In our area there is a dichotomy between established, existing, churches and the unreached. We have about 300 churches in our area, but at the same time, there are many areas where the gospel has not yet reached, and there are few or no churches.
These unreached areas include Old Mkushi, Chembe and Mboshya north of the Lunsemfwa river, Luangwa district, and the Zumbo and Zambwe districts of Mozambique. These are the areas where we are focusing the majority of our time and efforts. Pray for us that we would be light in these areas of darkness.
This is Kendall, Joy, Lily, Easton, and Lauren Helgren. They are currently living in Chipata, Zambia studying the language Chichewa. This July they will be moving to their area of service, a small rural area called Nyimba where they will do church planting. They will also be working some in Mozambique. Pray for them as they adjust to having a new family member, Lauren, that was just born Feb. 15th, 2008. Pray for them to learn the language well so that when they move to Nyimba they will be able to communicate effectivly to the people they have come to work with.
One year ago Van and Mary Thompson transfered from Malawi to Zambia. Mary has come to work as a treasurer in our main office of Lusaka. Van teaches at the Baptist Seminary in Lusaka, teaches TEE(Theological Education by Extension), teaches and leads 3 of our rural Bible Schools, and preaches on Sundays to many of our churches. They have two grown boys living in the states. Pray for them as they juggle all that they have going on and as they continue to adjust to living in Zambia after being in Malawi for 25 years.
Energized by passion for spreading the gospel, Amai Justina Mwachimota takes the gospel to her world. She faced the same spiritual problems most Zambians face today-customs led by the local witch doctor. After watching the Jesus film, she knew Jesus was the only Way. She realized that He was more powerful than a curse or beads bestowed by the witch doctor. This Zambian woman works to show others that Jesus is the Hope for which they are searching. In Zambia, the family is everything-it means stability and support. For Justina, becoming a Christian meant separation from her family. Justina no longer participates in customary mourning parties for the dead where homebrew is made and drunk with a vengence. Justina no longer looks to the witch doctor for health and strength. In fact, she now teaches against these customs, in deed as well as words. Justina is a widow and a mother of five children. One of which has passed away in the last few years to AIDS. Life in Zambia is tough. Justina was voted woman of Africa back in 2001. She works very hard in the eastern province of Zambia. Please pray for her as she ministers to women.
Samson Njovu is a national evangelist in Zambia who has a heart for rural people. He has been known to travel for days on foot to reach places where no one else has gone. Through him, the Lord has started and strengthened many new Baptist churches. He truly has a pioneer evangelist spirit, and makes tremendous sacrifices to take the gospel to the far corners of Zambia. Only eternity will be able to measure all that God has done through him during the years of his ministry.
Mike and Lindy Howard have worked in our area for about 15 years. They used to live in Chongwe but about 7 years ago they moved to Lusaka to be the Strategy Facilitator for all of Zambia. This is quite a busy job in Administration so pray for them as they cast the vision to all the missionaries in Zambia and as they encourage them in their work. They have two grown children living in the states and two grandchildren.
Kevin Rodgers has been focusing on this area for over 1 year now. He takes an inflatable boat and rides down the Lunsemfwa River to reach the people he is trying to teach. He is doing a progam called T4T(Training for Trainers). After he teaches a bible story the people listening repeat the story back to Kevin. Then he challenges them to go and tell someone else that story. The following week he holds them accountable to this. Pray that the Bible Stories Kevin teaches will be easily remembered by the participants so that they can go and share the stories with their families and friends. Pray for safety as Kevin travels on this river. He has seen several Hippos and Crocodiles.
Our people have been very responsive to the gospel. However, we sometimes find that they try to keep one foot in the world of good and the other in the world of evil. Pray they will be able to give their all to Christ.
We have found that they demonstrate their true faith by their response to personal problems. Do they trust Christ or do they turn to the witch doctor and their ancestors? Experience shows that people have confronted the culture and trusted Christ when they forsake unbiblical traditions. Pray that new believers would forsake unbiblical traditions in their culture , family, and community in order to follow Christ at all cost.
There is no substitute for spending time with a people who are very communal and family oriented. Pray that we would model a Godly life before our people and deal with the questions they have.
Pray for us as we try to confront issues of syncretism which combines African Traditional Religion and Christianity. Pray we would be bold in proclaiming the truth of God's Word.
We have identified several barriers to a church planting movement in our area. Please pray for each of these areas as you see them mentioned.
Pray for us as we minister to people who are primarily oral learners. Illiteracy is a huge barrier to Christian growth. The word of God is the key to the growth of our people, and we need to find ways of effectively reaching our people for Christ and grounding them in His word. Pray for us as we simultaneously emphasize the written word for those who are literate, and oral strategies for those who are not.
Beer drinking and brewing is a large part of the Zambian culture, and it is one major obstacle that we face with lost people and new believers.
Religion and culture are deeply intertwined. The way of life for so many people is ordered by rites, rituals, witch doctors and magic. The worship of false gods keeps people from seeing the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Some examples in our area of false religions are Jehovaha Witness, Muslims, New Apostolic and African spirit churches.
Pray that the people would have their eyes opened to see that no one can come to salvation except through Jesus Christ.
Pray that idolatry would be destroyed.
Pray that people would only worship the one True and living God.
Ask Jesus to heal the Land and the people.
Zambia has always been a poor nation, and the majority of the people are subsistence farmers. Yet, we are finding that even as Zambia develops and grows, the problem of poverty is actually becoming more severe for many of our people. This is largely related to the Aids crisis, and the large number of wage earners who are dying and leaving their children to other family members. This only serves to overburden their relatives as well.
Isaiah 40:3-5 says, The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Prov. 22:6 says, “ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Children are our future. They will become our future leaders in our churches, in our governments, and businesses. We need to pray for primary and secondary schools, universities, vocational schools and even Bible School. Pray that God would transform the hearts of the teachers. Pray for the school children as well that they will learn truth and grow in wisdom.
Bible Schools are one way we are training up believers.
Pray for Van, Kevin, John and other nationals that are teaching in three different Bible School locations throughout the year.
Pray for the students to come with open minds and teachable hearts.
Pray that students will go back to their churches and teach the things that they have learned in Bible School.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has
anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to
bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year
of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to
comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of
gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of
a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a
planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Thank you so much for praying for our area and our team. We are constantly amazed at how many people pray for us that we do not even know. Please know that God is hearing your prayers to encourage a people that you do not even know. Thank you for parterning with us to win Zambia for Christ.