The impact of Agape Village extends well past the bunk beds with colorful sheets and matching mosquito nets you’ll find in the bunk rooms at the orphanage.
While the real mission of the Agape Village Foundation is to provide loving care in a Christ-centered environment for orphaned Zambian children, the acts of faith associated with all things Agape Village go far beyond raising and educating the children.
The Agape Village is a mecca of employment for area villagers – good jobs. There are several women who cook and wash the clothes. There are tutors that come to the orphanage to supplement their school studies. There are many young men that take care of the grounds around the orphanage, do building maintenance and take care of the farm crops.
During harvest season for the Agape Village corn and soybeans, another 20-25 villagers from the surrounding area are hired to come in and help.
Today, Jackie and Peggy were on day two of interviewing applicants for four teaching positions for the new Agape Village School.
Agape Village Foundation is always in close contact with other village churches and helps out with community needs as they can. The local hospital received a new water tank a few years back, thanks to the Foundation.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and Agape Village Foundation frequently finds that helping others in this corner of the world will directly or indirectly have a positive impact on the children. When you plant seeds of kindness and gentleness, it tends to spread.
I’ve always know Mickey to be an affable guy, but on this trip I’ve discovered he has the perfect demeanor to navigate the sometimes quirky Zambian ways of doing things. Mickey is part Southern gentleman, part professional diplomat and part crazy-like-a-fox.
When we come up to the daily Zambian military checkpoint on our way to Agape every day, he rolls down the window and greets the officer like a long-lost best friend.
“Good morning, friend!” he’ll exclaim, like he’s just found a long lost Zambian cousin. “How are you this morning – isn’t it a beautiful day?”
Zambian people seem to be a friendly kind of people, so usually the officer smiles and shakes Mickey’s hand. I’m not sure if they think they might really know Mickey and have just forgotten him, or if they’re just getting sucked into the kindness that is emanating from this tall crazy guy driving a soccer mom van around the Zambian bush.
Usually Mickey will engage this MILITARY POLICE OFFICER in some kind of talk about their family, whether traffic has been busy, or about where we’re going. This past Sunday, our MILITARY POLICE OFFICER – who did look suspiciously at the giant load we had strapped to the top of the van – ended up having a brief conversation about Agape Village with Mickey. As we’re getting ready to be waved through, the MILITARY POLICE OFFICER, asks Mickey for a Bible. Straight-up, shakes and holds Mickey’s hand and says, “Can you give me a Bible?”
We had about 4,000 pounds of stuff in that van, but no Bible.
Mickey held on to that guy’s hand and said, “I’ll get you a Bible. When will you be back here?”
Fast forward to that night as we’re trying to track down a Bible to give to Mickey’s favorite MILITARY POLICE OFFICER. As I’m about to suggest we could “borrow” the one from my motel room, one of the members of the team offered to give him her Bible. Jane is like that. “If someone is going to ask for a Bible from us, we’re going to give them a Bible,” she said.
And today, we did. It was very climatic.
In the van, we had Jane’s well-worn, much loved Bible ready.
At first, we didn’t see our guy. It was a new MILITARY POLICE OFFICER for Mickey to win over and he was working his magic.
We were feeling disappointed.
And then, from the side of the road, our favorite MILITARY POLICE OFFICER came towards us, with a smile on his face.
Mickey and our favorite MILITARY POLICE OFFICER shook hands.
“Brought you something,” Mickey said smiling. “I told you I would.”
The guy’s smile got bigger. And OUR FRIEND waved us through.
It was just like a movie.
Today when I was talking to Annie, Agape Village Orphanage’s housemother, I was really struck by something she told me.
“I tell these children, they must get a good education and work hard and make something of themselves because one day they will be successful and come back and help us as we’re taking care of more young orphans,” she said. “I want them to do great things, but I want them to remember the blessings they’ve received and understand God wants all of us to love and take care of each other. One day, it will be these children, taking care of others and not just making our village better, but making Zambia, our country, better.”
When you plant seeds of kindness and gentleness, it tends to spread.
1 John 4:11-12 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.