After 25 hours of flying back to Texas, we are home.... but our hearts are still very much back in Zambia. Our last day there was a day we will truly never forget. We got to experience 3 different, unbelievable programs that are changing lives every day. To get to sit in a room, a village and a hospital, and witness the outpouring of God's love for His people was something that changed our lives as well.
CURE Hospital is truly remarkable. It is transforming the lives of children with disabilities and their familes through medical and spiritual healing. Offering surgeries and medical care for any child completely free of charge, they are committed to also transforming the lives of their patients through spreading the gospel. We toured the beautiful campus and met the staff who has seen over 8,000 patients and completed over 4,000 surgeries since their opening in 2006. We got to meet children about to go into surgery, and even witnessed a couple procedures from the O.R! CURE perfectly aligns with the heartbeat of Kershaw's Challenge, providing opportunities to vulnerable children. We pray this is only the beginning of the Lord's work through this partnership. The photos below are taken at the beautiful CURE hospital with Harold Haamumba, the Spiritual Director, Giorgio Lastroni, the Medical Director, and Tim Ebbers, the Executive Director. (http://cure.org/hospitals/zambia/)
After our CURE visit we went to Grace Community School, a partner of Arise Africa and participant in their child sponsorship and feeding program. We showed up right at lunch time and participated in feeding the 90 children in their child sponsorship program. We played games with the kids while the food was being prepared, then scooped up a mound of enshima, meat & veggies for each child. For most of them, this was their only meal for the day. Each child politely said thank you, while their eyes glistened as we heaped food onto their plates. Getting to serve these children food was something we will never take for granted. We got to feed their souls, fill their bellies so they could concentrate in school that day, and give them energy so they could play like children. We loved our time at Grace... seeing familiar faces, being swarmed by children who just wanted to touch our light skin & play with our hair, be a part of feeding children in Ngombe, and getting to be the Lord's hands and feet to His precious children. (http://www.ariseafrica.org/child-sponsorship/)
To finish our amazing day of visiting remarkable organziations doing life-changing initiatives, we visited the Special Hope Network. Truly, the people who work here are angels. Special Hope Network provides programs to mentally disabled children and their families that challenges, encourages, educates and trains how to live a fulfilling life with disabilities. Most communities consider children who have a disability a curse- a punishment for his or her parent's wrongdoing. Children are often hidden away and denied basic care. As a result 80% of these children will die before they are 5 years old. Even if a child were allowed into their community, the lack of resources is staggering. Special Hope Network is sponsored fully by U.S. citizens' donations, and fulfilling a crucial need in Zambia. We sat in circle time with the kids and their parents, in awe of how these children come to life when singing, and when they are given the opportunities & resources they greatly deserve. (http://specialhopenetwork.com)
Our time with CURE Hospital, Grace Community School and Special Hope Network was life-changing for those being served, and for us witnessing the service. God's love is being poured out throughout Zambia by those who have answered His call to "take care of the orphans and widows in need" (James 1:27). Thank you to those who graciously let us witness His work being completed through you & your organizations! You are the Lord's hands and feet.
Our last stop of the day was back to Arise Home to say goodbye to the kids. During the duration of our trip, we got to step inside and be a part of this family of 11 (9 kids, 2 house moms), and it was a beautiful thing to experience. A family of 9 orphans, all with different, unimaginable backgrounds, who have found redemption through Jesus Christ, and home in the heart of Lusaka. They are brothers and sisters, fiercely devoted to each other, committed to the faith that brought them this far, and determined to make a difference in their country. Lucy and Miyanda, the 2 house moms, love these children as if they are their own. They gently nurture, strongly empower, lovingly instruct, and faithfully encourage each of them to grow in Christ. It is a home filled with laughter, teasing, warm food, family dinners, homework and reading time, devotionals and playtime, balls of every sport scattered in the yard, dreams and futures. It is a place these 9 kids get to call home for the first time. It is heaven on earth. Thank you Under Armour, for letting us give UA shoes & shirts to all the kids at the home, and Arise Africa staff!
On our flights home, we were overwhelmed with how much the Lord is accomplishing in Zambia. And we get excited about how we can be a part of that. Kershaw's Challenge is committed to partnering with organizations making a difference in the lives of children in Zambia and America. We hope you will come alongside of us, and be a part of this with us. We are prayerfully considering our next steps and projects. If you would like to be a part of renovating Destiny School in Zambia, please visit our Giving Page... and experience what it is like to be His hands and feet to children in Zambia. Thank you for following our blog during our trip to Zambia! God Bless!
Clayton & Ellen