As 50 people spread throughout the continental United States learned upon receiving my support letters today, I am planning a return to Kazembe, Zambia in the summer of 2013. This time, I will be spending three months in that incredible place. As I’ve mentioned before, Zambia is where the Kazembe Orphanage (home of Elias and Jessie) is located.
The support letters I sent out this weekend went through many revisions. My father informed me that my first draft was a bit too…dramatic and had me revise it several times before it was finally professional enough to send to his coworkers at the firm. He was totally right, of course. In any case, I thought I’d share it with you, as this is probably a more appropriate setting.
“Greetings! I hope this letter finds you well. As we begin the holiday season, I wanted to let you know about my plans to return to Africa next summer. As you may remember, I traveled to Kazembe, Zambia last summer. I spent a month in this amazing place, learning more about God, the world, and myself than I ever thought possible, and I feel led to return to the Kazembe Orphanage again. This time I plan to stay even longer.
There will be plenty of work to be done in Kazembe when I return. As before, a great deal of my time will be spent doing school with the children. The older children will all be around 6-7 years old and will be advancing in their education quickly. Each child has a different rate and method of learning. Sweet Queenie is a tactile learner, whilst Johnny is a whiz at comprehension and learns by asking questions constantly, and Elias needs personal interaction to help him focus and learn. There will also be a younger group of children who will be just beginning to learn to read. Among this group is precious Jennifer, who was found as an infant by Mr. Morrow lying on the floor of a hut next to her dying mother while relatives looked on helplessly. Precocious Sandra, whose mother is homicidally insane and tried to kill her children on several occasions, is in this group as well.
I hope to spend much of my time doing school with the children, but work at the orphanage also includes caring for the kids in other ways as well. Work around the orphanage includes medical care, cooking, cleaning, organizing, storage, and assisting the missionary family in whatever way possible. We are also hoping to do some missionary outreach to the surrounding village.
Zambia is a nation accustomed to starvation, disease, and death. It is a country in suffering and in pain, and yet it is still a country that glows with beauty and strength. I truly believe that God is doing great things all over Zambia, but particularly at the Kazembe Orphanage. I covet the opportunity to be used again in this place that seeks to honor God.”
That was just my second draft. I don’t remember what the first one looked like, but I imagine it was even more theatrical. Dramatic, I know, but still true, and poignant to me, at least.
You may now be asking what the point of this post is. Don’t worry, I have one. I am hoping to encourage you to help me help Kazembe. My fundraising efforts have officially begun. I need around $3,500, which covers travel and living expenses for the entire summer. It will take many hours at the Italian restaurant to reach this goal, so I need your help. If you want to help, please feel free to send a tax-deductible check made out to Tomball Bible Church. As I don’t feel comfortable putting my address on this blog, you can email me at email@example.com for my address.
I also need your prayers. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that God moves through our prayers. If it’s not too much to ask, feel free to start praying – now, and don’t stop, ever. Pray for me; for the other volunteers; for the kids; for the orphanage; for the Morrow family; for Zambia; for Africa. There is no such thing as too much prayer.
If you have any questions, or just want to hear more about Kazembe, again, please email me at the above address. I would be happy to discuss this in further detail. I will also be posting updates on this handy-dandy blog as the year progresses and we get closer and closer to the departure date (May 20th, 2012). Assuming the Internet holds out at the orphanage, unlike last year, I will also be able to update everyone as to what we’re doing in Kazembe. At the very least, I will take lots and lots of video to share with you all when I get back.
Here’s the first of the updates: today I received my plane ticket! I will be flying Lufthansa from Houston to Frankfurt, meeting up with two other volunteers in Frankfurt, then heading on to Johannesburg and then Lusaka before the very, very long bus ride to the village. This is the first step on what is going to be an amazing journey.
I also wanted to include a few clips that offer a glimpse at life in the orphanage. (Hopefully, you can expect to see more clips from Kazembe as I finish editing last year’s footage.) Prepare to smile.
Ernest is HIV positive. This is the prayer I pray for him.
Hope you enjoyed that. I am so very excited that you are on this journey with me.
It is going to be awesome.