Monday, January 26, 2009

Can You Imagine?

Eight years ago, when he was only 19, Justin Samba found the children from Ngwenya Village digging thru the landfill garbage for scraps. Something galvanized him into action – he and his family began to feed them a daily meal when finances allowed. Then they added games and music. Then prayer , worship and the Word. The passion today is infectious – “Some of them get up at 6am and go up to the hill to pray – by themselves – no adults are even there!” brags Justin. An epileptic boy was having a bad day, so a ten-year old girl began pounding heaven’s doors with a prayer that would make a pastor ashamed and devils cower! Now the children are reaching their parents and neighbors as well. They are still in rags, ill-fed and facing all the problems of abject poverty, but there is a light in their eyes that we have come to recognize so well – the True Bread has filled their belly with Life that hunger cannot quench.

I spent five short days near Livingstone, Zambia in December. Can I give you a glimpse – a collage of encounters, and impressions? Start with 85 to 95 degree F, add 85% humidity, subtract drinkable water in most places, times the square root of the number of kilometers we walked dusty paths – just try to feel that, you North Americans encased in a snowy winter! The nice thing is that I was able to keep my shirt and shorts damp most of the time with my automatic internal sprinkler system that worked quite well.

I was able to meet people like Justin Samba in Ngwenya Village, Pastor Dennis struggling to care for the most vulnerable ones of his flock, Jamba, a righteous father of 9, living in village simplicity, yet in a prosperous compound of 4 homes, 12 cattle, lush fields of grain and a family that is educated and honoring of their family values. We saw well managed villages, dilapidated and diseased villages, street children, professional women become prostitutes selling themselves for $2. We saw the most awe inspiring water fall on earth, surrounded by herds of elephant that torment village gardens. We saw cob houses in every village, and the coolest backpackers lodge I’ve ever visited.

Could you imagine coming here with some health care workers, some good gardening techniques, some homes for abused orphans, some church planters? Could you imagine building a school, serving the least and the lost in a place like this? I can!

More reflections on this trip next week:

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