the way.

5. The luxury of the pit latrine. Call me crazy I prefer the “busu” so much more than actual toilets!

Don't knock it till you try it. Its so much... easier. =)

6. The textile fun of chitenges.

chitenge shopping is so therapeutic

7. Working for a small but wonderful organization with tirelessly faithful leadership.

Choshen Farm's distinguished Chairman of the Board

8. Learning to not be food picky via eating things with eyeballs.

sometimes big eye balls

sometimes little eye balls

9. Growing in friendship with so many wonderful people.

Beautiful Esther has now graduated from high school

Kunda is a blossoming teenager

Bana Chiti is still my bff

10. Learning what my gifts/talents/passions really are.

running capacity building programs for groups

teaching people of all ages

program management = true love

11. Growing up by facing hard realities of life.

Bana K taught me how to be a woman of endurance

The most stretching thing ever was watching bana K die with dignity

12. Having the chance to be Susie homemaker – bush edition.

finishing the roof on our home in village Center

setting up my first kitchen as a married woman

helping Jeremy upgrade the bachelor pad

13. Growing in my hostess skills even if I know I’ll never be as good as mama Rawson!

learning to serve cross-culturally

perfecting the art of the kids table

14. Meeting, falling in love with and ultimately marrying Jeremy Colvin.

Jeremy, May July 2007 atop the anthill where the ministry center now sits

Feb 2009

July 25th 2009

15. Learning to drive stick, through Africa, in a beastly Land Rover.

Right side steering wheel no less! 

16. Learning what to do with little kids – they used to freak me out (we have nothing in common, this is so intimidating!) and now I write preschool curriculum. And love it.

we have so much fun learning together

Bwalya. I love this kid.

17. Having the chance to keep my worldly possessions few.

that was all of it.

18. Being able to visit some of the most remote and remarkable places in the world.

breathtaking dunes in Namibia

The incredible mountains of Lesotho. (a million bonus points
if you know where Lesotho is AND can pronounce it correctly.)

Victoria Falls - one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

19. The joy of witnessing fresh, new life.

Boniface holding his freshly born baby

20. Having a prolonged period of time to observe and live in poverty; and coming to realize that being poor is not always as depressing – or as glamorous – as we sometimes make it out to be.

My first family - the Sokos - who taught me Bemba and Zambian culture

Doreen and Impundu playing "kitchen"

21. Being forced to come to grips with public speaking and learning to do it without major meltdowns.

one of my first large group presentations

it only got easier from there

22. Being an eye witness to many, many snake murders.


good riddance 

23. Having no TV and therefore much less distraction in the quiet time area of life.

24. Bringing Bronwyn home to Zambia. This first hug will always warm my heart.

Our friend Mubanga. He loves her so much.

25. Making a dream come true by getting Mom and Dad over the ocean to see us!

Ready to fly out of Dulles

Mama and Papa Raw in ZAMBIA!

26. Living amidst the most beautiful scenery ever. It never gets old.

the sun set view from Choshen Farm's veranda

beautiful village scenery

27. Having a lifestyle that makes me stronger.

gum boots are sexy. don't even question.

I cycle less now, but the love of exercise is still there.

28. Who else gets to go on safari every time out of town guests visit?

This rhino's name is "President." He has his own body guards.

the zoo doesn't even compare

29. Learning to trust God’s promises through times of sickness, doubt and loneliness.

can you see the double rainbow?

view from our front door

30. Remaining in Zambia because we are doing something incredibly worthwhile.

telling people about Jesus
launching community initiatives like the Learning Resource Center

fulfilling the great commission

And of course, being able to count your gifts is perhaps the best gift of all! Here’s to another seven years of life and adventure and good gifts from God! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


  1. My favorite post ever <3

    Blessing #24 brought tears to my eyes.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bethany... THANK YOU for sharing your amazing life with us.

  2. So much happiness to you, Bethany!!

    ps. I know where Lesotho is AND I can pronounce it ;) I even have a traditional straw hat!

  3. Awesome pictures and updates, tons of blessings prayed over you and Jeremy. Love you everyday, Jean and Dale

  4. Bethany, both you and your writing are beautiful! I am thankful that I get to read it.

  5. This is a very inspiring post! You are really happy looking at those pictures! =)

  6. This is very good post and i m very inspired from it.