She stopped in the middle of her story and asked, "Do you still have your parents?" A knot formed in my stomach. The answer was yes, but I found it hard to say to her. She had just told me that her dad was killed when she was a baby and that her mom died a few years later. Her 16 years of life could not be more different than mine were at that age. I have parents who poured into me my whole life and loved me even on those days I'm pretty sure I was hard to love with my teenage attitude. I can't imagine growing up without them. I can't imagine not having them in my life now. My parents live thousands of miles away and I miss them every day. The reality is though that in a few months I'll get on a plane and go home for a few weeks. I'll be greeted with hugs and smiles and spend those weeks doing all kinds of family activities. There will be laughter and late night chats and I Love Yous. I miss them, but I still have precious time with them. All this ran through my mind as I looked at her that day. I love this girl. I want her to have a life that is full of opportunity and joy. She's the one I sponsor at our Tree of Life children's village, and not long after that day she asked if she could call me mom. No words for that moment-- just a heart full of love.
But me He caught-- reached all the way from sky to sea; He pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved-- surprised to be loved. Psalm 18:16-19 (MSG)
You can find out more about the Family Legacy child sponsorship programs at www.familylegacy.com
Half a year in Africa already. Time has its way of sneaking up on you. Term 1 in our schools came to a close in April and I took the chance to take a breath and get away for a few days. I spent the morning of Easter Sunday sitting on a beach by the Indian Ocean and reflecting on where I was exactly 1 year ago. I spent that Easter Sunday sitting on the rocks at Cable Beach, just down the road from where I was living-- knowing that in a few weeks I wouldn't be living there anymore. Those last couple months in the Caribbean I wanted to soak in all the sunshine and the sounds of the sea. What drove me to the beach that day though was my thoughts about something I read. Bob Goff had tweeted, "When Jesus rose from the dead He didn't make a speech to the world, He made breakfast for His friends." I sat beside the water that day reading from the book of John and thinking about how Jesus sat by the sea preparing breakfast and waiting for his friends who were out fishing. He was just waiting until the time was right, then He called out to them.
The resurrection had happened. Jesus had shown Himself to them twice since then, but what now? These disciples retreated to the comfortable, to their fishing boat. They were doing things they knew how to do but were catching nothing. I could relate to them; I had been continuing to do the familiar but not finding fulfillment. I had security but knew there was something more for me than the life I had become used to living. Then morning came. The sun rose and Jesus was on the shore calling out to them. He told them where to fish, and because they obeyed, their nets were full. He already had the fire going and breakfast ready. He didn't need their help, but He asked them to contribute their fish anyway. This wasn't the first time some of these men heard Jesus calling to them from their fishing boats. Just a couple years earlier He had said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll make you fishers of men." That day they had left their nets, their careers, their families and followed. At the end of John after that breakfast on the beach, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Jesus more than these-- enough to feed His lambs, enough to shepherd His sheep, enough to bring glory to God no matter the personal cost. Then He said to him "Follow me," and he did.
I want to love Jesus like that. He doesn't need my contribution, but He asks for it. He doesn't want me to settle for a career when He has for me a calling. He led me from my boat of security to the compounds of Lusaka, and He filled my net with people to love. My prayer is that in following Jesus I can love the people here well and bring glory to God. I'm forever grateful for the people who pray for me and those who make financial contributions to support my life here in Zambia. God called me here, and you are making it possible. I am so thankful!
"Anything is a prayer of surrender that will spark something. A prayer that will move us to stop chasing things that just make us feel happy and start living a life that matters. A life that is surrendered, reckless, and courageous." ~Jennie Allen, Anything.
In November of 2013 I moved to Zambia as a full-time missionary with Family Legacy Missions International. Everyone within the organization raises their own support to keep overhead costs at a minimum so donations to the ministry can go directly to the needs and programs for the orphans and vulnerable children we serve. I trust in God's faithfulness to provide monthly and one-time financial supporters for the work I do here for the education of thousands of children from the slum compounds of Lusaka. If you would like to support me, donations are tax deductible and can be made at www.familylegacy.com/alicia
"God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. When I cleaned up my act, He gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I've kept alert to God's ways; I haven't taken God for granted. Every day I review the way He works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes." 2 Samuel 22:25