(Most of the Mbabala Island team is back in Canada now. This was sent just before they left Zambia.)
Lots has transpired since my last message. Last Sunday the whole team was supposed to head to the island, but due to weather only half of us were able to, and even then only by narrowly avoiding being drenched. The rest of the team and supplies made it Monday morning. We spent the week working on construction projects and delivering training sessions on Early Childhood education. We have many stories to share when we return — ones of frustration from unexpected delays, excitement as community members seemed to grasp some of the concepts shared in training, satisfaction as the solar pump began supplying water to drinking fountains, and joy as we shared laughter with Mark and Carmen each evening.
As we have begun our multi-day journey home, I’m struck by a couple things.
1) The time has been too short. Sure, we will all be glad to sleep without worrying about any critters scurrying around us, but there is something serene about the island we just visited, and I think we all would have liked to have just a little more time — a few more conversations with the people, a few more high fives from curious kids, and a few more hours to round out a few rough edges on our work.
2) The work is far from over. Much need remains on this island of 8,000 people. Both physical and spiritual. The chief, the church leaders and Mark and Carmen all have a vision for the development of the community and Woodside has the opportunity to play a part in that. But Mark has also shared that Mbabala is one of the darkest communities they have ever worked in. I can’t help but feel that as Woodside has the privilege to visit and help physically, we also have the responsibility to pray diligently and strategically. I only hope by the grace of God that we live up to this calling, for not only 2 weeks a year, but 52 weeks a year.
As Woodside’s first team to Mbabala processes what we just experienced, there is no doubt in my mind there will be more thoughts and stories to share as we return home. We hope you’re interested in hearing them and joining us as we continue in partnership with Mbabala Island. Maybe just let us catch up on sleep first.