May 21, 2011

where YOU lead: GOD has smiled

we ate our first african meal on thursday night in lusaka at a restaurant called rhapsody, and naturally i went with african spaghetti as you just can’t go wrong with spaghetti. it was wonderful, and after eating we all immediately went to sleep for 10 hours.

we woke up on friday morning to a 6-hour-long bus ride from lusaka to namwianga which was filled with reading, sleeping, and singing. we ate at a place on the side of the road called tooters, and it might have been the best version of fried chicken this side of kfc. our bus then broke down there, and we physically had to push it and jump it to get it to start. it was an incredible bonding experience.

we arrived at namwianga where we got our rooming assignments. i’m living in a tiny little bunkhouse with jill and cameron where we have 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom to ourselves. our beds are covered with mosquito netting, and our walls are decorated with wall spiders who eat the mosquitoes. we love our little house!

although it’s supposed to be dry season, it decided to rain last night here in africa. and not only did it decide to rain, but it also decided to hail. i’m not sure how to put into words the feeling of living in a tiny african house, reading your book on the couch, and listening to the sound of an african thunderstorm. it was one of the most beautiful feelings in my life.

last night leonard, our cook, made us grilled cheese sandwiches and baked us an amazing cocoa cake from scratch. our group played board games together and gave every member of the group a nickname. dr. weaver says that if i had a tribal name it would be “laughing with grace” because my boyfriend, whose last name is grace, is here working with me and constantly making me laugh.

this morning cameron, jill, and i braved the world’s coldest shower. our showers are solar-powered and therefore freezing at 6:30 in the morning. we showered with the toads and the spiders and suddenly were totally wide awake.

we then journeyed to the haven where we will be working for the next few weeks. it is made up of 3 houses: 1 with healthy babies, 1 with healthy toddlers, and 1 with babies with various diseases. this morning we visited and played with the healthy babies and had a blast. my favorites are named lucas, maureen, and reuben. i held each baby and sang various songs to them while just loving on them. maureen’s favorite song was “GOD has smiled on me,” and she would smile and giggle every time i sang it. she would cry every time i put her down and instantly stole my heart. there’s a little baby named memory who is a little trickster, and he was constantly trying to steal my camera and my hand sanitizer. pictured above is my boyfriend brian holding a little girl named peace and me holding lucas, and we all enjoyed going throughout the haven holding and playing with all of the babies. there are just no words to describe the experience!

we ended today’s big events with the kalomo marketplace where we purchased chitenges of different colors. chitenges are long pieces of fabric that are tied around your waste into a skirt, and i bought 2 and will be sporting them as soon as possible. for the rest of the day we will be eating dinner, playing games, spending time together, and getting ready to worship our LORD in the morning.

at the end of the day, i am overwhelmed by only 1 thought: “GOD has smiled on me. HE has set me free. GOD has smiled on me. HE’S been good to me!”


  1. We thank God for your safe arrival at Namwianga. Praying for God's continual and rich blessings for you and all who are there! We love you so very much and miss you! Mom and Dad

  2. Charissa, I love hearing all about the teams' experiences in Africa! Keep them coming! Also, I love your tribal name! Perfect for you! Y'all are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you!

  3. I am SO excited that you are able to experience this, Kiss all those sweet babies for me and go tell Teagan I love her and miss her!

  4. Charissa,

    I am praying for you, and, as I can see from what you have written, God is already blessing you!

    --Kevin Dillon