New Opportunities

The country of Zambia is home to some of the most important people in my life. It is home to my second family,img_0870

over 100 children that I get to call my own,

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home to a precious little girl who makes my heart skip a beat.img_0062

It is a country that completely stole my heart and hasn’t let go.

I knew after my first trip to Zambia in 2014 that I would go back and see everyone again. I knew that I couldn’t live my life the same way because there were people that I knew personally who were suffering and hurting and that I could do something about that. So, I went back the summer of 2015 and left even more of my heart there.

After that trip, the opportunity to become the Zambia Site Coordinator for GlobalFingerprints arose. GlobalFingerprints is the sponsorship program through the Evangelical Free Church of America. After much prayer and consideration, I felt that this was how God was going to use me to make an impact on the people of Zambia while still being able to finish high school and now college.

As part of my position I need to raise support for biannual trips to Zambia, travel within the states to raise awareness and support for the ministry and for the children, as well as any extra funds needed for the program. As an estimate, I am going to need around $15,000 per year. Would you please consider partnering with me on this journey through prayer first and foremost? I would not be able to do what I do without the constant support through prayer from you all!! Would you also consider partnering with me financially either through a one-time donation or through a monthly donation? Again, it is people like you all who make this all possible. I will include ways to give below.

If you have any questions about the ministry I will be doing through this position or if you are interested in the possibility of going to Zambia on this trip or a future trip please feel free to leave a comment, message me, or email me at shelbyrae.myers@efca.org

If you feel led to give there are a few ways you can do so: The EFCA has a secure online giving website that you can access here. In order for your gift to go directly to me, in the Other box you will need to include my name and account number- Shelbyrae Myers-2152. You can also choose to make your gift a reoccurring monthly gift by typing “Process this gift monthly” in the comment section.

If you would like to mail a check in, make sure to include my name and account number, Shelbyrae Myers 2152- and you can send it to

EFCA Donor Services

901 E78th St

Minneapolis, MN 55.

Again, thank you all so much for your constant support and prayer. I couldn’t do this without all of you!

Shelbyrae

 

What I’ve Learned

I have sat down about a dozen time since getting back from Zambia to try and share my thoughts on what I am feeling and what God taught me on this trip but each time I sat down I would find myself staring at a blank screen and my mind would just go black. But my friend Hannah who went on the Trek7 to Costa Rica just posted this blog about her time in Costa Rica and what she learned and it is pretty much exactly what I have been thinking/feeling and trying to convey to you. So instead of trying to sit down and type a new blog I thought would repost hers!!!

It feels like yesterday I was sitting in my bed at home the night before I left for training in MN. Now, 7 weeks later I’m once again sitting in my bed at home, except for this time, I’m not waking up to go on an adventure for a few weeks, I’m waking up […]

via Update 8: What I’ve learned. — Trek7

My Ocean

The song Oceans by Hillsong United is one of those songs that many people are familiar with. When this song first came out I had claimed it as one of my favorite songs but I don’t think I ever really understood what it was saying until a couple weeks ago.

Jenna and I had been at  the Chipata Feeding Center for about a week teaching, playing, and loving on the children. One of the things I had hoped to accomplish while on this trip was to open up the lines of communication between sponsors and children but also the children’s families. I had been talking with Victoria, the onsite GlobalFingerprints manager in Zambia, and Elizabeth, the school teacher at the feeding center, about the possibility of meeting some of the parents of the children who were in GlobalFingerprints. We really wanted to bridge the gaps in communication and show them that we are here working alongside them to help them give their children the best. But most of all we wanted to show them that God is with them and that He loves their children more than they can even begin to fathom.

We planned to meet with the parents Friday morning at 10. Thursday night I was siting on my chair in our house and started to feel this huge sense of inadequacy overcome my whole body. I kept imagining all the things that could go wrong and really started to freak out. I went to bed fervently praying that God would use me in some way to impact these parents lives. That next morning I woke up with the same sense of inadequacy and started to get really nervous about speaking to these parents. I am only 18 and I wasn’t exactly sure how to portray to them that I wasn’t some young American girl who wanted to come in and save them and their children but that I was someone who wanted to show them that Jesus is the one who can save them.I wanted to show them how much I love their children with hopes that showing them a tangible love they would be able to know God’s love. That is a pretty daunting task to undertake but especially for someone who is still trying to understand the vastness of God’s love for me and for others.

As Friday morning rolled around Jenna and I hopped in the back in the the ministry bus for our ride into town. I was listening to music on the way to the Feeding Center and one of the first songs to come on was Oceans. I’ve heard this song time and time again but that morning I really heard the lyrics.

The first line is “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown my feet may fail…. I am yours and you are mine.” In that moment I realized that this was an ocean that God was calling me out upon. He was calling me to walk out on the water, keep my eyes on Him, and trust that He will keep me afloat. I had to trust that Jesus was going to give me the words to speak to these parents. Words that were not mine but that were His. He has put me in this position to be a mama to all of these children and to walk alongside these parents for a reason. I do not understand that reason at all but I am trusting Him and walking out on the ocean keeping my eyes focused on Him.

As much as I would love to say that I am constantly keeping my eyes and my focus on Jesus it doesn’t always go that way… I am much like Peter in Matthew 14:22-33 (paraphrased) The disciples were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and they saw Jesus walking on water towards them. They saw Him and were terrified thinking it was a ghost. Jesus told do not be afraid because it was Him. Peter responded and said if it is truly you have me walk out on the water to you. Jesus told him to come. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water towards Jesus. But he took His eyes off Jesus and started looking around at the water and the wind and was afraid so he began to sink. Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter and said you have little faith, why do you doubt me??

I am Peter. I want more than anything to walk out on the water and trust Jesus with all I have. And there are times where I am so focused on Jesus that I am walking on the water but then I get distracted and I become busy and take my focus off of Him and I start to sink. But I am so grateful that God always always always catches me when I fall. He has called me out on the ocean to trust that He has a bigger plan to use me and I am excitedly jumping out on the water to follow Him but I can guarantee that I will fail time and time again and He will have to catch me.

Jesus,

Thank you so much for catching me when I fall. Thank you for always pulling me back out on the waters. Thank you for loving me the way you do and for using me the way you do Jesus! I pray for everyone reading this that they will set their focus on you Jesus and that they will trust you enough to walk out on the water towards you.

Prayer Requests:

-Adjustment back to the US both physically with jet lag and also with culture shock

– Pray for a good, productive time during debrief and that we will be able to stay awake for it all

-I left a major part of my heart in Africa with all my babies and as excited as I am to see my family and friends and start a new journey at college in just a few short weeks my heart aches thinking about how many thousands of miles are between me and all my littles. So pray that I will be able to use that in a way that will raise awareness for the needs in Zambia.

 

Thank you all so incredibly much for your constant support, prayers, and encouraging words. I would not be able to do this without you all!!

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

“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