Amazingly Chaotic and Joyfully Exhausting

Amazingly chaotic and joyfully exhausting is the only way to explain today and that doesn’t even do it justice!!

Today was our last day of VBS in Chipata Compound. We decided when the team from Prescott got here to do an extra day of VBS on Saturday. We had never done any ministry like that on Saturday but were up for the challenge.

Throughout the week we have had roughly 100 or so children. We figured we would have more today but didn’t know how many; we ended up with 200-300 probably closer to 300!!

The lesson today was about hoping for Jesus return. We were able to tell over 200 kiddos about Jesus and we were able to give them all a meal to fill their bellies!!! There were so many children that they had to go out to purchase more food to prepare for them all which meant trying to stall for a while longer.

Trying to keep 200-300 kids entertained and contained while waiting for the food to finish is not an easy task. We ended up having to split up our last group to do their crafts and Jenna and I took about 30 of the younger ones to a separate room to work on their craft. Most of them don’t speak English so we have been having the teachers and others from the church help translate but we ran out of people to translate so Jenna and I-with our limited Bemba knowledge- successfully completed the craft with them! But we still had to keep them entertained until the food was done. At one point I had a baby boy tied on my back, a dozen children holding my hands, another 20 vying for my attention, and I could hear about 150 children in the next rooms singing to their Lord and Savior at the top of their lungs. 

In the midst of all this chaos I was in complete and utter AWE of what God was doing here in Zambia. I’m amazed at how many littles we got to speak the truth about Jesus into. I’m amazed that God can use little old me to serve Him here in Zambia. But most of all I’m so incredibly thankful that God placed Zambia on my heart and has continued to keep His promise to use me here!!! Nototella Yesu!!! (Bemba for Thank you Jesus!!!)

Prayer Requests:
– Jenna and I both have a cold/sinus thing that is rather annoying so pray for quick healing
– Pray that the seeds we plated in children’s lives today will be watered even after we leave and will eventually grow into a relationship with Jesus.
– Pray for our last week of ministry next week that we will find our strength in Jesus and that we will continue to do His will!!!

In Him,
Shelbyrae

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“You are my momma!!”

“You are my momma! You are everyone’s momma!!” In that moment my heart felt like it would explode! But let me back up a bit…

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom. I have always wanted a lot of children running around and for a long while I wanted them to all be my biological children. But in the last couple years God has placed adoption heavy on my heart. I thought that I would have a couple biological children but then I would have a few more adopted children! I was so excited! And then I went to Africa….

During my first trip to Zambia in 2014 I fell in love with the country and the people that live here. But I was heartbroken by the sheer amount of orphaned and vulnerable children everywhere and I knew right away that that was why God had wanted me to be a mommy. He wanted me to be a mommy to lost and broken children in Zambia.

Fast forward about a year to my second trip in 2015. I remember this day like it was yesterday, I was sitting outside behind the school building in Chipata (the village where the feeding center is) after a particularly rough morning and Victoria came over and started talking to me. (Victoria is the manager for GlobalFingerprints in Zambia and has a huge heart for the kids here.) She asked me about school and what I wanted to do after I was done with high school. I told her nursing with hopes to use it in missions in the future. After I had told her my plans she looked at me and said, “Jim and I have been talking and we were wondering if you would like to be the Coordinator for GlobalFingerprints in Zambia?” (Jim has been overseeing GlobalFingerprints in Zambia and was very instrumental in starting up the program some years ago.) I must have had a strange look on my face because she told me to take it home and think and pray about it and see what God was saying.

I went back to America a couple weeks later and proceeded to tell my parents about the offer. At first they were a bit hesitant. They had reason behind their hesitation but did agree to be praying for it. After a bit of convincing on my part and I’m sure a whole lot of convincing on God’s part they decided to let me go for it. (Thank you mom and dad you guys are the best

This brings me back to the quote I started with: It was my sweet Given who said this to me on one of our days at the orphanage last week. My heart skipped a beat! This is what I was waiting for! It seems that all at once I became a momma to all of the crazy, rambunctious, loud, sweet, loving, and adorable children at the orphanage! And it felt as though my heart could not be any happier! But God was not done with me yet.

Yesterday on our way to church I was praying and my mind settled into praying for our week at Chipata. And it hit me-the kiddos at Chipata are mine too. And my heart felt so full. I was so excited. But then I started thinking…. God has placed over 120 of His precious children in my hands. 120 children who need to be sponsored so they can go to school and get an education. 120 children who need to be sponsored so they have enough food to fill their bellies. 120 children who need to know they are loved by me and the Mwansa’s but most importantly that they are loved by their heavenly Father. And that terrified me.

I was so terrified. Why had God placed 120 children in my hands. I am only 18…. An intense feeling of inadequacy overcame my whole body. I couldn’t think straight. I could hardly utter a word. All I could think was “Why me Jesus? Why me?”

After a few moments of “Why me??” came a few moments of “Please Jesus help me. I can’t do this alone.” By the time we arrived at church I could feel Him telling me “You are not alone in this. I am here with you! I love these children more than you can even imagine!” The verse that kept coming to mind was Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I can’t remember the last time I had read that verse or had talked about it but God is so good like that.

I love to look back on the short 18 years of my life to see how God has been preparing me to me a momma to 120 orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia. God placed it upon my heart years ago that He would make me a mom but never in a million years would I have guessed that it would be to 120 littles running around in Zambia. God sure does have a sense of humor!!

Thank you Jesus for placing this upon my heart many years ago! Thank you that your promises will always come true. Thank you for never leaving me nor forsaking me in my day to day life. Thank you Jesus.

Prayer Requests
-We are spending the next week or so with the 80 or so children at the school in Chipata.
-Please pray for strength to get through the week strong and healthy,
-Wisdom as to what to teach these precious littles
-For Gods love to shine through us onto the kiddos.
-Pray for all the other teams around the world that God is working in them and through them

Velveteen Rabbit

Being in a third world country on a mission trip is not as glamorous as it looks in the pictures. It isn’t always adorable children running around you gently tugging on your skirt. It’s crazy children running in circles screaming, yelling, and laughing as you play with them. It’s hard work. Its’ mentally draining. It’s spiritually demanding. It’s physically exhausting. But it is oh so worth it.

Last night was an adventure to say the least. We had a mishap with some boiling water that resulting in Jenna having a second degree burn on her wrist. I had adrenaline coursing through my body trying to find medicine for her to take, cream for her to put on it, clean water to put on it. By the time we finally went to bed and fell asleep it was probably close to 1:00 and we had to be up at 7 the next morning. That made for a short night but praise Jesus we both slept through the whole night and woke up feeling pretty refreshed considering our past night. But I had a strange comfort knowing that we were doing God’s will and Satan was trying to do everything he could to stop that.

After that 7:00 alarm went off and we groggily rolled out of bed and started getting ready, Barbra came in our room and told us that Edward wanted to have a family devotional this morning before everyone went their separate ways. The devotional itself was just a few minutes long but it was incredibly encouraging.

We arrived at the orphanage around 10 after a various series of stops on the way only to be welcomed by 68 eyes staring at you, 34 mouths yelling hello, and 68 feet running towards you. Best welcoming ever!! Oh how I missed these littles!!!

There was a volunteer from a local university there who was entertaining most of the children while Jenna and I went inside to get our materials out for the day. Beatrice, one of the older girls and one of my little buddies, followed us in and then ran to the girls room. I didn’t think much about it until she came back bearing a hand written letter to me with pictures she had drawn and the absolute sweetest note written inside! I read and  did everything I could do to keep from crying.

We shared our lesson about creation, did our craft with the kids which included play dough and lots of smiling faces. After we had finished that portion of our day we all moved outside and started playing a various assortment of games. I had my sweet baby Deborah with me but this time I wasn’t just holding her, I was able to play with her, tickle her, and see her face light up every time she smiled!!

We were at the orphanage until about 3:00 just playing and hanging out with the children. It doesn’t sound like much but trust me when I tell you that entertaining 34 children all day is exhausting but oh so worth it. By the end of the day I was covered in a layer of dirt, food, playdough, and germs but none of that mattered, all that mattered was the fact that these children of Gods precious little ones who deserve the best in their live and deserve to be loved and I hope that just in today Jenna and I were able to show that to them.

In the book Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis she compared herself to the velveteen rabbit and I can’t agree more with that analogy. On my first trip to Zambia I was all happy and excited to change the world and fix the things in Zambia that needed fixed. But now on my third trip I like to think I have a different mindset. I don’t want to come in and fix everything while here, I want to come in and create relationships with people who can then create change in their lives that then affects the lives of the people around them. I want to teach these children what it means to follow Jesus and disciple them so that when I am not here, they will still know how to read their bible, what certain bible stories are telling them and how to pray. I don’t want to come across to these children or to any of you like I have this all together and that I am perfect. I am the farthest thing from perfect. But God is using me. I do not understand why He picked me but I am listening to Him and obeying His will for my life to the best of my ability. I am no longer the perfect little velveteen rabbit that I was on my first trip, I am worn, used, broken, and torn. But I am loved and I am loving those around me. I would so much rather be torn and broken and be able to show how Jesus is mending me than be the perfect rabbit who is not living in Gods will.

Prayer Requests

  • As I mentioned earlier I was covered in a layer of germs well as if it were clock work I am starting to feel a cold coming- please pray for health and that I can stop this cold from coming.
  • Pray for Jenna’s wrist, she has a pretty nasty and strongly cool looking blister on her wrist-pray for quick healing and for the burn to not become infected.
  • Pray for open hearts and minds of our littles at the orphanage.
  • Pray for the older girls at the orphanage, my heart really went out to them today and I really want to show them that they are loved by me and also by their Heavenly Father.
  • Pray for any distractions that come to mind that they will be pushed out of our minds so we can yet again focus on Jesus and His will for the trip.

Jesus,

I thank you for giving Jenna and I the opportunity to come to Zambia and serve you. I pray that you will open the hearts of our sweet little friends at the orphanage this week. Open their minds to hear what you have to say through us. Keep them close to you Jesus. Let them know that they are loved, cherished, and oh so special!

Fellowship

Fellowship is vital part of your relationship with Jesus Christ. It enables you to share what you are feeling, what God is doing in your life, the trials and tribulations in your life. When you are involved in fellowship it allows you to do life with those people and walk along with them in your relationship with Jesus.

Last night Jenna and I had to opportunity to fellowship with an American missionary doctor and his family. Dr. Day opened up a clinic this past December that caters to people that live in small townships around the clinic. He and his wife graciously welcome us into their home for dinner and fellowship! We were able to hear a little bit about what the missionary life looks like here in Zambia!!

I am so incredibly thankful to have a family here that has such as big heart for the Zambian people as I do. I don’t think I realized how much I was craving someone to talk to about my love for Zambia and the highs and lows of missions!! I walked away so encouraged and excited to continue what Jenna and I are doing here! It is such an encouragement to meet and interact with other people who want to share Jesus with those around them just as bad as you do!! I am so incredibly excited to hopefully continue this friendship with the Day family!!

Jesus,

I thank you so much for bringing this family into my life exactly when we needed them! I pray for protection against spiritual warfare as this family is right in the midst of your will! I pray that you will use them to advance your kingdom here in Zambia! Thank you again Jesus!!

Prayer Requests

  • For the Day family to continue to listen to you and your will for their lives
  • Strength for both Jenna and I (I am feeling a little under the weather)
  • Encouragement from Jesus and from those around us (I am looking at the huge amount of need here in Zambia and am feeling very overwhelmed and ill-equipped for this)
  • On Monday Jenna and I will start going through our lessons for the children at the Orphanage- We are doing 5 lessons at the orphanage next week as well as various GlobalFingerprints stuff that I need to do with Victoria so our week will be very packed!
  • Praise for this past week- we have had a few down days so we can get acclimated to the 9 hour time change. We have also been able to prepare our lessons well which has been a major blessing!

 

In Him,

Shelbyrae