Thursday, May 29, 2008

28th May 2008, Matanda, Natenje & Njewa

Wednesday began with a fracas as always. We have come to accepts this. The vehicle we were using only came at 9am (which is the time we were meant to be in Matanda). When we arrived we discovered that we had forgotten our file where the notes were. Felix had copies of the notes in a separate file but the very one we wanted (the body of Christ – the church) was not in there. Aha, this can only be the work of the devil… as if. I stopped and took a few minutes to ask the Father… what is up?!! Well, He is up and it was all His orchestrating events to bring us to talk about what He wanted, which was the birth of the church and Adam and Eve.

It was interesting to discover how men believe that because Adam (the original seed) was created and Eve pulled out of Adam(humanity), then it meant that they were original and women secondary. We talked about that a little and had a wonderful time discussing and opening up scripture and really dissecting the word! it is also incredible to watch mindsets change right before your very eyes! This group is wonderful, possibly the most active group yet. They love to challenge me and I love the challenge. It is, in the truest sense, a bible study.

In the afternoon we headed for Natenje. One thing about Wednesdays is that it is my dehydration day. No fluid intakes as that would require bathroom breaks and they are one of the few things I do not like to do in the communities. Thus, parched we headed to Natenje. This was a new group. For about 4 weeks we were receiving twice weekly phone calls pleading with us to come and teach this group. They were a group of chiefs and their spouses. They are 80 chief strong. It is incredible to know that that many chiefs in the area are saved and not only that; they go about teaching their fellow chiefs and their people the word of God.

Coming out the car we found them all waiting even though we were 30 minutes early. I was VERY conscious of my jeans and flowery shirt. These were chiefs! What would they think of me? I scurried into the dim room (aha, perhaps the Lord was on my side). As soon as we begun of course, all consciousness of clothes or anything leaves and God steps in. we spoke about salvation and eternal life and what it means. Our emphasis was on the relationship that Christ gave His life for us to attain. We had a sidebar of 'Jesus is not just the son of God but that He is God'.

This was a mature group who were so eager to learn and I felt very small. Here I was, probably looked like some westernized youngster (probably am) and I was teaching them…. Imagine what I could learn from them! Nevertheless, it is I that God says “go teach my people”. I tell you, these are the moments that help, the smaller you feel… the bigger God is in your mind.

On the side of the youth, 16 of them in Njewa got saved out of a turnout of 47. Felix’s prairie fire continues to sweep across the communities. And as always let me tell you about the lack of bibles. Out of the 47… you guessed it… NOT ONE owned a bible. Not one in 47 youth who want to know more about God. When Diamond said it, I was overwhelmed. His was the only bible there as I had taken the on staff bibles to Natenje.

More than anything we are expectant of Ganizani (meaning ‘think') and his arrival tomorrow. I just know that this is a God thing! It is amazing to think that in a few months he will be able to read the bible for himself and then who knows what will happen then!!


He walked into my office wearing a pink shirt buttoned to the very top and a cream jacket. They were dirty but he looked regal. It was beautiful. There was a glow about him… it may sound poetic but it is true. After he told us his story I just knew that God had send him to us and that neither him nor us would ever be the same again.

Ganizani Kajoza is a young man of about 18 years old. He is an orphan who lost his parents when he was 8 years old. This forced him onto the streets where he became a street kid. He has lived on the street ever since until a few weeks ago. I met Ganizani in 2003 when I was working with the children on the street and we stayed in contact loosely over the years.

In his own words, this is his story:

I used to be a thief and a street beggar. I started this when I was 10 years old. I started doing this because of poverty because my parents died when I was eight years old. I became even worse because even the money I was getting on the street and stealing, I was using it on alcohol and marijuana.

But what made me stop was a girl called Enita. When I used to get drunk I would go to her and try and persuade her to be my girlfriend. One day she was talking about me to some other people (I was again drunk). She told her friends “look at this dirty boy, trying to persuade me to be his girlfriend’. I felt sorry for myself when she told me that the life I was leading is dirty and not fit for a boy as young as me. Her mother also talked to me and asked why a young man like me was stinking of beer.

After this conversation, I went back and thought about all this. I asked myself many questions. But one question I could not answer was ‘if Jesus comes back while I am still drinking and having prostitutes around me, what will He do with me?’ So that night I had no peace. I woke up around midnight. I started praying even though I did not know how to pray. As I was praying, a light flashed around me. I was terrified but something spoke to me ‘continue praying’. I prayed until morning. It was that night that I received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Light.

In the morning, I felt propelled to go and share what had happened. I started walking. I saw a car and asked God to stop it. The car stopped and gave me a ride into town. I went and spoke to my friends. They all thought I was crazy and high on drugs. I went to a radio station to give my testimony. They too thought I was mad. I met some policemen on the way and told them that they need to repent of their ways. One slapped me. The others said ‘maybe, the Lord has sent this guy’. I even went to the Catholic Church to talk about what had happened to me. Everyone thought I was mad. I then went to another church to meet a pastor and talk to him. They said he was too busy to see me, a dirty guy.

After all this, I went to find my uncle. I told him about Christ. He too thought I was mad. Nobody accepted my message. Later on, my own family began to accept that Christ had changed my life. They believed me because they have seen that I have changed. From then, until now I have been preaching the gospel in the city.’

Ganizani cannot read or write but he carries a Bible and had one when we met (borrowed from a Zimbabwean lady). One of our staff met him and he told her to tell me that he was now preaching the gospel. She told him to come and so here he was.

Ganizani needs to learn to read and write so he can read the Bible. We talked about a plan of action. We discussed together with him (both Diamond and I). In the end we came up with a discipleship plan. We are now responsible. We have heard his story. We cannot smile and send him on his way. God has brought him to us.

Ganizani will find lodging nearer Diamond so he can be discipled. He will move with Diamond and go where he goes and learn together. In addition, we will find him a tutor so he can learn to read and write. This is the reason for the ministry. This is our neighbor and unlike Cain, we choose to say, ‘yes, we are our brother’s keeper’. God has a call on this young man’s life. Talking to him is like coming into contact with passion and determination I have not seen in a long time. Coming into contact with him and hearing his story is challenging for us all. With no resources and illiterate and discouraged at every bend, this young man is reaching toward the goal of the high calling. This young man is advancing the kingdom through the encounter he has had with Jesus.

All he said that he preaches is this, ‘If Jesus were to come, what would he say about the way we are living our lives?’

Sunday, May 18, 2008

14th May, 2008 Matanda

We went to Matanda today. This is Jonas Chitukula’s zone. He is such a precious man of God. When I look at him, I think about ‘peace be still’. I have not been here in two years.

Our journey to Matanda is very eventful. First , we missed the exit and ended up on the way to Deya before Felix asked me where I was going. Returning, a friend showed us a shortcut (he was a man, I should have known). We ended up pushing our pastoral-mobil out of two tight situations. The road was tough and I begun to wonder if it was a reflection of what we were going to encounter. Then of course we got lost. The joys of ministry. It doesn’t get any better than this.

We arrived and the place was full of pastors. These are the guys in suits and bibles under their arms (you can see that this is bible they have owned for years). This is the learned group, who challenge the teaching and we had an amazing time. The subject…salvation! I love this topic. There were 47 pastors and leaders present. Three zones had come together, Mzondo, Deya and Matanda. There was an equal distribution of them all. They are active and do not need to be drawn out. This is a teacher’s dream. They make it fluid and crisp. They are here to learn and it is apparent.

At the end of it all, we agree that salvation is a grace thing and no one, no matter how devoted to Christ, can ever take credit. He has done it and accomplished all. He deserves the highest praise because nothing we will ever do will ever suffice. It is by grace that we are saved. It is the free gift of God.

There was an old lady that came up to me at the end and told me that in all her years of being alive, she had never heard teaching before, this was her first time. It is humbling to hear and amazing to comprehend. She looked in her late 60s. all those years… amazing.

A pastor said a t the end how they needed to go back and call all those that they have been teaching to correct some of the things they have been teaching. A friend said to me that ‘that is humility’. I agree. Admitting that you have had it wrong is not something we do well as people of God. We would rather say that we have grown into new things. These men are willing to admit. They sit and listen to a woman in jeans and a colourful shirt talk to them about salvation and they LISTEN. It still baffles me how people listen and then are blessed. This is me…with my drama and my issues and yet…God uses this fool and confounds the wise. I love that. I am a fool for Jesus. I have nothing in which to boast about and when I DO try that, God needs only remind me of who I am without His grace…. To God be the glory. For the transformation in the hearts of His people through His Word at His appointed time. What a privilege it is for Felix, Diamond and I to be a part of this work.

Leaving Matanda I just know that God is moving. I know we say that often, but it was there… in the atmosphere. There is a song that says ‘I feel it in the atmosphere…the power of the Lord is here’. Something is happening. Felix likes to say ‘it’s spreading like a prairie fire’. I always laugh. But it is. He is. His Spirit is moving.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

10th & 11th May 2008, Mngwangwa

Saturday we were in Mngwangwa. There were 82 people present on Saturday. This was a first. When I remember that this all begun under a tree with four people I can truly say ‘look at the grace of God’. We have begun our trip down history’s lane studying church history. Sometimes we take it for granted the things we know. We forget that we learnt those things and that others without access to books and teaching tapes and the like do not know. Because of this, people come in and teach all sorts and because of their charismatic speech, many are swayed. If you have nothing to read and the Jehovah’s Witness comes round with material for you to read, will you not accept it? after all, how different are they? People perish for a lack of knowledge. Should we keep quiet so as to keep the peace and equilibrium of our different beliefs, or should we shine a light where the dark is creeping in? Church history brings out so much stuff we wish we could forget. How far have we come from the truth of the word becomes the question. It is both an exciting and challenging topic. At the end of Saturday’s session someone asked the question about money, which launched us into a 45 minute discussion on money. This is the hottest subject whether village or town.

That afternoon we went and looked at the land. Our land! It was massive and for a moment I could see the things God had been speaking about to me for the past year. At that moment it became real. I knew this would be my home. Milanzi would be my neighbor (literally) and that it would not be long before he could worship God is a beautiful place. The excitement was a hum that never quite left. Even now I fail to express what it is like to SEE a vision begin to manifest. One day soon, ‘Yanganani Chisomo’ Centre will be on this piece of land and to God be the glory. Yanganani Chisomo means look at grace.

Sunday. There are days that you wake up and JUST KNOW that this is going to be an awesome day. Mine begun at two in the morning when God begun to share with me what He wanted me to minister that morning. So I woke up saying “trust in the Lord with all your heart…” and the rest of the scripture. I woke up different and feel different. There is a change that God does in you being in the villages. I’m not saying it cannot happen anywhere else. I am only saying it cannot happen this way.

We were with Milanzi and Faith Temple. We were home. The worship is beautiful in this place. Here the children praise with smiles on their faces. Here you forget everything and think about Jesus. Jesus is bigger for me here. There is not much here and so there is not much distract you from Jesus. He’s all the bigger. In the midst of such lack and needless suffering (some is needless having such simple solutions), Jesus is the only one that comes to mind. We talk about trusting God and the race that Jesus ran and gave us His medal and victory banner to run the victory lap. We are not running to win. We are MORE THAN conquerors. We talked about trusting the Alpha and Omega. It was exciting for everyone to get what alpha and omega mean. Our afternoon was just as wonderful. We finished our first session of church history and then went on to talk about tithing, which was the hot topic from the previous day. There were laughs and suprises as we went into the scriptures and discovers precious truths. We spoke about loving God and recognizing the purpose of tithing. We spoke of the widow and orphan and alien and levite. We talked about our mandate to care for those in need of our help. If we don’t help, who will? This was our discussion. There was a wonderful anointing throughout the entire day. I have never felt as I did. I have never taught as I did. Mr Nkhoma said “we are blessed every time but this is different.’ I agree. God did something amazing in our hearts.

Mr Nkhoma sat with his wife as did Sidwell and Milanzi. It was a beauty to see.
Leaving was hard, perhaps because I feel more at home than ever before. Milanzi, Sidwell and aNkhoma, leaving them…. The only consolation is that next week we shall be back and beyond that… one day we will not have to leave. It WILL be home!!!

7th May 2008, Mgona & Kamphata

Wednesday is our double shift day, or should I say our combo day. Two for the price of one. This Wednesday things were different. Raphael Diamond has now joined the pastoral team. Diamond is known for his interpretation with visiting ministers. The youth in the areas we minister are a thriving group and we realized that we needed to tap into them and better organize them. So we asked Diamond if he was willing to volunteer three days a week to helping us lead the youth groups. He is his name. he is a gem and a valued treasure and we are thankful that God has blessed us to work with him.

Wednesday begun with the pastoral mobil having two punctures. Then was the next vehicle whose insurance had yet to be renewed and so we were left with the minibus. All this took about a half hour, which made us late… first time ever. By the end of the morning, 13 people had received Christ. 6 where Felix and I were and seven where Diamond was. It was exciting. We understood the reason behind the delays and frustrations that came with them.
The afternoon was even greater. Kamphata is the centre for our youth and they did not disappoint. They chose the name and mission for their group. Conquerors. A beautiful name. they were excited about beginning the youth club and all that would happen. We were excited. God is moving at a pace we are not ready for. I almost feel that at some point I am going to have to hold onto something and just let it happen.

Here in Kamphata the youth want to care for the sick by drawing water for them, cleaning the homes and clothes and praying for them. With the forty kids in the room, I believe that Kamphata has yet to see all that God has for it. This is just the beginning!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

4th May 2008, Mngwangwa

The first thing that touched my heart when we arrived was when we gave Mark two English bibles, for him and his wife, he said “I have to ask my wife to choose the one she wants. Mark is a remarkable man. He and his wife have twins (one boy and one girl). They are a young couple who are pastoring a Mngwangwa Baptist Church, a fellowship of over a hundred people that meet in a small open room that is actually a medical gathering place during the week. This Sunday there are over 85 of them huddled in this tiny room. This is the same place we started ministering in. This is the church fellowship of granny Adonia (the 76 year old granny). She was there with her smile. She smiles so genuine that you KNOW she has the light of God deep within her. She smiles a smile that tells you there is a place to get with the Father that is glorious. She smiles and her eyes shine bright. No exaggeration… she smiles. She began a song “judgie wama judgie, ndi judgie Yesu, judgie wama judgie” which translates “Jesus is the judge of judges” and also says, the lawyer of lawyers. Those are the only words but you get a sense of a deeper heart cry. It speaks of justice and how Jesus is there to execute justice for those who suffer injustice. I wonder what injustices granny Adonia has suffered and seen. She takes care of two orphans and three widows other widows. I met them. They looked even older than granny Adonia herself. She is quickly moulding her place in my heart. She gave us pumpkins and told us how she has wanted to give them two weeks earlier. Giving in the village always amazes me because I KNOW it is out of their lack that they give.

When we began they thanked God for the opportunity to be able to read the bible together. There were people huddled in groups all trying to read the psalms in concert. It was a sight to see! Every bible in the church was from partners and friends of Somebody Cares. Again it was a heartbreaker. Even with the joy of how the seven or so bibles WERE in the room, with it came the sorrow of imagining how many other churches are out there where there are no bibles? Can we imagine that? Do we dare or is it better to say… no way is there a place where there are NO bibles in the church. With what I have seen I will say this… don’t bet on it. It may be that the bible deficiency speeches have become a little tired for some but until there is a flourishing of availability of the word, I WILL NOT STOP!!!

This was the first place that I found a bible study before service (we learnt about doing the will of God). This is also the first place there was A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS FOR THE CHILDREN. Ten children went outside and we could hear them quoting stuff at the top of their voices. Their teacher was Joy, the pastor’s wife.

I love these two, Mark and Joy. Their marriage is to be greatly admired. It is immediately obvious to the naked eye. Mark carries his wife’s bible. This statement may not carry a lot of weight for those who don’t understand that it is more likely to see a dinosaur than a man in the village carrying the load for his wife. I have never seen a man in the village do that. They sit together and talk with great smiles on their faces. Mark says… “I have learnt, I am learning and I WILL learn from my wife.” I love them because theirs is the definition of a God family. One that can apply biblical principles in the face of so much tradition! I wanted to stay and not leave. Everywhere I go I want to stay and be a part of these beautiful people’s lives for as long as I can.