Monday, March 12, 2012

Zambia: From an Underdog to a Hero and a Winner

Two months from today I will be with some great friends from CU in the marvelous place called Zambia...and I can't wait to get there...I've spent a good portion of my morning getting materials and details ready for our big trip...a surprise coffee with our partner from Zambia last week here in west MI only heightened my anticipation for the chance to go back to see friends, make new ones, and see what God has in store for us on this particular journey to Africa...

I can't wait to purchase some new Zambia soccer every trip deal for me...and especially exciting this trip after the biggest soccer victory in the country's of my 2012 highlights will be that memory of Trey and I watching that feed online in our Zambia jerseys...and then Trey ripping his shirt off for a run thru the house when their final penalty kick went into the net...

My friend Lawrence wrote this great piece below the morning after their win...and I love its connection between faith and sport...and how these events truly can help change history...the power of the beautiful game rings true once again...I am counting the days till our 2 matches on the dirt fields in NDOLA and KAKOLO...

Today millions of Zambians will welcome the victorious national soccer team from Gabon. Together, the entire nation will offer a resounding and a united salute to the national flag as we proudly sing “Stand and sing of Zambia...” under which the 24 citizens played in the African Cup of Nations-and won the AFCON Cup.

This generation of champions has turned around the fortunes of Zambia. We are not victims, underdogs or losers. We are victors, heroes and winners. This team has earned Zambia respect in the soccer world and has caused many to take a second look at their world map. These ordinary but courageous and spirited young men have given us a legacy which future generations will be inspired to emulate. At a time when too many of our institutions run by Zambians have let us down, the winning of the African Cup is a testimony that when people are daring, self-sacrificing and work as a team they do achieve much. We must also thank the coach and the board of Football Association of Zambia for helping the team work together to stay focused on the mission at hand.

As I consider this achievement, I am reminded of the Zambian national team that perished on the shores of Libreville where the Africa Cup final took place. It is easy for those who do not know Christ to credit this victory to the spirits of our compatriots who died in that fateful plane crash in 1993. To do this is to miss a wonderful opportunity to learn lessons of endurance, perseverance, discipline and hard work from this humble team.

John Wesley said, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the kingdom of God on earth.” As Wesley states God work is not for those who are wise according to worldly standard but those who are committed to His purpose and devoted to His work. Co-workers, what we have here at Jubilee Centre is a team of men and women who are coming alongside church leaders encouraging them to yearn for communities, cities and nation that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:13). Our success is not going to come because of our wisdom but because of God’s transforming us into his people in spite of our common pedigree. Our status excludes us all boasting in heritage, achievement, or membership in a particular church.

As we celebrate this victory let us put into practice the lessons we have learned from it. They were underdogs, but they worked hard and it paid off. Paul tells us, “But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him… “Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1Cor.1:27-31). May this victory inspire us to grow in our faithfulness to Jesus.

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