It's been something of a whirlwind, but we are here safe and sound in Serenje, Zambia! We flew non-stop and overnight from Chicago to London. We were in London for a day, so we did some sight-seeing. The highlight for me was a tour of Westminster Abbey. As we were ready to leave, we came upon the burial place of David Livingstone, a British missionary to Zambia in, I believe, the 19th century. His last words were written there. He said of Africa, "All I can add in my solitude, is, may heaven and rich blessing come down on everyone, American, English, or Turk who will help heal this open sore of the world." Reading that quote was the highlight of London for me, because that is precisely, in some small way, what our group is trying to do.
We then flew non-stop and overnight from London to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, arriving around 6:30 AM Zambian time. After some shopping in Lusaka, we headed out on our overland trek to Serenje in a van loaded with seven people, 14 bags of checked luggage, and various pieces of carry-on luggage! Six hours later, we arrived - tired but so grateful to God to be here at last.
Yesterday, which was Friday, we toured the Hope Center - the orphan care center that Brookside is building in partnership with Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. We had seen pictures, but nothing could prepare us for the overwhelming experience of seeing the nearly completed campus. There is an all-purpose building, a bathhouse, a storage shed, and a guest house. There is a large area dedicated to farming a number of different plants: corn, watermelon, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and more. Eventually these plants will feed the orphans and there may even be enough to sell locally. We met Pastor Novice, whose vision began this whole endeavor, and it was truly a privilege to meet a man so humble and fully devoted to the cause of Christ.
In the afternoon, we visited a nearby waterfall called Kundalilla Falls...a beautiful sight. Some hiked farther than others. (O.k., I didn't make it all the way down the canyon!) But we all greatly enjoyed the trip.
This morning we participated in a food distribution for about 50 orphans. Each child was given a 25 kilo bag of "mealy meal" (ground corn) and a plastic shopping bag of dried minnows. It was an emotional experience watching these precious children be so grateful for so little. The girls curtsied, and they were all smiling and laughing.
We met the twenty or so children that our church has sent back to school. I may have mentioned this before, but it costs about $100 a year for tuition, books and uniforms to send a child to school for a year. We also learned that there are still ten more orphans whose school year has not been funded. It is my prayer that they, too, will be able to go to school very soon.
This afternoon we are going to do some door-to-door evangelism, which will stretch all of us, I think, but we are looking forward to it. And tonight we will have the treat of eating at the house of Pastor Novice and his wife Ketty.
Would you please pray for us? Pray that we would continue to be healthy and sleep well, as we adjust to the time and altitude difference. Pray that our work here would be fruitful and that God would be glorified in all we do. Thank you.
Hopefully tomorrow, Molly Loneman will update the blog with pictures of our work (and play) here so far.
God Bless you,