Wednesday, September 19, 2007

8000 miles and back again

tomorrow it will be a week since i got back from my trip to zambia. i spent an amazing 12 days there living and loving through serving. i still can't believe i went to africa... i went to africa... i have to keep telling myself that. i've dreamt about africa a lot since i've been home. i guess it stuck with me more than i realize.

i think my favorite thing was the children. i knew they'd be sweet and they were. granted they had their moments like when we're about to leave the village and they're all surrounding you saying "you give me gift in remembrance." and all you can think is, "i slept in a tent, pooped in a hole and painted all day to create a community center for you and you want a GIFT?" oh my... those are moments i won't forget. they have so little and looking back i see how special it was for us to be there and for them to get something from us. i gave this one boy my water bottle and he carried it around all day like it was a trophy. it was a $5 nalgene but to him it was gold.

then there were the moments like on my birthday when i spent hours holding this sick 3 year old little girl named martha. i don't know why i picked her out of the crowd of kids but i did and i plopped her on my lap. within moments she was curled up on my lap and showed no signs of leaving. that was fine with me so i just held her and kissed her and rubbed her face. i found out later that she's 1 of 5 kids. her dad's in prison for a year because he got in a fight and broke a man's tooth. apparently zambia takes fighting very seriously. so now this mom is left to try and take care of 5 kids and is really struggling. my heart breaks for them.

children are forced to grow up at such a young age. i saw 6 year olds carrying 6 month olds on their backs all day... 4 year olds hauling water at ungodly distances in sweltering heat... and i met many kids who lived with their grandparents because their mom and dad are no longer living... most likely due to the aids epidemic. then i think of kids the same age here in the US and how dependent they are on "things" like tv... internet... video games... it really is a different world.

i felt so privileged to be a part of the project going on in that community of 2000 people... kaombe village in northern zambia. we turned an abandoned bar into a community center with a library, pre-school and restaurant in it. my mind can't even grasp what this means for those people... education... opportunity... HOPE! and i was there to be a part of making it happen. it felt surreal. i kept asking God the whole time, "why me? why am i here? why did you let me be a part of this project? so many people wanted to be here... deserved to be here... but they aren't and i am." i still don't know why me, but God does. i did what i could and used my gifts. after all that's what God wants of us, right?

on the sunday we were in the village we walked about an hour to get to church. yes we walked an HOUR to get to church. at the end of the service there was about 15 minutes left before they usually end so they asked our group if anyone wanted to bless the congregation with a song. doesn't everyone volunteer me... i laughed and then went up front. i led them in 2 worship songs and it was a beautiful moment. looking at all their precious faces was like looking at jesus and it made me enjoy worshipping Him even more. the pastor blessed me afterwards by telling everyone that i sang like an angel. i think that was God's little way of affirming the gift He's placed within me. it made for a very special day.

at night we would go to an open space and look at the sky... i've never seen the sky so big before. it's amazing what being in an area without electricity can do. when it gets dark, it's REALLY dark. one night a few of us went out near the road and laid down on the pavement (it's not a busy road, don't worry) and looked up at the sky. we asked God to shower us with His love through shooting stars and He did... 7 times. it gives me chills just thinking about it. it gave you this sense of the power of our creator, but also His intimacy to make a few people lying on a road in zambia feel incredibly loved.

my trip was filled with those moments... moments where you couldn't do anything but laugh at God's goodness, His provision and His faithfulness. time and time again He reminded us that we were right where we needed to be and that He wasn't going to leave us stranded... even in moments with no luggage, no bathroom and a flat tire. now all i can do is smile remembering the humor in those moments and the excitement in seeing God make a way.

i could go on and on, but this has to end some time right?

i leave again in 1 week. i'll be going to dallas on the 27th to visit with a couple dts friends and then on october 1st it's back to ywam denver for the school of worship. i'll spend 3 months "tuning" my gift and learning the dynamics of what it means to be a true worshipper.

after all, that's what i was created for.

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