Wednesday, April 22
It's a little before 6pm on Wednesday, April 22nd. Still traveling....did I say that we are still traveling? We have either been on a plane, a bus, a car, or in a airport for 49 hours since leaving Mt. Carmel. Still have another hour to go before we arrive at Luanshya where the Encounter Zambia team is located, our lodge is, and central headquarters for ministry. Over the past 3 hours we have traveled on a simple paved road and have observed nothing but village after village, cow upon cow, and people carrying 5 gallon buckets off water on their heads. We have seen some people with bikes and several girls carrying bananas on their heads. Complete poverty. It's hard to imagine where all the people are living as you pass the villages and see how small the huts or buildings are. We've seen brick huts, stick huts, huts with tar, huts with straw, and simple wood canopies. The pastors that are coming to our conference are riding on bikes from about a 60+-mile diameter from where our conference will be held. As we drive on the road, many of the people congregate by the road in order to socialize, or sell goods of some sort. Leonard, the Encounter Zambia leader, is a remarkable man. He has a Bible college education as well as a CPA degree from London. So he is definitely one of the privileged few in Zambia but God is using him to minister to a nation as a leader amongst leaders. I'm looking forward to getting to know him better. The team is sleep deprived and everyone is fatigued. My prayer is that once we get settled down in a little while, that we will get a good night's rest and wake up tomorrow with a spiritual freshness from our good God that supersedes the physical renewal we desperately need.
8:53pm. We arrived at Luanshya around 7pm and are staying at Farokan Lodge. It is gated with barbed-wire and is somewhat rustic. We have unloaded everything, have our supplies organized and have already killed a spider about the size of a baseball on our bedroom wall :) Here's a first: I'm sleeping in a bug net tonight on my bed, so that is going to be a new experience. Looking forward to taking a shower and having a full night's sleep. We had a snack tonight served by some people running the lodge. After that time, Leonard shared with the team about opening our heart, seeing what God wants us to see, and forget about ourselves and worship Him. He encouraged us with the fact that Zambians are friendly, they like to shake hands twice (two different grips back-to-back), and feel free to ask questions. Leonard believes God is going to move in a mysterious way in these days and he used the illustration of the Red Sea of how as they waited patiently on the Lord, they saw the salvation of Him who is worthy. Leonard also told us to take the time to share the Gospel and really spend time investing in people's lives through relationship. Be flexible, adaptable, and have a sense of humor. He also testified that Ardy has outlived his life by investing what God has taught him in Leonard and the Zambian people here. We were encouraged to take time to pray with people, listen to people, and talk with them....hear their story, tell His story. The only hope for Zambia is the Word of God and many of the pastors that are coming will have to stop and repair their bikes several times due to accidents they will have on the road. With all of this in mind, let's let God run His program while we are here.
Thursday, April 23
Last God of the Impossible thing for today.... God has already answered the prayer for the study bibles I prayed for yesterday through His gracious hand working in and through people's hearts at Mt. Carmel. Praise the Lord!!!! Praise the Lord!!!! Praise the Lord!!!! So, I'm believing God for enough Life Application Study Bibles to see all 250 pastors receive one. A study bible is unheard of in Zambia. To own a regular simple bible with no concordance is a huge blessing in and of itself. Most pastors did not even have bibles two years ago. So, to receive study bibles that contain theological notes, dictionaries, concordances, and study tools would be the equivalent of a Bible college education for these guys. Because they have no access to any tools whatsoever in interpreting the Scripture, many of the pastors preach passages out of context and incorrectly. Leonard has a mobile Bible training institute that is so faithful and wonderful. But you can only get to so many villages, train so many pastors, and when you train them, you can only train on a few topics at a time. But what if you had study interpretation notes on every page of the Bible! So we are now praying for $4,500 to purchase study bibles for every pastor and give them to the men at the pastor's conference on Monday or Tuesday. Mt. Carmel and friends through Aaron Weakley, Valerie, and others have raised $1,800.00 in just a few hours. Tonight, after sharing what God had put on my heart with the team, another $1,300 came in. So we are trusting God for another $1,400. Imagine 250 pastors, having study bibles, learning more of the Scriptures correctly, and then teaching what they learn to their people. Transforming a nation!!!!! We've only been ministering for 2 days and God is already doing abundantly beyond all we can ask or think through the prayers of His people. What a mighty God we serve!!!!