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!!!”
“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.