I hope this finds you all well and full of joy as you go about your daily lives. There is no greater joy in this life than serving our almighty God, and I am so blessed to get to do what I’m doing! Thank you for your prayers and financial support. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help in making this possible!
I need to tell you all about my summer in Zambia! This summer I got to lead the Zambia Footwashing Team with three other leaders. We took 19 absolutely amazing teenagers to the bush in Zambia to wash and doctor the feet of many orphans and then give them shoes and socks. Many of them have never had a pair of shoes or the ones they do have are so worn, that they can hardly be called shoes.
We took over 700 pairs of shoes with us from Florida, and we could have used so many more. Each of us were allowed two, 50 lb. duffel bags full of shoes. Our personal belongings had to fit into a backpack and a small carry-on bag. It is sobering to think that we can fit more personal items in a backpack than most of the children we met even own. And we wondered if that would be enough to get through the four weeks we were there.
When we arrived in Zambia, we spent a couple of days at the Teen Missions base in Ndola while we purchased food and prepared for life in the bush. Then we visited three of our AIDS Orphan Rescue Units. We stayed at each unit for a few days and washed feet, treated wounds and other things as much as possible. Plus we spent time playing with the orphans. They came every day and our team just loved them. They poured their hearts and souls into those little orphans and each time we had to leave, it just tore us up! You can’t help but realize just how rich we are here in America! Yes, we have poor people here, but not poor like these orphans. They have absolutely nothing and have no way of getting even the basic necessities. You just want to scoop them all up and take them with you when you leave. It’s very difficult to leave them in those conditions.
I love that Teen Missions is taking the Gospel to places where no one else cares to go! They have such huge needs in Zambia and some of those needs have to be met in order to share the Lord Jesus with them. Our team led over 200 children to the Lord while we were there. It’s so good to know that Teen Missions has someone at each of these locations who will continue to teach and disciple these young orphans. Please pray for our facilitators who live at the Rescue Units and do their best to teach these children how to read, grow vegetables and take care of animals. They also teach them how to live for the Lord so that when they are adults they will be able to take care of themselves and their families. We met several people who were once orphans and now are on staff at Teen Missions or working and doing well for themselves. So there is hope that the future will be better for them.
After our visits to the Rescue Units, we spent a few days at the base helping out and getting ready to come back to Florida. First, we got to spend a day sightseeing and souvenir shopping. We went to a game reserve and got to see some very cool animals like elephants, hippos and zebras (my favorites). Then we took a short cruise down the Zambezi River which was such a blessing! The crew treated us like royalty and served us a beautiful dinner aboard the “ship”. After spending three weeks in the bush it felt a little decadent, but it was such a nice blessing for our team. Then we visited Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world! It was just spectacular to see and to enjoy some more of God’s beautiful creation.
We came back to Florida and enjoyed a few days of Debrief before taking the team to the airport to send them home. After spending so much time together, it’s difficult to say goodbye because you become very much like a family. However, as hard as it is to let them go back home, we have a real bond and connection
with these teenagers that will last a lifetime! Cheyenne Freeman and I are the leaders who are still here in Florida and we miss them all so much. The other leaders were Thomas and Jackie Kabwata, who are on staff in Zambia. They were able to be here in Florida for Boot Camp, but they stayed in Zambia when we left to come back to the States. We were also joined by Victor Chatora who is also a staff member there. He was a huge help as he travelled with us in Zambia. It was an additional blessing to get to know these godly people and to be able to rely on them while in a strange culture.
Another blessing was joining the Bible school students at the base for their
evening chapel services. Their worship time as they sang songs of praise was amazingly beautiful. Their voices blended like a choir and we felt like crying just listening to the way they sang. Congregational singing sounded like a choir that had rehearsed for weeks! Our team sang for them and did their presentation, but after hearing them sing, we wondered how we could possibly “measure up.” They did a great job though and there was not one team member or leader who left Zambia unaffected by all we were able to see and do.
Matthew 22:37-39 says “Jesus said to him, You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I believe our Zambia Team loves the Lord. Some of them are still showing that love even back at home where it is sometimes the hardest to continue to use what you’ve learned while away at camp or on a team like this one. Please pray with us for them as they strive to follow the Lord in their daily lives at home.
Thank you again for all of you who pray for me and the staff here at Teen Missions. The ministry here was built on prayer and continues on because of your prayers and others like you. Prayer is a huge deal here and so we appreciate you! I also need my financial supporters to know how much I appreciate your help! You are the people who make all this possible and though you may not get much more than a thank you here on earth, someday you will be greatly rewarded in heaven!
God bless you!