A Weekend in the Bush {Part 3}

{continued from Sept. 1st & 2nd . Click HERE for Part2 and HERE for Part 1}

Day 3

Saturday: our final day at the conference…I had such mixed emotions.

We were only there half the day. The morning began with music as it always does. An impromptu group of six young men led a few songs before Bishop and Pastor Aaron took over. After that, we had a short universal session on the basics of leadership.

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Time to sing!

To conclude my parents’ time, the church leaders remained behind for a more in depth discussion and the rest of us remained outside. I visited with different friends for a while and helped Rejoice more on the guitar. However, he hardly needed my help as within two days he’d already learned how to pick out a song fairly efficiently. I have never been more impressed with a beginning guitarist!

After a bit, my friend Blessing motioned for me to join him and others who were standing in a circle beneath a tree singing. Blessing was playing the guitar and Deborah, Sibo, and 3 other young men were there as well.

I’ve said this time and again on my blog, but I’ll say it again: I ADORE music in Zambia!! Not to mention, in this particular instance, everyone I was singing with possessed impeccable voices.

We sang multiple songs as a group encouraging each other in our vocal abilities and trading around who sang what harmony. We also took turns soloing and then vocalizing as a group. Sibo and Blessing taught us a song they had written together. It was call and echo and Sibo was so into it as he led he seemed to be in his own little world with his passionate singing!

Singing with this group for a couple hours was certainly one of the highlights of my time. I would’ve happily skipped lunch to continue singing with them. Haha!

Very shortly after eating, we said our goodbyes (which take about as long as greetings) and began our two hour drive back to Ndola.

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Snapshot of a prayer group

It was a bittersweet departure for me. I will admit I was excited to get back to a shower, indoor toilet, and to rub aloe vera on my stinging sunburn; but at the same time I was sad to leave life in the bush.

Until recently, I’ve never been someone who anticipated change well; but when something new comes my way I adapt incredibly fast. At the conference, I’d basically blocked out life and jumped full-force into the life at hand.

I’m far, far, FAR from fully understanding or fully living life out in the bush, yet even in two days I learned a great deal. I recognized wrong mindsets and priorities I possessed. I was also prompted to compare my life in the U.S., my life in Ndola, and life in the bush. I’m an analytical person and sometimes it takes time for me to fully process my thoughts.

I honestly can’t say I have all my thoughts together regarding the weekend yet. However, what I do know is God is truly and literally AWE-some! He did a wonderful work in my life and I felt so close to Him during the conference. All the people around me were feeding me spiritually and encouraging me to be in tune with the Lord.

The Holy Spirit worked in many ways and the faith of the people I was with was touchingly admirable.

I’m unsure if I’ll ever return to that beloved place in Kapiri, but if I never do, I can honestly say this past weekend will live on forever in my memory.

Thank you all for reading. ❤

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A Weekend in the Bush {Part 2}

{continuing from yesterday click HERE for Part 1}

Day 2

This day was my favorite…

Friday morning came all too quickly to our tired selves as we languidly rolled out of bed; excited for the day ahead, but sincerely wishing we could sleep longer.
We were soon at the conference where we greeted friends and gathered around the breakfast table. During breakfast, Madam Chisupa (the bishop’s wife) asked me to play and sing a song to begin the morning sessions.

As we all gathered in the conference area, Pastor Aaron opened with beautiful Zambian music. Then, feeling a bit nervous, I grabbed my guitar and played “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher. Mom held the microphone for me and sang along with a high harmony. I glanced over at my dad once and he was crying. I didn’t look at him anymore to keep from tearing up myself… Lol. Blessing and Sibo (two of the Mwamba brothers) told me later they could tell I was a bit nervous and unprepared. Haha! But at least God isn’t interested in my voice being flawless. 😉

After I finished singing, I quickly went to join the Sunday school class to teach them. I soon learned that rather than walking to the nearby area they had yesterday, the entire Sunday school team had walked 2 miles away to a football (soccer) field!

A group consisting of my brothers, my friend Victoria, myself, and little Grace (who held my hand the whole way) set off in the general direction of the field, but with little confidence on how to get there.  We traipsed through the Zambian bush for quite some time, taking a wrong turn once and going a good bit in the wrong direction, but we finally found the field where we met up with the Sunday school.

This session, Alex and I together shared about the fruit of the Spirit with Victoria acting as translator. After we finished, Victoria led in a few different sing-song/dance games with the kids before we walked back to the main area.

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Dad teaching with Pastor Aaron translating

I managed (with Gloria and Grace next to me) to catch the end of Dad’s talk on idolatry which happened to be a great pathway into what I would be speaking on in the afternoon.

After dad finished and everyone was released, we ate lunch and I headed to the kitchen to greet the people there. Being in the kitchen always makes me smile. =)

As I left the kitchen, I was intercepted in my walk by a sweet little boy, perhaps 2 years old, named Timothy who I sat and held for a while as I read through my notes for the afternoon.

After a bit, I joined Deborah and Victoria who were sitting under a shade tree. They were in the middle of a discussion, but I was hoping to have a chance to ask them how I could be praying for them.

However, God’s plans are higher than mine and He knew it wasn’t the time to ask those two that question; but rather a different friend…

Rejoice (the other Mwamba brother) approached me after a few minutes and asked if I could assist him on the guitar. As I stood observing him play, I began visiting with another friend standing there. Out of respect, I’ll refrain from sharing his name.

I’m unsure what prompted me to ask as I wasn’t intending to ask him, but the words, “So, how can I be praying for you?” came out of my mouth.

This friend is rather shy and up to that point, I wouldn’t claim to have known him well. He stuttered a little at my question and struggled saying, “I’m just so shy…I want to tell you…but I’m just failing because I am shy.”

I said, “Well if it’s something too personal or private I understand and I’ll just know to be praying for a personal issue. Just know I’m happy to hear anything you have to say though! My greatest love and passion is to listen to people when they are hurting and help them however I can.”

My friend still seemed utterly conflicted. We were standing where there were many people so I asked, “Are you afraid someone is listening?” He said yes, so I suggested we walk over to a nearby log where no one was at the time (still in the main area; but away from crowds).

As we sat down, he verbally argued with himself for a time before finally sharing a deeply personal struggle. He insightfully even shared why he struggles with the issue and what he knows would help him improve. I then asked if I could pray for him right then. He looked around to see how many people were watching and finally, but hesitantly, said yes. We prayed together and then he said something that absolutely amazed me…

He said, “You know, after your dad was sharing with us yesterday I told myself I would confess this struggle to someone today, but I was failing because I am shy…and then you came and asked how you could pray for me!”

ISN’T GOD INCREDIBLE!?!?!?! I had NO idea he’d made that commitment to himself and I truthfully wasn’t intending to ask him how I could be praying for him! Yet God, in His omniscient nature, knew this friend needed the encouragement and I needed the faith builder.

After we finished our discussion, I quickly found my parents and told them what God had done. Following this, I went back to the main area and noticed my friend Deborah sitting on the log where my other friend and I had just been.

I went and sat next to her and asked how I could be praying for her as well. She shared 3 different things to pray for, one of which I could strongly relate to, and we spent a few minutes in prayer together.

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Me teaching

It wasn’t long before the afternoon sessions began. The plan was for the “youth” (ages 15-30) to remain in the main area where my parents and I would be speaking. Everyone else was separated in other groups with different speakers.

I spoke first following my dad’s introduction and had Pastor Aaron as my translator.

I began with the topic of putting God first in our lives (which is what tied in nicely with my dad’s prior discussion on idolatry). Then I shared about Spiritual gifts and talents, the difference between the two, how everyone possesses both, and how we should seek God to show us our gifts and talents. Then, I came back to the topic of putting God first and explained how we should put God first in our talents and gifts and use them to serve and glorify Him; consequently, strengthening the body of Christ (this tied in nicely with what my mom would be sharing next!). I concluded by saying that I was happy to talk to or pray with anyone who would like me to do so later on.

When I finished, a pastor (who had remained with us) stood and expounded on what I shared. He stressed the importance of seeking the Lord at this stage in our lives as youth. He then said that anyone who would like for me to pray for them, asking God to reveal their gifts and talents, could stand in front and I would pray over them.

This was entirely unexpected. I asked my parents if they’d like to pray as well; but they told me it was what God had laid on my heart and so I should pray.

Fifteen to twenty young people came and stood in front. My heart instantly broke because I wished I could know each name. I said so out loud and Mom quietly reminded me, “God knows Megan”. So I closed my eyes, comforted by what my mom said, and prayed.

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Sibo and Pastor Aaron leading music

After I finished, I sat down and listened to my parents speak. I was greatly encouraged by what both of them had to say. Mom shared about youth in the Bible; focusing specifically on Miriam and David. Then dad shared some encouraging passages of Scripture and spent a great deal of time praying over us all.

When they finished, everyone came together for a short evening session. Pastor Aaron and Sibongile led music to begin. Sibo led a beautiful South African song and did so with such joy and passion it made the song, already a beautiful one, even more beautiful!

When the evening session was complete, everyone dispersed except for a select group to have a session on marriage.

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Victoria (and Gloria)

Outside, I took a walk with Victoria and another friend named Rebecca. We enjoyed some fun time of chatting and laughing.

Upon returning, I stood and chatted with Deborah and Sibo. Sibo left after a time and Deborah and I enjoyed a wonderful conversation. She asked me for advice and we had a very open discussion. For privacy’s sake, I won’t disclose the content; but it was incredible how our discussion tied in beautifully to my conversation prior with the anonymous friend.

Later on, as it was becoming dark, I joined a very interesting and fun Biblical discussion. The participants included two girls, Mulenga and Jane, myself, and the anonymous friend prayed wither earlier.

When I joined the conversation, two of the questions we discussed were: “Is it wrong to judge others?”  and “How do we as Christians balance sharing the gospel with others, yet not associating too much in the wrong crowd so as to fall in ourselves?”

The subject then turned to discussing spiritual gifts and talents and we each went around sharing what ours were. During all our discussion, God began to show me my anonymous friend possesses the spiritual gift of discernment. When it was his turn to share, he said something to confirm my thoughts and I said, “You know what? I think I know your spiritual gift!” When I said “discernment” it’s as if a light clicked and he realized it was true. He started thinking out loud telling how he processes things and how he determines the character of a person. It was extremely neat to watch him!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay and enjoy more conversation as I was soon informed we were leaving for the night.

The next day, our last, would be a day one of passionate joys and fun, sad goodbyes, and deep reflection…

{to be concluded tomorrow, September 3rd}

A Weekend in the Bush {Part 1}

My family spent this past weekend, Thursday through Saturday, at a conference in a place called Kapiri. This was our second year to attend this conference. Pastor Aaron, one of Wiphan’s pastors, is a part of the church congregation hosting the conference which is how we became associated. My parents were asked to speak for 2 days last year and they were asked to do this same this year as well.

Last year was incredibly exciting and fun, but personally I found this year to be far more memorable. I intently tried to focus on the Lord, His leading in my life, and how He was working rather than simply the social aspect of being there. However, I was looking forward to reuniting with some very dear friends.

Besides crashing in bed at a lodge each evening, we spent our entire time out in the bush.

What exactly do I mean by “bush”? Let me put it this way: no running water (wells were located about 500 yards away), no electricity (apart from a mini generator which powered a keyboard and microphone), no plumbing, no roofed structure except for a partially tarp-covered conference area.  Most living areas were enclosed with rough 6-foot tall thatch “walls” to separate rooms.

We’re also in the middle of the dry season meaning there is an immense amount of dust everywhere. August is also considered the windiest month so you can imagine the severe amount of dust in the air.

Maybe these pictures will help give a bit of a visual (put your cursor over the photos for the captions)

Now, here is Day 1 of three about how our unfathomable God worked in beautiful ways at the bush conference in Kapiri…

Day 1

We arrived at the conference mid-morning on Thursday and spent the first hour or so greeting everyone.

Greetings are a very important part of the culture here. There is a lot of hand shaking, hugging, and multiple thoughtful questions involved in a greeting. It’s such a beautiful thing!

As I said above, I was greatly excited to be reunited with old friends; specifically my dear friend Victoria and also the entire Mwamba family. Sadly, my friend Joy Mwamba wasn’t at the conference this year.

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Sunday School

After we finished greeting everyone, my brothers and I went off with the “Sunday school” children (ages 14 and below) to teach them. There were three adults (one being Pastor Aaron) helping to handle about 70 children.

The boys and I began by acting out the story of The Good Samaritan and discussing how everyone is our neighbor.

 

Then we taught the kids the song “I May Never March in the Infantry”. If you don’t know the song, it contains many hand motions and actions making it fun to teach children.

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Jackson praying over the Sunday School (Photo creds: Alex)

Pastor Aaron kindly acted as our interpreter and guitar player.

After we finished Sunday school, we returned to the main area where we ate a very cultural lunch.  We ate with the head of their church organization (they call him the “bishop”) and his lovely wife who have become dear friends of ours. They are so kind to answer all our questions about culture and are extremely understanding of our many naïve mistakes. They are an extremely hospitable couple!

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Fetching water at the well.

After lunch, I went to fetch water from the well with my friend Lista. The journey to the well is downhill, but the journey back from the well is all uphill. Haha! But together it wasn’t hard to carry the large bucket. I imagine if I hadn’t been there she would’ve just carried it on her head.

My friend Rejoice (Mwamba) had asked me if I’d be willing to teach him guitar, so I spent some time teaching him four basic chords (G, Em, D, and C). It didn’t take him but a few minutes to have them all memorized and transition between them surprisingly fast for a beginner!

 

Sessions started up again mid-afternoon and I was able to listen to my mom’s engaging talk with the ladies on forgiveness. I held sweet Grace Mwamba in my lap with little Gloria on my left the entire time. I daresay there was not ever more than 30 minutes that passed the entire weekend where Gloria and Grace were not by my side. ❤

As it became dark, we again sat down to a lovely Zambian meal. Following the meal, I found my friend Blessing (Mwamba) at the keyboard. Another young man, whose name I never caught, was playing the bass guitar…and quite well considering the guitar was missing a string!

My favorite memories with Blessing always involve us and our mutual friend Victoria singing together. This particular evening, my friends Sibongile (also Mwamba) and Deborah joined us to sing. All three of them, Blessing, Sibo, and Deborah, have astoundingly flawless voices. Deborah is a smooth and strong alto, Blessing a powerful bass, and Sibo a passionate tenor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enjoy their company long as our family soon left for the lodge, but I’d ultimately spend a great deal of time with these three friends (and others) over next two days…


After the busy day we’d had, it didn’t take any time or effort for us all to fall fast soundly asleep. My mind was rolling with exciting thoughts about the days ahead, but my thoughts didn’t come close to the beautiful reality of what the next days would hold…
{to be continued tomorrow, September 2nd}