The children are the sweetest.

Zambia Mission Trip; South Africa


This trip was unlike any other trip I had been on. Flying to Africa for 23 hours on a plane was not only the longest of flights that I had been on, but also the furthest I have been without my husband. I went with a group of 12 from our church, including my friend, Carol. The almost two-week mission trip to Zambia, Africa was an incredible and unforgettable experience though.

Our team in the holding room at airport.

The first leg of the flight was 15 hours from DFW to Doha International Airport in Qatar. With movies, lots of food served, my own snacks and the anticipation; the flight was not bad-even though I did not sleep much at all. The airport in Doha is a cool airport and very clean. The next leg of the flight was seven hours to Lusaka, Zambia.

Doha International Airport between flights.
Massive art in Doha International Airport
Indoor tram Doha Int Airport

Once we arrived in Lusaka, we were bussed to our hotel downtown. Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia, so it is large and modernized. 

Outside of our hotel in Lusaka.
Modernized Lusaka, capital of Zambia

At this point I had been up for the most part of 48 hours and feeling it.  As much as I would’ve enjoyed checking into the hotel for a long nap, lunch was first up on the agenda. We walked a couple of blocks from the hotel to a fast food chicken place. Afterwards we did have time to check in and take our luggage upstairs to our rooms, but we had an afternoon meeting at a local church to meet our interpreters for the week, so no nap. 

Walking from hotel to lunch in Zambia
Taking luggage up in Zambia hotel

We returned to the hotel for dinner at the on-site restaurant. We were staying at Protea by Marriott and the food was really good. And then, woohoo, finally time to sleep in a bed!

Dinner Protea hotel restaurant Zambia

The next morning we met at the restaurant again for a great breakfast buffet, bible study, and then we loaded the bus and set out for the first village we would visit.

Breakfast at hotel before going out to African village near Lusaka.
Part of breakfast buffet at Protea
Part of breakfast buffet Protea Lusaka

We were divided into teams of 2, plus our interpreter. Carol, Given and I ended up being a team (although we started on the 1st day with Justin). We dispersed thru the village, sharing the gospel and inviting them to a new church that would be starting up that Sunday. We had gospel cubes that unfolded in various directions to illustrate as we shared. After sharing once or twice, we got the hang of it.  We really weren’t nervous since we had an interpreter to “cover” for us, especially knowing that these guys were also pastors. 

First day in village dividing up in teams
Shane and Mike were a team
Sharing with the locals.
Carol sharing in Charles' village

The people were very welcoming, and would even bring seats out for us to sit on. These could be chairs,  stools, buckets, whatever they had. Of the three villages we went to, this first one was the newest and most ‘modernized’. Homes were built out of cinder blocks that the people made. There was a lot of construction going on in this village. We noticed lots of homes with cinderblock shells started and waiting for additional funds to continue the work. 

Sharing in the village.
Construction in African village outside of Lusaka.

The children were the sweetest. They were continuously running around, playing with whatever they could find, or just each other. They were not arguing, complaining or entitled. They took care of their siblings, sometimes with a little one wrapped on their back like the moms. The women were mainly outside, and typically grouping together on a porch. They would be doing laundry, preparing food, etc. 

Children playing with tires in the village.
The children are precious.
We were impressed by sewing machine in Zambia village
Given, Loveness and village ladies

Even though we came across lots of very nice respectful men working on the construction of homes, running shops or in a field; we also periodically encountered those partaking in a little too much of the local brew. Several times this made me slightly to extremely uncomfortable, partly due to not being able to understand their tribal language. Our interpreter took care of us, but not being able to gage the threat, based solely upon behavior, made for some tense situations. Luckily, these were minimal and the exception rather than the norm. 

Sharing with a group of workers in the field.

As part of our typical day, we carried snacks in our backpacks for when we would break for lunch. This is when we would all meet back up to share our stories of the morning. 

Girls required to wear long skirts in the villages.

We also had plenty of bottled water and biodegradable wipes/tissue. Thankfully the first village had a chimbudzi close to where we parked the bus and came back for lunch. A chimbudzi is basically an outhouse. The sliding primitive scale varies in correlation with each village. 

Chimbudzi in the village.

We would go back out in the afternoons sharing Jesus and slowly growing a congregation-start for the new church plant beginning in days. At the end of the day we would gather back where the bus was parked, get off our feet sitting on a cinder block, and share some more stories or just get to know each other. Many of us had not met before our adventure to Africa together. Waiting for everyone to trickle back in, Beverly starts singing songs with the kids. They loved it and the little group just kept growing. 

Team returning from sharing in the village.
Beverly singing with the kids

The second village we visited was older with more basic and poorer living conditions. There was already a church, with a large building, established here. The previous pastor was older and had become sick, so one of the new pastors is taking it over. We did the same as the prior two days, going throughout the village sharing the gospel and sharing about the church, including the showing of The Jesus Film happening that night. It was a larger area with lots of happy children gathering around us. The group of children in the church yard just kept growing. Emily in our group sang songs and played games with them, which they loved. The other thing they loved, was seeing themselves on the phone screen. They were thrilled to star in their own videos. Any pictures you took of them they definitely wanted to see. They were delighted. 

Met this sweet girl at our second village.
The children loved singing.

We got a treat at this village church with the women preparing an authentic African lunch for us. We all eagerly lined up before the sweet ladies that had prepared it as they heaped the food onto our trays. We were curious to try their traditional food and it was very good. 

The ladies in the village fed us.
Visiting with one of the Zambian pastor's wives.
Authentic African lunch, prepared by the ladies in the village.

At the end of the day we would ride the bus back into Lusaka where we were staying and have dinner together at the hotel. A couple of times we stopped at the mall and ate at one of the restaurants there. Yes, Lusaka is much like any large city complete with their own cultural uniqueness. 

Carol and I on the bus with the team
The mall in Zambia
Mugg & Bean Restaurant at Zambia mall

One nite when we returned later, the Protea Hotel had the tables all decorated and came out with a cake for Emily. This was her 3rd year in a row celebrating her birthday in Africa! 

Birthday celebration at the hotel.

There may have been some cat naps on the bus while heading back into town. McClean, one of our partners with Church Missions Network (CMN), would say “it’s good to be tired for the Lord”. I love that. I also will take a hit for the group and only post my own nap snap. Haha

We were happy to have some from the village show up to the vacant lot on Saturday night in hopes of watching The Jesus film, unfortunately we had technical difficulties. In the 2nd village, the film showing went great tho! 

Trying to get Jesus Film set up

There were no technical difficulties on Sunday! Back in the vacant lot, we met for the first worship service of the new church plant! The church is Zanimuone and Given is the pastor. About 40 or so villagers showed up for the 1st service with lots of singing in their tribal language. Everyone was welcomed by McClean, of CMN. There were several testimonies from our group and our Missions Pastor, John Roach, preached. Sitting on cinder blocks under the bearing down sun was no hindrance for this group who were just happy to worship together!

Preaching to congregation sitting on cinder blocks Zambia
First day of worship at new church plant Zambia

We started the next week off in another village. The village(s) went on and on. There were a sea of people as we drove through on the way to the orphan school each day. Our time with the pastors came to an end and we said goodbye to most of them at the school. It was bittersweet after the experiences we had shared together. Leaving them with gifts, prayers and promises to continue to follow their work and pray for them, we headed back to our hotel for the last time. The next day we would make our way to the Safari that Eric with CMN had planned for us. 

Me and Matilda in Charles' village
Village street in Zambia
Street scene in village of George in Zambia
Our leadership group in Zambia
Carol and I with Given in Zambia

If you’ve read this far, thank you for following our mission trip to Zambia, Africa! Part 2 will cover our Safari stay in Zambia. 

Getaway to Fredericksburg soon! You'll love it!

About Us

We are Bud and Debbie Lilly, two travel lovers from Texas. Spending an enormous amount of time researching each location to find the best places to eat, sites to see and things to do is actually something I love to do. Not for everyone, I know. But, we are blogging our experiences to let you know what you can expect in each location and so you don’t have to redo the research. Let us know if you go on any of the same trips and if you find places that impress you. We would love to hear from you!

We feel so enriched by the people we meet and the places we see. Thank you for supporting our blog!

2 thoughts on “Zambia Mission Trip; South Africa”

  1. Debbie,

    This is a great recap of the trip. You did a fantastic job of sharing your experiences. We love sharing life with you and Bud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *