Sunday, August 12, 2012
It's hard to put words to what an incredible week we experienced. We saw things we have never seen. Ministered in ways we have never ministered. And it was hard. But it was really good.
From the very beginning there was a chemistry to this team that was unique. Coming from Canada, USA and South Africa, the 20 of us bonded almost instantly. The sound track of our trip has been worship songs picked out by Tim Payne and Jordan Shepherd that were absolutely perfect... and the beautiful, echoing chants of the orphans singing their own songs.
We prayed morning and night for breakthroughs and for the kids and for protection. We laughed a lot. We stayed up late talking and playing music.
All in, we had 187 kids at camp this week. From the histories we took, we found that:
-- Over half of the kids have seen the witch doctor regularly. These men pray to evil demons and cut the kids and perform wicked rituals on them.
-- Over half the kids go to bed hungry, missing 1-3 days of food per week.
-- Over 80% of these kids go to bed cold with only 0-1 blankets.
-- Over 40% are afraid of the people they live with. Many live in harsh environments of abuse and neglect.
-- Almost 100% of the kids had no bibles at the beginning of the week.
-- When asked in one-on-one interviews, nearly all of the kids said that every bible lesson they heard was brand new. They had never been taught the scriptures.
Friday was the last day of camp and it was so sweet to spend time with our kids. We handed out some basic medical supplies and showed them how to use them. We also handed out bibles and blankets. I don't know what they were happier to see. These guys were so excited about their bibles. I mean they just were jumping up and down because they were excited to be able to read the word of God in their homes and on their beds. The last thing we did before each kid got a hug and left on the bus for home was to hand out the blankets. The cheering and celebration that ensued as each little boy and girl got a blanket was joyously deafening.
Yesterday was our safari and rest day. Our unity on this trip was so unique as a team that we actually stayed up into the late hours laughing, sharing songs, praying, sharing scripture, worshipping and celebrating what a Great God we serve.
Dad & Mom just before their first visit with Orphans & Widows in Zambia.
Dad & His Orphans just before He Washed their Feet and Distributed Bibles, Medicine & Blankets.
Ellie & Doreen
Gary Schneider, Founder and Executive Director of Every Orphan's Hope, with Orphans in Zambia.
Mom & Dad with Mama Margaret & Ba Patricia.
Mom & Dad having BBQ Lunch.
Saili & Doreen - her good friend in Africa.
Will & his group of 16 orphans.
Claire's orphan "Alice"
Holly and her orphans.
Celebrating the gifts of bibles, medicine, blankets and love with song and worship.
Claire and her little guys.
Today was a day full of goodbyes. Lots of tears. Lots of prayers and hugs. What a blessing to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I am not sure this will get to you but am hopeful. The Internet has been down since about 30 minutes after my last update, so if you haven't heard from your loved one please know it wasn't due to lack of effort. Praying this is repaired tomorrow, even though it's a holiday here.
Yesterday (Saturday) was truly magical and blessed beyond our hopes as we united to travel out to Village of Hope in Chongwe to have a "Field Day" with all of the EOH orphans (82) and mamas (11).
To witness the changed lives firsthand was life-changing for many of us. These kids are just awesome. So much growth and fruit in the past year. So much spiritual growth and healthiness. So many walking miracles.
Recently a female orphan of about 12 years arrived at in Chongwe and was renamed "Precious". Her life was so horrific prior to her rescue a few months ago that the EOH mamas actually changed her name when she arrived. Without going into details, her trauma was so acute that she lost the ability to communicate, in addition to other things. In just a short time Precious has bonded with the mamas and other orphans and is now beginning to say a few words, smiling and starting the healing process. Everyone who meets this girl instantly loves her. Though she doesn't say much, her heart is visible in plain sight and she is so sweet.
Yesterday, at the end of the day, after playing group outdoor games, having a picnic, singing songs and flying kites, a couple of us saw Precious actually skipping home as the sun was setting thru the gate (reading "Village of Hope") and in her joy dancing and pointing her index fingers in the air, not knowing anyone was watching. God is working mighty miracles here!
Saturday night we started training for Camp Hope. Camp hope is an outreach to orphans each summer seeks to share the love of Jesus Christ through small groups of approximately 12-15 orphans lead by one missionary and one translator. Our focus for the week will be on teaching interactively on Truth, Faith, Hope and Love, with two lessons on each.
We will also have 1 on 1 time with each orphan in our small group throughout the week. During this time we will seek to take inventory of their sufferings, faith journey, questions and pray together. We will also be taking them each through the gospel during these meetings and inviting them to trust Christ with their sins and receive eternal life through his finished work on the cross.
Camp hope begins tomorrow. Our days M-F will be spent sitting in the dirt with orphans and taking them through the bible, singing songs, playing games, memorizing scripture, praying and comforting. As its 1:07am on Monday here as I type, the team will wake for Day 1 in just 1 hour.
1. For energy and rest for our team of missionaries, interns, translators, Zambian Staff, cooks and drivers.
2. For rest and energy for the over 150 orphans (ages 6-16) expected to attend this week, many of whom will not have eaten for over 24+ hours and have walked for over 3 miles.
3. For the gospel to ring out clear through our weakness and for the enemy schemes to be destroyed.
4. For heart-to-heart connections to be made, true teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness to take place in each group and for God to take our inexperience and timidity and work might miracles as we are given all authority and power and wisdom.
We are thankful that his power is made perfect in our weakness, and grateful for your prayers!
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Friday, August 3, 2012
customs, met our friends on staff with Every Orphan's Hope. What a
sweet reunion it was to be greeted by Mama Margaret, Ba Patricia,
Marietta and Humphrey. The founder and director of EOH, Gary
Schneider, also greeted us - and so we began our Zambian Mission 2012.
Known by the EOH staff as "The August Team", we are made up of 20
Missionaries, 3 interns, 10 Zambian Staff, 17 translators, 15 cooks, 4
worship leaders and a host of others. And while we have only been in
country together for about 24 hours, we already have bonded to form a
Today we spent our time in worship and prayer, eating and fellowship,
team building and ice-breaking. We also were privileged to have tea
and biscuits with the EOH Zambian Staff. After this we went to each of
the My Father's House Orphan Homes in Lusaka and played with orphans
and talked to widows. These people are so beautiful and dependent on
God for every possible need. Their faith is amazing. It was fun to see
our kids and parents and friends and co-missionaries reach out to and
be blessed by these people as they served them.
Tomorrow is a full day with orphans in the rural village of Chongwe.