A Team of Fearless Followers recently returned from a mission trip to Zambia. During the two week trip they spent time with our partners Jubilee Center. Below are some of their stories and pictures from the trip.
Jubilee Centre (JC) practices Integral Mission: The Church living out its faith in Jesus in every aspect of life. It’s recognizing that people are more than their hunger or despair. They are complex and precious; made in God’s image. JC equips and empowers church leaders in their network of 107 churches.
Faith Tabernacle in Lusaka (a church in JC’s network that we visited) is a shining example of integral mission: This church has a large garden planted on the grounds using “Gardening God’s way” (organic gardening). Pastor Ngoma invites under resourced neighbors to come and learn gardening techniques and receive vegetables. Our own Wendy Cheek plans to assist the church by providing vegetable seeds and teach “vegetable drying methods”. The local AIDS clinic sends people to the church for HIV/AIDs testing. These people are invited to join the church. Stigmas are being abolished and they are learning how to care for themselves. Pastor’s wife is chairperson for the Awana program (Children’s Ministry) for the Country. She invites orphaned and exceptionally vulnerable children from neighboring George Community to join their Awana program. These children are also invited to be part of their “feeding program”. These children receive 1 meal per day, 5 days a week.
Ridge Point is walking alongside Pastor Lawrence & Martha Temfwe as they plant Renewal Church:
- Focus of Renewal Church
- Biblical literacy,
- Outreach: (sharing the gospel) held event on Sat, May 29 with Campus Crusade, reached out to 100 people living in near the church. One attended church the following Sunday
- Sharing testimony
- Demonstrating the gospel
- Providing holistic care for neighbors who are under resourced
- Target – Young Professionals
Team worshiped with Renewal Church on Sunday, May 24. They now have 40+ adult members
- Children’s message: God calms the storms
- Joy filled praise & worship
- Message: Current theme is “Overcoming poverty”
- Psalm 23: If you want to hammer the poverty mindset.
- Example: the Israelites wondered the wilderness for 40 years. God knew that if He gave them the Promised Land in ie 11 days, they would not have shifted their minds from the period of their lives while in slavery.
The second weekend of our trip, Ridge Point invited key staff from Renewal Church to worship with Mavuno Church Lusaka. They now have 20+ adult members. We reflected on how similar the worship service is at Ridge Point and Mavuno Lusaka
Pastor James Muchai and his wife Dorcus are planting. They welcomed us with open arms. We smiled as we listened to summaries from both Pastor Lawrence & Pastor James. Both pastors are visionary with a passion for people to know and love Jesus
- Focus of Mavuno Church
- Discipleship – Life Groups
- Biblical literacy,
- Outreach: (sharing the gospel) hosted a concert earlier this year as a bridge event. 1000 people came. 1 of these folks now attends regularly
- Sharing testimonies
- Target – Young Professionals
- Discipleship – Life Groups
Fearless Followers sponsor 107 children with Jubilee Centre. 25 of these precious, vulnerable children were sponsored through this year’s Reach and Restore Campaign.
These children are exceptionally vulnerable & attend a church in Jubilee Centre’s network. The kids must be in school and are challenged to work hard on their studies. To learn more about Zambia Child Sponsorship, join us Friday, May 19, 2017, 10 am in the Commons. Martha plans to be here.
Martha Temfwe, Jubilee Centre’s Child Sponsorship Coordinator, is challenging families receiving funds to become self-sustaining with-in 5 years of their child being sponsored. Jubilee Centre has initiated a savings and lending program to help them start a small business.
Mary Jo was invited to lead a day long interactive financial training with Church Sponsorship Committee Members on saving, savings goals, tithing, & planning a small business in Ndola and a half day with Trust Groups working with Vision Fund, a micro-finance group in Lusaka. The teaching was well received. Members of these groups are creative and want to learn. Some of their “take aways” were:
- Pray for wisdom
- If today I have just $1 more than I need, I can save it for future goals/emergencies
- Using discipline in saving/saving strategies
- Needs vs wants: personal and in my neighborhood
- Tithing is giving back to God
Domestic Adoption is just opening-up in Zambia. The norm for years has been that family takes care of family. Caring for a child that is not your “blood” is a new concept.
Wendy Cheek and Heidi Slagh were a gift to many because of their knowledge and experiences.
Several years ago, Ridge Point provided funds to build a small foster care home. After many conversations with Social Welfare, Jubilee Centre was able to invite 2 girls who are double orphans and have been struggling, to live at the home. Pastor Nickson and Josephine Phiri are the guardians (caregivers). Wendy & Heidi were able to spend time with both the girls and their guardians; listening, teaching and advocating. I was impressed with Wendy & Heidi’s careful ways of asking questions and listening to be able to advocate in ways that were culturally relevant.
Wendy & Heidi also spent time with the guardians from 2 transient homes in Ndola (a rural area in northern Zambia with similar experiences.
The Adoption Society Transient Home
Currently, 8 children live here. The goal is for members from the local church adopt these children. Wendy & Heidi spent time with the children and their guardians. Nissi, a SW employed by Jubilee Centre was present as well. What a gift to be able to build relationships and support, equip and empower these guardians.
Eagles Wings is a 2nd Transient Home that has connected with Jubilee Centre. Lexon & His wife Mary started and run this organization. They have started a school for children who live in the community as well as those staying here. As with the Adoption Society, the goal is for the children to be adopted by members from the local church.
Lusaka (Capitol of Zambia – Urban area):
Our team had the privilege of visiting the House of Moses. https://childreneverywhere.org/what-we-do/child-welfare/house-of-moses/ The children who live here are survivors: all of these babies/young children were abandoned by their parents on the street and found by local police or citizens. Jubilee Centre is connected to the House of Moses by Embrace Zambia. An organization in Zambia that is connecting churches with orphans. Rev Everest Kabwe is Coordinator and works directly with House of Moses. Pastor Lawrence is chairman.
Wendy, Heidi & Mary Jo had the privilege of being part of a home assessment for a family who is in the process of adopting 2 children from the House of Moses. This was a great learning experience.
God orchestrated so many connections for the adoption team!
While Wendy & Heidi loved on the children & guardians at the 3 homes in Ndola, Dan & Art worked to paint, repair and fix things that were broken, serving alongside & taking direction from the maintenance men
Dr Dan had the privilege of visiting 2 families in Ndola who are part of Jubilee Centre’s Care and Compassion program and have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDs. Both patients appeared to be in denial of their diagnosis because of local stigmas. Dan noted the good spirits of the Bishop who is still getting around and preaching. The Bishop is HIV+ and has TB in his spine. The woman was having difficulty walking. She may also have metastatic cancer. Neither are seeking treatment as the medical system in Zambia requires payment in advance.
He did wellness checks and did a teaching on good hygiene at both the Adoption Society & Eagles Wings. One child was diagnosed with asthma and another with a heart murmur. While they will not receive treatment, the staff were appreciative to know what the symptoms meant.
Dan also met with Dr. Chipepo who is connecting with Jubilee Centre for future vision. She shared her story. See Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFZu08z03HI
I am so thankful that God called me to Zambia and made it possible for me to go. Seeing the work that Jubilee Center is doing was truly a blessing. Ridge Point should be proud to partner with Jubilee Center in the work they are doing in Zambia. Lawrence and Martha Temfwe truly have a heart for the Lord and his people. They are touching so many people for Christ.
One of the things that stand out to me is visiting our sponsored child Emmanuel. He was shy as we sat in his home and he was the center of attention with many neighbor children gathered as well. His grandmother and grandfather had big smiles on their faces and were so appreciative. One of the things I gave him was a soccer ball, which he really liked. I also gave him a soccer jersey from my son Peter. I will never forget the grandfather waving to us as we drove off.
There were a few children that I really connected with. Although they were not part of the sponsorship program and did not live in one of the transient homes we worked with, I do believe God had our paths cross for a reason. One of the girls was Patricia. A couple of the others on the team and myself noticed she seemed sad and somewhat withdrawn. I had an opportunity to talk with her privately and she shared a little and God gave me the words to affirm and encourage her. Another girl was Lukonda. While at one of the homes, Wendy was taking pictures of the children who lived there and several children from the community. Lukonda refused to have her picture taken and looked sad. A little later, I had an opportunity to talk to her privately and then she did agree to have her picture taken. She confided some pretty big stuff to me and again, God gave me the words to affirm and encourage her. These two girls will always have a place in my heart and will be in my prayers.
Meeting with the caregivers was also a blessing. We went to encourage and teach them, and we also left encouraged and blessed. These grandparents and aunts and uncles are doing a great work by taking in these children who have lost their parents or have parents unable or unwilling to care for them. They make huge sacrifices to raise these children as their own. One of the things they brought up as a struggle was that sometimes the children are treated better than the biological children and sometimes they are treated worse, but there needs to be a balance and these children need to be treated equally. Another thing some asked was how to deal with children who are acting disrespectful and not obeying. We were able to share with them that the children were acting out of fear, not naughtiness. Children from trauma backgrounds are scared – scared there won’t be enough to eat, scared that these caregivers would also get sick and die or just send them away. I could almost see the lightbulb go on for many of them. They were so appreciative of this insight and we were able to share from our own experiences ways to handle these fears and reassure the child. We also talked with them about a redo, a chance to have the child try again and learn the proper way to ask with respect or to obey. The care givers were all given a chance to share their story and that was very healing for them as well. They were also reminded that they are not alone and they can rely on each other for support and encouragement. This was an amazing trip, and I hope God gives me the opportunity to go again!
Well of course two of the huge God moments were when I met Nathan and Queen. Who would have a clue that I would be used in this capacity? From going from not even knowing about them to meeting both can only be a God moments. I have tried to wrap my head around why this has happened and why God used me in this way. Realistically my son Brad and his wife Tracy wouldn’t be able to come to Zambia just because of demands of every day life and raising three children. I believe that God used me to show ME he is real and also to show Brad and Tracy that they have honored him by their continued support of children in Zambia.
The construction aspect of this mission trip for me was good in one way but frustrating in others ways.
I noticed a difference in things that were completed but felt there was so much more that could be done.
I realize that we have to be flexible but I already have things in my head for next time. The one thing that has hit me was that both places I worked at, a relationship was being built with the Zambian maintenance men assigned to those facilities.
I have really felt like God is telling me to “get out of the boat”. What that looks like is a little scary at times because I like to be able to control things. I know that I’m the type that sees a project and can think it thru till the project gets completed properly. I also know that God wants me to slow down and build not only my relationship with him but others also.