Journey to Zambia

By Chaz Oswald, Michigan

All the way my Savior leads me, what have I to ask beside . . .

January 2009—I was packing my bags in preparation (and giddy anticipation) for a month-long journey orchestrated by God. I was not sure what God was going to have me do, but I knew where He wanted me to be—Zambia.

I gave up all the comforts and luxuries of home—no blackberry, no laptop, no air-conditioning. I left my family and friends to enter a world so contrary to my selfish being. Yet I was constantly encouraged with a peace and understanding that the safest place to be is where God wants you to be.

Before it all began . . .
The weekend before I set sail to bring God’s Word to a spiritually dry land, I was under attack by the “enemy.” I learned that one is never more targeted by the devil than when the person is doing the will of God.

Within the course of three days, my uncle was in the hospital receiving back surgery, my cousin had gotten into a car accident, my grandmother was admitted into the hospital for suspected brain tumor, and my 98-year-old great grandmother passed away. Around every corner, the devil was setting up traps of discouragement and disappointment to catch me in my weakness. In tears I pleaded with God to relieve me of my pain, my misery, and my hurt.

God reminded me that He would never give me more than I can handle. Hence, like Peter who walked on water, I was determined to step out of the boat, hold fast to my Christian faith and keep my eyes fixated on my Savior, Jesus.

First steps in Zambia
My journey began with three exhausting days and two sleepless nights of travel to the bush of Zambia, Africa. It was there that reality set in—I had no means of communication to family and friends. I was terribly homesick.

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Lying on my face in prayer to my Father in Heaven, I looked to Him for comfort. God heard my prayer and answered me with sweet, refreshing peace. I was overwhelmed when I felt His holiness replenish my soul with a thirst quenching tidal wave of grace. This made me see that God was indeed working His grace in me, slowly but surely.

By this time, my heart was grieved with a spiritual burden to reach the destitute and disoriented surrounding me in this foreign terrain. I began by developing relationships with fellow Christians as we worked together on a dormitory building project at the Manna Campus Evangelical Bible College.

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The labor was physically straining. Each day we laid another brick and the building grew another tier higher. The nights were always welcoming. My aching muscles and tense joints voided me of much rest, leaving me more tired as each day went by.

In addition to the aforementioned fatigue, nourishment was sparse as we survived humbly yet habitually on stale bread and sour meats. I found myself consistently praying the missionary prayer, “Lord, I will put it down, you keep it down!” God through His grace and mercy, kept me healthy all the way without illness befalling me.

The beauty of God in Zambia
With the blessing of good health, I managed to take advantage of my evening time and explored Zambia. I observed the lands inhabitants and found Africa enormously attractive with its colors, tastes, smells, wildlife, nature, culture, and especially its people.

The Zambians are a friendly, humble, and beautiful people who long for interaction and communication. They are peaceful, patient, and unhurried but it is their contentment that struck me the most. Their satisfaction in poverty left me utterly grateful to God and His providence in my life. God opened my eyes to see my self-centeredness, my soiled heart condition to desire worldly yet meaningless possessions.

My heart was ignited with passion and laden for the Zambian people, so I traded in my evening adventures and began working at a nearby school where I taught Bible stories to children.

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Evidently, God was not only working in the lives around me but also in me. The Holy Spirit filled my mouth with His words and enabled me to teach the children. As a result, there were 61 children that were receptive to the Gospel, desiring and acknowledging Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. It was an overwhelming and humbling occurrence which was entirely dictated and written by God.

Lessons learnt
I have since returned to my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where life’s toils entangle, but my journey to Africa has been an experience of life altering proportions.

My longing is to serve God with every breath I have. I do so not just by attending church, meeting in fellowship with other men, and studying God’s Word daily. Furthermore, I want to follow Christ’s example by investing my time in the lives of people around me.

Each day I wake up with purpose and I intentionally live a life of servanthood. Now I no longer strive after worldly wealth but after my Father’s heart. My journey to Zambia was a journey of the soul.

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3 replies
  1. VERONICA WAITHIRA MWANGI
    VERONICA WAITHIRA MWANGI says:

    The story about journey to zambia have made me learn that it doesn’t matter what it takes, be it leaving behind what we like most for the purpose of spreading the true gospel.Once GOD wants to use us he surelly does that by giving us his love so as to do his work as required.GOD is faithful in all he does for he will protect his children from the hand of the enemy if we abide to his word and have no doubt of him.GOD can use anyone to fulfill his purpose be it a student,doctor,driver,teacher,young,old,poor or rich.We need to be a helping hand in bringing up projects that will assist in bringing people together and share the word of GOD.This story to zambia encouraged me to trust in GOD that very soon i will be joining other missioners from other countries so that we may help one another to preach the gospel truth. IT TAKES GOD POWER FOR HIS PEOPLE TO MOVE TO MANY DIFFERENT NATION FOR THE SAKE OF TRUE GOSPEL.

    by veronica mwangi(cyra)

    Reply
  2. Brad
    Brad says:

    Chaz,

    I can understand the part where you said “God opened my eyes to see my self-centeredness, my soiled heart condition to desire worldly yet meaningless possessions”
    I sometimes wonder exactly what poverty is? I’ve led and gone on many service projects and it seems to be a very common observation of how happy children are abroad. Why are not our own children happy and content? Are we playing with them? Can they run around and be kids? Anyway, I enourage you not to let your gaurd down. Keep being obedient to God and I’m sure he has many great things in store for you.

    Reply

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