Our journey began Thursday morning in Coppell, TX and 45 hours later we walked in the door of what will be our home for the next ten days. We’re staying in a housing compound right outside the capital city, Lusaka. The weather is absolutely beautiful, it’s the dead of winter here in Zambia, so we’re enjoying 72 degree temperatures and we’re glad to finally be here. The first leg of this trip is over, and now begins the real journey. We’ve been praying that God would remove any expectations for Camp Life that we might have, but still, it’s hard not to expect discovery in a place like this.
After settling in (all of our luggage arrived, a major blessing) and meeting our housemates, we slept. Hard. We slept right through the alarm we had set and thankfully one of our housemates woke us up in time for our orientation and team meeting at 4:30. There are fifty of us total and it is an amazing group of people.
We’ve already heard a dozen testimonies about the work God is doing here and the transformation, the redemption He is fostering. One story we heard last night will break your heart, but it should also fill you with optimism.
Greer, the leader of our organization told us about a 15 year-old Zambian girl named Memory. By the age of eleven, both of her parents had died, she was raped, contracted HIV/AIDS, gave birth to a child that she wasn’t able to keep and was forced in to prostitution. Finally, she wound up in one of the orphanages that our organization, Family Legacy Missions, works with. Three years ago, Memory came to Camp Life and had a chance to experience the acceptance and love and protection that every single one of God’s children deserve. At Camp, one of the first things the kids get to do is make a bead necklace with their name in it. It gives them something of their own they can cherish and it reminds these orphans that they have a heavenly father who knows them by name. This year, Memory was only able to come to Camp for one day because she was so sick and on Friday at her orphanage she died clutching that necklace in her hand. I nearly wrote that, “tragically, she died” or “mercifully…” but I don’t know how she would describe it and it isn’t for me to say. I don’t know how to describe the end of her life here on earth but it is clear that from birth to death, the in-between was over-crowded with injustice, despair, inequality and slavery.
But Camp Life was able to offer her something different. Hope, Joy, Freedom. She experienced God and became a believer at Camp two years ago. God was able to use that week and those people to show Memory unconditional love and relentless grace and mercy. Today, that is all she is experiencing as she sits with Him in heaven. There was a bright spot in her life and she literally held on to it until the end. And this is why we’re telling you about her, not to leave you feeling sad, guilty or helpless. But the opposite. To give us all hope that redemption is possible & to encourage us all to be more faithful in working toward it.
As for us, we’re now more motivated and excited than ever to love these kids and to serve them in the name of God. We’re sending this e-mail from the market outside of the compound and we won’t be here again until next weekend. Please join us this week in praying that these orphans would experience Hope, Joy & Freedom and that they would feel loved.
For us, we’re praying for emptiness so that God will fill us with what He Wills, in whatever amount and whenever He chooses.
His Kingdom Come,
Brian & Laura