After a much longer wait than I would have liked, I'm returning to Zambia in August.
Here in America when we hear about HIV/AIDS, slavery, human trafficking, orphans and every other poverty-related issue, we want to throw our hands in the air and our heads in the sand. On top of all the problems we have in our own country, who can do a thing for anyone across the world?
That is the tension I lived with for several years. We cared very much about the orphan and the widow, about the plight of the poor here in America and abroad- but the problems seemed so large we had no idea where to start.
Whenever someone asked Mother Teresa what they could do to help her mission in Calcutta, she simply said, "Come and see."
In December 2010 I went to Zambia with Poetice for the first time. You can read a series of posts about it here.
That experience was life-altering, and has led our family on an amazing journey ever since. I went and I saw. I held children the ages of my own, children who've never, ever had enough to eat. I heard story after story after story. I listened and brought stories back giving a voice to the voiceless. I could never, ever be the same after that experience.
I was completely wrecked and filled with joy for it. I wrote about it, I brought back images, and in the two years since, many of my friends have experienced Africa as well. Those of us from The Ransom who went on that very first trip were pioneers of sorts, and brought Zambia back with us. We shared it, and now dozens more have accepted the invitation to come and see- and it's wrecked their lives as well.
In fact, our church has begun a partnership with Poetice. Well, to be more accurate, we've gone a bit crazy for Zambia. We've seen God do some amazing things. I am so grateful to be a small part of that, and I am thrilled to go back, and to bring even more people along.
My experience in Zambia hasn't been limited to work in Africa. Immediately after returning our family started working with African refugees right here in Sioux Falls, and it's been an incredible joy to practically apply our faith together in our own city. Now even here at home our children know Africa, and have tasted Africa in the food our friends have prepared for us. It's been such an incredible thing to experience together. My own experience in Zambia has been the catalyst for a real movement in our family towards a more justice-minded culture at home, and has caused us to apply our faith in new, deeper ways in all areas of life.
What will I be doing in Zambia? I will take another 3,000 images, mostly of local Zambians who will rush to the camera to see their photograph on the screen, delighted to pose for me. I will soak in as much of Choma and its people as I can, and this time focus much more of my energies on writing Zambia.
We will be assisting with a youth camp for the week, sharing life-saving information about HIV/AIDS prevention, trafficking, and the hope of the Gospel, all combined with arts education through the Academy. Hundreds of Zambian youth will attend.
Many of my friends will be instructing students at the Choma Academy of Music. I will instruct a small group of students in photography and the composition of images so that even photographs taken with their phones can be more beautiful. It seems amazing, but with advances in technology even those in the third world have phones with cameras and Facebook accounts. An image they take in Choma can be shared here in America instantly. It might not seem like a big deal, but, it's kind of a big deal.
It's not easy to leave my family and travel across the globe. Not easy is an understatement.
But I care very deeply about investing in the work God is doing in Zambia through Poetice and I'll give anything I can to help. Zambia is in my bones and I can't stay away. I'm compelled to go.
Though I've been keeping a trip to Zambia in the back of my mind for a long time, this trip has come together very quickly, and I will be leaving August 10. Though there will be a bit of scramble to get things in order before we leave, I am confident things will fall together.
If you would like to partner with our team in the work God is doing in Zambia would you consider praying for us, or perhaps contributing to the trip?
I will need to raise about $3000 in order to take part in this camp. That amount, though it sounds high, accomplishes many things. Not only does it assist me with travel costs, but it funds the camp and the work of Poetice in Zambia itself. Without these team members joining together and raising these funds, this camp doesn't happen. You can have a very real impact on the lives of orphans in Choma, Zambia with your gift. I'll be bringing images and stories back with me- you'll be able to see your gift at work in the lives of real people.
If you would like to partner with us, you can do so by mailing a check to Poetice International with
the code PIT-0813-THRA-MEKO on the memo line. Please do not write my name on the check for tax purposes.
You can send your tax deductible gifts to:
201 West Washington Ave. Suite 310
Zeeland, MI 49464
You can find out more about Poetice on their website, Poetice.org, and can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks so much for your help- I am just about busting at the seams with excitement to be returning to Zambia, and now that the word is out, I am so thankful I get to share the experience with you.