In just a few short weeks, a group of us from Connect Church will begin a long journey to a small community, perched on the edge of a copper mining town along the northern border of Zambia. Mulenga, in and of itself, is not terribly unique, which is unfortunate, seeing that those that live here are struggling in poverty, many with health concerns and lack of food security, day to day - wondering where the next meal will come from. It's not a particularly attractive place, perched on a dirty hill leading down to a polluted river. Overcrowded. Unserviced. Unrecognized as part of the city and therefore without much to offer it's thousands of residents. Poor. So poor. And yet, it is where some of the most beautiful and blatant acts of love I've ever witnessed are performed, day after day after day. Not by benefactors or overseas volunteers, but by men and women who themselves live in and amongst the poor, and are in fact, the poor themselves - though they really do a life rich with love and generosity and caring. The care workers in Mulenga, Zambia are undoubtedly living out the calling of God on their lives. They are practicing true religion as expressed in James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The care workers in Mulenga are absolutely inundated every day by the needs and suffering of those around them, their neighbours, their families, and even those they don't know in their community. Every day, these faithful women and men serve God by serving those who are in distress, or grief, or fear. They walk through the community, visiting the homes of those who are sick and bring comfort and prayer. Sometimes they are the only ones who step into the homes of those who are dying. They visit children who live either on their own or with care givers such as a grandma, aunt or neighbour, and make sure that the children are receiving at least one nutritious meal per day and have access to an education through the community school that they support. Children become increasingly less vulnerable in their communities when those that would prey on them see that they are being visited and watched out for by adults.
So, many have asked us what we will be doing in Zambia. We will be walking alongside these care workers, entering the homes of those that are sick, or grieving, or alone, and learning from them. We don't come to teach, but to encourage. We don't come to build or bring stuff or impart wisdom. We are the students of those that have chosen to practice living out of love every day. We will continue to build the relationships that have been started over the past six years of Saskatoon's involvement in this community and we will return with their stories, that they want to share with the international church and community. It will change us and it will stretch us to emulate the kind of love and serving that we see...and that will change Connect and our city as well. We ask that you please be praying for us as we go, and if you feel that you would like to, feel free to make a donation to Hands at Work with either Saskatoon Zambia Team 2014 or Mulenga, Zambia as the designation @ www.handsatwork.org
Those who are going are:
Thanks in advance for praying with us as we go and connect with Hands At Work in Africa.