Week 1 Mission Trip: Park Cities Presbyterian Church
Written by interns: Ben, Peyton, and Carter
The first week of the July mission trips was great! With the help of 22 mission trippers from Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Arise Africa put on Vacation Bible School for the children at Taonga School. The students of Taonga were all split up into small groups, each with a Zambian and an American leader. This was super helpful for communication because our Zambian staff all speaks great English along with their native language, Nyanja. When learning about Jesus, it is important for us to have the children hear the lessons in their heart language. It was really cool to watch the Americans speak truth to the children despite their language barrier.
Each morning, school started for the kids at 7:45 AM and Bible camp began at around 9 AM. All of the children walk to school daily which takes around 30 minutes to an hour for most students, despite their young age. These children are just as joyful as they are independent and don’t let circumstances take away their smile! Once the mission trippers arrived at the school, they were gladly greeted by lots of hugs and smiles. This was a special time for the mission trippers who had been a part of Bible camp last Summer because the kids were overjoyed to see their familiar faces returning.
Bible camp started off with a time of worship where everyone danced and sang to different songs about Jesus. This was incredible for us all to see worship in another language because it gave us a cool glimpse of what heaven will be like with so many different people singing to the same God! Our amazing staff led worship each morning and brought so much energy to the room. This got everyone pumped up for camp!
After worship, the kids and leaders broke up into their assigned groups and discussed a lesson from the Bible. The mission trippers prepared the lessons for each day along with crafts to help the kids understand what they were learning. For example, one day, the children learned about the story of Zacchaeus, so they made a paper cut-out of him moving up and down a tree. They absolutely loved it! Shortly after the lesson and craft, everyone gathered together to review what they had learned. The children loved this time because they sang a few songs and our staff performed skits of the stories that were taught in the lesson that day. The skits were performed to the children in their native language, Nyanja, which made it easier for the kids to understand. The kids couldn’t stop laughing! We are so thankful for such an amazing staff who goes above and beyond to make sure our children feel loved. Once the skits were performed, a staff member explained the skit to the students in English so that both the mission trippers and the students could understand what was acted out.
Next, the kids would sing a few more songs before being dismissed for lunch. They were more than excited to receive yummy peanut butter sandwiches made by the interns. Once lunch was finished, the mission trippers and the kids would play all sorts of games including football (soccer), tag and games they would make up. This was a daily routine for the mission trippers throughout the week before they left camp.
The last day of camp, Friday, was game day where the kids went to ten different stations for a variety of activities. There was a bounce house, face painting, games, hot dogs and more! The kids had a blast as the day was full of laughter and lots of playing. When the mission trippers said goodbye to the kids, there were many tears because they had grown so close. It was so sweet to see the pure love between everyone!
After Bible camp was finished each day, the mission trippers would go into the community to serve at other various locations around the city. We were blessed to be able to visit places such as Mother Theresa’s orphanage, where the mission trippers would play with kids and feed the babies. They were so adorable; the mission trippers didn’t want to put them down. We also visited Bauleni Special Needs School where we were given a tour and got the opportunity to meet some students. It was incredible to see such action in caring for orphans as we are called to do through scripture. It is important to Arise Africa that we are involved with other local organizations as well as our own. Arise believes that if we are all called to care for the needy, then we are all on the same team! Why wouldn’t we encourage one another in love and good deeds?! (Hebrews 10:24)
We, as interns and mission trippers, got to meet so many amazing people who dedicate their lives to meeting the needs of others. The people we came into contact with at Arise, Taonga, and other organizations are so pure in heart and love like nothing we’ve seen before. They taught us a lot while we were in Zambia and have shown us what following Christ and loving people truly looks like. We have been so encouraged to love and live more radically for Jesus!