Thursday, September 15, 2005

Outreaches

In our August newsletter I described a typical outreach Sunday. For those of you who aren’t on that list, I am repeating the article here. I am also adding news of our most recent outreaches.

Namwianga Mission sends workers out each weekend for outreaches to village congregations in the area. These trips usually involve an early morning start as we drive the Land Rover around the mission and collect Zambian co-workers to go with us. Then we set out on a (usually) long drive over rough roads. When we arrive at the village we are greeted warmly and invited to sit on rough-hewn plank benches inside a mud-brick and thatch church building.

Usually one of the Zambians who came with us gives the communion message and then David preaches. I often take the children outside for a Bible lesson during the preaching. Sometimes the church requests a class after the worship assembly, so David teaches the men and I teach the ladies. A few of the ladies cook all morning over an open fire, and they then serve us a dinner of nshima, chicken or goat meat, and greens.

By three in the afternoon we say our goodbyes and load up again to leave. It’s not uncommon for us to take on a new passenger or two (or TEN) for the return trip, and we often have luggage, bags of groundnuts (peanuts), or a bicycle strapped onto the top rack of the Land Rover.

When we arrive back at the mission our bodies are tired and dusty, but our spirits are refreshed from the fellowship we enjoyed.

On August 27 our outreach was at an area-wide gathering in Dengezu. The five-hour journey was on some of the worst roads we have encountered in Zambia. We were very thankful for four-wheel drive on the Rover. David preached the morning sermon and I did the children’s program. The congregation had built a huge brush arbor to accommodate the 700 plus adults who attended. I had about 180 children in my class. The numbers are astounding when you consider that there were only two motorized vehicles there, both from Namwianga. Everyone else had come on foot, bicycle, or in an ox cart. When we got ready to leave, a group from Zimbabwe asked to ride with us to the main road. We filled the inside of the Land Rover, piled luggage on top, and then four of the young men climbed up on top and held on tight as we bounced and jolted for the next hour. When we dropped them off they still had a long walk to the point where they would catch a bus across the border.

On September 4 we visited another area-wide meeting, this time at Sianombe near Kalomo. David spoke and I did the children’s program. We had 125 adults and 40 children at this gathering.

Last weekend we went to Siomopele for yet another area-wide meeting. This one started on Saturday, so we were there bright and early Saturday morning. David spoke while I taught the children for three hours. That afternoon we taught a class on marriage. We returned to Namwianga for the night and went out again on Sunday morning. David delivered the morning sermon while I had the children. There were nine baptisms.

There are always some surprises at these gatherings. At Dengezu we learned to take our own plates to an area-wide meeting. When there are so many people to feed, dishes are scarce. We ate out of communal bowls there. At Siomopele the church leader came to the children’s program to tell us that the adults were walking to the river for the baptisms and the children would be staying with me. I had already been teaching for three hours that morning, and the baptisms added another hour. Thankfully, the children love to sing, so my translator and I filled most of the time leading songs in both Tonga and English.

When you worship on Sunday morning in America, remember your brothers and sisters in Africa who are also praising and serving the Lord.

1 comment:

Geri said...

It is so good to hear of how things are going for you in Zambia. Are you teaching at the college yet?? I'm sure I should know that, but I can't remember....(it's the age thing w/the memory thing...) :-) Love you guys!