Monday, March 17, 2008

The Good Shepherd

This past Thursday I went to meet with the women at Chainda II Baptist Church again. After our time of singing and prayer they said it was time for me to speak. I started off by asking them if they had done their homework. If you will remember from last week they were supposed to go and tell someone about Jesus by using the Creation to Christ Method. All but one of them said they had done it. As I asked each one specifically to tell me about their experience I found out that they did not do the whole Creation to Christ but had told a couple of the stories to their friends, family, and neighbors. For example, one woman told her friend about the story of creation, the fall, and the prodigal son. At first I was a little disappointed because they had not done the whole thing but I realized that they were doing the best they could after just going through it once. We will return to this method in a few weeks and have lots of practice time.

After discussing homework, I told the story of the Good Shepherd taken from John 10. Here, Jesus teaches his disciples a parable which shows us that we are safe with Jesus(assurance of salvation) and that we can always come to him in prayer. We talked about prayer for a while and I taught them 5 different things that they could pray about by using their fingers on one hand.

1- Praise God for the great God that He is.
2- Confess sin.
3-Thank God for how He is working in your life and for answering your prayers.
4-Ask God to meet the needs of other people.
5- Ask God to meet any needs in your life.

It was a good day after all. I feel so blessed to be able to go and teach these women.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Virtual Prayer Walk

If you would like to go on a Virtual Prayer Walk through the Eastern Harvest Teams area in Zambia go to
Thank you for all your prayers.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feeding Project on the Lunsemfwa River

Early Tuesday morning a group of 4 missionaries, two children, and 3 Zambian pastors started out on an adventure to help feed 100 families by giving them each 2 bags of their staple food called mealie meal. This is what they use to make Nshima which they eat about 2 times a day. I'm sure as we started out we each had our own thoughts of what the two days would be like but this is just from my perspective. You can also look at Ricky Cook's blog to see what he has to say about the trip at http://www.cooksinzambia.blogspot.com/


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As soon as we arrived we greeted everyone and then we saw the truck coming that was carrying all the mealie meal. So, as the men were unloading the mealie meal we unloaded our trucks. Then Kevin and some of the men took the boat down to the river to put it together. We decided not to set up camp right away because when we got there one of the pastors told us that the people on our side of the river would walk to collect theirs so that they wouldn't have to take theirs back across the river in a dug out canoe. We were thinking at the time that we might finish earlier than expected and not have to spend the night. However, as the day progressed we realized that was not going to happen because we had thought it would take about 20 min. there, offload, and then 20 min. back to take the food down the river but instead it took almost one hour each time. So those left in camp began to put up the tents. We had 4 Zambian men that carried the mealie meal down the hill to where Kevin was in the boat. They then loaded it in and he would start off down the river.













On the first trip over, Kevin took Ricky Cook and Pastor Luke Buleya to the drop off point so that they could share the gospel with those coming to receive the food.








Before the people received their mealie meal Ricky and Luke shared their testimonies and the gospel. About 30 people prayed to receive Christ.








Here are some children watching for the boat to come.





At the same time that one team was on one end preaching, there was another team on the camp side sharing the gospel too. Van Thompson shared the gospel with about 50 people and 7 prayed to receive Christ. It could have been more because I noticed that when they were praying after Van, several of the women sitting near me were praying also.


The next day Van, Ricky, and Luke went to visit the chief and several prayed there to receive Christ as well.


After hearing the gospel their name was called out and they came up to receive their bag of mealie meal. It was exciting to see their happy faces. They knew that the next day they would be eating Nshima which is what they use the mealie meal to make.













Here are just some random pictures from our trip.









Here was our lunch one day. It sure was a lot of bowls!


Our camp for two days.





This is the view from our camp. Isn't it beautiful?



Hannah lounging on the rocks.

After Kevin's last trip he took Hannah and Justin for a short ride. This was Hannah's first time in the boat and she loved it!







Well, Kevin made his last trip down the river delivering all the mealie meal except for just a few bags because our fuel ran out. The ones remaining came back on the boat with him and they carried theirs on their heads many many kilometers, but they won't complain because they are so happy that they will be eating nshima the next day. Now, it is time to pack up the tents, clean the boat and take it apart, and head home down a bumpy, dirt road for 1 1/2 hours and then another 1 1/2 hours on a pretty good paved road. We are all tired, dirty, sweaty, and most of us have sore muscles... but in our hearts we feel good because of how the Lord has used us to help so many that were hungry. Please pray that these people along the river will have great second crops, and that the mealie meal they received will be just enough to last until their new crops are ready.

Ricky and Deacon Luke Mwila carrying the motor up the hill to the truck.







Look how high the grass is on the road we were driving on.






"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Children are a Blessing

Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." Mark 9:36-37
We had about 10 children hanging around our camp and following us where ever we went. So on the first day while I was doing school with Hannah we got a coloring book and some crayons out and let them have some fun. After they finished their sheet they would come and tell me they were finished and wait for another sheet. We went through a whole coloring book. I think they really enjoyed themselves. A lot of times the children are overlooked. May we always take some time to help a child.

Here is a sample of their coloring.

This is my favorite picture! Me and my children had gone down to the river near the end of the day and these children followed us there. I was sitting up on a pontoon and the children all climbed up there with me. Aren't they precious?

Justin helping Kevin prepare to take the boat apart. He also helped set up tents and take them down, fill and haul our solar showers with water in them, carry mealie meal down to the river, and play with the other children. He was a great help and we were very proud of him.





This is Coby Cook, son of Ricki Cook, who went with us on this trip. Coby helped to carry out this mealie meal and it weighs about 60 lbs.

Here is Hannah sweeping out our tent. Believe it or not she volunteered for this job. It was so hot in this tent when we were setting it up and taking it down. Hannah helped me a lot to serve food to our helpers, to help me carry food down to the river to be transported to the other part of the team on the other side, she colored with the children, and did her school work. She was a big helper! However, on our last day there she said I should pay her some money for all that she had done. I had to remind her that everything we did was part of our ministry and we were all helping to serve God even as we sweep the tent!


Justin looking for his Father to come around the bend in the river.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Preparing for Feeding Project

Monday morning we went to Lusaka to meet the truck that was coming to collect all the mealie meal. We had 200 bags that needed to be loaded into the truck. Thankfully, there were a lot of men helping to get it into the truck so it didn't take too long.










Sunday, March 9, 2008

Feeding the Hungry

Most people in Zambia live with a constant survival mentality. Each day is about trying to find enough food to make it through the day so you can wake up the next day and go through the process all over again. They really do live year by year, hoping against hope for a good crop so they can make it to the next year when they will hope again for another good harvest. It is never about prospering or planning, it is always about survival. Sometimes survival is year by year, or month by month, but for many it is day by day. You would think with such a survival mentality, Zambians would be very careful with what they have and very stingy in giving it away. However, that is not the case. In reality, Zambians are perhaps the most giving and charitable people on the earth. This was really brought home to me last Sunday as I went to church. This year has not been a good year for growing maize (corn) which is the staple food of all Zambians. Oh we have has lots of rain, but unfortunately we have had way too much. In many places flooding has wiped out entire fields of mature maize. In other places it has just rained so much that either the planted seed was washed away or things began to mildew and rot on the stalk. It is not a total and complete loss and in some cases it just depends on where you go. Some people's fields are o.k. and they will harvest enough to get them through the year, but others will fall very, very short. This was the case I found out with Shanyinde, a local pastor at the Baptist Church in Mwamolo. We showed up for church there on Sunday and were warmly greeted as a welcome surprise. After the service, I chatted with him about the usual- how are you? how is your family? etc. and received all of the expected answers- fine, good, etc. However, when I asked him how his fields had fared this year he let me know that things were not so good in that regard. He has lost almost everything and expects to only harvest about 5x50 kg bags of maize. I asked him how many he needed to get his family through the year and he shared that usually they need about 20 to see them through one year. At that moment, I realized the reality of what he was facing. I told him I would pray for him and he said for me not to worry because he was sure that he could find odd jobs to hopefully buy food throughout the year and keep his family from starving. With a heavy heart I rounded up my family and began to say goodbye to folks, and head towards the truck to leave. Before I got in he told me I couldn't go yet. He had prepared a gift for us and one of his children was still on the way to fetch it and should be back shortly. I was stunned when he presented us with about 10 cobs of fresh maize from his field. These were obviously the best he had- the first fruits, but the harvest from a field that was going to fall pitifully short in meeting his family's needs. Yet in his heart of hearts he felt that he should give a gift to the missionary (who really doesn't need anything and knows where his next meal is coming from). Needless to say, I was humbled and blessed. I seriously considered refusing and telling him he needed it more than me, but in reality what he needed was the blessing of giving; not giving from his abundance but giving from his abject poverty. Another member (following his pastor's lead) also gave us a gift of charcoal (another important commodity), and with that we were on our way back to our home and our affluence (by Zambian standards). I don't really have any profound words of wisdom or divine application to this story, and perhaps it doesn't need any. I think the story speaks for itself and you can make your own applications to your own life. Let me just remind you all to please be in prayer for the spiritual and physical needs of the people we work with this year. Monday through Wednesday I will be using the boat to do a hunger relief project on the Lunsemfwa River. This is the area I work in with the boat, and usually I am there doing church planting and evangelism. However, the river left its banks this year and the fields were flooded and they have lost everything. We decided that it might be best if we coupled our spiritual efforts at this time with a physical demonstration of God's love and grace. We will be hauling about 5 tons of relief mealie-meal up the Lunsemfwa river 10 bags at a time. Please pray for us as we do this that God would watch over and protect us; that people would be ministered to physically and spiritually; and that things would go off without a hitch. Pray for us also that in the midst of this giving we would honor the sacrifices of people like Shanyinde, and ultimately the greatest sacrifice of all when God gave his son for the redemption of the world.
Blessings,
Kevin

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chongwe Bible School Graduation

Today was the 5th graduating class from our Chongwe Bible School. These 7 men have been coming to Bible School for the last 3 years and today they finally graduated. They have sacrificed by coming four times a year for one week at a time to study and learn from God's Word. We are very proud of all 7 of them. They will all be going back to their churches and serving God there. Please pray that these men will continue to study and learn so that they will be able to teach and train others.








In this culture it is very unusaul to see public displays of affection but these wives were very proud of their husbands.

Van Thompson was the main speaker at today's graduation. He always does a great job teaching the Word and as you can see he is very good at holding the attention of his listeners, no matter what it takes-singing, dancing, or putting on a jacket to help make a point.





Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Surprise Blessing

Today when I went to teach at Chainda II Baptist Church I received a surprise blessing. Over the next several months I will be going to this church when I am able, to teach a series of lessons called T4T which stands for Training for Trainers. These stories that I will be telling will teach the women how to come to Jesus, how to walk with Jesus, and how to become a church. In this particular situation I am teaching women all ready in church so my prayer is that they will take what they learn and then go teach others. The lesson I taught today was God's plan of Salvation using a storying method called Creation to Christ. So in about 20 min. I taught the women from the beginning of Genesis through the Resurrection of Christ. Well, it should take 20 min. but it took me longer. After I finished I closed with the story of the Prodigal Son and explained to them that we are all like that son at one time in our lives. We all need to come back to our Heavenly Father and receive forgiveness for our sins. I told them that if any of them wanted to do that they could talk to me afterwards. I went on to say that in a few weeks we would come back to this story and I wanted them to learn it so that they would be able to witness to their family and friends. I asked them if they thought they could do this. Well, one older woman said that she thought she could and she went on to tell me the first two parts of the story. When she stopped another woman told another part. Then before long they had shared the whole story back to me. It wasn't word for word like I told it and not even in all the right order but Praise God they were able to do it. I was so surprised because sometimes the people we teach struggle with telling it back to us. I was so proud of them and I was also proud of the woman that normally teaches them, Amai Betty Chipoba. It was obvious that these women had heard most of these stories before. At the end, I told them that just as children come home from school with homework that God had some homework for us to do as well. God wants us each to share this story with someone else. They each laughed but they committed to share with someone the best they could this story with someone next week. As we begin our lesson next week I will start off by asking them if they did their homework. It sure will be exciting to hear what God does in their lives this coming week. Please pray for these women to go out with boldness and share the gospel this week and that the people they speak to will listen with receptive hearts. Below is a picture of these women. If you would be interested in receiving a copy of Creation to Christ, send me an email at rodgers@bmoz.org.