Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day of Joy in Kakolo

Hello again from warm and sunny Zambia! It is a beautiful time of year here and we enjoyed being part of a Sunday morning service in a local village church and even sang a song called "everlasting love" with dancing and motions for the people of the church...we also had the chance on Sunday to dedicate a new building that will soon be finished called the Kakolo Good News Club which we have funded...it will serve as an inter-denominational site for evangelism, discipleship, and counseling for all the children of the vilage...there are close to 1000 children in this small community...we spent the afternoon relaxing, either sleeping or heading to the Kitwe country club (not really what you are thinking) where we 8 guys played golf with 2 clubs and 2 balls and several girls got tennis lessons from a member of the Zambia national tennis team...we finished Sunday night with a lengthy and passionate discussion about the church, both here in Africa, and what this group of students thinks and needs to do to lead and carry out its mission in the next generation...and we discussed our need to use our gifts and resources after hearing a message about the parable of the talents in the church service...

But Monday was truly a day like no other on this trip...it was a day spent fully in Kakolo Village where we have focused our Zambia Project efforts for the last six years...as our bus rolls thru the village literally hundreds of kids coming running out of their huts yelling "DO IT" (we taught them this phrase in 2004 and it has truly stuck!) and chasing our bus toward the schoolhouse...we spent all morning celebrating and praising God for what He has done to bring new life and transformation to the lives and future of this community...After hearing the whole student body (now up to 799 pupils in a two room block structure!) sing the Zambia national anthem they began to do a traditional Zambian dance of thansgiving along with songs written about praising the Lord and testifying what has happened to them...a group of girls and Corbett responded with their own dance along with a special gang of male helpers to the song Beautiful Day by Bono...only in Africa do we get the chance to dance like we do here as we all joined in a dance of celebration...

We also had the chance to meet with the head educational official for this part of Zambia who came for this celebration...both he and the headmaster at the school shared their vision and need for a larger facility for this ever-growing group of kids who want to learn, and we were thrilled to tell them face to face that we have raised over $250,000 towards the buidling of several new blocks and teacher homes in the village...and we then spent close to 2 hours individually giving the school supply bags we built as a school over Homecoming Week to each of the students at the school personally...when they heard that they were going to get these bags, they erupted with a cheer that brought me to tears as I thought about the blessing of being able to know and meet the needs of others and bring them such great joy...it was fun for the rest of the day to see these orange bags draped over the backs of hundreds of kids walking around the village when last year they received $50 as a school for school supplies...

We had another incredible moment as we cut a ribbon and dedicated a new submersible water pump station that will supply water for the school and health clinic we have funded as well right across the field from the school and the individual clean water needs of families in the village...it holds 10,000 liters and Ben Souders was able to cut the ribbon and reveal a sign announcing the new water site given by Wheaton Academy after his brother Scott and several other faculty and alums from WA climbed Mount Ranier to raise funds and make this "water for life" project now fully become a reality as the Zambian and USA flag both flew over the new water site...

And finally after lunch we were able to play a soccer match on the beautiful Kakolo pitch they built by hand and have named the Chip Huber field...pretty cool to have a field named after you in rural Africa, to be honest...and the WA United posted their first win in Zambia since Jan 2006 with a 3-2 win over the Kakolo Rangers...I got my first goal on this field with help from my former all-american player Jason VanderVeen and Tim Streets and Kyle Pilcher also tallied goals and Ben Souders made a few brilliant saves in net for our team...there is nothing like playing this game that the Zambians love so very deeply in their own land with them for a soccer player...as we give out a copy of the New Testament and our jerseys and a game ball after the matches it is truly a moment of unbridled joy and connection as we use the gifts God has given us and connect passions with our brothers in Africa...the girls also tied the Kakolo team in netball and are getting better at this game they didn't know before they came to Africa...

And above all in Kakolo it is about the children...children who have lost parents, may have one outfit of clothes, and who eat perhaps one meal of enshema (corn meal cooked over a fire) each day...every time I look around I see a WA alum or current student hloding a child in their arms or having both hands held by kids as the walk across the African dirt...these children are the hope and the future of Kakolo, of Zambia, of Africa, of our global world...and we believe without a shadow of a doubt that we are following in Jesus' commands and desires and passions as we love them, educate them, feed them, hug them, and pray for and with them...the Kingdom of God has come to Kakolo thru God's Holy Spirit and the lives of a bunch of high school kids on the other side of the globe...and when you walk and run and revel in its presence like we did today, there is simply no place you would rather be and nothing you would rather do than experience this life in this moment...

We are dirty, tired and so very blessed beyond measure in Zambia as we go grab pizza tonite together...we love you and thank you for being part of allowing us to meet God and His children on a day like this Monday in Africa...

Praising God for this team and the legacy of hundreds and hundreds of WA students we represented today...

CHIP