On July 19th a team of 12 Canadian volunteers arrived in the unfamiliar surroundings of Kabwe, Zambia. For many this was their first time on African soil. With the guidance of WOW’s local partner, the team received cultural sensitization and training. Team member Heather Hirstwood said, “We were encouraged to offer care, offer love, to leave a mark on the hearts of those we will meet, when we visit the sick to show and speak hope rather than hopelessness.” This was the beginning of an eye-opening journey. Over the course of their trip, these volunteers have visited the sick & dying, led bible studies with community home based care workers and helped prepare a maize harvest for milling. We want to share with you a few highlights from their experience, as told by Healther Hirstwood.
#1 HOME BASED CARE
In the various areas where WOW operates, local volunteers regularly visit the homes of those who are sick and dying. Our Canadian team joined these home based care workers to pray with those who are ill, offer words of encouragement from scripture and help with chores. Some drew water from wells. Others washed dishes. In the community of Bwacha, a patient named Joseph was lead to Christ by a member of the short-term team. Everyone was deeply impacted by the suffering they witnessed, but inspired to come alongside their African brothers and sisters.
#2 THE FARM
“Dalton (of WOW’s local parter) said he knew this wasn’t easy work, but when, or if, we got discouraged to think of the widows and orphans that this labour will ultimately be helping.”
In Kabwe, WOW partners with the grass-roots initiative Impact Community Outreach (ICO). This local group of pastors and church leaders are committed to meeting the needs of those in their sphere of influence. WOW funded the establishment of a farm, which will support community programs and provide food for the hungry. Our mission team toiled in the hot sun preparing the maize harvest for milling. Everyone gave their best effort despite sore muscles and exhaustion. In one day alone they bagged nearly 2 tonnes of grain. It was significant help to the ICO staff, who regularly labour in the fields.
#3 CHURCH IN ZAMBIA
“It was such a blessing to see so many children come for prayer, and it appeared as though there were more children than adults in the church that day. These precious children will be the church of tomorrow.”
Last Sunday, a few of the group joined Pastor Eric Mwambelo, one of WOW’s local partners, at a new church dedication. They were stunned at the number of people present, especially children. Pastor Eric prayed for all the various demographics in the church one by one – the sick, ushers, teachers, men, women, children and more. He prayed specifically for them all. A service, which usually concludes at 1pm was extended until 3:30pm on that day. The rest of the team visited Pastor Eric’s own church, offering a message from scripture and greatly encouraging the congregation.
WOW’s short-term mission team arrives home in Canada today. Stay tuned for further stories from their trip!