ZAMBIA 2009

Dear Supporters of GAP Missions Zambia 2009,

Thank you for your financial contribution in support of our work in Zambia!  Your generosity made a profound impact on the lives of both the youth who participated in the trainings as well as our own team.  May you reap many blessings for your generosity!

Our first full-day we visited two orphanges of the Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia  (CACZ).  We first visited the House of Moses which offers round the clock nursing care for premature and high risk infants.  We spent a couple of hours holding and playing with the infants.  Needless to say the team’s foreign look offered much to the curiosity of many little pairs of striking brown eyes.  We then went to visit the House of Martha that cares for children ages 4-12 who are orphaned, abandoned, lost, or whose families are not able to properly take care for them.  One of the staff there told us that they had one young girl that was found being raised by monkeys for quite some time.

During our time in Zambia we were able to schedule two consecutive trainings.  We commenced these the day after our time at the CACZ orphanages. The first was a 2-day Purity First workshop for junior high aged youth.  We ended up with 27 total kids, 15 boys and 12 girls.  We had some challenge with communication and translation. Despite the language barrier, the team’s expression of compassion and hope were communicated quite powerfully with the universal language of love.  The Zambian teens declarations at the end of the training confirmed this, here are a couple; “I am committed to be love for other orphans and show them that you can make it” and “I am hope for children who have lost their parents, that they can go on.”

The day after the junior high training we commenced our second training which was a 3-day hybrid of our leadership & purity workshop for high school age teens.  Many of the teens came from the North and Eastern parts of Zambia where tribal influence is quite strong. The culture that they are coming out of is steeped in polygamy, child marriage and has little regard for education.  The local customs around rites of passage for both boys and girls are shocking to our American ears.  Young girls, when they go through puberty, are taken from their home to a ‘mentor’ house run by older women.  The girl is then taught how to please sexually in any context, she is kept there under lock and key, sometimes cut with razor if she resists.  Boys are taken by elders in large white masks (scary!) and circumcised then kept away for a period of weeks.  When they are released they are encouraged to go and hunt down one of the girls who had just been released from the mentor house and rape her, since that is their ‘right’ now as a man. We had 14 boys and 14 girls.  About 1/3 of the teens spoke English fairly well, we used a translator 100% of the time.  There was a lot of vision as well as a lot of defeat and despair in the culture there.  Envy is all-consuming and plays itself out in large and small ways.  One of the girls shared that her parents are dead and she lives with aunts, who don’t want her to go to school since they never went and tell her that they are going to stop paying for it.   One of the girls shared that she was taken to one of the ‘houses’ mentioned earlier, when she started puberty.  Another girl shared that it is almost impossible for women to work here since they have to have sex with the boss to get a job.  Most of the teens were really bright and willing to look at their own assumptions, views and choices.  I was astounded at their level of willingness and honesty.

At the latter stages of the training Charlie Johnson, a long time friend of GYTS and large part of opening up our being ins Zambia, shared his testimony and several of the teens opened up about their abuse and sexual history in small groups. Because of that, we were able to identify several teens who needed medical care, HIV/AIDs or STD testing and treatment and other aid. It was a blessing to have Charlie involved!

On a side note, we had the training at a convent and one of the nuns, Sister Veronica, came up to me after the 1st day and asked if she could sit in on the ‘class’ because she really wanted to learn what we were bringing to the kids.  She came and participated in the outdoor low ropes course and sat in on all the discussions.  After she said that it never occurred to her before that trust is a choice, even trusting God.  She had always felt like you ‘had to’ trust Him and now she sees that she chooses and it’s much more powerful.

We also were able to meet with representatives from several local NGO’s that are interested in our work here and will be following up.  After the last training today, we met with the Minister of Education to discuss a proposal to bring transformational training into the schools.  Suffice it to say that God is moving created much possibility with our time there.

At the beginning of our trip, Jean gave the team US$250 each out of the money we fundraised to sow into the country while we were there, whatever touches their hearts and represents God’s love to the Zambian people. Mine went to a woman who worked for the convent cleaning and caring for the guest house we stayed in.  She has a small child and no other means of support. Cheri and Allen donated their funds to buy furniture to the House of Martha.  The left over money from the furniture went towards ‘milk money’ for the baby orphanage, House of Moses.  Campbell and Shane’s purchased soccer jerseys for the boys and sunglasses for the girls that participated in the first training and their extra went to milk money for the babies as well, as did Cristiana and Adelina’s money.  The team got to go back and hold babies one last time before we left.  I think that everyone wanted to take at least one back home!

We have written testimonies from the team , thank you notes given to us by many on the teens in the second training, and we videoed some of the declarations and will have them on the website later this month: www.gapyouth.com.  Please take a moment to look at these they offer more personal insight to our time in Zambia.

On behalf of the GYST leadership and missions team we acknowledge that your commitment and love for the next generation is an encouragement and a blessing! Because of your willingness and generosity you are forever a part of the many legacies that will have an eternal impact on the Zambian people.

Blessings,

Robb Farrell

Director of Operations

 

Mission
Trip To Zambia

In January 2009, the GAP
missions team returned from Zambia. It was amazing how much God
orchestrated for us to engage while we were there. We received great
feedback from the junior high and high school trainings that opened
up opportunity to partner with a prominent local NGO and have much
conviction that this was just the the opening of our ministry involvement
in Zambia We look forward to our continued relationship with the
communities there.

Testimonies from Team

I guess I would have to start out and
say that God really met me in Africa. First of all I would not have
been able to have been blessed in this way without all of the love,
support, and prayer that all of our sponsors and other individuals
gave to us. So Ill start by saying that Zambia was beautiful, in
all the ways that makes a country and its people beautiful. My testimony
was seeing the difference i could be in their lives and also seeing
the change that they made in my life. Their genuineness and love
for life made me re-evaluate how lightly I have been taking my life.
Even though the country is impoverished the kids had a smile and
a love that was contagious. For example Campbell and I, Campbell
is another team member, we went and purchased soccer jerseys for
the boys and sunglasses for the girls at the end of the first junior
high training. To see the look on their face and the way it impacted
them was really amazing. I felt like I wasnt just giving I was also
receiving in a way. It really made my heart full and opened my eyes
to life and light that I want to be. – Shane Carson Jobs

Going to Zambia was the most incredible
experience of my life. Traveling across the world, exploring another
culture, and caring for children and youth transformed my life forever.
To see and encounter kids, many who were orphaned and many others
who had experienced abuse, broke my heart. I knew I was privileged
to speak a word of encouragement and make a stand for them. I especially
was blessed by having the awesome opportunity of purchasing new
furniture for an orphanage. Through it all, I became a changed man.
I see now what I have and the value I can be for others. A value
that will never again go to waste. – Allen Marshall

The trip to Zambia was so much more
amazing than I was anticipating. Going into the trip I knew that
we were going to be dealing with kids who lived very different lives
than our own and I expected that meant it would be difficult to
find ways to relate to them and speak into their lives. As it turned
out, by simply being with the kids and showing them how much we
loved them we were able to make an impact. The people we encountered
continually blessed me throughout the trip. On the last day when
we were able to hear the kids’ declarations about who they wanted
to be for the world; I was so moved by the clarity and power they
spoke with. They had a passion and love that was inspiring. Being
able to learn from the youth in Zambia and getting the opportunity
to be in their lives was an experience I will never forget and I
would be honored to get another one like it. – Christiana
Salucci

When I heard that GAP was going
to Zambia to work with teenagers who had been abused and raped,
I knew in my heart, because of similar experiences in my life, I
wanted to be part of the restoration and bring hope to their lives.
I felt that God could use the pains of my past as a resource to
bring hope into the future of these teens who saw no other possibilities.
Although there was a language barrier I felt that my way of being
was to show affection, acceptance, hope and love. I found myself
often in deep thought about the possibilities for these amazing,
talented, kids whose circumstances are horrific and seem hopeless.
My emotions well up inside as I see the potential of these teens,
the next generation of leaders for Zambia making declaration of
taking a stand for other orphans and abused children, to be advocates
and be a part of changing the culture of abuse toward women and
children that resonates in the current culture. One teenage boy
stated he likes to cook and wants to cook for his future wife which
is unheard of in the Zambian culture. This trip renewed my vision
and passion to continue working toward restoration in families,
transformation in leadership, to be a part of the next generation
stepping into their full potential. I want to thank those of you
who sponsored me and provided funds for me to have this experience.
Your generosity and gift to me was well worth the investment into
the lives of these families. Your presence was there with me in
your giving, thank you! – Cheri Meadowlark

One of the most striking experiences
on this trip was meeting the courageous, young girls in my small
group. In the span of their short lives they had already experienced
sexual abuse, prostitution, being an orphan, being pregnant and
losing a child, and dealing with the rigors of having AIDS. Their
journals however were filled with hope and encouragement for others.
They wanted to “care for orphans” and “tell them
that their parents dying is not “the end of the world””.
Story after story I continued to be amazed at their resilience and
love.

During our small group one of these
brave girls remained quiet for the first day and a half of the Gap
training. She spoke no English and communicating was a challenge.
I kept wondering if she would ever speak up and if the training
we came to do in Zambia would make a difference for her. To my demise
during the time of “sharing secrets” she was the first
to volunteer and share her experience of being sexually abused.
She also spoke about her fear of being unable to complete her education
for lack of funds as her parents had died from AIDS. Step by step
her story unfolded further and she disclosed that she herself was
HIV positive. The antiretroviral medication which she was on however
was an older, incompatible medication for her and she was already
noticing side effects. Following a short intervention she was given
the information that she needed including the right hospital connection
in her hometown.

I often wonder what kind of a difference
do we make when we go on missions trips. I know that we probably
will not know the answer on this side of eternity, but I am grateful
for the glimpses that God gives us into some of the lives that we
do touch. Thank you to all of our supporters for your prayers and
financial contributions. – Adelina

One thing that showed me that
we really made a difference, in the lives of the kids in the workshops,
was what happened with one of the guys in my small group. In the
high school group, a boy named Justin told me the first day, that
he couldn’t speak English. He didn’t try to communicate with me
hardly at all, but I knew after working with the junior high school
kids, that he probably understood a lot more than he let on. So,
I just talked to him about the things he had shared and what was
going on for him in his life and talked to him as much as possible,
because I knew we only had three days together. Then, at the end
of his training, he came up to me and thanked me for everything
I did for him and for helping him, and wrote me a letter. I felt
so blessed that he had gotten and learned as much from me as I learned
from him. – Campbell

Mission
Trip To Zambia

Thank you cards to team
from some high school age participants:

We appreciate you for giving
us this opportunity to learn new things which wil make us better
citizens of our country and the rest of the world. – Brian Musonda

I thank you very much for you making a difference and good impact
on my life. Again, I thank you because you are teaching good things
so God Bless and do come back, in the name of Jesus. Thank You!
– Francis Ndhlow

I thank you very much for
what you have taught me. You have made a difference and good impact
on my life. May you please just come back another time in our country
which is Zambia. Please God bless you and also be with you. Have
a safe journey. – Justine Daka

You people have done a lot for us. Your work has highly expanded
my belief, being that ” I am the man destined to positively
change the world” keep this safely because ten years from now
you will be editing the autobiography: ‘Earnest, the man of God
that changed the world!” – Mwila Ernest Malulu

To the entire team: I’m
very humbled and happy that you came to Zambia. My life is not As
it was before. You have given me a gift and that is to develop my
life through what you have taught. You have given me hope when I
was hopeless. I now feel special and free from every burden I was
carrying. For this I will forever be grateful to you all. Please
come back again. God bless you in all that you do. Yours faithfully,
Sophie.

I thank you very much for
what you have taught me. You have made a difference and good impact
in my life. May you please come back again to Zambia. God Bless
you – Violet Phiri

I want to say thank you to the Gap team. I really appreciate you
guys and am praying that our Father God will bless you and be with
you always. Robb I love you and the team very much. You had good
questions that challenged my life and I have become a better thinker.
Campbell you are an inspiring leader. – Joseph Mwanza

I would like to thank you
the Gap team for having fun with us and teaching us more things.
I would like to thank you for sharing that was very kind of you.
God bless you and remember I love you and will remember you. I hope
we meet again. Love, Elizabeth.

Friends I really, really thank you for all the things that you have
done for us. I really appreciate you all from the bottom of my heart.
May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace for all
the things you have done for us. May he be with you as you go, Thank
you! Yours with love, Kane.

Cheri, though it looks
small on paper it is big because of the difference and positive
impact you have in my life. Who new God would bless my new year
with a kind of person and gift you are. God had a purpose for me
and you. I would love to keep in touch. A thanks is not enough but
it is the greatest word I can use so far. Never lose this card and
our friendship ell the team thanks for sharing the ideas and time
with us we are greatly humbled. Please come back again so we can
benefit greatly, thanks. -Sharon