So far, this experience in Zambia has been a wild ride. Looking back to four weeks ago, when I was preparing to go, I would say that I’m a completely different person now than I was, and I know that I’m still going to change dramatically before this 12 weeks is over. I’m not sure what I expected this to be. I know I expected there to be music because that’s most of what attracted my attention, and I knew there would be some Jesus stuff, but I didn’t expect what I’ve been getting. My entire life has been flipped upside down in the past four weeks.
First, I have gained a wonderful family in people that I never would have met or had anything to do with before this trip. The camaraderie and vulnerability and love that is shown in this group of people I’ve been living in community with has been incredible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been challenging. I’ve never had to live with this many people before, and I’ve barely had one roommate, but now I have five roommates and ten other house members. Alone time is hard to come by for someone that enjoys the still of the day and the quiet times in the morning. But on the other hand of things, never have I found so much love and grace. Everywhere I turn, my brothers and sisters are there, waiting to say good morning and ask me how I’m doing and keep me accountable when there are things that need improving.
Secondly, and definitely more importantly, I have seen God in ways I never knew he actually could show up in. I mean, I had always heard stories about the ways he reveals himself, but I had never really experienced it for myself as a conscious adult. But since we’ve been here, he’s spoken to me in big ways and in little ways. Both ways are equally important. As we see in Elijah’s story, God can come in fire and God can come in the quietest of whispers. But we have to listen and recognize Him. I have been continuously struggling and learning how to recognize His voice. Something He keeps reminding me of is that all He wants is to be with me. He wants a relationship with me and He wants me to voluntarily enter into His presence. All He wants is for me to talk to him and tell him what’s in my heart and on my mind, and when I do, that’s when He speaks. He’s been saying some pretty incredible stuff. He’s been flipping my heart around recently. For Him, for Zambia, and for His heart for mission. I’m beyond excited to see what He has in store for me and my new family in the coming weeks, and I know it’s going to be incredible.
Some of my favorite things here besides these things are the food, worship and outreach. What I appreciate about the main staple food, nshima, is that I can actually eat it. Since I can’t have wheat, eating at home is sometimes hard, but nshima is maize which is perfect for my diet and so delicious. Paired with rape and sauce or soup, it’s pretty much the ultimate comfort when dinner comes around. The worship is just incredible. It happens every single day, and just being able to sit in the presence of the Father and lift my voice to him is pretty much my favorite thing. Even if it’s a local song in a different language, I know I’m worshiping the Creator of the universe with the people I love and I feel it just as deeply. Outreach is something that’s a little bit newer to us because we’ve only done it a couple times since we’ve been back in Livingstone, but it has touched my heart. Before going out into our neighborhood to find a house to visit, I was actually terrified. I didn’t know how it was a possibility that a complete stranger would welcome us into their home and let us stay there for an hour or so. That was really just me not trusting the Spirit, but as He always does, He showed up and we have been able to start building relationships with a family in our surrounding neighborhood. The hospitality and peace that has been shown to my group has been humbling and filling. Never did I think I could receive so much joy from praying for someone I just met a week ago. But I love it and I look forward to going back each week.
I would absolutely never give up the time I’ve spent here. It’s been so worth the time and money and effort. Please please please, pray about God’s will for you in this, and consider being participating in this internship! It just may change your life.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah McCarty • 2016 International Immersion Intern