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A Few Bumps on the Road to Zambia

Our amazing interns of 2012 have embarked upon a journey with the Lord that each of us will anticipate reading on their blogs as they departed from United States today. Each of these young ladies come from various backgrounds, complete strangers to one another, but the thing they have in common is their obedience to the Lord to spend their summer serving the orphans and widows in Lusaka and Chongwe, Zambia. This may not seem like a sacrifice, but these young ladies had an echoing story amongst them all: “If you want to follow Me, you must.” Each will be missing already planned weddings of dear friends, the birth of a child within the family, or just the unexpected events that we categorize into our special memories. God’s calling is nothing short of amazing and when it’s responded to well. You just can’t top being in the center of the His will.

With every journey, there are bumps in the road but we all hope that they don’t come in the beginning; but that’s exactly what happened. After 48 hours of training in Frisco, Texas, these young ladies were ready to serve. They spent hours learning about the relational culture of Zambia with it drilled into their head that flexibility is the key. Entering into an event-oriented culture is never easy for Westerners since we do tend to be more time oriented, and wouldn’t you know, their first hiccup on day one was to be flexible and make a choice: How will you respond when things don’t go as planned?

The response was amazing! These young ladies accepted a change in their flight schedule the night before, which required them to be at Dallas-Fort Worth International at 5:15 am. Waking up at 4 am is really no fun when you spend your whole evening before packing and repacking to make sure each bag is below 50 lbs. That’s not too bad of a bump, until you arrive at the airport and discover the security line is well past the check baggage ticket. Ok, still not too bad; just check the bags and get in line; they have time. Another bump, since your itinerary has been changed you must see an agent to adjust your reservation (which in their defense, they weren’t allowed to do this on the phone the night before). What seemed to be an easy fix was actually a 30-minute wait. Oh, and did I mention that two bags were over 50 lbs, and with the others already at the max, a decision had to be made: What can you live without for at least 2 weeks? Small bump, bit bigger, then really big… By the way, we’ve changed your itinerary, which you knew, but what we “forgot” to tell you is that your flight is oversold on the first leg and you don’t have a seat assignment….wait a minute, did we hear you correctly? What does that mean? Well, we may be able to get you on a different airline so you can catch your international flight at Dulles Airport (that’s Washington, D.C.). You caught that one right…we MAY be able to get you on another airline. Just go to the counter in the terminal and see if they can give you a seat.

Under most circumstances many of us would have lost our temper, but they truly had a joy in the Lord and a peace about each of them. Their response, “We’ve just had our first event-oriented situation,” and they did. Can you imagine getting maybe 4 hours of sleep the night before and then being told you “might” make your international connection? Their reaction was laughter and the anticipation of arriving in Zambia tomorrow evening. They didn’t miss a beat and had joy in the moment.

Getting through security still took awhile and by the time we were done there was only 20 minutes before departure. No seat assignments but still smiling. They look at the gate and it’s already boarding…BUMP. Did they miss out? Then they hear one name, Kate Colwill, another name Christina Cates, but the others….not yet. When asking the ticket agent, she has one for Shelbie Ney, AWESOME. What about Elise Rowsell? BIGGEST BUMP – no ticket for her. What do we do? Do we split up, do we all try to catch another flight? As they mull over their choices, it’s decided. Christina will wait with Elise and go separately, if necessary, and Kate will travel on with Shelbie. They leave the two girls and board without them, while Elise waits anxiously. The response is still amazing, internally Elise is nervous but outwardly she’s full of laughter about the situation and gives us a reminder to enjoy the event and not worry about the schedule. God will provide.

The remainder of the story is anti-climatic. Elise gets a seat at the last minute and they all board, completely relieved. But it’s the bigger picture that needs to be examined closer. We spend all of our days looking at calendars, checking the time and planning the next step; but not them. They stopped and found joy in the event and relied fully on God. They exhibited all the reasons God chose them this summer to serve in Zambia. They have departed with a load of responsibilities to complete from our Texas office, and when they land, another set of expectations will be placed upon them to serve our Zambian staff. It’s the balance they showed in the airport along with their flexibility they displayed from the onset that proves these young ladies are going to be a blessing to the Every Orphan’s Hope ministry.

Please pray that as they encounter other bumps along their journey with our Lord in Zambia this summer that they remember to serve with joy and to rely fully on Him.

– Cheryl Greif, Program Manager/Mission Trips & Internships

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