This post was written by Andy, one of our 2016 interns.
Guess who’s back, back again. Andy’s back, tell a friend. I hope you got my Eminem reference or that would just be really embarrassing! I got back to America about a week ago now and it’s pretty odd not being on Kitchen Patrol and having to wake up early to help Megan with breakfast. I’m sure my mom would have wanted me to carry that over to Texas. Sorry, mom.
Before leaving Zambia, Alissa and a couple of others talked to us about re-entry and what that could look like. They told us that some people would ask about our time in Zambia and would want a three minute answer while some would want the three hour long story. They told us we could feel guilty for what we had here in America, while the Zambian children we met and loved didn’t have much. They told us that it could be a very difficult transition- and for me it was. It was difficult to not feel insulted by the people who wanted the quick story because I felt that all the people I met and all the stories I was told deserved more than those three minutes. Thankfully, Alissa didn’t leave out what we could do with all those feelings. GRACE. Showing grace and being patient with people because they did not experience what we did and that sharing my time in Lusaka whether it’s three minutes or three hours makes a difference.
So allow me to share what five American college girls turned interns looks like in Lusaka, Zambia.
When the awesome Arise Africa driver, Abraham, didn’t drive us, we would wake up early and hop on and off a couple of minibuses(a twelve passenger van turned 22 passenger) for about two hours to get to the school we would be helping out in. We immediately started cutting up vegetables for lunch with the dullest knives ever which means blisters GALORE. By the third day and a couple band-aids later, we were pros! The Child Sponsorship Officers (CSO) would playfully test our Zambian wife skills by making us stir the nshima- I failed miserably. Thankfully, a guy at the market offered a goat to marry me so I was set if all else failed. We got to play and hang out with the kids a ton, which was AWESOME but we also got to shadow the CSO’s. Not only do they connect the sponsor with their sponsored child, but they disciple them as well. They do home visits and make sure the kids are healthy and if not, they’re on the next mini bus to the clinic. They know each and every one of their kids so well. Being a CSO is no joke, y’all. Seeing all the behind the scenes of sponsorship was amazing! They love their jobs and it is so apparent by how much time and love they pour into their kids every day. You can feel the passion these beautiful humans have for this ministry and their desire for the kids to have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
Because we were on Zambian time, everyday looked different for us. However, everyday was incredibly humbling, physically and emotionally draining, but always such a blessing. Faith (Child Sponsorship Director) and Morgan (returning intern) would always encourage us when we failed, because trust me-we messed up A LOT. I’m so grateful to have had six new sisters to lean on when we were frustrated and exhausted. I couldn’t have picked a better group of girls to intern with. Some days, I didn’t want to get up early and stay up late to serve, but one of the most important things that I learned was how to serve ANYWHERE with a joyful heart because I was there to serve the Lord and no one else. I learned that serving doesn’t necessarily mean being with the kids at the schools, but it can mean washing dishes, gardening, or making beds because on that day, in that moment, that is what the Lord had me doing and it was for Him alone. I learned that there is so much more than financial poverty- there’s spiritual poverty and it is our mission to share the gospel because trying to fix people with material things is temporary, but knowing the Lord and His love is eternal.
It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to our Zambian friends, but will forever be grateful for the love and patience (LOTS of patience) they showed us. They are truly the perfect example of joy coming from the Lord.
-Andy Gonzalez, 2016 Intern