Monday, November 17, 2008

"In Poverty's Vale So Thy Succor Shall Be"

I had the opportunity to attend church three times while in Africa, two times at the LDS church and once at a Baptist church. I loved these opportunities. As we sang "How Firm a Foundation" I found new meaning in the phrase "In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth...As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be". I was so comforted of the reminder that God will protect and give strength to those in poverty as well as those abounding in wealth. Lately I've felt that the latter of the two are the ones who need Him the most. Too often in America if something goes wrong, God is blamed for it. In Zambia, if something goes wrong, they turn to God.

The first Sunday we were there I was able to watch conference with the saints in Zambia. They finally were having a turn to raise their hand and sustain the new prophet and to hear the words of their leaders. All of the talks took on new meaning as I thought of what they must mean to the Zambians. I was especially touched by a talk on tithing in which even the poorest of saints were encouraged to pay their tithing. To think of the sacrifice it must be for them made me realize how relatively easy it is for me to pay my tithing and how I need to be so much more willing to give.
I was also reminded of the power of the atonement. I use the atonement in my life to help make up for so many of my shortcomings. I was able to see how powerfully the atonement also can work to heal those who suffer much more than I can even comprehend, both physically and emotionally.

I was very impressed by the testimony of returned missionaries and was so grateful for the spirit and enthusiasm they brought back to these small branches in Africa.

I was also grateful to listen to a talk given on chastity in a country where abiding by this law can be the difference between life or death. The talk was given with such clarity and power and I appreciated the importance of it more than ever.
I had the opportunity to do singing time with the primary children in the branch. We had fun talking and singing about pioneers. As I asked them to help me come up with signs to sing "Teach Me To Walk In the Light" I was touched by their strong spirits and their desire to learn. What a privilege to listen to the children as they sang "He is always near me, though I do not see Him there. And because He loves me dearly I am in His watchful care." I loved listening to the members of the Baptist congregation share their faith in God and sing their praises to Him. Once again, I loved experiencing the spirit and faith of the people in Zambia. We talked to one American who had been in a village for a few weeks. He felt that many of these uneducated Africans could come preach to a congregation in America and teach much more than the educated Americans could. I know I was grateful to learn from them.


Tonya said...

These past few days as i've been trying to recoop from our trip to Utah I have been trying to read your blog and get updated on all of your experiences in Africa. I am so touched. One by one we can make a huge difference in the lives of others. I have learned alot by reading your words and feel inspired to reach out more to those around me. One day I would LOVE to experience the things you did in Africa. AMAZING!

Stacie Raddatz said...

Those music texts sure are touching. Life just really makes one think now after Africa. Thanks for sharing.

Barlow's have blogged said...

Hey, I saw your blog on Robins and thought I would say Hi. Also, you and Heather are doing some "real" things, true things worth writing on a blog. That is crazy you are in Africa right now! Sounds fun and insightful. I'd love to hear from you if you get a chance. Keriann