Youth Truth

BY LEAH SWINDON

When I returned from the Zambia Study Tour the number one question I was asked was, “How was Africa?”  Zambia was amazing, but my stories were all about the growth and love I saw in our students.

I was (and continue to be) humbled by the spiritual depth of the eight student leaders.  There were challenges in Zambia, as we knew there would be.  Visiting homes that were huts made from mud.  Realizing after we left a village where we saw houses and meeting places, yet no toilets.  Reflecting on a school that had a student teacher ratio of 6 teachers to 640 students.  Our students’ worlds were rocked, their hearts were wrecked, and yet their spirits were lifted.  Why?   Because they understood that their role in the fight against hunger is significant, and it starts with prayer.

People can be challenged with the idea of traveling to visit our work.  “Why just go and look?”  “Can’t you do something?”  As we were preparing to leave Zambia, one of our study tour guys was looking pretty down, so I asked him what was going on.  “I don’t want to leave.  I want to stay and help the people I have met,” he said.  I challenged him with this: “What would help the people you met more—staying here or going back and telling their stories?”   Being a witness to what others can’t see is a huge gift to the people we met in Africa. 

For our students, when they ask their church to pray for a child that they held in their arms…that is when heaven and earth change places.

I love how Jesus tells the apostles in Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and to the ends of the earth.”

Our Team Zambia students are witnesses, but they are witnessing back to us and to their home communities.  After spending a week with them and seeing their faith in action, I am filled with confidence for what the future brings.

Coming out of this experience, and as the youth leader at my home church, I am asking myself this question and I encourage you to join me.  How can we all be better witnesses in regards to kingdom focused work?