In June, 17 people from around Lifelink churches in UK and USA went on a mission trip to Lusaka, Zambia for two weeks. We had representatives from churches in Cambridge, Bishops Stortford, Dunstable, Rugby, Birmingham, Liverpool and London in the UK, and Chicago and Lansing (Michigan) in the US. Our ages ranged from 18 to 60. We didn’t come with any great skill or ability, but a desire to serve the churches in Zambia in any way we could.
Our initial aim had been to help Hudson Luwi and Fountain of Life churches in any way that we could. However, in the two days before we arrived, Alan Scotland, Ian Rawley, Barry Fitzpatrick and John Leitzel had been running a conference for the leaders of six church networks in Zambia and Zimbabwe that were looking for closer relationship with Lifelink churches. As a result of the conference, we finished up working with the other two church groups in Lusaka as well as Hudson’s network, and one of the Zimbabwean groups even sent us there of their youth group to help us at our children’s camp.
The first few days were spent immersing ourselves in the local culture, learning to eat nshima, the local staple food, and working with three different church groups in Lusaka. We taught in two schools run by the local churches, we visited a local hospital and ministered with the patients and staff, we helped to redecorate a childrens’ home run by Africa Enterprise Trust, and we made plans for our weekend teenagers camp.
Over a long bank holiday weekend, we ran a camp for around 55 teenagers. They came from each of the three churches we were helping, and some were orphans from the Africa Enterprise Trust children’s home. Although most of us slept in chalet accommodation, all the teaching and eating at the camp was outdoors. We worshipped, we taught, we played sports, we swam, we went for safari walks and saw giraffes and zebras, we had some social evenings, and everyone had a good time. 10 of the children became Christians and many others had their faith stretched or made recommitments.
We then spent a couple of days in Livingstone seeing Victoria Falls, and then returned to Lusaka for the last weekend, where we helped to redecorate the Fountain of Life church building, and then we were able to participate in Sunday meetings at two of the local churches, with many of them bringing word and testimony.
As a team we were stretched, we were operating beyond the limits of our natural ability, and we were all able to testify to God changing us over the two weeks. It was humbling to work alongside the local churches, to seek to serve them, to be motivated by their evident faith despite their limited resources. God was clearly at work with the church networks in Zambia and Zimbabwe where we have relationships, and it was exciting and a privilege to be around helping them as they seek to put their own relationships and working together on a stronger basis.
If you get a chance to go on a future mission trip – take it – it will change your life!
David Brown and Sam Rawley, team leaders