Orphans of Zambia and Family Legacy Missions International
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)
A few weeks ago, my small group from my church joined other believers to pack food. I had no idea what to expect, nor did I have any idea what kind of food we would be packing, how it would work, or even who was going to be fed. I did know it had something to do with the country of Zambia. We arrived in the mid-afternoon as part of the last shift of believers who had volunteered to pack food on this particular Saturday. I was amazed at the portable, efficient assembly lines that had been set up in this church sanctuary as hundreds of believers took plastic bags, filled them with vitamin packs, soy protein, rice and dehydrated vegetables with the speed and efficiency that would make any manufacturing line supervisor proud. Not only was this process efficient, we actually had a blast packing the food. The laughter and friendly competitiveness of the groups was absolutely contagious. We finished our shift in about 1&1/2 hours and the end result of that day’s work was 250,000 bags of food, not much larger than a king size bag of Doritos in a vending machine, packed and ready to ship to Zambia through Family Legacy Missions. Each bag was enough food to sustain 6 people for one day. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited about any work I’ve ever done than packing food that Saturday afternoon.
Yes, I was excited having been part of the effort to provide 250,000 meals, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been more ashamed as well. You see, the food that we packed was barely even recognizable as anything that we would consider food in the United States. It looked more like a bag of garden fertilizer than anything we would consider eating. The Holy Spirit was assaulting my heart with conviction, not just because of how amazingly blessed I am, living in the U.S. with a ridiculous abundance of every imaginable kind of fresh food that we could ever desire that I simply take for granted. I was weighed down heavily with conviction because of the ungrateful attitude which I so often displayed when the food in the pantry or the refrigerator wasn’t exactly to my liking. I was weighed down with conviction because of the abundance of things that I own that had become so important to me, and yet I still wasn’t satisfied. I was weighed down with conviction because of the lip service that I have given to helping widows and orphans in their distress, but hadn’t really even gotten my hands dirty to actually help the most vulnerable. Yes I had given a little money occasionally and felt like I had done my part. The Holy Spirit was telling me that I was lying to myself.
1 in 6
This food that we had packed was going to be used to feed orphans in the country of Zambia. I’m sure you think that you understand the kind of suffering that takes place in countries like Zambia. I thought I did, but I couldn’t have been more uninformed. You see, there are 12 million people in Zambia. Primarily because of extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS, half of those are under the age of 16. 86% of the people of Zambia live on less than $1 per day. The most vulnerable of the poor of Zambia are the more than 1 million orphans, or 1/6th of the population under the age of 16. They are starved, beaten, raped, and used as sex slaves, not just by abusive strangers, but also by their own extended families: aunts, uncles & step parents who are supposed to care for them.
The Graphic Truth
I’ve attached a link below to a video that says it all too effectively. I’ve watched it numerous times and I still can’t watch it without weeping. Family Legacy Missions not only takes care of the overwhelming physical needs of these children, but through the provision of food, shelter and safety, they share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these that are the most vulnerable, so that along with the redemption of their physical dignity, they are seeing the redemption of their souls! Watch the video and pray how God can use you to practice pure religion.