I stumbled upon emails I wrote from Zambia tonight. I read one and that of course lead me to reading all of them. This lead me to think about how that trip has shaped me into who I am today. Someone responded to one of my updates by saying:
"Like Joshua, you can “place a stone” when you come home, to remember how the Lord worked in your life. For when the “daily-ness” of life is there and you wonder about God – you look at your “stones” and see that yes, He still works, He still is true!"
I'm thankful that I can look back and see how God worked and realize because he worked then He is continuing to work today. Reading those emails brought me back to my time in Zambia and brought tears to my eyes. That experience is nothing I can fully express to anyone. It taught me so much and was life changing. I read things from my email updates like:
"The poverty and circumstances we saw at all these villages was devastating. Each night I came back feeling overwhelmed and confused. We came into contact with about 500 orphans in four days, that makes 1000 parents that have died. Just thinking about that fact alone is hard. Most of the children are malnourished and many had HIV/AIDS."
It's interesting because looking back and reading about the villages we visited they were approaching this devastation in such a community development way. I don't think I even realized it then, but what I learned there and saw there was exactly what I felt called to do in my own backyard, I just didn't know it yet. One of the last emails I received from my brother when I was in Zambia said this:
"I pray God cements things in your heart so no amount of America takes away what you have learned."
This happened. God cemented the things in my heart that I learned in Africa and those shaped who I have become. I didn't return the same person and I'm not the same person. I could go on and on with how almost every day something happened in Zambia that links to where God has me now, it's crazy. I'm so thankful today to be reminded of how the Lord works. It's been three years, but Zambia is never far from my thoughts and prayers.
And since pictures are just great here are a few of my favorites from Zambia.
|Some of the kiddos and I.|
|My team at Victoria Falls. The most beautiful place I've ever been!|
|All the kids wanted was to hold our hands.|
|Walking through a village with a little girl.|