Thursday, June 28, 2007

Life in Livingstone

We are spending our last night having dinner at our favorite pub in the southern part of Zambia...

The last two days have been filled with all sorts and different types of experiences...yesterday afternoon we had the chance to visit with some beautiful ladies who have had incredibly difficult lives here in Zambia...

We met with over 20 girls who have been involved in the commercial sex trade here in Livingstone...just about every single one of them was an orphan or a widow who entered into this profession to try and provide food for their children, siblings, or own bodies...a local pastor we met has partnered with a program funded by World Vision to help bring these girls out of this lifestyle and to invite them to experience the love of Jesus...he is an incredible man who has helped to provide them with counseling, a place to live, and some job training so they can have a skill and make some income...these conversations were unbelievably powerful and these personal stories broke our hearts and caused us to deal with things we never see in our worlds...and yet we immediately thought to the closeness and care Jesus had for prostitutes in the NT...and we shared together how our hearts were filled anew with the true passion of a loving Savior...

I had the chance to go into the two room home of a young lady named Josephine whose parents had died and she was divorced by her husband with three children many years ago...and she went into prostitution because she literally had nothing she could do to survive...and then one day she heard about this program from a friend and began to look at it...she began to receive training in how to make clothes and she even met a man who over years convinced her that he was different and would love her and married him...and yesterday I saw her making a shirt for a woman in town with her new sewing machine and met her brand new one month old daughter...

There is perhaps no more difficult situation than I think you could ever find in our world...we walked away with questions and hearts full of a broken spirit...and yet God is still at work in Africa, even in these places of most incredible need...and as we prayed for each of these women by name last night I was so moved by the fact that here were Wheaton Academy students from the suburbs praying for commercial sex workers on the other side of the world with passion and care like we would our good friends...and I believe we are living out the Scriptures in such a new way...

And as we have seen all the pain and heartache and brokenness here, we have ended seeing Victoria Falls and all the animals of Africa up close...and I am reminded simply that God is Creator, He is Ruler, He is Here in our midst...and Africa is an amazingly beautiful place with wonderful people who need Him like we need Him and who long to have all the fullness of life Jesus promised in John 10:10...and that is the story have seen and will tell...

We travel back to Lusaka after a visit to the market in the AM...pray for our health and safety as we spend our last day in Zambia...it has been a physical and emotional week here in Africa...

With a heart that loves Zambians and you all...

CHIP