Almost There…Going Back

(A year seems like a really long time.)  Six months ago I returned from Zambia.  I can hardly believe that so much time has passed so quickly.  My brain is still so very full from that experience.  I have so many things yet to process and share about the time I spent there.  And now, it appears that I will be going back.  In a year.  Perhaps not so long afterall.

(This is a picture of the little TV in the back of the seat in front of me that I took when we were just minutes from landing in Lusaka, Zambia, this past summer.  Look at the names of the cities…Mumbai, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Athens, Islamabad, Lisbon, Milan, Beirut, Athens…a whole world of places I have now only flown over, and can hope someday to see.  And then there’s Lusaka…Zambia…)

There are places I’ve been to that I never care to go to again.  Like Pittsburg, Florida, or (pick any) Mexican border town.  And then there are places that I dream of returning to.  Like Papua New Guinea, Ireland, and Zambia. 

And it looks like I’ll have the opportunity to go back to Zambia.  What a thought.  Connie’s friends and family, and some people she never even got to meet, have donated nearly $20,000 thus far towards “Connie’s Heart“.  “Connie’s Heart” is the name of the orphan rescue unit that is dedicated to her memory.  Just a few days ago, we heard that the rescue unit has been built, and is up.  There is enough money for a well, a grainery, and a church, with plenty “left over”.  There is money for ongoing support of the unit and, if we (her family) so choose, we could possibly even build a school!  This would be the first rescue unit school.  How fitting, since Connie was a teacher herself…

We have the opportunity as a family to put together a team of adults (and they’ll even let us bring the kids) to come to Zambia to work at “Connie’s Heart” next February or March.  While there, we would be able to officially dedicate the unit.  I doubt we’ll have a hard time finding 12 people who want to go.  I imagine limiting it to just 12 will be the hardest part.  Imagine, my family and friends, in a very remote region in the bush in Zambia, all working at “Connie’s Heart”.  I have thought of little else since getting the word a few days ago. 

This is Simon.  He was the facilitator at the “Elizabeth Light of Hope” orphan rescue unit in Chiwala, Zambia.  He will be the facilitator of “Connie’s Heart”.  I had the pleasure of working with him when I was in Chiwala with Teen Missions this past summer.  He’s an incredible young man.  If they would have let me choose who I’d like to run “Connie’s Heart”, it would have been Simon.  He will be partnered with a young man named Wilson.  (I wonder if Simon even knows that the Connie of “Connie’s Heart” was Mama Lou’s best friend and sister-in-law.)  Simon himself was left orphaned by AIDS.  He was left to raise a large number of younger siblings with just the help of an elderly grandmother when he was only a teenager himself.  That Simon not only survived, but thrived, and is touching the lives of hundreds of other orphans now is a testament to the saving power of Jesus Christ.  I can hardly wait to see Simon again.

Here are portions of a letter my sister Diane received from Teen Missions/AOSC (AIDS Orphans and Street Children) about “Connie’s Heart”

“I am excited that I have news on Connie’s Heart – the unit is up!!!  
The village is called Funda, and I am going to copy you the  
information that I have from Doug’s last two e-mails so that you have  
some good information for your donors.

“Funda is about 30-40K’s west of Katembula (where our first Matron’s  
unit is located), south of the Kasempa road.  Simon Katima and Wilson  
Muke will be the facilitators.  They have not yet started registering  
orphans as the work crew has just completed the unit.  Oscar has said  
that the unit has great potential both in terms of the numbers of  
orphans and various developments that could happen there.  Oscar has  
requested these facilitators for this unit because they are both very  
dedicated, called and hard workers.  He believes they will be able to  
bring into being what is possible for this unit.  It is remote.  This  
location is where the late chief, Chief Shimkunami said with her last  
breath should be given to Teen Missions.  The people have been  
patient waiting for Teen Missions to come and are now very excited  
seeing the unit up.  There is no public transportation on the Funda  
road – the facilitators have to travel 33 k’s (20 miles) to get to  
any transportation.  People in that area walk those distances if they  
have to get out.”  Right now Joseph is staying at the unit until  
Simon returns from helping to put up some of the other new units.

Hope this will help you.  It sounds like a wonderful place, but  
transportation is very difficult in rainy season.  Kathy has asked me  
to have you send an e-mail or a letter to Mr. Bland regarding your  
desire to send a team over next year indicating the potential numbers  
and the dates that would be possible for the group.  He will also be  
interested in knowing how many young children will be going.

Hope you had a great time with your brother.  We continue to have  
funds coming in for Connie’s Heart – at least a couple of donations a  
week.  It is so encouraging, and maybe you will want to hear some of  
the other things that Doug and Oscar envision for the unit before you  
decide if you want a second unit.  I know some of the areas out there  
are in need of adequate schools – I do not know if this is one of them.

God bless you, and thank you and your family and friends for all they  
are doing.”

I will share information with you as it comes in.  Truly, God is turning ashes into beauty.



There is a special place in God’s heart for orphans…

  • “In you the fatherless find mercy.” (Hosea 14:4)
  • “You are the helpers of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)
  • “It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14)
  • “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27)
  • “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)
  • “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
  • “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5)
  • “And Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:16)
  • “Remember those…who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3)
  • “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…let us not love with word or tongue, but with action and in truth.” (I John 3:16-18)
  • “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)
  • “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…defend the rights of the needy.” (Proverbs 31:8,9)
  • “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 22:16)
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    About Lou (Linda)

    Just a girl from Colorado trying to live life to God's glory with a certain amount of gusto! View all posts by Lou (Linda)

    5 responses to “Almost There…Going Back

    • Kate Kenny

      How incredibly wonderful. I’m thrilled for you and your family!

    • Larry

      Beautiful! I am so glad for you. You love what you are doing for the Lord. That is so awesome. We are all called according to His good purpose! Loved your picture. Ain’t sunshine grand?


    • Parker

      mama lou that is awesome and i am jealous that you now have a chance to do want you were born to do.

    • hannah

      mama lou i am so excited for the orphans and people that you’ll meet, because you are best nurse, mom, and hugger.

    • Lou (Linda)

      Hey Parker! If we have an extra spot, you can come too! 🙂

      And Hannahwa! I was so excited to see your name! Thanks for being excited for me, but I KNOW you’re lying about my being the best hugger! 😉 You are 2 funny!

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