Hi from Zambia! Due to a sketchy Internet connection we’ve been unable to post a blog until today. This one will be short but oh so sweet!
Our awesome team is made up of Karen Falk and her daughter Brianna, Frank and Pat Funk and their sons Spencer and Dallas, Brandee Jersak, Kimberly Peters and her daughter Lauryn, and their fearless and godly leader Mama Susan Chalkias. All but Karen, Brianna, and Lauryn are repeat visitors.
Some highlights for our team:
The ladies of our team bought baby gifts for a staff member who is expecting and presented them to her one morning. After opening the very first gift she started crying and gave each of us a hug thinking that was the extent of the presents. She became increasingly overwhelmed when she continued to open more than a dozen gifts. “Only God knows what I needed” – this sweet woman had nothing to prepare for the arrival of her baby and we were so blessed to be able to bless her through the practical baby gifts.
One afternoon we visited the ministry of Christian World Outreach in the centre of Ndola. They work with 110 at risk young men and pour love into their lives on a daily basis through providing them with food, laundry and shower facilities, a library, Bible studies, and discipleship. We presented some of them with a button down shirt that they gratefully accepted with huge smiles.
Almost every evening we’ve been blessed to hear the testimonies of various students who are “auditioning” to be on future outreach teams with Grace Academy. What an amazing testimony to God’s grace and love! A perfect illustration of Easter!
Brianna, Dallas, Lauryn, and Spencer have loved spending time with the children and each one has made special connections that will last a lifetime. It’s been wonderful to see our children stepping out of their comfort zones and taking full advantage of these God-given opportunities.
On Wednesday afternoon we took a group of children to a local park and had a picnic. There was a swimming pool which many of the children loved. We played catch, some rode go-carts, and we all enjoyed being together in the great outdoors. Something so simple produced so much laughter.
On Thursday morning we presented a specially designed wheelchair to Israel, a young boy with spina bifida who is paralyzed from the waist down. Due to his condition he usually spends his time on the floor separated from the other children. This wheelchair has allowed Israel to “take his first steps” (to quote Lauryn).
We have visited the local children’s hospital and delivered stuffed animals and hygiene kits.
We visited a local orphanage for special needs children and brought them ice cream – we had to spoon feed many of them.
We’ve taken some groups of children from Grace into town to buy new school shoes and ice cream.
So far our trip has been amazing and we are so thankful to be here. God is good.