What made you decide to participate in the Zambia program?
I am interested in medical mission work as a career, and through the Zambia program I knew I would be able to gain practical, hands-on experience. And now, on the other side, I can say I did get the experience I was searching for, and so much more!
What was it like attending Zambia?
Uniqueness came in the ability to go to the Haven or the Clinic and have it count toward my field work class. I got hands-on experience working with real people and seeing real solutions to health concerns. The Haven was a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with Zambians.
The Haven, located at Namwianga Mission, provides temporary care for families who are unable to care for an infant or live without clean water sources, and the goal is to transition the children back to family or relatives as soon as possible.
What was it like living in Zambia?
Living in Zambia was beautiful. The people who live there are the main source of the beauty. They do not hold back in any aspect of their lives and never fail to love anyone who comes their way. We were in a land with amazing physical beauty. There were always so many stars in the night sky and never any clouds blocking the view. We also got to see Victoria Falls.
What did you learn? How did you grow?
I think the best thing I learned was to let hard things be hard. Not every problem has an easy solution, and that is okay. It is uncomfortable, but okay. Sometimes you need to be challenged in order to grow. We saw suffering while we were in Zambia, but they were also some of the most joyful people I have ever met. They did not let their circumstances weigh them down, and they were able to see the good and praise God for it. I hope I can say I became more like the Zambians in this way, and with God’s grace I pray that I will continue to grow in this manner.
How were you challenged?
I think being there during the worst recorded drought in Zambian history challenged me the most. We saw the effects of the drought with several dehydration and malnutrition cases at the clinic. The cure for these people was so simple, yet so out of reach for most of them. We also got to see the beginning of the end of the drought when it rained for the first time in over a year! You could hear the Zambians shouting for joy, and the children were running out of their houses to dance in the rain. The magnitude of their joy over something as simple as the rain will make me forever grateful for the many blessings I have been given.
What was your favorite aspect of HIZ?
My favorite aspect of HIZ was the smaller program size. Even though I think the Zambia program is amazing, and I would love if everyone could go, what really made it special was that our group was small. I could be open, honest and vulnerable with anyone. I knew I could rely on them to encourage me when times got tough. We loved one another and helped guide one another into deeper faith. We truly became a family, and I am honored to be able to call my fellow classmates brothers and sisters.
What is one standout memory from HIZ?
During village visits, we had the opportunity to lay underneath the stars and be in awe of God and his creation. Never before had I seen so many stars in the sky at one time. The children who were seated around us were singing in Tonga and Bina Mbombo told us they were singing about the stars. Two shooting stars went through the sky that night. Seeing so many stars and knowing how far away and how big they actually are reminded me that I am small, but my God is not!
What would you say to others thinking about attending the HIZ program?
What are you waiting for? Go sign up! The beauty of this trip can only be enhanced by the amazing blessing and opportunity it is to grow your faith. If you will allow God to have control of your heart, he will use this trip to grow you, challenge you and ultimately change your heart to be shaped after HIZ.
How do you see the world differently after studying abroad?
My worldview has expanded. I am now able to understand why people of different cultures innately respond differently to the same scenario. I am able to see more options and solutions to a problem than I was before. This has deepened my appreciation of other cultures and made me want to continue learning from them.
Rebekah Wheadon was part of the fall 2019 Harding in Zambia (HIZ program).