As we are traveling back to Lusaka Monday morning to come home I have many thoughts racing through my mind. What did I do to grow up with such a wonderful family and not to have been born in poverty? I did nothing. Because God is so gracious and loving I was blessed. But with this blessing comes a lot of responsibility. I know I must “pay it forward.”. As
Matthew 25:35-40 states, this is what we are supposed to do.
When I get to the gates of heaven, God is not going to be impressed with the house I live in, the car I drive, or what clubs I belong to. He will only be interested in how I took care of those who needed to be shown the love of Jesus Christ!
WOW! I better get busy! I have a lot of work to do!
More Reflections – Upon Heading Home
We left Serenje at 6:00 a.m. with the smiling faces of Rev. Royd and
Pastor Dan watching us drive away after praying for our safe travel. We are spending tonight in Lusaka after doing a little shopping at Kabwata Cultural Center where local artisans sell their crafts.
I’m glad to be going home, but also sad to leave this special place where God’s presence is like breath on your face.
A few of my fresh impressions of Zambia follow. I’m sure with time to reflect, I will have many more.
The people are gentle, soft-spoken, and kind. They are well mannered and dignified. They are intelligent, knowledgeable and have a desire to learn more so they can help others. They are not to be feared. Speak to them and you will be greeted with a big smile, a hand over the heart, and often a curtsy. They have great ingenuity, creativity and talent. They love God with all their hearts, souls and minds.
They are all of these things in spite of the fact that: They live in the woodlands in grass and mud huts with no electricity, running water or any sort of modern convenience. They cook over fires with homemade charcoal. They eat virtually the same food for every meal – nshima, made from ground corn. They spend hours each day walking to get water for drinking and preparing food, but not enough for the luxury of a regular bath. They walk everywhere they go, except for a few who have bicycles which are not good for very long due to the rough, dry dirt roads and woodland trails. The children walk for miles to school; that is the ones who can get the uniforms and pay the small fee required.
After spending time in Zambia, I don’t pity the people for they have so much more spirituality here on earth than most of us could ever dream of experiencing but I do wish for their physical sufferings to be relieved and there is much of that.
I am thankful to have new friends in Zambia who are praying for me, my friends, my family and my church. I have absolutely no doubt that their prayers are of the first in God’s ears.
I Have Seen Great Things
Each day it is becoming more difficult to write these blogs, not because I am running out of stories but because I have so much to tell and I feel a great responsibility to get the message out. I want to go ahead and apologize to anyone who runs into me and asks me about my trip. I will probably try to tell you one story after another until you might think I have gone crazy. I can assure you I have not. I have seen great things.
Today I will tell you again about Osward. After a long day of getting things straight at the orphanage and playing with some children who stopped by, Mickey and Jackie felt the need to check on Osward again. Well, there he was in the dirt with no clothes on. Mickey was so upset! Luckily we had C.B., the bank manager, and Anne and Nyawa, the two women from the Hope Center, with us. C.B. called the lady from Social Services to see what was going on. She told us she thought he had been picked up. In the meantime Nyawa told the guardian that Osward was a blessing for her. She explained that he was the fertilizer that would make her blessings grow. I pray she understands.
On the way back to the village the social worker called Jackie and said that Osward would be transported to a hospital and then placed in the Cheshire Home, a place for disabled children. Luckily we have our friends now involved who will follow up on this.
Once again on the long drive home I started thinking about my life. How many Oswards have I ignored because I was too busy or too selfish? How many blessings have I missed out on?
“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget
the things thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart
all the days of thy life; but teach them to thy sons and thy sons’ sons”
“They Shall Walk And Not Faint”
As we are heading out again today it is hard for me to believe how fast our time here has flown by! We only have three days left to get so much accomplished because we start our journey home on Monday.
Yesterday was so overwhelming with emotion that I needed some time to process it before I wrote down my thoughts.
Thursday started out very early and, yes, now I am a coffee drinker (coffee with lots of milk and brown sugar). Our first stop was to see Osward again. Osward is a fifteen year old boy in a five year old body. (He is the little boy in the video with a hat on sitting in a wheelchair.) His mother has severe mental issues and he has been neglected his whole life. Jackie and Mickey first met Osward a year ago and have been trying to help him ever since that day. Well, yesterday he was finally saved! Mickey and Jackie contacted Social Services and they met us at his home. They said the situation was deplorable and that he would be removed tomorrow and his mother would be put in a mental institution…..We all agreed that Osward would be the line leader to heaven when it came time to meet Jesus.
After we got ourselves together we started talking about our next adventure which was to give out clothes deep in the bush. We headed down another bumpy dirt road, had a flat tire, and finally arrived at Reverend Rodwell’s church. Children were standing along the side of the road waving to us and then they ran behind the car until we reached the church. There over 100 orphans sat down very quietly until they were called up to receive a piece of clothing. Then they did a slight curtsy to say thank you….I just want to let everyone know we are in desperate need of boys’ clothes (especially boys S, M, L shirts). You would not believe all of the boys in Zambia.
As we pulled off we threw bubblegum to everyone and we loved the excitement as they ran to get a piece. It was good to see them share if they got more than one sweetie!
As we headed back to our nice rooms, I was thinking about the warm shower I was going to take and the bowl of spaghetti I would have for dinner. I looked out of the van window watching the Zambians go about their day. The Bible verse Isaiah 40:31 says it all:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall
mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and
they shall walk, and not faint.”
Sadness and Joy
Yesterday when Mickey and I met with the head of Child Welfare and Social Services for the Serenje District in Zambia we told her about our young friend, Osward, – about whom we have spoken before- and his deplorable living conditions. After explaining that we would purchase the fuel for the government vehicle – which was not available in their budget – it was agreed that she and the enforcing officer with whom she works would meet us today in Chitambo – 50 miles from their office – to asses Osward’s living conditions and to see what appropriate actions might be taken to help this precious disabled child. We took this action only after trying time and again to work with a guardian who failed to give Osward any level of decent care.
This has been an extremely sad and sobering part of our trip for this team but we are grateful to know that Child Welfare has been quick to respond to our request for assistance for Osward. We have been assured that he is being removed from this bad situation immediately – first to a temporary place and then to a permanent home. As sad as this has been, it has also been good to see wonderful people in authority come to the aid of one who so badly needed their help….We will surely continue to check on Osward.
In the afternoon today we journeyed to the church of our friend, Reverend Rodwell, and gave clothing to over 100 children – one at a time. What a treat that was! As we handed each boy a new pair of britches or shirt, or each girl a new dress they would smile, bend at the knee slightly, and say thank you in Bemba. Their gratitude made us all wish we could do so much more for them……Our best was to say, “Yesu alikutemwa.” – Jesus loves you.
Blessings and Shalom,
Rejoice In The Lord!
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, ‘Rejoice.'”
When I started reading my devotional one morning recently the first line was “Remember that joy is not dependent on your circumstances.”. That line has a totally different meaning to me today than it would have 2 weeks ago.
The Zambian way of life includes walking miles to get fresh water and then carrying it home in a big bucket on your head – eating nshima (very thick grits) every meal each day after cooking it over an open fire and stirring it with cooking utensils that look like boat oars – no electricity – if you have a problem with a tooth, they just pull it out IF you can find a dentist – walking around not seeing because you have no glasses – – and so much more.
I wondered to myself – where do they get their joy? How do they keep going each day?
The Zambians Know God. Through their faith, joy is all around. Their songs of praise ring through the village making one want to get up and dance. Their kindness is overflowing. They find joy in serving their American guests Coca Colas and chocolate cookies which cost a lot of money and much time to walk to town to buy. They seem shy but the minute you speak or wave they smile like you are an old friend they have not seen in years. I am overwhelmed by the spirituality and manners of the Zambian people.
I can only hope that when I return home and trouble knocks on my door that I will remember these people and give thanks to God for all of my blessings.
Today is the 6th day since we left home to come to Africa and the 2nd day going out in the bush. It took a long time to get here, but it has been worth it.
We went to Chitambo Village today and Suzanne and I stood in the center of there market and played the guitar and sang. The people were little shy at first but began to warm up quickly. We sang some children’s songs with motions and they played along laughing. They had big beautiful smiles and seemed so happy we were here.
Before leaving we wanted to give candy to the children. Our friend Rev. Royd told them to get in a line so we could hand it out. They formed a line but it soon fell apart. We were surrounded by children and some adults with there arms outstretched and asking for “sweetie”. They rarely, if ever, taste sugar. I can only imagine how it would feel to taste a sweet piece of bubble gum or peppermint if I had never had it before! I’m thankful for the blessings I received from them today.
We also visited the Chitambo hospital yesterday and today. We took a gift bag today to an expectant mother that had just given birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The infants were wrapped in blankets lying in cot-like bed with the mother. That may give some idea of the condition of their hospital. They do the best they can with what they have, which is very very little. Please pray for them.