Sundays in Zambia - On My Way

This post originally appeared in November 2009. 

This is my new (hopefully) weekly feature talking about my time in Zambia. All the pictures are being scanned from my scrapbook pages - just in case you wonder about the odd shapes, or captions.

Although I don’t plan to necessarily go in chronological order, I decided that I would start near the beginning for this week’s post. My fellow journey-folk & I had 6 weeks of boot camp, er training, in Virginia in the summer of 1986, then were sent home to get ready to head to our respective countries. I was in awe of the folks headed to China & West Africa – those destinations seemed a lot scarier than mine. I was assigned to work in Harare, Zimbabwe – I wasn’t even going to be in the bush!

Zimbabwe denied my work permit – rightly saying that they didn’t see why a Zimbabwean couldn’t do the work of secretary-bookkeeper. I waited for four months before the Foreign Mission Board was able to find me a new assignment – Lusaka, Zambia. I found out in November – and after sending all of my paperwork to the Lusaka Baptist Mission twice (they obviously needed my services LOL), I set out on my grand adventure on a plane flying out of the Charlotte, North Carolina airport. Here is what I wrote in my journal that day:

Tuesday, January 13, 1987

I feel very alone now. God, are you there? Give me strength. Strength to face my impracticalities and do something about them. My carry-on bag will not fit – so I must check it in Atlanta. Why does that bother me so much? Because it makes me feel foolish and I don’t like feeling foolish.

Saying goodbye is so hard. I can see Mom & Dad standing at the window and that’s when I start to cry. I’m not supposed to cry – this is my adventure. A year and a half isn’t so very long. It’s time for me to grow up.

Sometimes I wonder if I set things in motion just because I know I won’t stop it – and I know it’s good for me. Is this really God’s will for my life? Can I really know the answer?

I ended up being able to carry my bag onto the plane in Atlanta – the stewardess was VERY helpful. And this was a good thing, because the airline lost my luggage. But that’s a story for another day…


  1. It's not likely you'd find such a helpful stewardess today.

    I love the penguins passport!

  2. It's so strange - I just realized I can't remember my first flight to Liberia. I remember my second, and I remember so well my flight home. Strange what stays and what doesn't.

    My greatest grief about my time in Liberia is that I have no photos left. I was there in the mid-70s, when everything was film, and everything depended on processing. Even keeping the film in the refrigerator wasn't a guarantee, as you didn't know where it had been beforehand. And it had to go to Monrovia to be processed by folks who maybe cared, and maybe didn't. If I had another shot at it, I'd find out where the people from the Embassy got their photos developed - for all I know, they may have sent everything back to the States on the PanAm flight that brought their weekly strawberries and champagne on Friday. ;)

  3. A year and a half seems long to me. I am curious what organization sponsored this for you. Maybe you said and I overlooked it...sorry.
    It is great that you still have your letters and journals!

  4. well - i missed these first time around i think, so am looking forward to reliving this. Liking the little stuffed toy that went with you


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