Read this update from Luke and Elise, our good friends and teammates in Africa:
Greetings from increasingly hot Lusaka, Zambia. I (Luke) wanted to write a quick note and let you know the latest on new ministry opportunities and development with us. As Elise has mentioned in a previous update we have been investigating ways to “mobilize” the churches we are working with. We have realized, during our two years here, that there is much knowledge transfer going on in churches but very little mobilization of the congregation. While knowledge and study of God’s Word is essential, if that knowledge cannot be transferred into practical actions are we really helping the Zambian we came to serve? It to this end that we have been intent on developing outlet ministries that allow different congregation to see the power that exists when we take the knowledge of the Word of God to the streets. This has mainly been in the areas of door to door and open air evangelism, as well as hospital visitation.
The past two weeks I have gone over to the main hospital here in Lusaka, UTH, and spent time visiting with various patients. I always take a member from a local church with me because of the language barrier and most importantly because we are hoping they will catch the vision for themselves. Yesterday, 25/08, we went to the pediatrics ward and all I can say is that I left broken hearted. So many little ones with tubes stuck all over their bodies and anxious mother with looks of desperation covering their faces. We went to visit a little 8 year old boy named Enzo. This little guy has a significant hole in his heart which means you can literally hear his heart murmur without a stethoscope. With or without treatment the diagnosis is that Enzo will probably die in the next year but the hope is that treatment might prolong the inevitable. We went to love on little Enzo and pray a pray for healing in faith, what a privilege to serve this little one in this manner. While there we also meet a little girl name Musonda who, just like Enzo, also had a heart condition as well as problems with her lungs. As we prayed for her she labored heavily to take each new breath in, but when we finished she rewarded us with a big smile. Her mother, a Jehovah’s witness, was reluctant at first to let us pray for her but finally agreed. After we had finished we noticed that all the other patients in the ward has gotten up and left the room we were in. We took this a clear rejection of our prayers and proceed to leave the ward. As we enter the hall, Musonda’s mother came running after us and frantically explained that she was concerned that we had only prayed for her daughter, what? As I asked the Zambians who had come with me to explain what she was so concerned about, they told me that there is still much superstition towards whites (we are sometimes thought to be Satanists) and she believed bad things would happen to her daughter if we only prayed for her. We assured her that we had just prayed for a little boy in the next ward named Enzo but she would not be satisfied until she asked him for herself. These are the little ways satan has bound these people in fear and keeps them from receiving the healing message of Jesus Christ. Continue to pray that the name of Jesus would break down these spiritual barriers and that He would continue to equip us to do battle for His name sake.
We are also still organizing a meeting with the head of all prisons here in Zambian with the hope that we will be granted permission to begin work in the prison system here in the country (amazing opportunities for ministry). I continue to help lead, with my good friend Brent Roberts, a small group ministry with Great Commission Baptist Church. We are excited as we have identified two future leaders in the group and are hoping they will partner together to start a new small group within the church. This is such an answer to prayer as our mission, from the beginning of our small group ministry, has been to see replication happen (praise God). We also began work a couple of weeks ago on creating a curriculum for evangelism that will be piloted at Evangel Baptist Church, which is the church we are currently attending. I have begun a five week program on evangelism with the men’s group each Saturday morning a 7:30 and I am excited at the evident eagerness to see a heart for evangelism fostered at this church. Please pray as the long term vision for this program will be to implement it into all levels of the church—leadership, men’s/women’s ministry, youth programs, AWANA, small group, etc. Elise and I feel that this type of training and educating is why God has called us to Zambia. Also, as you continue to pray for us you might be interested to know that last Tuesday 08/19 the president of Zambia passed away in Paris, France. This has been such an interesting time as the government has decreed that there will be 21 days of national mourning which will end with his burial on my birthday September 3rd. Things remain very stable here but the implementation of the new government would prove to be troublesome. I am sure that violence will be avoided at all costs but as we have seen in other instances bathing these types of situations in prayer is essential. Pray that Zambia would continue to remain a beacon of stability in a somewhat unstable region and that the Christian heritage they claim would continue to be the cornerstone on which this great country rests. FYI—please check out our blog at: www.whitfieldwateringhole.
Luke <><If you want to invest your money in eternity in a way that will reap rewards for years to come, invest in this young couple... They are amazing.
And just an added thought: there is nothing they are doing that we can't be doing back in America, per se... And what is even crazier, most of it is biblical:)
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'