"May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy & Peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with
HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meet Naomi

The end of CampLife in 2008.
Precious, loving, quiet, and peaceful would be just a few words to describe Naomi.  Her father passed away when she was just two months old, so it has just been her and her mom.  The very first time I laid eyes on her she had a piece of my heart!!  When I came home from Zambia in 2007 and my parents had decided to sponsor one of my kids, my mom said she wanted me to pick out the child.  I knew that Naomi would be the perfect one and she has grown into such a beautiful teenager over the last few years.

During my trip in 2010, Naomi was again placed into my group for camp.  During the first day, someone from the onsite clinic came and got her.  She was gone for a while and when she came back, she had little white dots of medicine all over her face.  The nurse told me that she had chicken pox and that when she came back to camp each day, they would take her to a local clinic and she could get injections for the chicken pox.  Three things went quickly through my head: 1.  I didn't see any spots on her to begin with, 2. Can she really stay if she has chicken pox?, 3. What kind of shots can they give for that?  I thought it had to run its course......
Later that afternoon as I was asking more about it and Naomi was feeling worse and wanted to lay down in the clinic (which was not like her) the translation came across to me that she had measles.  Luckily my partner and I had spent some one on one time with Naomi that day. Her mom didn't have a job and she would try to find people to let her wash their clothes to earn some money.  They were not eating very often and sometimes the neighbor would share some of their food with them.  Naomi shared that her mother had been really sick for several weeks and couldn't walk.  Naomi couldn't stop crying and it broke my heart seeing her so upset and all I could think was, God her mom is all she has.  That was a moment that I will never forget as we both had tears streaming down our faces and I can see her face as plain today as then as she cried out for God to bring healing.
The next day Naomi didn't show up at camp and I was asking the kids if they knew where she was.  Some of the girls that lived close to her, said that she was too sick to walk to the bus that brought them to camp.  I again was asking God, WHY, why when it was her week to come to camp did you allow her to get so sick.  I should know by now not to question God, because in all things He has a plan.  I was on a mission to find out what we could do to get her the medical care that was needed.  After talking to the nurses, and some of the FLMI staff, and her Zambian discipleship leader, it was decided that a home visit was needed.  This is not something that they do with taking a nurse, American, and the discipleship leader during camp, but of course God had a plan and it was at work even though I couldn't see how at the time.  When we arrived at Naomi's house (which the entire house was about 12 X 12) we found Naomi's mom laying on the floor on a mat in the back of the room and Naomi laying on a couch asleep.  It took a little to wake Naomi up and she was burning up, but yet she was telling us that she was freezing so there is no telling how high her fever was.  The Zambians that I went with started talking to Naomi and her mom which felt like forever, because I had no idea what they were talking about.  All I knew is that no body was smiling and that it didn't sound good.  Then, everything was translated to me that her mom had been sick for quite sometime and had opened sores all up the back of her legs and so she couldn't even sit or lay on her back.  She constantly had to lay on her stomach and they had no food  at all or any means of getting any.  It was decided that they needed to be put onto the food assistance program that is available through the Father's Heart program and that someone would come to their house to pick Naomi up to take her to the clinic and that someone else would come to do some blood tests on her mother to try to find out what was wrong.  In the back of my head I knew why she had the sores that wouldn't heal, but I was pleading with God for it to not be what I had thought.
God thank you for this picture!  CampLife 2010.
That night I couldn't stop crying, I was so afraid that Naomi's mom wouldn't even make it through the night and I was completely heart broken for both of them.  I don't know if my heart has ever hurt so bad for someone.  God reminded me that night that when his children hurt, He hurts for them as well.
Naomi wasn't able to come back to camp that week, but I did see God's hand in why she was sick that week....1. She and her mom needed food desperately and the need was filled, 2. Medical care was needed and they did find out that her mom was HIV positive but now is on ARV's to help, (I don't know how much longer her mom would have survived in that state), 3. God showed himself faithful and that He is still a God that does miracles, that monthly provision of food was a complete miracle for Naomi and her mom as well as the medical care.

Our God is amazing and loves us more than we can ever imagine and when I wonder what He is doing and why things aren't going like I think they should He always reminds me that His plan is perfect in His time.  Thank you God for being so patient with us and for always loving us!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Father's Heart

Family Legacy has a child sponsorship program, called the Father’s Heart, which provides discipleship, school fees, and other assistance if needed.  When I went to Zambia in 2007, I came back in LOVE with some beautiful girls who I had in my group at camp.  I soon began sponsoring Jeany, my parents began sponsoring Naomi, and a friend of my mom’s began sponsoring Paulina (who my parents and I now sponsor).  It has been such a blessing to see how they have grown over time.  I was fortunate to have all three of these girls in my group each time that I went to Zambia.  I was sad that I wouldn’t get to have all of my girls at camp, but they do have a Father’s Heart trip that allows me to leave two days early and go and visit these beautiful girls.
I am anxious to hear about how they a have been doing over the past two years since I last visited them.  All three of these girls seemed a little worse in 2010 than it was in 2008, but knowing God’s Heart for his children, He always has a hope and plan for them. 
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”   Jeremiah 29:11 
What an amazing hope that should give to all of us.  Knowing that God is ALWAYS faithful and He is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Please pray for these girls if they cross your mind and lift them up because the Father’s heart loves them with all He has and my prayer is that even though their situation is difficult that they will feel God’s love, hope, joy, peace, and healing.
I will share with you a little about the girls so that you have some background. 
Meet Jeany: 
Jeany is one of 7 children.  Both parents are still living neither one having any kind of consistent job.  She was a very rough little girl who could often be hard and mean to the other kids.  She always had to be in the spotlight and would try to be a constant distraction.  During camp, my Zambian partner and I would pull each child and have some one on one time with them and try to find out their story.  When we pulled Jeany, she would tell us very short answers but the more we talked, the more she let down her guard and this tough and active little girl had tears rolling down her cheeks as she told us her story.  She told of how her mother was active in which craft (which is rampant in the compounds in Zambia), there was never enough food for the family, and how her dad would become drunk and abusive.  That year the theme for camp was Freedom in Christ and the Lord moved in amazing ways.  She was exposed to the truths God has for her and was enabled to fight against the lies of the enemy.  Jeany accepted Christ at camp and although she was still rambunctious, she had a light in her eyes that only Christ could bring.   The last time that I saw Jeany, her mother had left to go to the “village” and she didn’t know when she would return.  That left her to stay home with an abusive father and often times without food.  My prayer for Jeany is that she would continue to receive an education that will enable her to rise above where her family is at now.  I pray that her passion and zeal for life would be used to glorify God and that His love would flow out of her bringing others in her community to Christ. 
Here is Jeany (pink striped shirt) jumping up and down with JOY!! 

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."  Psalm 100:1-5
Soon to come: Naomi and Paulina’s stories.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lifeway Christian Academy

In one week I will be getting ready to get on a plane and go to Zambia!!  I cannot wait and am so excited!!  The organization that I go to Zambia with is Family Legacy Missions International (FLMI).  FLMI was founded in 2000 by a man named Greer Kendal.  The movement that God started in him at that time was to go to Zambia and love on the orphans for a week and then come back to the states.  Little did Greer know, God was going to move him out of a very nice cooperate job and into full time missions.  Thankfully out of the obedience of God’s movement, Greer left that job and took a leap of faith that has become an amazing ministry and blessing to so many children. 
Zambia has 3 different types of schools, community school, government school, and private school.  All of the schools cost money to attend and so you are considered blessed if you are able to attend school.  The problem lies in the community schools because the families are using the little money that they have to send one or maybe two of their children to school (even if that means they can’t eat everyday), but the teachers “might” have a seventh grade education and they may attend school with 200 other students.  You can see rather quickly that these children are not learning what they need in order to be ready for the exam they would have to take in 7th grade to qualify for government school and continue their education.  This is where our amazing God has given FLMI a vision.  In January, FLMI opened 12 private Christian schools in Zambia, called Lifeway Christian Academy (LCA) which are located in the compounds (communities) the kids live in.  Through Family Legacy, they have a child sponsorship program and the children who have American Sponsors attend these schools.  They are slowly opening the LCA’s as they have them sponsored throughout all of the areas in Lusaka, Zambia where these kids live. 
A community school
Their classroom
Overcrowded with children

In Zambia, you are considered wealthy to be able to go to a private school.  None of these children are wealthy on this earth, but they are rich in their Father’s eyes and God has favor on them.   It is an amazing blessing to be able to go to school because God can use this to change their future.  In the states, we sometimes take for granted the great free public schools that we are allowed to attend filled with lots of books, materials, computers, and well educated teachers who are up to date on the latest research that is most beneficial to their students.
                       2010 in one of the Lifeway Christian Academies.
The teachers who are employed by Family Legacy are certified and have a college education, but their training is about 20 years behind where it should be.  There are two ladies who have left teaching here in the US to go over and live in Zambia and work with the teachers and help them to become more up to date in their teaching.  This is a big task and will take time, so they have asked for teacher volunteers to come and help mentor a teacher.  I definitely feel like God called me to this and I also have a friend that I taught with last year that is going as well.  Since I will only be there for two weeks, I won’t be able to share a ton with the teacher I am working with but my prayer is that God will lay it on my heart exactly the teaching strategies that He wants me to share and that the teacher will have a fresh outlook on ways to teach the concepts the kids need to learn.  I have come accustomed to having many different resources at my finger tips and while there, I will have to solely rely on what I can come up with using nothing. I am nervous about that aspect but I am believing that God will equip me with what I need to do. 
When I was in Zambia in 2010, they had opened a few LCA’s and a school at the Tree of Life Village.  I had previously been in some of the community schools, which was absolutely heartbreaking because they weren’t really schools at all.  As I entered the LCA’s and saw the desks and white boards, tears filled my eyes and my heart was overwhelmed.  This was an overwhelming feeling of hope for their futures.  Hope for a better life for themselves, for their future family, and for the future of Zambia.  Not only are they getting an education in these schools, but they are also being discipled and are safe and secure while in these walls.  I can’t tell you the amazement of hope that I have for them as I can’t even imagine what else God has planned for them. 
Please pray for the financial resources needed to keep these schools running as well as the other schools that they need to open.  Pray for the teachers who some have to travel an hour to an hour and a half just to get to work and have that same journey back home every day. Pray for that teacher’s passion to give all they have to these kids. Pray for the education of these children as well as for their spiritual development.   God is so good!!
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Goodness, mercy, and unfailing love will follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord and His presence shall be my dwelling place.”        Psalm 23:5-6
Visit Family Legacy's Website to learn more about what they are doing in Zambia: http://www.familylegacy.com/

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day Dad!!

Happy Father’s Day to the most amazing dad ever!! 
I am so blessed to have a dad who loves me so much.  My dad is always there for anything and I know that without a doubt he always has my best interest at heart.  Growing up and still, he exhibits mercy, grace, honesty, integrity,  respect, a love for God, and how to treat others.  God has blessed me with an earthly father who supports me, encourages me, prays for me, and loves me.  I have so many wonderful memories from growing up and they include my dad in them.  I remember going to Colorado every summer and going fishing with my dad.  I know that most of the time, he would catch the fish, but he would let me reel it in and I always thought that I had done it all by myself.  I loved sitting in my dad’s lap and he would read to me with all of the character voices.    

Some of the things my dad always said and still says are “Do you know how much I love you?” and “I am so proud of you”.  Those words are so precious to me and I cannot imagine not having a dad that loved me so much.  It breaks my heart to think about all of the kids who don’t have a dad that cares about them, or those who don’t have a dad at all. 
The good news is, God promises that that He will be the Father to the Fatherless.          
"God is a father to the fatherless. He is a defender of the widows. God makes it known that he protects the weak and  disenfranchised and that they have place in his kingdom."    Psalm 68:5
Praise God for that promise.  Hearing the stories of the children in Zambia, many of them are fatherless.  Many of their fathers were taken by AIDS, tuberculosis, or any simple sickness that here in the states, we have the medical care for, but over there, they do not have that accessibility.  My prayer is that those without an earthly father will hold onto and cling to God and His presence.  We have a Father in Heaven that is always chasing after us and longs to have a relationship with him.  He will never leave us and always has our best interest at heart.  He knows us inside and out and loves us just the same!  God chose each one of us and loves us more than we can imagine!!
Happy Father's Day Dad!!!  I love you so much!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chimwemwe: Joy

I was talking to one of my very dear friends yesterday and in conversation she was telling me how God has placed the word Joy in her path over and over.  She is someone that I respect and admire so much for her spirit of love, faithfulness, hope, and joy as they all radiate out of her.  Often times, God uses her to speak into my life and I was reflecting on our conversation and how God calls all of us to choose Joy even when it is hard. 
 As I am preparing to go back to Zambia, I thought about when I was there in 2008 (my second time to be at CampLife), and my Zambian partner gave me a Zambian name~ Chimwemwe~ which means Joy.  I pray that I can exhibit the joy behind that Zambian name.  As I think about the circumstances that the Zambian children and their families face daily,  I see how so many of them choose to have joy in Christ, because if you look at what they have (physically and emotionally) there isn’t much to be joyful about.  We have such a loving God that is faithful, compassionate, merciful, and wants His Joy to pour out of His children.  The past three times that I have been to Zambia, I have seen how God is working to fill them with His love and joy.  Satan wants to take away everything and at times does, but he cannot take away their JOY.  Praise the Lord that He will so abundantly fill those who know Him with joy and love.  
“Then Ezra told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold” Nehemiah 8:10 
I see how blessed I am in my life, and my prayer is that God’s joy will truly shine through my life.  I think of how gracefully Jesus gave his life for us when he could have easily taken another path, but what a sacrifice of love He freely gives.   So many times I can allow Satan to use the little things to steal my joy.  Something as simple as a flat tire, or burning dinner, but instead of losing my joy, I need to be thankful that I have a vehicle to get me from place to place and thankful that I have food to put on the table.  I know there are many times when I don't and this is an area that I need to work on in myself.
Please pray with me for God’s Joy to abundantly fill the children’s hearts as well as mine.  I will have more specific requests leading up to my departure for Zambia, but the biggest one right now is that Satan would not be able to become a stumbling block to the preparation that God is going to do in the hearts of the kids. 
“Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth; Sing forth the honor and glory of His name; make His praise glorious!  Say to God, How awesome and fearfully glorious are Your works!  Through the greatness of Your power shall Your enemies submit themselves to you with feigned and reluctant obedience.”  Psalm 66:1-3

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blessed: My Journey to Zambia Once Again

I am so excited to share with you my journey back to Zambia!  The first time that I went to Zambia was in 2007, and was then blessed to be able to return in 2008 and 2010.  I would go every summer if I could but I know that I have to wait for God’s leading. 
I had been longing to go back this summer, but wasn’t sure if that is what I was supposed to do.  Off and on, I would have dreams about being back there and could so vividly see those precious faces as if it was really happening and then I would wake up.  I got on Family Legacy’s website in December after praying that God would show me clearly if I was supposed to go back this summer or not.  When I was looking at the page where they have the weeks that still have room, the first thing I saw was that there were no more two week trips available.  If you signed up at this point, then you could only go for one week.  I knew that was God’s answer telling me that this wasn’t it, because I couldn’t imagine going all that way and only getting to go for one week.  You see, I have completely fallen in love with the Zambian people and if I am going to go, I want to be able to really spend time there with them and I just couldn’t imagine only being able to stay for a week.  I was so disappointed, but knew that if this isn’t what God had for me then I didn’t want to force it.  A few days later, I took some items up to the Family Legacy offices that my school had collected for our Angel Tree at Christmas for the people of Zambia.  I went into one of the offices that three people shared; Katy (I had met in Zambia the last time I was there),  Rebecca (whom I met the first time I was in Zambia) and Susan which is Greer’s wife (he founded Family Legacy).  Katie was asking me if I was going back this summer and I said no and told her how I felt like I had confirmation from God that I wasn’t supposed to do camp this summer because I couldn’t just go for one week, and she said, “you should go on our teacher trip.”  When Rebecca walked into the office a similar scenario played out and the same happened when Susan came in.  They had never had a teacher trip before and this wasn’t posted anywhere on their website.  After Susan told me what it was that they were doing, it was a moment where I felt like God said, “Allison, you are going to Zambia, but it is going to look different than what you thought it would be.”  The teacher trip is two weeks and since they were preparing to open 12 new schools in January of 2012, they had a great need for American teachers to go and mentor the new teachers they were hiring.  (More will come about the schools they are opening). 
So, here I am preparing to embark on another journey to Zambia.  I cannot wait to see the amazing things that God is continuing to do in the lives of the Zambians.  I feel so blessed that once again God has called me to go and so thankful to everyone who has supported me prayerfully and financially in being able to return.  Please pray I would hear God’s voice as he is preparing me to return as well as the hearts of the Zambians that He is transforming. 
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison and the eyes to those who are bound”  Isaiah 61:1