Monday, 25 June 2012

Zambia bound

As of this time next week I’ll be getting ready to board a plane bound for Zambia so there will be a bit of a moratorium on the ol’ blog posts until the end of July (unless I happen to stumble across a PC somewhere on my travels!).
The last time I visited Zambia with Tearfund about seven years ago it was a memorable and life changing experience. It was where I first started to write as I was overwhelmed on every front by new senses and experiences that begged to be recorded somehow. It was where I caught a whiff of my future as we read these words by the prophet Amos (from the Old Testament) writing in about 750 BC.  Speaking as an oracle from God he says:
“Do you know what I want?
   I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
   That's what I want.”
Read that and see yet another child begging by the side of the road and you will be changed.
I was blessed with capable, confident and insightful leaders on my trip. They facilitated our experiences, noted our reactions and spent the rest of the year encouraging us as we put our experiences into practice back in the UK as youth and student workers in our towns. And now the time has come around for me to be the leader. I can’t wait (and I can’t quite believe it!)!
In Zambia the first time around with my two pals who invented a brillaint game called 'Scary Monsters' which basically involved jumping on my and screaming 'Scary Monsters, arghhhh!'
The group of students we are taking are already remarkable. They are only 16 but I’ve heard statements come out of their mouths that wouldn’t be out of place being spoken by a forty year old. They are shiny with potential and at the start of an exciting journey onto further study or first jobs. It’s a privilege to be trusted with them at such a formative stage.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been surprised by my lack of anxiety about the trip (minus a stolen passport fiasco – THAT I was majorly stressed about). It has made me realised that all the ups and downs and many unknowns of the journey to ordination training might have had an effect. Hurrah!  Dare I say it, I think I’ve become more comfortable in the unknown than I have been before.
I’m more comfortable staring a challenge in the face and more confident that, scary as it might seem, the resources will be there when I need them. Even the news that our expedition leader for our mountain climb is dubbed ‘Hardcore Colin’ and wants us to abseil down the side of a mountain hasn’t COMPLETELY done me in. They should start offering the Church of England ministry selection process as a bootcamp for the nerves!
The last few years have been challenge after challenge after challenge and this pattern shows no sign of letting up any time soon. The enormity of the challenges coming up even this year makes me catch my breath when I think about them. But I’m also enjoying it. Immensely. Learning to drop the need to be in control of everything, even a tiny little bit, is hugely liberating. It leads to adventures, unexpected joys and an ability to be more where you are, right now, and enjoy it. I want more, more, more of it!
So I haven’t really thought that much about Zambia. Short of ordering a mozzie net online and sewing some gifts for the ladies we’ll be staying with in a local village I’m going as I am. Taking just the sweet expectation of watching some great kids get a little greater and coming back a little changed for the better myself by the many fantastic people I know I’ll meet. So I’ll see you on the other side!


  1. Was it really 7 years ago?! Oh my word, it doesn't seem that long ago. Anyway, I wish you safe travels and lots of adventures with many stories to write about on your return. Text me prayer requests if you can friend xx

  2. Love this. Think it's true that we need to drop the control freak in us all! Have a good and safe trip. I'll be thinking of you in the middle of the African desert or wherever it is you're being left stranded!xxxx

  3. Have a wonderful time, Nicola. I look forward to hearing all abut it when you arrive back as safely as I pray you will travel.