Below are a few words from Rev. Black Lorenz about what took place at the Rain Festival...
Chief Kanyama testified before his people how he wanted to give up the Christian Rain Festival. He was discouraged and wondered if he could keep up the new way of Jesus against the idolarous traditions. He faced what every leader has faced, the struggle to persevere against the opposition that change can bring, against the trials that threaten failure, and the thoughts of hopelessness that at times tests one's will to go on.
After the Rain Festival he was full of determination to continue to exalt Jesus, to keep challenging other chiefs to do away with the idolatry, drunkenness, and sexual perversion in their festivals, and to see the Name of Jesus spread to all the tribes in Zambia and Congo. His faith renewed in God's call on his life, he inspired his people to live for Jesus and be His witnesses to those who did not yet know Christ.
It is a wonderful blessing to be part of God's intervention to restore hope and to see the glimmer of light shine in peoples' eyes. All of us are part of God's work in Kanyama. We saw an incredible move of God as hungry people worshiped Him, responded to His call to be His launching pad to the tribes, and realize it is their moment in history to partner with God to prepare the way for Jesus to return.
These beautiful people running forward, falling on their knees, and crying out to God to be empowered by His Spirit to be witnesses for Jesus. Their faces are etched in my mind as I looked at them kneeling in the dirt, hands outstretched, many with tears streaking their cheeks, joining together asking God to fill them with His Spirit to GO and tell others of the love of Jesus. It was an ignited fire that will blaze from village to village and over time will see Jesus exalted as KING.
There is tremendous satisfaction to be at the birth of a movement that was conceived years before by faithful missionaries who labored under the most adverse conditions to plant the seeds of this harvest. We are truly blessed in the opportunity to witness this birth and humbly help raise this child of revival. God is doing it and will continue to do so. We get to join Him by His favor and grace.
As Kenneth stood before the large crowd at the Rain Festival it was hard to imagine he had grown up in this tribal village. Yet, as he shared his testimony the people eagerly listened because many had known him as someone quite different than the man who now stood before them. Kenneth told how he was raised in the church, sang in the choir, and had lived the normal life of a Kanyaman. Yet, he also shared how he and his friends did not know Jesus, that he had a form of religion, and did not think about living for God or in a godly manner. He would gamble, get drunk, and womanize. He was a lost soul until he met Jesus Christ.
Kenneth had not been back to his village in sixteen years, having left to work in Kitwe, Zambia. It was at a church in Kitwe that he truly repented and surrendered his life to Jesus. Now he was a seminary student, pastor, and remarkable speaker. The contrast between Kenneth and his old friends in Kanyama was like the difference between the mountains in northern Georgia and the flat beaches of Florida. As he talked with friends he looked years younger. He was full of joy and confidence. The glory of God contrasted with the lifelessness of idolatry.
The chief and Princess Betty had missed his testimony, so I asked him to share it again on Sunday morning. The church was packed way beyond what fire code would allow. Passionately, he spoke of his village life and then when he met Jesus. Every person sat at attention soaking in his every word. His story prepared the way for one of the most wonderful moves of God I have ever seen.
As I stood to speak the Holy Spirit took charge and I began telling a story I had not planned to share, but the Spirit was leading and all I could do was follow. It is quite inspiring when you come into those rare moments when you realize you are not really speaking, but God is. You just pray to stay out of HIs way and let Him use you. The time came for the invitation to receive Christ as one's Savior, to surrender one's life to Jesus, and be born again.
As I invited people to come forward, the chief's right hand man quickly stood up and gave a brief testimony. After Kenneth's powerful witness he had grapped Kenneth and they both stepped outside the church where he repented and surrendered his life to Christ. (Remember that almost all the people in church this morning had been raised in the church). He now challenged the people not to be hypocrites, as he had been. He could no longer hide, but had to come forward and be the first to say he would follow Jesus.
Suddenly, in the cramped quarters of the packed church an explosion of movement occurred as people begin to wriggle free from their seats and step forward. More and more people came to the front until after several minutes a fourth of the church sat before the pulpit. Weeping and wailing could be heard throughout the church as these church goers cried out in repentance for their sins and rebellion against God to be forgiven.
So much more happened this morning, but I will summarize to say this was the highlight of the Kanyama crusades in that it was an historic realization that God's hand was on these people to truly be the launching pad to reach the surrounding villages and tribes. It was as though they came to realize their destiny in Christ. The Chief testified, his sister Betty testified, other leaders and people spoke of God's call for them to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Just a few minutes earlier the Chief had talked about giving up. Now they were certain of their call. It will be fascinating to see what happens in the years ahead as these determined believers take the Gospel to their neighbors.
I realize my short description falls far short of what transpired. You may read this through your American perception of church and Christianity. To see it in the eyes of one there, surrounded by the hills, woods and isolation of their tribe, in a village life and mindset, you begin to fathom the historic work God is doing to prepare for HIs Son's return. Their way of life and understanding of life is far different than ours, but it is not inferior. Their openness and honesty astound me as a community of believers. Let it be suffice to say I am blessed to experience such work of God and thrilled to see it grow. May God move in our midst as He is doing in the Lunda tribe. Set us free in Christ from the sins that bind us, to live completely for Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
GOD BLESS, LOVE PASTOR BLAKE
We hope this gave you some insight to what God is doing in Zambia and through your ministries...
Delbert & Sandy Groves