The LOVE Project… An African Emperor… and a kid named “Innocent“
There were days that felt like we were trying to tear down a brick wall with a toothpick… But, every day at some point, there would be a moment… a moment where you could feel the presence of God, where hundreds of kids would grow silent listening to us share about who He is, listening to a prophetic word spoken over someone, listening to the truth of the hope they have in Him. In those moments, you could see God was moving, capturing their hearts in ways we could not imagine. Many of them made commitments to follow Christ and some even shared their testimonies on the final day. One of these was a young man named Innocent, about 16 or 17 years old. I will never forget him and what God did in Him.
We went to Zambia to host a six day “LOVE Project” arts camp in Mukuni village, not far from the Overland Missions base. We brought three young women from Jacksonville to help teach dance and visual art. We were also joined by many of Overland’s key staff, who helped make the outreach possible! For six days, we taught dance, art, and music to hundreds of the children and teenagers. Most importantly, we shared the love of Jesus with them every day… constantly speaking of how unique and important they each are, and boldly telling them they have a good future in Christ.
On the last day of the outreach, Innocent stood in front of his peers to share the testimony of how he was impacted during the week. In the art lesson days before, this timid young man was asked to draw a heart. On the left side of the heart, he was to list the pains from his past… then cover it with vibrant color. On the right side, he was to depict his hope for the future. His hope was to be President of Zambia. Later that day, Courtenay called Innocent out for prayer. Her word for him was that God would use all of the hard things Innocent endured in his past to shape him and make him a great leader! As Courtenay spoke this over him, his mouth fell open in shock. Courtenay had not seen the picture… but God had… and He was speaking directly to Innocent’s heart… Immediately, Innocent’s spirit came to life as he realized that God had heard his prayers. On that last day, he spoke in front of a huge crowd with conviction about the plans that God has for him… and his fellow villagers!
Our other purpose in going to Zambia was to be part of Overland Missions’ “Guest Ministers” conference for their Advanced Missions Training students. As a part of this conference we were able to speak multiple times with the students and Jeremiah helped lead worship for the conference. We thoroughly enjoy the time we get with their students every year. These young men and women are world-changers in the making. We love pouring into them to help them fulfill their God-given destiny.
This time though, the conference was unusually important… History in the making. Overland Missions has worked hard for years now establishing strong relationships and sharing Jesus with the tribal chiefs of Zambia. Through those connections, a door was opened for Overland staff to meet the man known as the “Emperor” of the Luba-Lunda tribes in Congo and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Emperor and his Queen, along with many of the Senior Chiefs of Zambia, accepted the invitation to visit the Overland Missions base for the conference. It was incredible to see these men and their wives, who have such positions of power in the tribes, coming together in the name of the Lord and calling out to God for their nation. I know that things were set in motion, through Overland’s influence with these leaders, that will have eternal impact. Jeremiah had the great privilege of leading them in worship and even got to give one of the Senior Chiefs a guitar lesson!
Thank you for everything that each of you have done to help make all of this possible. We are so GRATEFUL!!!