Why YXE and where in the world is NDA?
Connect Church YXE has those interesting little call letters behind our name for a reason. It's not Roman numerals. It's not some Latin or Greek abbreviation. It's Saskatoon's airport code. It identifies us as being on a journey, they are the letters you'll see if you were to book a ticket or mail a package to Saskatoon.
One of the things I'm most excited about in regards to Connect, is the opportunity
to get people involved in the lives of those that are in great need. I love seeing people learn more about themselves and God by serving others. Over the years, I have figured out something about myself and the way God wired me. I love the opportunity to get to know people and their story and to just hang with them while their stories evolve. In the past few years, I have had the privilege of being involved in the stories of a small community in Zambia. It began as simply as finding an organization for a friend to serve with when she finished her teaching degree. It has evolved into the deep and involved relationships between my friends in their community who serve out of the little they have, to give to those who have even less. My friends, who I now call family, in Zambia are care workers. Volunteers that have so little themselves but have started with what they had and cared for the orphaned, the widowed and the sick in their community. Over the past years, I have visited them several times with teams, alone and even with my husband and two sons in tow. Every time I learn so much about humility and service, steadfastness and generosity. I have watched the same women and men caring for their neighbours and community for six years now. They get tired. They get sick. They have worries enough of their own. They don't have excess to give out of.
They walk miles. They carry and feed children with no families. They check on those who are dying or sick and unable to care for themselves. They visit children and stand up for them in their community to ensure that they aren't taken advantage of or abused. Many of the care workers have children and families of their own that they struggle to feed and care for. They don't give up. They don't use boredom as an excuse to do something else. They've invested their lives. The returns in the immediate are funerals and hunger, suspicion and abuses. They are witnesses to abuses and neglects, injustices and illness. Yet, they have hope. They know who it is they serve when they walk miles in the heat and dirt, into the darkened room where lies a young man or woman in their last days or into a yard filled with children living alone in a room where the rent has run out and there are no parents to provide it.
NDA is the airport code for Ndola, Zambia. It is a northern city on the southern border of the DRC in the copperbelt region of Zambia. It is where Dean and I will land on March 2nd. We're going to spend a little over a week walking with these care workers, hearing their stories and investing ourselves into them. We'll be the ones returning with renewed spirits, having seen the beautiful feet of those that bring good news in the communities of northern Zambia. We'll be working with Hands at Work, one of the global organizations that we are going to be partnering with as Connect Church. We have stated that we, as a church, are going to place a high priority on serving those with the greatest needs. We're going to do this locally and globally. Hands at Work identifies communities with the least amount of capacity to help themselves. Communities that the governments have written off as not worthy of investment, infrastructure or even governing. Some refer to these communities as not even being on the "Aid Ladder" and therefore not even registering on the scale of those that are able to receieve help. Most government and non government organizations evaluate those that they give aid to with an eye to a return on the investment. Hands at Work identifies communities based on those that don't meet that criteria because we believe that that is where Jesus would walk and serve. Hands mobilizes the local African churches to find volunteers to serve and support their neighbours and communities. Hands also mobilizes the church outside of Africa to support the church within Africa to do that. The church outside of Africa, partnering with churches in Africa, to reach those that are the most vulnerable. It is beautiful in its simplicity and its effectiveness. It doesn't require a lot more than being Jesus to those who need Him.
Dean and I are going to represent the church outside of Africa. We don't have a project or an agenda other than for our brothers and sisters in Africa to know that they are not alone in their suffering or service.