Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Freedom in Prison - Lessons from Zambia

Fr Abraham preaching to prisoners in Zambia - click for video!
"It was the first time in my life that I felt prisoners had more freedom than I did" - that was the thought that kept resonating in my mind as soon as we walked out of that prison.

Just a few days ago, I returned from a mission trip to Zambia where I spent just under two weeks. I will spend the next few posts talking about the amazing experience I had, not only to share it with others but also to not just make it an experience for me but something to bring back and turn into daily life practice.

"How could I bring a mission trip back home?" was a question I had asked myself since my first mission trip to Kenya in 2009. I had my thoughts and tried a few things, even had some success (in my own opinion) - but there was something else.  I learned the full answer to that question this past trip, upon meeting one of the greatest guys I now know, Fr Abraham. Fr Abraham is a missionary who lives in Zambia with his wife Dalia and their son, Josiah. They moved to Zambia about 7 years ago after hearing God's call for them. Maybe I'll spend another post on them and their journey, but maybe after I get permission from them :).

I learned about two prisons when I was in Zambia. First, the actual prison we went to visit. We had a hard time getting in and bringing all the other missionaries in, so we prayed kept our head up, and about an hour later they let us in! Once we were in, it was a different world. We were praising God like no other. We sang some songs, did a skit, and shared some messages. (Refer to video for Fr Abraham's message above). Everyone was so eagerly sitting and listening to the Word of God. Fr Abraham was telling them about freedom and forgiveness and God's mercy and that we are all deserving of a second chance. "If you want to be free, make Jesus' presence known inside this prison" That statement led to cheering and clapping and revival inside! After this, Fr Abraham prayed for everyone enclosed in those walls, and I have never felt a prayer like that in my life. The best (or worst) part about it, is that it was nothing I haven't heard before. The best because such simple words, with a simple accepting heart like those in the prison, can do WONDERS! The worst part, is because those words have become numb to me.. but not that day. "These are Your children, you can never abandon them.. put Your hand of Mercy and Grace upon them".. Those words have never left my ears since then, and why?

That's my second prison - the prison I live in. Being so caught up in the world back here, so numb to HUGE promises from God, and not noticing it for a second.. So back to my original question of "How could I bring a mission trip back home?" - That's what I learned from Fr Abraham and his wife Dalia. The simplicity of God and obeying His word will change your life. That's why when I saw them, it seemed as though they had been there for just a week, not 7 years. Why? Their love for God, acceptance of His promises, and their obedience to Him no matter what, has given them such zeal and passion to serve Him faithfully and with a huge smile :)

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