While I was in Sicily this summer, I was sent an e-mail from Barb Peterson. Barb and her husband Doug run Teen Missions, Zambia. I worked with them last summer when I was on the Zambia Foot Washing team. [The e-mail ultimately arrived in Sicily by way of snail mail when my sister printed it up and mailed it to me after it was sent to HER by a coworker of the Petersons who weren’t sure what my e-mail address was while in Sicily (I didn’t have one) so she sent it to my sister!] Some of the content I have shared here already. Much of it is new. I thought it appropriate to share it with you.
We miss you here in Zambia this year! The FW team is out there.
They have a shorter time this year than last. They will be at
three spots. Of course, one of them is Connie’s Heart. I think
it is their last stop.
I just sat and talked to Simon (He was the facilitator at Chiwala
last year and you met him there.) He is at Funda (Connies Heart)
with Richard Chileshe, a newer intern.
Here is a small report of the things he has shared with me this
morning. I trust that it will bless you because something very
good is going on there.
1) Twins: Matilda and Sandra live near the unit. They are 6
years old. For the last two years Matilda was not thriving. She
had lost all of her hair. She was very thin and the mom (her dad
is dead) thought it was witchcraft. Simon said, no it is
malnutrition. He put her into the mothers seminar even though she
is not a baby. Her hair has grown back and she is now thriving.
She is coming by the unit and telling all the little kids to pick
up things and keep the place clean. Simon says she is a real
little organizer. In just three months time there was this
change. It probably saved her life He said the Nutrition
Seminar food is now finished, but the moms have learned a great
deal and are so thankful for the help.
2) There is a girl named Esther Sandasanda. She is in Grade 9 at
the Catholic school called St Mary’s. She is 14 and stays with a
lady she calls grandma. The lady has 4 orphans of her own and
took in Esther out of pity. But she is not preferred, as the real
family’s orphans are. She is sent to the field alone or to
collect wood alone and the villagers have always taken advantage
of her. She walks 38 k’s to school and then boards there for the
week. She is to bring a small bag of mealie meal each week. One
week she failed to bring it and so was taken advantage of for not
being able to do so. She was raped by 5 guys. She told Simon and
he called in the police and 4 of them were arrested. He now
supplies her mealie meal for school out of his own money. She had
no shoes for school so he gave her his own tennis shoes. Now all
Simon has is “tropicals”. (thongs). When the school asked
recently who takes care of her, she said Simon. He is the only
advocate she has ever had. He said she still needs a lot of inner
3) There is an area a ways away from the unit where the chief
didn’t want TMI in their area because we were “satanists”. We
found out that the chief was JW and also into witchcraft. But he
was coming to a JW conference and had an accident on the road. I
think he was on a bike. He was seriously injured and so was the
girl that was with him. People told him, “The only help is at
Teen Missions.” So he was taken there and Simon dressed his
wounds and the passenger’s wounds, too. He healed up. He came
back and said, “Who are you people? You are good people. We want
you, too. We heard the wrong thing about you. Will you come?”
4) The government health people came by and gave out 100 free
treated mosquito nets around the Funda area. They didn’t have
enough. So they came back to the Unit later and said to Simon,
“Are you able to give out the rest of the 200 to those who need
it?” So he became the distribution point for those nets. They
probably came from USAID. I heard on the news that Bill Gates
Foundation was distributing them through USAID in Zambia.
Praise the Lord , as maybe the health dept will use more and more
of our units….we should talk to them (if we ever have time!)
They are getting to know us as they came here to the base last
year. They were “selling” us the nets that time….we said, hey,
you get these free because we also hear the news! The next ones
they brought us were free or at least a reduced price, I can’t
remember. We are seeing a real big decrease in malaria this
year. I feel like writing the Gates Foundation but know they
don’t have time to read letters, even of thanks, probably.
5) The Foot Washing team will be at Connie’s Heart on the last
stop. Just want you to know that that this is really point of
Light for Jesus! Simon can’t wait to get back. He is injured
because of twisting his knee in soccer. He is using Soccer as an
EV tool. He says over 70 have been saved out there through
this….he didn’t have the count right now. He is holding Bible
studies and the number has grown from 70 to 140 already. He is
also ministering to a Baptist pastor who has had no training.
6) People are very cold. Some of the kids sleep only with a
chitange around them and then get down into feed sacks or mealie
sacks for warmth….One boy only had shorts and Richard Chileshe
the other facilitator gave him his own T shirt. Theses are the
only clothes that that boy has. Many of the villages that Simon
and Richard tare visiting when they ask where are your clothes
kept, they say, what we are wearing are our only clothes.
I gave Simon some personal money and said go buy some things.
Whatever you want to take back that you need most. Blankets,
sweaters, sweatshirts, or whatever. I didn’t want him to go back
empty handed. Then I said you can also get some shoes for
yourself. He said, “No, I want to spent it on the kids. I can
use my tropicals.” I want to get word to the FW team to give
Simon some shoes when they get there!!! Doug wears 13’s so that
was not an option. He has to go about 20 k’s to his place from
the road where he has hitched a ride with whatever vehicle he can
find going there. And he is walking around on this sprained knee.
Linda, what blessed me most of all, is that he looked at me and
said,” I have to get back there. “(not stay and nurse his knee—
the xray showed it not broken) Then he said,” Barb, I love my job!”
Simon is an orphan who took care of about 18 other orphan kids as
he grew up. He lived with his grandma and an invalid
grandfather. He has this call and compassion for the people out
there who are hurting. The intern gal at Muchinchi came in last
Spring after her first stint in the bush….and with a smile on
her face, said, “You don’t even have to pay me”…. She was
saying that the joy she was getting was reward enough.. What a
privilege to be where God wants you to be and do what God wants
you to do. These young people are tasting that joy.
Just hoping you will be encouraged by what is happening at
Connie’s Heart. It is making a difference.
Love you and have a great summer.
I am encouraged.
I heard many stories about what is happening in Funda (at Connie’s Heart) while I was at Boot Camp in June. When Teen Missions first went into the Funda area to survey the needs and find out what the situation was there in regards to numbers of orphans, etc., the local people did not believe that they would be coming back. But they did go back, and built the unit and started to minister there. When Teen Missions did come back, one of the chiefs said, “God MUST have sent you, because nobody else knows we’re here.” Wow. I later learned that even school teachers won’t go that deep into the bush, so there are no schools there for the children to attend. They have begged Simon to teach them, and so, in addition to all his other work there, he has started a little school.
Back in Florida at debrief I was able to see pictures and hear stories from the team members that went to Connie’s Heart this summer. As deep as my loss was, the joy that I have from what has been born of that loss is incomprehensible.
I am feeling the pull to return to Zambia to work very strong on my heart and in my soul.