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"For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your Name's sake You will lead me and guide me." Psalm 31:3
Our mission team was blessed with guidance and protection as we travelled across 4 countries, and conducted over 70 meetings and outreaches.
Blessings and Border Crossings
As our team travelled into Zambia we were concerned about the border crossing. We met a man along the way who suggested an alternative border crossing we had not yet considered. He said that he knows the people at the borders and that they are not corrupt. He also assured us that it would be cheaper and easier. We thought this was a good idea so we followed the man's advice. We were nervous as we had books to donate, a massive sign board which could not be hidden, and a huge tent which took up a large amount of space in the back of the vehicle. We knew that these items did not really have a set price and we would not be able produce a receipt for them. This would mean that the customs officials at the border could basically charge us any import fee they chose to! When we went to customs, the customs official said that he would not charge us for religious material. This was the first time an official has ever said that to us. When we went through the vehicle inspection, the border official did not even look in the back of our vehicle; he just waved us through!
One of our major focusses is Evangelism training. This can often prove to be difficult because many people have an inadequate understanding of Salvation. This mission showed us the importance of perseverance. We ran Evangelism Workshops in Zimbabwe and Zambia with some very positive results. One congregation was quite interested in our presentation The Gospel According to Jesus because Jesus would preach the true Gospel in an uncompromising way. One of the men from the congregation said that there is always a temptation to soften the Gospel message when evangelising so as not to offend anyone. At this same church we presented Way of the Master followed by a role play. The participants seemed to grasp the concepts perfectly, and they were able to share the Gospel effectively. At another rural church, we trained people in Evangelism. We had been to this church before, but we were often frustrated with the results and the level of understanding people had of Salvation. This time we were pleasantly surprised. People understood that Salvation is by the grace of God alone received by faith alone. Not only were we glad because people could understand Salvation and be saved, but they could also effectively share their Faith.
Global Outreach Day
As providence would have it, our arrival and ministry in Zambia would be just in time for the launch of Global Outreach Day. This is an initiative to mobilize churches to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every home. One of our faithful contacts was in charge of initiating this project in his provincial district, so we were able to equip pastors and evangelists with material, training, and encouragement for two days leading up to this event.
Preaching to the "Converted"
86.95 % of Zambians claim to be Christian. This begs the question: "Why do missionaries go to Zambia?" Time and time again our mission teams have gone into Zambia, and we have seen the sad state of the so called Christians. Works based Salvation is deeply engraved within the minds of many church-goers. This makes the task of Evangelism somewhat difficult.
I encountered one individual who would not admit his desperate need for Christ. I took him through the Ten Commandments and we revealed that he had broken God’s Laws. He claimed that despite breaking God's Commands, he would still go to Heaven because he can feel that he is a Christian in his heart. I asked him what he would say to a person who had killed his whole family and claimed to feel like a Christian in his heart. He was not sure what to say! I continued to probe him about where his faith was, yet he never revealed that he was placing his faith in Jesus Christ to forgive him for his sin. I shared the Gospel with him and encouraged him to seek God and work out his Salvation with fear and trembling. Despite all that I had explained to him about Salvation by grace through Faith, he still claimed that he was a Christian. It seems as though many people do not know what they believe in and why they believe in it. They are quick to simply agree with whatever you tell them and say that that is what they believed in the whole time.
When we speak to pastors across different countries, they always tell us that discipleship is something lacking within the Church. This is their plea when we ask them how we can assist them. Our team went to a few rural villages to train a variety of different churches in discipleship. A few people commented on how they felt empowered and encouraged to spread the Word of God. Speaking to our local contact after one meeting, we found out that there were New Apostles and Roman Catholics in the audience. It seems providential that we spoke on the need for faith in Christ alone for Salvation and that anything other than that would be worthless and damnable. We also distributed literature wherever we ministered. Each person received a Gospel Project book, The Apostles Creed - Firm Foundations for Your Faith, and Discipleship Training Manual. These materials will help supplement the teachings we presented, and reinforce some of our major points and topics.
Christian Action Zambia
Although Zambia would claim to be a Christian nation, there are many threats facing this country. Those who support Zambia with foreign aid try to push for the legalisation of many unbiblical policies. Abortion, homosexuality, and pornography are very real threats to Zambian Christians. Our aim during a three day conference was to mobilise action groups to take a stand against social evils. Using lectures, PowerPoint presentations, information and literature, we equipped pastors, elders, leaders, and church members to form a resistance against ungodly legislation which seeks to corrupt the population of Zambia. Along with these resources, those who attended the training signed documents which state the Scriptural principles to which they hold. These documents include: 25 Articles on the Kingdom of God, the Essentials of a Christian Worldview, Manifesto for the Christian Church, The Inerrancy of Scripture, and95 Theses for Reformation Today. By the end of the conference, many people were interested in beginning their own action groups, and raising awareness about social and political issues.
Back to Basics
One can easily forget to talk to church members about the Gospel and the basis of their Salvation. During our ministry in Zimbabwe, I found that many people, even those who go to good churches, do not know what it means to be saved. At one discipleship conference I made it a point to question people about where they thought they would spend eternity. After questioning them on the basis of their Salvation, one woman said "I think we have forgotten one very important thing: One needs to be born again in order to be a Christian". When I asked people what it means to be born again, some said that it means to obey the teachings of Christ, and the elder of the church said that it means to be baptised. I took them through the Ten Commandments and they all admitted to be liars, thieves, and adulterers at heart. Once we had established that they were all going to hell, I did the first presentation on Repentance and Full Salvation. I urged them to examine their hearts, seek the Lord and place their faith in Christ.
Health! Wealth! Prosperity!
One of the largest hindrances to the Gospel in Zimbabwe is the false prosperity message. Wherever we went we could see these extravagant posters advertising prosperity prophets and their "miracle crusades". A close contact of ours was asking many questions about the doctrines which these "prophets" are teaching. He and many other pastors had lost church members who flocked to these false teachers. We had dealt with false prophets and the prosperity gospel in earlier missions to Zimbabwe, and one pastor thanked us when we met him in our most recent mission. He told us that because we had warned his congregation about the dangerous teachings out there, they did not lose a single member when the prosperity preachers came to their community. He explained that other churches lost up to half their congregations, but his congregation was not swept up by these false teachers. We received invitations to come back and teach other churches about the true Gospel.
Providence and Pornography
School children are exposed to pornography from a very young age. We spoke to a Zimbabwean pastor who works closely with high school boys about a survey he did. This pastor was shocked at the amount of boys who were watching pornography. Some of them had begun from as young as ten years old. He had seen in a recent JOY! magazine that Taryn Hodgson released a book called Porndemic. He desperately wanted one, but he did not know how to obtain it. Thankfully we happened to have two copies of the book with us, so we happily donated them to him. He was incredibly grateful.
Caring for the Elderly
Since Zimbabwe's devastating inflation rate, their currency is no longer of any use. Those who relied on a retirement plan lost all their life savings, and many of them are without money, housing, or even family. By God's grace we were able to pack 50 boxes containing food, literature, cream, toiletries and other essentials for the elderly people in need. They expressed their deepest appreciation for the love and care that South Africans show toward them in purchasing, packing, and transporting all these Boxes With Love.
A Sign, a Tent, and a Happy Church
While I was showing pictures of a rural church about a year ago, the Christian Liberty Books bookshop manager asked me if he could redesign the sign board of this church and make a nice metal sign board for me to take to the rural pastor. He organised two new sign boards which I was able to take to this pastor on our most recent mission. When the pastor opened the sign boards and revealed them to his church they were overwhelmed. They were singing and dancing while they were thanking us and thanking God for answering prayer. We also donated a large tent for this pastor's ministry because he does not even have a proper church building. We know that these items were placed in good hands, and they will be appreciated greatly.
Our team travelled over 9,000km, without any vehicle problems. We went through about 30 police stops in Zimbabwe, and we were not hassled even once. Our cargo and vehicle crossed 5 borders, and none of the border officials gave us any trouble. We are thankful to God for leading and guiding us as we travelled and preached in two very different, and sometimes dangerous, countries.
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him." Psalm 24:1
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa