We've been in the city for the last three nights staying with Tim and Andrea Hilty and their two beautiful children, Ireen and Ian. Tim is the director of Action Zambia (AZ) and both were heavily involved in developing the HIV/AIDS education and care-giving program called C.R.O.S.S. (Churches Ready to Overcome Stigma and Silence). They are absolutely wonderful people and great hosts. I can't really say enough about their honesty, thoughtfulness, and desire to serve the poorest of the poor in urban Lusaka - to the glory of God. We have been having so much fun just talking and sharing our stories, experiences and faith. Today we move to the Allen's house and I feel very sad to leave the Hilty's.
So far our trip has been amazing! We were front-loaded with a lot of easy stuff and were eased into the realities of Lusaka. Sunday and Monday at Ciyanjano (the farm), and then the Hiltys, which is in a beautiful neighborhood with many Zambians, a school and an orphanage, and a few muzungus (white people). On Tuesday we drove out into the countryside and went to a day-lodge safari place and saw lions and zebras and Tricia rode an elephant!
I feel like yesterday our real trip started. We went to a compound (the Zambian word for slum) called Kabwata. We were in the "middle class" section of the neighborhood which look similar to the worst projects in urban America. We met with John and Eta, the Zambians who run the CROSS program now. What a huge blessing. Please pray for them as they teach the Zambian church to love and care for those with HIV/AIDS.
Soon I'll be posting more about what we learned yesterday, but now we're about to leave for a day of adventure. Please pray for us today. We are going to the heart of the compounds today. I have not even began to explain what we have seen so far, but let me tell you this: when we drove through the edge of a few compounds yesterday I felt the deepest fear I have felt in my life. I thought that if Tim stopped the car and told me to get out, I would have begged him to keep driving until I was back home. That's where we're headed today. But I know that I can do all things through the God who strengthens me. And there is this - whenever I feel discouraged or afraid here, I meet a Zambian believer. They are amazing! What a blessing to Christianity in a totally new context. They are the most gracious and friendly people I have met.
Thanks for your prayer and support.