ASU Chi Alpha
By Jordan Sickels
(everyone’s favorite O:A intern)
In the summer of 2011, I was lucky enough to go on the first Orchard: Africa mission trip to Zambia. At the time, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought it would be a piece of cake. I’d been to Africa before, I’ve taught VBS before, I’ve been on mission trips before. Oh, how the fool thinks she has nothing to learn.
Zambia was not like my last mission trip to South Africa. Instead of a team of five college girls, we were a mixed team of men, women, students, graduates, and staff. Instead of staying in a comfortable mission house, we were sleeping in tents in the village center (I had never been camping before!). Instead of a 30 primary-aged kids, we had two groups of about 250 kids, ranging from toddlers to teenagers. As you can probably guess, we had to do a lot of learning and adjusting on our feet. There was poverty in South Africa, but somehow, in Zambia it seemed to be exponentially more. The children didn’t have desks or pencils. They used plastic bags as soccer balls. Teenage mothers played handball while wearing their babies on their backs. Adults dug up roots for food. What did I get myself into? There was no way I could handle this!
One night, our host gathered the team around the campfire. He was a young man named Kelvin, who loved the kids and was a determined advocate for them. He expressed how much it meant it to him and the local families that we had used our money and resources to spend a week teaching the children about Jesus. That’s when it hit me. We may have paid part of our way, but so much had come from friends and family and even strangers. God had created this huge web beyond what I could have imagined to provide for our trip and to provide for the families in Zambia.
I know that our week in Zambia only scratched the surface. Poverty has devastated the rural villages of Myooye and Kakombo. Poverty leads to hunger, thirst, lack of education, and sickness. But as I realized with my trip, poverty is not something that I have to fix by myself. God is the One who is in control. I am lucky to have my rough experience in Zambia, because I know, although my small effort to defeat poverty is weak, God is using it as a vital part of his ultimate plan of restoration.
By Paul Middleton
It has been exactly 65 weeks since I visited southern Africa for the first time. I had no idea what to expect but I knew God had a plan for me. Those plans led me from the bush of rural Zambia to the Cape of South Africa, showing me everything from the brilliance of God’s creation to the lack of hope present in communities affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
I was on a journey to help, to serve, and to experience hope in action. What I found was a generation of young people growing up without the guidance of their parents, without a stable home, and without a hope in their future. This makes me believe that I should not stand idly by when I have the power to restore hope.
After AIDS 2012, an international AIDS conference with speakers that included Former Presidents of the United States as well as philanthropist Bill Gates, there was an unprecedented meeting of people coming together for a Christian response to HIV/AIDS. Frank Thomas, the head of Samaritan’s Purse, said recently in an article1 following the conference:
“We need an army of young Christians who are willing to go to the remote areas in this world and show compassion and God’s love. We need to tell those suffering that no matter what they have done in life, God still loves them and He will forgive them. Like Senator Helms said, the treachery is in ignoring it.”
So what are you going to do? Are you ready to join this “army” and get involved with a movement of change that will not only change the world, but also create a sustainable infrastructure for future generations to come?
Out of the rubble arises Orchard: Africa.
Orchard: Africa is taking action. Orchard is here to bring a model that is so different than the efforts tried before. We are on the forefront of a new movement where the church and the secular world are realizing that there are so much more than just financial efforts to be made in the battle against HIV/AIDS. The local churches hold the most weight throughout these rural villages, so it’s time we empowered the churches and their leaders to bring sustainable change that will change the face of Africa as we know it.
There are so many ways for us to get involved, whether its donating $10 a month to feed children, raising $1,000 to equip a pastor within these rural areas to bring hope to the community, or even raising $10,000 to empower a village and change the trajectory of the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, at a time. It’s vital that we all take responsibility for the world we live in. With technology and our ability to communicate and come into contact with an ever-shrinking world, we are exposed to so much more that we cannot turn a blind eye too.
Remember, tomorrow may be too late…act now!
Check out the highlights from ASU Chi Alpha’s trip to Zambia.