A YEAR AGO WHEN THE TEAM MEMBERS attended an information session about Hands at Work (Hands), we were only passing acquaintances in various degrees. Since the beginning of 2014, our team of six has met monthly to prepare for our trip to Zambia. During our meetings, we’ve studied a seven-session curriculum called “Walking with Wounded Children”, shared our stories of how we became followers of Christ, learned about the Bemba language and culture, discussed the HIV/AIDS and orphan crisis in Africa, and worked through travel logistics together. Also we had a very successful fundraising, and preparing activities for the orphaned and vulnerable children. Throughout our time together we have shared about our background, our lives, and most importantly revealed among us our excitement and fears about traveling to Africa.
“God has certainly put together quite the motley crew to represent Sunset’s ﬁrst team to Africa through Hands!” Suzette wrote. “The six of us are men and women from a range of life experiences. Society may deﬁne us by age group (we range from 27 to 72), life stage (we’re single and married, with and without children), or ethnicity (our heritage spans at least ﬁve different countries), but we are united as followers and adorers of Jesus Christ.”
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In preparation for our impending journey to Zambia, last Saturday we went on an early afternoon hike along the Crystal Springs Regional Trail/The Sawyer Camp segment to exercise body and team-spirit.
Anticipating our actual scheduling and activities in Zambia will likely be in ﬂux and individual team members has different levels of physical stamina, we ﬁgured it was wise to go-with-the-ﬂow by hiking as far as we could on the trail while applying no pressure on anyone. Along the way we updated with each other on our current lives and state of mind. It was also our miniature safari, for along the way we saw plenty of wild deer families, with fauna and ﬂora. It is nice to discover our different walking pace and make matching adjustments. Extra cool that team members also brought along snacks to share. 😀
Midway (2.5 miles from the trail-head) along the Sawyer Camp segment we came upon a rest stop with a 600+ year old Jepson Laurel tree. We seat around a picnic table, listened to the biblical passages and insights which we may be sharing with Hands’ local staff and care workers, and yes, more snacks. For me it’s fascinating and encouraging that although we have a wide demography, we do share a fundamental commonality of being human and having God’s Grace.
Seeing that the day was getting late and the trail’s near its closing time, we started to head back. A few yards after we turned-around, Ada started to feel dazed with a pounding heart and had trouble walking. Seeing Ada’s condition we walked slowly and take frequent stops so she could seat and rest, also prayed together asking for God providing strength and comfort to her.
Just a mile away from the trail-head we had to come to a complete stop for Ada could not go on. Alarmed by this, we sent Abe to run ahead to seek help, while the rest of the team remained with Ada. We called the park-ranger’s operation numbers yet we could only get the answering machines.
Thank God Abe was able to reach the local ﬁre department’s phone number and talked to a dispatcher. Soon enough a ﬁretruck and an ambulance drove down the trail and reached our location. The medics and ﬁremen—all angels—lead Ada onto the ambulance. Myra—who is getting into a nursing program—got on the ambulance to comfort Ada. The ambulance took both Ada and Myra back to the trail-head. The ﬁremen even offered the rest of the team to ride on the ﬁre truck back to the starting point! Of course Romina, Suzette, and yours truly took up the offer. While we were on the ride back with the ﬁremen we got to tell them we are going to Zambia on the mission trip. One ﬁreman even took a picture of us with his cellphone. Note to self: 1. The ﬁretruck has a specious interior with lots of dials and switches on the cockpit, 2. Must ﬁnd out if and where the ﬁreman has posted the picture he took of us.
Ada was not required to be taken to the hospital by the ambulance. As I write these words she is feeling great. We suspect her condition then was caused by the extra dose of energy boosters she took that morning.
Despite this setback, the silver-lining is Ada feels better, our team held together, and we accommodated each other with mutual trust and love. Who knows what we will experience when we are on the way to and on the ground in Zambia? Yet I have full conﬁdence in God’s amazing deliverance even when we least expect it.
Just by switching the order of two letters in the word TRAIL can turn it into a completely different word and meaning. However, the semiotic of both words is similar.
Five of us walked four miles and rode one mile on different vehicles, one of us (no hint given 😉 ) walked/ran all five miles. Regardless, all of us went on the trail together, we left together, and emerged stronger together. GO TEAM!
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
—1 Corinthians 12:24–25
8 days to embarkation. Also, today is my 32 anniversary of arrival to The U.S.A.
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