Vacation Bible School has drawn to a close. We have had the delightful opportunity to work with about fifty orphans, some of the pastors' children as well as some of the children from the village. The transformation from last fall to now was incredible. Their smiles were huge and came so very quickly. They remembered the songs that we sang in October and laughed whenever we were silly. The numbers grew from Monday to Thursday and when we attempted to share fun fruits today we had to have the kids share as our numbers exceeded eighty.
We found them waiting for us each afternoon as we traveled the road to our meeting place and we've had them following us at the end of each day. We have been aided in our venture by Pastor Navice's son, John. John will be a great teacher in the near future as he works so well with the children.
It truly is challenging to say, "Good-bye". We wonder if we will have the opportunity to see them again and how their world will have changed because of the Hope Center. We left them with Numbers 6:24-26 as that is our prayer for them as well.
I have been struggling with the words to express what I have experienced in teaching the pastors' wives this week. It has been my complete privilege to teach parts of 1 Corinthians to them. I cannot imagine a more gracious group of ladies. I believe I could stand before them and recite "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and they would be appreciative. They have been an enormous blessing to me, and they have such a deep hunger for God's Word. On the first day, we gave them Bibles in their native tongue (Bemba), and there were shouts of joy like I have never heard before. We took a tea break halfway through our time together. While we were on our break, I looked in to find every woman hunched over her new Bible, reading it! What a blessing they have been!
I also have made a new best friend in Mirriam Musonga, Pastor Navice's daughter. She has been my translator this week, but she is so much more. She is also my sister in Christ and my dear friend. She has taken what I have said and made it come alive for the women of Zambia. She has been able to expound on and apply God's Word for them in ways I could not have imagined. It is my prayer that our lives will cross again, for I have come to love her dearly. It was the pictures of the orphaned children that drew my heart to Zambia, but now Mirriam and these dear pastors' wives have captured my heart, as well.
Thank you for you partnership with us in prayer. We have felt all of those prayers.
It's very hard to describe in a few words, or even many, an experience like we've all had these days in Serenje and the impact a time like this has on a person's life. Perhaps the best I can say is that as different as our lives are from the people we've been serving this week, there are profound similarities. The greatest similarity being our need for Jesus Christ and the love He brings into our lives. As I've taught the pastors from I Corinthians and listened to them describe their needs and the needs of the people in their churches, I have been impressed with how important the truth of God's Word is in all of our lives. We live in very different cultures, but our need for God's truth to live purposeful and joy filled lives is exactly the same.