Missionary Monday - Sarah Todd (Africa)

Greetings prayer family,

Climbing over luggage in the aisle, weird kung fu movies and Tanzanian soap operas, a zillion stops, loud Zambian music, lack of personal space, and constantly feeling like you’re in the way; this is the public bus experience here. It’s really not that bad (I’m being dramatic), but so different than anything you’d experience in the States. 

The Lake T team took public transport to get to and from the Love Africa Conference that was held at the base in Kabwe where I did my discipleship training. This conference was such a blessing. Not necessarily the conference itself, but being able to see my friends from discipleship again was so refreshing. The reunions were very sweet and didn’t last long enough. We all experienced a lot of tough moments and life-giving moments together in training, so it was great to be able to share with each other how we’re all fairing in our various fields since graduating and parting ways. 

After the conference the team hopped on another bus to head back to the lake. However, I stayed behind for another full week for an immigration inspection of OM. This was apparently a routine inspection, but because my work permit hasn’t been approved yet I was caught in the middle and had to stay in case they wanted to ask me questions about what I’m doing in Zambia. As far as I know the inspection went well, because I was never actually called into the meeting. The police and immigration officers don’t like to be predictable or give anything away, so they didn’t say anything when they left. Now all that’s left to do is wait and pray that my permit is officially approved and issued soon. 

During this week of waiting for the inspection to happen, I was sad to miss the last days of school that were happening at the lake, and was so ready to get back. Many people said, “really?! You want to go back to Mpulungu?!” What can I say, God has given me a love for this place. 

So, after my extra week in Kabwe it was my turn to hop on a bus and endure the 13 hour journey back to Mpulungu alone. The ride was definitely interesting, but uneventful which I’m thankful for. 

The day after I returned I found that I had new neighbors. I think you all know, I don’t live on base, but on the property with the Hope House. What you may not know, is that the Hope House ministry has been put on hold. The girls have been placed with Zambian missionary families while we wait for someone who is willing to go through the training to be the house mom for the Hope House. In the meantime, the headmaster of the orphan school has moved into the house with his family. This is great for a couple reasons. One being, it means that I’m not alone on the property, and another is that I have fun neighbor kids to hang out with. Two of the kids are actually my students so it’s been fun to see them while school is on holiday. 

Holiday. What does a teacher do on holiday (other than enjoy the movies and sermons that her brother sent to her…Thanks bro!)? Just this week I had the opportunity to train the preschool teacher who works in Chipwa Village. He has had no prior training, but he’s willing-and sometimes that’s the most important thing. I was able to help him understand some of the basics of teaching like incorporating different learning styles into lessons, asking higher level questions, and the importance of creating experiences that help students learn more authentically. A big agenda item was how to write a lesson plan. I don’t think he’d ever written one before, so it was like pulling teeth, but so beneficial-I could tell the wheels in his head were turning! After we had gone through everything I had planned, he said that we shouldn’t be meeting for 2 days, but for 2 weeks. Needless to say, he was grateful, and I will definitely be working with him again. I’m already planning to go to Chipwa to observe him in action and give helpful feedback in September. 

This type of training is something that I’d love to do more of. I’m no expert in teaching, but God didn’t have me working at a school before this where I received LOADS of professional development and experience for nothing, right?! 

A passage that I’ve found particularly encouraging lately, as I continue to learn how to live in Zambia, is Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” No matter the circumstance or situation, I can bear fruit and be a light because I trust in Him who is light. 

Please pray… 

-that my work permit would be approved and issued.

-my foot would heal completely (still swollen and tender). 

-God would open up more doors for me to train the teachers here, and that He would use the abilities and knowledge He’s given to me for His glory. 

-God would continue to strengthen the friendships I have with the other team members here. 

-that as a team we would be effective in the ministry that God has placed each of us in. 

Thank you all again for being my prayer warriors. I can’t express how much your support and friendship mean to me.