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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Day 9 & 10 - The End. 3 comments

Our Team:

It’s been a few days since our Discover and Learn team has blogged. But now, as we’ve returned home, we want to share about our last few days in Zambia. 

On Thursday, we packed up the Toyata land runner with luggage again (13 Canadians sure can pack a lot) and set off for one final trip down “the bounce”, as Rev. Nehemia affectionately calls the road that takes us out of Lundazi. 

We pulled off for a quick visit at Ikwere Primary School. This is a school that is a recipient of a few projects from EduDeo Ministries - including recently receiving desks for their Grade 7 students. Visiting this school was a reminder that there is still a long way to go in adequately resourcing all CCAP schools - while the Grade 7 students had adequate desks, there were desks for about 3/4 of the Grade 6 students, and students in Grades 3 and 4 were sitting on the floor to learn. Earlier this week, during a presentation about the work of the CCAP Education Department, Rev. Nehemia told us about CCAP taking one small step forward for each and every school. That reminder feels apt when visiting a school like Ikwere Primary School. 

After that sobering visit, we travelled on to make our afternoon safari at South Luangwa National Park. We spent the afternoon and early evening gasping and in awe of God’s creation and the powerful and beautiful animals He created. After dinner, some time at a campfire, and one elephant charging scare, we went to bed. 

Our wake-up on Friday came quickly - at 5:30 am, we groggily sat down to breakfast, and then headed back on the safari vehicles for our morning safari. After many Lion King references, we had the opportunity to see two lionnesses and three cubs searching for food. This was fun, right up until a lion walked right by one of our safari vehicles, bringing us far closer to lions than we ever would be at the African Lion Safari. We experienced so much joy and wonder at observing animals in their natural habitat. 

We packed up our luggage again (a recurring theme), and set off to Lilongwe. We work up rested at our beautiful guest house, and took some time to have our final devotions together. This time felt quite precious, because it was time to reflect and process together - not for the last time, because there are still questions and things to unravel in our minds, but perhaps for the last time face to face. We reflected on what practices or ideas we would bring back to our classrooms, what thoughts and questions still kicking in our brain, and what we were encouraged by during the trip. It was exciting to hear people talk about incorporating what their Zambian colleagues are doing in their Canadian classrooms, or becoming more globally minded in devotions. 

And then, we began the long journey home - spanning different airplanes, different airports, and different provinces - and while we have all made it home, there are perhaps a few more things and thank you’s to say. 

Our team was blessed by the hospitality and unity in Christ we experienced in Zambia. We are grateful for the welcome’s we received, the food, the joy, the classrooms and teachers and schools we visited. Thank you, CCAP Education Department, for your generous hosting and patient answering of all our questions - and for sharing your beautiful country with us. 

Our team was blessed by YOU - you who read this blog, prayed for a team member or the whole team, donated, encouraged, or made it possible for a team member to come on this trip. We’re grateful for the ways you upheld us in our time away. We encourage you to now invite a team member and ask: what was a highlight or lowlight of the trip for you? Where did they see God at work? What did they learn in the Zambian classrooms? What are they taking home with them? How has this trip changed them? 

Our team was blessed by each other. This team was brave, curious, adventurous, and kind. They asked good questions, and listened carefully to the answers. They were always up for more. Some were competitive, some were snorers, some laughed so hard they cried, and I think we were all changed. We played a lot of Dutch Bingo - it was fun to travel with a team where someone was connected to someone else, somehow, some way. Most of all, they were the passionate teachers you know and love - the teachers who want to learn from their fellow colleagues about best practices in the classrooms. The teachers who care so deeply about students - students learning and growth. They are the passionate, God-fearing individuals you know and love. They so desire to see the Kingdom of God on earth, and were humbled and privileged to see the Kingdom in Zambia. They walked through this experience with open hearts, ears, eyes, and hands - in tune to God’s leading, watching for God’s work, calling out the image and character of God in this land and in their Zambian brothers and sisters. 

And our team was blessed immensely by God. We’re grateful for God’s protection, provision, and faithfulness to us as a team. For the ways God brought us together, and for the ways He worked in our conversations, our laughter, and our tears. We pray God will continue to be near to our brothers and sisters in Zambia, to the CCAP Education department, and near to us, as we work through everything we experienced in Zambia in the coming days and months. 

“O Spirit of God, be as present in our parting 

as you were in our gathering. 

Be present in our journeys. 

Be present in our days to come. 

Be present in our works 

and in our words

and in our hearts. 

Be present in the bonds of our 

community, Lord Christ. 

Be ever at work among us 

and through us. 

 

Amen.” 


- Every Moment Holy, A Liturgy of Leaving


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Day 8 - Firsts and Lasts 0 comments

It’s 5:30 a.m. and the doors start opening, the rooster starts cock-a-doodling, the fires are started, the showers turn on, the red dirt is being swept, the call to prayer is heard and the horns start honking.  Everyday has been the same.  We may not WANT to wake up that early, but this is when the day starts here in Lundazi.  Now that we are getting used to it, we are soon to say goodbye. Tonight will be our last night here at the CCAP guest house.

Today was our last school visits day.  What we have learned and discovered is that each day and each school visit brings something new.  Today we visited Msuzi Primary and Secondary school.  We wondered what more we would or could learn at this school. God provided a new learning yet again.  Today we were able to have rich, personal and professional conversations with our Zambian colleagues.   We met them in their “staffroom” which consisted of tables under a tree as they do not have any indoor spaces built due to budget limitations.  They graciously offered us refreshments that they had purchased out of their very limited budget as a gesture of welcome and an expectation to share stories and resources.  Once again, we were blessed and inspired by them and their amazing hopes, dreams, drive and enthusiasm for the teaching profession, their schools and their community.

 Mphamba Primary and Secondary school was the next and last place on our visiting schedule for our entire trip.  This school had the largest school population that we had seen thus far with over 1000 students. We specifically went there to see the well that was built in the spring.  What has always struck us was how one well can impact an entire community in a positive way, which then impacts their student learning. 

This afternoon we spent time debriefing and filling out our evaluations.  We were given our first traditional Zambian chitenge (skirt) and a farewell cake.  Some of our team for the first time, butchered and plucked our gift of chickens from yesterday’s school visit.  We proudly ate the chicken for supper having a Zambian KFC dinner which included French fries, fried chicken, coleslaw and coke.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. (…) Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – Psalm 127:1a, 3a

These verses from God’s word summarizes some of our ‘whys’ for coming on this Discover and Learn trip.  God needs to be the centre of all the things including building schools here in Zambia.  We discovered and learned that God is real here and is the centre of all the teaching here.  We discovered that the futures of the children of Zambia is very important to the families and communities to be sure that their children will have a better life. 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Day 7 - Visiting Mwase and Dancing 0 comments

Wow. I do not know where to begin. The words are failing me as I try to come up with ways to describe what we have experienced. How will I convey today to you when there are few English words that would be sufficient? I will do my best though as I tell you.

I will start off true Canadian style – by talking about the weather. The day started off cloudy. It has been a week since we have seen a cloud in the vast Zambian sky, so seeing them today unsettled a few of us, but alas, it did not stop us from hopping into the vehicles to head to Mwase primary and secondary school, 45 minutes away. We were looking forward to driving untravelled roads, as we were getting too familiar with the bumps on the other well-travelled roads. We were introduced to these bumps graciously by our drivers, and before we knew it, we were at the school.

Before stepping foot out of the vehicles, the excitement in the air was palpable. There were enthusiastic students everywhere, streaming out of classrooms, down the paths, from behind the trees to welcome us. If one of us pulled out a camera, or gave a high-five to one of the children, the group of children would grow from 7 to 52 before you could say “Zambia”. It was overwhelming yet wonderful.

We split up into groups and visited the classrooms, where the average number of students in a class would be 45.  Although English is not taught until Gr. 5 here, the children’s smiles and bright eyes communicated to us their joy in having us in their classrooms. After visiting the primary school for a bit, we were brought to the secondary school which was 5 minutes away. There we sat in some classes and took a tour of the dormitories. We then were brought back to the primary school, where we were treated not only to a delicious meal, but by a few presentations of the students, which included poems and singing. It was quite the treat!

There was a village up the road that had invited us to come, as they wanted to welcome us with some of their traditional drumming and dancing. We headed there, and this is where it will be too hard to describe what we witnessed. The dancing by 2 different women’s groups, as well as 2 children left us sitting in awe of their rhythm, creativity and passion. We were humbled by their welcome. This ceremony went on for about an hour and a half; an opportunity for us to enjoy a bit of their culture, and for us to give them much laughter as most of us joined in the dancing, trying to keep up with the rhythm and moves these dancers were doing. There may or may not be a video on YouTube in the near future. We sang to them, choosing "Days of Elijah" as this song inclulded actions - our attempt of dance moves. ;) 

With the ceremony done, and our gifts of cake and 2 chickens from the school collected, we made the journey home in the setting sun with the events of today going through our minds. What a day. It was a long one, but one filled with amazing memories that will never be forgotten.

To see God so evident in the people here in Zambia is humbling and a rich blessing. He is in their speech and actions, as well as in the beautiful, immense land that we travelled over today. We praise our Creator for today and for the people we met. May He continue to bless each of them with Himself and His gifts. We are thankful for safe travels and for the opportunities presented to learn from fellow colleagues. May God bless what we have learned and participated in today, and may it bring glory to Him.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Day 5 - Unity in Christ 1 comment

Today started in a unique way - a motorcycle “alarm clock” revved outside our bedroom windows, waking most of us up at 6 AM. The noises have been an adjustment for our sleep schedules, but they have also made it so that we sit together in the living area before breakfast, chatting about how we slept, what we’ve been learning, and what the day will hold - and sometimes we all sit, quietly reading. Such is travel with teachers. 

After breakfast, we walked over to an exciting church service. In Lundazi, five different churches meet together for one big ecumenical service. The United Church of Zambia, the Reformed Church of Zambia, the Presbyterian Church of America, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, and the Anglican Church of Zambia all come together at one church to praise the Lord. 

 We were so grateful to witness this unity in Christ — and to be a part of that unity in a small way. At this church service, seven different choirs performed - complete with dancing, audience participation, clapping, and joyful worship. We were choir number six - described by Jacqueline later as “God’s Chosen Frozen”, because of our lack of dancing. We sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” and were delighted to find out that “Holy, Holy, Holy” was the first hymn in their songbooks. That small unifying detail was a highlight of the day for many. We heard a great sermon on Samson and Delilah, second chances, and healing second touches. Our team was impacted by how involved the congregation was in the sermon, with call and response language throughout the sermon. (If you yell “Second!” at any Discover and Learn team member, they should yell “CHANCE!” back, no problem.) 

After this four hour and 15 minute church service (is that an EduDeo record for longest church service in the field?), we walked back to the base, where we ate lunch and rested for an hour - reading books, taking power naps, and chatting. Soon after, Collins came to escort us on a walk to the Lundazi Castle and dam. It was impressive - although a little jarring - to walk through a castle, particularly because it looked quite different than much of the infrastructure we’ve seen. He also taught us about Zambian smiling - like a Canadian smile, but just a little bit more. The dam was beautiful, and we enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather, enjoying God’s creation. 

This evening, we read books, chatted, watched a soccer game at the nearby field, and ate dinner. Our amazing cook, Dorothy, created Zambian KFC - coleslaw, french fries, and chicken. It was delicious, and we are so grateful for her continued care for us through food.  

Devotions continued on the theme of unity in Christ - Teresa led us in a devotion that reflected on Psalm 133, and we chatted about unity in the body of Christ, unity with those back home, and unity with each other. 

We’re grateful for our last two days of rest, but we are excited to be back to visiting schools tomorrow. Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers as we continue on this journey! 

Psalm 133: 1-3

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. 

 

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