Monday, July 30, 2012

Where To Help Sunday was a full day not just in our schedule but in the range of visceral experiences and emotions we felt. The day started with laughter when I admitted I had brushed my teeth with athletes foot medication rather than toothpaste. But the day picked up from there. We drove to Redemption Ministries Church where we worshiped with Pastor Mpanga's congregation. It was a wonderful time of worship and praise. I had the rare privilege of preaching (with the help of a translator). We remembered that as Christians we are "living stones" that are being built up into a royal house for the Lord and He alone is the one who holds it together in love. It does not matter that we are separated by language and miles, our team, this dear group of African Christians and all believers everywhere are the church and are called to declare the Light and Love of Jesus Christ / Then, after a wonderful good bye and pictures, it was off to the Arcades Mall. Every Sunday, there is an artisans market where people can buy from a huge selections of carvings, weavings, paintings, jewelry, and basketry. Oh yes, there is also a coffee shop there and a number of different places to eat. I went with our driver to the airport to pick up Karl Teichert who had just arrived from South Africa to help me teach the Pastor/Leadership Development Conference that begins today. We regrouped at the Mall and got back on the bus and headed once again for Kabanana where we visited another school and the women's' sewing co-op. Everywhere we have been, nearly every person we have met, every program and every school all need help. It is overwhelming! Sunday we visited the Village Steps/Kabanana School that Paul Bwalya directs. 70 children attend there and nearly all of them are orphans; either single or double orphans. Most weren't wearing shoes and many of them are being taken care of by guardians who cannot afford to feed them more than a small portion of nsima (pronounced shee-ma). It is a filling dish made from corn meal and is the mainstay of the local economy. The school could teach many more if they had additional space. It occupies a small house in a densely populated area. The children are taught in two small classrooms which were originally intended to serve as sleeping quarters. Teacher Paul and hiswife sleep in one of the small back rooms. Like every home in Kabanana there is no running water or bathroom facilities. All cooking is done on charcoal braziers or on small electric hot plates. We learned that a lawyer helped them use this facility free of charge and there is a small addition already started. Of particular note we saw Falidah - a young girl who several of the team have supported with scholarship money. She is a double orphan whose life was filled with despair but with this sponsorship, she has been able to go on the high school and is finishing her studies. It was quite a tearful moment to be reunited with her. The last stop was the women's sewing co-op where some of our women were fitted for dresses with fabric they purchased at the market. Tom was also measured (with the women standing on a stool to reach his shoulders) for a shirt. Finally we arrived back at our lodge to share stories, debrief and give thankful praise for the experiences of the day. However, the one haunting caveat hanging over all of us was the question of whether or not our presence and efforts was really making a difference. There are so many needs just in this one compound in a section of Lusaka Zambia. Muliply that times thousands and you realize the depth of need in Africa. Multiply that times millions and you realize that the needs of God's children world-wide are almost incomprehensible. Where do we help? What can we do? All we can do is one small part at a time - one changed life; one student sponsored; one orphan fed; one community provided with a school and a well.... In the large scope it may not seem like much, but here it means everything. To illustrate this, while we were at Paul Bwalya's school, we passed out green TRUE VALUE HARDWARE bags to each of the guardians and teachers. They were overcome with elation and gratitude - dancing; ululating (the African way of expressing joy) and tears. What a moment. I wish you all could have been there to see it. Thank you for helping make it possible by your prayers and support.

No comments: