Here is the much-awaited second part of my reflections on my trip to Zambia. In my first post, I talked about the hearts of the people in Zambia from the kids to the adults, and how the trip totally changed the way that I am looking at my Laptops for Egypt project. Today, I want to address a different aspect of my trip: the missionaries, teachers, and priests who live in Zambia.
The missionaries who are living in Zambia right now are totally regular people. In fact, I actually had met one of them before she devoted her life to working and teaching the kids in Zambia. They had lives in America with family, education, and everything. And then they gave up everything they had in America to take their families and move to Zambia to live and work and further the education and the opportunities of the Zambians. They live as Zambians now. Each one of them has a different story about what led them to Zambia in the first place, but all of them have one thing in common: they didn’t let their short term stays in Zambia become a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Instead, they decided that they would not be satisfied by simply returning to America (or wherever they were living previously) with the memories of Zambia stored in the back of their minds. They wanted to give back. They wanted to give themselves to a cause greater than themselves. And now, they no longer live for themselves, but for the people of Zambia.
Not everyone is called to react in the same way as the missionaries, teachers, and priests I speak of, who after visiting Zambia decided that they wanted to serve the Zambians for the rest of their lives. Not everyone is meant to suddenly drop everything they have in their regular lives and move to Africa (or wherever). HOWEVER, everyone who has seen a need, everyone who has felt a tug to help others is obligated to follow that calling. Such service trips as the one I had the opportunity to go on is not meant to simply give us a taste of an immense need and then release us back to our hectic lives without changing something. No, I’m not saying that I’m planning on dropping out of high school and moving to Zambia, but I am saying that I cannot continue to live in the way that I did prior to going on the trip. Not everyone may be called to make huge changes to their lives like the missionaries, teachers, and priests (although I totally admire them for the risks that they took and the lives they are living). But everyone is called to spread the word about the need in Zambia and to make the inward changes in their own personal lives that have been inspired by the trip to Zambia. Big changes or little changes, they are both equally important.