Monday, June 29, 2009

emotional battle.

My time spent in Kafue could best be described as an emotional battle. Saturday morning, awakened by the Lord, I was aware that my time spent there would not be easy- however, little did I know what was yet to come.

The night before was difficult. Thinking about seeing my girls from last year again left me anxious, nervous, excited, scared, and questioning what the next few days would bring. It wasn't until I got in the car on Saturday morning, that I realized just how much of my weekened would be much different than how I expected it to be.

I got in the car. Humphrey was quiet. I asked him how he was doing, he said, "fine." I knew something was not right. No more than 30 seconds passed, and his mouth began to move, sharing that last evening, one of our Orphans (Ophrey) had passed away.

If you know my story of Ophrey, you know that I associate his name with the Hope of Jesus Christ. If you know what happened last year while I was here, you would understand how devastated this left me.

As I sat in the car, quietly, now in shock, I wondered if the joy of seeing my girls would even exist amongst the pain of this loss.


We made it to Uncle Bushe's (a retreat center where I had stayed last year) and it brought back many incredible memories. Walking down the roads in Kafue felt so good- a place I had known so well once before. My spirit excited, interested in what was to come.

I could write forever about my time in Kafue. I could write about each one of my children, once a little girl, now bigger and stronger- and my time with them. I could write about the pain of leaving them again, knowing I won't see them again for a while- but it is just too much to write.

To put things plainly, time in Kafue was an emotional battle. From the joys of seeing some of my little girls, to the pains of losing Ophrey- from the excitement of being back in Kafue, to the suffereing of some of the children- from the anxiousness of seeing them, to the heart breaking reality of those not sponsored- from the joy of hearing the blessings from the Lord, to the tragedy of hearing a child talk aboout shane(one of my teammates from last year that tragically passed away after returning), wondering when he will come back, all in the mean while, in the back of my head just imagining how devastated this child would be to know that shane is gone.

Joy amongst pain. Beauty amongst disaster. Laughter amongst tears. Hope amongst sorrow.


I have yet to find words to explain my encounters with my girls. I have however, been able to write of my experience at Ophrey's funeral. This will conclude this post:

I wasn't expecting this.
I never thought we would actually ever lose one.
Ophrey- last year, a story of hope.
This year- his funeral.
I never thought I would have to do this.

I walk in- the church filled with mourners.
I am somber in spirit; nervous, scared, alone.
His body carried in, a small casket resting on sunken shoulders.

Then, I hear it. Over the silent cries of all the people gathersed- to women screaming-
their breaths, unable to fill their lungs.
the sound of grief- piercing.

i look to my left. a man, tears falling into his hands, cupped below.
i look forward- the Boy's Bregade- Ophrey's best friends.
i look down, my finger tips damp, with black streams of mascara, smeared.
i hold it in.

my eyes continue to scan the church.
i find myself angry- in disbelief.
Not that he's gone- but that all these people are here- at his funeral, screaming.
he lived alone. he's been alone. where were they then?
who am i to judge, yet, I find myself angry.

Then I am asked to speak.
I stand, exit the pew, and bow down before his casket.
I stand at the podium, and give my words.

As I stand before the church, my stomach aches. My knees weak. My eyes full, hindering my sight.
All I can see is one woman- she stands up and leaves the room. Another, burries her face in her hands.
I can't do this. This can't be happening.

I return to my seat. My heart pounding. I cry.
I feel a hand on my back- we pray.
my tears drown out the sounds.

I can't write more. I saw him, his lifeless body-
I remember him last year, weak and sick, yet carrying hope and life-
im sad. i hear the women.
i turn around and see them, collapsed on the ground yelling his name.
im angry, yet compassionate.

i just walk away.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I will begin by a few words from a song I love,

"The splendor of the King, clothed in majesty, let all the earth rejoice, let all the earth rejoice."

Over the last few days, the splendor of the King surely has been demonstrated. I am unable to even truly touch on his majesty, and humbled in knowing that I cannot begin to fathom how great our God really is. It is incredible to be in the position I am, and I often wonder who am I to be so blessed as to be able to experience His love so tangibly each day.

I've been working on a piece of writing to capture what is is that the Lord has me here for. As I reflect and ponder on my experiences it is simple. The moment I pick up my sharpie, my scribbles turn into rubbish. I simply cannot spit it out.

It's extremely frustrating. Not only do I desire to work on this piece, but I also long to capture the beauty of every encounter that lingers in my mind. I think back on so many, recently and long ago, that I still have yet to find the prose. I long to put them on paper, allowing the beauty of each precious adjective to describe realities. I long to include them in my beautiful collection of treasured writings, rising to life in a journal given to me by my dear, Korrine. I simply cannot do it though.

more later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i want s'more...

The last two days we have been out in Chongwe, camping away and working at Camp Hope. For those of you who know about my time in Zambia last year, this time, my role at camp is much different. The last two days I have been basically working on the registers, making sure each child (around 300) has been registered with the correct information and has been placed in the appropriate group. It has been a huge task, but fun somehow.

I am a bit sad though. Don't get me wrong, Camp (as an Intern)is full of many blessings, however I am not getting super close to many children. I enjoy so much hearing their stories, holding them, loving on them, and sharing with them the Love of Christ. This is something I miss terribly. Despite my troubles, I am extremely blessed to be able to watch others experience what I once have. It brings me great joy to see others, using the gifts that the Lord has blessed them with, in order to bless and love these children. It is incredible to see.

I have many things that I have seen, yet not a whole lot to say. We've had fun! Two nights ago, we were in one of the My Father's House orphanages and one of the children came out with bed sheets stuffed tightly in his clothes. It was hillarious. He was dancing around and all the children were laughing and chanting for him. It was absolutely hysterical.

Another exciting thing, from last night actually, is we sat around a table with candles (because we don't have power) and we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. We taught one of our Zambian friends about S'mores, and I think he enjoyed it. I sure did!

Well, I better get going. Before I do that though, I would like to share one piece that I had written in my journal a day or two ago. It is about a little boy named Justin, who lives in one of the My Father's House homes:

My arms cradled around his little body. he breathes in and out; quiet, still. his cheeks quickly dampen; warm tears slowly falling down.

everyday- a smile on his face. excitement, but deep down- pain. he is scared- scared to lose again- scared to risk- scared to be alone.

this evening- there it was. behind all the smiles, the giggles- and fun - the pain of a borken childhood. nine years old- a boy- broken; in my arms.

his body, warm against mine. his tender- little face, resting sweetly against my chest. he clings to me-

again i experience it-
i never want to let go.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

monday morn....

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it has been a while, things have been quite busy! We are actually taking off this morning for Chongwe for the week, where we will be camping in tents for Camp. We are very excited that our first camp is finally here, and we are eager to see what the Lord is going to do.

I will not have access to the internet for a while, so blogs wont be up for a few days. I will make sure to write plenty, and then update my blog when I get home.

Time here is wonderful. The Lord continues to do many things and speak to my heart in many ways. I will have lots to share upon my return.

Well, I better be off.


Friday, June 19, 2009

oh today was quite incredible.
it began with the official opening ceremony for the My Father's House Orphan Homes in Chongwe village.
it ended with strawberry, green apple, and blue raspberry airheads. yum.
in between these events, i experienced an incredible amount of joy, peace, confidence, and excitement.

I will just recap on a few things:

Espina. Bianca. Lista. Catherine.
These little ones, I just cannot get enough. The sound of their precious giggles continues to bring warmth to my inmost being. The tenderness of their touch lingers on my skin. The joy in their hearts, engraved in my mind.

Another experience that I cannot get enough of. Sitting on the porch with Cypheen, with guitar in hand, singing. Looking at the sky, the sunset, the horizon. Feeling the breeze. Precious melodies, with harmonies weaving in and out. The chords. Beautiful. Singing to Jesus. Blessing.

Aly. Gianna. Mikey. It's been almost a year. Excitement. I've been longing for this moment.

Short Term New-Be Arrival
Talking with them. Sharing the blessings of this place. Hearing their stories. Answering questions. Encouraging. The Lord has called His people - this will be incredible.

i think this is enough for now. im exhausted.
many blessings in Christ Jesus,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


phone vibrates. private caller. i answer. familiar voice - it's mom.

my smile remains.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

tune my ears

There is something about this place that stills me.

I am constantly reminded that tuning my ears is far more important than loosing my tongue, and in that, I become still.

So much of me longs for a day where I would be able to converse with these lovely people in their language. So much of me, as we go out visiting children, wishes I could easily just talk with them. Despite the difficulty to communicate verbally, the Lord has revealed to me this:

In my most intimate times with the Him, words are not used. Words, meaningless jumbles of letters and sounds, honestly just create greater division. Similarly to intimacy with Christ, the more and more time I spend with the orphans here, the more and more I realize that intamacy with them is not reached through words, rather it is fostered in silence. My tongue need not be loose- my voice need not be heard- my ears must be tuned - my heart open.

I am yet again, asking for forgiveness, for my words seem to fail so much of what I experience here. I am easily annoyed with my inability to express basically everything I experience here however, just as I begin to listen, the Lord begins to speak.

"But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." -Habakkuk 2:20

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." - Zephaniah 3:17

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." - Psalm 23:3

All I can think of is little Bianca.
We've never shared a word, yet, a love so deep runs thick between us still.
I believe this is the Love our King has for his children, indeed.

Jesus, tune my ears.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kitwe (June 11-15)

Hi All! Well, I just returned back home (Kalingalinga) after a 5 day trip to the city of Kitwe. Kitwe is a beautiful town, much less busy compared to Kalingalinga and Lusaka. I very much enjoyed my time there.

My time in Kitwe was spent with Mary Leslie and OVCC Coordinators Trudy and Susan. Mary Leslie and I were very blessed by being able to stay at a Retreat Center called St. Andrews. It was very nice and we even had a remote controlled shower (amazing). Breakfast and dinner were served to us off a menu, and our laundry was done by one of the ladies who works here. We also enjoyed getting to know the staff here. Simon and David seem to enjoy our company as well, joining us for dinner each evening.

So, our mission for our time in Kitwe was to visit all the sponsored kids in this town. There are 21 sponsored children spread out in various compounds and villages, so we kept very busy. I suppose for each day I will share with you the children we visited and then also, one or two stories from that day.

Thursday- Bus trip and arrival. Exciting story : “Bus Stop”

Friday- On Friday we visited 8 children in Chemwemwe and Kamwala. The children’s names were Cindy, Esnart, Matthew, Violet, Elizabeth, Florence, Christopher, and Mbaya. A few things that stick out in my mind from visiting these children are: Elizabeth (10 years old) quoting Psalm 121 and saying that her help comes from God; Florence explaining to us how she knows the love that God has for her because each day she spends at school is another miracle; and Mbaya explaining that he remembers when his dad died and he had no hope, but now, God’s provision of a sponsorship has provided that hope. These are just a few moments that I remember.

Another experience that I had today truly revealed to me yet another aspect of Zambian culture. After walking between 10-12 kilometers, we were invited by one of Auntie Susan’s dear friends to join her in her little grocery store/bakery for some scones and soda. This lady, I cannot remember her name, was a retired nurse who had opened this little shop to continue making money for her family. When she saw us outside, she immediately offered us her hospitality, without thinking twice at what it would cost her. She sat us down at a small table in the corner of her shop and served us each a soda and a scone and sat down and ate with us. This may not seem like a huge deal, however, I can only imagine how much she just sacrificed to serve us freely. It is incredible to me that this woman, age 70, was so welcoming, even so much as to put food on the table for us to enjoy, when I’m not sure how much food is on her table at home. This was very humbling and extremely enjoyable.

One last thing from Friday that really sticks out in my mind was an encounter I had with a small boy named Sagie. Sagie was one of the sponsored children’s (Matthew, I’m pretty sure) friends, and happened to be playing in the yard when we arrived. As the sponsored child came in, I invited Sagie in as well. The entire time that we spent in this home, talking with Matthew about his sponsorship and what God has done in his life, Sagie’s heart was visible through the look on his face and his very presence in this home. We offered to pray for both Matthew and Sagie, and I cannot explain to you the look on Sagie’s face when we placed our hands on him to pray. A look of disbelief. A look of thankfulness in the Lord. A look of blessing.

Oh also, as we were eating dinner, one of the Nuns that works here invited Mary Leslie and me to visit the orphanage she works at on Sunday. She gave us her number and we told her we would call her.

PS Mary Leslie and I went to bed at 8 and slept for 11 hours. We were exhausted.

Saturday- Another long day of visits. The children we visited were David, Charles, Albert, Helen, Hosea, Isaiah, Victoria, Wamulume, and Constance. Rather than sharing stories from the day, rather I will copy some of the letters the children wrote to their sponsors. I will not give names, for privacy reasons however, these are very touching:

“Dear Sponsor, For the first of all I would like to say thank you for what u have done to me through Jesus Christ. And my pray to God that he continue blessing u and your families because when my parents past way I was thinking that it is the end of my life but for the love have of my Christ he started take care of me through u people. May the good Lord continue protecting u all. God protecting your properties life business what ever u do I pray God will be their first. God will continue protecting you people and add more days to your lives.”


“Thank you for sponsoring me. May you continue the same spirit. May the Almighty God continue blessing you. And pliz don’t give up continue doing this not just to me but even to others. Without I wouldn’t have known what to do but it’s God’s grace and care that he whispered in his slow soft voice that there is someone somewhere who needs help and you did it. May God bless you!!!”

One more.

“I am proposing this letter to you to hear my thankfulness and my kindness so that you continue to be precious to me and my family. So that we can concentrate on Jesus together. I’m grateful and strongly thankful to you. May the all might God bless u all the time!!! BYE! From your beloved daughter!”

I am almost moved to tears reading some of these.

A few other quickies for my Saturday recap: Mary Leslie and I were talking with Auntie Susan and Trudy and thanking them, because we know we’ve kept them incredibly busy and Auntie Susan replied with a simple question that made my entire day. She asked, “Well, isn’t that what parents are for?” We all laughed it off, but deep inside, I was truly touched. One other thing that Auntie Susan did that was hilarious on Saturday was while we were sitting down for lunch outside a small shop. An extremely intoxicated man had come up to greet in a very inappropriate manner and Auntie Susan started yelling at him. After he finally left, Mary Leslie asked Auntie Susan what she had said to him. She replied, “I told him, I used to fight!” We laughed. She’s amazing.

bus stop -

Holy Cow, what a day! Truly after today I feel as if I have experienced Zambian culture at it’s best, haha.

It all began when we pulled in to the bus station. Now, this bus station is not the same type of station where all the little blue busses congregate, but rather where the large (long distance) busses are. We (Humphry (Zambian EOH staff member), Paul, Katie, Jess, Mary Leslie, and me) were all riding in EOH’s big SUV, when almost the split second we pulled in, many Zambian men “pounced” on the car. Literally, men were everywhere- faces up to the windows, shouting through cracks- pounding on the doors. Muffled voices yelling “Mzungu” “Come” “Madaam” - men arguing over whose bus we would get on. This is all still before we even stepped foot outside of the SUV.

I was in the middle of the back seat. We opened the doors. Humphrey had insisted that we stay close to him, and not talk to any of them. I stepped out. Four men instantly surrounded me - shouting all sorts of things, all pointing at their busses. I attempted to make my way to the trunk of our SUV and I grabbed my bags. Humphrey soon yelled, “Sophie, come here!” (I think my extremely white hair adds to the insanity just a tad) Although it was quite lovely that Humphrey was looking out for me, ha, all the men soon began yelling, “Sophie, come with me.” “Sophie, your hand?” “Sophie, where are you going? “Sophie, I take you…” The list goes on.

Finally after about 10 minutes of that, Mary Leslie and I had gotten on our bus. We sat down, almost in a state of disbelief, sighed and just began to laugh. (Might I add one word - we began to laugh HYSTERICALLY)

The bus ride- oh another whole new experience. Not at all like the mini bus transportation- just as crazy though. I’m pretty sure that I had hmmm, maybe 1 square foot of space- (okay a little more than that) but it was me, my seat, my bag in my lap, Mary Leslie on one side, and another woman on my other side. Legs touching, arms touching- the whole nine yards. So ahead of us we had a 5 ½ hour trip - it was hot. Zambian soap operas, Beyonce Wannabe home videos, and ridiculous African Adventure movies played on the screens. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better-

We made a stop in some village and before people could even get off at their stop, people (men mainly) had already gotten on the bus, trying to sell us things in the aisles. Let me just give you a glimpse of the variety; from chips and pop to hair combs and mirrors. From chocolate ice cream treats and popsicles to giant sticks of Zambeef jerky. This was another one of those moments where Mary Leslie and I just looked at each other and laughed, thinking that this could not actually be happening.

After a long, hot 5 ½ hours, we had finally reached Kitwe. If I can be 100% completely honest with you, Id say that no matter what words I scribble next- they will not even come remotely close to this crazy reality.

African busses have tinted windows. Somehow though- people outside have the ability to see the only 2 mzungus (white people) in the place through these windows. Imagine- an enormous mob now raging outside of bus- Mary Leslie and me with our bags, attempting to get off - oohh goodness, something you almost just have to witness.

Every single inch of room I may have just had- GONE. It is something like a trap I swear. A collapse of the entire city. Luckily Mary Leslie and I had spotted Auntie Susan and Trudy (Kitwe OVCCs) before getting off the bus, so they shoved their way to reach us. It was hilarious. Men screaming “Come with me!” “Taxi!” “Here, Madaam, Come!” “I will take you!” Just so you know, Auntie Susan takes none of this. Let’s just say I’m glad she was on our side! After escaping the mob, which seemed like forever, Trudy and Auntie Susan told us that the bus ahead of ours had a famous African Actor on it. He was hanging out of the window and so tons of people were there to see him. That’s why this tiny little Kitwe station, was so crazy.

I wish I would have had a video camera.
You’d enjoy a little glimpse of Zambia when a few movie stars and some mzungus come to town

-bus stop.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two days ago, Mary Leslie shared with me a verse that continues to linger in my heart and mind; 2 Corinthians 8:14 which says,

At the present time your plenty will supply what they
need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.

This verse speaks to the flawless plan of our Mighty King, Jesus Christ. The perfection and complete truth of this verse that is reflected in my daily experiences here in Zambia is difficult to describe. As Mary Leslie wrote in the margin of my bible, “ As we are physically wealthy, we give to the poor (money, food, visits, physical things, etc.) and in turn they give back to us their spiritual wealth. As we give to them, we are not depleted.” Just as the verse says, my plenty supplies what they need, and in turn, their plenty supplies what I need. Looking from an eternal perspective, contradictory to Earthly measures, I am fully aware that I am the one labeled as, “poor.”

Well, today really was a great day. We spent the morning and early afternoon in Chongwe again, training Camp Hope teachers and also spending time with the children in the My Father’s House homes. Today the children’s faces were radiating the love of the Lord.

Espina. Bianca. Two treasured daughters of the Kingdom of God.

Espina. I wrote a bit about yesterday. She’s five, absolutely adorable, and very shy. The last two days she has worn a pair of blue cotton pants and a light purple Whinnie the Pooh shirt. She is so precious. Espina is very tender and very snuggly. She knows little English, but that, in all honesty, hinders nothing. She loves giving butterfly kisses and she likes it when I tickle her and kiss her little cheeks. She almost always giggles a bit.

Anyways, as soon as we got off the bus today she made her way right to me. She put her arms up indicating that she wanted me to pick her up. With the little that she knows about me, she sure seems to know how to put a smile on my face.

This morning was chilly so I wrapped my fleece coat around her as I held her. She put her head right into my shoulder, and just rested. I cradled her little body close to mine, and experienced something similar to last year - I didn’t ever want to let go. To even just try to imagine all this little child has gone through- all that she has seen, heard, lost- I cannot even begin to imagine. All I want to do is just be with her, all the time, loving her and holding her. It was much harder today to wave goodbye through the bus window, than it was yesterday. I cannot wait to see her again.

Bianca. My little B. Oh, she is just the cutest thing. I think she is 4, but am not totally sure. Thinking of ways to describe B, hmm…’s hard. Her little cheeks and her cute little smile just radiate the light and love of the Lord. Her giggle is contagious and her tender touch is incredible.

Each time I pick B up, the first thing she does is squeeze her legs so tight around my waist. Immediately after, she looks straight into my eyes, and places her hands on my face. She moves her hands over my hair, feeling the smooth silky texture that is so foreign to her. She clings closer every minute. I hold her tight, she tilts her head and smiles. Each time I say, “Hi Bianca, Hey Little B!” her teeth sneak out from behind her little smirk.

I think she loves it when I call her B. Anytime that she is playing and I see her, I call her name, she runs and leaps into my outstretched arms. It is the most precious thing. Her skirt hiked up high on her belly makes her that much cuter. Her little fingers caressing my skin as she gazes into my eyes- she also knows how to make me smile.

There were many other things that put a smile on my face today- many blessings from God through these little children. Mary Leslie and this little boy were making goofy faces for so long today. It was absolutely hilarious. Every time I think about it I just start cracking up.

Well, I actually need to head off to bed. Tomorrow early in the morning, Mary Leslie and I will be headed out of town to Kitwe for the next five days. I am bringing my computer, however most likely there will not be internet. I will make sure to keep writing, so that when I do have access, I can upload all of the blog posts.

Well, hope all is well.

Love love love!
Rejoice, for the Love of Jesus can be seen on each and every child’s face.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....

Again, sorry it has been a few days. Not a whole lot to write about. I have been busy working on Orphan Update Reports and training EOH Volunteers, so life has been busy but somewhat uneventful, haha.

Sunday we rested, which was lovely. Mary Leslie and I spent some time at a little café which was so beautiful and we also did a bit of shopping at a market. Chelsea and Jessica K were also with us while shopping.

Monday we stayed in the office and worked. Some of the team went out and did visitations, but a few of us were not feeling well, so we took the afternoon off. I slept basically the entire day, laying down at 1:00 and sleeping until 4:45 and then going back to bed around 9:00 and sleeping until 7:00 in the morning. I have felt much better today.

Today we went out to Chongwe and visited two of the My Father’s House homes that I actually helped build last year. It is incredible to see children in them now…they look SOOOO wonderful. A little girl today just stayed by me all day today- her name is Espina and she is five. Absolutely precious.

Anyways, we helped today training EOH Volunteers who will be the teachers/translators at Camp Hope. Camp Hope is coming up in two weeks, so we are getting ready for that.

Besides our list of things we have been doing, I am spiritually growing a lot and the Lord is speaking very clearly to me. It is incredible what I have been missing in the last few months, even just not allowing my ears to be open to truly hearing Christ’s voice. It is incredible.

I love it here so much. Today we had a binge eating day, where we devoured lots of cookies and chips, and my stomach is telling me I probably shouldn’t have done that, haha.

Well anyways, if you run into my mom or dad make sure to say happy anniversary!!!! It is their 25th and that sure is a milestone. Just ask them and I’m sure they’ll tell you how incredible that is, having made it almost 20 years with me as a daughter--- hah!

Well, sorry I don’t have any incredible stories or anything super great! Know that I am thankful for your continued support and am looking forward to writing again soon!

Love and in Christ,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

may your kingdom come...

I will begin by saying that words utterly fail me. I almost think it is too early to even be writing about what I experienced today, but I also know that it is a blessing for me to deliver to you news and updates as to how my time is being spent and what the Lord is doing. So, forgive me, and know that words indeed, may never be sufficient.

Today, Mary Leslie, Katie and I did visitations in Kalingalinga. Kalingalinga is the town which we live in, and also has four large divisions between compounds where the sponsored children are located. We met Margaret (OVCC Coordinator for Kalingalinga) at the EOH office this morning, and headed out to visit six children.

There were so many incredible stories, however, I cannot even remember enough to write about most of them, because only one stands at the forefront of my mind. Particularly, this encounter was with a 16 year old girl named Esther, her little sister named Zalelapi and their widowed mother.

We were welcomed into their home, graciously. Esther had been waiting for a visit soon, and she was very excited that we were there. By their welcoming, I was already touched.
We asked Esther questions just as we are supposed to for our sponsorship update responsibilities, however, the moment she began talking, I knew this would be different. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her, that my life wouldn’t be the same when it was time to leave that home. I sit here in tears now able to recognize that I indeed, will never be the same.
I will try to explain as I have in my journal:

The room was dark, a slight breeze moving across the room. A corner of sunlight, a patch of warmth- present in their home. On a chair I sat, with lace and garments - Esther next to me - mother and sister on the floor. I looked around. I breathed in, and breathed out. I listened to her voice, while out of the corner of my eye, noticing the lingering spirit of the little one on the floor. Mother got up - left to tend to something. We talked. Words escaped her mouth claiming a truth that I have yet to wrap my mind and spirit around; “I cannot even consider myself an orphan,” she says. “ I have Him (Jesus), and you are here. You are looking out for me- Jesus is my father.” My heart left shaken- strength beyond measure.

She began to cry. I followed, lifting this precious child up to Jesus himself. He came. Jesus walked into the room, and held onto this child - his very own. As we continued to pray, my eyes were opened to see a child on the floor, lame- unable to walk, also a daughter of our Mighty King. It was Jesus himsel who prompted me to stand, to sit, and to place her on my
lap - cradling her in the comfort of His holy name.

I held her; Zalelapi. Thirteen years- her size that of an 8 year old. Her legs twisted, her ankles loose- her gaze-straight ahead. Her body tense and chilled, a result of her position on the concrete. I moved my fingers along her back, and neck. She attempted every turn to look into my eyes, but managed only once to meet- that, my Father knew, was enough.

Longing. Her limbs- lifeless- yet her spirit- on fire. Her eyes- transparent; an outcast, bearing pain. Her body longing- to run and to leap; her spirit trodden. I lifted each leg, dead. I cupped each ankle and each small knee in my hand, wondering how this could be. How could such a tender child, suffer a life of burden. My mind, unable to comprehend this type of pain.
We moved into a spirit of prayer, of healing, for this child. The room was dark, but the presence of the Spirit lingered. The light, previously cornered, now illuminated the entire room. A hope- Jesus Christ.

I cannot write any more - my spirit unable to continue. If I have ever seen Jesus, it was in reaching this child, that His love was made known. If I have ever believed in Christ as our Lord, I have not truly understood until today. If I have ever claimed Christ’s love as my own, I’ve been naive. If I have ever experienced humility, it was nothing. If I have ever been dependant on the Lord, it was nothing. Nothing compared to the dependency fostered in me today.
Jesus Christ, my divine romance, lives.

All of us today, encountered Jesus- living in the lives of these two girls - Esther and Zalelapi. As for Zalelapi, there is no fear or doubt in my mind that this small child will run and leap someday.

This is all I can share for now, for I am much to tired to try to write anymore.
Much love, in Him.


Wow. Today another day of OVCC training - a long day of meetings. We discussed many challenges that the OVCCs face as they enter into the villages to visit the kids. We brainstormed, listened, and participated, and our input was accepted well.

It really was a blessing. I don’t have tons to say, but I really feel as if we are truly a part of this ministry (which we are, haha). Our ministry the last few days has been to encourage the work that these volunteers do, which has been very wonderful for us.

Not much time and not a whole lot more to say. Hope tomorrow to write more. Please be in prayer for what the Lord’s will for me is in Zambia (while I am here now, and in the future).
Thanks for the continued prayers and know that I am very blessed to be able to share with you what the Lord is doing in Zambia. This place is so blessed!!!!

In Him,

Thursday...OVCC Training Workshop

Because it has been so long...for Thursday’s blog entry, I will just share something that I had written on some paper. We spent the day in OVCC training, which is a large meeting with all the OVCC coordinators in Zambia. This includes 28 of coordinators plus the Zambian EOH staff. It was a long day, but an incredible opportunity to dig deeper into the working of this ministry.
So, here is what I wrote- a prayer:

Lord, today has been extremely difficult. Just as I thought that today would be a nice rest, I have experienced otherwise. My heart is so broken- I am battling my emotional response to many things. I am inside this ministry- reaching the depths. Hearing the real stories- real occurrences- real realities. So many stories of hope yet, so many stories of despair. I cling to you.
Story after story- pain. The tears just don’t leave my eyes. I am only just beginning to understand this ministry from the ground. Children kicked and chased out of their homes; children abused; children that eat less than three times a week; children unable to be in school …the list goes on. Darkness. My heart is burdened. I don’t understand how we can even sit here - rather than just going out and loving these children. I can’t understand why it has gotten so bad. I cannot understand the strength possessed by the Zambians, sitting to my left and right. I look around, many in tears., hearing these stories. However, I am able to find the common ground between us all: the compassion each on of us share for these orphaned children, through the Love of Jesus Christ. Our hearts have all been broken, all burdened by this horrific reality. Together though, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are able to cling to the Hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ your son.

Amongst the painful disparities that we have discussed, we also have been sharing testimonies of children whose lives previously were nothing but pain. To hear the lips of a small child call on Jesus- to feel these children call Jesus, “Daddy” - to hear the stories of these children that are still standing, serving as living testimonies- these stories are enough for us to keep going. For me to know that if we were only to make a difference in one child’s life- we have done what the Lord has called us to do. This ministry is incredible. The Lord’s blessing is on this ministry and on Zambia.


Sorry it has been a while- life is crazy busy here on this side of the world! Wednesday we spent out second day in the village of Chawawa. Gloria (our OVCC (Orphans Victorious in Christ Coordinator)) came to the EOH office in the morning and we took the bus to Chawama. When we arrived we split up into two groups, mine led by Gloria, and three other coordinators.

The first child that we visited was a small boy named Maurice. Maurice is 7 years old and is in school. He is very smart, well versed in English, and someday wants to be a pastor. He is receiving very good marks in school, however when we visited, he was out of school for health struggles. Maurice seemed very ill, and his physical appearance showed illness (very thin and sores all along his mouth and nose). We were able to ask Maurice about his experience at Camp Hope and his response served as an immediate encouragement to me. His response reflected his joy in learning the word of God. Again, he is only 7. This is incredible.

The biggest blessing of the day was indeed during our visit with Maurice. We were invited to sit in his home by his aunt and we enjoyed our time with him there. After we had spent our time there, we offered to pray for Maurice. My dear friend Mary Leslie held out her hands for his frail little body to sit in her lap. To see the look on his face - to see the tenderness of her touch- to hear the prayerful cry from her lips - to see the tears in his auntie’s eyes - to see Mary’s hands as she cradled his little body - all of this , just as Jesus would do. This is still a precious picture painted in my mind.

The rest of the day we spent visiting other children in Chawama. Many of the stories were very encouraging, while some were also very hard. We had a good time, however, we were rushed out of there because we had to be back for dinner at Martha’s (Zambian EOH Coordinator).
We had dinner at Martha’s and this was the first time we were able to see her. She and her husband just had a baby boy named Josiah, a month ago. It was very good to see them! We had a time of questions where we could just ask about our time here, and she helped out a lot. I am still amazed at the hospitality of Zambians- it’s is so wonderful!

That was Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Hi, it is Tuesday evening and I just got back from the village of Chawama, where we officially began our large task of Orphan Sponsorship Updates. Throughout our time here in Zambia, we will continue to do orphan updates, providing information for EOH and also the children’s sponsors. A typical child update includes information such as this:
-In school? If so, what grade? Good marks? What are you learning about?
-Attending Church? If so, what church?
-Family & Home situation
-Experience and favorite memory from Camp Hope
-Has the sponsorship been a blessing to you? Your family?
Then we have the children either draw a picture (younger children) or write a few lines or sentences to their sponsor (older ones). We also take a few photos for the sponsor and documentation purposes.
So, we began in Chawama where there are 32 children that are sponsored. The sponsored children in Chawama are spread over a distance of 15 kilometers. Part of Every Orphan’s Hope includes OVC councilors (volunteers for the ministry) that live in the same communities as the children. They invest much into these children, visiting them often to check up on them. They are very much the link between the children and the EOH staff. So today, a very beautiful woman named Gloria was the OVC councilor that we worked with. My group visited four homes, where we were able to find three of the sponsored children.
Hmm, trying to find words to explain all that my eyes saw today, all that my ears heard, all that my hands touched….is very difficult. The beauty of this place astounds me - not so much the beauty, but the beauty amongst the disaster. My mind races as I try to think of a way to describe these two contradicting realities as one. I suppose I will just write about each child a bit and share a bit of my thoughts, and hopefully by that, precious reality will be revealed a bit.
The first child that we visited was a six year old child named Priscilla. She is absolutely beautiful. She attended Camp Hope in Chawama last year and is just now beginning her sponsorship. So far, her family has received some food, and the sponsorship has really served as an encouragement. While we were visiting Priscilla, she was very shy as she answered the questions we asked. She giggled when I traced her hand on the paper and she smiled when I said “Seca” which means “Cheese/Smile” when taking her picture. As we left, we were able to share with her that we came to reflect the Lord’s love for her. She smiled and told us that she knew that Jesus loves her. This was wonderful! We left knowing that the Lord truly has blessed this small child.
The next home we visited, was the home of a 15 year old girl named Sarah. She was not home at the time, but we were able to talk some with her mother. Sarah is very smart but because of health complications, she has been unable to complete grade 5. Sarah has Sickle Cell Disease. In talking with Sarah’s mother Bridget, we were informed that Sarah’s father has passed away. Soon her mother will be leaving with her stepfather and Sarah will live with her cousins. Her mother said she does not like her stepfather. Her mother has chosen to go with Sarah’s step father, rather than her. I cannot imagine how that feels.
The next sponsored child was a 18 year old boy named Joseph. Joseph actually came straight from a funeral today, so I felt very bad coming into his home. He was very eager to talk to us, although I could tell that he was grieving. He shared with us that he has completed grade 9 but his family cannot afford to put in into grade 10. He is upset, but feels nothing more can be done. He is grateful for his sponsorship, and prays that it continues. When asking Joseph about his future, he said he dreams to be a lawyer. He wants to complete university. This is incredible. A child with a dream, amongst all odds against him. The Lord will provide.
The last child that we visited today was a six year old little girl named Hilda. Oh, what a sweet child. She comes from a home with a mother and three siblings. While we were visiting in her home, there were two other children that were staying there. An image that will not leave my mind: one of these little children, roughly 5 or 6 years old, was cutting vegetables with a very sharp knife. As I watched her little hands, and the blade of the knife touch the pad of her fingers, I could not help but wonder if these children here ever experience true childhood. They are forced to grow up so fast. Whether it is cooking or having a 4 year old carry their smaller siblings all day on their backs with Chitanges (waxed African material used for various tasks) , or seeing children carrying buckets of water that weigh twice as much as they do- it breaks my heart. To see what they go through, to see what they miss- I cannot quite imagine. Just though as I speak of these orphans and what they are missing, I also know that these children in some respects, have it way better than even I did. Not in any physical manner of course, however, these children are also dependent on one thing; Jesus Christ. Their joy comes from the Lord, little things, big things. I wish that you could see the looks on their faces when you look directly at them and greet them with “Ulibwenji” They scream. They laugh. They run in circles. They are so completely honored. We had bubbles today. I’ve never witnessed children go so crazy over something so simple. Sometimes I question where could those smiles possibly come from? They have nothing, no one, and no way out. Then it hits me, these children are rich in the Love of Christ. Richer than any other. They are so fully dependent on Him, it humbles me greatly. To hear 6 year old children say that they treasure the word of the Lord, is incredible. To feel the touch of a little hand in my own, and see even just a small, timid smile, it amazes me. The Lord has hold of Zambia.
Overall, my experience in Chawamawa was precious. I am left with many things to ponder. Images of some children running as fast as they can to us, in hopes that they will just get to touch my skin, and then images of other children freezing right where they are, and when I draw one step closer, they flee. I am deeply saddened, not by pride of course, but by the fact that these children do not believe that they are even worthy to be seen by me as a white American. I am terrified to think that this is what some of the children grow up learning and believing. It hurts.
Leaving Chawama today, we caught a bus back. We had to transfer at the bus station which if anyone knows Zambia at all, they know that it is complete chaos and insanity, haha. As we were transferring, many crazy things happened. I will refrain from sharing, due to the fact that if my parents and grandparents are reading, they’d worry a bit more (haha, love you mom and dad, gram and grams…all is well, I promise )
It was quite hilarious though when I had already been seated on the bus by the window, and a man came up and tried to sell me a newspaper (it is frequent in Zambia to have vendors along the streets and stations, selling various things ). Anyways, so I began talking to him, and made it clear to him that I did not want a newspaper. After a while of him just sticking around talking to me I said jokingly, “Haven’t you understood me? I do not want to buy a newspaper from you.” He said then, laughing, “No no no! I am not trying to sell you a newspaper. Have I tried to sell it to you more than the first time I asked? You are wrong, I’m not interested to sell a newspaper, I’m interested in you.” I just started laughing hysterically. Then about two minutes later, our bus still had not taken off yet, one of his friends came up to the window and began talking to him, in Njinga. I couldn’t understand, however, after they were laughing he tapped my arm and said, “He, takes you. Me, I take your friend.” Mary Leslie and I just laughed. Then Mary Leslie said, “We don’t even know you!” His response resembled something like this, “How could you expect to know me? It’s only the first day!” Yes yes, okay so you get it….it was hilarious. Mary Leslie and I have been reliving this all evening!
We did indeed make it back to the EOH office safely. We were pretty tired, but still had some work to do. Some of the gang went to get groceries for the evening, and the rest of us stuck around at the office till they got back.
When we got home, I cleaned up a bit and spent some time outside alone. I find that the Zambian sky is more beautiful than any sky I have ever seen…..I cannot help but praise the Lord for His glorious artwork.
Just as dinner was about ready, I got word that one of the interns was having a health issue, so I decided that I better go check to see if things were okay. I was able to give her some care, however, Paul and Kim saw it necessary to take her to the Hospital here. So, they sent me with. Haha…oh this is a good story.
We get there and she gets right in. We are the only ones. Mama, Me, and Paul went with her, and Mama and I stayed out in the waiting room. After about five minutes all of the sudden, the power went out and sirens starting going crazy. I put my hand to my face and I couldn’t even see it because it was so dark. I couldn’t see where Mama was, somewhere in the lobby or waiting room. Just as reality hit me and I wanted Mama to hold me (I am in a hospital, in Zambia, with one of my friends being seen, and the power just went out) she called and said, “Sophie dear, come here.” I followed her voice and sat down next to her. She put her arm around me. We waited for about 15 minutes, and then the generator came on. We then waited about 15 more minutes, and then the doctors were done with my friend.
We went back home. Grant had spent a long time preparing dinner, and the rest of the team had already eaten, so we sat down and ate. By 8:30 at night, I was so hungry. It was lovely. Also, he had purchased some Choc-Its (THE BEST African cookies ever!) which was a nice surprise.
Afterwards, I got ready for bed and began writing some. A few minutes later, my friend’s health issue became worked up again, so I spent about another hour helping her. It really was a blessing for me to serve her in this way.
We all began to pray as well. It was wonderful, claiming Victory in Christ. We prayed against Satan’s attack. What an awesome experience.
Bed time. The end. I love it here!

blessed Monday...

Sorry so short last time. Things have been pretty hectic around here. I am writing on Monday evening, but am not sure when this will be posted.
Anyways, the rest of today was really very much a blessing, but also a large adjustment. With the power being out, we are unable to cook or keep any perishable food in the house (also lost much of the perishables that we have had stored in the fridge), unable to boil water for drinking, unable to use/access the internet for work and personal communication, and we are unable to see past about 6:00 pm. It becomes dark very quickly here, so basically all evening we are using candles and a few flashlights.
Although this has tested us, and required us to really be patient in working with each other, it really has been a blessing. We have been forced much farther out of what we are accustomed to, and we are unable to get things done as planned. This is good. I for one, am not very upset about this loss. This is why I am here. I am here to serve the Lord and His children. By praying, “ Lord, give me your heart for these children,” I am confident that the Lord hears this prayer. I can only hope that the issue of electricity and our limited ability to do things as planned, is intended to increase my dependency on Jesus. Why? Well, what else do these orphans have? What else do these children have to cling to? What happens when there is no food on the table? What happens when a parent or relative passes away, or leaves? Where do these children go in the cold dark nights, that they spend in the bush? What happens to the child whose belly is not the only thing that is starving? Who takes care of these children when they are sick, when they are in pain, when they mourn the loss of a loved one or recall previous terrors. Jesus is there. Jesus meets these children. He meets them where they are; physically, mentally, and spiritually.
As I lay down this evening, I am humbled by my full stomach. I am broken to pieces as I feel the warmth of my blanket and comfort of my bed. I am shaken by the thought that tomorrow, I know that I will eat and go to bed in my home that evening. I am humbled as I think about our lack of electricity (and the effects of that), knowing that I still have it much better than many children in this country.
This is the Lord’s will for me. His answer to my prayer is the blessing of humility. His answer to my prayer is a blessing of strength. His answer to my prayer is an invitation to draw closer to Him. His answer to my prayer is enabling me to better understand (even if it is just one small thing) the lives of these children. His answer to my prayer is a broken heart, stirred to move and act out of compassion. Without Him, this is impossible.
Along with today’s chaos, the Lord provided us peace. I recall a distinct moment that Cypheen led us in a quiet time of worship in our dark room lit only by a candle. It was absolutely beautiful. The precious melodies weaving in and out of the harmony, absolutely beautiful. The gift of song and the gift of voice just left me in awe. Such a beautiful blessing.
Mary Leslie and I talked for a long time before bed tonight. I am thanking the Lord for placing her in my life.
Tomorrow we will be going out and doing our Orphan Sponsorship Updates in the village of Chawama. Pray that the Lord gives me His heart for His children tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

monday afternoon....

Hi Hi Hi! It is Monday here and today has been quite the day. We began by getting up early and heading over to the EOH office. At the EOH office, we met more of the Zambian EOH Staff and began with worship and devotions. Afterwards, Patricia taught us how to use the public transportation system, and we went to Kamwala. We went to a few fabric stores to pick out some fabric to have a dress made. My fabric is a deep sage green color, with a light blue pattern and design on it.

After getting our fabric, we went to a tailor where our measurements were taken and then picked out the style of the dress. Mine will be a traditional dress, with three quarter length sleeves. I am excited. Mama will be picking them up for us from the tailor tomorrow.

Coming back, we rode the public transportation again. Oh, it is quite lovely. A typical Zambian bus should hold about 10-12 people, and usually there are at least 16 packed in. It sure makes for a good time. On the way back, Patricia told us what all of the people had been saying while we were in town. Besides the usual shout, “Mzungu” which means “white and rich” she shared with us that we were each invited to Livingstone with many men and that many of them were requesting us as their wives. This is hilarious to me.

Okay, well we have been out of power now for a while, and we just got power back(the Zambians are used to losing power for a few hours a day,but it has been many many months since they have lost if for this long. They are shocked by this outage.)

We don’t have regular internet now, so I am not sure when I will be able to get on. We have realized the importance of flexibility, and have been blessed by being forced to simplify and rely on the Lord.

Wow, so many things going on that I would love to share, but I only have about 2 minutes.
So, be blessed. Thank you for the prayers!

In Christ,

Sunday recap..

This morning we went to Northmead Assemblies of God for church., where Cypheen attends each week. The service began at 7:00am and ended at 11:00am. It was wonderful! There is no doubt in my mind that I have missed the way that Zambians worship. It is incredible - unlike anything else.

The Pastor delivered a very intimate message about humility and commitment to Christ. At the beginning of the service, three small children came up to the front to pray for the congregation. Forgive me, I have no words to describe this blessing.

The first Zambian child that I met today was at this church. She looked to be about three years old and her father was extremely friendly. I began to talk with him and then bent down to be level with his small child. Before I could even greet her, her father said, “Sophie, say hello.” I looked back up at him, a bit confused, and then recognized that this little child and I shared the same name. After I shared with Sophie’s father that my name was also Sophie, he looked at me and said, “You know Sophie, the name Sophie means wisdom.” I was immediately blessed and found it to be quite ironic.

I have found that so much of this entire experience speaks true humility. I am very much seeing the blessing of this, aligning with the word given to me from the Lord when I was first offered this internship, which revolved around the His desire to preserve in me the humility of a servant. To see the Lord continuing to pursue this preservation in me is humbling in itself.
After church, we exchanged currencies and then went to the market. I found a few things, but due to the fact that some of them are gifts, I will refrain from sharing exactly what those items are. We then went out for lunch to a Pizzeria, which we are planning to do each Sunday (if we are here). The walk was about a mile each way, and we discovered a few grocery markets as well.

We came back for a while to our house and spent some time writing and thinking. I am still in awe that I am here, however, it feels so much like home.

We finally were able then to go out to one of the My Father’s House homes to play with the children. It was such a blessing to spend time with Toco, Faith, Given, Charles, George, Limbosi, and Moses, mostly because I spent some time with them last year. Faith really remembered me and I immediately noticed how tall she had gotten since last year. We were both full of smiles. It was fun reuniting, singing familiar songs in Bemba and Nianja (Languages-spelling could be off???) Oh, what a blast.

On the way home, I just once again, fell in love with Zambia. I love walking down the streets, meeting so many people and greeting them with my American version of “Ulibwaji” which means “Hi, how are you” I love to see the smiles of the children, and the people, it truly reflects the presence of Jesus here.

One last blessing before I wrap it up- while walking home I ran into Mama Christi. For those of you who have heard about my trip last year, I spent an entire day with her, washing and cleaning, and listening to her story. When I saw her and called out her name, she ran to me and literally almost tackled me. She held me so tight and cradled my head with her hands. She kissed me on the cheek and seemed to be in disbelief that I was back. My eyes filled with tears, knowing that I will be able to see her regularly, because she lives about 100 yards away. I just love this!

Well, we are about to wrap up and eat dinner. We had an awesome time of prayer and the Lord continues to draw me close.

I rejoice.
Love you all!
P.S. A man proposed to me today. No worries, I said no. J