Light in the Darkness

Good evening from Zambia!

The Lord has been so gracious to us with this weather. Today was another BEAUTIFUL day in Zambia. Bright blue skies with puffs of clouds scattered all around—such a blessing. AND another opportunity to practice sun safety with sunscreen. Our crew is a little red (some are really red), but learning to manage and share Aloe Vera.

Camp was awesome today. There’s something beautiful about getting to do camp on the second day. We didn’t feel as “new,” and things seemed to run with more efficiency. Contained chaos. As our bus pulled into the school grounds today, we were greeted by a crowd of jumping, smiling, and chanting children. They surrounded the bus and swarmed each American as we hopped off. That is a moment I never want to forget. Such unconditional, overflowing love. My sister Ellen once told me that my life would never be the same after I met a Zambian orphan. She was so right. I think everyone on our team would agree.

At camp today we continued our lessons on faith. We played games (Red Rover) and sang songs. These children LOVE to sing and dance. Sometimes I would stop singing, just so I could hear their voices. Surely, this is a picture of eternity with our Lord. The second day of camp is also really sweet because the children seem different. They are not apprehensive about “camp” and a strange group of “white people from America.” It is almost like watching a wall crumble to the ground. The demeanor of camp today was full of resounding joy—Zambians and Americans alike! As the children warm up to us, they also begin to share more about their stories. This is sometimes very real and challenging to hear. Zambia is filled with poverty, hopelessness and diseases that affect every single person. BUT (there is always a but), Jesus is Lord. And that changes everything for these children. Just like His Lordship changes everything for us back home in Dallas. So as we process these heart wrenching stories, please pray that we would not lose sight of the gospel and that we would be arrows pointing heavenward. These children need Jesus. Just like us.

As camp ended around 12:30, our team divided into our family groups for afternoon activities. We are on a three-stop rotation. Today, my family group visited the Buseco Market. Buseco is an area of Lusaka that is known for it’s lumber production. It is also renowned for a community of homes that are made of plastic tarps. Walking through Buseco is a dark experience, to say the least. Of all the poverty that we have seen in Lusaka, Buseco is really on a totally different level.

Our small family of seven was accompanied by our dear Zambian friends, Isaac and Omega. They stuck by our sides the entire way, just for safety measures. As I have explained before, white people tend to create a stir here. We walked through the community of plastic homes and were immediately swarmed by precious faces. There is an incredible beautiful innocence to these children. They grabbed our hands and proudly walked us through their home village. We stopped at one specific home, where a young boy from camp lives. His mother was gracious enough to invite us into their home.

As I folded back the plastic tarp door, I ducked to fit inside. Leaving the bright afternoon behind, I stepped into a dark hole, completely void of light. No electricity. I didn’t need to take another step. Everything was right there before me—the bedroom and the kitchen. This was the home to a family of nine people. The black tarp blocked out every ray of light, but I could tell that even the roof above me was made of plastic. It is the beginning of rainy season in Zambia. I cannot comprehend what Buseco must look like with rain.

Visiting Buseco will certainly leave a mark on my mind forever. One team member said it best, “I could never even imagine something that bad…and yet it was even worse.” It is heart breaking to see. And yet, we have hope in Jesus, who redeems even the darkest corners of the earth. Light shines in the darkness and always wins. Always. So as we walked away, I had to remind myself of these truths. We came to Zambia to walk in their shoes and learn their stories. And at the end of it all, give them Jesus. Lord willing, that is exactly what we are doing. And that is precisely why visiting Buseco Market will be one of the most powerful images in my lifetime. I am certain that my teammates would say the same thing.

The evening routine was normal tonight—fantastic pizza from a local mall and sweet team time as boys and as girls. Six of us, however, had a unique experience together. A group of girls (Ann, Ellen, Haley, Ann Carolyn, Adrienne and Meredith) went with Megan from Arise Africa to a Zambian Zumba class. Let me just say this: it was the BEST Zumba class I have ever taken. And I know Zumba! We had a blast and got quite a work out! Zambians know how to rock it. What a fun, funny experience! I never thought I’d be doing Zumba in Zambia!

Friends, thank you for praying us through another day. We feel carried. And we need it! It is easy to begin to feel tired at this point. But the Lord is gracious enough to give us mercies every morning. That is a mercy I rely on each and every day.

We love you all,
Ann