Hope for Zambia: A Heart Awakened

When all hope seemed to be gone, God did the unthinkable. He awakened a dream of my heart from the time I was a teenager. A call to the nations that I had, finally, after 25 years of waiting, resolved to simply lay down. This dream was still so close to my heart yet it had never felt farther from reach. I must have gotten it wrong, I would think. I knew this deep desire to spread the hope of Jesus around the world was so much bigger than me! But there was no way I could do anything to make it happen on my own.

But isn’t it just like the Lord? The moment we begin to let go of something, He comes in and takes over. He moves the mountains, and He parts the seas. Just when I thought my dream had died, God did what seemed impossible—He sent me to Africa.

A Dream Fulfilled

I’ll never forget waking up the first morning in Samfya, Zambia. The sun shone brightly through the window and the surprising aroma of sulfur filled the air. It was a familiar scent; one I couldn’t quite put my finger on until later on. It was the smell you would expect when you go camping, but not quite that of a fresh fire burning. No, it was truer to the unique morning-after-scent of a campfire which lingers in the air long after it has burned out.

Zambia Sunrise

Peering through the window my first morning, my heart pounded heavily in my chest. I felt like my heart was waking up to the new that God was doing. I felt expectant for what the day would hold as I watched the sun make its way farther above the horizon. Taking a deep breath in, I knew—God had a truly life-changing experience in store for me.

Can you relate? You know God has placed a dream in your heart. Yet as the years pass by, you begin to question: Did I really hear you, God? Or Why has it taken so long? Well, that was me! At nearly 40 years old, I was at the stage in my life where I was thinking, Maybe I missed it.

Yet here I was, staring out at the beautiful sun rising over Lake Bangweulu, which means, “where the water meets the sky.” I breathed in the goodness and faithfulness of God realizing this truth all over again: when God plants a dream in our heart, it’s not a matter of if He will see it through, but when. He had awakened his dream in me again!

As Paul said, “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:6.

A Heart Prepared

I realize now that all of these years have been about God preparing my heart for the dream He planted in me. He had a destination in mind for me, as well as a plan to get me there. Truly, my entire life has been a training ground for my heart, awakening for what this new season would hold.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, Plans to prosper you not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

God’s plan was, and always is, bigger than I could have ever imagined. It wasn’t just a matter of me closing my eyes and pointing at a map. No, His plan involved an awakening of my heart not just for a nation, but for a group of people. And in this case, that group of people are those we call, the extreme poor. These are the ones who, I’ve learned in the months since I started working for Bright Hope, can barely survive on less than two dollars a day. And there are millions more than I even realized!

The People of Zambia

A Heart Awakened

Friend, I would like to invite you on this journey with me as I unfold the events that followed in the four very full, awe-inspiring days we spent in Zambia. I had the privilege of visiting the three main communities Bright Hope serves: Mbabala Island, Kolasa Mukosa, and Mabo Kundo, as well as the Bright Hope Zambia Headquarters in Samfya.

I write not as one with years of experience working with the extreme poor, but as one with a heart freshly awakened, not only to the need that exists around the world, but also to a newfound love for these precious ones whom God loves more than we can even fathom.

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:40, ESV

You may not be able to physically go across the world, but you can help send those who can. Partner with Bright Hope today!

Krissy Nelson
Krissy Nelson

Krissy Nelson is a writer and published author. She is passionate about spreading the love of Christ to everyone she meets. Her hope is that you begin to see yourself the way God sees you. She carries a passion to release life and hope into your heart so you can walk in all that you were created for.