As we arrived to cheers and clapping and singing, I (Doug) thought to myself, "Only in Zambia!" The warmth of their welcome was matched by the warmth of their worship as together we sang and prayed and clapped and celebrated the goodness of God.
It was just another Sunday in the life of the Lilonga Evangelical Church of Zambia (ECZ), a new church plant of one of our students, Pastor Moses Yamba. But it was more than that to us. It had been awhile since we had gone into the bush to worship and we were not disappointed by the beauty of the drive, the incredible quiet of the setting and the friendly people who welcomed us.
The music, especially, was amazing. Using only traditional drums for accompaniment, the voices of three choirs and several soloists blended into a concert in Lozi and English that enveloped us, turned our hearts toward heaven and prepared us for the ministry of the Word.
I was privileged to preach on Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, pointing our how lost both sons were, how estranged both were and how alone both were because they were separated from their Father. The bulk of the sermon, though, was focused on the Father who hurries to forgive, honor and love both sons, revealing the heart of our heavenly Father for all of us who are lost, the Father who calls us to run to others who are alone and without the Father's love.
Several members came forward for prayer and Abby, Eric and I were privileged to pray for them.
Following worship, Eric met with Pastor Yamba and an Elder to look over the beginnings of their new worship center. Funded by the Booth Leadership Initiative, we had acted as liaison to this church last year on Booth's behalf.
Then, we were all treated to a beautiful lunch of roast chicken, rice and nshema, not to mention orange Fanta (a Zambian favorite), guava juice and cookies. It was delicious!
Please pray for the Lilonga ECZ as they continue to evangelize their community, and pray for Pastor Yamba and his wife, Bertha, whose household numbers sixteen people!