Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run

October
10,
2014

The last day of the Women of Worth Conference in Zambia was an emotional time for our team and the women in attendance. When we arrived, the women were singing in their native language, Bemba or Nyanja. The beautiful sound of harmonies and melodies resounded in the church. They had been praising God for some time this morning with a local singer and her brother on piano leading them. 

 

Cecelia, the Area Coordinator, was speaking first this morning and her testimony spoke deeply to the women. Many of them raise orphans but mistreat them because they have their own children. They call it the "step-child syndrome" where many make their orphan children their slaves, give them sub-par education, make the sleep in different conditions, treat them horribly comparatively.

She shared about how she raised her siblings after her father died, how she took in 10 other orphans and how it hurt her family financially. She also talked about how giving those orphans an education allowed them to be live on their own and not ask anything of her now. This resonated as so many want that freedom from caring for so many people throughout their whole lives. Throughout her talk there were so many shouting "amen".

They live on so little and yet give so much. Hearing her testimony gave them hope.

Sandy, our team leader, made everyone laugh when she came running in with her workout gear on talking about running the race of life. She shared the same talk she gave at the church service on Sunday - and we even did another skit. No short skirts this time, thankfully. So many women gave their lives to the Lord today at the end of her talk. They wanted to run the same race and know that God was truly there for them. It was a powerful moment watching them come forward and give their lives to this Jesus they heard about.



Our last day was only a half day but the ending was not at ALL what I expected. Reverend Mailas, who had translated most of the conference for us, said that she and all of the women couldn't give us anything in repayment for what we gave them. But each tribe was called forward separately singing songs to us. They gave us gifts - SO many gifts. Woven baskets, jewelry, shirts, wall-hangings, wooden spoons, brooms, and so much more.

And the hugs... EVERY single woman hugged each one of us. "I love you." "I need you." "Thank you." So much appreciation and love from each of them. I was so overwhelmed. We all need to be touched and these women have filled me up more than I've ever been filled before. 

  

  

It's been an incredible week so far, but we were really happy to get back to the hotel at 3pm today. Both Amanda and I crashed and took a 2.5 hour nap. What sweet peace that was. And at dinner, our hotel hosts made us traditional Indian food for dinner (an Indian family owns the hotel we're staying at - The Mahak Hotel). Deliciousness.

The photo below was taken at Dorcas's home - she had us use her restroom while we were putting on the conference. It's a view through a window facing the church. What it shows is the lack of screen or glass - only bars and sheer curtains. These homes have shutters, but nothing else. Simple living, yet cozy.

The rest of our time in Zambia (Friday and Saturday) will be spent doing home visits. Then we're off to South Africa on Sunday morning. It's been a learning experience and a blessing all at the same time. Thanks for allowing me to share the journey.

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