Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guest Blog - Tires and Toilet Tissue

From Brian Davis, missionary at Mumena in Zambia's Northwestern Province:

Man seldom seems to be content with God’s ways. We seem to think that we can “improve” on divine will. As we are traveling south this month to encourage the church plants with whom we used to work in South Africa, I experienced a poignant reminder of this trend yesterday. I noticed that two of my tires kept losing air around their rims. After wrestling with this for 2000 kilometers, we finally had some time in Namibia to stop and have a tire shop look at the problem. As the men removed the tires from the rims, they kept pulling long strips of something from the inside of the tire. I couldn’t imagine what it was. I finally asked, and the workers replied, “It’s toilet tissue.” Dumbfounded, they explained to me, “Your tire shop must have used wet toilet paper to get the tire to seal. Shops with poor air pressure will use this technique.” Becoming annoyed, I asked, “Why?!” To which they responded, “Because it fixes their problem of not having the proper tools to do the job, but it leaves the driver with a slow leak in his rims that - as soon as the paper dries - can become a very big leak!”

In our relationship to God, I wonder how many “good ideas” we try to use (in our own understanding) that may result in a complete “blow-out” down the road: confusing gender equality with God created differences, confusing entertaining worship with spiritual worship, confusing efficiency with God ordained leadership pattern, confusing “what most people are doing” with what God wants done…
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 NIV
It’s worth considering,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured above: Can’t afford to have a flat with this many people wanting to go to worship! (picture by Ellis Smith, one of our campaigners in 2010)
For more information of our mission, visit our website at
To contact our overseeing congregation, visit

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Exactly the Holiday Inn

We found some very unusual signs in Zambia, and this was one of my favorites: the City Hope Butchery and Guesthouse.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Western Province

Andrew and Shadreck Sibwaalu recently took a trip over all of Zambia to visit GBCC graduates who are planting churches. They were also finding places for new grads to teach starting in January. This installment tells about their time in Western Province.

Crossing the river was a challenge--no engine, no pilot, no oars. They used a people-powered pontoon. The cable stretches right across the river. People who want to cross have to walk or drive on, then haul on the rope till they reach the other side.

The deep sand created challenges again and again. This time the tires were so deep that it took two hours to dig the truck out. The guy in the glowing red shirt is a GBCC missionary, Bright Hamuyayi (one of my former students--and his name is very accurate!). His head teacher (the school principal) wants more people like him.

We have never had a church in Senanga, so Shadreck and Andrew spent some time there praying for a contact to help them. This lady noticed the Namwianga sign on the truck door, and invited them to start a congregation using her. She grew up at Kabanga Mission.

Later in Senanga market, a young man smiled as he walked towards the vehicle. He is a son to Ba Kabisa, a strong church member who used to live at Mutala ranch—a property right next to Namwianga Mission.

The boy is at Senanga high school doing his grade 12. He told Shadreck that he knew people who really want open a church of Christ. They met and talked at a guest house that afternoon. Chances look good for a new congregation in this town.

One of the new churches meets in this building. Lozi people are famous for being good thatchers. We have thatched buildings on the mission that were roofed by Lozi men more than 20 years ago—and they still don’t leak. The youngster in the pink shirt thatched this one

Pearson Choonga is another of my former students. He now is teaching at Lukulu. The school gave him one of their better houses. The headmaster says he wants five more missionaries like Pearson!

Pearson’s kids have learned to play soccer in that Western sand.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keeping Up With The Blog

In Africa, I always felt so guilty when people told me that they checked my blog every day to see if I had posted anything--because I didn't post every day and I hated to waste people's time. And I often forget to check for posts on blogs I want to follow.

Now there's an easy way to know when new posts are added to a blog. Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, recently provided a detailed description of how to set it all up so that you automatically are notified. Click here to learn all about it.

I have decided that I will continue to use the blog to post news about Namwianga and interesting happenings in Africa. I'll try to post once a week or so.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Road Trip - Western Province

A first report on Shadreck and Andrew's road trip (see previous blog).

Shadreck and Andrew travelled to Western Province first. This is where "Westreach" wants to place most of its graduates from George Benson Christian College. We do not have many churches in Western yet. During the civil war in Angola next door it was dangerous for strangers to travel in many rural areas of Western Province..

Rattly pickups are typical of Western taxis and this sandy road could be any Western trail.
This man is Fleming Kaango, a GBCC graduate who has worked hard to build the church in Sichili District. (Fleming also has a sister and brother in our sponsorship program.)
Travelling in the west is more challenging than it is in the North. Even bicycles have problems with sand and swamp. Below, a local ferry.

Kanyimba church meets here (see photo below). Andrew in the red shirt is greeting Peter, a church leader who said Allen Avery baptized him decades ago.
Kids in the bush are keen to go to school and make tremendous sacrifices to do so.
Often school is too far for kids to walk each day, so they live in mud huts near the classrooms.
This small boy in grade two looks after himself and two younger brothers hiding in the hut.
These kids live without supervision, doing all their own cooking and laundry.

Girls live in unofficial dormitories as well.

Sichili church saved enough money to put a tin roof on their building. Western province is
**HOT** -- so open-sided buildings are better at welcoming breezes.

Fikoloma, a George Benson Christian college graduate (and one of my former students), built this house for himself right next to the church building --to guard the roof against midnight thieves.

Road Trip Report

On October 12 Andrew and Shadreck Sibwaalu left on a month-long tour of Westreach and Northreach church planting projects.
Their goals:
a. to find mission places to plant college graduates in 2011
b. to encourage the young GBCC missionaries already out there
c. to make a census of new congregations
d. to send daily picture reports on progress and challenges

Andrew and Shadreck have been sending back reports to Roy Merritt via their cell phones, and I'll be posting those reports in coming blogs.