Greetings Parents, Family & Friends…
With hearts full of deep gratitude to the Lord for His faithfulness and to you for your prayers we bring the following report…
The life-changing sights, sounds and events of the past few weeks were frequent and intense. We visited three Orphan Rescue Units in our two weeks in the bush (Mark Overbay in Lufwanyama, William Orr in Luswishi and Redeemer in Mukema). The last two units were the most remote of the 16 units Teen Missions runs in Zambia. We became seasoned bush travelers on our truck (affectionately named Sam-squatch by the team). Our driver was one of the Zambian TMI staffers, Robert Yoder. With seasoned skill and prayer he navigated some of the most challenging terrain a vehicle can be asked to cross. Some of the roads we were on are actually impassible for up to 5 months of the year during the rainy season. Few white faces are seen in the areas we visited so even in transit we drew a lot of attention with hundreds of smiles and waving hands along the roadside for our outgoing team members on the truck.
We were impressed by the character and courage of the facilitators at each Rescue Unit as they ministered to the overwhelming needs of hundreds each weeks with the joy of the Lord. Our team distributed water filters to each Rescue Unit and also donated filters at each location to needy villages and schools. In addition, the team participated in clothing distribution, making and distributing nutritious porridge meal to mothers for their babies, showing the JESUS FILM in the local Lamba dialect, assisting the facilitators in praying for the sick and providing medical help with supplies that we helped to bring to each unit. The team also completed some work projects threshing some corn, hauling sand with our truck, and repairing a burnt bridge (besides the helping the local villages, we needed that bridge to get back out of the bush!) We did open-air presentations at each unit, in the villages, and at local schools. The team played and taught games with the orphans and donated soccer balls and boundary cones at each location. In Mukema some of our team members taught phonics to the primary school students. We saw about 20 decisions for Christ after our showings of the JESUS FILM and an entire primary school student body prayed to receive Christ in Lufwanyama. The Lord knows the true count of souls won but we know that seeds were planted and that some likely received Jesus for the 1st time. As leaders, we are awed and humbled to have had the privilege to lead this wonderful team and so appreciate your willingness to share these precious teens with us this summer. We enjoyed sightseeing and our first real souvenir buying yesterday in Ndola and today attended a ‘city’ church… much different than in the bush! Tomorrow we plan, the Lord willing, to travel 400 kms to Lusaka and on Tuesday another 500 kms to Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River for our main sightseeing day on Wednesday. On Thursday, we plan to drive back to Lusaka for our last overnight in Lusaka and on Friday begin flying home for debrief.
Well, that’s a summary. We will now try to let the team members give you the details through their eyes in the testimonies below:
Ben V. —Wow, this has been an amazing summer. I’ve met some of the greatest friends I will ever have. We have all been learning how to work as a team and how to help each other out. I’m so glad God enabled all of us to be together on this trip. The way God plans things is amazing.
Leslie G. The time we spent in the bush went by so quickly. Every single one of us had a life-changing time. Even though we were covered from head to toe with layers of dirt, even though we had no running water, even though the temperature went below freezing at night (once)… I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world. It was so neat seeing so many people come to Christ over the weeks we were in the bush. Seeing people find hope for the first time was priceless. We got to show the Jesus Film 3 times. We did many presentations in villages, churches and schools plus the many hundreds of people that came to the Rescue Unit day after day. People are so eager for Jesus and the hope and joy that he so freely gives, they drink dirty water, they have no food or clothes, yet they’re more joyful than most os us even though we have SO much more then them. I am excited to get home and see my family and friends again but a big part of my heart will be right here in Africa.
Faith B. My time in Zambia has been such an amazing experience and it makes me so sad that it is coming to an end. The people here have really touched my heart especially one little girl named Linus. She is about 7 years old. When she was a little girl she was sick in bed when a wild fire came to her village and burned her house down while she was still inside. She lost her hand and a big chuck other head was burnt badly. Three years later, her head wound is still healing. While my friend Rebecca and I were standing in line (for lunch), Mr. Steve called us over to pray for this precious little girl. It was wonderful to feel the power of God cheer up this girl because shortly after she was smiling. So that story really touched my heart!
Aliya W. On Wednesday night we learned that a bridge along our route back to the base had partially burnt down. We had a few options but ultimately decided to spend a day fixing it up. I’m so glad we did because it was amazing to know we left a lasting physical impact on the same community that impacted us so much. I’ve been learning how true it is that all you need is God. The people we’ve met rely on God for even the most basic necessities. He (God) really does provide for those who love him and the clarity of that in Africa is absolutely beautiful.