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!!