The Coffee – The coffee in my mug is from the Zambean Coffee Company. I picked this up from the grocery store by our guest house in Ndola, Zambia. It is a medium roast with low acidity. The coffee is not overly complex, the simple flavors complimented my day of rest recovering from the jet lag.
The Trip –After some long flights, we landed and Zambia and dropped our gear off at the Hazeview Lodge. The staff was pleasant and accommodating. The food and lodging were excellent. At most of the meals, the BCA team did devotions and testimonies. It was encouraging to hear from so many faith-filled people. We went and exchanged our US Dollars for Zambian Kwacha and went to pick up food and supplies from a local grocery store. There I picked up the essentials: coffee. I also walked around the store seeing what it had to offer. The store had a lot of the same food and produce that is present at American grocery stores.
It was an awesome experience getting to walk around the grounds of the school and see the buildings and classrooms. After hearing and talking about the school for years it was rewarding to see everything in person. There are currently three classroom buildings at the George campus. I got to listen to stories from one of the founders on the trip about how the organization has grown from meeting in dirt fields to this full facility. It was truly amazing to hear how BCA and their ministry has been blessed. God has truly equipped and provided for them to serve.
Meeting and spending time with the students had, and will continue to have, a big impact on me. The students are full of joy and hope. They do not have a lot of the luxuries we have in the United States, but they find happiness in simplicity. It was refreshing to see children not bogged down with the distraction of electronics and enjoying the company of their fellow students and friends. We played a lot of games outside with the kids such as soccer, tag, red rover, and duck, duck, goose. The BCA team and the teachers all joined in on the games and it created a great sense of togetherness. Talking with some of the experienced BCA team members, it was remarkable to see the happiness and attitude change brought about in the kids by providing food, love, and the gospel to them. One of the highlights of the trip was getting to meet the two students that I sponsor to attend the school: Michael and Harriet. Both were shy at first, but after we spent some time together, they warmed up to me and it was awesome to learn some of their personalities. They are both sweet and kind children who cherish the education they get from the school. I am happy to assist them in obtaining food, clothing, competitive education, and a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus.
The students were excited to show us the village where they live. They took us by the hand and led us through their village of George. I had a lot of culture shock. There is so much need in the village. Most of the village lives in desolate conditions. There is not a lot of food and resources to go around. The smiles and happiness that was present on the faces of the students were absent on the faces of a lot of the kids in the village. Their faces showed despair and a want for something better. It was both a shocking and humbling experience. We heard additional stories about how the school has helped the village besides providing education and food to village kids. Before Bethlehem Christian Academy, there was no clean running water in the village. The school dug a well and installed water pumps that are utilized by the George compound. The school also hosts events where they cook a meal and invite the village to attend. One of these meals occurred while we were there. I was able to assist in the cooking of the food and watch as hundreds of villagers lined up to get the rare protein-rich meal. I was happy to see the school providing for the village, but it was emotional to see the need. The teachers also took us into the village to meet the parents of some of the students. We got to meet with them, talk with them, encourage them, and pray for them.
While there the BCA team and the teachers put on a vacation bible school. The school was out on break but both students and teachers showed up for it. I spent the mornings teaching lessons and playing games with the fourth and fifth grade students. The kids were excited to be there and asked a lot of thought-provoking questions such as: Who created God? and Why did Jesus not save his own life at his crucifixion? I enjoyed explaining these things to the children and discussing the gospel message with them. We also did some crafts and played games. The kids had a great time with these tasks and the teachers had a fun time participating. I learned that I am neither crafty nor athletic enough to keep up with the kids who were experts at most games we played. I enjoyed the craft and game time because it provided additional chances to spend time and get to know the students and teachers.
While in Zambia we also got the privilege of experiencing some wildlife at the Nsobe Game Camp. This habitat is home to antelopes, deer, zebras, giraffes and many other animals. We got to eat a meal on the grounds and I had a venison hotpot meal that was cooked to perfection. We were there until sunset and got to experience the sun setting over the landscape.
The trip had a huge impact on me and on the last day, I was not ready to leave the school and the students. The students were sad to see us go and many cried as they said their goodbyes and showed their gratitude for us coming. It was an emotional day and I found myself tearing up when the kids who I had spent time with wanted final hugs and held my hands the entire time. Upon leaving, the sadness of leaving turned into encouragement to work hard in my role with BCA and advocate further for sponsorships for others to gain the same hope that these students have. Meeting the students, teachers, and my fellow team members was a great experience. I look forward to when I can go back to Zambia and see the students again
If you would like to learn more about Bethlehem Christian Academy, the work that they do for children in Africa, or learn about ways that you can help; visit their website: bcaministries.com
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