Day three:We have so much choice in America. It is difficult for us to be gracious in other countries. Today the church people had left cold cokes for their special guests and pastor for after the service. In America, we just say no thank you if we don't want something. However, in Africa, you say yes, thank you. It is their way of hospitality. Even those with very little will offer you something and you cannot offend them by refusing. I am trying to just put aside my American habits and live in this culture. It feels strange to be an honored guest everywhere I go. I want to say I'm just me, doing the job God has given me to do. But they see an American white woman who is the Director of Reaching Generations, an orphan ministry in 7 countries of Africa. It impresses them...and I am beyond honored. But it is humbling for their lives are so difficult and they work so hard to get through daily living much less work as well. I'm spoiled and life is convenient and I have little to struggle with really. So I thank them all the while praying for God to bless them, help them and keep me forever mindful of this time.
With the agricultural fair in town, service was much smaller than usual. I was unexpectedly called on to pray over the service. Wow, humbled again. When church ended, we (special guests, special preacher Edison Tembo and Fraywell) stood at the door and shook each hand. Only 500 or so, church attendance was down. We then met with Chanda and his mother. He has a large tumor on the left side of his face and eye. After 3 surgeries, it continues to grow back and there is nothing further that can be done. As I looked on him, my heart broke. I cannot imagine an American child just left to live in that condition. But once again, we have choices. Even the poorest among us are blessed.
Tomorrow, day three, we are going to visit two young girls orphaned by a hippo attacking their father's boat. We will stay the night because driving in the dark is dangerous, the elephants like to sleep on the road at night. I'm feeling so many emotions, I'm tired, and so very blessed. Thank you, God, for this special journey.
Day four: I am wide awake at 2:00 am after a long day. We traveled from Lusaka to Kaoma, about 6 hours, to visit two young orphan girls. They are the daughters of one of our National Missionaries who was killed after preaching the gospel near the Zambezi river. He was in a canoe crossing back after preaching when a hippo capsized his boat and killed him. His wife had died the year before so his sister took the girls in to care for. She is also a widow with a young son, young nephew and now two additional children. As we met with them under a tree, they were so shy and unsure at first. We started talking to them and they warmed up to us. The baby boy began kissing the stuffed dog John had given him. Like any other children. The toys were like Christmas! We began to draw attention and for the sake of the guardian, we said our goodbyes. Thelma and Suthen, the two girls, will hold a special place in my heart, their family has given so much to spread God's word.
Today as we journeyed back we saw water buffalo, zebras, warthogs, baboons, dik dik, impala, kudu, heartbeast, antelope, hyenas, guineas, and elephants! Probably the largest elephant I have ever seen. As large as a tree. We hadn't eaten so we stopped at Mumbaki lodge to have a ham sandwich. Nestled against the banks of the Kafue river, we sat on the balcony and enjoyed the breeze. Our soldier guide Regin joined us. I'm sure he had never been there before and was surprised we included him. And now we head back to Lusaka. Tomorrow will be another early day, but I should sleep well tonight. We enjoyed dinner at The Arabian Nights in the Arcade shopping center. Although our choices included kudu or impala, I had the Arabian kabobs which were delicious! The first beef I've eaten here that didn't resemble jerky. That includes the chicken.