by Melissa Warren Long Term Volunteer
This photo was taken last week as we launched our year here in Zambia with all our teams from across Zambia, Malawi and DRC. These are all the amazing men and women I live, serve and work alongside of to serve some of the most vulnerable children in Africa. I still wake up some days wondering how I got here, and what qualifies me to work alongside such spiritual giants in the faith. Its an absolute privilege and all of these friends are very dear to my heart.
So my Happy New Year is quite a bit late. January has been quite the blur and it blows me away to think that tomorrow will be February already! A quick recap of the last month.
For Christmas and New Years I was able to spend time back at our base in South Africa. It was very much a time of rest and refreshment for me, much needed after a huge last year finding my feet in Zambia. And New Year’s was really special – watching all the fireworks set off over the community that we live just outside of and on our own property – fireworks are still legal and available for personal purchase in SA and people go all out for New Years!
We started back at work for the year on Thursday 8 January, also a day where all the internationals who had been home for Christmas arrived back in SA and our local leaders from other countries – Zimbabwe and Zambia arrived. We kicked off on the Friday with our Watch word launch for the year which I will go into more detail below. And then it was a week of meetings in South Africa.
It’s the one time of the year that both our leadership teams that support our two regions – out of South Africa and out of Zambia are together to plan and set the direction for the year. So its always a powerful time to be together…and long days of meetings! Followed by evenings having meals together and reconnecting with all my friends who live in SA.
The weekend came and I was on my way back to Zambia – to do it all over again and have our kick-off week in Zambia. We had our teams from Malawi and DRC also join us for the week. We started the week with a time of worship on the Sunday evening and then headed into a week of…you guessed it…meetings! But honestly it was a really special time to be together. Having the 5 teams I support across Zambia, DRC and Malawi, only happens once or twice a year at most so we made the most of the time and had many fruitful discussions, and I could see how God showed up in so much of the week. I also had the responsibility to facilitate quite a number of the meetings and discussions throughout this week. And every time I would sit among, or look around a room I was in, I would be humbled and overwhelmed that God has placed me here in this time and season and is giving me ever increasing leadership responsibility to be a part of what He is doing…I don’t have words…
So back to our Watch word for the year. Each year our leadership seeks a scripture that will direct and guide us for the year. This year our watch word comes from Habakkuk 3:2, and is a crying prayer of a prophet in his day, which resonates as our cry and prayer today:
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
This word really resonated with me personally. As we had been staring the year I had been reading through the book of John. John 14:12 says:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”
It’s my desire that this year will be a year of even greater things, that will bring glory to Him. That the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who performed so many miracles for the Israelites’ throughout the ages and was so faithful to his people time and time again, will repeat these deeds in our day! For my life personally, for our children, care workers, care givers and communities here in Africa, in the lives of these incredible African leaders I serve alongside, and in your life personally too. Let’s be hungry for more of Him.