Every time I visit Oasis I am overwhelmed by the progress and honoured to be a part of the team helping to transform children's lives in Ndola, Zambia.
This visit was the icing on the cake, my most incredible trip to date , namely because I got to share the experience with my husband Geoff (who was last in Zambia in 2007 when we started building the first chalet!) and also because I got to meet the 18 amazing children who live at Oasis Village alongside Gillrinnoh and Elijah.
These 20 children take my breath away! They are so beautiful and kind, they look out for one other and it really is one big happy family. I was very proud and humbled to be their 'Auntie Anna!'
After travelling for 34 hours we arrived in Ndola on a Monday night, the following morning was the start of our wonderful experience as we headed up to 'Mountainside Primary School' at Oasis to help with the first ever Sports Day for 400+ pupils! It was amazing and crazy! Lots of different races took place alongside a chicken wandering onto the track and a snake in amongst the parents! It was wonderful to see so many happy faces and to spot lots of our Oasis children for the first time, competing and coming first!
We also got to attend the final assembly a few days later and it was very moving to see the children perform in their classes and also watch the majority of our 'oasis children' being presented with certificates for full attendance at school! The majority of them had never been to school before they moved into Oasis one year ago!
I did some fundraising in N Ireland before my trip which enabled us to bring the children for an overnight stay in Nsobe Game Park. They enjoyed swimming, fishing, volleyball, game drives and eating, while being watched by monkeys!, It was so precious to spend quality time with them and humbling to see how thankful they are for small things that we take for granted.
Another highlight was the official opening of Oasis, to celebrate the children moving in, the primary school and the church all on site. The canteen/church was transformed after 6 hours into a beautiful dining location fit for "Miss Zambia" and other esteemed guests. It was a great night of celebrating the achievements of Oasis Village namely due to the hard work and dedication of the Moyos! It seemed apt for the children to sing 'This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine' with our motto for Oasis being ' a light in the darkness' I will never forget this moment, it was just as well I brought my kleenex!
I have many other special memories including the three birthdays that we celebrated with a glow in the dark party, Visiting Sakania Village , a fantastic trip to a dinosaur exhibition, lively church meetings and playing 'hunt' with the children! It was an incredible experience that I will always cherish and I can't wait to watch our children grow and achieve their dreams! With God at the centre of Oasis anything is possible.
"For nothing will be impossible with God" Luke 1v37
We went to Zambia for the first time in 2014 to spend a few weeks helping in a small children’s home in Ndola . We had time , loving hearts and empty arms - and there was plenty to do with 12 little ones aged from 6 months to 10 years . When the time came to leave Ndola , our hearts were full but troubled . We told the children we would not forget them and promised to come back . Two boys had especially come to our notice . On the last evening of our trip , we spoke to friends of our concern for the boys and our strong feeling that we had to do something . It was then that we heard of the Moyos for the first time .
The following year we came back . On the very first day we met Nicki and Ziso and they agreed to take the two boys in Oasis VIllage . We were overcome with joy , gratitude and relief ! The boys had found a family , a life was being born ! The first time we stood on Oasis ground , we both felt a profound sense of well-being - as if the place itself was telling us something important ....
Neither of us will ever forget the moment we took the first of the two boys to Oasis. Shadreck held tight to our hands as the three of us walked together up the dusty road to his new home . A warm welcome awaited him - wide smiles and big hugs ! Billy followed a few days later . We were there when Oasis opened its doors and the first children arrived . There for the birth of a big , beautiful family ! We saw how the children were given a sense of real belonging , told how they were special and important , loved and wanted . We have no doubt whatsoever that they will continue to grow a sense of their own splendour through the loving attention of Nicki and Ziso and their team . We participated in the excitement and wonder of first outings ... ice cream at the mall , buying school shoes , a day in Nsobe game park . The children had started to make wonderful new childhood memories to carry through the years .
We both feel deeply honoured to be able to play a part in helping to bring Billy and Shadreck to the fullness of their potential and , in the years to come , watch as they manifest it in the world . The journey has truly begun for them and for us.
When we speak on the phone ( which is often! ) we inevitably find ourselves talking about Zambia - always alive with passion ! Billy, Shadreck and all the Oasis family are golden threads woven through the fabric of our lives . Our deep desire and firm intention is to be a constant presence for them throughout the years .... involved in their lives , following their progress , supporting their choices , championing their spirits , walking with them into a future . May they know always that they can count on us .
In july this year we return again to Ndola . We can’t wait ! We are overjoyed at the thought of being there - to see everyone , share food and fun , to wipe away a tear ; to learn and grow with the children at the sunday service , renew and deepen friendships ...... and of course to hear Billy play the drums ! For these precious weeks we will be living , loving and learning in the heart of the Oasis community ( and we will even be there for the official opening ! ) We will also be there for the Mountainside end of year assembly and I know our hearts will burst with pride ! We learn a little more about Zambia each time . We are moved , changed , humbled and challenged . We always come away with infinitely more generous hearts .
Meeting Nicki and Ziso has changed our lives . Nourishing and enriching, renewing and restoring us in unexpected ways. We are deeply grateful to know them and to witness them as they live into their mission , guiding the many children entrusted to their care to a future filled with love and hope .
With love ,
Lydie ( France ) Loucinda ( UK)
"On the 6th Oct 2015 a team of 11 left the car park of Portadown Elim church to embark on a God adventure to Zambia. We were joined by the lovely Nicki Moyo as she travelled back home to her family after a 3 week fund raising campaign for Oasis Village. Six out of the 11 had never been on a mission trip before so everything was new and for some fear of the unknown was apparent. The journey was long (some slept more than others) but Gods protection was upon us. Both us and all 24 x 23kg suitcases arrived with out any difficulties.
When we first stepped off the plane the heat was stifling. Simply standing in a queue to get our visas felt like we had just completed a 40 minute work out at the gym. A little taste of what was to come. We were greeted by Ziso (aka Papa big fish) , Zach , Zoe and Zara, along with the beautiful Martha (the school administrator). It was from there we where brought to were our home for the next 10 days would be. We just got in, changed and it was off to our first of many trips to Oasis Village. It was Wednesday night which is prayer meeting night. When we arrived, we could already hear the people worshipping. It really is something else to watch and to be part of. As exhausted as we all felt it was difficult not to be completely blown away by their style of worship. I found myself smiling constantly. One of our team spoke on Gods Grace. This was our first meeting with the orphans of Oasis village, many of their faces familiar thanks to Nicki's pictures. Meeting them in person made my heart so happy, some of the most beautiful wee faces I've ever seen and it was our pleasure to be here to serve them the best we could.
The trip was complied of many different aspects of Zambian life. We travelled around the local villages, were we held crusades. We were accompanied by a choir from Tanzania. This give us an opportunity to spend time with the local people. It was on these occasions we had the privilege of praying with people who were sick. With some asking us to come pray in their homes, that God would protect them and their families.
There was time for manual work also. The whole team went to work at oasis village. The girls went painting and sorting out donated clothes into piles in order of size. Making it easier for the team to find clothes to fit each child as needed. The boys were kept busy with, tiling, electrical work (re-wiring), building steps into the dorms, as well as doing a lot of work on the kids play frames. All our guys worked tirelessly in the heat day after day but seeing the smiles on the kids faces made all the work worth while.
Personally my favourite time was spending quality time with the children of oasis village. We got to spend time sing with them, telling them bible stories and sharing Gods love with them. We also spent time doing some crafts with them, watching they're own creativity shine through and watching them develop new skills.
I can truly say I enjoyed my time in Zambia. It was an absolute privilege to meet some of the most amazing people, who's hearts are to serve God in the very place He has placed them. Changing and transforming the course of many young children's lives, by simple following the call God has placed upon them.
I love that no matter where you go in this world that Gods love unites us as family and my family just got a lot bigger."
To view more of your teams photos go here
A member of the Portadown Elim Church team
"For only two short weeks of my summer I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Zambia to visit a place very close to my heart, Oasis Village. In my head, I thought that I was going to Zambia just to be part of what was going on, and be of any help that I could, as well as spending time with the Moyo family while I was there. God had a lot more planned for me than that!
I visited Oasis Village for the first time two summers back, with a team from my church, when we got involved practically at the site by painting the chalets and getting as much done as we could for the orphanage to be ready for opening.
Two years had passed and just two children had moved in. Not only I, but I'm sure a lot of supporters also, found this very frustrating (not to mention the Moyos, of course!), as the work to open the orphanage began about 8 years ago! Well let me tell you, it’s not as easy as you may think. While I was there I got to experience a small part of the long process of opening an orphanage, and in particular communicating with social welfare. You really had to take it slowly, one day at a time. We finally got social welfare to come out and look at the orphanage, so then the fun began.
What was going to be a relaxed holiday for me, turned into a crazy one. Nicki and I jumped from our seat, rushed to the car and phoned Ziso to tell him social welfare would be visiting Oasis Village within the next two days! We went and bought mattresses and other materials to complete the chalets and raided the storage unit for the bedding. Everything was starting to come together.
The day came when social welfare visited Oasis Village. I was on the edge of my seat, as Nicki and Ziso showed them around, praying for good news. Nicki looked at me with the biggest smile on her face and said, “We can move the kids in,” to which I replied in the broadest Belfast accent you can imagine, “Shut up! are you serious?”
The second week of my trip had just begun and I started it by visiting the villages from where the orphans, who would live at Oasis Village, would come. Hearing the stories of the children would break your heart, but I kept thinking to myself... when they are at Oasis Village... This was a very exciting time for us all. The dream of Oasis Village was finally becoming a reality!!
There are now 14 children altogether living in the orphanage, all with food and shelter and a bed to sleep in, as well as house mums who will love and care for them. The children will also attend Mountainside Primary on the same site, and enjoy all the activities and opportunities that come with that. I really did get to be part of changing their lives for the better!
It was very difficult to say my goodbyes to everyone I had met, but anyone who knows me will know that I will go back, and I can't wait to see how lives have been transformed.
So for now ‘Lesa amipale’, God Bless."
"I had the privilege to travel to Zambia with my dad this Easter to visit my family and Oasis Village. It's been over 20 months since my last visit and the progress is quite overwhelming! It's such a crazy road up to Oasis Village but when you turn the final corner it really is an "oasis" that you see. The site is vast and beautiful with bananas ready to pick, and as I think back to my first trip when the initial chalet was being built to seeing eight chalets, a canteen, an amazing jungle gym, classrooms being built, and so much more, we really have come a long way. I am so excited about what has been achieved and the potential for the future.
I felt very excited and honoured to meet our children Gillrinnoh and Elijah for the very first time. They have a beautiful house mum called Juliette whom they love greatly and they are very happy. It was wonderful to spend time with them and the highlight was when we all went out for dinner the night before we left. It was Gillrinnoh's 12th birthday and Elijah had turned 8 a few months earlier so we gave them their first ever birthday cake! The staff played drums and sang and they were so shocked when the cake was set in front of them. It was a very special memory, Dad and I had tears in our eyes as we said goodbye to them and they hugged us so tightly.
Their lives really have been transformed over the last two years and it's so amazing to be a part of their journey. We are really trusting and praying that more children will move in really soon, our biggest issue was our lack of water but the day before we left Ziso phoned us to come to the site and we finally saw flowing water for ourselves! Its council water and we will also pursue the borehole once the rainy season comes to an end. One step closer to bringing more children in...
Our other HUGE project is our new school Mountainside Primary School, which is on site and we have around 120 kids attending. It was fantastic to see the school running and classrooms being built. They even had a special assembly for dad and I where all the classes did a presentation. It was incredible and we were overjoyed to see so many happy faces and Oasis Village coming alive! It's ALL about the children after all and Mountainside will be a huge asset in providing a 'free' education for our children as they start to move in.
The journey has been long, with many ups and down but I have come back from Zambia feeling very refreshed and incredibly excited about my hopes and dreams of more children at Oasis becoming a reality in the very near future! Watch this space!!"
"Having arrived in Ndola both myself and our UTbelfast Team were keen to visit Oasis Village. So on our second day in Ndola the opportunity came. The road up to the "Village" is a rough one with its twists and turns, ups and downs. Yet in many ways this closely reflects the journey of Oasis Village with its own fair share of twists, turns, ups and downs to get where it is now.
Having followed the "Villages" progress and prayed for it since its beginning and to arrive in Ndola and see it for myself was something special. And so as I approached the "Village" for the first time, along with the rest of the Team, I quickly grasped its potential confirming all I had been told or envisaged it to be. So our Teams humble efforts to paint five of the chalets and a couple of their roofs was an honour, one that left more of a mark on us than on the "Village". As the Team put themselves to the task over the two weeks, they opted to spend even more time than what was allocated, a true reflection of just how much the 'Village" had gripped us.
Yes the chalets look well, the canteen, wall/fence, jungle gym etc but none of this is truly complete without the children for this is the reason why they exist! This was so highlighted when, on one of the days we took some of the children from Sakania for a fun day at the "Village". What a mixture of emotions you are faced with, as children are called out of the overwhelming crowd of other children and as they jump into the truck and minibus. But these emotions are short lived as the minibus fills with the overwhelming joyful sound of children praising God. Tears fill your eyes as they sing song after song for the duration of the journey to the "Village"! The vision is the children, the "Village" a means to fulfilling the vision and without them living at the "Village" the "Village" truly isn't complete!
It has been a privilege to be a part of and see for ourselves what the Lord is doing and is going to do at Oasis Village - despite the twists, turns, ups and downs."
(one of the UT Zambia 2013 leaders)
"During my stay in Zambia for an adoption foster period a year ago, God established many trials and many obstacles to introduce my family and I to the Moyos.
Our paths were meant to cross and join in such a way that only He could orchestrate. My family has developed such a great love for the Moyos and the kids of Zambia.
I am blessed to be able to call Ndola, Zambia my home away from home. I had the privilege to bring a team from the US this summer and contribute a bit of work
in between our regularly scheduled clean water projects in the area. How great it is to be able to be doing the Lord's work and putting in effort to lay the
groundwork for such an amazing part of His plan. Our life's mission is to take care of "the least of these." I am so grateful to be a part of something so
important and ultimately, doing what Jesus would be doing if He were physically here on Earth. Wether providing the water systems, setting bathroom tile or
painting the roofs, I look forward to many more years of service at Oasis Village."