Emily has been one of our biggest cheerleaders and volunteers from the beginning! She has always jumped in where needed and invested her time, talents, and resources. We are excited to see her involvement amp up as she interns with us this summer! She will be helping in one of our major programs, ROOTS. But we will let you hear from her:
"My name is Emily Neill. I’m a senior studying social work at Auburn University. This summer I’m overjoyed that I’ve been given the chance to return to Luyando serving as an intern.
After having been to Zambia several times, I got to work with Luyando two years ago and have since fallen in love with the work God is doing through this ministry. Just Kelsey and I went that time. But last year, I was able to go back again with a larger team. Again, we saw the Lord’s hand in all the work being done through Luyando. When praying this year about how I would use my summer break from school, I of course knew I wanted to go back to Zambia, but I wasn’t sure if it was where the Lord was leading me. I spent much time praying. There was no doubt that I wanted to be in Zambia again. But as always, I feel it’s important to go only because that is what I can do to best serve the Lord, and not just because it’s something that I want to do. I learned about the six week internship and immediately saw God opening doors for that to happen. And after interviewing, I knew that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing on break. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity and I am excited about spending much more time in the village than before. This will give us a chance to truly invest in the community and build better relationships.
My interest in Luyando has always been how an entire community is being transformed through the programs they have started. For the children, programs include kids club, the feeding program, and even child sponsorship. These programs, however, affect the welfare of entire families. There have even been parents and loved ones come to know Christ. Children in the program bring their families to outreach events (like the Jesus Film) and can tell them about Bible stories they have learned at kids club. It has been really cool to see. After all, Luyando does ministry to see this entire community one day radically transformed by the Gospel.
One of the ways that Luyando has begun biblical discipleship and reaching families with the gospel is through starting ROOTS groups. Luyando’s staff members began a group three months ago. They simply went through a passage in the Bible and then discussed questions like these:
What do you like about this story?
What did you find difficult to understand?
What does this story teach us about people?
What does this story teach us about God?
How can you obey this story/teaching?
How will you live it out?
With whom will you share this story?
Since then, many groups have sprung up all over the village including many families that are involved in Luyando’s programs. The ROOTS page says it best, “Our desire is that by feeding the community the Word of God and learning together we can grow deep roots in Christ which then produce bountiful fruits of action that demonstrate love.” Since the groups’ beginnings, there have already been people come to trust in Christ as their Savior. Praise be to the Lord.
Here’s how I come in: this summer I will be serving as the ROOTS Coordinator. Working alongside Luyando staff and local church members, I will build on groups that have already been started, encourage believers as we start new groups, and oversee discipleship training. Through God’s grace, I actually have a few years of experience doing this same type of work as I helped church plant in other areas of Zambia. This time, we will really get to build up God’s people in this village, His church. This is how community transformation happens. I am excited to come alongside those who have begun this good work and learn from them as we study the Word with others in the village. We will be providing storying passages to those who cannot read. I hope to equip others to continue the work long after I leave. Please pray for all that are involved in Luyando’s programs. You can pray that we would boldly proclaim the gospel and seek the Lord in all we do with ROOTS groups. Finally pray for those amazing Luyando staff members that have begun this amazing work. It is truly a privilege to serve beside them.
I am most excited about building better relationships with people in Simukale village. My family has a sponsor child named Precious that I will thankfully get to spend time with again. She actually made a decision to follow Christ last summer at a Jesus Film showing and I am so excited to see how she has grown since then. I also want to really get to know the ladies that run Luyando daily. Through ROOTS groups and cooking and just hanging out at their houses, I look forward to building relationships with them and their families. There is so much I have learned from Zambian believers over the years and I am excited for that opportunity again.
I am truly grateful for all who have supported and prayed for me. And it is a privilege to serve through such an amazing ministry. It is only through God’s grace and faithfulness in my life that I am getting to be a part of His mission in Zambia...And I can’t wait!'
Kelsey and our interns leave June 8! We have 13 days until they get on the plane to Zambia! Our staff is anxiously waiting their arrival! Pray with us as they prepare to go.