"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WELL, I'M BACK (in more ways than one)

What can I tell you about my return to Zambia?  It was an amazing trip.  It was a healing trip.  And it was a hard trip.  God had a lot planned for this trip and likewise, so did satan.  The spiritual war that took place during this trip was intense.  And it was not directed at any one person but at each and every one of us and our families back in the states.  There were 2 separate groups on this trip.  One was made up of young adults 17-32 and most were single (we were with them the last portion of the trip).  My group consisted of a Detroit cop, who also was on SWAT. There was a guy who was retired prison official; he worked with the criminally insane.  There was one female, an older gal with a young heart and who is a massage therapist.  Then there was me.  I was referred to as the redneck from Minnesota that had more guns then all the other guys combined.   Our team was unique.  The director of Africa’s Child was there, he has been in law enforcement and been a pastor and his sister (who lives there and oversees the guest house, cooks for the teams and does a lot of other things).  She is a gal that has the most infectious laugh.  The thing that stood out about these two is they love the Zambian people and the Zambians love them.  They have worked very hard to build relationships with the people not based on giving them stuff but on investing themselves in their lives.  I have seen NGOs and mission organizations become welfare to the African people just as the same many in this country have become dependent on the gov’t here for welfare, always looking for what you are going to give them next, always wanting more.  God has given a huge vision for Africa’s Child, a vision that only God can accomplish.  What they do right now is what they call medical advocacy.   They have partnered with some orphanages to help them in treating illnesses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, measles, malaria, and whatever else arises.  It is a hard job because the fact is a lot of babies/children die do to the lack of medical services.  They do what they can and sometimes the only thing you can do is love them right into the arms of Jesus.  We spent several afternoons at an orphanage that was run by the Church of Christ.  They had over 70 kids under the age of 4.  One house/building was just babies, another was the toddlers and the 3rd was the special needs.  They were the kids with HIV, TB and other special needs such as downs syndrome and cerebral palsy.  I spent most of my time is this house just loving on these kids.  Some might wonder why?  Thing is, I felt a connection there because I saw myself.  When I was born I had a double cleft palate, I was a special needs baby.  Really no different than these kids except I was born in a country with the medical help I needed. 
In the mornings after we had breakfast we would head over to guest house for morning devotions and then head out to one of the compounds.  They are just different areas of town.  The way to best describe the one we went to a couple of times is to say it is comparable to a slum/ghetto in the states; it is the poor of the poor in town.  The difference is I always felt safe; the people were friendly and the people were filled with joy.  We would just walk around and play with the kids and visit with the adults and pray.  I really enjoyed it, walking through there.  We went through that same compound at night and it becomes something else.  It is when the demons come out to play.   The place becomes very dark and evil.   We went in to see and pray for the women caught in prostitution, women who are only trying to feed their children.  It was difficult to see some of the children of these women just sitting outside their homes/room while mom was inside with someone.  Before you judge these women let me ask you: how far would you go to feed your children, get them medicine when they are sick?  Would you sell yourself into slavery to save the life of your child?  Thing is they don’t realize that when you sell yourself to satan he takes your children as well. 
In the evenings after supper we would debrief about the day.  What we saw, felt, what perceptions that we held previously that turned out not to be true.  The debriefing time was for everyone to process together and share what they felt God was doing.  The morning devos and the nightly debriefing were always a time where there was an equal mixture of laughter and tears.  God did some amazing things during these times together of being completely open and honest with each other and with HIM.  It didn’t take long to see that God had put this group together and satan was going to do whatever he could to disrupt it.  God wanted me on this trip for many different reasons.  The biggest one for me was HE was going to make my heart whole and new again. I just had to give up running and let HIM. 

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