The adventure began when we left Pretoria, South Africa, in a convoy of 7 vehicles, 4 trailers, and 28 people who love Jesus enough to go out to preach the gospel to the “uttermost parts of the earth!” The ends of the earth is certainly how it felt when we reached the end of the tarred road in the southwestern part of Zambia, and traveled on dirt roads that were not even charted on the GPS maps used by 4x4 enthusiasts in Southern Africa.
Our first outreach destination was Ngweze and it took us six hours to travel 120 kilometers. We got to the village in time to set up the mobile equipment to show the Jesus film. We soon had a crowd of people around us, eager to find out what these white people with their strange equipment were up to. Even though it was a cold night, people were fascinated to watch the story of Jesus on a big screen. After the film we announced that we would be back the next day to talk to anyone who has questions or would like prayer. We had Bibles in English and Chitonga, one of over 70 languages spoken in Zambia, as well as Christian books donated by Activated Ministries, which we distributed to people who promised to use the books to share God’s Word with their families and other villagers.
Twelve kilometers (and a rough ride through a dry riverbed) from Ngweze we stayed with Tobias, who is the headman of a village consisting of three extended families. Thanks to sponsorship by Activated Ministries, I had a set of children’s books to leave with Pastor Tobias. Mind you, Livingstone, the nearest town, is six hours away by car, and I am not sure they even have a bookstore there. Can you imagine his delight to have someone come to his tiny village to give him such beautiful products to use to instruct the kids in a Christian way? To say he was thrilled is an understatement! He gladly received other Bible study material and inspirational books as well.
Our next stop was Mumbwa, 280 kilometers and a 22 hour drive away. We set up our camp by a school and near a township, so for two days we had people watching our every move, which was a great witnessing opportunity. We didn’t have to go out, they came to us! Here I am with a group of kids I got to talk to. There were a few who didn’t know Jesus, so after explaining what Jesus did for us and asking them if they would like to have Jesus as their friend we all bowed our heads and prayed with them to give their lives to Christ. I gave them tracts to take home and told them to share the prayer with their families.
In the evening we showed the Jesus film to a large crowd. After the film one of the local pastors would always ask people who would like prayer to come forward, and then we would lay hands on them and pray for them individually.
In Mumbwa we worked with Daniel, who pastors three churches in the area, and in all they have 150 children coming to the services as well, but no Sunday school teachers. They have been praying for a way to teach someone to spiritually instruct the children. They were so excited when I presented them with a whole box full of materials to use with the kids, including the complete STEPS Program, an easy to use complete curriculum, and the poster sets. They kept thanking the Lord for answering their prayers!
The fourth place we visited was a village called Hot Springs, named after a spring with very hot water. Here, as in the other villages, we showed the Jesus film after singing and dancing with the kids and playing a soccer game with the young people. Most of the places we visited have no electricity, no TVs, no cell phone reception, so having a group of foreigners visit was a very welcome break from the norm, and we had a had a great time making new friends.
When going on these mission trips, space is always an issue, because you have to take everything you need for the duration of the trip with you, including camping equipment, food and drinking water. Taking large amount of books and multi-media materials is just not possible. But when we leave someone a book, or - in the case of a pastor - a whole stack of books, we know that they will be appreciated and used to the max. The people of Africa have so little in a worldly sense, but truly hunger and thirst after righteousness. The books we distributed will shed a light on the path of over 500 people.
Thank you so much to everyone at Activated Ministries for once again helping us to reach out to the people of Africa in this way.