Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

November 18, 2012


Highlights of our extraordinary third journey to Africa


          Once or twice I thought we had made a mistake. We had been warned that it was not wise at our age to make the long journey back to Africa. One day, our tale bones sore from bouncing over the rough terrain of the bush country, I said to my wife, “You remember those people who told us we were too old to make this trip? Well, they were right!”

            But we both laughed because “come hell or high water,” we had determined to return to Zambia and see firsthand the marvelous work that God is doing there through the ministry of our adopted children, Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo. While the trip was quite demanding, it was worth every discomfort we endured. We would not have missed that journey for the world.

            Dean is even talking about going back when we are 85. I am still pondering that idea. Jet lag still has me by the nap of the neck. My body “clock” remains confused; I wake up every morning around 4 o’clock.

            The first leg of the journey was not difficult at all. Several precious friends had arranged for us to spend a few days in London. And those were marvelous days. We arrived on Saturday. Our cab driver Pat Diggins took us on to a leisurely tour of the major sights of London. Pat’s commentary on people and places was impressive and entertaining.

            On Sunday we attended a worship service at Westminster Abbey and later an inspiring organ concert in that spectacular cathedral. We were surprised by the rather large attendance at both the service and the concert.

            Monday and Tuesday we spent more time exploring the Abbey as well as the breathtakingly beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral. I enjoy asking people questions. Observing a table where people were lighting candles I asked a young man why people were lighting candles. He replied quickly, “That is a High Church thing; I am Low Church. We don’t light candles.” You learn so much by asking questions!

            We drove by Buckingham Palace but declined the Queen’s invitation to have tea. We were having too much fun seeing the sights of this historic old city without the pressure of an agenda. Those relaxing days in London we shall not soon forget. We are so thankful for the dear friends who made this experience such a blessing.

            Tuesday night we boarded a British Airways 767 Boeing jet for the ten-hour flight from London to Lusaka, the capitol of Zambia. On arrival our friends arranged a few hours rest before taking us to visit Alfred’s sister Catherine in the home built for her by the Frazer Sunday School Class of our church. The class also provided funds for a well outside Catherine’s home; more than a hundred neighbors come weekly to draw water from that well. She freely shares her clean water with all who need it.

Seeing Catherine in her home was a special moment. We were able to purchase two things she badly needed: a hot water heater and a bed. As you can imagine she was elated. Catherine houses four orphans in her home, one of whom is 12 and has never spent one day in school. We found that for $333 a year she could begin school in January. We hope to make that happen.

We spent some time with Anxious Muleya. When we met him in 2006 he was a poor orphan but a good student in high school. We bought him a blanket and some shoes for Christmas that year. Dean and I “adopted” Anxious and kept in touch with his progress. When we learned he wanted to go to college and become a medical doctor we asked a few friends to finance his education.

In April Anxious will complete his fourth year in college. He has already been accepted into the medical school at the University of Zambia. In three years, God willing, that poor boy will be a doctor. The friends who are helping us pay his tuition and living expenses share our excitement about partnering with God in this unusual endeavor.

Anxious loves the Lord and while he wants to help his people as a doctor he also wants to help them get to know the Great Physician, his Lord Jesus. I told Anxious about Jesus giving people a new name and I gave him a new name – Perfect Peace, based on Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Sometimes Anxious calls himself Perfect Peace even though his official name remains Anxious. I may ask him to call himself John or Peter. I am not sure anyone would want to go to a doctor whose name was Doctor Anxious or Doctor Perfect. The important thing is that the young man has a beautiful spirit, a good mind and a heart for God. So he will create “a name for himself” as a useful servant of God.

Dean and I taught a marriage seminar for pastors and their wives in three towns: Lusaka, Choma and Livingstone. Alfred thought it would be helpful to the pastors and their wives to hear from a couple who have weathered the storms of 60 years of marriage. I hope he was right. We enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the lessons God has taught us. We encouraged these fellow servants of God to ask for the grace to persevere.

We journeyed to Africa to celebrate our 80th birthdays and our 60th anniversary. At the end of the marriage seminar they brought out a big cake to mark the occasion. We rejoiced in the kindness of God – to allow us to travel so far away from home for such a unique celebration. God is good. Oh, yes, He is indeed!

I shall share more highlights of this incredible journey in days to come! + + +