We are finally back out into the beautiful Zambian bush! I took off Monday morning at 9 a.m. on the dirt bike and drove out to Nyawa which is roughly a 3 hour drive covering 150 kilometers (in a vehicle this drive takes nearly 6 hours because of the extremely difficult terrain.)
I wasn't sure what to expect for this first trip after spending a significant amount of time in Nyawa last year, specifically with a pastor named Sweyn. I arrived around lunch time to find Sweyn and his family sitting down for a meal. As is customary to wonderful Zambian hospitality, they cheerfully asked me to join them and we sat down to a nice meal of nshima and rape. After eating we began to discuss how things were going over the past four months that we had been gone and I was left absolutely amazed at what Sweyn has accomplished.
I selected Sweyn to be a CLL "Community Life Leader" last year under the LIFE Project which is one of our initiatives that targets widows, orphans and the neglected. Our goal through the LIFE Project is to see every widow, orphan and elderly individual taken care of through their communities by empowering them with education, training and above all, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sweyn is a crucial component in that he has been chosen to oversee all of the work taking place in a 5 village spread. Not only does his work involve seeing that no one is neglected, but he also carries the important task of seeing that the word of God is proclaimed through these villages and that those who have a desire to be disciples of Jesus Christ get the opportunity to do so.
Sweyn presented me with a comprehensive list of every member (man, woman and child) of the five villages including which ones were widows, single orphans and double orphans (which helps us to determine which initiatives need to take place in each community). He also was pleased to tell me that he has been discipling 10 individuals (2 from each village) and that those individuals were leading 2 Bible Studies a week in their villages. Within an hour of arriving at his home, word had spread and there were 20 adults waiting outside to hear if I was going to share the word of God with them. As we were getting ready to start the service, a man passed through that Sweyn flagged down and after a short conversation we found that the man was headed to a "professional witch doctor" in Zimba. This man had been sick for three years and said that he had been to clinics, hospitals, and witch doctors with no change. We asked him to stay with us and began to share God's word with him about God's authority over sickness and also about God's plans for this man to have a future full of hope. The man,Charles, literally broke down in tears because he was so tired of this physical ailment and he pleaded with us to pray over him. Sweyn and I spent some time praying and afterwards he looked up with a smile and said that all the pain had gone except some pain in his shoulder. We prayed again and Charles testified that all the pain had gone. He immediately grabbed his wife and said that he wanted his family to commit their lives wholly to God. We prayed with them and then headed straight to the church to meet with the eager villagers.
The meeting turned out great as they all showed a lot of excitement that I would be coming every Monday, spending the night and departing on Tuesday afternoons. We decided that each Monday we will hold two meetings where we will be teaching the word of God and then on Tuesdays we will go out in teams to the different villages and visit homes, pray for the sick and preach the word of God.
Now I understand that this may sound like a bunch of numbers and hodge podge, but it is thrilling to see the effects of empowering faithful men and women in our sector to carry the light of the gospel. Our vision is to see this very thing happen over a spread of roughly 800 villages (Masokatwane and Nyawa). I believe with all of my heart that this is the ONLY way to impact a nation. It's more than putting just food in a person's stomach, which we will be doing...it's ushering them into an unbreakable hope. No drought, famine or disaster can take this fact from them...they are loved by God and have been chosen before time began to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! This is our portion in life.
This Scripture hit me the other day and has totally transformed the confidence I have day to day:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. (2Cor. 2:14)
I love this Scripture because it is a promise. I don't have to doubt whether or not I will spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ...this passage tells me that in Christ I am ALWAYS led in triumphal procession and I am ALWAYS spreading the knowledge of Christ to the earth.
We MUST live with faith. We must live with a confidence that is rooted in the word of God. Let me ask you. Do you expect to always be lead in triumphal procession in your day to day activities? You cannot lose with Jesus. Do you realize that you are spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ in your work place, at the grocery store, around your family, at your school? Let us thank God this day for giving us promises that cannot be thwarted by any thing on, above or below this earth. The only thing that can keep us from these promises is unbelief. Let us stir up our faith today and build the kingdom of God on this earth.
Please be praying for Sweyn and the ministry taking place in Nyawa. I am going to begin a series on "Bush Survival" and take you guys through some of the "survival skills and tools" that I've learned to use over the last couple of years here in Zambia. (i promise lots of pics on the next blog...)
We love you all. Keep praying for us. Please let us know how we can be praying for you.