Today was hands-down the best Zambian reunion we have ever had.
Not quite a year apart from each other, our hearts longed to see these precious children. So much has happened this past year... the kids have grown, adjusted & flourished. We've seen lots of pictures and gotten detailed updates, but those just don't seem like enough when they each have a piece of our hearts.
After two full days of travel to Zambia, the two of us weary travelers made it! We both get an unexplainable feeling when we touch ground on African soil... a familiar feeling, a "home" feeling, a feeling that we're both exactly where the Lord has willed us to be. And there is no greater feeling.
We started our day off by visiting Destiny Community School, which is our next big project with Kershaw's Challenge. We admire the way Destiny strives to provide their students with the best education. Their capacity is very limited however, with only 5 classrooms for grades 1-8. They do the best they possibly can with the resources they have. 90 of the 250 students are sponsored through Arise Africa. This means those 90 students have their school fees completely paid for by generous U.S. donors. This is an amazing blessing for these kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend school. As you can read about on our website, our goal is to partner with Destiny to add more classrooms, more students & faculty, and several other projects we believe will give all their students a better education. We loved meeting with headmaster, Peter, to hear his vision & passion for Destiny's children.
After leaving Destiny and saying goodbye to all the kids, we headed to Pestallozi School. This is an incredible private school that we are hoping our Arise Home kids may attend starting in January. We were blown away by the classrooms, learning environments, and campus. On of our greatest priorities for our kids is to get the best opportunities for education we possibly can. Lord willing, Pestallozi will be a great fit for them!
After touring Pestallozi and meeting with the head master, we drove over to the MacDonald's farm. Literally called "Old MacDonald's Farm," and exactly what you think of when you sing that song. The MacDonalds have pigs, chickens, goats, dogs, cats, turkeys... and around 40 street boys have taken in to call this place their home. We loved every minute of our time with them. They have opened up their home to any teenage boy that may need a place to stay for an extended period of time. They have a precious community school on their land, and dorms for the boys who live there. Mrs. MacDonald runs a bakery out of her home, and was teaching some women in the community how to package the pastries. It was so evident to us that the Lord is at work in mighty ways through the MacDonalds, and it was a privilege for us to share an afternoon with them.
After we left the MacDonald's farm, we finally got to head to Arise Home & see the kids! It was a complete surprise to them that we were coming, which made it all the more sweeter to see them! We played with them the rest of the afternoon & evening, picking up pizza for dinner, playing new Zambian games & throwing the baseball.
Truly, when we say our cup runneth over, there aren't any words that can more accurately describe our day. The Lord has blessed us immensely by bringing these people into our lives. He has graciously given us an opportunity to witness His redemptive work in Zambia. A year ago, these 9 children were all living on the streets, hungry, abandoned and alone. Today, by His grace alone, they are a happy family, filling the home with laughter, chatter and squeals. 9 children now have a place to call home, a family who unconditionally loves them, and are asleep in their warm beds as we write this. Because God loves us so much, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. And whoever believes in Him, can have eternal life with Him. Because God so loves these children, He gave them a safe place to call home- and therefore, our cup overflows.