The verses which spring to mind as I look back on the adventure of going on the LIFT team to Zambia this year is Isaiah 55 v 8 & 9. The New Living Translations puts it like this “My thoughts are completely different to your thoughts” says the Lord “And my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Our travel to Zambia went very smoothly, with us, and all our luggage, arriving on schedule and Nicki there to meet us at the airport. Being in Africa we were able to witness some of the many frustrations Nicki & Ziso regularly face – the broken pump took over a week to sort out, so water had to be bought in for the school and orphanage; Ziso’s car was constantly breaking down, being fixed and breaking down again and they were constantly juggling family, school, orphanage, church and outreach. Many of the things which would outrage people living in Northern Ireland, they have to take in their stride.
We were taken to see the school and children’s home and then Ziso mentioned his vision to plant 100 churches in and around Ndola and further afield in Zambia. Some of the pastors had met on the Monday we had left Belfast and had identified a site for a building for the church which had been planted in a village (Chichele), a few miles from where Nicki and Ziso live. He took us out to see the site and out of the forest came several young men – members of this new church and their pastor. They already had a plan of what the church would look like and Tony, Sandy and Walter started marking out where the posts should be situated and instructing the young men from the church on where to dig the holes for the posts and how deep to dig them. Ziso then took them to various hardware stores to buy sand, cement, tools etc to make a start on building the church.
For the rest for the rest of our time Tony and Sandy travelled out to the site each day and worked with the local men to build the church, under Tony’s instruction. The church was a wooden structure with a corrugated tin roof (you can imagine how difficult it was putting a tin roof on in 35oC heat and glare from the sun). By the Friday of our second week the church building was complete (at a cost of £500), 8 days after the site was marked out!
This was a first for LIFT, to build a church in 8 days. Yet again God provided the right people for the job He wanted done.
The children at Oasis weren’t forgotten about either. Walter and I (Elizabeth) painted two of the houses where the children live. There are seven houses on the site with 6-8 children in each house and looked after by a house mother (or auntie). One house of boys had a house father (or uncle).
The houses have been built over a period of years as the number of children has increased (there are now 55 children, aged 2 to 17 years old). We painted the 2 oldest houses and left behind a couple of very happy house mothers.
We were able to spend quite a bit of time with the children which was great fun. Oasis Village Trust a very special place and Nicki and Ziso treat the children as their own.
Birthday parties with cake (which Nicki makes) and ice cream are arranged each month for the children who have birthdays that month and we had the privilege of being there for the September party and of being mobbed by the children when we produced phones and cameras – they all love to see themselves in photographs.
Our final Sunday was spent at the opening service of the new church at Chichele. Almost 100 people crowded into the little wooden church, the little choir from Oasis Children’s Home sang and several people preached.
What a way to finish a LIFT project!
"Little did I know of how much this date would be the start of something extremely exciting for me. I knew for a few years that God had put "missions" on my heart. Until about a year ago I had no idea what that looked like, where it would be or how it would come about. More recently I've discovered how much I realise how much God is in every single detail, no matter how small or if we understand or not.
In the summer of 2017 I went to Uganda with a team for just over 2 weeks. From then my I knew missions for me was more than just in my own home town, as important as that is I knew God was starting something much bigger within me, and he still is. When I came home from Uganda I knew in the summer of 2018 I needed to go somewhere to serve God in another country . Again unsure what it looked like but I held onto the promise of God, knowing and believing he would guide and lead me in every step. Of course he did because he's faithful and he always exceeds.
It was the end of January 2017 when I was getting restless with not knowing what my summer ahead looked like. God, the God of details, somehow in a conversation brought up Nicki and Ziso from Zambia. A friend of mine Sarah Causby and myself where just having a general conversation of missionaries. It was the most random but incredible feeling and in that moment when she said Nicki and Zisos names I just knew that's where I had to go. I'd never been to another county on my own and I'd never met Nicki and Ziso. There was such a peace that I can't quite explain that I just knew in my heart I had to say yes to the call of God, even when I didn't know what that yes would mean.
Long story short, on Saturday 30th June began my adventure to Zambia. Although I was only there for a very short 9 days it was just the beginning of something for greater than just a 9 day trip, and even now I'm still learning from that short time.
During my time in Zambia I got a look into the "missionary lifestyle" I'd always wondered what it was like to be a missionary in another country like the simple day to day things, especially when you have 3 kids I always wondered what it would be like. While I was in Zambia I spent some time in Oasis village school, orphanage and church. The work going on there is incredibly exciting and it's so comforting to see how God moves in Other places, it's really eye opening. Getting to know the kids from the orphanage and just spending time with them, loving them and having time to listening to their stories was incredible. Just to give comfort and a little cuddle is something I really miss!
A spent a few days in Oasis primary school (Mountianside) which was an incredible eye opening experience as I work as a classroom assistant in Portadown. I had the privilege to work alongside some teachers who had children in their class with additional needs. It was an honour to spend some time with them giving them some tips and advice to help them have the best educational experience as possible even though they may have additional needs.
It was such an eye opening few days having seen the difference between our classrooms in Northern Ireland compared to Zambia. It made me really appreciate how valuable our education system is and the resources that we have and take so for granted.
During my time in Zambia I also was able to attend 2 Sunday services in Oasis Village church. On the second Sunday I had the most precious and incredible opportunity to share and speak in the morning service and minister in song. Through having this experience it has brought me so much more confidence and has helped me with my communication skills by being placed in a unfamiliar setting with people who I didn't know.
While I was out I was able to share at a children's outreach in Sakania Village to over 100kids. Again it was such a surreal experience but brought so much out of me and allowed me to develop not just practically but spiritually. This definitely brought me out of my comfort zone and really brought gifts out of me that I didn't really know was there and I was unsure of how to use them so it was great to be plunged in the deep end to explore this!
Overall my experience in Zambia was one of the most memorable and treasured moments that I hold so closely. God still reminds me of those encounters that i had with him out there and those were the moments that I look back on and see how he was in every single detail. When Zambia was brought into conversion it was all God, when the finances were provided it was all God, when I traveled safe it was all God, when I had encounters with people on my way to Zambia it was all God.
I had the most incredible privilege to have been able to stay with Nicki and Ziso and there 3 beautiful children Zach, Zoe and Zara. I can say wholeheartedly that as a family they welcomed me so much more than I ever thought or could have imagined. Especially when I had never met them before. From going to just messaging Nicki to actually being with her and her family I treasure those moments, even the ones where Nicki screams at the TV with excitement 😂
From the moment I stepped off the plane in Ndola and heard Zach, Zoe and Zara and some kids shouting my name and in that moment I felt an overwhelming Sense of gods presence surrounding me and comforting me not just then but during my whole entire trip. I had the honour of attending Zoe's hockey tournaments, even if I did near loose my voice. Let's just say I've come home being more competitive when playing games especially with having playing against Zara and Zach!
If you feel the call to go to Oasis village I can't recommend it enough. You will be in such good hands and you will be looked after so well with plenty of little jobs to do! So what are you waiting for? Get in contact and get those flights booked 🙂
To the Moyo family, I miss being with your beautiful, compassionate, loving family. Thank you so much for looking after me and allowing me to be like your child for the time I was out there! I will be back, sooner rather than later but who knows what gods plan holds for the future. I pray so much blessing over your family as you continue to build upon gods kingdom. Thankful for your yes in everything God asks of you's as a family. It's simple obedience that changes history and it's so clear and evident how you's are changing the history and lives of the people in Ndola and beyond. Your lives have made me feel revived and expect for all that's to come. Keep being incredible carries of gods word.
All my loveKerrie louise. "
“Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord……I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” Eph 1 15-16
It is a bit presumptuous for us to use Paul’s words – he was responsible for planting his church and all we did was help out for a few weeks – but it is how we feel.
From the moment we arrived in Ndola, to be greeted by Ziso, Nicky, Zach, Zoe, Zara, Martha and Memory we were welcomed and made to feel at home. The Oasis children, the Mountainside School and the Oasis church were equally friendly, kind and helpful. Our trip was organised and well supported by “Soapbox” from the UK.
We were fortunate enough to stay in one of the houses at Oasis village so we spent most of time on site. We held an open house – some children would call in for help with homework, to practise instruments or just to play. Oasis really is a family – the older children help look after the younger ones and their strong bonds are obvious. We loved playing with them – although it often caused chaos when the younger ones cried because we put them down or gave another child a turn on a swing etc.!
The children also have opportunities that go way beyond the basics – education, sporting activities, jungle gym, trips out, birthday parties as well as the spiritual guidance from home, school and church. They are genuinely loved by the Moyo family and their housemothers.
The school is a great success – with over 500 pupils and growing. The standard of the children’s reading was most impressive and they were happy and thriving. They were so excited when we were able to take musical instruments in to show them and it was a privilege working with the teachers during my stay.
We visited the church plant at Sakania and helped lead worship there. Many of these children are very poor. I shall never forget watching one boy looking through the dust on the floor trying to find the broken leads from the crayons they used at the children’s club so that he could take them home. They were so enthusiastic and welcoming, and clearly blessed by input from the Oasis team.
Oasis church is amazing. The African worship was so different to ours at home, but beautiful and inspiring. Simon loved playing with the Praise Group. During October, the young men of the church went out with Ziso to preach once or twice each day – they were very focused and committed. The outreach through the football team has drawn in dozens of young men - quickly followed by many young women. Each practice includes a short message, which clearly engaged them.
Simon joined the LIFT team decorating a new guest house for visiting teams. It provides very comfortable accommodation – you will not be deprived in any way if you stay here. He also upcycled 7 cable spools into a picnic table and 6 seats. This was very hot work in a Zambian summer! He was delighted when Miracle (age 2 – who had a special bond with him) came to help with the sanding for 20 minutes one day.
Nicky and Ziso do an amazing job and have drawn together a great team of people around them. There are always looking to do even more. If you are able to visit, then you can help this expansion. It has been a privilege for us. They could do even more with more resources – any support you can give will be used wisely and to the glory of God.
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."