When I was living and working in Lusaka, Zambia there was an area of town known as Kalingalinga. Kalingalinga was considered a bad and dangerous neighborhood. And although I drove thru there to get to work each day, I was warned never to go thru there at night. There was no telling what might happen. Even the Zambians were afraid of it. I learned this first hand when a friend of mine gave Huey, a Zambian, a lift home one evening. For the sake of time, my friend cut thru Kalingalinga. And even though Huey made jokes about us passing thru there, I could tell he was genuinely uncomfortable (he wasn’t the only one). The whole time I lived in Zambia I never gave Kalingalinga much thought. To me it was just a place to avoid or be afraid of.
Fast forward 22 years. I am living in Roanoke, Virginia and my husband finds out that some Zambian singers will be performing at our Jefferson Center. Since he and I met in Zambia, we decided to go and hear them sing for old time’s sake. The Zambian Vocal Group was delightful. And their music was so uplifting. Most of the songs were spiritual and introduced with words of faith. During the intermission we talked with the group members and bought a CD.
When the concert was over and we were driving home, I did what I always do when I get a new CD, I read the cover jacket. And as I did, I stumbled across these words, “Our vision is to make a difference in the community we came from. This community called Kalingalinga….” I caught my breath astounded. I felt humbled, convicted, and happy all at once. A little neighborhood I judged God-forsaken, God had come to.
The concert was over, but the lesson was just beginning. What was God saying to me? I think he was saying that every day while I was driving thru Kalingalinga and judging it hopeless, he was speaking a different word over it. He was saying, “You just watch. This story isn’t over yet.” When I read that cover jacket and realized where those singers had come from, it was like God had flashed me a smile and winked. It was like he was inviting me to find the Kalingalinga in my life today, to find that place I avoid, or fear, or dread. And instead of doubting, trust. Maybe even trust enough to stop the car, get out, and join him in turning the tide.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV
Click on this link to hear a song from the Zambian Vocal Group
Do you have a Kalingalinga story? I’d love to hear it!