Preamble. As the thunder clouds gather on our western horizon, lightening bolts streaking down from the heavens, threatening of the inevitable electric storm to come. So too does the close of 2014 on the horizon threaten permanent closure to another year of pioneering and building here in Chavuma.
What a year!! Challenges, failures, overcoming, resisting, disappointments, joy, love, and patience….a roller-coaster of a ride yet knowing in it all that the Lord our God is in control and guides every step we take. The storms are mere character builders, hardening us against sin and softening us with His love to share with others. Saying goodbye to friends and to family never sure if we will ever see one another again in this life, but comforted in the knowledge that those who love and fear the Lord will be together with Him when departed from this temporal state.
Lesley and I had to say goodbye to Sarah our seventeen year old daughter who has returned to South Africa to complete her schooling. Although Sarah did exceptionally well with ‘home schooling’ the disappointment in slow or just no reply/support from the facilitators resulted in us making this necessary choice. For a father who has a responsibility ensuring provision and protection for his children the choice was difficult yet, our merciful Lord has made a way and Sarah will be staying with an excellent family in Cape Town who love and serve the Lord with great passion and who have taken her in as their own. Lesley has gone with her to ensure a successful transition and will be joining me once the building of our new home is completed here in Chavuma
Being situated in this remote part of Africa does not lend itself to frequent visitors, yet there have been those who laid down their comfort, materialism and self-interest and at great cost trekked many a mile to be here to encourage us and to support us.
There have been those who when the mission’s urgent and desperate financial needs arose, vehicle breakdown, transport and building costs, unselfishly and at times selling of their own goods or drawing from their own investments, deposited into the work of the Lord here. What a privilege to walk the road with such Pilgrims.
Our State. I am reminded of scripture where a certain man wanted to follow Christ, yet first wanted to go and bury his father. Our Lord, Christ Jesus’s answer to him was; ‘let the dead bury the dead…..’ too often I hear folk proclaiming their undying love for the Lord, the ‘call’ and ‘prophesies’ and ‘confirmations’ God has on their lives, choruses they sing to our King about going where He wants them to GO, yet their compromised, disobedient, comfortable lives tell a different story. They ‘first’ need to do this… attain that…are worried about disease and provision….ultimately never fulfilling their God ordained purpose on this earth.
Be encouraged and know this, that when God calls and you obey then the practical, faith outworking of scripture takes place, such as Matthew 6:25-34; “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you— you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Self Examination. Do you know who you are in Him? The only way to know who you are is when you step out of where you are into the unknown in Him. There you will be challenged, forged and weighed and how will you be found? While too often we allow ourselves to be restricted to ‘boxes’ and eventually we are ‘boxed’ in...in a place where we are too fearful to step out because it is going to be uncomfortable or dangerous. We believe that when life is going ‘well’ it is because we are blessed and this is where God is…..let me tell you the truth. The Word teaches that we will for His name sake, be lied about, persecuted, spat upon, ridiculed, be imprisoned and even face death. Take a hard, honest look at yourself and ask, am I serving the King according to His Holy Word, illuminated and empowered by His Holy Spirit, or according to my own interpretation or those of others?
The challenge...NO! The Command! So heed the command! Be obedient to the King! GO! ‘Go therefor and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the ends of the age’ (Mathew 28 :19,20).
Also; ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’. (Mark 16:15). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not given for self enjoyment and miracles in our ‘Synagogues’ but to empower His disciples in taking Him, the ‘Living Word’ to a dying world….with signs and wonders. Acts 1:8; ‘But you shall receive Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall witnesses to Me both in (implying—at the same time) Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’.
Co-work with us as we together extend His Kingdom in this part of the earth. Pray and support us as a team. Plan one or more month’s per-annum to come out and labour with us here. Refer ‘young’ believers to our discipleship program.
May God richly bless you.
Visitors and Ministry
All praise and thanks to our Lord for the folk who came up this past year to encourage and to assist here in the harvest field. There is much labour required with the ongoing building projects, evangelism outreaches and ministries. As a family and with others we asked God to send folk to assist.
And He did.
We had Jonathan from East London fly up for a few weeks and assist in the building of ‘Ngandu’ meaning crocodile, our tented camp. Jan Christensen who stuck it out with me here for three months assisting in the design and building of Ngandu. Drove the MOG in transporting material over rough terrain for many a kilometre. Helped manufacture beds, cooked while Lesley was in South Africa assisting our daughter in law with the birth of our grandson, Jensen. We had Benjamin Peterson, a thirteen year old lad from Cape Town spend Six weeks of practical ‘Basic Founda- tional Biblical Training’ here. We had a nineteen man /woman strong team arrive at 00:00 and after a meal deploy to Ngandu where for the next two weeks they would minister from.
Train up a child in the way he should go and when is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22 vs 6.
Benjamin is a city lad, home schooled and excelling in tennis (junior Western Province colours). After discussing the program we have here for young men with him and his father, it was agreed that Benjamin should come up for six weeks.
On arrival in Lusaka we loaded up supplies and headed north west. The first night we spent at TC’s place, a friend of mine who owns private property within the Kafue Game Park. TC had lost his wife to an attack by an elephant, who had been wounded by poachers, five years ago. What an interesting time Benjamin had listening to TC’s stories of when he chased lion away from his camp that were up to no good stalking him and his workers, the crocodiles and hyena….
Once in Chavuma we started with the spiritual program; What do you believe? Why do you believe? Can you back up from scripture what and why you believe? Basic chapters such as Psalm 23 as well as the Lord’s Prayer and Statement of faith—The Apostles Creed, were learnt off by heart. Each morning Ben and myself spent quiet time and in the Word (Bible) going through each chapter of Proverbs discussing the teachings and the importance of obeying God’s Word. The free Gift of Salvation and spending eternity with Him. Weighing the Bible up against such books as the koran and Christianity against other religions. You don’t work you don’t eat… A man’s glory is in his strength. A man needs to protect and provide for his family and God hates laziness. So Benjamin was put to labour in various disciplines as can be seen in the photos. At the end of the six weeks a more mature young man with vision and direction in his heart headed back home. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with this young man and we look forward to the testimony he will be in our Lord Jesus.
AND then the team arrived!!
At 00:00 (midnight) Nineteen travel weary folk arrived. One week (4000km) of travel from Cape Town. After a meal we deployed to Ngandu where tents were erected and few went to sleep. A massive bonfire was going so many sat up around the fire and what great fellowship we had….
The team consisted both of young and old. Ages ranging from seventeen to seventy eight!! All ready and willing to serve as requested/instructed and never complaining or shirking responsibility. The various talents and gifting of each person was available to the work of our Lord here in Chavuma. There are various church groups we work alongside here in extending the Kingdom of God and on this occasion we worked with pastor Davy who made arrangements with his people on the west bank and ministry was able to take place there while here on the east bank much practical work was required.
Before departing to the west bank the four member team sat with pastor Davy to discuss the program, the culture and what to expect. The meeting was concise and constructive. The following day the outreach team, aboard the MOG crossed the Zambezi River on the pontoon and headed for their destination.
It is not ‘every day’ that the folk on the west bank get visitors or are introduced to white folk. The team’s arrival thus was welcomed with great interest and expectation. With the Bible in one hand and the love of God in their heart the team strode out to meet and exceed the local peoples expectations.
With pastor Colin interpreting each team member was able to witness and share the ‘Good News’ with the lost. Teaching took place and many were enlightened. One of the team members, pastor Paul vd Merwe of Salem Full Gospel Church in Cape Town fell ill, yet completed his duties.
While the four man team was across the river on the west bank the folk remaining on the east bank went to work!
Iris, from the Assemblies of God Church in Cape Town and on her second visit to Chavuma basically continued where she left off from her previous visit.
In 2013 Iris painted out the Gospel story in the children’s ward at the local mission hospital. This time she continued with the Message and painted out the maternity ward. A number of the younger team members assisted with the design in the passage ways.
When not painting murals, Iris made sure she spent time with the mothers and their new born babies. Witnessing and encouraging them in the Lord. Many days Iris would go without food and would only eat at night time on return from an early, sometimes 06:00 start, driven by time to complete what the Lord had laid on her heart to do. Commitment, dedication and perseverance was her testimony to the team and to the patients and nursing staff alike
We are called to both Serve and Save the lost. So the team was tasked to paint the homes of both the principle and vice-principle of one of the local schools in the village of Kalombo.
Now you can imagine. Paint, brushers, young folk….with this combination not only were the walls painted but every one had been ‘marked’. With great enthusiasm the team tackled the job. I worked out that by working half day (in the mornings as the heat is unbearable in the afternoons) they should complete the work in ten days. Well, I was wrong. With youthful vigour and the determination to finish as soon as
possible allowing them more time for whatever was further required of them, they completed the job in FIVE days! During this time a great relationship and interaction between them and the local folk took place. Not only were the folk pleased and appreciative of the service rendered but welcomed and made each one feel at home.
With the teams now either ministering to the lost or needy in Word or in Service it was also a pleasure to have them minister to me and my family.
Both my river boat as well as the MOG were giving trouble. The boat was running extremely rough with very little power while the MOG had no breaks and the fuel system was drawing air somewhere.
No boat...no river outreach. No MOG….no further building and development.
Well, as the Lord would have it we had a couple of mechanical team members. Not only did they strip the whole boat motor, clean the jets and carburettors but they also identified the break problem on the MOG allowing me to return from Lusaka at a later date with the relevant parts and today I am happy to say the MOG has brakes once again.
So there you have it.
Cross river outreach. Mural painting at the local mission hospital, Painting of houses and fixing of river boat and MOG.
But it was not all work and no play. Rich times were spent into the early hours of the morning around the fire. Testimonies were shared, scriptures expounded upon and light hearted bantering took place. Beach volley ball and swimming were some of the activities done as the team bonding and moulding took place. Yes, swimming in the croc infested Zambezi. On arrival there was a monster of a croc lying on the beach and on hearing our approach slid into the water. This did not deter the team. With Samantha standing watch with axe in one hand and a knife in the other the team swam and enjoyed the river. The food was also excellent! Karen really made an effort to ensure tasty gourmet meals and William the team leader and her husband ensured a well managed operation.
From the bottom of our hearts both Lesley and I want to thank each and every one of you for what you have done. This only encourages us to continue in our call knowing we have co-workers praying, interceding and even coming up to help us. May God bless you all as you press into Him.