Shocks in more ways than one

Pictured, the seventh grade class Meulberg was substitute teaching for. | PC: Nicole Muehlberg

Pictured, the seventh grade class Meulberg was substitute teaching for. | PC: Nicole Muehlberg

There’s an overwhelming sense of peace from certainty when following God’s plan.

On Aug. 10 I left Minneapolis, MN to travel to the Village of Hope Orphanage in Bunera, Tanzania and begin my new adventure as an international volunteer. When I got there I quickly discovered there had been a lot of miscommunication before I arrived. Due to legal conflicts in the country where the orphanage and school are located, I would be unable to work.

I was heart-broken.

Through all the confusion I became homesick and discouraged. I knew God had brought me here, but because I didn’t know what would happen or where I would be going I struggled with discouragement. I'm  thankful I was blessed with the friendship of Lois, the manager of the orphanage. God used her as an encourager who was right there with me. I also was able to reach out to my parents via text message and they rallied all the prayer warriors back home on my behalf.  

One night my mom shared a song with me that she heard called “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. I felt as if this song had been written just for me and my circumstances. The lyrics were like a soothing salve to my confused heart. It reminded me of God’s promises for me in Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11.

I sang those lyrics in my heart for days as I waited to learn what God had in store for me.  

I was elated when I received news that Pastor Rich had found me a new location to serve! On Sept. 9 I arrived at Riverside Farms Institute in Kafue, Zambia.

Waiting for my arrival in Zambia was another volunteer who had been praying for a friend because she was lonely, just like me! We have become like sisters.

Funny story–as my new friend I were reading through a previous volunteer’s book they warned us that if you cook on the stove in your bare feet and use a metal spoon you will get shocked! Of course we had to try this but it never worked … until early one morning last week when I was up making breakfast.

As I put the tomatoes in the pan I thought I felt a little tingle, but I ignored it and kept on cooking.  Then, as I was pouring the eggs into the pan, I felt a shock run all the way up my arm! The whole day my muscles in that arm were flexed and sore and hard to relax.

I’ll keep my shoes on in the kitchen from now on.

I truly can’t express how awestruck I feel at where God has led me, and what He has allowed me to do! As a nursing major with a love for kids, I feel like God has taken all the desires of my heart and placed them for me to enjoy in my time here.

So far I’ve helped in the clinic screening patients and giving Malaria, HIV and pregnancy tests; taught at the Bible school as a substitute; assisted in the dental truck with tooth extractions and  cared for the director’s children.

My favorite task, though, has been befriending and helping a woman named Beatrice.

Beatrice is a widow who lost four of her own daughters. She has six sons and has taken in eight orphans.

That’s fourteen children!

Her house is maybe the size of a study room in the student center at Union. Right now we’re working on building her a new house big enough to fit her whole family yet close enough to Riverside Farm that we can go help her as often as possible.

Every day I'm living out the truth that putting complete faith and trust in God brings greater blessings than I could have asked for or imagined on my own. I admit I wondered how He would work out my circumstances for the first part of my journey but as I sit and look back at the past month and a half I can see God’s hand in every single thing that happened. He's faithful even in the little things like waking me up a little later than I wanted but then having to stay up extra late because of a late call at the clinic.

He cares for me, for every detail. And He cares for YOU too!

I have to say that working as Christ’s hands and feet is amazing! Although my plans for serving in Tanzania didn’t work out, I’m confident that God’s plans are much better than I could ever dream and I eagerly continue to serve Him each day I have the privilege of being in the wonderful country of Zambia.

Nicole Muehlberg is an international volunteer serving in Zambia.