I have my world rocked just about every day here in Zambia. Today was no exception. I met with Pastor Mwale of Chaisa Church of God. What a great man. But, before I get there, I need to share how I got there. I called Pastor Mwale and I said that I would like to meet with him. He said, "How about 10:30am." I said, "Great, I will see you at 10:30am." And that was that. So, it was only 9:45am and I had a few minutes to kill. So, I went to the store and bought a few postcards and wrote some postcards, possibly to some of you even reading this blog. Then at 10:15am, I got in my car, thinking I knew just where to go and drove out to the location which I thought it was in. I realized that I might be lost so I called a team member and I found out that the location of the church was the exact opposite way. After some stressful moments in this foreign compound, I was heading back the other way. On the way back, I noticed the speed limit 65. I thought to myself, "That is good to know. I thought it was 60." I am driving a friends car because I took our dog Zorro in for a bath and haircut. This car is a bit zippier than mine, and I am aware of that so I remind myself to drive slower than normal because I don't want to get a speeding ticket. So, I am thinking, and I think of my friend Ben. He is a former student who has stomach cancer. He is in his mid-twenties with a lovely wife and his reality is a battle with cancer and chemotherapy. It is a very dangerous kind of stomach cancer and very few survive, but thankfully they caught it early, and we are praying for the best... So, I am praying for him and wouldn't you know it that, literally about 3 minutes after seeing this posted sign of 65 that this man walks into the street waves me over and gives me a speeding ticket. The bad news about these kinds of speeding tickets is that you don't ever get a warning. You can share your story about your bad day and this and that and cry and plead, but at the end of the day, you still get your ticket. The good news is that it is only 67,000 kwacha which is about 18 dollars and you don't get it on your record. So, I was thinking about that as I drove off, trying to remember what it was that distracted me from my speed and I remembered that indeed it was Ben and my praying for him, which gave me another idea that I would let you know about Ben, and give you his blog and ask you to pray for him as well so as to redeem that $18 dollar sin of speeding.
So, I finally get to Emmasdale Compound... (I wish I could just transport you for a few minutes to see this place, the road up to it, the church and this pastors house...) He met me by the road, walked me to his house, and offered me a water and a Sprite. We talked about this Sunday. He asked me to preach this Sunday which I am going to do. The church service goes from 10:00 to 12:30 pm. At 2:00-4:00 pm, they are having a service for 500 orphans. October 7 is orphan Sunday, and one of my team members is going to speak to these orphans. But, I will be a part of that afternoon time with the orphans as well. He wants my family to come to the church, and then stay for lunch and then go to the orphan Sunday service after that. I just thought to myself, "Hmmmm..." So, my wife is mulling over the options right now... It is over 90 degrees every day and this church is really, really hot. And then we talked about a conference we are going to do the last week of October. A pastors conference on Romans 12. He showed me last year's flyer for the conference that I did... A year ago almost to the day I did a conference at the same church. It was really cool to see God's faithfulness bringing me back again, and I look forward to speaking at the conference and meeting these pastors and church leaders again. The last thing we talked about was orphans. I asked him if he had a community school and they had one which started about three years ago. And then I asked about an orphanage. He didn't have an orphange but he showed special care the, get this, 110 orphans, that lived in his compound with relatives or other people. They take a special offering once a month especially to give to these orphans food, clothes or other necessities. I asked him how we can help these orphans and he said that sponsorships are really helpful. He then shared this story: He has 8 kids of his own that live in his what, 200 square foot house. He has adopted 3 other orphans from the area to come and live with their family. They sleep here, and pointed to the floor. One of the orphans, Clement, (I met him... What a cool guy, great smile and fun personality) was sponsored until he turned 18. This was a big help, but 18, 20, 25 he said didn't matter. Right then one of his sons walked in and he pointed up to him and said, "He is 24, finished school..." And I finished the sentence, "But he can't find a job, right?" He nodded his head and said, "Exactly." He shared how he has to support these kids. I asked if the church supports him and he said, "No, I sell/deliver buffens" (I didn't really understand what he meant, and he showed me). They are these huge tubs, huge, and he ties them on his bike and he rides about 2-3 hours to deliver one. When I called him in the morning, he just delivered one that was right by my house, the same house I had just driven from. And so, I am humbled. This pastor provides for 11 kids and a wife, delivering bins and pastoring a church when he is not doing that. Anyway, I loved our conversation about orphans and I prayed afterwards hoping that somehow we could partner with his church to find sponsors for these orphans. Maybe like what World Vision does, but more personal, with pictures, videos, letters and what not, helping ease the load of those gracious families, like Pastor Mwale's, who demonstrate true religion by loving these orphans and giving them a shot at life. I left that morning with my head spinning, humbled and inspired.
P.S. This is Stephanie writing now. Sometimes I come through and edit Steve's blogs, correct spelling and grammatical errors and stuff like that. Not all the time though, so don't blame me if there is an error. :) Anyway, this evening, we were driving back to the vet to pick up Zorro and our new little kitty (in the zippy little truck) and I said to Steve, "I think you're driving too fast." He said, "oh, yeah" and two seconds later he got pulled over for the second time in one day. This time, however, the officer showed him some mercy and he didn't receive another ticket. I think it is a good thing that our car isn't quite so zippy.