Ruth Litchfield is a reading teacher who has volunteered with CWB in Lusaka many times to improve education in the impoverished compounds. She herself has devoted many hours and donated substantial amounts to improve educational in the impoverished compounds. She has taken particular interest in mentoring a young teacher named Ninah, who has now become an expert teacher herself. Here is how Ruth told the story to the members of her church.
Sermon – Zambia
Pilgrim Congregational Church, July 31, 2016
Matthew 6:1-34 (ESV – English Standard Version)
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have not reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward …
Psalm 100 (KJV – King James Version)
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the lord is good: his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
You have all given not considering your left hand
You have all served the Lord with gladness.
For these reasons I simply want to share with you the impact of your generous giving, your deep caring and your unconditional love for the wonderful people half a world away from Pilgrim.
Let me begin with Ninah, who you have now supported since 20-0-8. At the time I met Ninah, she was 18, had stopped school in 9th Grade, had a son, Mark, and lived with her mother and sisters. Those are the facts I would only learn through time. However, she was truly Cinderella when she enters her ‘classroom’ with no floor, no windows, no electricity, no water and only a few desks for some of her 60+ children while the others sat on the floor mat. Yet, she was the teacher. The first time I met Teacher Ninah, she entered this teaching space in a slim pink and white chiffon dress and seemed to float around the room as she immediately had the children’s attention. One quickly became aware that she was/is a teacher with a deep caring for her students and a gift to reach them. She had a connection, a way about her that can not be taught, Yes, she lacked teacher training and you all began that magic for her and the children. First you helped her earn her “Certificate”, which completed her high school education to which she walked 3 hours daily and after teaching for over a year. Also during that time, you painted her new school, added a classroom, built an exterior wall for safety and Tom and TJ Murphy did many interior repairs of desks, connecting electricity and the building of bookshelves, acquired a desk and chair for Teacher Ninah. She was absolutely overcome. We also supplied her with teaching materials, a Teacher Workshop and skills she still uses actively today. YOU then helped Teacher Ninah earn her “Diploma”, the equalivant of the Associates Degree, the first two years of college and she truly became a Master Teacher. She is now married to a wonderful man, Elephant with a son, Samuel, now 3 and has honored me as his American Grandmother or GoGo.
Teacher Ninah, I called a Master Teacher three years ago, when I asked her where her students went when they left her, assuming that she would say First Grade – she leaned in to proudly whisper to me “Mine go to second!”
This is a teacher who had not been paid in 3 years and only very little before that, less than $25.00 monthly. This is a teacher who has not been visited by her supervisor in more than 3 years. This is a teacher who now works, not 9-12 but 9-4 and the parents of her the Ng’Ombe Community pay her a minimal amount when they can. Please understand that not only the children in the community are vulnerable, but families as well. This is a teacher who I encouraged this summer to apply to the Government Schools and thus be assured a salary for her family and she teared up as she said to me “What about these children?” This is a teacher now training the new teacher in this community and I am trying to find a way for her to help others for pay for this is a teacher who learns and uses/makes things by the next day. This is a teacher who I now teach with, not for, due to her growth, hard work and YOUR support. As I gave her your gift this month, her eyes filled with tears. This is a teacher! And I thank you. You have changed a life and the lives of nearly 1,000 children as well.
Is there still a need you may ask? – most definitely, yes. Ninah never asks for anything and cares for things we have taken and given her in the past and yet as I arrived with chalk, she opened her chalk box to show me 3/4 almost inch long pieces as that was all she had left for the neatly stacked chalk boards we have taken in the past. This is only one example, yes there is still a need!
Many of you may remember in 2013 when Pilgrim was affiliated with an additional community, Mandevu, and the leading lady there, Mrs. Teresa Banda, a woman who has and is surviving AIDS and the true leading lady in Mandevu, also great appreciated your support at that time and again this time. Pilgrim again changed their lives. Tom arranged with Mrs Banda to build a latrine so the school could remain open, and work was begun the next day. You repaired the front gate which was ragged metal waiting to harm/maim children entering or exiting. You repaired the exterior wall which was ready to crumble. You connected their electricity. You bought them a machine to grind their peanuts to peanut butter and a popcorn machine for the women of the community to earn money for the school and for the children. You repaired their sewing machine again so the women could earn money for the school and the children. This year you have made it possible for Mrs Banda to support children in school. Your support and giving has continued. Again you continue to change lives, over 500 in this community alone.
Beyond all this and there is so much I simply do not have time to share, as the wonderful tennis balls Dex Whittinghill makes sure I take annually and which bring such joy to the children for the only balls they have are the ones they make from wrapping plastic bag around and around.
However, one more and very important thing, far beyond all you have done for the schools, there are also the knit dolls that so many of you worked on, Eleanor, Adult Girl Scouts, Bridge school children and on the list goes. I will let you all simply enjoy the pictures for they say/show more than can I. However, I must share we went to 2 orphanages. There are many small orphanages, 25 or less children usually run by local women and then there is Kasisi Children’s Home with over 200 orphans I have visited with Tom many times. The sisters remembered me, and immediately allowed me to take photographs for they knew I was not using them for exploitation, but to share with my church. They embraced me and gave me free range, as they also allowed me to come on very short notice. I carefully handed your dolls to waiting hands – some afraid of this Muwamga, white lady with strange sounds also coming out of her mouth, English instead of Ny’Ungia and to others clinging to me who I was sure would come home with me, until the lollipops came out!
My stories, your stories could go on and on as many of you know from past conversations. However, it is all due to you…
Serving the Lord with gladness …
Not considering your left hand … and if I may close with …
Ruth 2:12 (New Testament Version)
May the lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
Matthew 25:35-40 (English Standard Version)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
Bless you all,
Each and everyone.