Zealous for Zambia

My preferred mode of transportation is my own two feet, my bicycle runs a close second and a kayak would be my third and final preferred mode of transportation.  My bent toward motion sickness, which seems to increase with the years, makes all other forms of transportation less desirable to say the least.  So what, you ask, would compel me to spend close to thirty hours in an airplane? (one way) Nothing but the love of Christ and the generosity of a sister and brother in law. Believe me, nothing else would get me on a plane for that amount of time! And so, against all odds and logic, that is how I came to be in Zambia for Camp Life. The opportunity to serve a Savior that I love in a tangible way, to make an eternal difference by impacting this temporal world, was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Who would?

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'”  (Matt. 25:40)   That’s what Family Legacy is doing.  These children, who are brought to Camp Life, are “the least of these” in their culture;  poor orphans, considered more a burden than a blessing to those who provide what care they can for them which often isn’t much and doesn’t include school because even the government schools cost money that they don’t have.  Without access to education the futures of these precious children don’t look any different than their presents.  They are without the hope that things can get better for them.

This is where Family Legacy comes in and makes God’s word a reality for an ever increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children.  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress . . . ”  (James 1:27)   ” . . . Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”  (Isaiah 1:17) Family Legacy is living out James 2:15-17 every day,  “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Family Legacy’s faith is very much alive, as their many actions on behalf of these once overlooked children show on a daily basis.  They have built and operate twenty-two and counting schools located throughout Lusaka, that these children can attend free of charge once sponsors are found for them.  You see, the opportunity to go to school is not a given in Zambia like it is here.  I was thinking that the circumstances of some of the students in my inner city school are not that different from those of the children I saw in Zambia.  But there is one crucial difference, here these children have access to a free, public education. They don’t need a sponsor to be able to attend school.  In the U.S.,  education is denied to no one.  And education is the way out of their current circumstances both here and in Zambia.  But in Zambia, the children don’t have automatic access to school. Until now, with Family Legacy in the process of changing that, one child at a time.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much more to this ministry, I learned during my week at Camp Life.  Mark 8:36 says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”  Family Legacy knows this, their goal is so much bigger than just an education, it’s a Christian education the children are receiving at Legacy schools.  At Camp Life and at school the gospel is made known.  Their bellies and their souls are fed, the first with food, the latter with God’s living word.  Temporal and eternal needs being met together.  As James says, we can’t separate the two,  we’re not supposed to.

So how can I describe to you adequately, dear readers, the ordered chaos of my week at Camp Life with eleven hundred plus campers, at least one hundred Americans and two hundred plus Zambians working with us to minister to these children for the week?  The week was well planned, with intentionality and purpose behind every activity from time on the playground (which they don’t have), to coloring time ( they don’t have crayons), to being seen in the medical clinic, to getting their pictures taken, to snack and lunch times, to singing and bible teaching times, to learning they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and a Savior who died for them, even to participating in communion,  nothing was left to chance.

We got to see some of the Legacy schools where these children are able to attend with the help of a sponsor.  Family Legacy trains and supports all the Zambian teachers in their schools, the result being that these schools offer a superior educational experience that is not available in the existing local government or community schools.  The students were eager to welcome us and show off their classrooms and school.

We also met our children in their neighborhood one day.  I walked around led by my ten girls, with our two Zambian leaders through the streets, sharing the gospel and praying with anyone who wanted to talk with us.  These surroundings felt so familiar to me, I felt I was back in Haiti in the village where I had done this exact same thing many times.  A world away,  how can we be so unique and so similar simultaneously?  But we are.  I was at home.

As we prayed with two women on their front step I was overwhelmed by the miracle of the moment, the miracle of connection to women I had never met and will probably never meet again (here), united in prayer and in the presence of the One to Whom we were crying out,  He showed up, no that’s not it, He’s always there whether I “feel” it or not.  It’s that I got a clearer glimpse of my God for that briefest of moments, so powerful in its’ impact but so fleeting in its’ duration, leaving me to question whether it really happened at all, trying desperately to capture that which by nature eludes capture because it cannot be contained. But in that moment I knew that this was what the months of preparation and the hours/days in the air were for.  They were as nothing when compared to that moment, which is probably all this jar of clay could handle. For in that briefest of moments I knew that His purpose was being fulfilled in me. Now it’s back to walking blind for me, as it should be.  (we walk by faith, not by sight)

There were other miracle moments I experienced during the week as well, just as powerful and just as fleeting, leaving me longing for more,  more revelation from my Creator.  But I will conclude here for now.  Just know there is still more.  I haven’t even talked about Tree of Life Village, where more than seven hundred fifty rescued children live in residential care and go to their own school there in Tree of Life Village, thanks to sponsors who have made this possible for each one of these children.

I talked about the sense of purpose and intentionality that infuses everything Family Legacy does.  I want to live my life like that.  I need to live here at home like I’m on a mission trip.  In truth, I am, or I should be every day.  Because every day is a mission trip if I live like I’m supposed to live.  There are plenty of opportunities right here in my own community to serve and to make a difference.  I don’t have to choose between missions here and missions abroad.  It’s not either/or, it’s both. Always has been and that’s the way it should be.

I want to live on purpose, compassionately, boldly, obediently, surrendered, with intentionality, with my Father’s eyes and my Father’s heart, listening only to His voice, walking by faith in Him alone.

Yes, I am zealous for Zambia, because that is a place where God is at work and I want to join Him there in that work.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

sincerely,     Grace Day









2 thoughts on “Zealous for Zambia

  1. What a fabulous description of your experience! So thankful I have had the opportunity to experience the same thing with you. So well stated! God is doing a marvelous thing in Zambia, and He has given some of us an opportunity to glimpse His heart for orphans! Beth


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