My decision to go to Zambia came when I learned my mom was going to die. She had a terminal illness and I knew there were things she wished she would have done. I didn’t want to wake up one day full of regret. For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to Africa. My heart longed to minister to the sweet faces that plagued my mind for years, and Camp LIFE 2011 brought me that opportunity.
Arriving in Zambia was a tearful moment. I had wanted to go for so long and to finally be there was surreal. The first day I met my kids, I realized I already knew them. I had been praying for them for so long and I loved them instantly. As the week progressed and we toured community schools, worked in their compounds and listened to their tearful and often fearful testimonies I was kind of mad at God. How was He okay with this? Why did these children suffer like this? Did he not love Africa? Did he not love these kids? God spoke to me so clearly afterwards and my heart changed. Of course He was not okay with this! His heart was breaking for these kids too.
This is why He gives us The Great Commission. Could Matthew 28:19-20 be any clearer?
“Therefore GO and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them everything I have commanded you.”
What about James 1:27?
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
We have the message that will change their lives, that will save their lives, that will give them eternal life. We are the body of Christ and we must be His hands and feet. What a privilege. What a blessing. What a gift!
I realized our Camp LIFE theme for the week, “Seek First the Kingdom of God” requires active participation on my part. I have to SEEK FIRST and when I do, I won’t be disappointed. My heart was changed for good and my life will never be the same. Not a day goes by that I do not think about and pray for my boys. Upon returning home, all of my boys have been sponsored through the Father’s Heart sponsorship program. We are actively working to build GLORY House at the Tree of Life Children’s Village, providing a new home for 14 orphans.
There are no coincidences with God, only divine providence when we are obedient. If we SEEK FIRST and trust in His faithfulness we can become a light for the world and give hope to the hopeless. I don’t think there is a better gift! I am counting down the days until I return to Zambia and get to wrap my arms around all my sweet boys!
Robyn Petty, The Woodlands, TX