So this post has been building for weeks.
For the past few weeks, I have been living out in Chongwe. Chongwe is about 45 minutes outside of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. It is what we would call “the bush.” There’s no electricity, and half the time the water does not work. And I am in love with it. Seriously. I have learned how to hand-wash clothes, carry things on top of my head, and cook over an open flame.
It is here that I am learning the most about life. I am learning how important people are, not tasks. Every day presents a new set of challenges and provides me with a new outlook on life. One of the most amazing things I have seen (probably right next to Victoria Falls of course) is the night sky. Since I am currently positioned in the southern half of the world, things here look totally different. I can see every flicker of movement making its way to a destination, every star in the night sky. I can even see the Milky Way, in all of its splendor and colors.
Plus, I get a chance to sit and admire all this with some pretty awesome kids. Most nights we sit and wait for our Nshima to cook, talking, laughing and getting to know each other. Those are the moments when my life here seems the most important. I have had so many experiences here. From Nkoswe (kitten-sized bush rats) eating our vegetables to plays about the most random things, to having massive tickle fights, to moments where I’ve been broken in front of these kids and their response was to take me in their arms and pray for me. My life is forever changed by these kids and Mamas.
The moments that I think have been the hardest have allowed me to form the deepest bonds with them. I now find myself in a place where it is very difficult to imagine life without them. And yet in just two short weeks I will be returning to my life in the States. Unbelievable and unfair. To me, this has become my real life. Despite all the problems and turmoil I have been put through, despite the moments where I was so sure that this was not where God wanted me to be, despite the huge blinking signs of Satan’s attempts on trying to undermine the glory of God, this has seriously become home for me.
The other day I was helping Kelvin, one of the older boys, study for a test, and we got on the conversation of time. He asked me what time it was in the States. I said “At home in Texas?” and he said, “No. Zambia is your home. You are Zambian now.”
It is comments like that that make me think about what exactly the Lord is doing to my heart. Where is He placing me, and leading me? I cannot go back home and act like I am not changed by this place. I can’t ignore the things I saw last week and the week before at Camp Hope. Nor the fact that I can now put faces with the problem of hunger and loneliness. These are the people that I love. They are my brothers and sisters.
But in the midst of all of this, Chongwe has taught me one very basic and beautiful lesson. It has taught me about the power of love. The power of the Father’s love for us. The power that love has to surpass any hardship or circumstance. The power of the love for these orphaned kids…from the mamas who are raising them as their own…from the staffs, Zambian and stateside…from the community. His love does truly inspire.
– Christina Cates
Read more from Christina on her blog: His Love Inspires