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From Memorial to Africa

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aising a family in the Memorial area is a dreamy scenario for most parents with its beautiful neighborhoods, excellent schools and thriving church communities. However, it can provide a very narrow view of what the rest of the world looks like. For many parents, there is a common struggle of providing their children with all of the material comforts of America while impressing upon them the real struggles of extreme poverty in other parts of the world. It is hard for a child to comprehend what it means to live on a dirt floor and eat one meal a day when they have no standard of comparison, nor do they understand what it means to be a double orphan – to have lost both parents and to live as a burden to other family members or neighbors. The Bible states in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress.” The Baird family chose to step out of their comfort zone this past summer and to live out their Christian faith. They traveled to Zambia, Africa to minister to orphans through an organization called Family Legacy. On July 23rd, Mark, Gwen, Lillie, Charlie and John Baird boarded a plane in Houston. Two days later, they arrived in Zambia with a simple mission: to share the Gospel of Jesus with orphans and to love them without reservation. They spent a week doing exactly that through Camp Life, a Va-

Charlie Baird with a new friend in Zambia.

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Lillie, Gwen, Mark, Charlie and John Baird with their “Zambia family” at Camp Life in Zambia, Africa.

cation Bible School day camp on the Family Legacy compound, which is located outside Zambia’s capital city of Lusaka. For seven weeks of the summer, Family Legacy bused in nearly 1,000 Zambian orphans for a fun-filled camp centered on teaching them the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. Most of these children had never played on playground equipment or colored a picture with crayons. Camp Life gave them the opportunity to do this and so much more. Most importantly, the orphans were given a chance to be a child, untethered and allowed the freedom to experience the simple joys of childhood. Each Baird family member was responsible for shepherding a group of 10 Zambian orphans through the week. According to the Bairds, one of their favorite days was toward the end of the week when the Americans went into the neighborhoods where the orphans lived. On this day, the orphans shepherded the Americans, leading them through their villages, as they unashamedly shared the Gospel with the locals in their community. These communities, located on the outskirts of Lusaka, have no running water or

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electricity. The median age in Zambia is 16, so there are many children roaming the streets and alleyways. Of the 13 million people living in that country, one million are orphan children. Family Legacy impacts children not only through Camp Life but by also offering them the opportunity to get an education through a Legacy school, where they receive a top-notch Christian education, a warm nutritious meal each day and a school uniform. These programs are paid for through sponsorships, which mostly come from Americans who attend Camp Life, as well as their family and friends. It is a small, monthly sacrifice that changes the life of a Zambian child forever. Currently, the Bairds sponsor two orphans, and they spent the week at Camp Life with both of them. The Bairds’ week in Zambia may be over, but the friendships they built with the Zambian orphans will forever be a part of who they are. “We think about them every day and can’t wait to see them again next year,” said Gwen. The experience was so meaningful for the entire family that they are already making plans for their return trip next summer.

Profile for absolutely! Memorial Magazine

October 2015 - Absolutely Memorial Magazine  

Community magazine absolutely highlighting the people, events, happenings, businesses and town of Memorial Area, Texas.

October 2015 - Absolutely Memorial Magazine  

Community magazine absolutely highlighting the people, events, happenings, businesses and town of Memorial Area, Texas.

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