This summer I had the privilege of serving in Zambia for six weeks on a Global Outreach team. There were five Cedarville nursing majors (including me), a Cedarville engineering student, and a Congolese biomedical engineer on our team, along with our team leader, Dr. Wooten, a rheumatologist. We were partnering with the Navigators ministry in Zambia, a ministry mostly focused on college students and engaging them in “life-to-life” discipleship. I thought I signed up for a medically focused trip, but God knew I needed to see what missions is based on: relationships.
Our team spent most weekdays in a large public hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. We were there as nursing students. Through this, we had opportunities to talk to both fellow students and patients! Several of my teammates had the joy of leading patients to faith in Christ. We had so many joyful drives back from the hospital relaying conversations and experiences. But I would be dishonest if I did not add we also had many conversations followed by tears about the heaviness and pain we saw in the hospital, and about the hardness of the hearts of those who had chosen to reject Christ. One of our team members spent more time on campus, meeting with students, and sharing her faith.
I can say confidently that sharing the Gospel does not come easy to my team. It is scary, when I consider the opinions of people. But when we consider God, who is greater than all that is in the world, we are compelled to share what we have experienced. Ruth, a wise and bold team member, taught us what we now affectionately call a “Ruth” opportunity. A “Ruth” opportunity is when she would just start asking, gently but with purpose, questions to patients and students like “can I share my testimony?,” “do you know Jesus?,” and “can I share the Gospel/the Word of God with you?” Our team study in Luke also confronted my fear head on, particularly in this passage from Luke 9:23:
“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Following Jesus is not about me and my desires. It is about laying them down knowing that a life lived for Jesus is far more rewarding. Even as I write these words, I can think of so many times that I attempt to “save my life” and have been “ashamed” of God. Through this Bible study and watching the Navigators staff fearlessly share their hope in Christ, I saw what a fulfilling life could be.
We also had the opportunity to talk with and get to know nursing students. We even got to have some of the students we met over to the NavHouse for games, snacks, and a Gospel message. We got to connect the students with long term workers, so that the students may be discipled and be in Bible studies. Please pray for Chiti and Mainess, the long-term workers, as they follow up. Also pray for how we can still be a part of our new friends’ lives from very far away.
We experienced the power of prayer on our trip to Zambia, and you, the Cedarville community, were praying for us! We saw prayers answered for boldness, opportunities, and softening of hearts. We got to experience team unity prayed for by many of you. We saw prayers answered related to our visas, a stubborn seat in the van we drove around, and in the health of our team members. God listens and answers! As one of our assurances (verses we memorized) says in John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be complete.”
For all of us on the team, the unity of our team and the Zambians we got to know were a highlight of the trip. It was such a joy to learn about the Zambian Navigators staff and staff in training. We shared meals, stories, and got to hear what led them to pursue ministry, which ended up being stories of how God pursued them, and they were led to ministry as a result.
Overall, God showed me that He does not ask for a part of me when I follow Him. No, He asks for all of me. There is a whole world of people surrounding me and in Zambia and all over the world who do not yet know Him!
I would like to “leave” you all with some lyrics from a song our team listened to most days on the trip: Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns.
“Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners,
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.
Let our hearts be led by mercy.
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.
Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners,
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours.”
- Majoring in Nursing
- Hometown: Lancaster, PA
- Coffee Order: Chai Latte
- Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:1