I’ll never forget the day we served in the slum compounds in Lusaka, Zambia and returned back to the Camp LIFE facilities, worn, tired, and hungry. We were sharing stories of children on the compound streets who were wanting some food as we ate lunch. The Americans and our translators had two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches allotted to each of us. And the children in the Camp LIFE program were allotted two slices of bread, juice, and fruit (more than they get at home in a day).
As my new friend, Tia, shared about her and her daughter’s experience, she mentioned how she gave both their lunches away. She couldn’t bare to watch the children on the streets, as they watched while we ate. Piece by piece, she pinched and handed kids portions of their sandwiches.
I felt regret. I had eaten my lunch and wished I’d shared at least one of my sandwiches, in addition to the power bar still in my backpack. Tia’s daughter, Mackenzie, by then was terribly hungry but not regretting her food being given away. I at least gave her my power bar, hoping it would redeem her physically.
But that’s the kind of person Tia is. She gave all their lunch away knowing that a delicious dinner was coming for us, but not for the compound children.
Tia Plum lives only 45 minutes away from me but I met her in Africa with her college-aged daughter, pictured here on that serving day.
Since then Tia and I have kept in contact via Facebook, blogging (http://www.tiaplumzambia.blogspot.com), and recently we shared lunch together. I’m still watching Tia give much for the children of Zambia.
When I think of Tia, I’m reminded of a recent argument I had with God.
It was already time to sign-up for the summer 2012 Camp LIFE, but I’d been arguing with God about returning, not because I didn’t want to return. I’d love to return! But I knew I’d have to ask for financial support again and again. My pride was keeping me from doing so.
As I was arguing with God one particular day, in addition to helping raise funds for Family Legacy’s LIFEWAY Christian Academies, I specifically said, “Lord, even if I got a full time job, a year’s salary would not provide for all that it would require financially.”
I then opened my Bible to my daily reading in the Book of John and I read in John 6 where Jesus fed the five thousand. This is what it said:
“ 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’”
I was stunned. I had just argued almost the exact words that Philip used! The rest of the story is about Jesus feeding the five thousand using a little boy’s lunch of loaves and fishes with 12 baskets of bread and fish leftover. I encourage you to read John 6.
All Tia has done is offer her lunch of two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and God is blessing her willingness. In addition to serving at Camp LIFE the last three years, Tia plans to return in 2012 with her entire family. She was also able to get all her Zambian kids sponsored.
In addition, Tia’s family (along with another Family Legacy alumni) has started a fundraising campaign for Glory House a community home in the Tree of Life Children’s Village, a haven for Aids orphans of Zambia.
Their mission on the Glory House Facebook page says this:
“To raise $75,000! Our families have been deeply moved by the children of Zambia and God has called us to ACTION. He has placed on our hearts the need and desire to build a house for His children in Family Legacy’s Tree of Life Children’s Village. GLORY house will be home to 15 orphans who will find safety and have access to medical care, to school and most importantly to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have asked God to direct us from A to Z and use us to give AID to ZAMBIA! Please join us in building GLORY house, a house where these children will find love, happiness and hope for their future. A house that 15 orphans will get to call home.”
To raise funds for Glory House, they are doing an awesome fundraiser called the “Golf Fore Glory” Tournament in The Woodlands, Texas, among several other fundraisers. Follow them on Facebook for details.
I recently enjoyed a lunch with Tia (I’m beginning to see a theme here) and asked her some “You Rock Mom” questions about her heart for Zambian children.
What brings you joy?
Tia: Seeing the transformation in the Zambian children in such a short amount of time. And how they grab ahold of our hearts so quickly.
What stirs righteous anger in you?
Tia: Not seeing justice on this side of the world for orphans. The apathy towards the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable.
What are your spiritual gifts? (As listed in I Corinthians 12:1-31)
Tia: Serving, Compassion, Teaching
What past experiences both good and bad have shown you about your purpose in life?
Tia: My parents’ divorce left me angry and bitter for a long time. But through the orphans’ brokenness, I was able to see my own brokenness. Serving the orphans and sharing my pain with them caused my anger and bitterness to just go away.
Do you have a purpose statement?
Tia: The grace Jesus has given me is to give that same grace away.
Do you have a favorite scripture?
Tia: Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
What are your prayer needs?
- Funding for Glory House and all the glory to God.
- For God to remove doubt.
- Upcoming “Golf Fore Glory” Tournament
- The deadline to start construction on the house is in January, in order to get the house built by summer.
Here is what Glory House will look like–a safe haven for orphaned children.
Watch this heart-wrenching video about sweet Emma, an orphan who is now living in one of the community homes.
Counting to One Thousand Gifts, I’m thankful 391) she gave her lunch away. Oh the 392) inspiration she’s given me.