Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Words from a recent mission trip participant...

"Having the chance to work in Zambia was truly the most amazing and life changing opportunity. The things I saw and experienced were unreal and are hard to put into words. While I was there I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Goodson, the boy I’ve been sponsoring. Meeting him and his family was the most incredible thing. Hearing updates about Goodson’s life and actually witnessing it was two different things. It shocked me to see where Goodson lives and amazed me to see the responsibility he takes on, looking out for his family at such a young age. Meeting him showed me God’s reason for putting him in my life and connecting us. To see Goodson’s faith in God was unreal, I could tell that he has been taught so much about the Lord. Goodson made me a picture covered with bible verses he knew and I could see his desire to learn more about the Lord and share his knowledge with others. I know my sponsoring Goodson has helped him, but seeing his unwavering faith with all that he deals with benefitted me in ways I never imagined. (Ellie and Goodson)

It was amazing to witness the hope these kids have and how it drives them. Some of the kids we worked with literally have nothing but their faith, yet they were filled with so much love and joy. These kids loved to share their knowledge of Jesus and sometimes the words that came out of these young kids mouths truly amazed me. One day a sweet little girl sang for me song after song just holding my hand praising the Lord, which was an extremely moving moment and one of the many times I saw the Lord working in the life’s of these sweet kids. The kids I worked with all asked how they could pray for me and I grew so much through working with these kiddos. All these darling kids just wanted to be loved on. Each day we worked with them they literally hung on us and greeted us like celebrities, so excited to be loved. Attending church there was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Everyone there was so eager to jump up and sing and praise the Lord. The service was filled with so much passion for God and after the service everyone greeted us and thanked us for coming.

It was truly humbling for me to work with the Arise Africa staff, they have completely dedicated there lives to God and to the precious children they work with. It was inspiring to see the endless hours they put into looking out for kids like Goodson and his family. They put an endless amount of time and work checking up on kids and it is so comforting to see that Goodson has these people in his life. Goodson has gone through so much, losing his home in a fire and being abandoned by his mother, but thankfully Arise Africa has been so supportive and been there to love on him. I realized the people over there don’t have much according to the world, but the joy and faith they hold on to is incredible and worth more than any thing else they could have."

-- Ellie Lewis --

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all!
As I think about this day, I think about love of course, but I also think about service. Valentine's Day is a reminder of all the people we love, as well as the people who love well, which is often through service. On the list of people who love and serve well, Mother Teresa is definitely near the top, a great servant and lover of all people. As I consider what it means to love, I think of the sacrifice that it takes. We can learn so much about love from a woman like Mother Teresa. She knew what it meant to be "the hands and feet" of Christ, to love the unloveable. A great quote from Mother Teresa says, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Consider this quote as you go about Valentine's Day. May you love those near and dear to your heart, and also those who may need love today.
Thinking of our kids in Zambia and thankful for our staff that love and care for them so well.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Arise, by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw.

If you haven't yet, go check out the book written by Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, called Arise. You can find this book online or at a bookstore near you. In their book, Clayton and Ellen share the importance of living out your faith "in whatever field you find yourself." What an incredible thought, whether in Dallas, LA, Zambia, or wherever we may be, God is calling us to live out our faith through actions, to love Him, and to love His people.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Homeward Bound

Greetings from Zambia—for one more night!

As I pack my bags to head home tonight, I am filled with reminders of the Lord’s faithfulness to us. He has been so good to our team. It has been a busy few days and tomorrow is the day to go home.

On Saturday morning, part of our team began their journey home to America. We were sad to see them go! The rest of us, 18 to be exact, hopped on two flights to Livingstone, Zambia. After an incredibly fruitful stay in Lusaka, it was a treat to end our time in Africa with a visit to one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Our destination was the Zambezi Sun Hotel—a beautiful spot settled right next to Victoria Falls.

Livingstone is a really fun city, centered around activities that enjoy the falls and wildlife. Our team took advantage of it all! Activities for our crew included a lion/cheetah petting adventure, zip-lining, elephant riding and an early morning safari to spot animals. It was a quick trip, but it was certainly a memory for a lifetime to see Victoria Falls. They are spectacular and magnify the majesty and power of our Creator.

Tomorrow morning, the rest of our team will head towards London for an overnight. Tuesday morning, we will make our way home to Texas. Though I think we are all excited to get home and see family and friends, leaving Africa is bittersweet. This has been such a phenomenal trip. Dearest family and friends, having you on this journey with us has been such a blessing. THANK YOU for praying us through each and every step of the way. We can’t wait to tell you all about the Lord’s work in Africa. By His grace, He used this team to accomplish eternal things.

Robby and I are so proud of this team. We look forward to sharing details, pictures and memories. Thank you for entrusting us with the high privilege of walking beside these students. We are humbled and grateful.

Texas, get ready! We’re coming home!

Love from Zambia,

A New Hand

A note from Alissa…

Yesterday morning I woke up early and took ALL PCPC kids and chaperones to the airport. We had a group headed back to the states and another group going to Victoria Falls. It was sad to say goodbye to the states group because they have become such great friends. We couldn’t have asked for a better group to serve with.

After getting all musungus on their flights I headed back to our place to get ready for our day. I must admit, it is a bit easier to travel around as only one white person and not with 30!

We spent the morning in a meeting with one of our community schools discussing sponsorship and future plans. After that we grabbed a quick lunch and I met up with Benson.

Benson and I got to go visit one of the families that Arise Africa helps. The Muvela family are special friends of ours that 4 different Americans contribute monthly to assist.

We arrived at their home in the compounds and the mother had just returned from her job as a housekeeper. The kids were running around but we couldn’t find one of them, Langford. We decided to go look in the market for him because he loves watching movies there. Benson and I headed to the market with a couple of Langford’s siblings.

Now let me tell you, a white girl in the market gets lots of attention. We started hitting up all the Zambian movie theatres in the market. Imagine a tiny dark room with a TV that is about 20 inches wide with a pirated movie from somewhere. People and kids pay about 20 cents to be allowed in the room to view the movie. There are as many as 30 people in these tiny rooms standing and watching the movies.

We finally found Langford in a movie room. He was watching Rambo, yes the movie from the 80’s! Langford was reluctant to leave the movie but I bribed him by telling him I would pay for 4 movies if he would come home with us. He agreed and we headed back to the house.

Langford, was in a terrible accident as a child involving a fire. Langford suffered severe burns all over his body, especially to his hands. He received no medical attention. Both of Langford’s hands healed as clubs, leaving him with no fingers.

We have been working with CURE hospital for months trying to see if anything could be offered to Langford. This past fall, an American doctor visited CURE and along with an Italian doctor they were able to operate on one of Langford’s hands and make three fingers for him. Langford and his mother endured many weeks at CURE doing rehabilation. He was a trooper through all of the pain.
I was shocked to see the difference in Langford’s hands. He is now able to hold a pencil, grip things, feed himself, and even zip up the zipper on his jacket. Both Langford and his mother commented that it has helped him drastically in everyday life.

Benson will be going to pay school fees for the kids tomorrow and for the first time, Langford will be gripping a pencil, just like other kids in school.

We are beyond grateful for our partnerships in organizations such as CURE hospital. Without the body of Christ working together Langford would have never received such great care. We thank Langford’s USA sponsors, CURE hospital, and our Arise Africa Zambian staff for the service and love you have shown this family.

The rest of the day consisted of cleaning out homes where we have been staying and hanging out with great friends of mine that live in Zambia.

More later!

- Alissa Hollimon

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good evening from Lusaka!

Wow! What a great day it has been. We started out bright and early on the bus, heading towards the brand new Olympic Training Center. Arise Africa rented the facilities out for camp today. The children were SO excited about the adventure of riding on a bus to the training center. Some had never even been on a bus before, so this was a big deal! As they pulled into the parking lot, you could hear them coming a mile away: singing, singing, SINGING!! What joy.

Our American team prepared an entire morning of games and field day activities for the kids. To spice up some friendly competition, we divided the camp into four teams, complete with matching headbands and flags for each team. The kids thought this was hilarious—they rallied around their team and had a blast. After some chanting and cheering all together, we enjoyed playing net ball, volleyball, soccer and basketball. These sweet kids are fun to watch—they are athletic and gifted, no doubt!

After a few rotations, the entire camp gathered on the track field for an organized field day. I was so proud of our American team—they had every detail organized. Field day included an egg/spoon race, three-legged race, sack race and a relay including hopping, crab walking and spinning. Big and little kids alike thought this was so much fun. You could hear laughter and singing in every direction. The Lord really blessed our weather. Rain here and there, but followed by blue skies. From start to finish, camp has been fantastic.

By far, the hardest part of the day was saying goodbye to our precious friends. We all enjoyed lunch together and a chance to talk and pray one more time. But as the blue buses lined up, we had to hug our friends goodbye. The beauty of this week is that relationships grew fast and deep. Collectively, we have become attached to these precious kids. As a result, goodbyes are never easy. After seeing their lives and understanding their stories, it is sometimes hard to watch them leave. But we trust that the Lord will continue the work He began in each of them. At the end of the day, they belong to our Lord. Knowing that He stays with them is a beautiful and comforting thought.

Some of our team visited a cultural market after camp and enjoyed some authentic shopping. After that, we all gathered back at the Baptist Mission for a sweet time together as a group. It was awesome to process the past week together. Some moments have been incredibly sweet and others have been more difficult to process, but by God’s grace, we have been in it together. Going home is the next step and it is reassuring to remember that we take that together as well.

As a farewell and celebration of camp, we had a “fry” (or barbeque, as Texans call it). The dear Arise Africa staff joined us. What a delight to finish the week with people who are now our dear friends. We were treated to a performance by a very talented Zambian a capella group. They were phenomenal and serenaded us with beautiful Zambian songs and classics like Hakkuna Matata. We have been so blessed by the Arise Africa staff. Each and every moment of this past week was carefully planned and we are so grateful. They surprised each of us with a hand carved wooden plaque with our names on it. It is something that we will treasure for a lifetime. We introduced them to the greatness of s’mores. I think they were a hit!

When goodbyes are hard, it is evidence of a sweet friendship. Our friends here in Africa are dear and it has been an incredible week serving by their sides. As we return home, we go with our friends in our hearts and prayers. We spent a week with these children, but these leaders spend day in and out with them. The potential for impact is huge and we are encouraged to believe that the Lord is using them in tremendous ways.

Tomorrow our team will divide. Ann Carolyn and Ben are leading some home to America and the rest of us are heading to Victoria Falls! It’s sad to see the trip come to an end. What an incredible journey it has been! Friends and family, we are grateful for you. Please continue to pray for us—for travel mercies and grace to finish well. We can’t wait to tell you all about it soon.

Love from Zambia,