A Goodbye Haiku

Flight one of three home is complete and we are currently in Johannesburg airport. We are en route to London, then Chicago and then the long days of travel will be over. We started out our day with a great breakfast at a local restaurant in Livingstone. The restaurant was very homey, and the people were very kind. At the restaurant we had a final debrief with a few staff members from Poetice. We talked about what it looks like to come home, and how our lives have been changed. We also talked about how to make this change become our new constant in our lives at home. Throughout the week we were reminded that our relationship with God can have a lot of hills and valleys, but we were also encouraged to solidify the “hills”. This means that with perseverance we will continuously be able to live our lives closer to Jesus. We are very thankful for everything Poetice has taught us and how much we were able to experience Jesus together.

Today we were also able to take a trip to the Livingstone market. This was an overwhelming but very exciting experience.  The shops contained handmade jewelry, trinkets, paintings, clothing, and other unique items.  It was nice to be able to buy some items for friends and family back home, and then headed to the airport.  With the last few hugs goodbye, we began our journey home. We are all feeling a wide variety of emotions.  We are ready for the new future in store for us back at Hope, but not ready to leave our new friends and family in Choma. We are so blessed to have formed such great relationships that make saying goodbye so tough. But we are so excited to share our experiences with others at home and tell them about the amazing ways that Poetice is impacting the communities around them.

We want to end our post with a Haiku from one of our very own team members*:

Bittersweet leaving
Excited to share God’s love
Thank you Poetice

~~Addy and Alaina

*Haiku by Brant Kym

Dry Clothes Are Irr–Elephant!

We started the day off with breakfast and saying goodbye to the Poetice staff, as well as a few of the kids we met this week who stopped by to say goodbye. It was bittersweet to see them one last time as they shared with us how much they were going to miss us, and we shared the same with them.

This was followed by a two hour bus ride to Livingstone to visit Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We hiked down to the Boiling Pot of the falls to enjoy the view of the rapids as they moved downstream. We explored making our way around the rocks closest to the river and taking pictures of the amazing scenery. After a while we hiked back up the path to find a family of baboons along the way. It was a new experience to seem them up so close. We then walked along the overlook to get a view of the water cascading down the falls. The power of the falls created an amazing mist which rained down on us, soaking our clothes. Despite this, it was breathtaking to see the beauty of God’s creation.

After leaving the falls, we stopped at a roadside park to eat lunch. We had Hungry Lion, which is like the KFC of Zambia. We then drove to our home for the night to drop off our bags and relax for a bit before heading out to the safari. The team piled into two vehicles, and we took off into the national park. Within the first five minutes, we saw six elephants, including one only thirty feet away. As we continued driving, we saw impalas, giraffes, Cape buffalo, baboons, warthogs, zebras, and hippos. Midway through the ride, we were able to pull over and walk into the Zambezi River, the largest east flowing river in Africa. We were amazed at how quiet and peaceful it was after seeing Victoria Falls earlier in the day.  Another part of the safari included getting out of the vehicles to walk into the territory of a family of white rhinos. Our guide led us, and we stood fairly close to the rhinos as he informed us about their behavior and history.

The safari lasted around two hours, after which we were dropped off at our hotel shortly before we walked to the restaurant. For our last dinner in Zambia, we had pizza and gelato, which was a nice treat.  Our night ended with our final debrief, where the team got to read letters we wrote to ourselves in the spring about the trip (addressed to our post-Zambia selves). We all got to share something meaningful about our letters and then moved on to questions about our week.  We shared lessons we learned and don’t want to forget upon returning home.  We also discussed how we felt God’s presence in the last week, along with what gifts and passions we think He has equipped us to use back home.  We shared what we learned about the global church, and ended with a word that represents this week in our lives and that can serve as a challenge moving forward.  It was great to hear all of the ways God has been moving in each of us. We could not have asked for a better ending to our trip. We’re sad to leave, but looking forward to being home soon and seeing all of you. Prayers for safe travels tomorrow!

Love,
Tucker and Amanda

Water we up to?

The doors to Poetice base were opened at 8am for Armour’s sport teams for the last day of camp. While we waited for everyone to arrive, those present participated in some competitive dodgeball matches. Once everyone arrived, the youth were separated into their four age groups for learning and sport stations. The first set of stations this morning consisted of speed & agility, strength & conditioning, yoga, and a question & answer session. We took a break before lunch to hear a lesson from 2 Timothy 1:7 given by Coach V and Coach T, which focused on power, love and self-discipline. In the afternoon, the second set of stations consisted of kickball, volleyball, softball, and track events. The Armour’s players continued to impress us throughout the day with their athleticism, their willingness to work hard, and their eagerness to learn. We watched in awe as 10 year olds were holding 6 minute planks and doing front flips over 4 foot rope hurdles.  At the conclusion of the stations, we had another opportunity to do a water filter demonstration and send them home with these life-changing devices. Shortly after came the time to make our final goodbyes as we are leaving Choma tomorrow. It is clear that we both made an impact on each other as it was hard for us to think about leaving this group tomorrow, and they were extremely thankful that we could share some new sports and build relationships with them.

Late afternoon, our team walked to a nearby market where we had the opportunity to experience more of the Zambian culture. There were hundreds of small vendors selling goods such as food, clothing, and household necessities. Most of our team bought chitenges, which are a popular Zambian clothing item.

During dinner, the Poetice team surprised us with ice-cream and a highlight slideshow to recap our memories from this week. We have been blessed to work alongside an amazing organization that has been such an encouragement to us.  Their incredibly strong leaders have played a significant role in helping us grow in our faith. These leaders led us in a time of worship to close our night and our time in Choma, Zambia. We are excited about the mission Poetice has for the communities in Choma, and we look forward to praying for them and hearing about their impactful work. Thank you Poetice!

Paige and Andrew

 

 

Being the Church

We had a full day in Zambia that started with church this morning. We all really enjoyed worshiping with the Poetice church body. They started a church at the base in April, and so the long term missionaries and local community members who worship there welcomed us into their family. We sang songs in both English and Tonga, which was a treat. Then John, who is one of the leaders of Poetice, gave the message. He spoke with great passion about what it means to be the church. He emphasized Jesus’ commission to transform whole communities together, not on our own. We all walked away impacted by the experience to seek to live more fully into being the church together.

After church we got the opportunity to distribute water filters to the members of the church who do not have access to a clean water supply. A majority of the members receiving water filters were under 18 and have a big role in leading their families. We helped the youth assemble the Sawyer water filter by drilling a hole in their bucket, showing them how to assemble the filter, and teaching them how to clean out the filter. The dirty water turning clean through the water filter was used as a metaphor for life with Jesus. Our life before Jesus is like the dirty water, cloudy and sinful, but in giving our lives to Jesus He makes us clean and pure.

The rest of the day consisted of playing sports with the youth. They came to the Poetice base, and we ran stations with all different sports. One highlight for today was that we introduced American football. We realized just how hard it is to teach, yet still it was really fun to watch them play! Alaina taught yoga, which was a new experience for most of them. It was really relaxed and playful. They had a lot of fun. After we finished playing with them, some of us got to walk the youth back home. Seeing the homes that our new friends live in was an eye-opening experience. When at Poetice, it can be easy to forget what life outside the base can be like. This experience showed our team that you can have a lot of joy without having a lot of material possessions. All that you need is Jesus. The Zambians that we met invited us into their homes and were great hosts. The generosity to visitors in Zambia is incredible, and I believe that our society could learn a lesson or two from Zambian hospitality.

Our day finished as most all of them do: dinner together, debriefing, and games. The evenings are special times for our team to bond and share our hearts with one another. Today we began reflecting on what the Lord has done in us during this time and how we want to take that home. We are all intentionally seeking to let Jesus change us as we return back to “normal” life. Prayers for saying goodbye to the kiddos tomorrow and for the Lord to solidify what He’s done in us would be appreciated. J

In Christ,

Victoria and Brant

Communities: Poetice, Mwapona, Armour’s

What an amazing Saturday it was in Zambia! We started off the day by welcoming youth from Armour’s soccer teams, Kabanana, and Mwapona into Poetice to participate in our first ever field day. The youth we invited were ages 10 and above, and we wanted them to experience field day just as we do back home: a fun day of competition, celebration, and recognition of the many different strengths and abilities. They participated in many activities that ranged from kicking a shoe as far as they could to standing long jump to dodgeball throwing accuracy. We had 10 total activities, and it was a joy to see everybody having so much fun.

After the activities in the morning, we split them up into three groups for crafts, lunch, and hearing the Word. The crafts were face paint, bracelet making, and a fingernail painting station. They loved each of them and participants of all ages were able to leave with a face paint creation, a new bracelet, and their nails freshly painted.

The message station was really impactful for many different reasons. Two of our team members, Josh and Victoria, shared parts of their stories from their faith walks based on what they felt the youth could resonate with. It was great to see how engaged the kids were in their stories and how much they appreciated their honesty and vulnerability. After stories, the message that was shared was Matthew 13: 1-23, The Parable of the Sower. The unique thing about this parable is that it connects to the name of our program: SEED.  It relates a seed’s situation and type of growth to our journey in our relationship with Jesus.

When it was time for kids to go home, the Poetice leaders paired 2-3 of our team members with 2 Poetice youth leaders to take us back into their community and visit their homes. The Poetice youth were so excited to share their community with us, and it meant a lot that they were so welcoming. All of us got to see more of what Mwapona is like and a small glimpse into what their lives are like when they are at home. While walking through the community, we were able to gain perspective not only on their lifestyle, but also led to some questions about our own culture and how we go about life.  The people have so much life and joy and it challenged us to think about how we could channel a similar mindset into our daily lives. Being in the community reminded us that even though our countries’ cultures are different, the culture of God’s kingdom is all the same.  It doesn’t matter the amount of material possessions in your house, it matters that you have Jesus.

Following these visits, we all went to cheer on the oldest Armour’s soccer team. One meaningful part of the game was that many of the guys playing still had on face paint and stickers they put on during field day. The game was really fun to watch (Armour’s won 3-1), and this time was filled with really good opportunities to engage in conversations with each other and some of the youth who just opened up their homes to us.

One thing that we have been doing as a team every night after dinner is a debrief session. During this time, we have open and honest conversation about the day and how we saw God. During our debrief this evening, most all of us mentioned something that stuck out during the home visits in Mwapona.  Whether it was being impacted to put less emphasis on materiel things back home, or to put more value in being welcoming, hospitable, and generous to anyone God calls to be our neighbor.  We could see that God was present there and that Poetice is having incredible impact in this community.

We are excited for the rest of the week and can’t wait to see what’s in store!

CJ and Morgann

Macha Road Trip

After breakfast this morning we boarded 2 buses to head to a village called, Macha, which was a couple hours away. One of the buses carried our SEED team while the other bus carried the Armour’s soccer teams who were scheduled to play 2 teams from Macha. After arriving in Macha we helped serve alongside Messiah College who is partnering with a sports ministry program called, Push The Rock. Before the soccer games started, we helped run six different sports stations such as frisbee golf, relays and dodgeball with the Messiah College students. After the stations, we gathered with the kids and were able to watch CJ share some of his testimony with the children. Following this, it was time for the soccer games to begin. We had the opportunity to watch a lot of the Armour’s students we have been working with compete in the games. It was a great experience to see the joy they brought to the game, the skill and effort they showed, and the celebrations that ensued after a goal. During the games, we also got to play a variety of sports and games with the local kids who were there. Messiah brought some different sports equipment from us, so was great to do some things like lacrosse, and badminton.  To end our time in Macha, our SEED team played an intense volleyball match against the Messiah College team and some of their Zambian friends which was a lot of fun.

Today we had the opportunity to pour into the relationships we have already built and also meet a lot of new people. It was awesome to see another team of American college students doing the same type of sports ministry that we are doing. We were able to connect with these students as well and have a great time (Except when they beat us in a heartbreaking best of 5 volleyball series). Overall, this day was a great example of what being a Christian athlete should look like. Many of us had the opportunity to connect with individual children and even some of the students from Messiah on a deeper level by spending a lot of time with them, talking with them, and exchanging lots of questions. Despite being from different parts of the world it is clear that we all love the same God and that we are united as one body as followers of Christ!

Josh and Andrew

Playing Sports and Growing Closer

Today was the first of three sport clinics with the Armour’s soccer teams (ages 10+). They eagerly flooded into the base for a day filled with training and learning new sports.  It also included education on health/nutrition and first aid, along with speed/agility and strength & conditioning. The Armour’s players were separated into their four teams (10 & 12U, 14U, girls team, and amateur team) and rotated through each station.

To split up the morning, all groups gathered in the worship center to receive a message from Poetice leaders and our coaches. The story of the Good Samaritan was shared and unpacked to help the kids understand how it is still relevant in our daily lives. The main point of this story was about giving selflessly, serving, and loving your neighbors. Our coaches connected this lesson to being a team member and how you can serve your neighbors (teammates and opponents) through encouragement.

In the afternoon, the teams had the opportunity to play ultimate frisbee, baseball/softball, volleyball, and dodgeball. It was amazing to watch how quickly each of the players could catch on to games. They are amazing athletes! After our fun afternoon, we all had time to come together as a large group once again and debrief about our day. We agreed encouragement was evident throughout the day. Whether it was a cheer, a high five, a simple smile, or holding someone’s hand, it was great to see them truly live into the lesson and supporting each other. It was awesome to hear how many remembered and understood what they learned in the morning stations and how the Good Samaritan story is applicable to our lives.

After a yummy traditional Zambian dish of Nshima, okra, and cabbage, we worshipped as a team. It was a powerful, uplifting time and continued to bond us closer. It is amazing how we have grown closer to God and to each other in these few days. God is good and we are excited to see what else He has in store for the rest of this trip!

With Love from Choma,

Alaina and Paige

Friends!!!

Welcome to the blog. We’re excited to share with you what life in Zambia was like today. This morning we spent time with the leaders at Poetice. They shared some of their testimonies and what Poetice is all about. In one statement, Poetice exists to equip the body of Christ to seek justice. Jesus is everything and that is true here in Zambia, in America, and in all of the world!

Starting in the afternoon, around 300 kids filed into Poetice’s base to play games and hear about Jesus. We engaged in some lively games of soccer, football, frisbee, volleyball, baseball, freeze tag and duck duck goose. After a few hours of playing, we divided the kids into age groups for lesson time. Some groups went over following Jesus on the narrow path and some went over the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As we reflected on our day, our teammates all expressed their excitement about being able to visit the kids’ communities, as some of us got to walk them home after Kids Club today. It was an honor to be welcomed in, and we look forward to visiting again soon.

I (Tucker) saw God today in the beautiful differences and similarities in cultures. I was amazed at the way we could interact so easily through sport with children who may not have spoken English and who were raised on the other side of the world from us. God’s creation is so vast and beyond our understanding, and I was reminded of that today in the interactions I had with the kids in Zambia.

Today served as a reminder to me (Victoria) that Jesus is the only foundation upon which we can build our lives. He changes everything and is the only one worthy of our all. This is true for every single person no matter our context. I saw this truth in playing with the kiddos here because amidst physical needs they may have, they are rich in Christ. I also saw my great spiritual poverty and the truth that every moment I am desperate for Christ, including being able to love these children well. Today was our first day with kiddos and it was a great privilege to become friends with them as we ministered to one another.

Thanks for reading!! We love you all.

For His glory,

Tucker, Vic & ZamFam (our team nickname)

We Made It!

Last you all heard from us we were boarding an 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, the plane ride was very long but we’re super thankful that we made it smoothly and without complications. When we arrived in Johannesburg we were able to learn more about our team members by sharing our stories, which helped us continue to grow as a group.  The final flight to Livingstone, Zambia was only two hours, which was a nice break from the long hours spent on the plane the previous days. After passing customs and grabbing all of our luggage we made our way on a bus to Choma. The ride to Choma was very interesting for all of us as we hadn’t ever seen that type of countryside before. The bus ride was when it finally felt real to a lot of us, as we were finally in real life, and not in airports.

Our arrival to the Poetice base was one of the most uplifting arrivals any of us had felt before. Everyone welcomed us with open arms and shouts of joy! We were fortunate to meet multiple native Zambians upon our arrival and they were excited to welcome us to their home. The excitement of the Poetice staff reaffirmed our decision to step out of our comfort zone and onto Zambian soil.

We were then given a tour of the base and were fortunate enough to worship with the Poetice staff. This service was filled with native flair and was a powerful and meaningful beginning to this trip. We were able to worship the Lord in multiple languages! The joy and excitement from everyone involved was uplifting to us and helped pump us up for a week full of service. We ended our time with a powerful session of prayer and we felt that the Lord was with us in that space. It is such a unique experience to pray for and be prayed over by someone you just met that day, and on the other side of an ocean.

We ended the night with an amazing traditional Zambian dinner, including a new food to all of us called Nshima. This dish consists of a ground white corn mash that is actually used as a spoon, and was served with beans and a cabbage/peanut mix. This dish is eaten fully with your hands, which was pretty unusual but so fun for all of us. We were able to eat with all of the staff and just get to know them better and have fellowship and Christ centered conversations with them. We are so fired up to spend our first full day here tomorrow with our team, the Poetice staff, and 200 or so of our new friends.

Addy and Brant

A Day of Travel

As we boarded the plane we were all very excited to start the bulk of our travel with a flight from Chicago to London. Little did we know that this trip would start off with a 2 hour delay with us sitting on the plane waiting for the entertainment systems to work (something we didn’t really need). Eventually, the plane took off and most of us slept as much as we could during the 8 hour flight.

When we arrived, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then found a place in the airport to hang out with one another and share some life stories. I think we can attest for everyone that sharing stories and listening to them has been an amazing way to build team camaraderie and trust with one another. We’ve only heard a few so far, but we are really excited to hear some more as we continue our travels!

Post story time, we stopped to have a team dinner at a sit-down restaurant in the airport. The entire dinner was filled with riddles and laughs being shared across the whole table.

As we type this, we sit at gate C65 in the London Airport waiting for our 11 hour flight to Johannesburg. Continued prayers for safe travels and good time spent with one another would be greatly appreciated. We are excited to get through the travel and get to Choma tomorrow! Chat soon.

Amanda & CJ