If you’ve read earlier blogposts (listed at bottom) that I wrote about Africa, you already know my aunt Melody.
We visited Melody in Zambia this summer while my uncle Phil came back to the U.S. for a medical procedure. Phil is my Daddy’s youngest brother. He’s not that much older than my brother and me, so we grew up more like cousins. I have so many stories I could tell you about Phil, but…I won’t. (Talk to me later.) I met Melody for the first time when my superstar basketball player uncle brought his cheerleader girlfriend home to meet the family. Melody taught us cheers out in my grandparents yard.
We loved bubbly, fun Melody at first glance. And she’s still the same!
Now Phil and Melody serve in Zambia. I asked Melody to share some of their life with you. I held this post until today, Thanksgiving Day. Seemed like the perfect time to share what they do for a living — a life serving God and giving thanks day by day.
Feel free to fall in love with them too!
I sent Melody a list of questions. Here are her answers:
How long have you and Phil served in Zambia?
3 years. We arrived October 12, 2006.
What brought you to Africa?
Phil came to see the work of another missionary in 2000 and fell in love with the people. I came the following year and loved the people, but although I knew God wanted us to serve Him here, it took a couple of more years before this “city girl” agreed!
Zambians are the people group that God placed in our hearts. I sometimes wonder myself…Why Zambia?? Why not Ireland or Hawaii?? Now, I could really feel the love there if only given a chance.
But no, God chose Zambia and now I am so thankful. I love the people and feel a great burden to teach the children of the love of a Wonderful Savior – the One who would call me out of my little box — that I fit so well in– and bring me to this place half way around the world and open my eyes to the needs of the people here. Everywhere we go here becomes an opportunity to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world.
“Zambia was not on my top 100 places to live but it is now the ONLY place that I want to be.” — Melody Stephens, missionary
What you see as the greatest need physical need of the people?
Right now I would say that I think the greatest physical need of the people is clean water. There is a water shortage in the compounds and quite often there is no water for them to drink. The water that is available is dirty and loaded with who knows what. We (Amerians) know when it is so hot that we need to drink more, yet they drink less because of the diseases that come with bad water.
What surprised you most you the most about living in Zambia?
Where to begin…. Here are my top ten:
#10. Weekly power outage (often more frequently) because the government officials say we have excess power to sell to neighboring countries. So, if we have so much power why am I sitting in the dark?? And why can’t they let me know when it will be off so I can plan my life??? (Oops! I’m back in the box!)
#9. I am totally surprised by elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkeys…okay all the “zoo” animals roaming around freely with no barriors.
#8. I am surprised by little village boys who don’t often see vehicles using their flip flops as pretend cars making roads in the dirt and adding the correct “noises” to their game.
#7. Going to the store to buy bread or milk or eggs and finding none…because management didn’t think to place an order.
#6. The beauty of the sunsets and flowers.
#5. No one is in a hurry.
#4. The crude tools used to create works of beauty.
#3. The “Thunder” of Victoria Falls.
#2. Children carrying bables on their backs, and being responsible for siblings at such a young age.
#1. But, the most surprising thing of all is the joy of the Lord that a soul set free has here in Zambia. They are not in a hurry to worship. They will sing and praise God all night and all day. And can they sing!
I love to hear the Zambian voices lifted up in praise to the God who set them free.
What do you like the best about your life?
Serving the Lord day in and day out with Phil. I love the people both young and old. I love the adventure, the animals, the flowers and the opportunity fo depend on God daily to supply our needs.
How can readers donate?
Tax-deductible donations can be made to our missions agency:
BBFI (for Phil and Melody Stephens–011310)
PO Box 191
You can catch up on our adventures/observations in Southern Africa: