Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
August 5, 2007
linger after a second trip to Africa
Four weeks in Zambia by no means qualifies me as an expert on
that large nation in the southern half of Africa.
But it was a beginning that left me with strong impressions of the land and its
Zambia is not a beautiful country. Much
of what I saw was barren and rocky. Trees were scarce and much of the land is
not cultivatable. Around Lusaka,
the capitol city, hundreds of people spend all day in the fields chipping small
pieces off of the granite embedded in the ground. They sell the chipped rock
for a pittance. One woman said she made five dollars on a good day.
beautiful about Zambia
is its people. Zambians are beautiful people. They are a peace-loving people.
War has not scarred Zambia
since it became an independent nation 43 years ago. A government official told
me the country is becoming more and more stable. “In the last election,” he
said, “the people gave the President a mandate. He is working hard to keep his
alive when you can put a face on it. So let me describe some of the faces that
motivate me to care about the work in Zambia.
There are the bright faces of our
adopted son and daughter, Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo. Both were born in remote
villages. Against all odds both obtained an education. Alfred is now working on
a doctor of ministry degree – at age 47. They have
five handsome children.
When Alfred and
Muumbe (pronounced M00M-BAY) talk about their ministry to fellow Zambians,
their faces light up with a holy joy. They are optimistic to the core
and determined to rescue some of the underprivileged thousands all around them.
HIV-AIDS has orphaned a million children in Zambia alone. One child at a time,
the Kalembos are placing orphans in Christian homes
where they will receive food, clothing, and the opportunity to attend school.
On a wider scale Alfred and Muumbe
are in their second year of service as regional directors of the International
Leadership Institute, a global ministry that is training Christian leaders on
every continent. ILI’s goal is to train ten
thousand leaders around the world this year, men and women who in turn agree to
recruit and train others in the basic core values of the Christian faith. The
Kalembos are doing their part by holding training conferences in Zambia and ten
other nations. So far the response to their training has been incredibly
When our team met with the Kalembo
family recently in their home, Alfred introduced 14 people as “family” members.
One was his sister Catherine who is responsible for the gardening on the land
around the home. Catherine has very little education and does not understand
English, though it is the official language of Zambia. But she is a diligent
worker and oversees the care of vegetables needed to feed the large family.
Twenty large sacks of corn, harvested
recently, are stored in the garage. Though it is now winter in Zambia, there
were several rows of luscious tomatoes growing beside the house. A picture of Catherine’s charming smile, as
she stood beside the beautiful tomatoes, is a treasure I brought home last
week. Catherine’s farm work is supported by a Sunday School Class at our church
that has adopted Catherine.
Catherine has birthed eight
children. Only one, Linda, has lived. The others were still-born. A couple in Alabama decided last
year to help Linda get an education. This generous investment in Linda has paid
off handsomely. She is now in the fourth grade and makes good marks. The
expression on Linda’s face was different from a year ago. The difference was
the hope and dignity now shining in her lovely eyes. She has a chance and she
A little boy
named Pasco was
one of the 14 now eating at Alfred’s table. No one told me where the lad came
from, only that his parents died of AIDS. He had never been to school. Our team
got together some money so the Kalembos could enroll Pasco in school. Soon he will have a new
uniform and begin going to school for the first time. Embraced by the Kalembos,
he also has a chance – and a family as well.
A family in Elmore County
donated a water pump for the Kalembo home. One day Alfred called my attention
to a water faucet in front of the house. “We put it there,” he said, “so our
neighbors could share our water. Some of them walk half a mile to come get
water here.” We took pictures of three young women who had come for water. Each
smiled graciously and giggled while we marveled at their ability to balance a
five-gallon container of fresh water on their heads.
we saw water buffaloes, giraffes, deer, wild hogs, baboons, and monkeys. Each
had a face that was strangely different from human faces. But what impressed me the most were the
striking faces of the Zambian people – people needing help and people providing
help. Those faces, some hauntingly unforgettable, linger in my mind, motivating
me to do more than pray for them. Most prayers need hands and feet that God
uses as he answers. + + +