Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Life As Usual (Or Not)

After an unexpectedly rough journey back to the States, I am now home in Austin and re-acclimating to life in the fast lane again. Although my heart longs to be in Zambia loving the children, the Lord has shown me an amazing amount of grace in being home. By that I mean, God is showing me all of the good things in my life in Austin that I have to be thankful for.

My brain still has alot of experiences to process left over from the summer. My time there was so busy, there has been a delay of the penetration of my experiences to my heart. There is so much that I learned this summer that it is somewhat overwhelming to begin praying through all of it.

One of the ways in which the Zambians live that impacted me the most was their since of community, and the joy they derive from it. They know one another well, they are able to support, encourage and correct one another with an equal amount of love.

Just being able to be there, to love those children and to teach them the Word of God gave me a deeper yearning to live my life with a pure heart. God has given us senses to take in His creation and to know Him, but those same senses have also been perverted by sin. Much of the information that I inhale each day is full of perversion, tv and magazines are particularly disruptive to my natural state of peace in the Lord. Let's just take a look at what one might find on any given day on the television or on the front of a magazine...dysfunctional marriages, sex, affairs, nudity, violence, profanity, people treating one another horribly, sin being exalted. It's not like I never considered these things before, but I became so desensitized to it that I was unaware. That is how Satan packages it for us here in the States. We don't even know he is there. Furthermore, some brilliant sitcom writers have figured out how to make people's tragic and unhealthy relationships comical. Now I know some of you reading this are thinking I am crazy and you are probably calling me an extremest, and what I have to say to you is...come and love on some orphans for a few weeks and see how it changes you. The comforts and luxuries of our world harmfully blind us to the dangers of it.

I am praying that God would give me the strength to make even small everyday decisions that would honor and glorify Him, like leaving the TV off. I am praying that He would cause me to be more vulnerable in my community and that we would live together as He has called us to live together...supporting, encouraging, correcting and advising one another in wisdom. And this is just the beginning.

The good news is, HE is good and holy, and He has mine (and your) bests interests as His priority. I truly hope that you are experiencing God in a new way today too, and if you are not I hope you will ask me to pray for you. The life He wants to offer you is so much better and sweeter than anything you could concoct yourself!

Soon I will be working on a video and some other exciting info on what Family Legacy has planned, so be on the lookout for a few more posts full of fun!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Winding Down

Muli Bwanji (How are you)? I think this will be my final post from Zambia, oh it's a sad day. The summer has been amazing, challenging, exhausting, joyful, and I have seen the Lord work in amazing ways!

Friday was an extremely emotional day for me as I had to say goodbye to some of my dear Zambian friends. Many tears were shed on both sides for the loss that we will all feel as we have to go our seperate ways...for now. Our amazing Zambians circled around us and sang for us in their native language and then prayed for us. I was not able to video because my memory card was full, but I hope to attain some videos from my friends and be able to share it with you. The manner in which they pray and sing is unlike anything you have ever witnessed!

These last two weeks were alot of fun, as some of my friends John, Paul and Kent from Austin joined me in Zambia! All of them now know why I love Zambia so much and why I hate leaving this beautiful place! It was neat to witness their experiences and how God touched each of their lives. John had the opportunity to go with his group of kids and his partner(Isaac) to a witch doctor's house and share the gospel. This witch doctor actually turned away business while the group was sharing with him. He and his wife both accepted Christ and Isaac explained to them that in Christ you are a new creation, and the old has gone. Therefore, you cannot go on living the way you are living, you are no longer able to be a witch doctor who curses people. I think it was hard for the man to accept, but they prayed that this man would not have peace within himself until he destroyed all of his charms and found another way to make money for his family. The couple was very happy.

I wish that you all could be here to witness the work that God is doing. In America, we are too obstinate and to quick to explain things away with our vast intellect. But the gospel cannot be dismissed with intellect, and it is not for those with obstinate hearts. I have really been feeling burdened for my own country as I prepare to come home. Burdened that we have too many other things to do besides share the joy and love of Christ, burdened that we have too many people unwilling to hear the message of Christ, or who think they are above God.
For how can we who were created be wiser or smarter than He who created us? I wish people at home were just as hungry for the word of God as people here in Zambia, but we as Americans just fill that hunger with stuff. One more ipod, one more iphone, one more flat screen plasma...Just some food for thought.

Last week I heard a story of a girl who said that her father had not hugged her, loved her, talked to her in many years. She went home one day after camp and was able to shared with her father that in Christ he was loved, and that he was accepted into God's family. That he was secure in his salvation, and that he could walk victoriously and free in Christ. The man actually started crying, picked up his daughter, hugged her and told her thank you! That is the power of Christ. That relationships can be healed and reconciled, that God has the power to change a life in an instant! I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to witness change after change after change! I truly am blessed to be a witness!

I also had the opportunity to see my second school of girls this week, as they came to camp. Their school is called Hope and Faith. Again, I was tackled with hugs the minute they spotted me, and Mumbi kept saying to Memory "I told you auntie Stephanie would be here, I told you she would come, I told you!" It made me smile and even though I did not have a small group this week, I was able to sit in on their small group a couple of times and we all liked that very much. Sadly, I will not see them next year at camp because they will be in grade 8, and community schools only go to grade 7. Perhaps I will have to make a special trip to visit them.

I am hoping to follow up with my Destiny school children next week before I leave. These kids touch my heart in a special way, and I almost can't bear to leave them. I know the Lord has plans for me at home, and I only pray that I will be faithful to proceed forth with them. As always, I love you all and can't wait to tell you about everything when I get home! Zi como muzanga wangas (thank you my friends)!