Worth noting in Zambia
Awana makes a difference in the life of 10 year old girl in Zambia
Face it--Americans aren't usually very good with a globe. I've talked with more than one person who believes that Africa is a single country, rather than a continent of nations. (For the record, America, Europe, and Australia would all "fit" into Africa's geographic footprint very comfortably, with scads of room left over).
So it's no surprise that many of us have never even heard of Zambia, and we'd be hard pressed to find it--apart from a quick search on Google Earth. Hint: look for central southern Africa.
Nearly half the population is less than fifteen years old in this nation of 10 million. In Zambia, you drive on the left, spend your money in Kwachas and wave at the zillions of adorable kids.
But it's sad to ponder that many Zambian children are victims of human trafficking. Worse, the
Zambian government does very little to protect victims.
Traditionally, Africa's evangelical churches have placed very little emphasis on children's ministries, believing that adults were "more important."
Carefully, patiently and respectfully, Awana "Seed Planters" training conferences are opening the eyes of Zambian church leaders to see the enormous untapped potential in children. And these African brothers and sisters have embraced the Awana ministry with vigor. We saw that first-hand in the town of Livingstone (named for the legendary Scottish missionary/explorer).
Should you decide to visit, by all means, avoid wading in the rivers as they are frequently inhabited by crocodiles. And keep a firm grip on your sandwich--as overhead monkeys may snatch it from you. At dusk, keep a wary eye out for elephants (small artifacts indicating their presence are...deposited on many a road).
In Livingstone, Awana clubs are making a significant impact in a growing number of churches. There's even an Awana program based in an orphanage. These are kids whose parents have either abandoned them or died (many succumbing to AIDS).
How moving it was at Victors Family Centre Church to meet a 13 year old boy and an 10 year old girl--both of whom received Christ at Awana. Tumelo Sililo (see photo) remembers a difference in her life from the very fist day she went to Awana "I started listening to the Word of God and it changed my life," she said.
I asked Tumelo what it meant to be a Christian. Her answer was profound as it was precocious: "To be a child of God and to have your life in Christ."
Tumelo is a tiny ten year old with a big smile--powerful evidence that in Zambia, the Holy Spirit is "Building lives on the Word of God" through Awana.