Well..... we're back! Actually we've been back for over a week :). Jet lag is no joke people. It took me days to stay up past 8:00 and once I managed that it took me a few more days to get caught up around here (Ok, I'm really never "caught up", but you know what I mean). So..... Zambia was great! We find ourselves presented with what is FOR SURE an awesome opportunity. We are still prayerfully discerning if it is what God is calling us to right now and if it is best for all 6 of our family members, but I thought in the meantime I would tell you about our trip!
It started out by flying from Birmingham to Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. The flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg was about 15 hours. We landed in Johannesburg in the evening, had dinner and spent the night there. The next morning we headed to the airport to catch our plane to Ndola, Zambia. At this point the whole experience was still very surreal. The opportunity and the plans happened upon us so quickly that I found myself just sitting in disbelief that I was headed to Zambia. And on top of that, it was to see if we might be moving there. Crazy. I'm not sure how anyone could think that God is dull or that following Jesus is boring!
We landed in Ndola at about lunch time. Getting our visas at the tiny little airport took quite a while, but finally our group of 12 made it through and headed to Lifespring Farm. Lifespring Farm is where we stayed for the week and where we would live should we move to Ndola. It's a banana farm and a hospitality farm. It's a beautiful place run by two amazing couples from the UK. The photo below is of Duane with Mike, one of the farm owners. These 2 couples have a great reputation among the Zambian people and all 4 of them clearly love Jesus and serve the people of Zambia as an overflow of that love. And they're British, which is just cool :).
That first evening in Ndola we had dinner at the Castle Lodge. Wiphan had invited all of the women who work in their data entry program. The data entry program provides training and then jobs for these women. Many of them are coming from the compound (an impoverished community of mud houses) and now have an income and even a bank account for the first time. After dinner we came back to the farm and crashed. It had been quite a long day.
So those are the details of the first couple of days. Wanna know where my heart was the first couple of days? Really where my heart still is to some extent? Humbled. Broken. Not necessarily by the poverty we had already seen or the people we had already met. I came expecting all of that. What I didn't come expecting was being confronted with and humbled by the poverty of my own heart. I very quickly realized that here in America it is so easy for me to claim with my mouth that I am not attached to my stuff or my comforts or even people. It's so easy to say with my mouth that I would be willing to leave it all behind for Jesus. But walking through the week in Zambia considering if I could leave everything familiar behind to live there left me with a gut wrenching awareness that I have been giving myself way too much credit for far too long. I found that I am way more attached to my comforts and the familiar than I realized. I could actually hear the battle happening in my mind and feel the tension in my heart. My thoughts were like a ping pong match - back and forth by the minute about whether or not I could do this. Whether or not I was willing to do this. I know that we are not all called to leave our homes and all that is familiar to serve God in a foreign land. But, I do think we should all seriously consider if we would be willing to go if He asked us to. I'm here to tell you that it's a lot easier to believe you would until it becomes an actual opportunity and potentially an actual calling. I have flippantly thrown out the idea of moving to Africa for years. Ask anyone who knows me. "Lets just move to Africa!" I would say. Well. Someone may be calling my bluff.
Stay tuned for a post about Sunday!