June 23, 2016

Hi friends and family! I’ve been in Zambia for about a month and a half now, which is the halfway mark for Advanced Missions Training. Our courses at the base have been getting INTENSE, and in just two more days I will launch into my second expedition for remote ministry.

So what have I been up to in the past weeks after ministering in Bombwe? I mentioned briefly that there were theology courses and guest speakers coming in. In these messages, and through every day with my siblings in Overland Missions, I have an opportunity for resting and remembering my identity before the Father… the very same assurance that Jesus clung to before journeying into His wilderness temptation:”You are My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”

…this is not a secret message, to be found in one organization only. However, there is something unique here about God’s timing for my life, my readiness to listen, and the reality that my identity is being tested and expressed like never before. The believers also believe in me, and remind me over and over again– that I’m made a new creation, walking by supernatural boldness and faith to affect whole nations in the Lord’s purposes.

I don’t have to strive for becoming someone I’m not or managing good works, because the Holy Spirit already gives me the mind and righteousness of Christ. What better foundation is there for pursuing a long-term calling in ministry and preparing for its worst challenges… than deeply recognizing who I am according to the only One who matters, before I ever did anything sinful or holy?

Switching gears from the spiritual to the practical, these past two weeks were spent on a 100-hour Wilderness First Responder course, because we need to know key knowledge and skills of medicine if we’re traveling far beyond hospitals. I’m talking about real life-saving treatments, such as how to realign different dislocated joints, support lethal bone fractures with a splint, or perform chest compressions and rescue breathing (CPR) when their heart and lungs stop. We talk about these procedures, but also practice them hands-on in scenarios on one another (sometimes with very convincing makeup and headache-inducing acting).

It’s intense, but very empowering and essential to know. My instructors, understanding the mental stress of retaining so much detailed information, have been very gracious to allow us breaks and getaways… including a pair of once-in-a-lifetime African sightseeing trips.

The first occurred last Saturday, when we spent the day at the massive Chobe Wildlife Park across the river border in Botswana. We were extremely lucky to spot the swishing tails of a pride of lions very early on in our safari drive, lying in wait and meeting our gaze across a gymnasium’s length of tall grass. An impala (a small gazelle, called the goats of Africa) passed through after its mate, completely oblivious, and we thought the maned-monarch of the animal kingdom would surely give chase… but we learned that the lion prefers a more dignified and efficient strategy, of waiting to prowl and pounce as the swift creatures inevitably cross their immediate path. For the rest of this drive and a boat ride, the experience was similar– giraffe, elephant, fish-eagle, hippo, crocodile, and buffalo all gathered and offered some remarkable display (whether majestic or bizarre), as if just for our benefit. 

As for the second event, we were excused from our night session of class on Monday for the purpose of witnessing Victoria Falls, particularly as the angle of a full moon was forming a spectacular phenomenon. I was already elated to see this natural wonder, called Mosi-o-tunya (the smoke that thunders) in the Tonga language… but encountering it this way, at night with a lunar rainbow(!!!) arcing all the way through its gorge and casting an illuminating glow, made for an especially enchanting first introduction. I had to stare for a while, just to take in this incomprehensible, rapid, and relentless deluge of liquid, now with a subtle slash of radiant color layered across it. Afterwards, I ventured on the paths so that the waterfall towered over my sight of the horizon, and a stone bridge shrouded in mist beckoned me further… but knowing I had books and electronics in my pack, I had to return because the spray was already falling as showers of rain (yet I certainly did not regret as far as I went and the close view I won’t forget).

As beautiful as these two experiences have been, I’m most excited for the upcoming opportunities to bless Zambians with what we’ve learned. Tomorrow (Friday), men and women from the village nearest to our base will be visiting for the morning and afternoon, and this time WE will be the teachers of those life-saving techniques we learned. This will reinforce the information for us, and for them, offer care against injury for their bodies as well as their souls.

The very next day (Saturday), it will be time for my second expedition trip… and this time we’re being split up in small groups! Myself and two of my classmates are going to a region called Masukatwani, as we’re led by a staff missionary named Paul and a local minister who translated for us in Bombwe, Pastor Jerry. We will plan and prepare all our meals; partner with these leaders in house-to-house visits, Bible studies, and children’s ministry; and gain a perspective of what managing and discipling a sector long-term looks like. I’m going not knowing very much of this particular area, but Paul shared with us how he desires to see believers in Masukatwani realize God’s love to overcome their fear, so I will be in prayer and meditation of the Word to bring them a personalized message toward that powerful effect.

Thank you so much for all your prayer and support, which has blessed me in more encounters with people and God than I can fit in this post; I know that I am loved and missed at home, and look forward to seeing and sharing with you all! Please keep me and all my team members in prayer– for our ability to speak words of wisdom (maybe even preach!), be Jesus’ loving hands and feet on earth, and always remember that He loved us and called us first.

Grace and peace in our Lord from Zambia,

Taylor Lewis

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them . . . “Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” . . . The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” -Luke 10:1-2, 8-9, 17-20

Source: Taylor Lewis Zambia