Zambia Go Team 2011 Prayer Letter

God’s people are at their best when they’re giving themselves away
-Palmer Chinchen

            Nearly six months have passed since I last wrote to share with you the incredible things God is doing in Zambia. Now I am writing to share what Jesus has and is doing in Blacksburg, and the door He has opened for this summer. I pray the Lord’s words will speak louder than mine.
            In December, I finished my last semester at Virginia Tech and began the application process for nursing school. This semester I am working at Subway and spending most of my time with international students. Friday nights I serve at ACROSS, where students meet for food, games, and a bible study. These students with incredibly smart minds, and the desire to understand the God of the Bible, have challenged my faith weekly. Also, a friend and I are co-leading a bible study for three German-speaking friends, two of which are exchange students. God has faithfully woven my experiences studying German and serving in Germany and Switzerland into an open door for these relationships. We have spent so much time together: riding bikes, cooking, spring break in St. Louis, Bible study, International Discovery weekend, ACROSS Fridays, karaoke nights, and so much more. In two months we have quickly become like family. Christina, Claus, and Christoph have all asked tough questions and experienced God in incredible ways this semester. God has used them to humble me and teach me to trust and rely on His grace.
A few weekends ago I attended Nowruz (new year for Iranians) for the second time. I met a woman whom I had hardly known for an hour when she began to tell me about last fall when her younger brother had a heart attack in Iran and because of her visa she was unable to go home. Her eyes welled with tears as she told me she spent three days in her apartment, alone, crying. She didn’t even want to call her family because all she could do is cry. My heart broke for her, but I was blessed to be able to just hold her hand and comfort her as she tried to wipe away tears. This experience revealed how much these students desire Jesus, the only one who can comfort us, and how many of them haven’t even heard his name.
            Three weeks ago I got word through the Navigators at Tech that a group of Japanese students coming from Sendai were in need of host homes. I responded to tell them my roommates and I would love to be hosts. While they were in California visiting other Navs the tsunami and earthquake hit, destroying most of the towns they are from, and the town surrounding their university. The morning of I watched the footage with my mom, seeing the Sendai airport almost completely under water. As we knew they were traveling here to visit, my heart was torn to pieces; I couldn’t understand why God would let this happen. But I see now how perfect His plans are, and I thank Him for teaching me once again to trust Him. First all of the students were unbelievers. We were able to share Jesus with them in so many ways. We gathered one day as a Japanese woman from a local church made them lunch and as she prayed over them and for her country the Holy Spirit moved like a rush of wind. The student’s eyes filled with tears as they remembered the battered shape of their country and the torn state of their hearts. More than that, God used those students to bring back 15 suitcases full of food to local villages suffering from food and water shortages. He used them to provide for the hurting people in Japan. I am definitely not saying that is why God allowed this disaster to happen, but I do know that God makes beautiful things out of nothing. He lives to create beauty and to bring healing and restoration to the lives of his people. I was blessed beyond measure to meet those students and witness what God is doing through the tragedy of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.
            At the ends of all these conversations and circumstances that cause doubt the words of Paul repeat in my thoughts, “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 Paul’s words remind me that all of this ministry, these struggles, persecution, is all so that the grace of Jesus may extend to more people, for His glory! And that is my conviction, my joy every single day of this fleeting life.
            Through my personal trials and suffering, Jesus is breaking my heart for the lost in a way I can’t describe. My heart aches for their needs, their suffering, and their pain.
            Going to Zambia last summer was the launching pad into all that I have learned this semester. It was there that Jesus opened my eyes to the poverty of our hearts. It was there Jesus taught me that physical needs must be met so spiritual needs can be revealed.
            Through the scripture and the burden of Christ’s death and resurrection I believe God has called me back to Zambia to serve with Cure International once again. This summer I will be co-leading the Zambia Go 2011 team alongside JA, one of my team members from last year. We will serve in Lusaka from July 18th – July 25th and then serve in Mpongwe (yes, the same village as last year!) from July 26th – August 9th. With the estimates of cost right now my fundraising goal is $4400. I am giving that goal now, trusting him to provide for me, and in turn provide for the hundreds of Zambians who will receive medical care and the great news of the Gospel through that money. I am beyond excited to see Jesus heal lives and change hearts in Zambia. I can’t understand why Jesus would love me or choose to use me, but I am reminded that He does, and the purpose is for the world to know his name, for his glory!
            I pray the Lord will beckon your hearts to pray and give that I might go to heal the broken, to give them the words of eternal life, in Jesus’ name! Raising support reminds me that I can do nothing apart from God, and you are vital in his plan. Please join me in providing medical care and sharing Jesus with his people in Zambia. I pray the Lord will richly bless you for your sacrifice and generosity. Go to my blog for more information (how to donate online or by check) and further updates (fundraisers, information about the team, and updates while I am there)!

“Whenever you feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give water to the thirsty,
visit the imprisoned, or love the unloved-you love Me!”
Matthew 25:35-40

                                                                                                In Him,
                                                                                         Lesley Rebecca


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