Goodness! The past few days have been a whirlwind. I can’t even really put into words what I’m thinking or feeling because I honestly can’t wrap my head around it. Seeing the juxtaposition between people who have nothing (at least in a material sense) who have so much joy simply baffles me. The other day our trip leader asked me if this trip to Zambia was what I expected. I told him that I think it’s one of those things that people can tell you about and tell you about and you kind of think you’ve got it but then it happens and you’re like, “Oh. Now I’ve got it.”
Yesterday morning a few teammates and I went to a Bible study waaaaaay in the back of the Sinia compound (p.s. you can see the Congo from where we’ve been). We were greeted with hugs, smiles, and of course singing. It’s so great to know that we have Christian community alllll the way over here in Zambia. Distance and culture may separate us, but we are forever together in Jesus. The pastor leading this Bible study oversees TWENTY Bible studies like this each week (he had four yesterday alone!) plus he preaches most Sundays. Last night he told me that he was tired, but he loves what he does so it’s worth it. He spends hours each week training and learning with other pastors to lead these Bible studies.
Yesterday afternoon was incredible. We had the awesome opportunity to go to St. Anthony’s Orphanage here in Ndola. Oh my…my heart just couldn’t take it! The first room we went in had around ten 1 1/2-2 year olds who were supposed to be taking a nap, but we kind of ruined that. =) This little one was my buddy.
We saw two 2 month olds who had been abandoned and brought to the orphanage. We saw precious babies who stood up in their cribs and had the biggest smiles on their faces when we walked in. St. Anthony’s also cares for children and adults with special needs and disabilities. There were “children” we thought were maybe 8 years old that were actually 24. They laid in beds similar to cribs, unable to walk and barely able to move. They could however smile and hold our hands. Oh how I wish I could have held them all forever!
While we were there, I found myself saying, “Why God? WHY? Why am I perfectly healthy and loved by so many people when there are children (and adults) here who might never leave until they age out or die? Where is the justice in that? How can You be glorified here??” I wish I could tell you that the Lord audibly spoke to me in that moment of frustration. But He didn’t. I do, however, know that I am healthy, and I am loved by so many…I can share that love with children like those that I saw today and have been seeing the past 10 days in Ndola. My life is truly not my own.
This morning, I enjoyed some pretty sweet quiet time sitting outside, enjoying the nice cool weather. I’ve been trying to read the Bible in a year, but truthfully, I am waaaaaay behind. But today what I read (even though I’m behind) really hit me. The Lord is so intentional! Pretty much all of John 15 resonated in me. Verses 12-13 say, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Then in verse 9 Jesus says, “As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Well that just fits in with what I felt yesterday—I have this incredible love within that so many of you have given me, that Jesus has given me…I am called to give this to others. My life is not my own.
Then starting in verse 18 Jesus talks about how the world will hate us because they first hated Him. That we are chosen out of the world. Some people aren’t going to agree with what I do after college and with my future. Oh well. As long as I commit my work to the Lord, He will make my paths straight (Proverbs 16:3). Maybe people giving me a hard time about what I end up doing means I’m on the right path. All I can do is give it to Him. My life is not my own.
Then I read 16:12. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” This is Jesus speaking to His disciples about His crucifixion and things to come, but I can relate to that right now. I really, really, really, REALLY want to know where the Lord is sending me after college…but maybe I’m not ready for that just yet. Maybe, just maybe God knows better than me. Maybe. =) I will just have to continue to pray about it, and I ask you to do the same. My life is not my own.