Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Preaching in Chongwe

On Sunday, I went to Chongwe (a town 45km east of Lusaka) to preach at a small village church.  Before arriving, Alex, Everesto & I picked the pastor and his family up from their home.  The pastor and his wife walk about 24 km (about 14 miles) to and from this small church every Sunday.  It was very humbling to see the commitment this man has to doing God's work here in Zambia.

I have to admit, I wasn't prepared for the type of building the church was held in.  As you can see from the pictures, it was a thatched roof insaka with several rows of stacked bricks, which were being used for the pews.  Not having walls, actually helped with the heat, as it allowed for a constant air flow.  Not like the typical church you would see in the States huh?

We arrived at around 9:30 am and waited about 30 minutes for other members of the church to arrive.  The pastor and Alex held a short meeting to discuss the flow of the service and then we started.  They decided that there would be a time of singing hymns and then Everesto would address the youth with a message, after that, another time of worship and then Alex would give the congregation a message of encouragement, after that, another time of worship, and then, finally, I would be called upon to preach.

The service went really well, but a little long. So long, that I didn't start preaching until 1:15 p.m. I spoke on Grace. Grace is something with which the Zambian church really struggles. I've seen it time and time again. Whether it be through the conversations I've had at church, or in cell group ministries or during pastoral and leadership training, Zambians just struggle to understand that God doesn't require us to do good deeds in order to earn salvation. They struggle to understand that knowing Him it is an unmerited gift. That is why I felt it was important to preach this specific message to this small congregation.

I think the sermon went pretty well, based on feedback from before and after the sermon, I could see that some of the congregation were beginning to understand the concept of grace.  So, I pray that God would grow the seeds that He allowed me to plant that day.

After the service, we were asked to stay for lunch.  Several ladies of the church had prepared a meal (Nshima, Rice, & Chicken).  They also served a local drink called, Mkoyo.  It is made by mixing ground maize in water and letting it sit until just before fermenting.  I tried it, but, sadly to say, I couldn't finish it.  Alex was gracious enough to pour the rest of mine into his cup and finish it for me.  

It was a blessing to fellowship with this group of believers and have them go out of their way to make me feel welcome in their community.  The more and more I do ministry here, the more and more that I feel like I'm the one being ministered to.  I can't begin to relay just how much I was humbled and blessed by this small village church in Chongwe.

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