This summer we sent a team to Zambia to spend time with missionary members Wyatt and Amy Bardi, who run the organization Clothed in Hope. We interviewed missionary member and Resident Landon Thompson about the trip.
What was life like in Zambia?
We were in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. We stayed in a lodge probably comparable to a Motel 6 (so somewhat nice for Lusaka), but worked in a compound about .25 miles away. Lusaka is full of compounds, which are like mini cities/slums. The one where Clothed in Hope is located is about 3x3 miles, but 80,000 people live there. Most Americans would think it's a pretty gross place to live, but most Zambians who live in these compounds never leave.
Everything you need can be found there: clothes, food, water, fabric, barber shops, building materials, etc. Everything is either made out of homemade cinderblocks, chicken wire, or sticks and hay. While material poverty is high, most people can find a way to feed their family at least once a day. A lot of homes in the compound have some sort of electricity, but there is no indoor plumbing or any sort. People have to fetch any water they need to use at one of the wells in the area.
As said before, it took us Americans a while to get used to the drastic lifestyle change, but after walking through the compound nearly everyday for 3 weeks, we started to learn that most of the people loved where they lived and were really happy. There was a strong sense of community.
What types of things were you doing in Zambia?
Mostly encouraged and built relationships with the women that missionary members Wyatt and Amy Bardi are working with in Clothed in Hope. We had a couple small projects which were painting some murals and building a chicken coop. We also spent time hanging out and having fun with Wyatt and Amy. Having a dose of church family goes a long way when you're serving as hard as they are.
What would you say was the best part of the trip?
Learning from the Zambians in the compound. Watching the women pray and care for their families was really challenging.
What did you learn from going on the trip? What did God teach you about Himself while you were there?
God reminded me that He is just as involved in a small church plant in the heart of Africa as He is in a thriving church here in America. Is so hard for me to wrap my brain around that, but it's great because it reminds me not to get wrapped up in the small things in life because God is working on such a large scale. It's easy for us to get sucked into American individualism, but we must keep our focus outwardly in our community, because God is working in miraculous ways. We'll just never see it if we stay focused on ourselves.