Usually, when I travel somewhere new, I go through this phase where everything is new and exciting. The first few weeks are always the most exciting. Then, after a few weeks, I begin to miss American food and start to dream of ice cream, cheese, and sausage. What I found different about Zambia is that jumping in and connecting didn't happen so fast. Showing up and starting life here came very casually for me and with little excitement. But, unlike in some previous experiences, I didn't go through a “honeymoon phase” and then have everything slowly wear off on me. Rather, the longer I stay here, the more excited I get and the more sad I am to go home (not that I don't miss those of you at home). There are so many thing to get done and to experience and I just can't do it all in the time I have here. But, I am thankful for the time I have been given.
On a typical week here we have Mondays in Livingstone to do as we like: shop, walk around town, rest, etc. On Tuesdays, we prep for going out to the villages. Wednesday we pack up and go to the villages where we stay until Sunday afternoon. Every week looks a little different for me but has a general pattern. One of the days, a few other guys and I will walk out to a small farm village about an hour and half out. One year ago, there were no believers in this village, but, a little over a year ago, a Zambian man by the name of Joshua began working with Loves Door. Joshua began walking out to this bush village several time a week and meeting with those who wanted to hear about Jesus. Now, a year later, there are about thirty believers (the majority of the village) and the people of this village are beginning to reach out to other villages. To be honest, I feel like we have little to offer the people of this village; I mostly go there for encouragement.
A couple days a week, Brandon (one of the interns from Oregon) and I work with a man named Ignatius, teaching him carpentry. Ignatius is a man from the village of Cumenyana, about a fifteen minuet walk from the base. He is now a believer and a leader in the church after a radical transformation. He used to be a heavy drinker, and his wife left him. Shortly after she left, he became sick and was bedridden for months. He never got out of bed even to go to the bathroom, and he became a cripple laying there. Eventually, some Zambians from Loves Door came into his house and prayed for him and God healed him. But nearly starving to death still left some effects on his body. Although he walks and rides a bike now, one of his legs has shrunk shorter than the other, making moving awkward and slow. Also, two of his fingers on his right hand are bent in towards his palm and can't be extended. He has twin children that his wife left with him and no income. Loves Door enrolled his children in their children home, and they are now being cared for. But Ignatius is ready to get back on his own feet. Despite these limitations he is a fast learner and rarely makes the same mistake twice. When I was teaching him how to make a certain fold up chair, he picked up really fast and even pointed out a few things that I had missed. For a man with the disabilities that he has, he is very ambitious.
The rest of my time is spent doing little chores, playing soccer, hanging out at the children home, connecting with the team, and visiting people in the villages. I am very blessed to be here, connecting with the people that I'm around, and experiencing the lives and stories that they have.