My CURE U trip: At peace in Zambia

This post was written by Sarah Alling, who traveled to CURE Zambia during the summer of 2017.  She was a student at Texas A&M University and part of the CURE U chapter there.

Upon returning home from my trip to CURE Zambia, my friends and family asked, “How was it?” “What was your favorite part?” and so on. It’s easy for me to respond with a quick recap of what I got to do and what stood out to me, or to say how God worked in and through the team. However, it’s nearly impossible to string words together that “do justice” to what I experienced. In essence, Jehovah Shalom, God is peace, was with us through it all.

The trip began before we even left the country. Our team first met in person at the CURE U Symposium. There, it was so evident that #teamHowie was a laid-back, easy going team. For the entirety of the conference, we bonded and became like a family. It was tough at the end to say goodbye, but knowing that I have connections all over America is crazy! And what’s even better is they are just as passionate about CURE as I am!

The night before our team left for Zambia, we experienced the most amazing encounter that set the tone of our journey. We were told to do laundry before the last night so that we weren’t all having to do laundry at the same time. Of course, that didn’t happen! A couple of girls from both the Zambia and Uganda teams sat with each other as we waited on the single washer and dryer to pump out our clean clothes. What happened next is something that will live in my heart forever. Everyone started to share their testimonies, something we worked on as a team that morning in a training session. It was such a sweet and vulnerable time. To be able to open up, share, and encourage each other was empowering and it bonded us all. Honestly, this moment was so helpful in preparing me for giving my testimony later in a village. And the best part was the spontaneity of it all!

At the hospital, God’s peaceful presence was so powerful. Driving through the city was chaotic, but as soon as we pulled into the hospital grounds, the atmosphere immediately shifted. Now, this is where it gets difficult to relay the experience in full. My favorite thing about the hospital was seeing how the staff provides such high quality care. They also cultivate an environment for the children to experience joy and freedom. Even through the pain of their surgeries or circumstances, each child exhibited so much joy it was almost unbelievable.

The beginning of the week was tough for me. I felt like there was nothing I could contribute. The staff had the place running so well! We got to just sit back, observe, and enjoy God at work through the staff. The conversations we had with the staff were some of the most uplifting and inspiring! I was overwhelmed that I was a small factor in this amazing ministry at work all over the world. This feeling got even better as we had the opportunity to go to a village and minister to families. CURE’s translators and pastors showed us new truths every day and helped us share our testimonies cross-culturally in such a beautiful way. Each afternoon, our team would “debrief” and discuss what we had experienced at the different homes. I couldn’t help but feel myself walking in peace as we traveled to homes in the morning and interacted with kids in the afternoon. Even though my team experienced a language barrier, it was so beautiful to see how the pastors interacted and shared God with the people.

This was the third time CURE had traveled to this particular village. It was such a blessing to see how CURE is sowing into the country. This completed the picture for me of how CURE is really 100% medical, 100% spiritual, and 100% community minded.

When I returned home, I kept trying to think of what God had taught me. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, but for the first time, I experienced peace that surpassed all understanding. It’s not normal to see such joy in kids that are experiencing immense pain. But where God is at the center of every action, there is pure joy. That is the amazing privilege I had: to experience God’s joy and peace.