Friday, November 15, 2013

ACE Advocates

Alliance for Children Everywhere is the ministry we work with to prevent child abandonment in Zambia.  Right after our return Stateside in the summer, they asked us to join them for part of their annual board meeting in Tucson.  ACE was wanting folks who had traveled to Zambia and were passionate about their work to come learn how to be advocates in our hometowns for ACE and the Zambian side of the organization called CACZ.  We jumped at this chance.  Our work in Zambia may never be over.  We are committed to helping every abandoned and orphaned child find a forever family, whether extended family member or through adoption, because we feel families are the best places for children.

We flew to Phoenix on Wednesday and then rented a car for the drive to Tucson where ACE is based.  There is a great family owned hotel right down the road from the house where the two directors live, so we all stayed there and had the meetings.

Sandra was in Zambia when I first went in 2010, and she and Jennie are the two directors of ACE.  ACE started in 1969 with Jennie, and Sandra joined her in the early 90s.  They've helped more countries than just Zambia come to see that reuniting children with families is best practice and glorifying to Jesus, but they've been in Zambia for 17 years now.

The advocates were a group of folks of many of whom I know, either from trips or through lots of phone calls.  The women in the ACE office I have spoken to many time but hadn't yet met, so Isaac and I were thrilled to be welcomed with huge hugs and lots of laughter.

We met at the mission house, as the office is fondly called, for dinner with the advocates, the staff, and our dear friends David, Charles, and Matrida, all of whom had been able to come from Zambia.  Oh, the blessing of sharing a meal with friends from Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, and Zambia!  Then a dear lady named Edie led us in worship that made my heart overflow.  God is just so good and always worthy of praise.

Thursday was spent in meetings discussing how we can help ACE spread the word of how God is at work in Zambia restoring children to families.  What is neat to see is that this process is needing less and less influence from America as more and more Zambians are wanting to adopt, wanting to help, and wanting to let God lead their lives.  Oh, the joy!

Matrida brought me boxes and boxes of my favorite 'biscuits'!  We'll see if I can make these last til our next trip.  Doubtful!

Thursday night was another evening full of fellowship, food, and dreaming of our next times spent in Zambia.  I just love hearing how friends are doing back 'home', how the children are growing, and who has been reunited with families!

Friday morning had one more meeting of how we can help CACZ/ACE become self-sustaining.  That's important.  I feel that glorifies God, involves Zambians in their own nation, and helps Americans need less and less influence.  Amen!

We shared one last meal with some of the staff, advocates, and Matrida before leaving on Friday.  My heart is full, and I can't wait to see how God uses this new chapter of ACE/CACZ history!

Matrida is the best social worker on the planet!

We'll soon, probably after Christmas, be hosting some evening just to share about our work in Zambia.  If you'd like to come to one, or if you want us to come to you, let us know! 

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