23rd March 2013 – Zambia calling: musings en route


The Zambia Creative Trip team was put together by Transform, a department within Tearfund which provides amazing opportunities for Christians to work on various projects abroad. These projects run from between two and about 10 weeks, and allow participants to serve in a local community, with the aim that both the community will be transformed for the better; more about Transform can be found at http://www.tearfund.org/en/get_involved/go_overseas/.

This is the first time Transform has put together a Creative Trip team; it allows team members to use their creative skills in a local community, running/assisting in the running of workshops for young people. The workshops will be dependent on what creative skills the team members have and on what requirements the local partner has in relation to the skills available.

Thank You Jesus!

Psalm 103:2. Bless the Lord, o my soul and forget not all His benefits.


It’s less than an hour and a half to landing in Lusaka. It is about 3am UK time/BST and I have been having 40ish winks since I got on this nine and a half-hour flight. I am reflecting on the journey that has brought me to this point and I am grateful. Grateful to God that He has made it possible for me to be part of this team of four going to Zambia on a Creative trip. I thank God for the people who have encouraged me to use my creative skills over the years, and for all those who are praying for Team Zambia.

I thank God for all the people who have made a financial contribution to my trip. I thank God for my church, Jesus House for all the Nations (www.jesushouse.org.uk) for its financial support. I am grateful that through all the support received, I was able to exceed my fund raising target – www.justgiving.org.uk/shade-olutobi.

A friend of mine raided her son’s room to see what she could find for me to take to Zambia. She happened on a nicely- boxed 102-piece fine art set which had only five pieces missing. She said it was a birthday gift to her son, who is now at university, given to him when he was much younger. She had asked her son if she could donate it to the Zambia trip since it was a birthday gift, and he said that she could and that it would be selfish for him to keep it. What a generous spirit! I was so touched when my friend gave me the set. It is such a God-send!

I am grateful for God’s provision through His people. God bless them all, and meet them at their point of need.


Guidance Required!

Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.


As this is the first time Tearfund Transform has put together a creative trip, it is very exciting and daunting at the same time, as there are no experiences to learn from. Although we have an itinerary for the trip, and there have been so many ideas about what we can offer, there is much vagueness about how each session will pan out. The itinerary is quite general in its headings so the team will need to give some thought to the specifics of each day and plan accordingly. We have found that ‘youth’ means age three to about 24ish and that a lot of people leave school later than is the norm in the UK. That changes our ideas on what workshops will be appropriate. So, we trust in the Lord for wisdom and guidance! The Lord is faithful!

Team Zambia

Carolyn is a photographer; she is on a gap year and will be going to Royal Holloway University of London in September to study Psychology. Laura is an artist and is working as a market researcher (interestingly, she is also a Psychology graduate). Steve is an engineer who has a wealth of experience, including teaching and running life skills/leadership sessions. I am also a photographer and work as a HR Manager.


We also hope to run/assist in running some bible study and live skills sessions, and have found that there are some other creative projects that we could give involved with: embroidery and jewellery making with beads. I’m sure Steve will go and play football with the boys at that stage!

We pray that our create and our knowledge, skills and experiences are used to bring glory to God and to transform the lives of the people we meet. May our endeavours transform our lives too. Amen, in Jesus’ name.


I notice that there are many groups on this plane on one mission or another. I see Habitat for Humanity, and another group from a secondary school in Ireland; Steve found out that they are going to open a school building. There are hardly any black on the flight… Very unlike the flights to Lagos, Nigeria where a large majority are of Nigerian origin. Food for thought!