After 2 weeks in the southern part of Zambia, we traveled another 6 hrs to Lusaka, the capital and biggest city. While there we did more soccer stuff with local youth, and spent 2 days with a after-school program called “kids alive” that is trying to help one of the poorest townships. The education programs are horrific and the crime rate is among the highest-but these kids sure do know how to smile and have fun.
The main thing we were involved with during these 2 weeks was Grippes, a developing community right beside the YWAM base. Each day, we walked over the fence and through the field to a community of mud huts. The people there were amazing! Everyone that we met would invite us into their home and offer us their lunch or dinner-I had never experienced hospitality like it before. They were always so happy to help us out and spend time with us.
One lady that we got to know very well was Brenda. Brenda has 2 children and lives with her sister making samosas (fried dough triangles filled with rice) and fritas (fried dough) out of her hut. They are the best things you have ever tasted and everyday she greeted us with a big smile. She attest to living a hard life, but she still finds a way to have joy. Such a great testimony to us!
Another great experience with the village was working with the school. Every day we would go play sports with the kids after school, and though we couldn’t speak their local language, we had a lot of fun learning net ball and helping build a football pitch for them. I again was the only girl playing soccer in my skirt, but I soon left my true passion to learn the “women’s” sport of netball. The girls loved helping us (or maybe more laughing at our lack of skill) and the mother’s even joined us one day for a match where the teacher’s and I won! J Through this experience I really began to grow a passion for middle school girls. Throughout the DTS, God really began to speak to me about using me as an encourager for broken girls and I absolutely loved playing with these 6th graders. I never felt like much of a kid person till I met them. They were so beautiful and really were a great blessing to my life as they invited me to hang out with them.
We also had the great opportunity to work with the teachers of the school. Usually groups that come in only target the children, but we made a great effort to build relationships with the teachers and were truly blessed in return by them. We had them over for dinner the one night and then spent 2 hrs learning and singing songs with them-they had so much joy in life. They volunteer at this school, but travel up to an hour to get there-just to volunteer. I don’t know how they do it, but they were a great inspiration to us.
Lastly, one of the people that really touched my life in Lusaka was a YWAMer named Sizwe. Lusaka was one of my favorite places, but it also had one of the most scariest experiences for us as girls. We had decided to go to a pre-cup “friendly” football game between Zambia and South Africa, but it proved to be the worst day of our entire trip. The crowd consisted of mainly drunken men and after about 15 minutes of verbal abuse and numerous physical advances, we ran out of the stadium, the other 2 girls and I pretty shaken up and in shock at the abuse. I left feeling like a piece of meat and utterly degraded, and saddened by the fact that this is the typical response towards women with many of these men. And through it all, I felt God saying to me “I love these men just as much as I love you”-and it was a hard pill to swallow. So we were supposed to be working with Sizwe later that evening, doing ministry at a local mall, but as the evening unfolded it became a great healing time for the girls and I and God began to work on that pill a little bit. Sizwe had a lot of great wisdom to share and stepped in the gap for us in asking for forgiveness on behalf of the Zambian men. It seems little talking about it now, but it spoke volumes to me. We all have been wronged by people, but seeing someone innocent step in the gap and take on that blame for us so that we can walk in forgiveness towards those that harmed us is quite a testimony to God’s love and exactly what He has done for us. He too has stood in the gap for all of us sinners. So I’m forever grateful to Sizwe and his evening of “counseling”.
But as Lusaka came to an end, we looked ahead to our time in South Africa and the building anticipation of being in a country where nations from literally ALL OVER THE WORLD were gathering…..