This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Zambia on mission with a group of complete strangers.
And it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.
It is amazing to me how naturally this mission opportunity fell into place. But you know, “falling into place” makes it seem like there was no control in the orchestrating of this trip when it is obviously clear to me that God was in control the whole time.
It all began when I met Kristi. Kristi and I met on Super Bowl Sunday through a friend of a friend. I found out that she works for an organization called Gospelink Inc. Gospelink is an organization dedicated to “advancing the Gospel through national preachers,” or international preachers to us in the US. They do this by raising funds through the help of sponsors and distributing those funds to the established preachers in many different parts of the world. Right up my ally!
I never could have imagined that only a few months after meeting Kristi I would be boarding a plane to Zambia as Gospelink’s Marketing intern.
I had the privilege of traveling with a group from Harvest Baptist Church in Maryland. The first time we all met was at the airport in DC, but by the time we landed in Zambia we were family. This wonderful group of believers took me in as one of their own. It was as if we had known each other our entire lives. So, if you ever have the opportunity to visit Salisbury, MD, stop by Harvest and be blessed.
We got started right away. Our first day in the city, we had the opportunity to visit two different orphanages in Lusaka. At both orphanages we were greeted with warm smiles and songs. I had never visited an orphanage before so this was a completely new experience for me and for many on my team. We fell in love immediately and I don’t think any of us ever wanted to leave. There is something so special about these children. I remember walking in and feeling so overwhelmed by God’s love for each one of them.
The following days in Lusaka we spent in the public schools. In Zambia, you are free to speak the name of Jesus in the classroom and that is exactly what we did. Our team broke up into smaller groups and went from classroom to classroom sharing the Gospel and handing out Bibles and tracts to the students.
I have never come across anyone as grateful as the students we met in Zambia. Every single one of them accepted their Bible with both hands extended out in front of them. This is customary in Zambia when giving and accepting a gift, but this small gesture spoke volumes to me.
Our Heavenly Father loves to give gifts. He loves to give abundantly and He loves to give GOOD gifts. Watching these children drop what they were working on or whatever else was in their hand to extend them both to receive the special gift of God’s Word was amazingly convicting.
Imagine spending your time, effort and resources into picking out a gift for someone you love. You are beyond excited for them to open this gift. But imagine they open it and say nothing at all, no thank you, they just move on to the next thing. How upsetting would that be? I don’t know about you, but there is nothing more disheartening to me than giving a gift to an ungrateful person.
After meeting these children I asked myself, “How often do I drop everything I’m doing to extend both of my hands before the King of kings? How often do I respond to His gifts with silence?”
It is all too often that I accept my Father’s gifts as a thankless and entitled child. Through these beautiful children I have been humbled by His goodness. I now stand in awe of my Creator’s continued gifts of love, grace, authority and peace with a renewed sense of wonder.
It’s funny, we were there to teach the children but through the children I believe we were taught so much more.