Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forever Friends

Friends: Angela and Maureen at Dr. M's in Lusaka
Friends: Lynn Hacker and Angela saying goodbye after a wonderful week together!!

Friends: A parting shot from the inside of the small airplane we flew in from Mukinge back to Lusaka
Traveling to Africa, specifically Zambia bonds people together in an amazing way! The long flights, airport layovers and travel challenges brings acquaintances to a new level of friendship. Although I have known Angela and Michael from TCPC and Trinity Christian Academy, we never had the opportunity to spend so much time together! I had met Lynn Hacker only a couple of brief times when she has been in the USA on furlough. This trip was going to prove to be a friendship making one!
As we prepared to travel, our families got to spend a little time together and enjoyed the discoveries that me made along the way regarding interests, travels and love for God's kingdom and purposes.
Although we are not all called to go, clearly Angela and I had it in our hearts to visit Lynn and bring encouragement to her.
Can you believe it? Lynn has been on the mission-field for 21 years? I have been in Kentucky for 20! This is the first time that we have visited her!!
The first working day in Zambia, we were at the Beit CURE Hospital of Zambia. Pastor Harold guided us through a devotional on Psalm 139 that describes how we are fearfully and wonderfully made and knit together in our mother's womb. It was a powerful and poignant devotional as we were working with children who were born with various deformities etc....yet our Heavenly Father knew this full well! The Lord has His ways and purposes. As Angela made new friends with the mothers and caregivers of the children, my joy was to make friends with the hospital administration and nursing staff.  We were being knit together as part of the body of Christ!  What a joy to meet mothers and staff who are trusting the LORD for their everyday needs and challenges!! It was a blessing to share the Good News to those who did not know the LORD.
Although Angela, Michael and I had very different roles during our time in Lusaka, we settled into a close little family, caring for each other.  We lived in close quarters in the guest house with several others whom we got to know and appreciate. Angela cooked supper for me one night when I was exhausted from teaching all day. Michael would bring me a bottle of water and help carry supplies after training times. I was able to share treats and host a dinner with the guest house occupants too.
Forever friends, indeed!!
As our journey took us outside of Lusaka and into the bush....Michael and I shared the backseat of Lynn's vehicle and bonded as we chatted and learned about Zambia from Lynn.
Throughout our time together, people said that Lynn and I looked like sisters! We kept saying that was because we had the same Father! It took a moment for some to catch on that we were talking about our Heavenly Father who had adopted us into His family.
Angela, Lynn and I enjoyed each others' company so much. We traveled back to Mukinge together on a 10 hour or more drive. We broke the drive up so that we could enjoy some African wildlife. It was such a fun experience sleeping in African huts. We learned a great deal from our new friends, the McBrides who owned the animal preserve. We were entertained and enriched with animal stories and information as we sat around the campfire listening to the hippos and monkeys. What a joy to experience the African bush with other people from South Africa, Germany, Italy and Great Britain! We too became a little family over the two days we were there. It is interesting that there are so many bonds that bind people together! Similar interests, similar experiences, similar likes.......
However, the most satisfying friendships and bonds that I experienced on this Zambian trip were the ones that come from God's people. It was wonderful to worship with fellow believers at church. It was lovely to share our passion for the LORD during devotions at the hospital chapels. We learned to appreciate our brothers and sisters from Zambia! We were bonded together in devoted love for the Lord, the poor, sick and needy.  During this trip, I grew to love, respect and appreciate Angela, Lynn and Michael. I saw how the Lord had prepared each one for this special time together.
It was so good for me to travel with Angela and Michael as I am usually traveling helped me recognize my rough edges that need smoothing!! Forever friends are the best....they are like iron sharpening iron so that together we might be increasingly useful for God's kingdom purposes.

A friend loves at all times...Proverbs 17:7
There is a friend who sticks closer that a brother...Proverbs 18:24

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