Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Zambia: The Plot & The Conclusion

The Esther School in Nyangwena, Zambia began as the dream of Chief Bunda Bunda. He saw the GEMS Girls Clubs staff & volunteers training the women of his village to be counselors and to teach the girls about Jesus. He saw them making a difference, one smile at a time. He asked GEMS Girls Clubs, "Will you build a school? Will you help to bring my village out of poverty?" And he gave the organization 25 acres on which to do this. GEMS Girls Clubs considered this with much prayer and joyfully accepted God's call to continue to work with the villagers of Nyangwena. Prayers were offered, money was raised, volunteers and missionaries were sought out and finally, in September of 2012, this Christian school for under-privileged and orphaned children began.

I have felt called to The Esther School since it was only a vision in the Chief's & God's eye. God placed this village and these children in my heart and going there was a dream He gave and granted. Not only is The Esther School part of God's plan, but the privilege of going there, for me, Sarah, Bethany, and everyone else who has already gone and has yet to go, that privilege is also part of God's plan.

While we were at TES, we were so, so blessed. We went there to meet and love the children, to teach the children, to learn, and to serve God by serving these people. But exponentially more than we gave, we received. Our days were filled with singing, worship, playing tag, teaching, hugs, working alongside others on our team, cooking, games, and the complete peace & joy that comes from serving God whole-heartedly and loving His people.

His people. This is one of the things that hit me square in my heart while I was there...these are HIS people. It's something I knew intellectually, but it hadn't transferred entirely to my heart before I went to Zambia. Just as surely as I am one of HIS people, and my family members, and my GEMS, and my students...every one of those villagers is also one of HIS people. The same sun that shines here in Lynden shines in Nyangwena. The same moon circles the earth. Yes, we could see different stars there than we do here in the northern hemisphere, but it's the same universe. It's easy to imagine those people "over there in Africa" and not understand that God's personal connection to them is the same as it is to me! He is the same God here and there and He shaped each one of those children in their mother's womb JUST as He shaped my children in my womb and me in my mother's womb. It's one of those things that sucks the breath out of you when you really, really get it.

In Zambia, life is hard. But God is there. He is working, and He will continue to work there until He redeems them all fully and we all rejoice forever with our Lord & Savior. And while we wait for that day, The Esther School is working and praying and coming alongside 175 children (next school year, Lord willing) to begin to bring hope and stability to a village trapped in poverty. Is it a long process? Of course. Is it a terribly difficult calling? Absolutely. But with God, all things are possible.

Look at these faces. Pray for these faces and the other children there and ask God how you can help. By the way, some of these kiddos still need sponsors. :)

Are our chapters with The Esther School completed? No, I don't believe so. We all left a piece of our hearts there as well as children we dearly love...and especially those we sponsor. It was hard to say good-bye to them. It honestly felt a little like leaving Sarah at college last fall, and I pray God allows us to see each of those sweet children again here on earth.

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