In Zambia, the country is divided into 10 provinces, similar to what we would call states. Each province is headed by a minister who is appointed by the President. Provinces are further divided into districts, with each district having a commissioner.
Agape Village is located in the Central Province, which has a population of about 1.3 million people – a little over ten percent of the total Zambian population. We are located in the Chitambo District.
Today, Chitambo District Commissioner Catherine Kunda visited the new Agape Village school. It was kind of a big deal!
Chitambo is lucky to have Ms Kunda; she is smart, gracious, warm and genuinely enthusiastic for the people in her district and how Agape Village can contribute to the growth of the area. I really enjoyed meeting her and her staff.
After her tour of the school, we gathered outside under our new Zambian flag in front of the school. Mickey and Jackie, excellent diplomats in their own right, thanked her for coming and for her support of Agape Village. Then, Ms Kunda looked at Mickey and Jackie and told them Agape Village was a blessing to Chitambo and a gift from God.
She looked earnestly at Mickey and Jackie and continued, “To have such a nice school in our towns would be wonderful, but to have something like this school, in the middle of the Zambia bush is unheard of and I thank you, truly thank you for being obedient to God and listening to him when he told you to come here, to do all of this,” Ms Kunda said. “What you are doing for the children here and in Chitambo Village is a miracle and will really change their lives. We thank you so much.”
There was more, but I wasn’t writing it all down and I was feeling weepy. It was one of the most heartfelt, moving monologues I’ve ever heard. We all were crying and if we could come back and vote for Ms Kunda we would (and I think she’s appointed, anyway).
Zambia declared itself a Christian country in 1991, and though I’ve seen multiple religions observed where we stay (and heard the call for prayers from the local Muslim mosque), the overall intention was to commit Zambia to operating under a Christian umbrella of values. These include, love, dignity, integrity, honesty, hard work and patriotism. Ms Kunda openly talked about how God had provided for Agape Village to be in Chitambo Village, in a place where kids pretty much had little hope of getting a good education. She thinks Agape School can change that and maybe, Agape children can do great things for the country of Zambia.
“These children are our future,” Ms. Kunda said, “This school and all they learn here will open up the whole world to them.”
Every time Ms.Kunda tried to thank Jackie and Mickey, they would respond with their mantra, “God directs us, we just try to follow his lead. This is all God’s doing, not ours.”
I have never gotten the word from God to build an orphanage in the middle of the Zambian bush, but I imagine I would probably just tell myself I was hearing that wrong. And if I did think I was hearing that, after I learned about the long trip, the lack of roads, the lack of equipment, the woods, the immigration issues and just in-general lack of black and white on-paper instructions on how to do such a thing, I probably would convince myself I could find a little project to do closer to home.
Like Ms Kunda, I am so thankful Mickey and Jackie were obedient. But that’s the beauty of God. He knew exactly who to ask to come to the Zambian bush and help him show his love. I’m pretty sure God had it planned for a very long time.
Agape Village is one miracle, after a miracle, after a miracle, after a miracle. It doesn’t make sense, when you see the landscape and the resources available, for this orphanage, the abundant farm and now the beautiful new school to exist. But it does.
Earlier this week, Beatrice, who is in grade 3, told me her favorite verse was “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you,” from Matthew 7:7.
Thank you God for having such awesome plans for Agape Village. May we continue to ask, seek and knock, and see you in all that we do.