Friday, October 30, 2009

I saw these shoes in a compound church the other day. I just had to show you. Very stylin’ and common here in Zambia.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More on the money...

I mentioned earlier that I put together an eight week preaching outline with verses and subjects on how to give, spend and save money.  Well, the feedback has been very encouraging. I had a pastor share with me yesterday they were going to be preaching this in three weeks to his church. 

 

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago during the conversation about money Pastor Mumbi mentioned that he takes the offering each week to the bank by himself.  One of the pastors immediately jumped on that and told him that he didn’t think this was a good idea.   To give it some context, we had been talking about  how most pastors in Zambia were known for stealing money and the reputation of pastors was very, very bad. So, we were talking about how to create safeguards for protecting the reputations of pastors as well as the purity of the gospel.  I even wrote one statement on the handouts: “A pastor should preach with his MOUTH about money, use his MIND to provide safeguards in regards to money (so there can be no accusation against him or the church,) keep his EYES on the money by keeping a record and always overseeing the transactions, but keep his HANDS off the money so that he can keep him above reproach.”

 

 Well, yesterday, he said, “I have a confession to make. I have changed. I talked with my elders and we all agree that I should not carry the money anymore.”  It was a great moment in our class for many reasons.  Pastor Mumbi is the oldest in our class and is very well respected by all the members of our class and by many people in Zambia. He is a man of integrity and is just a saint in every degree of the word.  Age is very important here in Zambia.  Those who are older are given a great deal of respect.  Also, Zambia culture is not a culture where people often admit their errors. They avoid shame at every opportunity.  Generally, they don’t say sorry, admit they are wrong or show weakness. So, as the elder statesmen, he humbled himself before all of the pastors. What a great example he set, and in doing so, he preached an amazing sermon that I could never have on the importance of accountability, honesty and humility… Praise God!

dinner time entertainment

Yawnnn… Just another incredible dinner sunset. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Money Preaches

I had an encouraging conversation today with one of the pastors in our class, Anderson Jere.  I have been going through the gospels with the class, but took a bit of a long diversion to talk about money and how to preach on it biblically. I love Randy Alcorn’s book “Money, Possessions and Eternity.” That helped get the juices flowing. Over the course of 2 weeks, with lots of discussion and asking a lot of cultural questions, I gave them an eight week preaching foundational series outline on money.   So, I  was talking to Pastor Jere and I asked if he preached yesterday. He said no, he hadn’t, because he decided to use the teaching times (the Sunday School) that meets right before it to teach through the eight lessons I had given them.  Talk about instant turnaround!     Pray for our pastors. Another pastor shared as well that they are going to be preaching through the series as well.  Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caring for the community

I visited a community school in Garden the other day. The school was started by one of the pastors in our church, Pastor Peter Zulu. The 70 students were meeting in their small church until some friends gave a small sum of money to help them rent a different church for the last quarter of the year. As you can see, they were appreciative. (Yes, Megan and Aaron, this is the church you visited!!! Really cool!)
Enjoy!



Friday, October 23, 2009

The original wedding dancers

(NOTE: If you received this blog by email, please go to our blog www.aliveinafrica.com to watch the videos!)

Are you among the almost 30 million who were awed by the YouTube video where a wedding party instead of just walking down the wedding aisle, they surprised everyone with a choreographed dancing down the aisle, including the groom and the bride? This original entry to a wedding fast became a favorite and another YouTube viral hit was born. If you haven't seen the video, I included it below (but don't get distracted because the best is yet to come, just below this video)



Now, granted, I thought that was a cool wedding thing. Very original, or so I thought. Until I went to my first wedding here in Zambia for my friend Cassius and now I feel like the people in that first video need to apologize and give credit to Zambia. This tradition has been going on for a long, long time and I am betting these americans must have been here. Dancing in a wedding and especially the reception is very important to a wedding here and it is very, very cool. Of course, words won't do it justice, so I included a bunch of videos. Enjoy!

This first one is the bridal party doing a sweet choreographed dance. These Zambians can dance.


Here are the cute little ring bearers and flower girls.


Here is the bridal party beginning to welcome the groom and the bride.


Here are the bride and the groom grooving down the aisle and the fun cultural things they do:


If I could only do it again!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do you want a ride?

Have you ever wished you could just go for a ride with us in Zambia to see what we see and experience what we experience? Well, wish no longer. I put my camera on video and set it on the dashboard as I went to visit one of the pastors a couple of weeks ago. For what it is worth, it will give you a glimpse into what is fairly normal for me when I visit pastors. If you are receiving this by email, you will need to click here to go to the website to view the video. Thanks!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The result of dependency

I wasn’t sure what else to title this blog.  Zambia is out of gas, or, petrol, which is what we call unleaded gas in Zambia.  Thankfully, my car takes diesel, so I can only sigh in relief as I drive by these  long, long lines of people waiting to get petrol.  It is kind of unnerving, the dependency on imports for necessities like fuel. I remember last year when we were out of sugar.  You couldn’t find sugar anywhere.  Just thought I would share this with you all to let you in the latest here in Zambia…

 

Here is the issue:

 

A critical fuel shortage has hit Zambia, paralysing several business operations, darkened neighbourhoods and is threatening economic growth if crisis continues to deepen.

 

For the past two weeks, the southern African state, which heavily depends on metal exports for 85% of its total export earnings, has suffered a severe shortage of petroleum products such as Petrol, Diesel and Kerosene.

Heavy industries, including copper and cobalt mines, have reported declines in their output while several motorists countrywide have been forced to spend nights at filling stations, with hopes of acquiring early deliveries of fuel from country’s largest and sole petroleum refinery.

The 33-year-old Indeni Petroleum Refinery located about 250 kilometres from the Zambian capital, Lusaka has been shut down for maintenance and this, industry players say has resulted in the two week fuel blackout in Zambia.

Zambian authorities in Lusaka are optimistic the fuel crisis will ease-up once fresh stocks of crude oil are delivered through-out this week.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Energy Ministry permanent secretary, Peter Mumba, has brushed aside speculation that the fuel crisis is as a result of the subsequent pull-out of French petroleum giants, Total Outremer from their joint ownership in Indeni Refinery Plant.

The Lusaka government and Total, each own 50% stake in Indeni Petroleum Refinery.

Mumba told Africa News on Tuesday that, the pull-out has been on cards for months and had nothing to do with the current deepening fuel crisis.

Tina Musumali Dagia, who spent a night at a gas station in Lusaka says, “Government should be sincere enough and explain why we do not have fuel. It’s now two weeks....we don’t even know how long this will continue like this”.

Zambia’s Central Bank chief, Caleb Fundanga, expressed fears of spiral effects on Zambia’s inflation, currently at 13%, if the fuel shortage persists.

Zambia imports its petroleum products from Middle East through ports in Tanzania and Mozambique. It has daily consumption of 700, 000 litres for a landlocked country.

Recently, the Zambian government called for interested bidders to conduct oil explorations in North West, where deposits of petroleum have been traced. However, this claim has not yet been verified, but is believed that once this ascertained, then the constant fuel problems in Zambia would be averted in the future.

This is the third longest fuel crisis in Zambia within five years, with the most recent longest being in October 2005, which lasted for three months.

 

 

 

Monday, October 19, 2009

More on giving

I read this in Randy Alcorn's book on money and thought it was good follow up to the blog about Kenny Rector… It is a good outline of how, when, where and why we are to give. Hope it helps!

 

1.       Give

2 Co 9:7 - Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2.       Give Generously

Mk 14:3-9 - And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

3.       Give Regularly

1 Co 16:2 - On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

4.       Give Deliberately

Php 4:10 - I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.

5.       Give Voluntarily

2 Co 8:4 - 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor2 of taking part in the relief of the saints—

6.       Give Sacrificially

2 Sa 24:24 - But the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

7.       Give Excellently

2 Co 8:5-8 - and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.

8.       Give Cheerfully

Ac 20:35 - In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

2 Co 9:7 - Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

2 Ch 24:10 - And all the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished.

9.       Give Generously

Ac 10:1-4 - At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius." And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

10.   Give Proportionately

1 Co 16:2 - On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

11.   Give Quietly

Mt 6:1-4 - "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

2 Co 9:10-11 - He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

 



2 The Greek word charis can mean favor or grace or thanks, depending on the context

Friday, October 16, 2009

Treasures are his now


I am not sure how to start this blog. I want to honor a young man but I need to give this honoring some background first. So, here goes: Last night (actually early morning: 2:00am) I was was awoken by my daughter who has an ear infection. So, after getting her some water and ear drops, I checked my email on my phone. Amidst the few emails was an email from Action International with a list of some of those who had supported us financially this past month here in Zambia. As I scrolled down the list, I saw a name I didn't recognize and then the note below the gift said, "Memorial for Kenny Rector." I was shocked. A memorial for Kenny Rector?

Kenny was a young man whom I had a chance to get to know when I spoke at a couple Crossroads Bible Church youth camps, students in both High School and College, over a couple of summers. We had a bit of bond, as I knew his former pastor, Roy Peacock, and we had lots of time to talk about life and some of the hard times he had been through during these camps. I googled him early this morning and I found this article about him in the Seattle Times as he was about to graduate two years ago. It gives some public insight into some of the struggles and challenges of his life.

"Kenny Rector, 19, figured out early on that determination and a smile can take you a long way. Be friendly, work hard and don't give up, even when things look bleak, he says.

"I'm always determined to find a way to do things," Rector said.

Rector was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. And it left him with medical problems that still persist today. He has a faulty heart, and he uses a pacemaker. Doctors have told him he could need surgery.

When he was 5, Rector and his younger brother, were adopted. His adoptive mother home-schooled him until the eighth grade. Then in the ninth grade, he started public school at Issaquah High School. It was also the year his adoptive parents separated.

It would have been easy to give up, but Rector worked hard and discovered he was good with computers and technology. He also got involved with the school's DECA marketing class and learned how to design Web sites and do Power Point presentations.

He's graduating from Issaquah High on June 18.

"He's grown over the last couple of years," said Julia Bamba, assistant principal at Issaquah High. "He's taken academics more seriously, trying to improve and show he's capable of doing good work."

Rector plans to start school at Renton Technical College in the fall. He wants to take classes in advanced office skills and work toward getting a certificate through the school's business-technology department.

Someday, he hopes to open his own business. Maybe a "make-your-own" pizza place, he said."

I can only imagine what pizza he is able to make in Heaven now.

I found a website where some friends from school and church shared some thoughts about Kenny. Here a sample of just a few of the encouraging comments:

"You accepted me for who I was, what I was, and what I believed in, even if our beliefs were drastically different. You defended me, and stuck up for me. You were an amazing friend, a brilliant person, and dedicated to everything you set your eyes on. You're an inspiration, and a true friend. I wish we had hung out more, Kenny. Rest in peace. Things just won't be the same without you."

I miss you already. The world was so blessed with your love, laughter, and presence! I'm honored to have known you. You're in my thoughts and your family is in my prayers. Thank you for being a part of my life. ♥

Kenny, words escape me. Inside its like a cluster bomb has gone off, and believe me those hurt. but on the other hand i know that your in heavn, kickn it with YOUR Lord!

That's right Kenny you are a man of God. Thanks for being my friend and thanks for showing the world that even when life gets you down that true happiness is found in God. Kenny I am going to miss you because you were a light to those around you.
I don't even know what to say. Kenny you truly were a man of God and a light to all of those around you, and you were never afraid to share it! You surely made an impact on my life."

(I wonder if he knew how much he meant to people... Always makes me wonder why I don't say these things to people before they are gone. Seems like it would mean a lot more then..)

The last time I talked with Kenny, it was over instant messaging when he was in the hospital, maybe six months ago. He had health issues as the newspaper article referenced that seemed to put him in the hospital quite a lot this last year. I also had some emails with him about girl problems:) The last retreat we had together, a year ago, we had a great chat about his love for baseball, especially the Red Sox. We talked about how his relationship with God must come first, even more than baseball. I had sent him a link to a great sermon by C.J. Mahaney titled, "Don't waste your Sports." He listened to it and then sent me an email: "That is a really great message 1 Corinthians 10:31 is now one of my favorite verses ." The verse from 1 cor 10:31 is - So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God and it really seemed that he did that, for the little I knew him. And he emailed me awhile back, maybe a few months after that retreat to tell me how much he is enjoying God more than baseball which meant that he enjoys baseball more because he is enjoying God more.

I was looking at his facebook today and on September 4 he went into the hospital for an asthma attack. He was able to go home on September 4 and then apparently he died on September 28 of a similar asthma attack?!?! I don't have all the details, but it is what I have seemed to figure out.

So, why write about him in the Africa blog? I want to honor this young man because his story needs to be told and emulated by every young man and woman that loves Jesus. You see, Kenny is now enjoying his rewards in Heaven. Why do I say that? Matthew 6:19-20 says - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Kenny supported our family as missionaries faithfully every month. His last donation was on September 18 for $30.33, just 10 days before he died. It was always like that. Dollars and cents, he sacrificed faithfully every month to support missions. He is an inspiration.

His example teaches us a few things:

Kenny teaches us that it is not the amount of the gift that matters, but the heart behind it. I was never sure why the cents were always added to his gift. I assumed it was a percentage of what he was making?!? The amount doesn't matter as Jesus affirmed when speaking of the widow who gave just a little but, it was all she had to live on. Kenny gave what he could, and it was such a blessing to us. As his salary was increased, he gave more.

Kenny teaches us that faithfulness is everything. How many of us have had the good intention to give, but we just never got around to it. I really don't think we are blessed in Heaven for good intentions. But, every month, around the same time, the gift was given and we were blessed and he will be, too.

Kenny teaches us that we don't have to wait until you are older to start giving. (In his case, it would have been too late.) I wish I would have had his example earlier in my life. I wasted a lot of money that I could have seen in Heaven, not to mention had the joy of helping people with what God had given me.

We have only one other young person 21 and under supporting us and it means the world to us. Think about that, 10 days before his days ended here on earth, he faithfully gave his money to help further the mission of Jesus Christ that we have here in Zambia. And you bet that $30.33 and the $33.70 and a big end of the year giving of $102.17 and the whatever else he gave over the past year will be there waiting for him, a reward that will never perish.

He lived during his short 21 years what many people never understand, which is we are supposed to store our treasures in Heaven and not on earth. I write this long honoring message because I want you, especially the young man and young woman, to emulate this man. I want you to live like Heaven is real. I want you to give money, now, to missions, to your church, to the poor. I don't want your money, but I do want your money. Not for myself, but for you. Like what Paul said in Philippians 4, I want you to give so that your gift may be credited to your account (in heaven). I want you to be like Kenny. You don't know how much time you have left, but the time you do, live in a way where your treasures last forever. Give. Give regularly. Give deliberately. Give faithfully. Give worshipfully. Give cheerfully. Give sacrificially. Spend your life giving and you will spend a life worth living. Start today. Start first by giving your tithe to the church. If you get paid weekly, give weekly. If you get paid monthly, give monthly. Give the first part of it to God. And then give more. What are you passionate about? Evangelism. Crisis Pregnancy. HIV/AIDS. Missions. Research. Pray. Give.

But, some may say, " I don't have much money to give." Neither did Kenny. $33.30 isn't much here, but it is in Heaven. I have a supporter who gives $10 a month. Another who gives $15 a month. It doesn't matter. Just start somewhere...

You decide how much you want to give, but know this, the more you give, the more God will give you, not for yourself, but so that you can give more. 2 Co 9:7-8 - Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

And check out this verse: 2 Co 9:11 - You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Kenny's gift produced much thanksgiving... I encourage you with all that is in me, follow his example. Start today. Start yesterday. Continue tomorrow. Be prayerful. Be strategic. Be faithful.

Kenny, thank you for your example of love. I look forward to seeing you on the other side.



Timing is a God-thing

It’s a bit of a long story, but an amazing one.  One of our pastors that I work with, Pastor Jere, had been praying for many, many years to move his rented church plant to their own plot.  Many times different plots had come available for sale, but they were not able to raise the money.  Another plot came up recently, and the time was ticking away.  Enter into the story, my friend, Pete, who had preached at this church the last time he was here and was just as impressed with Pastor Jere, his leadership and his love for Jesus as I continue to  be.  When I heard about this new plot that would be perfect for their church, I mentioned it to Pete, who mentioned it to a friend, a pastor in Austin, Jacob Vanhorn and his church, Soma Austin.  They, too, are a small church plant, but they raised enough money, $1000, to help Pastor Jere and his church, Valley View Baptist, be able to put a down payment on this land.  They didn’t give all of the money.  The church had sacrificed a lot and definitely felt the cost as they have sacrificed much to help purchase this property. But, with a little boost from a church in the states, they were able to secure the property.  Well, Pete was coming back to Zambia as I mentioned in a previous blog to speak at an Acts 29 conference as well as continue to build relationships with the pastors here.  Well, as God’s timing would have it, Pastor Jere and his church had their first Sunday in their new building the one Sunday he was here, and he was able to preach at the service.  And, uknowningly, he preached from the exact same passage that Pastor Jere preached from five years ago, during the first service of Valley View Baptist.  Needless to say, it was a great morning. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Honor the Queen

We had an amazing day meeting Chieftainess Mwenda near Chikinkata. What a remarkable woman! She is the chief of over 98000 people, leading over 300 other headmen and women and other chiefs. She is very dignified, much like a queen, and yet beautifully and unashamed of her passionate love for Jesus. She was candid and honest with us. She exuded a very gracious spirit and was wise and insightful. Much like what it must be to meet the president or the queen of England, this opportunity was no less thrilling and awe inspiring. We had the opportunity to pray for her and her kingdom, her leaders and her people. I wish I could share more, but some of the things she shared in confidence is best not shared over the blog. Please continue to pray for this woman who I believe has been made a Chieftainess for such a time as this. And may we all be courageous and faithful to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ no matter where life find us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three's a (fun) crowd

We have had three great guys here for a week. Pete Williamson is back again, proving you just can’t get enough of Zambia once it gets in the bloodJ  He was here six months ago for a conference and now is exploring some different networks and continuing to build a relationship with AZ. He brought two leaders from his church, Dustin and Geoff, to check out Action Zambia and to prepare the way for the Huckaby’s who will be moving here as missionaries in a hopefully soon time. We are dreaming of cool ways to form a bridge between Bellingam and Zambia.  They all go to Oikos Fellowship in Bellingham where Pete is the pastor.  We have had a great time with lots of laughter but with some serious games of scrabble thrown in.  We head down for their final day to Chikinkata, a small village a couple hours away, to have lunch with the chieftainess of the village…  Maybe Pete will see his snake there!  He wants to see a wild poisonous snake.  I don’t know why either.  Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Growing up fast...

Our third intern this year, Michelle Widman, is doing a great job.  I had no doubts so my validating here is just letting YOU know how pumped we are that she is here.  But, she has had quite a few circumstances that are contributing to her growing up really fast here in Zambia. Today was no exception as she witnessed a very tragic accident while riding a mini-bus. I would really appreciate you clicking  on this link http://michellewidman.com/ to read about her day and please pray for her and those involved…

Thanks,

Steve

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wholistic Pastoring

One of our pastors, Peter Zulu, opened a community school in his compound.  I love when pastors care for their compounds by opening schools for children to get an education and to learn about the Bible from people who care.  It is difficult to fully understand but most of these kids would have no chance for an education were it not for schools like these.  The school was meeting in their small church, until they were able to rent a bigger church in the area. I went last week to check it out.  They sang and welcomed me warmly.  Wish you could be here to see it… It is pretty amazing!

 

 

Staying Cool in the Pool

We decided to splurge and save in South Africa and buy a pool.  We saved a ton of hundreds and we have had a millions worth of cool fun in billions of degrees of heat.  Thought you would like to see a picture of the ladies and their pool!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Luther - a new generation

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Bx7kxvTyX7o/Ssml4wtaWwI/AAAAAAAACSg/LPdj3QM8ky4/s200/Movie+Day_Luther.JPGI “borrowed” this post from our teammate, Karen Singleton… Just wanted to share about a great day we had recently had with the pastors…

 

Because the pastors in ABI are studying the history of Christian doctrine they viewed a movie about the great Protestant reformer, Martin Luther. To make it a real movie experience Tracy and Steve brought popcorn and softies (soda). As I scooped out popcorn I teased the pastors that I was going to post a picture of them and tell people that all they did was sit around and eat popcorn. Without skipping a beat, one of the pastors wryly replied, "Tell them that when we're eating popcorn we are learning!" Pretty clever, I thought.

Afterwards Tracy led a discussion of the film by asking, "What about this movie impacted you?" Luther's boldness and courage impressed Pastor Kaumba. Even when Martin's life was at stake, he still stood for the truth when he could have been silent. Abusa (Pastor) James Chiwuswa shared an insightful comment about the similiarity of the selling of indulgences and the health and wealth gospel being preached in Zambia. Buying an indulgence in the 1500's was supposed to spring a deceased loved one out of purgatory. James remarked that preachers today in Lusaka tell their people, "Give to me and you'll receive a blessing."

By the way, if you haven't seen this film about Luther portrayed by Joseph Fiennes, it's worth a trip to Blockbusters. Please pray for these pastors as they shepherd their flocks they face difficulties and hardships each day. Pray that they would be bold and courageous like Luther.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/499836307362612910-4923117730352825919?l=thesingletonstory.blogspot.com

Friday, October 02, 2009

You gotta call it to believe it.

So, I subscribe to Challies.com on my google reader who is a pretty well known Christian reformed blogger. On his daily blog of links, he includes lots of articles, reviews and much more... He is also a baseball guy and he included the best baseball call of the year. Since it is pretty amazing, since it is my seattle mariners and since it is the voice of baseball that I grew up with, and since I haven't watched a game all year, I thought I would include it here...

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

What is wrong with this billboard advertisement?

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A new PLD national staff member

I just wanted you to meet our latest answered prayer, a national pastor to help us teach and mentor national pastors.

Action Zambia Ministries (AZM) recently hired a new, part-time consultant, Wozifera Ngoma. Ngoma joins AZM's staff to assist in the areas of leadership and discipleship.

In the local language, Ngoma's first name means, "someone who has died on his own." But Ngoma likes to give it a Biblical meaning from Galatians 2:20, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (ESV)

Born in Zimbabwe on June 3, 1960, Ngoma lived with his parents and grandparents who had emigrated from Zambia to work in the mines. In 1967 his family returned to Zambia's eastern province and settled in Chipata.

Having been raised in a life of religiosity, the truth of Scripture hadn't come alive for him until he was 22 years of age. His cousin, Charlton, shared with him that baptism was not what saved a person, but that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ did. When his cousin told him this, his eyes were opened, much like Nicodemus. He then realized there was more to Christianity than he had known and that he must be born again.

Following his conversion on March 17, 1982, Ngoma experienced a real freedom and began to grow in grace. Living in the remote bush, there was no one to disciple him. However, God by His Spirit helped him to grow in a number of ways. First, the Lord taught him that he needed to share his faith. Winning seven people to the Lord soon after coming to Christ increased his joy. He also had an intense hunger for the Word of God which led him to read the Scriptures daily. Thirdly, he cried out to God in prayer each day, oftentimes going to the mountains to seek the Lord.

Since his conversion he has lived up to his name by planting churches in rural areas, seeking theological training, and pasturing Faith Tabernacle Church for the past 12 years. He also shepherds a congregation of listeners each Sunday morning through a ZNBC broadcast on Radio One. Although he doesn't see his flock in the broadcasting room, he knows there are many in need of salvation and discipleship who can be reached with radio waves. Ngoma also ministers to HIV/AIDS patients at the George Health Center each Friday where a group of 80 persons meets for Bible study.

Ngoma has not always had a heart for people with this deadly disease. Before his conversion, he thought only prostitutes contracted AIDS. Since that time he has seen that there are innocents who become sick with this illiness. AIDS began to concern him when some of his family and people in the church began to die. Ngoma began to see that when Christ walked the earth he embraced those who were suffering. As he thought about Jesus' example, God changed his heart and he longed to bring the Word of God to patients at the clinic in George township, people who often do not have a church.

As a volunteer Ngoma also coordinates leadership and AIDS awareness conferences. His greatest joy is to see people's lives being transformed. His passion and heart for the work drives him, not the earthly reward, as he uses his own finances for these events.

In his new role with AZM Ngoma is looking forward to working with pastors in the Action Bible Institute (ABI) and discipleship 2:7. He says, ". . . most of our pastors have not had the privilege of going to college. They cannot afford the fees. How can you pastor people if you don't know the Word of God yourself?"

He likens the need for pastoral training to the taking in of physical food. People must be fed with the right kind of nourishment. If they aren't, then they will die. In the same way, pastors must be fed with the correct type of spiritual food. They will die without proper spiritual nutrition. In turn, without the right type of doctrine the people will be misled. "What AZM is doing is helping those who aren't privileged."

What AZM is also doing is planting seeds, according to Ngoma. ABI currently teaches 14 students and 2:7 disciples 10. Those 24 can in turn teach hundreds, then thousands, then millions. In the years to come these very people will impact a lot of lives.

AZM welcomes Pastor Ngoma as he joins its staff and becomes a part of impacting the lives of Zambians. Please pray for him as he serves with AZM. Pray also for his wife of 20 years, Easter, and their three sons, Joshua, Joash, and Joel.