Posts in Immersion Internship – 2015

Leaving Home and Coming Home

August 28th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

There’s a funny thing that happens when you desire to leave the situation you’re in, but you’re stuck there for a long time. That place becomes home without you really realizing that it’s happening. Your heart is becoming molded to that place and those people and that culture whether you choose to recognize it or not. I wanted to go home the first day I entered Zambia. Home to the USA. Sure, I wanted and often prayed that that feeling would go away and that I would start enjoying my time abroad, but that never really happened to the extent that I wanted it to. In the middle of my doubt and homesickness, I was met with the beauty of our perfect Father. What a generous God who would not dismiss our frustrations, but also not allow them to affect the good work He planned to do in us through the fire. He’s so good!!
I tried for a long time to figure out how to sum up all that God did in me in this time abroad so that I can share it with everyone. There were so many things and so much has changed that I’ve come to the understanding that there is no way to do that. This frustrated me at first, and it’s why this post has taken me about two weeks to write, but I have peace now that the ability to share each of the things I learned will eventually come. For now, you get the snippets and to see the changes and truth being lived out.
So while I surely have a home in Zambia now, and more than likely I will be back someday, I’m back at my other home in Holland, MI. And the first couple days back were some of the most beautiful in my entire life. I can’t explain to you the love that is here, I really can’t. There’s nothing like sweet reunions happening in the midst of the exchanging of wedding vows and Sunday morning worship gatherings. Call me a sap, but there’s just something about being surrounded by that much deep love. Not to mention all the hugs and dancing and laughs that came along with all of it. Homecomings are beautiful. And I was reminded of just how dear and wonderful that final homecoming is going to be… with seeing sweet Jesus and knowing I never have to leave again.
I think one of the greatest parts of this homecoming was the worship. Feeling so loved by this family and knowing the love each of us has doesn’t even compare to the love we all have for the Father. Because HE’s what it’s all about. And when I think about this fact I also realize that one of the biggest things that happened to me on this trip was falling even more in love with my God. I’ve become irrevocable (at least that’s what I’d call it). So deeply stuck on the gospel–so deeply stuck on Him that nothing really phases me as much as it did before. I know who I am and who He is in a way I’ve never quite so boldly known it before. A lot of people keep telling me that I look different, and I’d hope so, because I spent so long looking into the face of Jesus that I’d expect not to look the same. It was beautiful and it was painful and it was 100% worth it. One of the songs the Lord spoke to me through this summer says this: “Your love tears me up and when it’s done puts me together.”
There’s a part in The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader where a fearful and self-seeking boy named Eustace is turned into a dragon. It was only once he saw this ugliness on the outside that he started to realize the ugliness that was always there on the inside. It was also only after trying to get it off himself that he realized there was only One who was going to change him back into a boy again. This is how Eustace explains what happens when He allows the lion, Aslan, to begin the process of changing him back into a boy.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.”
This is Eustace. I’ve always disliked him as a character. To me, he didn’t seem to have much point. He starts out so disgusting on the inside and, sure he changes, but I was always stuck on how awful he was at the start. And yet, I now realize that I am Eustace. And after all the beautiful work of allowing me to turn into a “dragon” and then the hard, painful work of making me new again, He took it one step further. Jesus turned to me and asked, “Now, who do you say that I am?”. Okay, maybe He didn’t use those exact words at first, and I know there’s a lot of deep, theological truth in that question when Jesus asks it in the gospel, but there was something uniquely rich about when and how He asked it of me. It started in the middle of Him ripping the dragon skin off of me and, though I’ve answered Him, He hasn’t stopped asking me yet. He’s forced me to think deeply about who I actually proclaim Him to be… who I say He is. What do I say and then what do I really, truly believe about the man, Jesus, and have I allowed what I believe to affect every part of me and the core of who I am? Or have I let it be something that has changed me once, but doesn’t continue to change me every single day? It’s in daily situations now that He keeps asking me, “Brooke, who do you say that I am? Do you believe it? Is it affecting how you’re acting and how you’re thinking?” And when I answer, now, I’m pushed closer to Him than every before. Fear and doubt don’t have the same room in my heart as they did before, either. I’m tempted, but there’s simply not enough room for them to stay.
Holy Moses.
I watched the movie Interstellar for the first time on the long flight home. I loved every second of it and the small part of my brain that caused me to double major with Physics had an absolute field day. Since then, my overactive and overdramatic brain has decided to equate the epic of the movie with my own life. (Ya…. that happens sometimes. Give me a few more days, it’ll cool down.) And while maybe what’s happening in my life isn’t quite as ‘stellar’ as Interstellar, I’ve found myself in fearful moments repeating the chilling snippet of the famous poem recited in the movie:
“do not go gentle into that good night,
old age should burn and rave at close of day;
rage, rage against the dying of the light.
though wise men at their end know dark is right,
because their words had forked no lightning they
do not go gentle into that good night,
rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Let me be completely honest… I’m scared to start this next season. I was all ready to leave the last one, but moving forward is a much different story when you’re living it. I felt validated in my fear when reciting this poem to myself to muster up courage. And as long as I did move forward, I could build up the darkness into as looming of a state as I needed for that fear to be validated, but when Jesus keeps asking me, “Brooke, who do you say that I am?”, He’s been making me realize something very important. Living in fear, even over the littlest things, will always lead to capital F Fear, and capital F Fear is a deep pit that you can’t climb out of on your own. While I do have a savior that’s willing to get down in the pit with me and boost me on out, I don’t want to keep falling into those pits because it hurts and even once I’m out there’s bruises from the fall. I need to keep my eyes on my savior when I’m up on solid ground. He promises to guide us around those pits, although we can’t forget: That doesn’t mean it’s not a scary route. It just means I shouldn’t start guiding myself, because as a human I tend to lean into fear and fall into Fear as if it’s my job. My courage comes from never looking away from my savior. Your focus is what makes all the difference. So, I leave you for now with our EXP video and with the poem from above, rewritten with the mindset only a daughter of heaven can have.
do not go gentle into that new dawn,
courage should grow and thrive at early morn;
rise, rise and see the shining of the light.
though wise men with set minds think dark is right,
because their world had forsaken light… we
do not go gentle into that new dawn,
rise, rise and see the shining of the light.

BrookeJeries ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brooke Jeries • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Hamburg team two: anticipating growth.

August 26th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015
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Photo by Jeremy Cooper


There have been times in my life when I’ve realized that something needed to change. It’s easy to go through the motions, but living in communion with the Lord leaves little room for doing things halfway.

In early high school, I started asking God for a more genuine, life-changing relationship with him. He answered that prayer, I stand sure of that today, but the transformation process was anything but comfortable. I can remember the winter of eleventh grade as I tried to make sense of my life in light of my first trip to Zambia. Again, God carried me through it, but those were some of the hardest, most confusing days I’ve seen thus far.

When I think back on the twelve Americans who joined us for our last week in Livingstone, I envision a group of friends dedicated to seeing growth in their own lives, no matter the cost. These guys covered the spectrum of backgrounds you might find on a trip like this, from a few who are still trying out the church thing, to pastors who have spent thirty years in ministry, and just about everything in between. What brought them together, though, was a desire to see the Lord do a new work in their lives. And while total transformation is a process that happens over the course of years, it was clear that many on that team in particular were set on a trajectory to grow in ways they never could have anticipated.

If my endurance and your attention span could handle it, I would happily pour thousands of words into this post to tell you all about how each of these people grew and impacted my life during their short stay with us. Instead, I’ll just touch on a few of them.

Matt.
My spiritual brother, who I’ve mentioned twice before during this project, has been to Zambia a few summers in a row. In preparation for this trip, he and his wife, Amanda, were honored by being asked to come alongside our outreach pastor as team leaders. Sadly for all of us, Amanda had to pull out just days before the trip due to medical restrictions. But I was so impressed with and encouraged by Matt all throughout the week. He realized that both Jesus and Amanda wanted him to pour everything he had into the week, and that’s just what he did. When Matt wasn’t leading worship or remembering literally everyone’s names, we had many chances to sit and talk like we hadn’t in a long time, sharing our hearts in ways I’ve learned are both valuable and necessary.

John.
Growing up in our church’s youth group, I was surrounded by legendary role models, one of whom was Pastor John, who’s currently the family pastor at Hamburg. At the time, John’s sermons didn’t make much difference in my life, but I found that once I got serious about walking with Jesus, I had an enormous amount of wisdom already passed down from him. Pastor John hadn’t been to Zambia before, but the summer he seized the opportunity to join his son for a final adventure before college. We weren’t always in close proximity, but I was near enough to see the Lord working in his life, even after decades of ministry. Between speaking to crowds of students at camp and going on home visits that made the world’s poverty a little more real, it seemed to me that John was rejuvenated by his stay and ready to face whatever season may come next.

Sarah.
This is one of my favorites. It’s a story with a gripping chapter that’s just beginning to be written, but it excites me too much to leave it out. For most of her life, Sarah has been running hard after success in the form of perfect grades and a Division I golf scholarship. On this eve of her senior year of high school, I got to watch God step into her life and go to work at redefining her aspirations. Hearing her speak about her frustrations with elite culture and the hope she sees in the prospect of a life with God fills my heart more than anything. Her time in country looked a lot like mine the first time I went, and what God’s doing in her heart is impeccably similar to my experience. Of course, this is just the beginning, and we may need to come back three years from now and tell a more complete version of what he’s done, but seeing another on a similar course to mine is one of the most encouraging things I’ve come across recently.

There’s a lot of uncertainty and controversy surrounding short-term missions, and the summer has enabled me to see how influential a brief stay in a different context can be. Equally important, though, is the need for regular follow-up and discipleship after the team returns home. These kids and adults have encountered the Lord in powerful ways, and it’s up to the Church to fan that spark into a flame that will last longer than a high. If you have a relationship with someone on this team, or anyone else who’s gone short-term this summer, then make an effort to sit down and (really) listen to them as they tell how God worked in and through their hearts. I think you’ll find that it builds you up while giving your friend a chance to share and process a significant life event.

Here’s a personal update. You only have to read it if you want to.

I arrived safely home just over a week ago, and have since been moving into an off-campus house in Wheaton. Most is well around here, and it’s been a joy reuniting with the friends I left behind. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced much jet lag or culture shock – I was well prepared for both. Classes start Wednesday, and while I would like more time to rest, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of peace that I’ve made the most of my summer, and that good things are ahead. Speaking of, I’ll be doing my best to keep up with this page. It’s been a blast putting it together! The jury’s still out on what that will look like, but I’ll keep you posted.

WilliamMcCauley ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William McCauley • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Program Ten: being all here.

August 24th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015
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Photo by Jeremy Cooper


One lesson I’m constantly learning is to savor experiences and foster contentment in every situation. For years, thankfulness has been a prominent anthem of my life. I want to encourage others to keep their eyes open to the reality that we all have so much to be thankful for, and to carry out daily lives full of joyful gratitude that bubbles up in response. While I’ll surely be writing more on this as I transition back into life in the States, I’d like to focus now on one of my favorite results of this approach.

The more I realize the grandness and vastness of God’s affections for me and for every other living soul, life becomes ever less mundane. I see his love and care in the little things, and that makes me want to get as much as possible out of every moment I’m alive. But what does that look like? If I’m in the classroom, I want to realize what a gift it is to learn and be as focused as I can. Or if it’s on me to clean the toilet this week, then I hope I’ll realize how that chore blesses others and honors God by taking good care of what I’ve been given. This carries into everything I experience in life – from giving my time and attention to another in real conversation, to working my hardest in the swimming pool, to accepting the unexpected with positivity and grace. The Apostle Paul worded this idea nicely when he encouraged the Colossians to do all things, words and deeds, in the name of Jesus Christ, but I personally love the quote from legendary Wheaton Alumnus Jim Elliot:

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

Exhortations like these have challenged me to be present and engaged in each stage of my three months in Zambia. During the first few weeks, I missed my friends and family almost unbearably, but the Lord helped me realize that the community around me was gradually becoming a family, and the more I pushed into that development, the tighter the bonds became. As the experience progressed, I saw more clearly how it was beginning to fly by and concentrated even more on savoring the experience. When things approached their end and I questioned why God would bring our group so close only to disperse us come August, I continued to make memories that I’ll have forever instead of pouting over my lack of insight. I obviously wasn’t as perfectly present as I would’ve liked to be – there’s room to improve next time – but I’m so thankful that I went into things hoping to cherish each moment. This whole practice was more of a challenge than usual during the home stretch of my internship.

A few weeks ago, the last time I had time available to sit and write, we traveled to the Northern Province to work alongside FCE. Upon our return to Livingstone, we spent a week debriefing the summer and celebrating our time here. This process was beautiful and incredibly helpful as I begin to look at life after the Elijah Experience, but it wasn’t the end of our story. Debrief week and EXP graduation was administered because two of our American sisters needed to return home and fulfill previous commitments (read: they have grown-up jobs). Once the excitement of graduation had passed, those of us who remained turned to our last hurrah: Program Ten.

Program Ten is a ministry vehicle that delegates leadership responsibilities for the purpose of accomplishing a ten-day project. My fellow EXP-ers were in charge of departments like finance, accommodation, emceeing and several others while I was deemed the worship leader and storyteller of the project. If you know me, then you know that this put a big ole smile on my face. Program Ten can be applied to any kind of project, but ours was putting on a camp for students at David Livingstone Secondary School.

Following the conclusion of Beat the Drum at David Livingstone over a month ago, those of us still in town helped the students who really wanted lasting transformation to form a club called Reach 4 Life, where they meet weekly to share their sexual struggles and encourage one another to pursue righteousness. Those who consistently attended club meetings were invited to attend camp, where the Lord did astounding things. As we had been during Beat the Drum week, we were blessed by the presence of yet another contingent from my original stomping grounds, Hamburg Wesleyan. Those guys are seriously unbelievable, and I’m hoping to do another piece only focusing on them. But despite providential preparation and the rush accompanying that, there was no getting around the reality that we EXP former-interns, the ones primarily responsible for the Hamburg team’s week-long visit and the three-day camp, were running on fumes. I sure am thankful that we serve a God who works through our weaknesses!

Throughout our final week, both at camp and serving alongside Hamburg in our local ministries, there was a constant temptation, at least for me, to put my head down and power through the return journey, where I find myself now. I probably could’ve done it, too – the tasks would’ve been accomplished had I merely gone through the motions. I praise the Lord that there are just too many good reasons to do nothing halfway. That said, it was hard, often times exhausting, both bearing the inevitable reality of approaching goodbyes and still pouring my heart and energy into God’s people. This was the case even though they had so clearly been placed in Livingstone or at camp so that they could continue their own stories of transformation – the same kind of inner change I’ve been exploring with this project all summer. Can I show you an example?

So, my boy and mentor Eyram Kpodo moderates the Reach 4 Life club at David Livingstone, and therefore he made a lot of the calls when it came to camp. For some reason, he assigned me the task of waking the campers for a six AM wake-up excerise. The original suggestion was pots and pans, but if you take a look at Eyram’s story, you’ll remember that my experience with that method didn’t bear much promise. Instead, I enlisted my Hamburg brother, Matt, and we sang at the top of our lungs this ridiculous, soulful, down-to-the-river-esque Sunday School song outside each tent and cabin. We had a blast acting twelve, and instead of being greeted by irritated teenagers, the students came pouring out of their quarters laughing, singing and eventually running in a giant circle without being told to do so. As a particularly slow waker-upper, I was astounded and couldn’t help but gape with unbelief. The best part, though, was that this goofy morning set Matt and I up to lead camp in an unforgettable night of powerful, passionate worship. We started our set with our silly little call and response from the morning, and that was enough to get every student up and more than ready to follow us into God’s presence. Neither of us were able to speak the next morning, but that was a small price to pay for such an amazing encounter with the Lord and his people.

No matter where we are in life, no matter how content we are with the big picture, there will always be times when we have to do things we probably wouldn’t choose to do on our own. Most of the wise people I know, though, agree that while your circumstances have a small influence on your life, the attitude with which you receive each storm and each celebration makes almost all the difference. Personally, I want to be so overflowing with contentment and thankfulness in any circumstance that nothing can shake me. If you haven’t taken much time to count your blessings, big and small, then give it a shot! It sure beats complaining, if you ask me.

PS. Here’s a real nice video of the EXP interns telling the story of this summer.

WilliamMcCauley ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William McCauley • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Internship Update: Weeks Eleven & Twelve

August 15th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

Can’t believe it’s over. This was the fastest summer ever – and hands down the best.

Week 11:
1. Two nights in the beautiful Fallsview Apartments for our debriefing.
2. Game Drive.
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3. Commissioning ceremony. Officially EXP Alumni.
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4. Reunited with gelato.
5. Sending Brooke & Lillian home. Weird to think I was supposed to be on that flight. Thankful for school starting later and for a family who understands my desire to stay til the end.
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6. Preparing for Program 10. Grocery shopping/planning outreaches/prepping for the Hamburg team to arrive.
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(That’s 14 loaves of bread. Wanna guess how many John was carrying? Spoiler alert: only 1)
Week 12:
1. Luke 10 Challenge. Love the opportunity to go out into the community and intentionally get to know people: hear their stories and invest in them.
2. Reach 4 Life camp! 78 students. Lots of energy, laughter, challenges, and vulnerability. Also: lots of exhaustion.
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Like I said: exhaustion.
3. Goodbyes. The worst and hardest part. Hard to leave my Zam/Zim family. Harder when there’s no set time as to when we’ll be reunited. But it’s only goodbye for a season. Thankful for each and every one of them and the way they’ve made me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t change this group for the world.
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And now I’m sitting in the Livingstone Airport – half of my goodbyes are done – half to go when we land in D.C. My heart is drained yet full at the same time.
Thanks so much for all of your love and support this summer!
Zambia: niza ka ku yewa maningi.
lauragratopp ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gratopp • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Program 10 (In third person)

August 15th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

After three months in Zambia, Michael entered his last week in the country. 

It was Thursday, August 5th, the day before the Hamburg team arrived. Michael was talking of his concerns to John about the next week. Michael felt as if his energy was drained. He felt as if meeting new people, and leading a camp was pointless. Yet in his despair John challenged him. They both would go the week with one purpose: to serve. Anytime and anywhere, they would give this one week their all, so that when Michael got on that plane, and John got on that bus, they would feel satisfied with no regrets. Friday came and EXP was making their last preparations for the coming U.S. team from Hamburg, New York. Leading accommodations, Michael knew he had to change his personality. No longer could he hide in the shadows, unwilling to meet new people. So he called upon the Lord for strength. Sitting in Zion, a secondary base, he waited for the Hamburg team to arrive. His stomach grumbled with hunger and his eyes felt heavy as he sat in that front room. The bus rolled up and out came the three people staying Zion. Michael suddenly felt excited and ready to meet some people. Greeting the new arrivals he guided them to their room and brought them back out to the bus. Feeling excited, Michael and company showed the rest to their rooms at the main base, he got some food, and piled them back in for a tour of town. Michael scanned the group as they drove. Learning names, and making those first impression judgments. Now this tour was no ordinary tour of town. First stop: a herd of next to the road. Playing in the river and munching on some food, the elephants were observed by many excited onlookers. One of which got a little too close and heard it from the elephant followed by a charge toward him. Yep, Michael felt it in his bones, the excitement fueled him. They all arrived at Shoprite and the Hamburg team was allowed to exchange their money for the week. The moon rose over the base as the newly formed Program 10 team finished orientation and feasted upon their supper. Afterwards, many went to get gelato. Caleb, and eager young man approached Michael and asked how he got in Africa. Michael told him and Caleb replied back his answer as to why he was in Africa. Michael fell asleep content and excited to start getting to work with this new team. Morning came and they got to work early. After a nice worship/prayer session Michael sat through another session on missions and how EMIZ (Elijah Missions) does missions. The team learned of integral mission and got on a new perspective for this camp. Later on Michael traveled over to the camp grounds and helped out with activity set up. Another day down, and Michael began to make some friends. Sunday came and Michael had his last church service. After church he went back to the campground and fixed up the fire pit area along with Matt, Justin and John. Providing more hang out time between the guys, Michael kept serving and putting himself out there. Monday came fast and it was time for camp to begin. Last minute adjustments and then working the registration table was Michael’s mission. After all the students settled in, they went into their camp groups. Michael and Katie manned group three and got a group of quiet Zambians. Night came and all the men stuffed into two huge tents went to sleep. Michael used the Lord as an alarm clock and awoke John and Justin from the cold at 5:13am. They made their way towards the kitchen and huddled around a brasier full of hot coals, warming themselves and talking about whatever. Soon from the tents and echoing across camp they heard Will’s voice call out. 

“Hey Matt!!!”

“Hey Will!!!!!”

?Do you love my Jesus… Deep down in my heart??

?Yes I love my Jesus… Deep down in my heart!?

Together: “?Ohhhhh deep deep, Oh deep down down, deep down in my heart! I love my Jesus! Ohhh deep deep, Oh deep down down, deep down in my heart.?

The two provided a lovely alternative to pots and pans and awoke the campers with a smile. Full of energy all the campers ran out ready to start their day. After a nice message by Pastor John, and some one on one time with the kids, it was time for the activities. Stepping away from his team Michael manned the hallowed water challenge. You know, where the bottle has holes and you can only use whats on your person to fill the bottle to the top? Catching a lot of flack and blame, Michael observed many frustrated groups come together and finish the challenge. Coming back together with his team later on, Team 3 created a skit to preform at the bonfire. Night came quick and Team 3, going first, preformed the story of Adam and Eve. To Michael’s opinion they killed it. Next the men and women split up to have those private talks. Matt, Justin, and Caleb shard their stories with the boys and the offered the kids the chance to become Brothers 4 life. Very collected the boys all took the oath and we prayed over them as they continue this group to keep each other accountable. Michael sat back and watched young men get fired up about being a brotherhood together and ready to go back to their schools and change some things. Everyone left the fire, and Michael was left with John and Justin, then Matt and Will. Laughing and having a good time the group cracked jokes and bounced ideas off each other till about 3 in the morning. John and Michael then were left to spend the night at the fire and kept warm all night as they gazed at the beautiful African sky. Wednesday brought with it the last day of camp. After clean up and a final group 3 meeting, Michael stood in the back as Eyram commissioned the kids back to their school. The camp was done and Michael lied in his bed feeling finished. After a bath and a couple naps, Michael returned to the group as they debriefed the camp. Reach for life camp, installed in order to try and instill values in the kids off David Livingstone High School, centered around purity to prevent HIV/AIDS, in these and future kids lives in Africa. Many people were astonished  at the camp and how effective it was even if we felt exhausted and discouraged. The next two days were filled with some community outreach, as well as much celebration and mingling between new friends. Michael then reached his breaking point. Person after person on the Hamburg team, a Buffalo Bills fan. And not only just a fan, die-hards and with many connections. MANY connections. Michael was dumbfounded after each conversation. Terry Pegula, Jim Kelly, Fred Jackson, and many more just casually thrown into conversation. The hamburg team was awesome and invited Michael to come to church and then a Bills game. Michael was thoroughly ecstatic. Friday night was a big celebration as many people gathered around a campfire in fellowship to end the night. They wrote down what they would miss and threw it into the fire. A somewhat somber end but very nice in Michael’s opinion. The night was not over though. Just as people were heading to bed. Will called forth people to go for one last gelato run. Michael mixed 5 flavors and hung with Matt, Caleb and Will. They four walked out and questioned the world what they could do on their last night in Zambia. Michael then fired the statement: “A free taxi ride.” Thinking that it was impossible they set to work and called a taxi over. The driver saw four white men approach him with pace. Will did the talking and begged for a free ride back to our house down the road. “We are in a hurry and have no money.” Will explained. “Get in.” The driver let them in. The Boys now acted as kids as they hopped in the car and drove down the road. They got back to base and jumped out of the car as they ran up to the house. Michael felt very satisfied as the rushed in to tell everyone what had happened. He finished that night with a bang and slept very well. Michael then Woke up and said goodbye to his new friends as John and Abby, along with others, headed off towards South Africa for another round of beat the drum. Michael fell back asleep as he woke up again only to say more goodbyes as he headed home himself. A great ending week to a great summer. Michael put himself out there and reaped the benefits. 

michael_ennis ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ennis • 2015 International Immersion Intern

EXP Graduate

August 14th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

The end of EXP came swiftly and snuck up on us like a killer in the night. Starting on Sunday began the best three day stretch in my opinion. Filled with many debriefing sessions about our whole trip we went out in style. I’ll give a quick run down of our schedule so you can understand my references that I make. 

Saturday (Aug 1st)- Back from outreach. Rest and relaxation. 

Sunday-  More rest and relaxation. Told schedule for rest of week.

Monday- Morning debrief at Zig Zag. Check into Fallsview.

Tuesday- Game Drive. More debriefing. Dinner at the Golden Leaf. (Indian food)

Wednesday- Depart from Fallsview. EXP Graduation.
 We came back from outreach on Saturday the 1st. After some time to recoup and get some wi-fi, we had a quick meeting on Sunday briefing us of our week. So we all sat in our common room awaiting to hear the schedule. “We will be spending the next two nights at Fallsview.” Abby told us. Chatter filled the room, but no one knew what Fallsview was and how nice it would be. But excited we were regardless of how much we knew. Monday came and we had our first debriefing session at Zig Zag, a cute little hotel/restaurant. We returned home gathered our belongings and headed up to Fallsview. Resting atop a big hill we pull in and enter our houses, one for girls the other for boys. Tile floors, three rooms with double beds, Cable TV in each room, one master room with its own bathroom, kitchen, big living room, and a HOT SHOWER and huge bath tub. I was blown away and with a huge smile I took a room and settled in. It was very luxurious and very unexpected. So, after some more debriefing we went to bed. Waking up at 6:30, we all piled into the bed of a pick up and headed on a game drive. This was amazing. We saw impalas, hippos, baboons, boars, giraffe, water buffalo, a crocodile, a zebra and an elephant that was super close. The experience was awesome. Coming home we finished up our debriefing. After our last session the leaders did something very humbling to finish up our sessions. They washed our feet. It was a very touching moment where it showed our leaders doing what they do best. Leading by example. That night we went out to a delicious dinner at a Indian restaurant, the Golden Leaf. I had some very good chicken wings and then finished the night with some tea and a big blanket on the couch. We had a great breakfast in the morning and then left for home. Soon enough it was graduation time. So with many guests, we had our ceremony and received our certificates for the completion of EXP. What was really cool was I received many words through people from God. It was a great night but I felt sad inside. Knowing that the end was near. We finished the night with some Nshima and Chicken, then watched a slideshow. It was a very good way to wrap up our time here as we still have one more program to do. Which I’ll tell you about in my next post. 

Ok, so maybe you’re wondering about all those sessions I was talking about? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you. We had many debriefing sessions to wrap up EXP and to get feedback about our three months here. So here’s a simple breakdown. These were really good just to talk about our time here and make sure we are prepared to go back home and take in American culture. 

First Session- What God has done during EXP. We wrote down all the things that God has done in the past three months, both person specific and as a group, then prayed over them all. 

Second Session- What is our Calling. We went around in a circle and all stated what we believe is our calling. I’m still working on mine, so I’ll get back to you guys when it works out…

Second Session- Classroom debrief. We talked about mainly Prayer, and missions, our two main subjects in the classes during EXP. We talked about what we learned and asked more questions about what we didn’t understand. 

Third Session- Going home/culture shock. For the Africans, they don’t have to deal with culture shock too much returning home, but they had to deal with normal life and adapting back into that. For us Americans, we had to talk about what would happen when we return home and social media guidelines in order to not offend people or post something controversial. We also prepared things to say when people ask us about our time here. 

Fourth Session- EXP feedback. We all got to give our input on what went wrong, what went right during EXP, and make suggestions for changes next year during the program. 

These days were nice and relaxing as we ended our EXP program. It was a crazy three months but I learned a lot. No we just have P10 left, where we have to lead a camp for school kids. Before I know it, I’ll be back home. 

michael_ennis ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ennis • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Weeks Ten and Eleven

August 14th, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

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While the first week had a lot of things other than just the solitude outing (like an adventure day with hiking, crossing rivers on ropes, and things like that, plus the long drive back to Livingstone), my time in solitude is all I’m going to talk about in this update because it was so refreshing and so full of absolute life!

We spent two days in time with the Lord to reflect on our time in Zambia and it was wonderful. God gave me a list of things He wanted to cover with me in this time and the first thing was to go back and write down every word, picture, and prayer given to me for this trip. I went back and listened to send-off prayers I had recorded and went through old journals and ended up finding 76 different prayers. My next task? To go through each one and write out in detail how He answered it in this time, and if I couldn’t come up with the answer, then I was not to give up and say “He just hasn’t answered this one”, but I was to wait on Him until He showed me how He answered every single one. So, 76 prayers later, sure enough He was right. Seeing what He was up to really helped me to make sense of my time here. I will give you a couple of the highlights:

  1. Refined vision and narrowed gaze to my call
  2. (See later in blog how this answer is described!)
  3. Supernatural ability to trust and confidence in His name
  4. Basically the whole thing I was learning for the entire trip! I grew in this in enormous ways.
  5. Image: me as a giraffe with a really long neck and a head way above that can reach fruit and trees that other animals can’t. Also can see above problems and set backs, with greater vision, and can reach up for more of Him and taste and see more of Him.
  6. This has felt completely accurate this whole trip. I often was on a completely different plane as the rest of my group, even the leaders. When everyone else would be learning something or growing in something, I was basically off in the corner just connecting with the Lord. I had a hard time connecting with what they were all doing because the Lord was doing entirely different things in me, which was making me see things within the group and within what we were learning that weren’t as much in line with His heart. A lot of times it was a remarkably frustrating thing for me, but I should’ve seen it for what it was—a gift!
  7. flip of perspective where the enemy has twisted different areas and things in my life, God’s going to continue just to flip that perspective and teach me how to do that, even just mentally.
  8. Yes! Perspectives, especially of my community and family and friends at home have completely changed. Even characteristics of myself have had a flip of perspective. I think my view of myself has changed tremendously on this trip for the good, even through difficulties and trials. Even in seeing my sin and how I can grow rather than shying away and keeping a victim attitude about everything. I’m so excited to see this flip of perspective play out when I’m back home!
  9. Teach Brooke, like You taught Paul, the secret of being content…
  10. You’ve seen in the other blogs, contentment has been a HUGE theme of this trip. I’m learned and grown in this area so much. I don’t know if I can claim, yet, knowing the secret like Paul did, but I can claim that I have it in ways I never have before, and that alone is a huge answer to this prayer!
  11. That trials and challenges wouldn’t hinder my relationship with the Lord and that there would be open communication
  12. This was a big one! Previously in my walk with God, if there were a LOT of trials/challenges, I’d get mad to the point of almost not wanting anything to do with Him anymore. This trip was filled with the most trials and challenges in a small stretch of time yet and I never got to this point. I was frustrated for sure, but it was still centered on a love and devotion to Him that made it all worth it (even if you would never hear me saying that). There was open communication between Him and I the entire time as soon as I asked Him for it and it was the only way I was able to even get through the challenges.
  13. More courage and more saying yes to adventures with You
  14. Also the story of this trip…
  15. Grow in dependency, lean on You for every ounce of strength, energy, joy, word, and realize her utter dependence on You.
  16. This became my prayer every day, almost every hour, for the trip. I had to ask for all of these things continuously and they were continuously given to me.
  17. He shows her how mighty He is to protect her heart, to be the one standing when she cannot, and that He’s a mighty warrior for her and with her.
  18. Once again, this was something that was daily revealed to me and something I learned to cling to.
  19. You are called to be royalty so go explore your Daddy’s kingdom and share the call to royalty with others.
  20. Yes! This was also a centering thing for me as I explored my Father’s kingdom. It was incredible to see so many new things and I’m not sure what it’s going to be like to go back to things I am used to. It was also so exciting that the “call to royalty” was something I did end up sharing with a lot of people, specifically!
  21. Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned.”
  22. Does this one need explaining? Amen and Amen.

Oh, and something I realized after praying through these things… the exact number of days I will have been away from home? 76.

After this time, He also reassured me of all of the confidence and direction He gave me for my life over this time. It was amazing to look back and see how much I have grown in just three months in understanding who I am and who He has called me to be. It makes the future so much more exciting! I feel confident that what I am walking into is exactly what He wants me to be doing in this time: living in Holland and working as an Robotics Controls Engineer, still eventually pursuing Entertainment Engineering (Seriously, what a fun mission field!!!!) and in the meantime, living in our creative community house where together we pursue the Lord and grow deeper together in creativity and inviting others into the fun. I feel confident that I am supposed to continue growing in the spiritual gift of prophecy and that that is something He wants to use mightily in me. As I’m learning, I’m also supposed to share, because my heart that all His sons and daughters would know who they are and would know that they can hear is voice is a passion that He put inside of me for a reason. I’m so expectant of this time and so positive the Lord has great things for it. All of this confidence in three months? I’ll take it!

Finally, the last big highlight of the solitude outing came with dreaming with God about our creative community house and then coming to this realization about life back at home:

“Here in Zambia, I’ve been brought to a place of understanding that I can’t do anything alone. This was often my heart’s cry, even more than daily (Abba, Help me! I CAN’T do it without You). I’ve been so excited and ready to be back home, but I think it’s important for me to realize, first, that I can’t do it on my own any better at home than I could here. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to pretend that I can. I still need to count on Him for everything… for provision, protection, guidance, affirmation, direction, intervention, strength, joy, peace, etc. Even in Holland, MI, surrounded by a beautiful community that loves You and even while pursuing my deepest passions, I can’t do it alone. I’ve pretended that I could and no wonder, so often have fallen short. I don’t want to try to do that anymore. Abba, Father, I’m in it with you. If I would be doing it alone, then I would rather stay here (as hard as those words are coming out of my mouth) where it’s obvious how desperate I am for you every minute of the day. But right now, I commit to doing it with you. Remind me often of who you are and of what you wish to do in my life, the role you wish to have, and help me to surrender my life daily at your feet. It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Let’s do this together, Poppa. I’m so excited for this life with you. I know you have good and difficult and beautiful things in store and I’m ready for it all. Teach me to always walk in your ways. I’m not going to pretend that walking in my own is a good idea, anymore. I want to stay desperate for you.”

Week Eleven was a beautiful a refreshing one. We returned back to our base in Livingstone and, as if we all didn’t already know, we realized even more how much that place had become a home. We then packed up again to spend two nights in a hotel—a little bit of Zambian luxury while we debriefed together on our summer. In this time we also got to go on a game drive (safari) and spend lots of time celebrating together. Finally, when we returned to base we had our graduation ceremony, filled with lots of goodbyes for Lillian and I because we left for the U.S. the next morning. A lot of what I learned in week eleven is going to come up in every post I write after this, so I didn’t feel the need to expand on it now. 😉

BrookeJeries ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brooke Jeries • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Weeks Eight and Nine – The Intervener

August 3rd, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

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Let me warn you right now… to try to sum up all that happened these past few weeks would be impossible so you are going to get quite a random review of the events, but if you’ve read any of my updates so far, this one is worth the read!

Week Eight started out very rough with food poisoning/other sickness hitting me really hard. This was definitely my lowest point so far because I was basically bed-ridden struggling to figure out how I was going to make it to the outreach. I decided to push myself and after a 32-hour bus ride, we finally made it to the FCE base in the village of Kalungu, near Isoka (border village to Tanzania and Malawi).

So you can imagine how I was doing in this, lots of walking and hard work and sickness all blended together with the typical struggle for contentment. Then, finally, Jesus intervened. He started by giving me some clarity on some of the deeper things He was working on in my heart for the duration of my time in Africa. I had been reading a book called “From Fear to Freedom” and felt like God was trying to tell me something big in it, but I wasn’t able to figure it out amidst all of my overwhelmed emotions. After waking up one night, I felt like I had been given in a dream the exact words for what was going on. Here is my journal entry from when I woke up:

“I am very critical of others because I am, in essence, not able to extend grace to them. This is because I have not fully received grace from the Father myself. How can I receive grace for faults I do not admit? I tend to be overly critical of myself for things that shouldn’t actually be condemned, but in terms of sin, I hardly ever admit fault. I’m a blame-shifter with an orphan victim’s heart. In addition, this orphan heart causes me to be overprotective of myself—filled with such fear of everything (especially that which might expose my imperfections/how I’m different/or anything where I am uncomfortable) with no hope of any sort of intervener or protector. Who is it that I serve? Is it not the very intervener of all mankind and the protector of His children? Even more, as this is the heart and mindset that I am so passionate to see breakthrough in for other people, I have been too blinded and ashamed to notice/admit it in myself.

Father, I trust you for every step from this point forward. To intervene. To protect. To guard my heart for what needs to be protected and to allow sin to be revealed only to the amount that I will receive grace (aka fully). Teach me to be honest with You and with others and with myself, seeing my own depravity and receiving the fullness of your grace—that I may pour it out on others instead of the judgment and bitterness and expectations I have poured out before (since that’s all I have allowed myself to receive, it’s all I’ve had to give). Take this victim mindset and orphaned heart and give me my adopted one. Do it, Lord, in full. I’m ready to better understand your grace, your love, and everything that you are, and then everything that I am.”

Yep. Bold move, God, dumping all of that on me at once. So, after that, I could see my mood start to change. It wasn’t perfect, yet, but there was something I was fighting for and someone who was fighting for me. It was so challenging for me to deny my previous mindsets, going into daily challenges that my flesh thought was impossible, but my willing spirit trusted that they were in the hands of my intervener, and intervene He did. My consistent prayer (with the sickness, especially) was, “Lord, either give me the strength to do this, or change the task to something I have the strength for.” Over and over again it was answered, with unexplained strength and with unexplained changes to schedules. I started genuinely trusting my Father for more than just the “normal things” but for every big and little thing in my entire day, as a daughter should.

In this time, I also found myself craving the Word (for possibly the first time ever, and it hasn’t gone away!), being led to different passages and wanting to spend time diving into them and even more.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came our of the land of Egypt And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:14-15, 19-20)

So this time basically continued like this for a couple days until the biggest challenge of our 3 months came: a 3-night stay with families in the village. I was paired with my teammate Olivia and together, we stayed with the family of Mr. Derek Skolonga. Our whole team spent a lot of time praying beforehand, including myself, for God to show up with little things like food that we could eat, electricity, a mattress to sleep on, a working toilet, English speakers in the family, things like that. None of these prayers were answered for me. (It was funny afterwards to hear that almost the entire team did have these prayers answered and how encouraged they were to see that God answered them and saw Him faithful, even in the little things. I’ve realized that for me, it was more important that He got to my heart than proving Himself faithful in the little things. He’s still faithful, but He saw it more fit to change my prayers rather than answering them in this time.). I found myself the first night, having just attempted to be polite by trying to force down a meal of cassava nshima and partially raw scrambled eggs mixed with green beans, sleeping on a mat on the floor with two other girls, surrounded by walls with cockroaches and large wall spiders crawling up and down them. The toilet was a hole in the ground behind the house with the same story of creepy-crawlies, so you couldn’t use it at night because they would just crawl all over you. The water we had to fetch was pretty far away, so the family didn’t always choose clean water sources. The family spoke no English except for Derek (slightly) and he was usually gone all the time, so our conversations had to come through Olivia who partially spoke a tribal language that the rest of the family partially understood. I was furious with God and also begging for the strength to last or that by some miracle it would be cut short. And yet, I woke up in even more pain than before. Some of our leaders had come around for visits the next morning with each group and I found myself upset with them on all accounts for not having a solution other than “sticking it out”. After they left, I found time to pray and I raised up one of my most helpless prayers ever.

“Father, you HAVE to intervene! I can’t do this, but YOU can. Don’t just fix my attitude, BE my attitude. Don’t just heal my body, come and fill my body. Make me like you and filled with you in every way possible.”

And intervene He did, once again. It all started with my attitude. I can’t explain it, but within an hour, I was ready for any challenge that came my way. I was still in a lot of pain, but for some reason, I didn’t really care. I felt like all of a sudden I had some sort of superpower called “contentment”.

Finally my heart was in a place where God could remold it and He took full advantage of it, because within just another hour, I met a very special boy. His name is Zechariah, and he is changing my life.

“We were walking through the village and up ahead walked this boy who was maybe in his late teens or early twenties. He smelled, even from far away, and was walking strangely and making funny noises. I braced myself for our passing because I could tell he had some sort of mental disability.

Some back story here for you, I have always been one to hate standing out, and to me, even reaching out and loving someone different than the majority was too much. Before today, I’d be ashamed to admit even associating with someone different was a task I was usually not willing to do, because I felt like it would highlight and exaggerate my own differences, and I didn’t want that to happen at all costs. This always showed when I was around my mom’s students. She worked with special education students and sometimes had them in our home, too. My mom and I were very close in some ways, so when she worked in my high school, I would usually visit her in the day. She loved welcoming me into her students’ lives, but I always shied away from it, scared of highlighting my own differences. I, of course, admired her ability to selflessly love in this way, I just couldn’t get myself to do it, wondering why God skimped out on giving me those genes. (Remember how I prayed that God would reveal sin in my life and then correct it? It’s happennnning. Praise the Lord for His grace I’m receiving in FULL measure!)

Fast forward back to Kalungu. As we approached him, he was in the middle of our path and the members of the family we were with gave him a big shove out of the way without saying a word accompanied with a disgusted look on their faces. My first emotional response to this interaction? Relief.

My heart sank. ‘Who am I right now?!? Who am I at all? What is wrong with me???’ I thought. I found myself going through the quickest heart change probably in the history of forever. I turned around and looked at him as he stared at us passing by. ‘This is what the community thinks of you, huh? You must be lonely and so hurt inside, but I can’t help you, or I would stand out… especially here, by the looks of it, but I want to. How can I love you without standing out?’

Then the voice of Jesus, simple and clear per usual: “Brooke, love stands out.”

I turned around again and smiled really big and waved. He followed us all the way to the church where we were headed for a choir rehearsal and everyone around seemed incredibly annoyed. I was excited. I asked if anyone knew the boy’s name and one woman said that it was Zechariah. I greeted him by name and watched perhaps the biggest smile in the world appear on his face. I came and sat by him and when the choir started singing, joyfully dancing with him around the room. I looked like a goofball, many eyes on me, and for once, I didn’t care. Because Zechariah might be different, but he’s a person first, and there are things like joy and laughter that Zechariah has more of than any person I’ve ever met.

I think there’s way more to life than not standing out, especially if you follow Jesus. I don’t know when or where I started living under the delusion, but one thing is for sure, I refuse to anymore. Love stands out. Jesus stood out on the cross in both the greatest stand apart event and the greatest act of love of all time. Why do I curse God for the things that make me stand out? Whether or not those things are from or of Him, the understanding and permission it gives me to stand out in love is worth it all and more.”

He knows what He’s doing, that’s for sure. Because in the middle of my hardest struggles there, He was teaching me deep down lessons of the kingdom that will never be moved. (Which aligns with a word I received a few weeks back that said before bringing the kingdom through me, He wanted to build it in me, first.)

Still at the church, while I was journaling the above story about Zechariah, two leaders from FCE (Sulene and Martha) found me so we could talk and pray. They had heard about how miserable I was and wanted to give me someone else to talk to. I explained to them the massive heart changes that were going on and how physically, I still didn’t feel great, but how emotionally and spiritually I had never been better. They were excited for me and proceeded to pray for physical healing. That’s when things got even crazier.

I’ve always been terrified and ashamed to be open about the fact that I have a disease called PCOS. Just a couple months before this trip to Zambia, I started being a little more open about it with a few friends. It has come up a lot on this trip in a lot of ways, and some of my friends here and I have wondered if God wanted to heal me of it while here. This made things very interesting when Sulene was praying for physical healing for me and started using exact words and phrases in her prayer that aligned exactly with words in the diagnosis of the disease. She had no idea that she was saying was awakening a great hope and faith, but as she was praying, my heart asked my Father, “Are you really doing it?”

I let Sulene and Martha go back to base without telling them in that moment how crazy their prayer was hitting more than they realized because I was hesitant to see if the results would meet my hopes. Starting in a matter of hours though, not only did my body physically start to feel better, but I also watched symptoms of PCOS slowly start to disappear. It was very gradual and nothing completely went away. I was still in pain throughout the entire stay, but it definitely improved and I was able to finish my village stay with great joy. (I should mention, the symptoms I saw disappear came back a couple days after my village stay. “Old Brooke” would have lost faith in that moment, but “New Brooke” completely believes that she is still being healed, even when the symptoms are still there. Makes no sense? Well that’s faith, and for once I have a heck of a lot of it.)

After being back at base, I finally did get to share with Martha, Sulene, and the rest of my team the crazy things that God had been up to in me. One of the leaders then asked me to share my experience with the entire FCE Kalungu base as well as the FCE leaders from the other training centers around Southern Africa. I realized when reciting my experience that we may have spent most of every day cracking open ground nuts (peanuts) and I may have swallowed a lot of food that I never hope to again. I may have been referred to as “Muzungu” for four days while the family learned my African partners name and story and I may have been in extreme pain sleeping on hard packed dirt/concrete every night, but I’m so thankful for all of it. This is how the Skolonga family lives. This is how a whole lot of families live. What looked unhealthy was probably the most healthy way I could live in my whole life: getting out of my comfort zone and my way of life and into somebody else’s. I can tell you thankfulness takes on a new meaning when all of a sudden you have a mattress again (and it feels like a freaking cloud from heaven) and a shower and a toilet and clean water and friends who speak your language, etc. etc. etc. I’m also thankful for my experience in the village, because it allowed God to reach a whole new part of me that I think He’s been waiting to get to for a long time.

 

BrookeJeries ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brooke Jeries • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Kalungu Outreach

August 3rd, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

From Thursday the 16th to Friday the 31st of July, EXP went on an outreach trip to the northern province of Zambia. We stayed at an FCE base, basically in the middle of nowhere doing various work in agriculture and then also staying a few nights in the community. We ended the trip with two days of solitude and no as I write this we find ourselves traveling back to Livingstone to finish up our last two weeks here in Zambia. 

Outreach Details

So we stayed with FCE or Foundation for Cross Cultural Education. (If you remember from Luanshya we visited a base their back in June.) They have a main goal of making a highway from South Africa to Jerusalem with bases every days journey to take in guests. The furthest they go is Kalungu, Zambia and if you want more info you can  find them on the web at http://www.fce.org.za They had a Discipleship class and agriculture classes going on during our stay there. So that’s the run down of FCE… I hope that just gives you some background knowledge, I think the most crucial info to understand about them is that they focus mainly in agriculture, community development and education and believe that education on the three will change a community. 

Ok, so little fun facts about my stay:

1) Hot showers

2) Bed with mosquito net provided

3) Only had to do kitchen duty once and all I did was wash dishes.

4) Had lots of food there. 

So I’m just gonna highlight some of the stuff I did very simply for you:

Community House- This house is like a model home that they occupy in the village to show the people that they also can have a garden and do the same positive things that helps a community. When I helped work at the house, my team par took in re-building a garden fence. My job was to take down the old fence, and then rewire the new fence. It was easy work, yet took half the day. It was really relaxing work however.

Isale Farm- So James and Lindie live at the farm and happened to be my favorite people that I met on this outreach. James runs the farm, which houses mainly livestock. It has chickens, goats, and cattle. Our first day there we just toured around the farm and saw how it worked. They have chickens, which they harvest their manure which they feed to the cows, and also harvest eggs. The cows are their main stock which are breed to be slaughtered. The goats will soon be used for dairy items but now are just for meat. Which I found out that you have to sneak up on a goat to kill it or the adrenaline will make the meat tough. Also during our visit it just happened to be yellow maize time. The farm gives out contracts to the community to grow yellow maize for chicken feed at the farm. So our second day there, we helped check the bags to make sure they were just yellow maize and not white and yellow mixed. We then Sewed the 100lb bags shut and the stacked them in the shed. Which entail tossing the bags up onto a mountain of more bags. That was men’s work and we woke up sore the next morning. The third trip to the farm was a fun day. We hiked out to a secluded river where we climbed on two horizontal ropes like = over the river. If that makes sense. One on top of the other. When our team was on the other side we received a challenge. With John’s back broken and some of us mute and others blind with a few healthy we had to cross the ropes to the other side without getting wet. Left with two hatchets and a rope we were stunned. After 20 minutes of scouring around and what seemed like chaos between us Brook finally exclaimed “Can I just pray for John and heal him?” James just stood there and smiled and then we all went around and healed all the lame people in our group. That challenge was really interesting and showed that maybe you should just pray first in situations. Anyways, a funny side story to mix things up I cut a notch in a stick and ventured to “zip line” across the river. So I started off and as I was half way I was thinking “wow, this is working great” and then SNAP, the stick broke and I fell into the river. It was very comical. After that we had a relaxing time, swinging on ropes over the river and eating a delicious South African lunch. This was a fun day and was nice and relaxing. So the farm always provided a good time whether it was work or play.  

Kids Ministry- Monday and Tuesday for an hour we did activities with the local kids. This was fun and went by pretty fast. I helped out with games one day and then the story on another day. 

Village Visit- So our group went out in twos into the village to stay three nights at local persons houses. We all had varied experiences during our time, but as for me, personally it was sub par. So me and Tufadzwa (Ronald) went out to Frank Mumba’s house. We got there and found a TV with cable and a car, treated to sodas and a great meal. What luck! We really were blessed in this aspect and he and his wife were great hosts. So we arrived on Friday night. So then Saturday we went to church. 9am-5:30pm all day. It was long yet the day went by fast and was interesting. Then Sunday was chill and we just walked around the village and hung out. So the reason why it was sub par was mainly cause of me feeling sick and feeling as if Frank didn’t like Americans that much. There were many passive attempts about America and how were so great, but more like attempts to point out the flaws in America. But, in all it was an awesome experience and I am very thankful for my EXP mates. 

Solitude- Two days of straight silence. No food no water. Tied to a chair in a dark room.     Just kidding, so the last two days of the outreach were spent in solitude. FCE has a big base with many trails and places to get away, so apart from lunch and up until dinner we would spend the whole day in solitude. This was very cool, and is a thing that I would like to get better at. My mind was prone to wander but the main focus was to spend time with the lord. I was able to hear from him a bit and just spend time reading the bible. After two and a half months of people a couple days to myself was welcome. 

This trip was fun but I am stoked to get back to Livingstone and then eventually back home. Into the final stretch I go with one program left on our slate. 

michael_ennis ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ennis • 2015 International Immersion Intern

Internship Update: Weeks Nine & Ten

August 1st, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

Yes: I’m aware there was no update for weeks 7 & 8 and no: it doesn’t bother me. 

 
“Also, if you read this, just know, these more than likely won’t be coming every week.” In fairness, I had that disclaimer in the first post.
 
Weeks 9 & 10 were spent in Kalungu Village (Isoka) at the FCE base. When we were in Luanshya for outreach (week 3) we visited the FCE base there, and now we’re even further from home.
We left for Isoka on Thursday, July 16, at 6:15 pm. We arrived at the base Saturday, June 18, at 2:45 am. Yes, that’s 32.5 hours of travel. There were many factors that played into this longer-than-expected trip, but the journey was well worth it. (We even had showers. Like showers. Which were even sometimes warm.)
Also – I had the smallest bananas and largest orange of my life on this roadtrip:
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HIGHLIGHTS:
1. The FCE team. Hands-down the biggest highlight of these two weeks. Immediately they welcomed us into their lives; we became fast friends, and learned from each other every day. Definitely hard to leave these guys, as they quickly became like family. Never a dull moment: conversations filled with laughter, teasing, and joy.

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2. Being pushed out of our elements. For example, gardening included being elbow deep in cow manure. Literally. For one weekend, bathrooms included dozens upon dozens of cockroaches. Also, netball: it was more challenging that I originally thought. And I quickly learned that I stink at hand-washing jeans … thankfully Limpo is a patient teacher. 
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3. Kids Ministry. Love the universal sound of giggles even in languages I don’t know. Running coloring time one week to songs the next, the time with kids was priceless.
 
4. Creating Classroom Materials. Helped in the process of making materials for preschool classrooms – so fun to get to do something teacher-y. And Lillian and I are pretty much pros when it comes to tape-laminating, if I do say so myself.
 
5. A weekend in the village. Here’s the weekend of cockroaches in bathrooms… But God showed me His faithfulness in the little things through this experience: I enjoyed every moment (even the capentas and floor-shining). Plus, the family was just exceptional.
 
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Overall, these two weeks have been incredible. I hated to see them come to an end, as that meant goodbyes (yes dad, I know goodbyes aren’t any easier five minutes from now – but they still stink) and it now means two weeks left in Zambia. So many emotions – glad God can handle them all 🙂
A positive to the goodbyes – I’m now back to being able to get some gelato whenever – thanks, Livingstone. 🙂
lauragratopp ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gratopp • 2015 International Immersion Intern