Eric and I arrived in Macha, Zambia with a few soccer balls and all sorts of ideas and dreams for how life and ministry might evolve. There’s a lot five years has taught us-but above most else, it’s that the problem with all our ideas and dreams was that they were pretty exclusively ours.
We felt like sports ministry was a good fit in Macha for a number of reasons-and we still absolutely believe that to this day. What I didn’t understand then, was that my perspectives and opinions were all based primarily on how western ministry operates out of the western church. All of that made sense my entire life-having lived in the western world. But transitioning all those ideas and dreams to southern Africa wasn’t as inclusive of other perspectives as it could have been.
We’ve reevaluated and restructured decision making to be more inclusive of our staff and less centered around Eric and I. We’ve tried to ask questions of the community-willing to receive their answers and advice. And we’re very quick to celebrate the ways ministry continues to evolve through the vision and guidance of Push The Rock Zambia (PTRZ) staff.
And so, when handing out books from our back porch turned into a one bookshelf library in the recreation center, we celebrated that growth. And when one bookshelf became two and then two became a proper lending library each weekday afternoon, we celebrated again. And when our ‘librarians on campus’ came back from a training and requested we move our bookshelf library from the busy and loud recreation center to a proper library space, we celebrated that vision.
And it’s with an enormous amount of privilege I’m able to share a bit about that vision with those who follow this little blog and asked about ways they can be involved.
The library vision has evolved slowly but surely. The borrow and return library concept is fairly uncommon in a place like Macha-as there aren’t any within over an hour. Schools aren’t filled with literature or individual resources for each student and books aren’t as readily available. When we shared that reality with friends and family a few years ago, people were incredibly generous in meeting that need and filling the PTRZ shelves.
And thanks to the commitment, prayer, and vision of staff-we are ready to evolve the library from two bookshelves on wheels to a proper local lending library building with classrooms and study space. In the future, we hope to add a learning program, computer lab, and classes-for kids + adults. It’ll sit next to the Recreation Center on campus and be an extension of what we’re already doing-creating spaces that are community focused and can point people to Jesus.
We feel so grateful that PTRZ staff saw and communicated the need-and together we’ve considered how and when to get involved. That our earlier approach to ministry was more exclusive than we’d like to admit-but our staff were gracious and patient as we learned how to more effectively work together.
For those who asked, our goal is to raise $25,000. That will cover the cost of the building-the shelves and tables and chairs (and beanbags + colorful carpets for kids to relax in!) It’ll also leave some money to purchase some additional books. We’ve also put together two lists of books we’re hoping to collect on this side of the Ocean. We’ve shared an Amazon Wish List a few years ago, and will do the same again-but also add an Usborne Online Book Fair (a friend has donated all the proceeds back to PTRZ.) Both links are organized to send the books to Corie’s parents home-to be packed up and sent to Zambia with visitors coming throughout the year.
We’ve been so privileged to walk with the ministry that is PTRZ-the people and the place and the vision have been a real team effort, and we are so grateful. If you’re interested in helping to grow the Macha Public Library, those links are below.
–> At CHECKOUT, you’ll be given the choice to ship to Gift Registry Address (Corie Thuma-PTRZ.)