Our Mission Trip to Zambia
Little did we realize when we agreed to become board members for the newly formed Blake Lorenz Evangelistic Ministry (BLEM) that we would be on a mission trip to Zambia with Blake.
During a presentation at our church in Umatilla, Florida, Blake commented that Cheryl and Walt were going on a mission trip to Africa as part of his ministry team. Immediately following the service, he came to us and apologized saying he had no idea where those words came from. Cheryl responded telling Blake that upon hearing his comment, she heard God’s voice as clear as a bell saying “Why do you think I healed you?” (Cheryl used to have serious issues with her back and heart as well as being a recent cancer survivor.) In the days and months following, it became clear that God was telling us to step out of the boat (comfort zone) and by faith, follow Him.
Our flight left Orlando for New York on the morning of Monday, September 30.We arrived at the New Life Center in Kitwe, Zambia on Tuesday evening. After a very warm welcome by some of the New Life Center staff, a great dinner, and a warm shower, Blake, Chris, Cheryl, and I (Walt) went to bed exhausted. Very early the next morning we were in a NLC van on the way to Mujila Falls Farm, our base camp while working in Kanyama. Joining us from NLC were Emily, Charles, Thomas, Grayson and Shadrack. In addition, Paul, the missionary in charge of the farm, joined us on the trip. Because of different road conditions and a flat tire, it took up just under 12 hours to travel the 300 miles.
After quickly unpacking, everyone, expect Paul, was back in the van heading for Chief Kanyama’s village to perform our first service. After an unbelievable welcome, we were given a royal greeting by Chief Kanyama and Princess Betty in the royal palace. Chief Kanyama shared with us all the wonderful things that were happening in his chiefdom while giving thanks to our Lord and Savior.
From there we went to a beautiful outdoor setting under a huge tree where our crusade would take place. At our first service, we experienced the enthusiasm the people have for our Lord. After his message, Blake called forward men and women who were willing to actively participate in spreading Christ in their own communities. Approximately 12 men and women answered his call.
Next in the service was an alter call and the response was overwhelming. The healing service that followed was for us the most touching. All of the local pastors and our team formed a line and Blake invited anyone in need of healing to come forward. They came in great numbers and each waiting patiently for their turn. What touched us both was that as we prayed, God gave us a specific prayer for each person. We witnessed healings. What an awesome God we serve!
On Thursday, Blake held two services and a leadership training session. For us, each service was as inspirational as the first service. The leadership training was held in one of the village churches. Princess Betty attended along with all the local pastors and those people willing to go out into their own villages and spread the Good News. We could feel the presence of God as Blake spoke to the people.
The Rain Festival was held on Friday and Saturday with local African pastors presiding. Unlike Rain Festivals in other chiefdoms, Chief Kanyama’s celebration was totally Christian. Our mission team was honored to have dinner on the grounds of the Royal Palace and another opportunity to meet with Chief Kanyama and Princess Betty. During that afternoon, two other chiefs who were guests at the festival invited Blake to come back and speak in their chiefdoms. (One of the chiefs was not a Christian).
On Sunday, Blake preached at one of the Sunday services before our team returned to New Life Center (and a hot shower!).
For us this visit to Kanyama has been an experience we will never forget. The Lord is working mightily here in Zambia. Even on public transportation and in the grocery store we hear Christian music. With respect to customs and traditions of its people, men and women of God are leading this kind and beautiful people to Jesus Christ.
After a very hectic but wonderful week in Kanyama, our second week gave us time to rest as well as to observe African life in and around Kitwe, Zambia’s second largest city.
Our home for the week was New Life Center, a United Methodist Mission on the outskirts of Kitwe. The mission house was very comfortable and the staff made sure that all our needs were met.
A tour of the NLC campus introduced us to the many ministries in progress here. Of special interest to us were the PET (Personal Energy Transportation) Project, sister churches, feeding undernourished children, and free tutoring classes in English, Math, and Science for local students. NLC also offers computer training to students and young adults.
We were blessed to participate in the feeding program. The expressions on the children’s faces as they received their food and began eating were priceless.
Our God is an awesome God and we felt His presence here at New Life Center.
We want to thank everyone here at NLC for making our visit such a meaningful experience. Special thanks to Charles, Josephine, and Emily who took especially good care of us.