Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6
This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation started by Dr. Martin Luther. We planned the Africa Reformation Overland Mission to call people back to the Bible. It was my privilege to be apart of this mission team.
We travelled up to Zambia through Namibia and upon our entrance into Zambia we experienced the worst potholed roads ever. Needless to say – traveling in Zambia was not the most pleasant, and there were countless police-stops with corrupt people looking for bribes. We held a Reformation Conference in Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) at the Justo Mwale University of Theology. Pastors from all over Zambia and even other countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe attended. They were enthusiastic about Reformation and Revival. They were eager to learn and had lots of questions about questionable practices in the Churches in Zambia.
“Do your best to present yourselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:14
While our team leader went to Tanzania for Conferences with pastors, his wife and I stayed in Kabwe (a town in Zambia) to do some local ministry there. We thank God that he travelled safely on his own and got through the border, even though he was harassed by corrupt border officials. He was warmly welcomed in the rural villages and his ministry and teachings was greatly appreciated.
Kabwe Children's Ministry
Mean-while in Zambia, the two of us filled our time visiting different ministries in and around Kabwe to help them and learn from them. We went to a private, Christian school to give Devotions in the classrooms. They invited us back to do Devotions again and also to attend their Assembly. The principal explained that they struggle to keep their teachers and give the children a good education as so many cannot pay school fees. We gave them Bibles for all their teachers.
In the some parts of Zambia people with disabilities are looked down upon. Children are either used for labour in the house, or they are just left in a corner and ignored. A group of missionaries from Operation Mobilasation started a school called Bethesda for children with mental and/or physical disabilities. About 40 children from ages 2 to 22 are picked up every day to come to this very basic, 3-classroom school, where they are taught to read and write, make food and work with money. They normally have two teachers per classroom who have to see to all the needs of their group of children, whether mentally or physically disabled, or both. It was a privilege to help them feed and teach and help the children. We had to learn how to give emotional support to these children who so desperately need it, although you either could not speak their language, or they could not talk at all. This was a very humbling experience.
“ Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6
Ministering in a Rural Area
Mercy House is a community center for vulnerable children. Children are classified as vulnerable if their parents cannot, or will not, provide education for their child. Mercy House was started by missionaries in a township. They take vulnerable children in during the day so they have a safe place to play (ach to get us out. way from violence in the house and in the streets) and to teach them reading and writing and basic maths so maybe they can go to a school, if they can get a sponsor for the child.
While I was with them we went out to a nearby field with the 50 or so children to do some sports and play games. We started with singing songs and I was astonished to see our numbers grow by the minute. By the time we divided into groups for the games, more than 100 children had come from their homes, or from where they were playing in the streets, to join us. I specifically remember one shy girl, about 4-years old, who joined us with her baby sister on her back. We played and ran and sang for 2 hours and at the end could share a Gospel message with them and end in prayer. The message I gave was very short and difficult to give because of the language barrier and it is very difficult to keep 150 excited children's attention while you talk with a translator. We did this twice that day. The second time I was guiding a blind girl who was eagerly participating in as much as she could, especially the singing. She was a great inspiration to me.We gave the staff good Bible study material to go through with the children.
We planned to go visit a school for deaf children, just outside of town. Unfortunately we got seriously stuck in a swamp area and battled the mud for 6 hours despite having a 4x4 vehicle. It took 10 men and a winWe missed our meeting at the school but could still send them Bibles.
Ministering to the Body
I volunteered at a hospice who take in people who cannot afford any medical care and provide very basic health care for them. Most of their patients have TB or AIDS. I mainly helped with the two children who suffered from severe malnutrition. A three year old boy was left home alone for days at a time while his single mother went to parties, until neighbors called the police about all his crying. He weighed 6kg when he was admitted and is deaf in both ears, and a one-and-a-half year old girl who had both her parents, who both had jobs, but received so little income that they could not take care of their children. I bathed, fed and played with them. I believe we should minister to people's soul, mind and body, therefore working in the hospice was very productive for me, even though I could not speak the language of the patients, I could talk to the staff and other volunteers. I tried to share the Gospel with one German girl who started asking me about what I do and what I believe. I thank God for this opportunity.
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for Salvation for everyone who believes...” Romans 1:16
Our team was reunited and we travelled back to Namibia. At the beginning of our mission we met a few people in Namibia and they asked us to come to them again on the way back. We had wonderful fellowship with the Namibians. They received us with open arms. Many of the people told us about the lack of faithful, Bible-based Churches in Namibia. As a result they started Home Fellowships or House Churches. In one town they arranged a meeting where people from many different Home Fellowships and Churches got together to worship and have unity in the Body of Christ. We could minister to the children and families, listen to their struggles, encourage them from the Scriptures and pray for them.
We held an Evangelism Conference in a township with a new church plant. We explained the need for Evangelism and different methods to help them share the Gospel effectively. After that we took them for door-to-door outreaches, which they returned from energized and enthusiastic! Since all the participants were women we thought it would be a good opportunity for the women of our team to minister to them. The next day we started by talking with them about Biblical Womanhood. We had some discussion and learned from their experiences and problems they face, so that we can comfort and encourage them. One women shared with us that her husband is not a Christian and he opposes her Faith. Many women said that it is hard to be a woman in their culture because the men are lazy, drunkards and are not good husbands. They need a lot of prayer for the Holy Spirit to help them be godly women and good wives, despite their difficulties, so they can be examples of the power of the Gospel.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:10.
Most importantly I learned more about who God is and how He works with His Church in other countries too. Getting to know the cultural differences was very interesting for me. Driving around with the locals to see how people live and asking them questions about their lives, spiritual condition and the political and economical situation in their countries were most edifying. Teamwork is crucial in missions and the lack of it could be catastrophic, but God was very gracious to us and gave us a good team dynamic. Most of all I got to know myself in these kinds of situations, being tested and tried by different obstacles. I regularly got overwhelmed with, or exhausted by, people or situations, especially when everything was new. God helped me a lot during these times, especially through my personal quiet times and Bible reading. This whole experience is just another confirmation that this is where God wants me to be and that I am called to the Mission Field.
“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful” 2 Timothy 2:11-13
Highs and Lows
The part I disliked most was the long distances we had to drive and sometimes on the worst kind of roads. After the ministry I did with the children in the rural areas I fell ill with mumps which was very uncomfortable, sore and tiring. The highlight was definately visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia. I was rendered speechless by the raw display of God's Majesty and Power in His Creation.
“Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His Majesty is above the earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:13
Please pray with me for the people we visited and evangelized, the churches in Zambia and their battle against the health, wealth and prosperity movement and the ministries who try to care for and educate the children whose parents do not care for them. Also remember Namibia in your prayers as there are so many Christians who suffer because of the lack of solid Bible-teaching Churches. May the Holy Spirit continue working in these countries.
May God bless you in everything you do for Him
In His Service