Christmas, Shepherds and Zambia

Christmas, Shepherds and Zambia

It’s 7:30pm. After a kiss goodnight, my oldest son asks if he can stay up a little later to “…umh, tell his little brother a Bible story?” I assent, because, well, it’s a Bible story. And it makes me feel like the fun one. “But keep it down, or mommy will make you be quiet.” 

Fast forward to 7:45pm. My wife motions me to the boys’ bedroom door, finger to her lips. My son’s voice drones through the wall. We lean in conspiratorially.

“…On that night, the shepherds were watching their flocks. An angel appeared to them, and told them to go to the manger to see baby Jesus.

“After seeing the baby, one shepherd says to another shepherd ‘what are we gonna have for dinner..?'" 

Here he pauses for effect.

"'Shepherd’s Pie?'"

 

Shepherds. Here in Canada, they’re a relic – remembered in Christmas pageants or on a Sunday School flannel board. A few weeks ago, as I travelled through Zambia and Tanzania, shepherds were everywhere. But these were kids. 

Zambia counts 1.2 million orphans under age 15 – in large part a result of HIV/AIDS. Hope Story is working with vulnerable children and youth in the cities of Lusaka, Mongu, and Livingstone. And we're doing it through the Church. In Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, we met with top leaders in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAOG). The PAOG count more than 1500 congregations across the country. 



Calvary Church is one of them. Here we met Cindy Imasiku, an early childhood educator with a passion for literacy. Each night, after a full day of work, Cindy hosts about 45 community kids in her modest home “library” – 8 or 9 kids at a time, 6 days a week. Most of these kids are sanctioned squatters; they watch over homes or properties that are under construction, and can live there, for a time, in return. Cindy and a group of friends at Calvary are together teaching 90 children to love books. 

In a country where roughly one in two kids will fail their gr 7, 9, and 12 exit exams, teaching children to read (and enjoy it!) is crucial...

Learn more about the need and work being done in Zambia by checking out our latest video.

 

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