Three weeks after I landed in Zambia I found myself sleeping on the ground in a tent in the bush with 40 other people and no electricity or cell service.
How did I get here?!
Arriving in Zambia was a whirlwind; I’m not sure I would say that I’m fully “settled” even now. After being here for 2 weeks, a group of college students arrived and brought all kinds of crazy to the guesthouse and the hospital. They came with so much energy and excitement! They made me feel old and tired, but I was encouraged by them every day they were here. When the CURE U teams are here in the summer they join a busload of Zambians and head out into the village for a week to do outreach through a local church. This time, I joined them. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Sure, I’ve been to the bush in Africa before, but for this particular trip, I had no knowledge of what was in store. Where were we going? How long would we be there? What should I take? What would we be doing? These are questions I didn’t ask. Instead, I just went along for the ride and allowed the questions to be answered along the way.
Where did we go? Somewhere in southern Zambia, on a 1.5 hour bus ride on dirt roads outside of a village called Kalomo, about 8 hours from Lusaka.
How long were we there? Five days.
What did I take? Only what could fit into a small backpack; One change of clothes. Some soap. A water bottle. A sweatshirt for the freezing nights. And, of course, a camera.
What did we do? All kinds of things. Our mornings started at 5am when we were awoken by the prayers of the saints, praying for the people of the village and singing praises to the one true God! Next was breakfast, then gathering for a group devotion and usually some singing (one of my favorite things about the week). Then we were divided into teams to go throughout the village and share the hope of Jesus in local homes. Our teams usually consisted of a few men and women from the area, a pastor who spoke the language, and a couple of CURE U students. We would meet back for lunch, then afternoon programs would begin. Classes for married couples, new believers, children, prayer, and more consumed the afternoons. By the time dinner rolled around there were usually 100+ people in attendance! In the evenings, either a showing of the Jesus film or a worship service took place.
The questions I often get asked after a mission trip or when working in vocational ministry of some sort usually consist of, “So, what were the effects of the week? How did it change you? How did it change the village? What did God do?”
Honestly, I don’t know the answers yet. Being able to answer those questions is not the reason I went. There are so many times that the Lord asks us to do things – not so that we can see the fruit of our work in our own lives or in the lives of others – he simply asks for our obedience. He asks us to follow him with great faith and sometimes we never fully understand why. Sometimes we never get to see the fruit. I think this is called “dying to ourselves”; it’s a continual growing process for me. My prayer is that the week we spent in the village would bring glory to our Lord, that his name would be praised in that village, that the people would not remember us, but remember the things the Lord did, and that I would learn to follow Jesus wherever he leads me, even into the village.