International Ministries

Returning With Renewed Hope!

August 15, 2009 Journal
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Dear Friends in Christ,

I just returned from a very busy 3 week visit to the U.S.  The reason for the trip was to take our 18 year old high school graduate Chasah to her new dorm home in Louisiana, my old alma mater, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  Charles could not come with us; he remained in Zambia to teach at the newly opened theological institute.

Charliese had left three weeks earlier, traveling alone, on a ticket purchased by friends, people we knew while living in South Africa.  I met up with Charliese in Maryland, while Chasah and Caleb went on to New York to participate in a Transitional Seminar designed for Third Culture Kids (TCKs).  TCKs are children raised in another country and culture who are going home to their parent’s passport country for school or work.  Our TCKs have to learn how to re-enter America by observing Americans at work and play.  One of the things they learned is that Americans have personal space issues, yes, we like our space. They also learned how to have a conversation without overwhelming someone with too much information and how to tell when that person is becoming disinterested -yawns, eyes glazing over…,  cues we take for granted, because we grew up in that culture.

My children and I had not been to the US in three solid years, since August 2006, so lots of things had changed.   In the three weeks that we were in America we visited most of our family members and realized anew just how much we missed them, their children growing up and just being around family members in general.

The most difficult part of the trip was leaving Chasah behind.  I thank God that I was able to leave her with and near family, because I was leaving for Zambia, Africa over 8,000 miles away.  

The last thing I did was to place Chasah in our home church in Lafayette, Louisiana, Progressive Baptist Church, under Watch Care.  One phone call from her, and the church van will pick her up at her dormitory, take her to worship service, and drop her off at her dorm again.  This is providing more peace for us than you can imagine, just knowing that our church family will be surrounding her with love and she will be with people we know.

I was tempted, but only for a moment, to stay in America.  The well stocked-wide aisles, and brightly lit stores, held an appeal that makes me understand why the phrase “retail therapy” was coined.  It does make one feel really comfortable to be able to go and get whatever you want at any time you want even at the local corner store.  No waiting for the truck at the border, which might not make it through.

Yes, I was tempted, but only for a moment, until I remembered why I was returning to Zambia.  Our children are blessed to receive a primary, secondary and tertiary education, with a global or international perspective, which will prepare them to be whatever in the world they want to be.  I was returning to Zambia to help children, some of whom are HIV/AIDS positive, that are forced to drop out of school because parents are dead, are too poor to put their kids in school, or do not see the value of an education.  We were returning to help the orphans and vulnerable children we have been putting in school with your help since 2006 in Zambia.

As we are returning to Zambia with renewed effort and hope, we pray that you will continue to partner with us to make sure these kids not only learn about the word of God through caring and loving adults, but also get a good education.  Although we are separated by thousands of miles, we are closely connected and we could not do what we do without your prayer and financial support.  Thank you for your cards, letters and words of encouragement.

 “God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit.  God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all.  Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:  Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.  All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!  The variety is wonderful; wise counsel, clear understanding, simple trust, healing the sick, miraculous acts,  proclamation, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues.”   ( 1 Corinthians 12:7 The Message

Please pray about your part in the family of God as you continue to help us minister through God’s expression of power in Zambia.  Thank you for your prayers and financial gifts that make this ministry possible.

In His Service,

Sarah, for the West family

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