Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fertile Soil

Our landlords are successful Zambian soy bean and wheat farmers and this week marks a special time of year for them:  Harvest!!!.  This afternoon, the kids were invited to go swimming and wrestling in the first fruits of the soy bean harvest.

As you can see from the pictures, they had a lot of fun.  Ours, the Reeve's and the Whitfield's children spent a better part of the afternoon jumping, wrestling, and making all kinds of games up amongst the soy beans.

Watching them made me think of the parable of the seed in the book of Matthew.  Jesus is talking about seed and where it fell.  He said that some fell beside the road and the birds came and ate them up.  Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun had risen, they were scorched and because they had no root, they withered away.  Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.  And others fell on the good soil and yeilded a crop, some a hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty.

Seeing this crop today, I know that the soil for these soy beans was good soil, because it produced a bountiful crop.  But what about the soil of your heart?  If you live in the west, most likely, you have already been affected by the seed of the gospel.  You have heard about Jesus.  You know that he died for your sins.  You know that to become a Christian means to trust Him with your whole life relinquishing your rights to His will.  

So, how is your soil?  Is your heart a receptive and fertile field for his Word to grow in?  Or you one of the other recipients of His word as described in the book of Matthew?  Something to ponder for today!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Africans Learn Best Through Storytelling

One of the biggest hurdles to training Christian leaders here in Zambia is getting the bible into their heart language, but a lot of times, that isn't enough.  Many, many Tonga speaking Zambians cannot read and write their own language, much less English.  There have been efforts to combat this, (i.e. having people come and teach English as a second language, or teaching Tonga's how to read and write their own language) but if you want to make an immediate and lasting impact, these two options are not viable.

While we were back in the States, we attended a training in Orlando, Fl called Storyrunners.  The premise of the course is to learn 20+ chronological stories which walk individuals from creation, to the Fall of Man, to God's promise for redeption through a savior, to Jesus' birth, ministry, crucifixion, death and ressurection.  The goal is to train individuals to tell these stories to other individuals who will in turn do the same.

So, in theory, if we can translate these stories and then begin to teach them in Tonga, our community's heart language, they will have at least a portion of the bible memorized.  And that is how African's have always learned.  The older generation sit the younger generation down and tell them stories and parables of ages past.  So, why not use their style of learning to help the Tonga's better learn the bible?

So far we've translated 7 of the 22 stories and are continuing to work on the rest of them.  Please pray for those involved in the translation.  Pray that the material would remain as accurate as possible through the translation and that the material would be used to change the lives of many here in Chikankata!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

They're Starting to Come

I know this is not what you want to look at when you open an email, but it does have a good story behind it.  Yesterday afternoon, we had a visitor.  Kennedy, who among other things is an electrician on the farm from which we are renting.  He came to us requesting prayers.  He injured his finger while laying irrigation pipe and it was the second of such injuries.  Last week, he injured his foot in a similar way.  And in addition to these injuries, he has been treated poorly by some of the other workers and was actually thinking about leaving the farm.

So, he came to us and asked us to pray for him.  To pray for healing and to pray against attacks on him and his family from the enemy, to pray for his pregnant wife and safety for their baby to come.  After we prayed, Kerri tried to doctor him up with some medicine we had on hand and I talked to him about coming for discipleship, to which he was very interested.  So, now that makes 4 who will begin meeting next Saturday to begin processing our Christian life together.  You can be praying for this group, but that is not the intent of this post.

The intent of this post is to share with you our excitement that the community around us is beginning to see us as a source of encouragement and have begun to come to us more often for prayers.  In addition to this instance, a few weeks ago, one of our workers walked almost 5 kilometers just to have Luke pray with him over his sick child.  And the week after that, one of the farm workers came to Luke requesting prayers for the same.  (As personal testimony, both of these children's fevers left them the same night and they showed no more symptoms.  Isn't God good!!!)

Our desire is for our friends and neighbors to see the hope that is only found in a relationship with Jesus.  We pray that our testimony before them is that of a people who are genuine, compassionate and loving because of God's love being worked out in us.  We're seeing the early fruits of your prayers already.  So, please continue to pray for us to that end!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good Friends are a Good Thing!

This Tuesday through Thursday, Luke and I attended a leadership conference in Kabwe, Zambia with pastors and church leaders from New Frontiers churches in Zambia.  It turned out to be a really good trip and very productive in terms of meeting new friends and making new contacts with Zambian church planters.  It was also served as a good time of spiritual refreshment as we had ample time to worship and learn from God's word together.

Next month, we have a team visiting from one of their churches in the U.K, Honiton Community Church.  New Frontiers is very active in church planting in Zambia and are very excited about what God is doing here in Chikankata.  In fact, one of their leaders who will be on this team worked with Chieftainess Mwenda at the Salvation Army Clinic years ago when she was a nurse.  Small world, huh?  Or should I say big God!

Above is a video from the conference (a little over 2 minutes in duration).  It has some of the worship, featured speakers, and prayer requests offered up during this time.  Take the time to watch it if you can.

If you are receiving this post via email, you can view the video at:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Three Day Conference

Luke and I are on our way up to Kabwe for a 3 day leadership conference with our friends from New Frontiers churches in the U.K..

New Frontiers has planted and partnered with over 30 new church plants here in Zambia and has a mutual desire to partner with our work in Chikankata. Pray for this time together. Pray for relationships to be further established between us and them. Pray also for the many Zambian pastors and church leaders who will be there in attendance c

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Testimonials From Outreach

In Case you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the short 1-minute video we put together of the Jesus Film Outreach.

After spending the evening showing the Jesus film at the farm next door, I wanted to share a few short stories of things that happened directly related to this event. I'll try to be brief, but I think each one is encouraging to how God is already working here in the lives of those He has called us to minister to.

A Young Man Named Tobert
While we were showing the film, a young man approached me in the back of the crowd. He immediately asked me if I remembered him, to which I replied "yes." Tobert was one of the members of the church that was helping us lead this outreach and he had come to the training session we had the Saturday before. During this training, we had a time of prayer for members of the church. Tobert came forward because he had been suffering from headaches for nearly a year. These headaches had been so bad that they sometimes affected his vision to the point that he couldn't see.

Before we prayed for him, he said that he was experiencing one of those headaches. After we prayed for him, his demeanor still looked downcast, but he said that he felt a difference. Well, when he approached me at the outreach, I saw a completely different Tobert. He tracked me down with a huge grin on his face and told me that from that meeting until the outreach that he had experienced no more headaches! Praise Jesus! And since then, God has really put Tobert on my heart in terms of discipleship. So, starting this Saturday morning, we will be meeting for the first time to process life in Christ together. Pray for this relationship. Pray that he would feel comfortable to be open and honest with me and that I would be an encouragement to his faith as well as he to mine.

An Embattled Marriage
At the end of the evening of the outreach, I was approached by another member of the church. I didn't know at the time, but Luke had prayed with her during the same time of training. She and her husband had been separated for over a year. She desperately wanted reconciliation, but there were really no signs pointing towards that outcome. As Luke prayed for her, he sensed the Spirit telling him to ask her to forgive her husband and to let go of the anger that she had been holding onto against him and she did.

The reason she was approaching me this evening was because she had mistaken me for Luke and wanted to tell me of how God had moved in her relationship the very next day. Her husband, who had been living with another woman for this entire time, came to her and apologized. He told his wife that he had left the other woman and wanted her to consider taking him back into her life and home. Needless to say, this lady was beaming from ear to ear sharing of how God had answered prayer.

Our God is an amazing God who knows exactly what each and every person in this world is going through, including you. Although he may not answer every prayer the same way he answered these two prayers for these two people, He is there listening to those who seek him through His son Jesus in prayer! I just thought these stories would encourage you in your walk with Him and challenge you to look for ways to intentionally pray for those around you who are hurting, struggling or who are even sick.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Nothing's Ever Always Easy

As many of you know, this past Saturday evening, we had an outreach at the farm next door. We were working with two churches who meet there at Terranova Basic School. I would love to say that everything went smoothly but it wouldn't be Africa without a few hiccups.

The night before the outreach, we went searching for the copies of the Jesus Film that we had purchase months before only to find that they were missing. Luckily the pastor we were working with knew someone who had an extra copy. Whew!

Then, we probably made a mistake when early the next day when we all agreed to go to another farm for a family day watching motorcross racing. Because we couldn't leave our spot on the course until the race was over, we didn't leave until 5:30 pm, the time we were supposed to already be at Terranova. Needless to say, we setup in the dark.

And speaking of dark, the power was out until 10 minutes before we showed the film. Usually wouldn't be a problem because of a backup generator, but our worker left from our property with the keys to our storage unit. So, we had no fuel for the generator. But God is faithful. He brought the power back and we were able to get things started, even if a little late.

Aside from these minor issues, the night was great! We had several hundred in attendance and many people were impacted by hearing about the life of Jesus in their own language. After the movie played, we had a time of prayer, which was led by the churches intercessory teams. Several people came forward to pray for a variety of issues from salvation, to spiritual bondage, to ailments, etc.

It was during this time that I was approached by two different people about prayers that God had answered, but instead of making this a super long post, I'll save the stories for the next post.

All in all it was a very successful evening in which Christ was proclaimed. Thank you so much to all of you who prayed for this evening of outreach.