Mark's Zambia Missions Trip Log - Hospital and Soccer
Today we visited the local hospital. I'm thankful they have one, but in the poorest city of America, you would not find a hospital like this one. They had a good staff of committed people, and it was clean, but their resources were beyond limited. We were able to give them a suitcase full of medical supplies such as bandages, first aid items, and much more. Two years ago when the team came, the items we gave was more supplies than they had in the entire hospital. To put it in perspective: the hospital had several hallways and departments...there was an x-ray section, maternity ward, surgical ward, etc. But again, I've never been in a hospital that was in this condition in comparison to American hospitals. I'm not sure if there is anything I've ever been in medically that I could compare it to. I remember an old clinic in my hometown when I was little that was just a few rooms in a really old building. That little clinic is the only thing close I can remember that would even compare to this hospital. In fact, if you need to stay for any length of time, a family member has to come and stay with you to take care of you. We visited with mothers who had just had babies and we tried to give all of them some clothes for their babies. We sang Gospel songs for the staff and gave out Gospel tracts. Everything was going pretty normal, other than the fact we had never been in a medical facility like this in our lives and were extremely thankful that none of us needed care, when all of a sudden our lives would change forever.
Down a hallway in a new born section, we were taken into a cinder block room, and there in a metal crib with a heat lamp made out of some old heat coils, lied a 1.9 pound 3 day old baby girl wrapped in blankets. Now you may be thinking, "Wow! That's pitiful but we have premature babies in America everyday and they are pitiful as well." But here's the clincher: this little one was saved from being eaten by the pigs. Yes...you read correctly...the PIGS. Most likely, she was born by a young teenage mother, very normal in Zambia, and was not wanted and therefore was thrown out for the pigs in the backyard. I wanted to adopt this little baby so badly....can you imagine her testimony one day..."I was saved from the pigs and God has made a beautiful thing out of me for His glory."
When I was born at 7 months, I weight a little over 4 pounds. I was taken from the hospital I was born in to a much larger hospital where I stayed for two weeks in the baby ICU. My father could hold me on my back in the palm of his hand. But tonight I thank God that there not only was a father that wanted me, but that he was there to hold me. And I had a mother who said "yes." Though she was 18 years old, she wanted me, period. That's all there was to it. And she still does. I was blessed with a father and mother who not only would never throw me to the pigs but they have protected me from the "pigs of the world" that would have destroyed my life if given the opportunity. And they were able to do this because they had been saved by the Great Redeemer Himself.
And that is why we came to Zambia. To spread the Good News that changes people's hearts so that they can think like Jesus, feel like Jesus, and act like Jesus. We came to preach Christ so that people could be supernaturally transformed and saved from the "pigs of sin" and the claws of the Big Pig who roam the earth seeking whom he may devour. The little girl will most likely be taken to an orphanage once she is physically able.
My Jesus is a defender of the orphan and brings justice where there is none. So Lord Jesus, be this little one's Good Shepherd. I know you will because the love I had for her today was just a portion of the perfect love You have for us all."
If They Build They Will Come
Today we hosted a community wide soccer clinic just a couple of minutes from the Encounter headquarters. It was a great morning and a wonderful time of sharing the love of Christ. Now it doesn't take an expert to run a soccer clinic in Zambia. Here's how you do it:
- First, have a soccer ball. That's an unheard of luxury in and of itself.
- Secondly, throw the soccer ball onto a run-down field, put on some soccer jerseys, blow a few whistles, and then watch them come.
Close to 150 children, teenagers, and adults came out to participate and observe. No real advertising....just do it, and they will swarm like bees on honey. After two hours of doing soccer drills within age groups and then having a scrimmage match, we sat everyone down for a Gospel presentation. I had the privilege of preaching from I Corinthians 15 on the resurrection of Christ and the Good News of Easter. At the end, about 40 hands or so went up saying they wanted to trust Christ and did trust Christ. Eternity will tell, but praise the Lord for the seeds that were planted of the Good News that transforms the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls.
Today at the soccer clinic, God arranged a Divine encounter. We noticed a man that came up while we were doing soccer drills holding the hand of his little 3 year old boy. It is rare to see a dad in Zambia show this kind of affection for his children or even to be present. At some point during the soccer match, we began to talk with him. He was educated, well poised, and just a good all around guy. Come to find out, he had only lived in this town for two weeks and was the assistant manager of the local "Pic and Pay" store.
A "Pic and Pay" is a chain store in Zambia (11 stores total in the country) and it is like a Zambian Walmart. In America, it would be more like a local small co-op. The man told me that he really appreciated the Gospel message, and you could just tell the Lord was working on his heart. After introducing him to Pastor Barry and others who work with Encounter Zambia, he plans on joining a Bible small group with Pastor Barry and I was able to give him my Bible with a copy of the Gospel message I preached at the soccer clinic.
After it was all said and done with, I found out that Leonard did not know this morning where were going to find a field to play soccer on because all available areas were already booked up by other people. But Leonard said today, "God changed our field location several times and at the last minute gave us this field so that we could meet this man." I can't put my finger on it, but there was something about this guy that fills my heart with God of the Impossible expectation. I'm looking forward to hearing what God does in his life in the days ahead.
This evening, I was told by Jim that his name was, "Nemo." So today, we found Nemo, or it could be that Nemo found us:) But there is a bigger picture being painted by a God that is pursuing a man named Nemo...today could have been the day that Nemo found God through Jesus, our Life. Did I say, "It's been a good day" yet?