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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)

TITLE: Heavenly Prelude
By Dawn Thomason


Our itinerary for the first week in Zambia consisted of visiting local villages, schools and orphanages. Never had we seen such poor living conditions. No plumbing, indoor or out. Young and old alike fetched water in a plethora of containers ranging from rusted tin cans to plastic cooking oil vats. The drinking water presented a stark contrast to its chlorinated counterpart in the West. If not boiled properly, deadly water-born diseases could be contracted, particularly malaria. Bathroom facilities were mere cement slabs with holes cut in the middle, the most elaborate, surrounded by a wooden shed. Food in the villages was sparse. The daily staple for many families, a couple of pieces of fruit divided among the members.

Our next stop, the schoolyards surrounded by cement walls sporting shards of glass like top hats. Bare cement floors greeted us in the cold, sullen classrooms. The only light provided was by the rays of sunshine that managed to protrude through the windows. Of course, there was the sunlight of the joy on the children’s faces. Smiling faces. The entire classroom stood as you entered and greeted you, refusing to take their seat again until asked to do so. Students listened intently as we shared the Word of God. Tracts were not only excitedly accepted, but read in our presence. Scores of children accepted Jesus Christ at each school we visited. We cried tears – not out of sorrow for their lack of computers and jungle gyms, but for the joy they possessed in spite of their low estate. Perhaps we even cried tears for ourselves in the realization that an excess of possessions can marry an absence of true joy. We cried for the children in the United States who no longer respect teachers or authority. There were no guns present in the Zambian classrooms, only brooms to sweep the excess dust from the floors before the students were seated for the day’s lesson. If the children of the United States could take a field trip to the Zambian schools, perhaps they would see for themselves what they are missing as a result of rebellion and belligerence in the classroom. Not to mention the absence of Christ.

Week two of the mission trip was spent constructing a staff house at the local Bible College. Brick by brick we labored together, American and Zambian alike, working to the glory of God. The thought that the very building we were constructing would one day provide shelter for a future pastor was humbling. With every slap of mortar and swish of the trowel, we were a part of God’s work in Zambia. The women at the compound spent countless hours preparing meals for the newly appointed bricklayers. Hot porridge and boiled eggs was the breakfast of God’s champions. Boiled chicken and deep fried fish, head and tail intact, were daily lunch and dinner entrees. Huge pots of inshima (a Zambian staple made with meal and water; similar in consistency to mashed potatoes lacking enough milk and butter) cooked over open fires, meticulously stirred with two-foot wooden spoons. Locals and foreigners alike ate inshima with their fingers, enjoying the dipping sauce consisting of boiled tomatoes, onion, and herbs.

Fellowship was sweet, not only around the table, but also under the thatched roof hut following the evening meal. We gathered together to sing praises to God and hear the Word preached by a national pastor, sometimes requiring an interpreter. The Zambian women provided music, and even taught their American sisters songs in the Tonga language.

Our last day in Zambia had arrived. We were exhausted both physically and emotionally. From the base of the mountain, the climb seemed insurmountable. However, the entire mission journey had been a press toward a higher prize. During the 30 minute climb, Philippians 4:13 was my verse of choice, “I CAN do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (KJV)

Upon reaching the top of Kazemba Mountain, we could view God’s masterpiece, the college campus below. The 40 pastors and 17 missionaries joined hands as one family in Christ and prayed. Tears flowed freely at the wonder that God had chosen us for His team of workman. As we finished corporate prayer, small groups and individuals began to pour their hearts out before God. While different languages were being spoken, joy flooded my soul at the realization that God understood everyone.

The fellowship on Kazemba Mountain is a mere harbinger of the fellowship of believers in heaven. To God be the glory!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/18/07
What a rewarding trip that must have been!

In your 2nd paragraph, you slip into second person for a moment (in the sentence beginning "The entire classroom..."). And much of this is written with passive verbs--try punching them up a bit for a more engaging read.

Great title!
LauraLee Shaw10/20/07
To God be the glory indeed! Interesting read.
Donna Powers 10/21/07
Wow this must have been an amazing journey! I enjoyed this testimony very much. Nicely written.
Josiah Kane10/22/07
Though I have never been to Zambia, I loved your description of the slow pace, food, friendliness of the people, and requirements for careful living in most southern African nations. I also liked the fellowship during work. There is just one problem: Dysentery and cholera are serious water borne diseases; malaria is only spread by mosquitoes.
Sheri Gordon10/25/07
I really, really like this entry. The story is inspirational, and the writing is very good. Wonderful job with the topic.