First Day of Camp!

Friends and family back home,

Please note: two updates today! So keep reading ☺

This evening, I am reporting in on behalf of a very tired, happy and slightly sun-burned team! What a day this has been! Today was the first day of our “routine” while we are here in Zambia. It was the first day of camp! This is a bit of a long update, but hopefully, it will give you a window into our week!

Our morning started bright and early at 7:10am when we met at the bus. Camp will be held every day at Destiny School, where we visited Saturday and Sunday. We have come to know and love the community of children around Destiny, so showing up there each day feels like home.

In case you are curious, we travel in a large blue bus. Arise Africa owns several buses that serve the public bus route in between mission trips. A big blue bus, billowing with white, cheerful faces is quite a sight to behold in Africa! As our bus pulled into Destiny, children started pouring in. By 8:45, camp was under way. Each of our team members has been paired with a wonderful Zambian partner and assigned a group of children for the week. This morning was the first time we got to meet them. I can say with certainly that everyone quickly fell in love with their groups—boys and girls of all ages, 5-15.

Camp this week is based on the theme of “Faith.” So our time today centered on Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can not see.” We worked with our children, with the assistance of our Zambian partners, to explain the significance of this passage and work on memorization. We used games to demonstrate acts of faith, such as the “trust fall,” which was a huge hit with the kids!

The Zambian children refer to Americans as “Aunt” and “Uncle.” So Uncle Robby worked with our dear Zambian friend Uncle Bwayla to lead the large group time. Our team learned new Zambian songs and dances—you should see the way that the children watch our team! They think we are hilarious as we sing and dance along!

Camp concluded with a lunch for all—peanut butter and jelly! Even though camp officially ended at 12:00, the children stayed around to play some more. What joy! So the festivities continued until our team had to move on.

Each afternoon this week, our team is divided into four groups to visit other ministries in Lusaka. We will see three very different locations this week, following our rotation. I will talk you through each stop according to what my group sees. This afternoon, my small group went to the Mother Teresa Home for Children. This is an orphanage run by Catholic Nuns in the middle of Lusaka. It was incredible. The orphanage is settled behind a guarded gate and covered in cool shade trees. Children are running everywhere—and they were thrilled to welcome us as guests. Our team divided up to love on the 76 children who call this place home. A nursery of over 40 babies was the first stop. After carefully washing our hands, we scooped up precious babies and took them to front porch to play. The children at Mother Teresa’s are there for varying reasons—some are orphaned, others have been removed from high-risk situations. Whatever the reason, these children are cared for and love by this amazing ministry. My group was really moved by the opportunity to show love to these precious kids. Boys played soccer and ran outside—most of the girls never left the nursery. We are all looking forward to returning for another afternoon at Mother Teresa’s later this week!

What a tremendous blessing it is to have such delicious meals prepared for the end of the day! Tonight we enjoyed spaghetti and garlic bread, salad and brownies. Alissa and her Arise Africa team have thought of every detail for our trip and we are immensely grateful.

I mentioned it at the beginning and it is true—we are a sunburned crew this evening! Pink faces, tired bodies and full hearts—what delight. I know our entire team joins me in saying, THANK YOU for praying. THANK YOU for sending us. THANK YOU for joining our team. We couldn’t be here without you. Tomorrow is another day of camp, and we can hardly wait!

Our love from Zambia,
Ann