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Published on October 29, 2018 by Jodi Stahl

But Barnabas took him [Paul] and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:27

When our Ransom team was in Zambia, we were blessed with the chance to spend time with Kisco, one of Beauty’s sons. If you’ve read Beauty’s story, you know that this family is close to the Poetice family’s heart.

Kisco’s smile is a welcome sight on base each day when he arrived. With a polite demeanor, he greeted our Immersion team with the traditional Zambian handshake each day. As is the case with most of the boys here, Kisco wears his joy on his sleeve. Our walks to Mwapona are interrupted by his dance moves; he’s quiet, but when he laughs, his smile lights up the room. Kisco is 16, and his eyes have depth and strength that could only come from seeing and knowing the joy of the Lord.

When I sat down with Kisco to hear his story, I was reminded of a teaching I had heard on Joseph (called Barnabas, “son of encouragement”) in Acts. He only shows up a few times in the New Testament, but I believe that Barnabas was an integral part of the Church movement. In chapter 4, Barnabas was the one who, when the Church was just beginning, sold his field and brought the money to lay at the apostle’s feet. He shows up again in chapter 9, when Saul (now Paul!) attempted to join the disciples. They were leary of this man who had once persecuted the church. Barnabas declared to the disciples that Paul had seen the Lord on the road to Damascus and had preached boldly. Barnabas believed that Paul was a changed man, and so their missionary journey together began.

The word ‘encourage’ came up many times in my short chat with Kisco. He’s been coming to Poetice every week since the May leadership camp, and every day during the holiday school break. He tells me that he is encouraged at Poetice, that his friends here have been a good influence in his life. Kisco speaks boldly about the power of the Word of God, how it encourages him to live right. When I asked about his family, he tells me that his mom Beauty encouraged all of her children to connect with Poetice. I spoke with him about being a Poetice youth volunteer, and he tells me he encourages the teens to know God.

Kisco has seen more heartbreak and pain than any 16-year-old should. But he has also seen how Jesus can change lives. Kisco’s life is on a path that will change his family, his friends, the communities in Choma, and the nation of Zambia. He will preach boldly that he has seen the Lord, and that his life is changed. Kisco’s journey is just beginning, and he will change the world.

Jodi Stahl was a member of the 2018 Ransom Church Immersion Team.