The all-inclusive question is asked by many of our ministry partners and is really a hard question to answer. We basically get up each morning and say to God, “Okay, I’m up. What do you have on the menu for the day”. That ‘typical day’ question started me writing an annual Newsletter I call… One Month & One Day.
As you know, we host a number of ‘Work Teams’ from the US each year. We love watching God work through these special teams. The summer months seem to be our busiest time. In our last mission update I told you about the Medical Team from St. Andrews UMC from Brandon, Florida. Shortly after they left another wonderful team from Heritage UMC from Clearwater, Florida came. Their team leaders have been here a number of times over the last few years. Out of the team of seven, this was the first time in Zambia for four of them. Jean Kendra and Marsha Mullett (team leaders), as well as Nancy Harrigan had been here before, and then Jake & Sherri Authier, Timm Bischoff, and Casey Mullett (Marsha’s niece) experienced Zambia for the first time. This team held two Kids Bible Camps, one here at the New Life Center and the other one in Zambia’s capital city of Lusaka. They also helped in construction of their fourth “sister church” in their spare time since it is also in Lusaka.
Jake and a few others wrote a daily mission report and emailed it back to their church. I have posted most of those reports on NLC’s website as well. Those of you that like to read might enjoy looking them over. It is kind of a blow-by-blow (if you will) of their interpretation of life and ministry in Zambia. It is quite interesting! Just click here!
The work and love they gave to the children was just outstanding. Sandy loves working with the children too. She just shines! All of us can look back in time to that special place as a child and remember that one big event that was the WOW moment in our lives that started us on a new journey. We were changed forever because of the love and encouragement someone gave us. I personally saw that take place in hundred’s of little beautiful faces. To be honest, the team members were all having a WOW moment too! Changed forever! I love watching God at work!
Their sister church in Lusaka is such a big blessing too! They helped put the roofing sheets on the church. That is not an easy job. All the steel work for the church’s frame is done at the New Life Center. Daniel, our NLC Contractor person in charge, has been with us for over ten years now. He has learned a great deal about welding, designing steel structures & masonry work. He can have the foundation in, steel structure up, the roof on, and the floor done in about six weeks.
To give you a little more information about the “sister church” ministry… We have learned over the last few years that it really needs to be a partnership between a church in the USA and the church in Zambia. I’m not talking just about building personal relationships with people (that is very important), but about actual sweat equity on the part of our local Zambian church congregations and their pastor. First they must have the land and title-deed. Then they make all the African brick (that within itself is hard work), get all the sand & stone ready for the cement, and work hand-in-hand with Daniel and any USA work team members that may come to help. The responsibility from the sister in the USA is to buy the steel, roofing sheets, cement (50bags), and other supplies like welding rods and cutting disks, fuel for transport, etc., and Daniel’s labor. Depending on the location in Zambia, it costs between eight to ten thousand dollars to build a sister church.
One last word about the sister church ministry. The vision God gave us is to build at least two churches each year. We can and would like to do more. Zambia is now a United Methodist Conference. We have just under one hundred congregations in the country. We have about twenty actual church buildings that belong to the UMC conference. We need your help. It’s one of the most important ministry outreaches that can be done for this young United Methodist Zambian Conference. Please give that some thought.
Right after the team headed back to Florida, Sandy and I headed to Malawi. We had sent 50 PETs to Malawi a few weeks earlier. This was the first time we had sent PETs to that country. We are working with an organization called KODO. That means “disabled” in the local language. We have done a number of these PET events over the years and I had in mind this would be much like others in the past. I was expecting about a one to two hour event. However, after the sixth hour I knew this was different. And it was truly a wonderful day of celebration in a number of ways. What was so interesting was the way the Founder and Director of KODO, Mr. George Chimpiko, arranged everything. There were people from all kinds of NGO Groups and Government Departments. Look at this list:
This is very African to have all your bases covered (if you will) and give everyone a chance to be recognized and say a few words. However, though it was a bit long, it was wonderful!
They asked me too to say a few words, so the evangelist in me came out and I gave a “brief” message. As we gave out the PETs to those KODO had presented, Sandy and I took time to help each one in their PET and lay hands on them and pray for them. This was a very special time, we found out later. We had dinner with the KODO board members that evening. George said to me there, “I have been helping the disabled my whole life (George himself was born with clubbed feet and disabled). I have given out hundreds of normal wheelchairs. But this was the first time I have ever seen or heard someone take time to use that opportunity to speak God’s word and blessings to the disabled, especially touching them as you prayed over them. I was deeply moved.” The other board members made the same kind of remarks. You know, PETs really do say more than “let me help you” to the disabled. They say, “someone loves you AND God loves you too!” This was a very, very special time for the first 50 PET recipients. We will be sending many more into Malawi in the years to come. I want to say right here and now, THANK YOU TO ALL THAT STAND WITH THIS GREAT OUTREACH OF PET ZAMBIA.