Sunday, September 21, 2014

lessons...


This past week we held teacher training for our 140 teachers to prepare them for Term 3. While this week was intended to teach our teachers new things, God used it to teach me.

Each morning we start our training out with worship and prayer. Usually our teachers lead this time, but this week I brought some of our Grade 7 students from Faith Christian Academy to lead. The group of kids who came on Wednesday was not prepared. I had only told them right before bed on Tuesday and they had little time to decide what to sing and to work together. We said a quick prayer before they started and then the teachers began to arrive. They teachers started singing and a few were moving their feet but not many were really worshipping. About half way through, my head teacher, Dennis, came over and said he had some songs to request. I told him they had a list they had prepared for the amount of time we had, but maybe next time. I put God in a box. I wanted him to fit into the time schedule we made. After another song, some of my teachers in the back were starting to dance a little more. I told them to grab a friend and head to the stage. They went running! As they danced they continued to tell the kids new songs to sing! Some of our teachers went to the stage and started drumming and others started dancing AROUND the room!

Our 15 minutes of worship time turned into an hour of our teachers dancing, singing and praising our Father. I clearly heard God say, “don’t put me in a box.” Man, what an amazing time of worship and celebration we would have missed if the teachers had not listened to their hearts! I started thinking about how many times I have most likely missed something God wanted to do because of my own personal agenda.


On Friday, we did a bus tour like we had done last term. This time I was stationed at Chaisa LCA. I knew Chaisa had been a bar before we bought the property, but I had no idea how bad it was. With each group that would pass through, our Discipleship Staff and myself would introduce the school. Every time the Discipleship Staff would tell the teachers this place used to be a bar called, Kalingindi, you could hear the teachers gasp and start to talk amongst themselves. Our school had not only been a bar, but a brothel and one of the most well-known across Lusaka because of the awful things going on there. Thousands are people are said to have died from that place and even more contracted AIDs. The teachers recognized the name of the bar because they had heard of the evil going on there. There are many students who attend Chaisa LCA who lost their parents because of Kanlingindi Bar and Brothel. How amazing is it that a place once filled with so much sin is now spreading the gospel. Chaisa is special because from our school you can hear the music of the bars and clubs in the compound. When you walk out the front gate of the school there are thousands of glass bottles lining the streets that are sold and filled with liquor and beer. Even one of our students at Chaisa LCA was out there selling with her caretakers when I was there. The contrast from the outside of the gate to inside the school is an amazing difference. Chaisa LCA is a safe place for the children and a place where they can see a new life. God opened my eyes to see nothing is impossible for Him. From destruction, to new life, He can make all things new!
 

As we prepared to open school again, God taught me even more than he taught our teachers. I am so thankful even though God doesn’t need me, He allows me to do His work and that He continues to teach me as well!

 

rescued...


This summer over 7,000 kids had the opportunity to come to Camp LIFE. For some, it was chance to escape their every day life. Others, were rescued from a life filled with abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Since camp started in June, we have had 115 kids who have found a new 
HOME. The precious faces in the picture above are our newest children moved into Chelstone within the last few weeks.  Each child who is moved into our full time care is rescued from a life where they are not seen as any value. They are beaten, shunned and left to survive on their own. Everyday I am in awe of our amazing God who protects his children and orchestrates plans beyond our imagination. 
Ireen, James, Rebecca, Mirriam, Benjamin


 
The oldest of these five children Ireen, attended our LCA in Chaisa. Our field workers in Chaisa discovered that Ireen and Mirriam had been being abused by their stepdad. The stepdad had been placed in jail after there was proof of the abuse. The man was able to find a way to bribe his way out of jail. After prayer and persuasion, our staff was able to keep the stepdad in prison. The mom is a drunk and prostitute and was begging for our team to take her children.

Our team was able to rescue 5 of the 6 kids in the family. What a miracle day is was when we celebrated that this family is now safe! 
Isaac (Esau) and Israel (Jacob)

Esau and Jacob were rescued the second week of camp. Some of our fieldworkers in a compound named Chaisa found Esau and Jacob sleeping in the drainage ditches. These boys had been living on the streets for months. When the field workers went to their house they found their parents. When they asked the boys’ family what happened they said they didn’t want them. They had chased all of their kids away from the house. Esau and Jacob had been surviving on their own. When they found the boys, Jacob had been beaten with a pipe on his face trying to steal food for him and Esau.

The parents handed the boys over to us the same day and they came HOME! One of my best friends decided to sponsor the boys and renamed them, Isaac and Israel. New names in Zambia symbolize a new life. Isaac and Israel have not only a new life, but a brand new future! 
Jane


Jane came to camp this summer for the first time and was placed in a group of 10 little girls. On Wednesday, Jane was taken to the medical tent because she had been burned badly Tuesday night. Although Jane would say very little and kept saying it was an accident, they knew the burns were purposeful.  With only a little information, there wasn’t much that could be done, so Jane was bandaged up and sent home. The next day Jane came for community day bent over and unable to walk straight. Over night the burns had opened and gotten infected.  They went to Jane’s home around 11am and found her father, already drunk, there with her brother, Festos.

Jane and her brother Festos were moved into our care on Thursday night. Friday morning I took them both to camp. When we arrived, our first stop was the medical tent for Festos. He had broken ribs. We walked up there together and waited for the doctor. As soon as the doctor came in Festos started yelling, “No! No!” and started backing away. The doctor told me Jane did the exact same thing when she saw him. They were both scared of men.

Jane and her brother were being abused, in multiple ways, by their father.  Their mother would leave them and run to protect herself when he was abusing them. Jane is strong and independent and Festos protects his sister. These 2 precious kids now have the opportunity to play and have fun instead of just surviving. 


Poulina
Poulina was brought to camp by one of our field workers early in the summer. Her knee was completely opened and was the size of a large grapefruit on very skinny girl.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen. She came in with her grandmother. The grandmother told our doctor that Poulina had been very sick so she had turned to “traditional medicine” which meant a witchdoctor. The witchdoctor told her to take ground up bone and sprinkle in on the knee for it to heal. Of course it didn’t and Poulina continued to get worse. The infection in her knee was so bad when she ate food; it was basically going to her knee. She wasn’t getting any nutrients, no matter what she ate.

Our doctor immediately knew what was going on (and used all the medically correct terms that I won’t even attempt) and started getting Poulina help. She was moved into Tree of Life immediately and has already had one surgery with even more help coming.

The Friday after Poulina moved in I went to pick her up to take her to camp. When I carried her to my car it was like I was carrying a baby. She weighed nothing and had no strength. She smiled big smiles at camp all day, but she was sick and you could tell. This morning when I went to visit Poulina, less than 2 months later, she was sitting in her bed coloring and laughing with the girls in her house. She asked me to carry her outside to sit.  When I went to lift her, it hit me; she is getting healthy. I quickly said, “Poulina, you are so heavy, have you been eating extra? You are getting so big!” She looked at me and smiled, “I am.” The joy on this precious girl’s face when she sat outside this morning and played overwhelmed me. Our God is the great healer and he doesn’t forget about his children.


Catherine and Beatrice


Catherine and her sister, Beatrice, moved into Chelstone the middle of June. When Catherine moved in she was quiet. She wouldn’t run to come see me like the others when I visited and stuck right by her sister. When she started school we couldn’t get her to go to class. She would eat lunch and go play, but when it was time to go to class she would sit in the dirt and scream and cry, for hours. Nothing would keep her from crying. We tried everything we could think of and nothing worked. She wouldn’t stop crying. Finally, after days of not being able to do anything with Catherine I realized it was Beatrice. The only time she was apart from her was when she was in class. Beatrice, her 8 year old sister, had been taking care of her.

After loving on Catherine and separating the two sisters for a little while, Catherine started coming to school. For Beatrice, being at school was the first time she didn’t have to be “mother” to Catherine. She had a chance to be a kid. Catherine had to learn to trust others and to believe that we would take care of her. That is tough for a 3 year old.

Many of our kids who have been around a while or are moved in because of camp assessments, I don’t know their stories. The same was true with Catherine and Beatrice. I knew they were from Bueseko Market, one of the worst parts of town, but I didn’t know why they were at Tree of Life.  This week I stumbled upon a picture and story our Vice President had posted.



This was Catherine, last summer. Our team had made multiple attempts to get Catherine and Beatrice. They were born to a teenage prostitute who did not see either of them as any value. They had been sleeping on a huge pile of trash along a busy road that huge trucks used everyday and Beatrice has been suffering from painful STD’s.

This past weekend when I went to Chelstone to visit, Catherine was the first one running out of the house, with a huge grin. She ran into my arms and gave me a huge hug. What a mighty God we serve!


These are only a few of the hundreds of stories from this summer. I am overwhelmed when I think of how powerful our God is. Not a day goes by that I don't understand how blessed I am to be able to serve here! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

gena...


HAPPY BIRTHDAY GENA!



I am so thankful for my older sister, Gena. She has been an example for me my entire life. I have been encouraged by her and loved unconditionally throughout the years! I could not be blessed with a better older sister! 

I love you so much, G, and can't wait to celebrate with you when I get home! 


An older sister is a friend and defender - a listener, conspirator, a counselor and a sharer of delights. And sorrows too. - Pam Brown