Posts in Lillian Ng’ambi


November 30th, 2018 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

Hello friends!
I had the opportunity to see so many of you during my time in the States. Thank you for the time you took to say hi and get to know in person how things are going in Zambia. Thank you to all of you who were flexible working with my tightly packed schedule. It was such a blessing to see a lot of my extended family and witness my sister’s BEAUTIFUL wedding!

A few months ago, my co-lead and I were imagining what it would be like to involve our kids and youth to tell the Christmas story this December. We have been trying to stress that our kids and youth can partner with us in ministering to others. After talking to our colleagues, we decided to give our kids the opportunity to share the Gospel through a Christmas play and choir. My co-lead, Amber, and I have been busy at work creating our own music and skit (in the local dialect, Tonga!) in order to make it more accessible to our audience. This is the first time that most of the kids are receiving singing or acting training. It has been an adventure so far, and we have a ways to go yet. We will be giving three performances, and our first performance is December 12! Would you pray that the audience would be blessed by the performance and understand Christ’s coming in a new way this year?
Our church uses “learning communities,” where a group of people commit to diving deeper into Biblical topics for a certain length of time. Many of you in the West Lafayette area are familiar with the Alpha Course, a study that the church I grew up in has used for many years. I think I attended the Alpha Course probably five times in my youth. And guess what? We just started the Alpha Course this past Sunday as a new learning community! My colleague Brad is teaching with our co-worker Collet translating. I am going through it again so that I can better know how to teach with Zambians in mind. For our first session, we had 11 people attend, most of which were youth. We have already gotten some good questions, like, “If God knew Adam was going to sin, why did he allow it to happen?” We are excited to see what other questions and beliefs are unearthed from being in this learning community!
Our leaders recently blessed us with a staff retreat, which included donuts, staff awards, a swimming pool, and lots of laughter! We also reflected on how far the Lord has brought us this year. Here are just a few stats:

  • Poetice Church started with 18 staff members and family, now regularly sees an average of 70. We have met for 32 weeks and have had 20 baptisms.
  • Pastors’ Fellowship has about 50 pastors from the area meeting weekly. Poetice has participated in 11 of those meetings.
  • In nine months, Poetice team members have made over 100 community visits into our neighboring communities (Mwapona and Kabanana).
  • Almost 50 kids, teens, and adults have participated in discipleship groups with Poetice team members, meeting about 50 times.
  • Poetice Kidz/Youth have met 30 times, including five Tuck Shops. We began with 60 kids and now average around 200! The most we have had so far is 416 kids.

As I reflected on things to give thanks for during this season, I realized I live a privileged life. Just in my work alone–It is a privilege that I am able to devote my time and energy to help those in Zambia. It is a privilege to be able to walk with the youth and watch them rise up as leaders. It is a privilege to be fulfilled everyday in what I do. If you are reading this, I am privileged to have YOU.

New Experiences

September 13th, 2018 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

Hello friends!
We are heading into October (our hottest month in Zambia!!) but have already experienced some reprieve the last two days with surprisingly cooler weather. This hot-weather hater is VERY thankful for even one day of cooler weather!
Our latest team came from Ransom Church (South Dakota). They spent time every day going to a few youths’ homes and getting to know them on a deeper level. They also spent several hours a day praying for our Poetice team members, our property, and select people we partner with in ministry. It was a restorative week with them, and we are excited to see how our ministries will be diving off a springboard because of Ransom ministering to us. We are officially done with teams until next year! While we LOVE our church partners, it will be nice to get into a regular and consistent rhythm.

One of the hindrances to our ministry here is definitely the language. Many kids who come to our weekly ministry and people in the community speak limited or broken English. There are 72 dialects in Zambia, but the most common one in Choma is Tonga. Four of us on Poetice staff are taking Tonga lessons from our good friend and former intern, Chris. We seek to equip the Church, and we love it especially when they are able to take what is already “in their hands” to support themselves. By paying him for our lessons, we are empowering him to live and support his siblings through school. He certainly has a teacher’s heart and is pushing us hard to be learning grammar and vocabulary. We figured out that we had learned 165 words by the first month! It has been fun to see the smiles of the locals when we are able to interact with them in their own language. My ambitious hope is that in two years, I will be able to teach our youth in vernacular without a translator!

As you may remember, I have been tutoring Inness for the last several months. She has a new teacher at school, which I believe is the cause for her immense academic growth. It has been a huge cause for excitement and many high-fives! I have been singing a lot of songs/chants with her when we talk about the months, numbers, and colors. For the past month, we have been working on a song for the color red. In the past, she did not associate the written word with words that you can actually read. Last week, I asked her to identify where the word ‘red’ was in the song. She was able to do that AND write the word! Praising God for her progress!!! I would appreciate your continued prayers for patience and creativity as I take things step by step with her.
Just recently, another colleague (Brad) and I started visiting surrounding schools to assess how we can best support teachers and students. Both of us were teachers in the States, so we are excited to have the opportunity to analyze and attempt to problem solve! So far, we have been able to talk to the head teachers (equivalent to principals in the States) from three schools. We especially want to see how we can partner with schools in the communities because a large number of our kids are students there. At this point, we are not giving out material goods or money and are hoping to find other creative means to encourage the teachers. It can sometimes be disheartening to hear from the teachers and students about what they need, because at first glance, it seems like money or material goods would just solve their problems. However, during my early morning musings, I realized that our Savior demonstrated the perfect example: He never gave people money or things, because that was never the root issue. Please be praying that we would have discerning hearts and minds to see the true needs of people and that our hearts would not be hardened to hear the cries of these teachers and students. Thankfully, not every place is full of despair; a couple head teachers speak of their job with smiles on their faces and they talk about their students and teachers in a positive light. Seeing their example has encouraged us that we can see true educational reform when administrators and teachers’ hearts and attitudes change.
I’m thankful for a community who continues to think of me and pray for me even though I am a world away. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you!


July 12th, 2018 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

SO MUCH has happened in the past couple weeks. I am just bursting to have all of you be excited about it with me!

Two weeks ago, we had two of our church partners from North Carolina and New York come to serve with us. It is always encouraging to have people here ready to minister and pour out their hearts. We are thankful for the way the Lord has used these team members to impact the people in our community, even though they were in country for only nine days. A few days after their arrival, our interns left for Lesotho. They were serving with our ministry partners there by repaving roads, painting a school, and going out into the community. [Our interns just returned back to Zambia yesterday. The base was very quiet without them!]

A couple days after the interns departed to Lesotho, we had our first camp for the youth! We had handpicked 35 youth who had shown leadership qualities and/or had been faithfully coming to our Poetice Youth meetings. They stayed at our base from Saturday to Tuesday and had so much fun playing soccer and volleyball, learning how to play UNO, and hanging out with the church teams and staff. While they were here, they also learned about stewardship, forgiveness, and what servant leadership looks like. We were able to bless the youth by having our Poetice staff and older church team members wash their feet. My heart has been so full after spending deeper time with them. 

On Monday and Tuesday, the youth were able to put what they learned about servant leadership into action as we had children aged six and up from the community attend a five-hour VBS-style camp VBS. Our first day of camp, we had 218 kids. The second day, we had 355! All together, that ended up being 2,324 slices of bread for lunch. We are VERY thankful for our faithful and hard-working kitchen crew!] Kids were split up by age and then rotated to six stations–memory verse, drama, object lesson, games, crafts, and lunch. Our youth just jumped in with corralling the kids, helping with translation, and leading by example. I was so proud of the way that they saw needs and worked to meet those needs. There was one youth member who had been cheating during game time over the weekend, and I had honestly looked down upon him. However, during kids camp, I saw him staying longer at the lunch station to wash the plates for his whole team. We had another youth member who has been very quiet. But after a couple days with him, he completely came out of his shell and was loud and crazy while playing with the kids! He would also take initiative to jump in and translate even when we did not ask him to. I am astonished at the change in our youth when we just give them a platform to lead.

The deeper relationships that formed during camp have been just a springboard for what is to come. As I have mentioned in my previous newsletters, our interns have been our biggest help during Poetice Kidz, and we were wondering how we were going to sustain our meetings without them. Since camp, we have had two Poetice Kidz meetings, and the youth have taken initiative in helping us with registration, leading games, and organizing a very long line for dismissal. Now that we have 35 youth who are beginning to be aligned with our vision and are passionate about reaching kids alongside us, the need to find adult volunteers is no longer as pressing. Praise the Lord!! I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness. It has been my dream to see Zambian youth rise up to become leaders, and I am moved to tears every time I see one of our youth stepping up. We are seeing more of a glimpse of the issues that the communities face through the lives of our youth. As we begin to see the heartache that these kids go through, pray we would have the wisdom and discernment to know what they would best need and serve them accordingly.

We praise God for the transformation we are already starting to see in these teenager’s lives, and we are ecstatic about where He is leading us!! 

In addition to being the emcee for the four days of camp, I had the opportunity to also teach 218 kids on the story of Joseph and how the Lord can use us in our faithfulness, even when we are young.

I would not be able to pull off running a camp without my amazing co-lead! We work so well together. Thankful for a friend who will listen to my ideas and choose to implement crazy ideas with me.

Class, Camp, and Christ

June 23rd, 2018 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

Time has been going so slowly and yet so quickly over here. I can’t believe it’s almost July already!

Here is what has been going on with us at Poetice:

  • We have been loving getting to know our group of interns and pouring into them. One of my favorite things is watching those who usually are never in a cross-cultural context to step out of their comfort zones and learn how to love others from a different race/culture. Our interns are in class every morning, and I have fortunately had the opportunity to sit in with them! We have so far had teachers from Australia, the States, and Zambia.
  • I have been continuing to tutor Inness three days a week. When we first started, she could not identify any letters. I praise God that now she is able to identify all uppercase and lowercase letters!!! Things have gotten more challenging as I am teaching her without a translator, and we are moving on to more conceptual things (blending sounds together to make words). Please pray for my creativity in teaching her and for so so SO much patience.
  • The second full day our interns were here, we surprised them by telling them we were going to host a camp! The two-night camp was for 82 kids, aged 10 and up. The theme was “Story”—about how God’s story (the Gospel) affects our lives. We had found prior to this that many of the kids could not describe or had not heard what the Gospel was, even though many go to church. It was a great opportunity to get to know kids more intentionally and actually learn kids’ names.
  • Our kids ministry has now hit 300 kids!! We have been so thankful for the extra hands that our interns provide, but we are still in need for local volunteers. When the interns leave in August, our kids ministry will not be sustainable with our current number of volunteers. Please pray that the Lord would bring faithful, passionate volunteers to partner with us.
  • We have a solid group of teens that have been coming to our youth group. Truths are slowly but surely starting to sink in. In a highly relational culture, I am always trying to show that God is personal and relational, rather than being completely spiritual. Last week, I asked them why God made us. And one of the girls said, “He wants us to be in His family.” YES!!! The last couple weeks, we have seen several of the teen boys start to serve in small ways, like helping organize the line for the registration table. This is a BIG DEAL to see them step up since they may not have examples of males serving at home.
  • As soon as we had finished our last camp, we started working on organizing the next camp that we will be hosting next Saturday! It will be a four-day youth camp for selected teens that we have seen demonstrate leadership and initiative. The last two days of camp, the teens will be able to serve with us as they lead small groups for the kids ministry. I am ecstatic that we get to be explicitly instilling leadership and servanthood values in our youth, but we know that no transformation will happen without the Holy Spirit.

I would appreciate prayers for physical and emotional energy. Having to prepare a weekly lesson without any specific curriculum makes my mind reeling throughout the entire week and is starting to take a toll on my emotional health (anxiety, being overwhelmed easily). However, in the busyness of life, having to prepare these lessons forces me to intentionally quiet myself and spend time with the Lord. And for that, I am thankful. If you want to know more about anything I mentioned above, feel free to ask! I would also love to know ways that I can be praying for you. Your messages, emails—any communication—are all welcome!

Diving In

May 22nd, 2018 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

To my friends and co-workers in Christ,

It has been three weeks since I have lived in Zambia, and it has been absolutely great. It feels like it has been three months with the amount of things that have happened since I have been back.

I am so blessed by my team daily as we get to work under leaders who exemplify and demonstrate humility, grace, and gratitude. I have loved getting to be part of a team that seeks to constantly evaluate what we do and strive to do things better.

Some brief overviews of what has been transpiring since I have returned:

  • There were several renovations that our base needed to make it more functional for large teams. There have not been many improvements to the property since World Hope occupied it over ten years ago. My team immediately put me to work with painting. Lots and lots of painting.
  • We have been rushing to finish all of our renovations as we are preparing for the 18 interns coming from the United States, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, and Mexico! These interns are doing our three-month Immersion Internship where they will learn about missions in a cross-cultural setting and about who they are in Christ. They start arriving tomorrow (Tuesday)!!!! Please be praying for our staff as we desire to mentor these interns as they live, serve, and grow together in the Lord. Pray that the interns’ hearts would be soft and ready to receive whatever the Lord may have for them during this internship.
  • One of the biggest news: we started a church at our base! I have been helping lead worship with the violin. We had about 60 people last Sunday, most of them community members. Poetice’s mission statement is to empower the Church. We felt that in order to accomplish this, we needed to be the Church. What better way to make an impact in the community than to start a church with authentic, Biblical teaching? It has been an answer to prayer to finally attend a church in Zambia where I am refreshed and learning.
  • We have been going out into the community twice a week to get to know people and identify people who have a genuine heart to learn about God. As of right now, we have started two Bible studies! The interns will be a huge help to us in reaching people and starting additional Bible studies.
  • I started tutoring a girl three times a week. Poetice has been minstering to Inness and her ailing parents for the past four years. After the passing of Inness’ mother a few months ago, she was sent to the village to live with her grandfather. Although Poetice has been sponsoring her to be in school all this time, she has had minimal attendance in order to care for her parents. After deciding we wanted to continue sponsoring her, she was tested at a primary boarding school and was identified for second grade. Inness is 18 years old. We are currently working on having her identify and differentiate letters and understanding the concept of addition.
  • Our kids ministry has been a huge hit! We are regularly having over 150 kids in attendance. This past week, I started our youth group (Poetice Youth) and got to teach the Gospel. The majority of these teenagers would probably say that they know God, but when we started talking to them, we realized that probably only five out of 40 kids had heard the Gospel before. Our small group discussions also revealed that there were a lot of untruths that we must uproot and truths that we must plant. For example, in the boys’ group, the leader asked the guys who the only perfect human being was. The first reply was, “Samson!” as well as other Old Testament characters. By the seventh answer, someone finally said, “Jesus.” We have our work cut out for us, but we are overjoyed that we get to be the ones to walk with them as they discover who God really is. I am the one teaching weekly lessons for these teens. I would appreciate prayers for wisdom on what to teach and how to teach the lesson so they can comprehend it!

There are some days that I look around me and am blown away that I am actually here. Many of you have been surprised at my level of sacrifice, but it is NOTHING compared to what I am gaining here. These rich relationships where I am challenged and encouraged spiritually, while able to be entirely focused on spreading the Kingdom of God every day, is a better life than I could have ever dreamed of having. Being able to wholly dedicate my life to worshiping the Lord and teaching others about Him is such a gift. Thank you for your messages, your prayers, your financial giving…the giving and sacrifices you have made on my behalf have allowed this dream to become possible! Thank you!

PS. For those of you wondering…now that we have moved to a different town, I do not have to walk the long distances that I used to! A walk to work is only 15 minutes!

Ain’t Got No Time For That

April 13th, 2017 Posted by Lillian Ng'ambi

I’m a pretty honest person, so I’ll just put it out there: until recently, I did not enjoy my life. In the past, questions that were running through my head were How can I rearrange my schedule so I can fit in another activity and another lesson? How can I make more money? How can I learn even more so I can become more equipped? All of those questions are not bad, in and of themselves. But when they were the only questions I was asking myself, it showed me I was so concentrated on….ME! On top of that, I had been waiting for three years to move over to Zambia and had gotten pretty good at moping around. But instead, I was in Indiana, working at a job I did not want to go to some days and still doing homework for my master’s degree. Many times, it was not the life I was wanting; I was just counting down until my life in the States was going to end. Then I could go over to Zambia and do what I was really “supposed” to be doing. I often thought that being in Zambia was the key to a happy life, and I could finally fulfill the calling that God has for me.

But a couple of months ago, it finally hit me. There are way too many people HERE to love, care for, and invest in….I don’t have time to be anxiously waiting to serve somewhere else! My life can’t be on hold because I’m not in Zambia. I shouldn’t be playing this ‘waiting’ game when there’s so much to be done right where I’m at. I can’t constantly be living in the future, especially if I can’t focus on what is in front of me right here, right now.

The big change happened after reading the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh Demoss. (If you haven’t read it, check it out! It will probably change your life!) I started learning how to be thankful in ALL things–in the good, and even in the things that did not seem like they could possibly be good. And boy oh boy, God is SO good and powerful and wise to somehow use even the worst things to shape us into His likeness. Like this feeling of being stuck in Indiana? I’m for sure going to feel that way in Zambia too. So God is teaching me how to live purposefully even when I may not want to be here. Or this thing about how I had to wait three years before going to Zambia. To some, that may be a short while. But for me, it was the longest thing that I’ve had to wait for! But God was teaching me to persevere and trust in what He is doing. Because of these lessons and more, even in the midst of hardship, I can be thankful. When I become thankful, I realize it’s not about me. It’s about what God is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me.

So now, by God’s grace, I am learning to focus outwards instead of on myself: How can I love my students well when everything is chaotic in the classroom? How can I show a student compassion when they are having a rough day? Even during times that I am intentional about caring for myself, I hope to do so in light of serving others. I want to make time so I can meet with someone one-on-one and encourage them. I want to get enough sleep so I can love and respect my kids even when they are going wild. It’s definitely still (and probably will forever be) a work in process though.

As I head over to Zambia in about three months (EEK!), I know the temptation to focus on myself will still be there. You might be saying, “Wait a minute. You’re a missionary! That means your life should be about other people.” Well, that may be true. However, it doesn’t mean I’m not human, which equals weak and sinful. Thankfully, God is patient and has an overabundant store of kindness. He will guide me through this.

But that’s what I want to be about–focusing outward, not inward.