Through a series of providential meetings and conversations, I received a call this week on Tuesday from the Office of the First Lady of Zambia, Mrs. Thandiwe Banda. Her Executive Secretary informed me that the First Lady was requesting me to come for an appointment with her to discuss Family Legacy’s involvement in educating the orphan and vulnerable children of Zambia. This is an area of special importance to Mrs. Banda, not only in her role as First Lady of Zambia, but also as she herself is a former teacher. I was asked to call them back with the exact names of the Zambians who would be attending the meeting with me – Pastor Raphael, Pastor Harrison, and Teddy Lukwesa.
Our appointment time was set for Thursday morning at 10:30 at the Zambian State House, the official residence of the President and also where Mrs. Banda’s personal office is located. We were told to arrive up to 45 minutes prior to our scheduled appointment to enable us time to clear through the multiple security points, the first of which included leaving our cell phones and cameras (sorry no pictures to back up my account). Indeed it did take almost 45 minutes to finally make it inside the State House and finally we were escorted into the First Lady’s office around 11:00 a.m.
From the moment we walked into her office, she was already coming from around behind her desk to warmly greet us and shake our hands. I must be honest, I was a bit nervous as I didn’t want to break some official Zambian protocol in how I was supposed to greet her or refer to her or shake her hand. But she instantly made us feel most welcome, thanking us for coming to see her and ushering us to take our seats on her elegant couch and chairs. After being offered refreshments by one of her attendants, she began by introducing herself and then asking us to formally introduce ourselves. With that the ice was broken and we could now begin speaking freely. She struck me as a woman of tremendous humility and wonderful grace as she fully engaged in our conversation and even asked us various questions as we spoke.
I had prepared a special booklet for her that briefly outlined the ministry of Family Legacy. I quickly highlighted our various ministry programs of Camp LIFE, the Father’s Heart, and the Tree of Life and gave a brief history of the work these last 10 years, of course slipping in my very favorite part about being a “child of Zambia” myself. I explained in much greater detail about our Community Resource Centers and our new LIFEWAY Christian Academies that are located all over the city. I even showed her the satellite images of all the CRC’s. She was quite amazed at the breadth of the work and specifically asked me to reiterate (to make sure she heard correctly) the large number of orphan and vulnerable children who are being served in our programs. I showed her images of the Tree of Life Christian Academy and explained that eventually we will have over 1,000 children attending school there. She made the statement when looking at the Tree of Life classrooms, “These pictures say it all!” She was most impressed with what she saw as the quality, commitment and passion that we are pursuing the education of Zambian children.
She also said that rather than establishing her own personal NGO (non-profit organization) as others have done in her position, she wanted to find existing organizations that are already doing quality work here in Zambia and come alongside of them to support them in their efforts. With that, she went on to say that she wanted to make time to personally visit our various projects around the city and most specifically the Tree of Life in the coming weeks so that she could determine the best way to be a support to Family Legacy as we serve the children of Zambia. She handed me and our senior Zambian staff her personal business card and told Raphael that her office would be in touch with him soon !
So as our Zambian friends like to say so much, “God is good..all the time..and all the time…God is good!” As always, we give all praise and honor to God who Alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We thank Him for every movement of His hand and every evidence of His grade in our lives and work.