It is July 2nd, and we arrived yesterday at our second Rescue Unit. Our first was in Kansoka, and we were there from Saturday, June 27th until yesterday morning. When we reached the road leading into the bush, we realized pretty quickly we were in for a bumpy ride. We were packed into the truck pretty tightly with the 21 of us, and then TK and Jackie up front with the baby. The Lord truly protected us and kept us safe, and so we praise Him and thank Him all the more. We finally arrived at the Rescue Unit and met the facilitator, Milan, and his wife, Susan. There were children there to greet us, and I think all of our emotions were in a heap from the intense truck ride, and they overflowed into tears when we were warmly welcomed at the Unit. That evening we played with the kids for about three hours, playing “mingle mingle” and “duck, duck, goose”. They really thought it was hilarious to see the mzungus chasing each other around the circle. These kids were an immediate blessing to us to say the least.
On Sunday the team experienced their very first African church service. Alayjah Robbins, Caitlin Dewlen, Caleb McAndrew and Rachel Olla were picked to teach the Sunday school for the kids with the help of Laxton, the Circuit Rider with Teen Missions. They heard a Bible story and learned English songs and played games. Meanwhile the Bible study was going on inside the church, where the praise and worship group was singing from the bottom of their hearts, and it was music you could just listen to forever. It doesn’t matter that we couldn’t understand a word of what they sang, the presence of God was there and we worshiped together as one body in Christ. It was powerful and beautiful.
On Monday, we had our first day of foot washing! The team was very excited to begin the main ministry for which they came. The news had spread days prior to our arrival that the “mzungus” (white people) were coming and they were going to give away shoes. Hundreds of kids flooded the property and poured out from the bushes. We had two foot washing stations going, while two nurses attended to sores and wounds, while two launderers washed towels continuously, and also while a few others played with the kids who were waiting in line for their turn. They would move from line to line, until it was finally their turn to sit in front of the wash basin. Their feet would get washed, they would be checked for any need of medical care, and they would get in line to be fitted for shoes. It was an emotional and humbling experience, especially to see the look in their eyes and on their faces when they are handed their new pair of shoes. Many of them do
not wear them for very long so that they don’t get dirty. It is also difficult because fights will break out over the shoes and who deserves which pair and especially between the registered orphans at the unit and the orphans who do not belong to the unit. You never ever want to say no to anyone, especially where there is so much need. But sometimes you have to in order to maintain order and peace.
We handed out almost all our shoes for the first unit on the first day, and we ran out of little sizes quickly, but we were able to still hold a medical clinic to look at sores and take care of common colds, diarrhea, flu, headaches, etc. We praise the Lord that we were able to help 102 people on our first day, and 72 on the second day, even though we were out of shoes.
After we handed out shoes to the children, we gathered about one hundred of them together to sing songs and really to explain why we are doing this for them. Victoria Hughes, through a translator, shared with them that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in service to them, and we are doing the same for them to show them the love of Christ and to give them the good news of what He has done for each one of them. When she had finished, she asked how many would like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and over 70 little hands shot up in the air, and we were all brought to tears. This is what we came for, this is our purpose. Praise the Lord for His mighty work through us here in Zambia!
Since we have arrived in Mibende at our second Rescue Unit, we met the facilitator, Mr. Joy, and we will begin foot washing and medical care today, but we will not be handing out shoes until tomorrow because the children are traveling long distances from their villages and not all of them have arrived yet. This Unit is a bit warmer than the first, and we are all thankful! We also have the enjoyment of two dogs that hang around, along with chickens and pigs. The team really is loving their time here in Zambia with each other and with the orphans, and they are always excited and willing to serve the kids and play with them.
We are planning to be at this Rescue Unit in Mibende until Tuesday, Lord willing. It is difficult to determine because there will never be enough shoes for the amount of orphans, so we run out quickly. Pray that we are still able to work and keep interest in the orphans and share Jesus Christ with them even when we run out of shoes. After our time in Mibende, we will head on out to our third and last Rescue Unit.
“God has done so much in me and around me these past few days. Through these beautiful kids, He has reminded me that my joy should come from Him and Him alone. Being able to worship 4000 miles from home in an unfamiliar culture, surrounded by a different language has shown me all over again how mighty He is and how His love really doesn’t have any boundaries or borders. At the beginning of this trip, I thought God wanted to use me to make a difference in the lives of these kids, but in reality, anything I could do for them pales in comparison to the difference they’ve made in me.” – Victoria Hughes
“Being in Zambia is great! Seeing all these kids is sad but happy in some ways. They are so happy and grateful. We take so many things for granted. The kids love the games and songs. It was great to see 70+ kids ask Jesus into their hearts. I have seen so much and have learned so much from these kids. I feel like my walk with the Lord has grown stronger. I want to share that love with these kids. It has been a joy to be here.” – Joe Stubbs