Angel’s Example…

I want to share something with you which happened this past weekend that really touched my heart in a few different ways…

My brothers and I have a very close friend named Angel who lives in our neighborhood. He’s has an infectious smile, an outgoing personality, and is definitely a “leader” among the kids in this area.

He came over on Saturday, along with the other kids in the neighborhood, to play like they often do.

Generally, when they come over we play a game of football (soccer) together; Angel being one of the best players. He can bounce that ball off his foot 100 times with ease before ever letting it hit the ground (yes, we’ve counted).

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Angel and Alex playing football! (Kundwan in the tree.. 😉 ) Angel’s about to score a goal here…

This particular day however, Angel came limping in our gate holding is left knee. That ear-to-ear grin that is ever-present on his face wasn’t there in the same manner it usually is. Instead, his face wore a look of pain and discomfort.

I went over to him and asked him what was wrong. He uncovered his knee to reveal it swollen nearly double its normal size; part of his leg surrounding the knee was swollen also.

My immediate question was, “What HAPPENED to you!?”

Angel: “Inshishibe… (*I don’t know*) but it is too much paining!”

He said he had woken up that morning to find it swollen and “paining”. Of course all sorts of ideas flooded my mind as to what on earth could’ve happened to him; but we are nearly sure now it wasn’t anything more than an allergic reaction to a bee sting or something similar; at least nothing serious. The swelling and pain had decreased quite a bit by the next day.

Nevertheless, on this day, it was swollen and hurting him awfully! He lay down on top of the bricks lining our driveway and just closed his eyes to rest. He’d sit up now and then, stretch his leg while cringing in pain, and then lay down again.

When the sun moved to where he was laying he hobbled, nearly falling as he stood up, over to a tree and laid beneath it in the shade resting his leg on the trunk.

I sat with him and talked. I was hoping to keep him from being completely bored or feeling left out having to watch all his friends playing football…Though I know his heart was still “on the field” playing with them; hence what happened next…

Now one thing I can tell you about Zambians: most of them I know don’t cave easily to pain and discomfort. I had a friend who walked 90 minutes to school when she was nearly crying from being sick with Malaria and had a nasty fever…They are so strong and push through discomfort and pain!

Angel is no exception; which is why we knew he was in serious pain to be laying on the ground and even crying out in pain from his leg. He’s been hurting, in pain, and sick with malaria when he’s come over before and still jumped right into the action…

After we had visited under the tree for a couple minutes, his eyes turned to the others playing football and he slowly sat up, cringing through closed eyes, and slid his leg off the tree trunk and onto the ground.

He massaged his leg for a few seconds, head down on his opposite knee, and then grabbed a tree branch for support and stood. His leg was so stiff just from a few minutes of sitting he nearly collapsed back on the ground, but he stayed standing and massaged/exercised his leg for a couple minutes before limping terribly toward the football game.

I looked at him and said, “Angel! Are you going to play?!”

He turned his head back to me and just nodded in response before looking back at the game, that smile returning to his face, and shouting “Leta bola pano iwe!” (Pass me the ball!)

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Angel and his winning smile!

He couldn’t run his full speed while playing and every time he took a step I could see him cringe, but that smile never left his face…

I know the pain he was enduring hadn’t decreased any; but he made a choice to put it past him for the moment and play anyway…

He played for maybe 15 minutes before he sat down on the ground and massaged his leg for a bit, his face telling of the pain he was in; though he was still smiling between expressions of pain and shouting at different people on the field before telling someone to pass him the ball.

He stood up suddenly as the ball rolled toward him, again putting the pain aside for the moment, and kicked for a goal. He missed the goal entirely, but hey! He tried! Would I have tried?? Probably not…Would I have been on that field? Most likely no…Would I have been sitting on the ground holding an ice pack over my knee?? Probably. Acting as if I couldn’t do anything, pushing every thought of working or playing any sort of active game out of my mind?? I’m pretty sure I would’ve…

I’m not saying this to say pain isn’t something that is serious or that it would’ve been wrong of him not to play and just sit with an ice pack…I think that would’ve been completely fine and understandable to say the least!! I’m simply saying I was impressed, convicted, and encouraged by his endurance and strength to push past that severe pain he was in to do something he loved…

I was convicted of times I’m asked to help and I complain of a stomach ache or an eczema-covered hand, saying I can’t do what is being asked…Sure, we all have stomach aches, and sometimes they make us completely bed-ridden…and sure, my eczema was BAD and to wash the dishes made it worse, but why couldn’t I just wear a glove and get the job done?? Why can’t I get up when that stomach ache isn’t debilitating and do what I can to help?

People put up with so much…so much more than I do! They put up with pain that truly does prevent them from participating in activities around them; and I complain about eczema and a stomach ache…

Angel’s actions really encouraged and convicted me this weekend…He made me think twice before I complain about something I’m asked to do or letting something small prevent me from doing the things which need to be done.

Jesus Christ bore the burden of all our sins. He was beaten and then forced to carry a heavy cross on His back…He was suffering from pain and discomfort far more serious than a stomach ache, simple exhaustion, and even a swollen knee…but He pushed through. He carried that cross until that burden was taken from Him and carried by Simon. But He was still wearing a crown with thorns embedding themselves in His head. He had still just come from being severely beaten near the point of death and yet He continued putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe He was stumbling, but He pressed on nonetheless…

What right do I have to complain?

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Running and Friendship

I’ve started jogging with my dad and brothers a few mornings this week. I’m not a runner by nature and I’m currently panting hard after an 11 minute mile (about 2km) so I’m not very strong. However, I’ve really been enjoying the time I’m spending “getting going” in the mornings. Waking up earlier in the morning before it gets hot, sticking in some earbuds, and going for a jog is the perfect time for me to spend some time talking to God.

I preferably like to spend some time in prayer and reading my Bible in the morning times, but I have a bad habit of sleeping in a little later than I like and therefore rush around when I do get up and put spending time with the Lord on a back burner. I’m wrong for doing this…I’m trying to get better about it. I still read my Bible most days and I for sure pray every day, but I feel like having that time dedicated in the morning is something I personally feel is vital for my days.

Obviously I’m not reading my Bible in the morning while on my run; though I could download an app for audio Bible (hmmm *quotes Gru* Lightbulb!) and I AM reading it when I come home; but I am spending nearly all my time while running in prayer. I have music playing through my earbuds, but I hardly even notice it outside of running to the beat. I simply have it on to prevent me from distraction. I know this isn’t probably normal, but having music on actually helps me focus. So with the music blocking out other sounds, I’m able to wholly devote my 15-30 minutes of jogging time to spending time with the Lord; only occasionally interrupted by greeting someone else walking.

As I walk back to the house after these runs, I feel much more prepared to go through my day. Yeah, the run is nice and gets my blood running, but it’s more about having spent that time with my Father in Heaven. THAT is what really gets my blood pumping and ready to go!

Aside from running, I’ve been going to Wiphan once or twice a week with my family as is usual. I’ve spent quite a bit of my time at Wiphan Mapalo lately; even more than at Wiphan Nkwazi which is where I generally am.

In being at Mapalo more often, I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of the students there along with the staff. On a recent morning, my Dad, brother, and I were driving into Mapalo (the name of the village as well as the school) and we about half-way to Wiphan when I heard “Megani! Megani” just outside the car window. I turned to see Paul, an afternoon student at Mapalo school, waving with the BIGGEST smile on his face! This just put a smile on my face as well. The “little” things like a little boy shouting my name in the middle of a village are often the things which brighten my day most. ❤

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Paul! The sweet little boy who shouted my name on our way to Wiphan Mapalo. =)

Last week, when I arrived at Wiphan Mapalo, I was immediately summoned to join one of the classes who were playing the Bemba version of “Duck Duck Goose” with their teacher. The circle was very large with at least 30 kids participating, so the running distance around the circle was quite long. I wasn’t feeling very well that day and quickly realized I had far over-exerted myself, but I was okay and it was fun to play with them. I spent the rest of my time there relaxing in one of the offices with two staff members I’ve gotten to know well, Madam Mubanga and Mr. Kelvin. We enjoyed some laughter and playful banter as we generally do. 😉

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Some of the boys from Wiphan Mapalo. =)

Even though I’ve spent much time at Mapalo, I’ve still gone to Wiphan Nkwazi as well; which is where the hospitality and data-entry facilities are located.

As I wrote about a few posts back, my friends in the hospitality class have left until January. Since they have left, a new class has come in and I have started getting to know some of them better. I still miss my other friends dearly, but I’m trying not to dwell on their absence to the point of missing an opportunity to make new friends as well.

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Two new friends of min in hospitality: Grace and Faith (middle)

These new friends, while I’m still in the beginning stages of building friendships with them, have already provided me with some fun times, lasting memories, and good conversations which have helped our growing relationships.

This last week, I was able to spend a couple hours with different hospitality students on two separate occasions. The one day I spent in the classroom with five other girls and we had a blast taking photos, chatting, laughing, and just being girls together! The second day I was there, I had time to spend with a mixture of guys and girls and I explained that when Americans say “football” they are talking about a completely different sport than “soccer” (a word they hadn’t heard before); a sport that is a bit more like rugby. They then knew the sport I was talking about but didn’t know the name. So we enjoyed talking about the different sports, their names, and their rules.

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Two more friends: Mulichi and Belinda (middle) XD

We also talked a lot about the culture of Zambia vs. America; the pros and the cons to each. It was a really fun and interesting discussion!

And lastly, I helped a few of the girls sweep the room and then we talked about cooking and the different foods we learn to cook and enjoy eating.

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My new friend Queen! I love this picture! =D

I don’t recall if I’ve written much about Wiphan’s data-entry program beyond explaining what it is. If I did explain it previously, it’s been a while so I’ll explain again: Wiphan has three skills training programs for widows and/or orphans. One of these programs is keyboarding; where students learn basic computer skills. After completing this training, the students can apply to work in the data-entry program where they work for a company based in the U.S. via the Internet. There is a room at Wiphan where all the computers needed for these employees are set up for them to work.

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My friend Victoria in data-entry and one of the other young men who works there as well. =)

In this program, there are quite a few women in their twenties who I’ve gotten to know rather well. I spend a lot of time with them on their lunch hour and during their break time. We mostly sit and chat and laugh a LOT! I also enjoyed having a typing show-down with one my friend Victoria one day! We opened a typing lesson which measures your speed and accuracy in typing and battled to see who scored higher. No comment as to who won; I’ll just say it was a blast. =)

All in all, things have been going well lately. God has been teaching me so much and giving me so many memorable, smile-worthy days and moments to keep for life! There are always those days or moments that aren’t so smile-worthy, but God always teaches me something or brings me out of those moments, making me ready to smile again!

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I enjoyed playing a game similar to jacks with these boys at Wiphan Nkwazi the other day. =D

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Two Wiphan Nkwazi boys! Alan and Abraham.

Lesa musuma; ishita yonse…

The Beginning of Rainy Season

The seasons are changing here in Zambia. We’re now entering the rainy season! Before I moved to Zambia I thought there were just two seasons here: rainy and dry; but I’ve learned there are actually 3 seasons: dry/cold, dry/hot, and rainy…However, unlike the four seasons in the U.S. which are each about 3 months long, the rainy season takes up 6-7 months of the year while the hot season last two months and the cold season three. They aren’t given specific dates for their beginning and end like they are in the U.S. though; so when each season “begins” and “ends” is just a general term.

We moved here at the tail-end of the last rainy season. It rained a few times throughout our first couple months here and tapered off in early May, remaining dry up until now. Mid-October we had a VERY light sprinkle of rain…I mean LIGHT sprinkle! I stood outside for 2 minutes and only felt 3 drops of rain; but it didn’t matter! It was RAIN!!!! My youngest brother was so excited he hugged our dog really tightly said, “SAMMY!!!! It’s RAINING!!!” and tried to drag Sammy off our veranda into the “rain”.

A week or so later, the same thing happened: a light sprinkle hardly worthy of being called a rain… But then, in the last week, it’s REALLY started raining. The other night we even had loud thunder and lightning close by! I’ve always been the kind of person who sleeps better when it’s raining, and they last few nights it’s rained while I’ve slept. I’m so grateful for this new season that we are experiencing; mostly for the first time…

My friend and I were talking about the weather’s change today: how the air already has a fresher smell, the temperature has fluctuated more, and how beautiful the breeze throughout the day is! Yes, we talked about the weather in this much detail (and more). This is how excited we are about the rain after being “rain-deprived” for 6 months! 😉

My brothers have already enjoyed the new creatures that come with the rains (such as the giant millipedes); and even Zenia was saying today how she loves seeing all of God’s creativity in creatures like insects during the rainy season and showed me this GORGEOUS, tiny, rainbow-colored beetle.

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So far, I’m very much enjoying this new (for us) season. Perhaps by the end of the season in March or April I’ll be excited for the rains to stop, but right now I’m just enjoying this weather! Not to mention, the more it rains the closer we get to the dams filling up and Zambia having less power cuts due to load-shedding…

Thank you Lord for the rains! And PLEASE keep them coming!

(I wish I had pictures of the sky before the rains…but I don’t unfortunately… =P)

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