HGCA – BLOG POST, 7/1/2017
The winds of June and July in Zambia, Africa that symbolize the “cold” season brought in our plane, in “leaps and bounds.” We had left 90-degree weather back home and braced ourselves for the cold. We were pleasantly surprised, however, as despite the winds, the weather remained temperate during the day, and the cold was mostly felt in the early morning and late evening hours.
All had found a place of stability and independence with the ability to help siblings, relatives, and friends.
Two days later we found ourselves, once again, among the MASTERS graduates. For the last four years we have taken in young adult orphans through the school, with the last year specifically pouring into the three years of graduates. This year, more than ever, we could see how these young adults have grown. Each year, fresh students would come - awkward, insecure, purposeless. And now, here they were, confident adults, at ease with their surroundings, with each other and with us. They shared their stories of the past year. Honest and vulnerable. It had not all been easy. Yet, they had faced the challenges with a strength they lacked before attending MASTERS. Many of them had been promoted. One, two, even three times. Noted for their hard work ethic and integrity. But, as is typical of the culture, the promotions didn’t always mean more pay. But, even this, left them undaunted. They could point to the goodness of their Heavenly Father and the strength and provision He had given. “I can say that I am moving on,” many of the students told us. All had found a place of stability and independence with the ability to help siblings, relatives, and friends. Wow. Such transformation in young lives. Hopeless to hope-filled.
From Lusaka, we traveled the many hours south to the town of Choma. Even in the car, you could feel the winds rocking the vehicle, and watch the dust blowing sideways across the road, turning the once vibrant green trees and bushes to a dull brown.
“Ah, this training has helped us so much,” was repeated often throughout the conversation.
We headed over to Children’s Nest Orphanage for a Hope for Grieving Children follow-up. The orphanage has been given aid by one of the large South African owned grocery store chains and a nice new cement block fence surrounded the property, adding safety and security for the orphans and caregivers living there. We sat with two of the women to hear how the caregivers and children were doing since the training. As they shared some stories, I noted the difference in their countenances. Where once there was a weary, anxious, spirit, these women were now relaxed and peaceful. They noted how since the training there was more peace in the homes. They had adjusted how they treated the children – from quick and harsh discipline, to sitting and talking through situations to find out what the real issues were before deciding how to best address them. Children who had been labeled “difficult”, now knew they could approach the caregivers and be vulnerable and receive help and comfort. “We draw them close,” said one caregiver. “We used to push them away.”
“Ah, this training has helped us so much,” was repeated often throughout the conversation. Other mothers joined us and we had a time of prayer together. We reminded them of where they had been and pointed out how God had brought them so much farther. And that, because He is a good Father, He would continue to “add” to them.
We drove away so encouraged. The wind continued to stir up dust all around us, but nothing can dull a face that has found peace and hope.