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.