Zambia used to be a pastel-colored, oddly-shaped polygon on a map of Africa. It emerged from the page for me in the summer of 2010 and now stands as a three-dimensional, vibrant land with real people with deep faith. Gentle rolling savanas with scattered trees surround the airport and the capital of Lusaka. Mountains rise in the distance, Victoria Falls roar in the south. The lack of call phone towers and power lines leave the landscape unmarked for miles and miles. Exotic (to me) birds and lizards abound. Monkeys hang out in the trees, impala and zebra graze while giraffe munch on tree tops. Buildings now spring up in my mental map. I recall the market with its cinderblock walls and rebar. Colorful chitangas, jewelry, carvings, beadwork, and handbags emerge overflowing the map!
Faces now fill my Texas-sized polygon: Every Orphan’s Hope Director Margaret Harawe’s embrace of orphans and her heart for prayer and transformation; Esther’s catalog knowledge of each MFH child and their needs; our gracious and daredevil bus drivers; Patricia and Victor caring for our every need at the guest house; Bob and Mary in love with the land and people of Zambia and whose greatest desires are to remain within the Lord’s will; the people of Kalinaglinga and surrounding neighborhoods who welcomed our team into their small homes (offering their few chairs to our team member; everything was swept and neat amidst their meager, dimly-lit surroundings), and the children … all of the children. Their faces slideshow in my mind. Our short-term mission changed my life forever.