So I know that we've been in Zambia for almost 7 weeks, but today I had my first real day in Zambia. I went out this afternoon w/Luke Whitfield from our team to visit people at Kanyama Clinic and then to pray with a family in Chibolya. The afternoon started with a trip to Garden compound to pick up pastor Joseph Zulu. While waiting along the main road into Garden, a group of men started yelling at us. At first I would have guessed their posture was hostile. But Luke has a real gift with turning situations around with people. His tools – local Nyanja slang and being able to greet people from different tribes in their language. It's amazing to see how a couple of well-used phrases will open up opportunities to talk with people.
From Garden we headed into Kanyama to visit and pray with people suffering of TB, malaria, various infections. Even though we have done various forms of ministry and outreach, this was far past my experience and I was heartbroken praying with parents over their sick children, and wives over their sick (and probably dying) husbands. The people received us with grace and thanks. A gentleman prayed to receive Christ and got information from one of pastors we were with to attend his church! (A detailed description of hospitals/clinics will be the subject of an upcoming blog on infrastructure in Zambia. But believe me when I say that it was lacking much of what we would consider necessary for the treatment of patients with serious, deadly, and infectious disease.)
After that we rolled in to the Chibolya compound. I was a bit nervous, as most Zambians in Lusaka avoid this slum like the plague. There's way too many stories about what happens in the areas that even the police fear to tread. The story I heard most recently was that a minibus headed to City Market/Soweto Market, just kept going right past the marketplace and turned into Chibolya where a group of men were waiting and the pulled everyone out of the bus, robbing and beating everyone on the bus. SO... If you're going to go somewhere like this, go with someone with a gift to talk to anyone. Driving into the compound all the kids start yelling and pointing at you, “Mzungu!” Here we stopped and prayed with a young husband and wife who were pregnant again after two miscarriages. Again she was experiencing complications and there seemed to be some witchcraft stuff happening with her uncle who was visiting her in her dreams and causing fear and suffering. We prayed with them for about an hour and then spent another hour talking to a group of men sitting outside the barbershop drinking shake-shake. Before we left, Luke was praying with them too. Overall, it was a great day – but soooo much to process! I wish I could just bring my camera everywhere and take pictures for you so we can see what we see, so pray for my language skills, otherwise whipping out a camera is not a smart move!