Zimbabwe and Zambia - June 2012 PDF Print E-mail

zimZimbabwe & Zambia Mission3

Celebrating the Light, Exposing the Dark

 

 

 Almost a Disaster

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

What was meant to be a predominantly Zimbabwe mission turned out to be something quite different. Just two days before we were set to leave to Zimbabwe, all of our ministry was cancelled! This did not stop us from going on a mission however and it did not stop God from working in the lives of people. Instead of focusing on Zimbabwe, we now focussed our attention on Zambia and in just a few days we were able to organise great ministry opportunities.

Love in ActionPicture1
Even though we weren’t able to do much ministry in Zimbabwe we were still blessed to be able to minister to the elderly in 
Zimbabwe. A large part of our ministry is ministering to the body, mind and spirit of pensioners of Zimbabwe. We took small boxes filled with everything from food to lotions to literature. The elderly folk of Zimbabwe are always so grateful to receive their boxes. After the huge economic downfall that took place in Zimbabwe they lost their savings and their pensions, many of them don’t have any family to look after them and many of them rely solely on the boxes we bring to sustain them. It was so encouraging to deliver the boxes with love and minster to them at one of their Sunday services.

Simple Sermons
When speaking to a group of people who don’t understand English we have to use an interpreter. Now an interpreter is generally someone who can at least understand English on a moderate level. Unfortunately, we had at least two interpreters that had an incredibly low understanding of the English language, it made communication almost impossible! Speaking as simply as possible and repeating yourself up to three times while preaching can be an exhausting, yet enriching task. Exhausting in the sense that you start to feel frustrated and enriching in that while you explain things as simply as what you possibly can, you start to understand your own sermons and topics much better. Having to preach in an uncomfortable situation is all part of a Mission trip and we can praise God for the trials we face as we learn to trust in Him more and grow stronger in those experiences.

Convicting ConferencesPicture2
In one rural area in Zambia we were able to spend one Sunday preaching followed by a two day Discipleship Seminar. This Discipleship Seminar that we ran was almost the best Seminar that any missionary could ask for. The response was amazing as people were openly confessing that they were sinners in need of forgiveness from God. In one instance, we had just spent the day preaching on repentance and Salvation when someone informed us that there were people who wanted to give their lives to the Lord. We were somewhat surprised as we had given no public invitation whatsoever. In response to this news we asked if there was anybody who wanted to confess their sins and place their trust in Jesus Christ, who had not done this before. A good number of people stood to their feet and we told them that they need to talk to God and confess their sins as a sign of their faith towards Him. This was an incredible experience as I had never seen such openness and a willingness to make a bold decision to surrender one’s life unto God.

Picture3Miracles in Marriage
At the same conference in rural Zambia, a local pastor came forward with his wife. Our team was not expecting him or anyone else to come forward to say anything. Once he was standing in front of the audience he started to tell us how the Holy Spirit has been convicting him. “After listening to the sermons yesterday and the lectures today” he said, “I was feeling very convicted in my heart”. The man continued to add that he and his wife had been having some disputes which lead her to rebel against his decisions. He told us that this act of his wife led him to wonder if this is the woman that God had intended for him to marry and he started to doubt her position as his wife. He told us that he needs to confess that he was wrong and that he knows that this is the woman God wanted him to marry, that this is his wife and he must love her. It was quite an amazing experience to see the humility of this pastor.

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

Children’s MinistryPicture4
Our team had many opportunities to minister to children. Despite what people may think about ministering to children, they can handle quite a lot of spiritual discussion. As I was preaching more and more to children, the more I found that they were grasping the issues of repentance and Salvation like many adults. We were preaching nearly the same messages to children aged 10-15 that we were preaching to adult congregations in our discipleship courses.

But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16)

Dark Dealings
While we were speaking to a police commissioner we heard of disturbing stories in one of the cities in Zambia. “Things seem calm on the surface, but there is a spiritual battle going on underneath” said the commissioner. We heard of Satanism going on underground, the likes of which include human sacrifices. One missionary couple told us of abductions that take place at a certain time of the year for satanic rituals. Pastors and high ranking police officials told us of people who tried to sell their own children to Satanists, but thankfully were caught. Even though Zambia has many missionaries and is supposed to be a predominantly Christian nation, there is much need for the Gospel and discipleship.

Spiritual Struggles
It has been well said that “preaching involves thirty minutes of the minister trying to raise the dead.” While we were in Zambia we had many opportunities to preach the Gospel. I found that it was hard to do this as I did not want the people to respond to me or my personality but to the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word. I found that the minute I obscured my personality many people became less responsive and almost absent minded. One missionary we spoke to said that he had been working with the people for years and that there is next to no visible change in their spiritual lives. There is clearly a spiritual struggle going on in many parts of Zambia. Missionaries and full time minsters need prayer support and a spiritual breakthrough.

Money Hungry
Zimbabwe is still full of many money hungry people, as they have come out of such an economic disaster. People were, and still are, physically starving and will go wherever they can find money, whether it be religion or business. No one, however, is more money hungry than the government. We recorded fifty police stops travelling through the country! One police officer wanted to fine us because one team member had a few items on his lap. The police officer complained: “You can’t mix goods and passengers; you will have to pay a fine”. Thankfully we were able to reason with him and make our way through the police block fine-free. This is the attitude of the Zimbabwe government at large. They seek to make as much money as they can, wherever they can – no matter the cost. Mugabe sells his natural resources to the Chinese at a great cost to his own people, but he couldn’t care less as long as he is able to fund his own reign of power. We need to pray for the repentance, or removal, of this dictator.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

A White Man’s Religion?
After our team had done a Gospel presentation, a young man came and asked me if God only uses white people. He said that it seemed as though it is only white people who have zeal for God, and was wondering if God can use him even though he is black. I was quite shocked by this question and didn’t really know how to respond at first. After gathering my thoughts I was able to counsel him and spent some time praying for him. He seemed to go away, still having some mixed emotions, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will use and comfort him.

Picture5Light for Zimbabwe and Zambia
In both Zimbabwe and Zambia there is a glimmer of hope amidst financial and spiritual struggles. During the course of our ministry there were many pleas for more training. There was a hunger for the Word from the dedicated Christians. We were overwhelmed with further invitations to come and do more ministry; especially in Zimbabwe. People are hungry for teaching and material to equip them. God will never leave nor forsake His people and I believe that while there are still dedicated men and women of God, the Gospel will spread. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” 
(Matthew 5:14-15)

God is in Control
We praise God for all the successful ministry that we were able to do. We are grateful for the convictions of the Holy Spirit amongst men and women during the courses we ran. We can be incredibly grateful for the safe journey that we had and the protection during border crossings. God is still working in Zimbabwe and Zambia, there are many full time minsters and missionaries that are dedicated to the work of God who are vessels to do His will. Praise God for the literature that we were able to present to leaders, schools and congregations, we pray that God would use the material we left with people to accomplish His purposes. We thank God for all these things.

Picture6Lessons Learned
It was a breath of fresh air to see the openness of the pastors in Zambia. The surrender to Gods Word in confessing sin to one another was a humbling sight. We can often be so proud as teachers or preachers and pretend like we do not need to confess sin to one another. I believe that we must get real with God and with each other, not living our lives in hypocrisy but rather confessing our sins to one another. I have personally been challenged with this after being on this mission. It is true that God often changes you on a mission trip more than what He changes the people you minister to.

Items for Prayer
Please pray for the spiritual state of both Zimbabwe and Zambia, pray that God would send a spiritual Revival, and pray for the full time ministers that are in the countries, that God would strengthen them further into His work. Pray for the future ministry that we will be conducting in these countries, we need to pray that no plans or attacks of the enemy will prosper and that God will work in the hearts and minds of people.

 “But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:13-14)

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