5 Things I’ve Learned By Going to Zambia – Even Though I Haven’t Gone YetPosted: March 28, 2010
So, we’ve decided to go to Zambia this summer for a short-term missions trip. We’ll be leaving after our final exams and head out for about a month, before coming back to Lubbock for the second half of the summer. We’ve been talking with some of the missionaries over in Zambia, and we’re really getting excited about joining them for a short time.
It’s been an interesting experience getting to this point. We’re learning a lot about ourselves, and about things we knew *nothing* about before deciding to do this – far too many to list off here. But I think I can get the top 5 out without writing a book. Here goes…
Number 5 – Sometimes You Just Need To Get On With It
I don’t know what you do when you have to make a choice between several equally attractive alternatives. Me, I stall. (Actually, that’s true of unattractive alternatives as well, though there was nothing unattractive about the alternatives with this particular choice.) We looked at Brazil, Cambodia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and others… all with great strengths. Finally, we just had to pull the trigger on one, and we are really looking forward to it. Of course, the decision was more than just pulling the trigger – maybe I’ll share what went into it some other time – but I’m glad we finally got on with it.
Number 4 – Everybody Has A Snake Story
Apparently, Zambia is crawling with Black Mambas and King Cobras, both of which are deathly venomous. I’m assured that we’re in no danger, as they tend to frequent forested areas, where we won’t be. (Incidentally, if you’re confused by the fact that Wikipedia simultaneously claims that the Black Mamba is the longest venomous snake in Africa, and the King Cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world, you’re completely missing the point, which is that we’ll be in a country that has both, and if we run into either we probably won’t really care.)
For some unknown reason, the mention of two people going to Zambia for the first time is considered an excuse to present the most horrifying snake stories known to man. All meant to comfort, of course. I’m especially fond of the “Oh there’s no need to panic; you’re already surrounded by snakes in Lubbock, you just haven’t seen them yet” type anecdotes. Those are beaten out only by the “Snakes?! Pshaw! Let me tell you about the scorpions I encountered on my last trip to” type anecdotes.
Number 3 – Friends And Family Are The Best
A bit of advice for anyone who didn’t grow up in a missionary family. If you ever do decide to go on a missions trip, be prepared to spend copious amounts of time reassuring friends and family that you are not going to fall off the edge of the earth. You would think that after moving to Lubbock there wouldn’t be a whole lot more that we could do to shock people. You’d be wrong if you thought that.
However, once we explain what we are trying to do, and that we won’t actually be anywhere near the snakes, our friends and family have been incredibly supportive of us in this. We’ve had several people express their love toward us through prayers, words of encouragement, and financial support, and it is truly a blessing to see how God is using what we’re doing to work changes in not just our own lives, but others’ as well.
Number 2 – God Is Good
Arranging travel to Africa is no picnic. Neither is coming up with a way to pay for it. All the snake stories, concerns about safety, thoughts of exhaustion, and general I’ve-never-done-this-before type anxiety do build up. Thankfully, we have many people praying for us, and if you’re reading this you are probably one of them. God is responding to those prayers in amazing ways. Somehow, piece by piece, the arrangements are falling into place. Somehow, little by little, the money is showing up. And somehow, day by day, God is transforming Bridget and me to be able to cope with this great adventure.
Number 1 – God’s Mission Is Our Mission
God wants the world to be saved, and men will never be saved if they don’t hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s why we’re in Lubbock; that’s why we’re going to Zambia; that’s why we’re heading back to Bermuda.
Please continue to pray for us. Watch this space for updates.
Donnie & Bridget