After we left the community school, we drove back into the bush and arrived at Charity's village. Charity is a little girl about 8 years old that was born with club feet. Encounter over the past 2 years made it possible for Charity to have the surgery she needed so that she could walk for the first time. Today we were able to see her and she was able to walk. The village was so overwhelmed by Encounter's investment in Charity's life, that it has opened such a Gospel opportunity to over 100+ people. The people are amazed that our God would reach down in their little remote village and bring the healing that was needed to help this little girl walk. So today the team sang, we loved on people, we had lunch with them, and I was able to share the Gospel from John 4 which tells us about Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. The main point was to center the Gospel around the fact that Jesus is the Living Eternal Water that we need. At the end, my guess is that 50 or 60 hands went up saying they would like to trust Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Lord knows, seeds were planted, and sinner's prayers prayed. I was able to see inside Charity's house....2 cinder block rooms. Nothing...just nothing. But to them, they were thankful and proud of what they had. It is at this particular village that Hope Jewelry from Mt. Carmel was able to send $900 for the purchase of a well because they do not have clean drinking water. We thought the goal was met to cover the digging of the well but found out it wasn't enough. However, when we told them that we were praying for that to be accomplished, they danced around and sang for joy. We were actually able to give Charity a bicycle so she could get around a little better. Her grandmother shouted for joy, her mom cried, and they danced around praising the Lord. No one in this particular village had a bike. Before we left, we ate a packed lunch and it was hard to eat lunch when 100 people and tons of children were sitting there staring at our sandwich, banana, and chips while they waited on something called shema. We couldn't give them our lunches because we did not have enough for everyone and it was start a minor riot. It's hard to eat a lunch when people are starving and kids are walking around with bloated stomachs. But the Lord is the defender of the orphans and the widows and He does all things well. But in His sovereign plan, He has chosen to use His people for our joy and His glory. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new." So Lord Jesus... renew, restore, transform our hearts, bring Your kingdom, provide, show up and show off.
Saturday, April 25
Encounter Farm In Zambia
Have you ever been miles from civilization? I can honestly say that as of today, I truly have. We traveled quite a ways into the bush today on a road that was washed out in several places in order to get to the Encounter farm. This is a place where ERM has built a meeting hall, a groundskeeper home, a kitchen, and began a 40-acre farm. Corn, onions, potatoes, fish, and other things are grown and raised here in order to feed the 2,500 people that live in this section of the bush from time to time as a ministry that opens the door for Gospel witness and Biblical teaching. The farm is also used to do a Christian camp once a year for 500 children. Something like this is unheard of in Zambia. The farm is literally a miracle sitting in the bush. It is amazing to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by undergrowth, and watch people come out of the high weeds from where they live in stick and mud brick huts. When we arrived at the farm, about 150 women and children greeted us by shouting and chanting, "You are welcome, you are welcome..." over and over again. The team sang several songs to them and taught the children some American Christian children songs. We then divided them up into groups and taught them the, "Unlock Your Potential" curriculum which includes a Gospel presentation. We then fed everyone a lunch that consisted of greens and shema. This was the first meal everyone there had eaten in several days except for chewing on some sugar cane in the woods. It's extremely difficult to absorb all the emotions and feelings that an American has that has never gone without a meal. It's hard to even write about. My life has forever been changed. So much waste, griping, complaining, and pickiness overwhelms Americans who live like kings and queens compared to millions and millions of people who do not know where their next meal is going to come from. More swollen stomachs, dirty bodies, and worm infested children filled the area desperately wanting to be loved. They wanted to hold your hand, have you pick them up, and just smile at them. At the risk of sounding like I'm afflicted just for being an observer when they are the ones who are suffering, let me just say: I'm not sure how I can even process what I've seen. I don't know whether to cry, scream, pray, figure out how to help, or what. So we ministered today, fed them a meal, shared Hope with them, but now what. What about next week and the week after? The harvest is plentiful, the needs are outrageous, and the workers are few. Praise the Lord for men named Leonard, Barry, and Mabin. As I watched Leonard rush around showing us how he ran the farm on so little (the groundskeeper does not even have a tool box) I stood amazed at such servant's of the Lord. Leonard is a modern day Moses who works so that his people will be set free. Mabin and Barry are pastors who have risen up to build a team that is impacting the abyss of darkness one day at a time. After lunch, the team played games with the kids as several of us painted the groundskeeper house. His name was Peter, he had a wonderful wife, and two twin boys named Moses and Stephen who were about 3 years old. 2 years ago when the American Encounter team was here, they paid for medicine for the two little boys so they could get rid of their worms and receive some protein. They also laid the foundation for Peter's house and on this trip we were able to paint his house white. He has the only white house in the area now. It was the most fun I've ever had painting as I helped roll paint on the house with paint rollers on bamboo sticks that didn't fit the roller:) But the fun part was painting with the ERM Africa team guys. I just fell in love with those fellas....their work ethic was tremendous. They never complain, work very hard, and every time I would go and move my paint pan, there would be a team guy ready to move it for me. I have not been around young people like that ever I believe. Amazing servants. I wanted to bring them home to show our young people what it means to work hard, have respect, and give a project your all with the right heart attitude. As we left the farm, I think a piece of me stayed behind with those hungry village children. Every time I've eaten a meal since, I look at my food totally different. When we got in the van, Stephen and Moses began to cry. I had a bag of balloons in my bag so I gave their mom the balloons so the kids would have something to play with. The only toy any child had was one ball that was made of garbage bags wadded up and tied with string. That's the only toy I've seen any child have since I've been here outside of the things we've given out. "God, I'm blessed beyond measure. I have Jesus, I have the Gospel, I have Your Spirit, I've had a Christian education, I've been to college, I have a father and mother, I have a gorgeous wife with beautiful children, and I can feed them by the grace of God. Thank you, for I'm not worthy." P.S. When I get back to the states, there is no way we can eat out at restaurants as much as we have. How can I pay double and triple what it costs to eat at home when people here do not eat a real meal for days.