Tired…yet energized

“Did they all make it to Zambia?”  If that is what you are pondering, since we haven’t found wifi to send you a quick text, then I will take this opportunity to begin the second day of our blog to spread the good news…All eleven of us have arrived in Choma, Zambia safely.  After forty-nine hours of travel, including four flights (21 hours in the air), and a 3 – hour bus ride, we pulled into our Poetice International home-front greeted with several dozen cheering faces.  They were chanting as the two buses pulled into the parking lot. A bright-eyed group mixed of local Zambians, Poetice staff and interns, and smiling children cheered “Welcome to Zambia” and met us with large grins and smiling hugs as we unloaded the bus.  I was overwhelmed with tearful awe as these apparent strangers were so incredibly joyful and exuberant to welcome us to their home!

Incidentally, not a single piece of luggage was lost, no flights were missed, and there were no major disasters once we all boarded during these last two days of travel.  I could spend the majority of this blog just covering the travel excitement of this journey, because it definitely was an event in and of itself.  However, now that I am in Choma with my new brothers and sisters, there’s simply too much beauty I have already experienced, that I must focus on that.

All the smiling faces, people calling me by name before I even put on my name tag; I found it interesting that this community we have entered, that I know very little about, already knew fun facts about me personally.  Not only did they know my name, Caroline, but they also knew that I had brought my 11-year-old twins; they recognized them and called them by name as well.  Sounds kind of Christlike, doesn’t it?

After we settled into our cabins – much like summer camp, bunkbed housing, we participated in a meet-and-greet with popcorn!  As the sun was setting, we all mingled with each other, the staff, interns, and our sister mission team from Buffalo, New York.  The highlight of my evening was watching two of my new friends, a Zambian intern and a mission team member from New York, turn on some music and teach each other some new dances.  We all laughed and cheered and enjoyed the instant camaraderie and friendships that were bonded.  It was beautiful to witness and be a part of.

To end this day, I can tell you all with certainty that we are all safe, we are all with family within a loving community, we have all been well fed, and although we are all exhausted, we cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring us on this mission in Zambia!  Blessings to all!

Sincerely,

Caroline

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN

We just witnessed a miracle tonight in the incredible power of prayer…….and I get to tell this first story.  Fasten your seatbelts….. because I want to take you on a “ride”…..one that almost DID NOT happen, but then we have so many praying over us as our team makes this journey to Zambia that we truly saw God at work on our behalf tonight as we travel to the other side of the world…..So here goes;

The 11 members of our mission team have made it through the first leg of our trip and are waiting to board the plane in Philadelphia to London.  We are at the very end of a long line with our passports, boarding passes and documentation ready to show our tickets to the gate agents when Myles and I are informed that they need a different document…they need to see his original birth certificate….not a copy, which we have, as we always have when we travel, but the actual original birth certificate.  The rest of the team is already walking towards the plane and are boarding and we are kept back to sort all of this out.  After being told several times that we will NOT be allowed to board, Caleb, noticing we have still not rounded the corner of the walkway returns to the gate agent. The agents do not agree on how we need to proceed, what age a traveller needs to be for certain documentation and whether or not the official birth certificate must be produced or if the certified copy will suffice. Just as it looks like we will make it on the plane as we are being hurried down the walkway we are called back again by a new voice who has entered the mix. Caleb and this head agent are discussing options and the agents is yelling at Caleb to ask how many passengers need to be pulled from the plane.  After pleading our case it doesn’t look like Myles and I  will be going anywhere and they ask that our luggage be removed from the plane.

 

Miracle #1;  Fifteen year old Myles turns to me, his grandmother, and says “You go on, I’ll wait here.” Caleb and I looked at him, reassuring him that the question was not whether or not someone would stay with him, it was if we cannot get him onto the flight wouldd it be Caleb or myself that stays back while the rest of the team heads on to London. We came up with a plan to same day deliver the birth certificate to a local address so that we could reroute a new flight on Thursday to get us to Zambia a few days after the rest of the team.  Caleb needed to be with the team so we decided he would reboard the plane and handle the logistics of getting us to Zambia from “across the pond”. We agreed on the plan and he began calling, texting, and emailing everyone he needed to communicate with before the plan took off. I am still in awe that Myles made that selfless offer to me.  when I asked him why he would be willing to do that he simply said,”Granna, I know how much you want to see your daughter and her family”.  AMAZING!

Miracle#2:  I don’t recall what led up to our final revelation, but one of the agents said something about our final destination being South Africa…..I walked over and said “But we are going straight to ZAMBIA, We are going through South Africa not staying there.”  Another agent in charge looked up and indicated that might change the situation…….He told the plane to hold up and after a few minutes of back and forth conversation Myles and I were told to hurry and get on the plane. We were THE VERY LAST ONES TO BOARD”. Ignoring the seatbelt checks and all we were settling into our seats as the plane was taking off. We were literally the last flight out of our terminal that night.

Now why am I sharing this?  It is because of all our prayer partners at home praying on our behalf for all the situations that come up and we definitely can feel them. In the midst of stressful unexpected situations fill with confusion and worry as to what might happen and how this can be fixed, the calming presence of God surrounded all of us in a way that provided peace enough to stop and listen resolve the situation. This was a reminder that God has been going ahead of us all along preparing the way through your prayers. Please continue to be lifting us up that we may be the hands and feet that come to serve in this place and that we may be a blessing to all those we serve, and that we may be the presence of Christ to one another and to all of those we meet.

Graciously serving

Judy Patterson

 

Away We Go…But Why?

Thanks for joining us! This is a trip that is a long time coming. We have been planning and meeting and fundraising and learning for more than a year and it almost felt like it would never come. We have one the best team of eager christ followers ready to love and learn together thousands of miles away from “home” as we learn just how much Bigger God is than what we ever thought. Emotions of excitement are met with nervousness and fear as each of know we leave behind a world we will not return to as the same people, but we also know that God is working and calling us into a journey that will open us up to more than we imagine.

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WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING? This is the most common question we get whenever we talk about overseas on a mission immersion experience. Your not going to build a well, or run a clinic, or solve the root causes of poverty and injustice? What then will you do? We will love the lord our God with all our hearts, our souls, our minds and our strength and we will love and serve our neighbor as ourselves; We will work alongside Jeremy and Courtney and Olivia and Jude and Lincoln Emert in Choma as we work to build relationships and become advocates and story tellers for the work they are doing and will continue to do long after we are gone. We will lead worship We will help however we are needed and we will support however we are asked. We will greet one another in the name of Christ and we will learn everything we can about what God is doing in and through our global brothers and sisters. We will gather to leave from Greensboro on June 25 and begin our travels that will take us through Philadelphia, London, and South Africa before touching down in Zambia on the evening of June 27th. From there we will get our bearing and begin to work alongside friends, new and old, to worship and participate in youth camp for friends ages 6-25. We are not going with a schedule of exactly we will be doing when because flexibility and openness to the spirit will be our mantra. We know that we will run camp on July 1 – 4 for around 300 Zambians and we will   While our travels begin on the 25th our real mission trip begins on July 8th when we return home as storytellers and advocates for the work and ministry of the Emerts in Zambia and begin to change the world around us starting right here in High Point!

We welcome your prayers and blessing on our travel and on the work God is calling us into. Please be sure to keep up with our blog along the journey and read along to meet our team:
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Brookelynn Bartmess is a 6th Grader at High Point Christian Academy and is excited about seeing where God is calling her to learn alongside her church and her Mom. Brookelynn is also excited to see her friend Olivia who lives in Zambia. 

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Susie Bartmess is a nurse and case manager has been a part of Emerywood for many years and is excited to be taking part on her first international Mission Experience with the Church. She is looking forward to spending time with her daughter but will also miss her son and Husband as they “hold down the fort” back home.

 

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Michelle Bednarek is a wife and mother of 2 who works full time in the medical field with the Triad HealthCare Network. She is excited to experience first hand all that she has heard about as she has followed along and supported the Emert Family in Zambia since they arrived on the mission field several years ago.

 

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Grace Bellamy just graduated from Wesleyan Christian Academy and will head off to East Carolina University this fall to study Audiology. Grace enjoys playing guitar and singing as well as maintaining all her snapchat streaks. Grace’s heart was opened to serving and sharing in life with her global neighbors last year on a mission trip to Jamaica and she is excited to continue to grow this summer.

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Charlie Foster is a 6th Grader at High Point Friends school and loves meeting new people. Always inquisitive Charlee believes that conversation ad relationships are what will truly change the world. Charlie loves to read and learn about ways to be a part of the solution to the worlds greatest issues but she is excited to learn from friends and family all around the globe.

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Finn Foster is a 6th Grader at High Point Friends School. He loves to play basketball, volleyball, and Soccer and is also deeply compassionate. When asked what he was most excited about for the trip Finn responded that he was ready to meet and serve new neighbors as he listens to where God is calling him on his journey.

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Caroline Keating is very excited to witness and nurture the expanding worldview and spark of social change that this mission will inspire among the group. She is working on being present and asking the right questions about how she can be a catalyst for change in her hometown and around the world.

 

IMG_6299 3Judy Patterson is especially excited about this trip as it a return to Zambia for her and a opportunity to spend quality time serving alongside her Daughter, Son-in-Law, and 3 of her Grandchildren, who live in Choma. She loves getting to watch her family love and serve the Lord in a context completely foreign (both literally and figuratively) to her own. Judy has served at Emerywood in many capacities over her time in the congregation and currently is a part of the Mission Committee.

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Myles Patterson is a Sophomore at Westchester Country Day School in High Point and is a part of the Varsity Basketball and Soccer teams. Myles is a gifted athlete and a dedicated leader. He is smart and compassionate and is excited to serve with and visit his Aunt, Uncle, and cousins living in Zambia as well as expanding his understanding of how God is at work in the world.

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John Setchfield is a retired Minister and Missionary who is always looking for any opportunity to serve God and neighbor. John has a wonderful understanding of why we serve and how each and every human being is a necessary and integral part of the body of Christ. John is most texted for the chance to serve and learn alongside local leaders and residents in Choma as we look at faith issues and how those affect their daily lives.