This is a hard post to read, and while I strive to make the majority of my posts family friendly, this one may not be so as much.
Zambia taught me many things. In a previous flashback I mentioned the incredible, yet simple tale of Boope’- and how I learned the hard way God’s plan is always best. Even if it doesn’t make sense. I’d like to share with you another lesson I learned in those past six weeks. It starts with a group of four guys going out to share Christ on the streets of Kitway after dark.
The first week I arrived in Zambia, Mr. Matt told me we were going to share the gospel on the streets of Kitway at night. They called “Night evangelism”, as many of the people who needed to hear about Christ slept during the day and came out at night. To be perfectly honest, the thought terrified me. I mean, here I am a young white guy in the depths of Africa with no experience in this kind of thing… And now I’m going to go out with a Zambian I met yesterday to share Christ with the folks who only come out at night to do who knows what? I didn’t want to go at all, but I didn’t say anything. I sucked it up and somehow managed to pray “Your will be done God.”
So on the night we decided- Matt and Blessed paired off and went one way. Benwell and I went the other. We agreed to meet back at the bajero at 9:30PM. Benwell and I spent the time talking to people, and through that time my fear lessened and I felt energy start flowing through me. It was pretty amazing actually, but not the point of this story. At 9:30 we come back to the car and Matt and Blessed aren’t there. 9:45… Still not there. 10:00… still missing. At this point, even Benwell started to look a little worried. At 10:15, he said we needed to go look for them, but as we started to walk, we saw Matt and Blessed come around the corner. Following them was a young woman. Her name was Deborah.
Matt found Deborah standing alone in the city, so he and Blessed decided to talk to her. They asked what she was doing out so late, and she said she was “Selling”. When they inquired as to what she was selling, Blessed told me she started crying. She was in fact, selling herself and her services. It was how she fed herself and survived. Matt and Blessed immediately shared Christ, and spent extra time talking to her and explaining what it truly means to be a Christian. That night, Deborah accepted Christ into her life.
There is a terrible misconception that once you accept Christ as your savior, everything goes all hunkydory and happy ever after ending. This is not the case. In fact, once you accept Christ, the life on earth just got immensely less hunkydory, because you just declared war against the place in which you live. Deborah had to fight that war, and the way Matt and I watched her fight was one of the most incredible witnesses I’ve ever seen.
See, once Deborah choose to stop living the way she was, and making money the way she did, she choose to no longer be self sustaining. She no longer had a way to feed herself or make money. She was at the mercy of those around her for simple things like food or a place to sleep. For the next weeks Matt and I worked to help her in her new life, but told her she needed to go back to her grandparents. She didn’t want to do that, as that would mean school. After another few weeks, God showed her that she needed to submit (that’s what she said at least) and go back home. We drove her back, and after a day of hard conversation with her grandparents and her, she promised everyone, including Christ, she would stay home and attend school. That’s where we left her, and to be honest, I have no idea how or where she is now.
But Deborah taught me so many things in her witness of choosing to live for Christ. First and foremost, seeing firsthand Christ really does forgive everyone. You hear that in church, you read that in scripture, but seeing a person truly be forgiven in that lifestyle… Is incredible to say the least. Deborah showed me also what true perseverance in Christ was. There were times when she relapsed over the night, and then tell us the next day. There were times when she said she couldn’t “Do this for Christ” anymore. But after the crying subsided, a resolve settled into her eyes and she continued pursuing Christ. She dug through the New Testament everyday and had questions for us every afternoon. I am fairly certain she grew more in those six weeks than I had in the past six years.