Surrounded by the orange colored sand roads, barefoot children run as fast as they can to simply hold my hand. All at once they are yelling “Muli shani?!” or “how are you?”. I traveled to Zambia, Africa with my youth group at Discovery Church and immediately fell in love with the culture and how the people live out their lives every day.
After two full days of travel, my team finally arrived in Livingstone, Zambia and was greeted by a heartwarming family. We stayed in their home for two weeks and were served by them in multiple ways; Jean, the wife, made us every meal, John, the husband, provided our team of eighteen each a bed, and the three children made us feel at home.
Identical to our youth group, this family had a youth group called “J14s”. This community of energetic, high school students would meet once or twice a week. We engaged in worships sessions and sermons they held, and learned more than we could ever imagine. The students have such a strong desire to learn about the story of Jesus and are not the least bit ashamed of their constant excitement about it. Known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the J14s took our team to Victoria Falls. The intricacy of the rocks and how the water fell over them was unbelievable. As we repeatedly sang and danced together, getting soaked by the water, I learned that the adventure of stepping out of my comfort zone can be a life changing journey. It is so easy to get wrapped up in my own world without realizing what the rest of the world has to offer.
Under a straw hut in the middle of a large, open field, I was in charge of teaching the J14s and a group of young orphans proper English. We practiced word games, simple worksheets, and played games, hoping they would grasp the details of the English language. I have never seen children so eager to listen and learn to what I had to say. They eagerly awaited the next activity and tried their best in every lesson. Through creating lesson plans, engaging with the students, and seeing their potential, I realized that teaching in Africa is what I want to do after college and become a huge and needed impact on these students. I am over passionate about guiding these incredible children in the right direction and being the mentor they need in their life.
The sound of the African drum overpowered the conversations being held and created an atmosphere that screamed joy. Our team and the J14s became a family and truly embraced every moment we had with one another. Zambia taught me to reach beyond my boundaries and live out my dream of becoming a teacher overseas. As we left the home that became our favorite place in the world, the children cried, danced, and sang for us until we were out of sight. The sounds, smell, beauty, and joy of Zambia, Africa with forever be embedded in my heart.
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