During my time here in Zambia I have had the opportunity to travel around this beautiful country to visit several different areas and people groups. In my visits to these different areas one recurring and common theme has become evident to me; Poverty:
The sad story for most people here is that they live in poverty, regardless of their working situation or stature in the community. The gap between the wealthy and the poor may not be as great as it is in America, but it is certainly more evident. Driving through a town like my home town of Ndola you can see two very distinctly different lifestyles. On the one hand you have the successful bussinessman, architect, congresman, etc. who lives in a 3 bedroom two bath house with 10 foot high walls and a gate with armed guards outside. In the States this would be fairly modest living, hardly considered extravagant, and the norm for most modern American families. The middle class as some would say. Here in Zambia, however, these are the guys that hold the top 98% of wealth in the entire country. Just down the street, or in some cases next door to these "mansions" are the typical African mud huts with two very small rooms, a pit latrine out back for restroom facilitys, and a family of 12 (mother, father, children, grand parents, and orphaned relatives included) living inside with just enough money every month to buy food and that is it. No TV, no cellphone, no computer, no queen size bed and fluffy pillows (yes, I am dreaming of sleeping as I write this), just food, and not a steak with french fries on the side and a Coca Cola to wash it all down (yes, I am quite hungry as well), just some Nshima, which is a bland porridge made of Maize and some vegetables if you are lucky. Yet, these same Zambian people living in poverty day in and day out still serve the Lord faithfully, giving back a portion of what He has blessed them with, without failure.
Now, for all of you back home, Zambia is roughly the same size as Texas, and as we all know, it takes some time to travel from one side of the State to the other. Therefore, it goes without saying that I have had some time to reflect during my travels of late, and one there is one thing that I have come to realize during this last week. The Lord pours out his blessings on us because of the way that we live our lives, in a way that is pleasing to him. These blessings are not, in and of themselves a bad thing. After all, they are from God himself, but the realization that I have come to over the last week is that he bestows these blessing and this abundance on our lives so that we can turn around and pour that back out on someone else!
Take, for example, my new friend Jackson who takes time out of his Saturday every weekend to go out into the villages and minister to the children through the coordination of a soccer game, with real soccer balls (most Zambian kids use a ball made of string) that he spends his own money on, and then sits down and tells them about the Jesus. Just a little thing like that can have a far reaching impact on someones life, and is not near as much of a sacrifice for most of us, as it is for Jackson on his meager salary of 3.00$ per day. I would like to encourage each of you to look for ways you can use the blessings that you have been given to serve others less fortunate around you.
A specific prayer request that I have is for the Zambian Presidential Elections that happen here tomorrow. It is a huge deal for theses people to chooses a new president, and everyone is very excited in their campaigning for their candidate of choice. It is an interesting time to be in this country. My prayer is that the elections would go over peacefully, and without corruption. Also that they could set a precedent for other African nations to fight corruption in their democratic systems, so that the people can have the candidate representing them that is the right man for the job. I pray that the Zambian people would seek the will of God in choosing the next president of Zambia, and that, no matter the outcome, they would remain a peace loving people!
Know that I love you all, and that, as my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for you daily!