Just thought I'd share some photos from our recent trip to Zambia, Namibia and England. Enjoy!
What's the latest?
Where do students from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria come together in one classroom? Why, in Katima Mulilo, Namibia, of course!
We just completed nine days of training with a great group of students representing these four countries. They were committed, responsive and eager to learn. We were graciously hosted by Pastor Yumba and Believers Fellowship, and were joined by students from two other churches, Rise & Shine, and Loud Cry Ministries.
Over the nine days, Abby taught "Discipleship: Being, Becoming and Doing," "The Wounded Healer," and "Family Systems." I taught "Our Common Creation, Common Problem, and Common Solution" (based on Genesis 1-3), and "Understanding the Bible." Percy Muleba added several sessions on "Developing A Biblical View of Worship."
We were also able to give our students copies of the Global Study Bible due to the generosity of Crossway Books via our mission organization, Global Training Network. This Bible uniquely offers articles and footnotes that take into account the Developing World's issues.
During the week, we were hosted for lovely lunches by several of our students, by Joyce (with another student, Sue, and their friend, Agnes), by Chi Chi & Bernard, and by Admire & Memory. These opportunities to get to know our students were fantastic. We can't wait to build on these relationships in our training next August!
We worshipped both Sundays at Believers Fellowship. What a delightful congregation! Doug was privileged to preach both Sundays on "The Fivefold Purpose of the Church" based on Acts 2:42-47 and "The Fivefold Characteristics of the Church" based on John 20:19-23.
We are grateful for the privilege of working with such great people. Thank you for supporting us and for praying for us. Where we go, you go!
Please pray for a good end to our trip, along with safe and uneventful travel. We are already missing our dear friend and GTN colleague, Percy Muleba, and his family!
We fly to the UK tomorrow to visit our friend and fellow missionary, Cheri Contes, and her two great kids, Hannah and Evan. They are helping launch a new church in Wolverhampton where Doug will preach on Sunday! We then fly home next Monday.
Pastor Mubita introduced himself to me after our celebration service on our last Sunday afternoon in Mongu. He had preached a spirited, direct and timely sermon to the youth who had gathered and I was happy to meet him. We chatted for several minutes before he had to leave, and he had much to say, but it was these words which have stuck with me ever since:
"No one ever comes here. But, you have come!"
When I asked him what he meant, he explained that the Western Province of Zambia is neglected, that missionaries and mission teams almost always go elsewhere in Zambia. He added that the sort of intensive training we do simply never comes to them. When I reassured him that we had made a three year commitment to the Mongu area, he was delighted.
As we have traveled and ministered over the last 12 years in Zambia's Western Province, I must say that we have almost never encountered anyone doing the kind of training we do. Sadly, then, I was not surprised to hear his words.
Earlier in our stay in Mongu, we'd had the privilege of meeting with Bishop Manyando (United Church of Zambia, Western Province). He also decried the lack of sound theological training available to the people of Western Province. It is, in his estimation, a desperate situation.
Our hearts break when we see this need, especially because we meet such amazing individuals on every one of our trips, men and women with the heart and intellect for serious study, men and women who love Jesus and his church, and who lead with such vigor when they are empowered.
Thank you for enabling us to do what we do. Thank you for coming with us through your support and prayer. We're incredibly grateful!
One of the exciting things about training leaders in Zambia is the eagerness of the students. We began our training of about twenty youth leaders in Mongu last evening and it went very well.
Our host, Pastor Yuyi Mundia, has a Kingdom heart and has developed the interdenominational New Vine Youth ministry to reach, equip and send young people to share the Gospel. It is our privilege to encourage him and his ministry this week.
Our focus this week is God's design for human relationships, especially male-female relationships, and how our relational health affects our worship, our life and ministry within the church, and our mission in the world.
Please continue praying for our students and for us that the Holy Spirit will bring dynamic transformation to all of us!