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.
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.
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.
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.
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.