Wednesday, November 18, 2015



This past weekend we took a long journey to Katoya, a village in the bush of Western Province in Zambia for a Women’s Conference. Our trip took us through the Kafue National Park and about 1.5 hours out from the closest town of Kaoma. It was a journey that began right away with some challenges. We prayed about the trip and felt that it was one we should take, so we packed up and readied ourselves for a few nights in the bush. 
The morning of departure, Lydia, the intended program director and lead speaker called to say she was very ill and was headed to the clinic. We began praying right away and made the decision to delay our trip one day. After spending the entire day for observations she was sent home with medication but certain that it was not wise to make the journey. She asked us to pick up the other ladies in Lusaka and continue on without her.
Our vehicle, which has had numerous mechanical issues, acted up just one day before so Daniel decided it was best for he and the kids to travel with me. These issues and the day long delay allowed us to spend extra time in prayer. There were others who joined us in praying for this journey as well. 
We started off on Friday morning and things went well until the town before entering the park. We hit a speed bump harder than normal (they are everywhere) and the vehicle lost power. It would not go above 3100 RPM’s. We stopped, turned off the vehicle and prayed. When we restarted, the check engine light had gone off and it was running normally. We decided to continue the journey and prayed again!
We arrived just after dark and a young man was waiting at the turnoff to guide us to the church. He had been watching for us for hours so we wouldn’t get lost! When we pulled up the whole group began to clap, cheer and sing! They hugged and greeted us with love. It was the most emotional greeting I have experienced, and for here in Zambia that is saying a lot! It brought tears to my eyes and I was filled with joy that we had persevered. 
On Saturday, I awoke at 4:10 am to the sound of ladies singing songs of praise. It was so beautiful! They transitioned into prayers and then began preparations for bathing. They boiled water and carried it in basins to a bathing area they had created. (It is basically a grass wall stall with straw material on the ground so your feet won’t get muddy. But, for Daniel and I, they set up a place in an abandoned mud hut so we could have more privacy. They always overwhelm me with the kindness and generosity with which they treat guests. It is really hard to even handle sometimes. I have learned so much from them.
After a nice sponge bath and breakfast the ladies began gathering in the church. I was the first speaker after the singing and devotion. So by the time I was speaking it was about 10am. I was in the middle of my session when Eli, my youngest, ran to the front of the church and told me that they had found a snake. I have no idea how, but I remained calm and told him to go directly to his daddy and tell him and then I continued teaching. In hindsight, I really don’t know how I had such peace. I just didn’t feel fear and I was able to finish my lesson without disruption. It was truly, the peace that surpasses understanding!
Later, after we finished the session I went to Daniel and the kids to find out what had happened. They explained that James was playing with his catapult (slingshot) and saw the leaves moving near the path. He shot at it with a clump of dirt and thought it was probably a lizard. He said he used a short stick to move back the leaves and realized it was a snake! It easily could have struck him. He showed the village kids that were with him and they began to beat it with sticks and stones to kill it and about that time Daniel came up. It was very short and stout and we now know it was a puff adder and "This species is responsible for more snakebite fatalities than any other African snake. This is due to a combination of factors, including its wide distribution, common occurrence, large size, potent venom that is produced in large amounts, long fangs, their habit of basking by footpaths and sitting quietly when approached.” from Wikipedia.
I realize that there is a chance that nothing would have happened but with all the people traveling on the path I really believe that we were protected and safe because of the prayers. As I thought back, our friend Elias was praying with us and specifically prayed this scripture from Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. I didn’t know that would be such a powerful Word of protection for our trip! Wow!
As we went to sleep that night we could hear drums beating as the traditional ceremony nearby was going on through the night. I looked up at the stars that were so incredible! I could see more stars than I ever have in my life and I thanked God for bringing me on this crazy, amazing, unbelievable journey and never leaving me alone through all He called us to do. 
As we departed on Sunday, we were able to leave boxes of Bibles in the local language with the pastors and say farewell to new friends! We travelled home through the park and were able to see elephants, warthogs, antelope and monkeys. Even though our vehicle, lovingly known as “Squeekabishi” struggled with the problem and gave Daniel a lot of frustration, we were able to make it all the way home without being stranded! I just want to praise God for His protection and provision!

Is it easy? No. Is it fun? Not always. Is it worth it? Absolutely!!!!

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