Thursday, May 7, 2015
Mark's Final Missions Trip Travel Log
Our last two days of the trip have been spent in Livingston. Livingston is about 10 hours from Luanshya and we drove all night in a bus to get here...worst bus ride of my life by the way. Have you ever dreamed a dream and wished while you were dreaming that the dream would stop? Well, that was the bus ride....the only difference was that it was not a dream ...it was reality:) The roads are horrible here so you have to imagine going about 50 miles per hour for a minute and then coming to a complete halt because of a bad place in the road or a speed bump in the middle of nowhere...then speeding back up again for a few moments and then coming to a complete halt. Now pretend that you do this from 10pm at night until 8am in the morning...that was our bus ride:) But the Zambizi hotel in Livingston is beautiful.
All around us are zebras, antelope, monkeys, giraffes, crocodiles, and more! So after going non-stop for 14 days, to have a day of spiritual and physical rest and contemplation, before beginning the 45-hour journey home is a real blessing from the Lord. Outside my hotel room is a path that will lead you to Victoria Falls...one of the natural wonders of the world. It is 7 times bigger than Niagra Falls in the U.S. and is absolutely breath-taking.
The missionary, David Livingston, discovered it in the 1800's and it pours like mighty rivers. As I look at the falls, I'm reminded that without a water source, the Victoria Falls would be nothing but a big cliff. Jesus told us in John 15 that unless we abide in Him, the Vine, we would not bear spiritual fruit for His glory and our good. Without the Vine, we as branches, can do nothing....we can bear nothing worthwhile. Jesus is the Infinite Source....we are the powerless recipients....spiritual beggars and paupers in a dry and thirsty land. But when we by faith take Jesus at His Word, believe in Him moment by moment, and draw on His never ending grace, He pours His Life in and through us...in other words, He shows up and shows off. "Holy, Holy, Holy...the whole earth is full of His glory!" When the holiness and value of Jesus fills my life by continual repentance and faith, and then goes public, the glory of God fills the earth...restoration of what is broken occurs.
"Lord Jesus, fill me with You....help me to be broken, humble, contrite, and on the decrease, so that You can pour out of me like mighty rivers...mighty falls. The world is broken, dry, and thirsty....help me to be a channel of Your blessing. Not unto us Lord, but to Your name be all the glory...Not I, but Christ. Christ above me, Christ around me, Christ in me, Christ under me, Christ beside me, just Christ...Christ filling my heart, Christ filling my mind, Christ overflowing from my lips....like mighty falls and victorious rivers. And may what You have done in and through us here in Zambia and in and through the people back home, continue to flow...let nothing hold it back...In the name of Jesus, our Oasis, amen."
God is in the small stuff...and Bill
Ardy had the Encounter U.S.A. team read a book on the way to Zambia entitled, "God Is In the Small Stuff." It basically deals with how God does do "Big" things, but we are not to neglect the ordinary moments of life in search of the euphoria moments that do not come as often. Jesus saved me so He could redeem me for every moment for His glory. So, no part of my life is wasted in His eyes.
Now, meet a man named Bill. Bill came with us from Zambia is from Honesdale, PA. He simply came to "carry Ardy's luggage," as he put it. He wanted to be a servant and help with whatever was needed. Bill is the youngest 74-year-old I've ever seen in my life. He is full of energy, life, joy, and enthusiasm. He has only been saved for 10 years, served as a writer for a private children's magazine, and has worked with schools for decades. But the thing that I love most about Bill is that every moment counts. He is constantly seeing God in the small things. For the past two weeks, he has interviewed people, gotten their story, told his story, and better yet, shared God's story with many. He wasn't assigned a message to preach at the conferences, but he is constantly working behind the scenes to invest personally in people's lives. And he has done this all the way to the finish line. Today has been our only day of rest before we head back home to the U.S. All around us, people from all over the world are resting, relaxing, and on vacation here at Victoria Falls and Zambizi hotel. But Bill is on mission.
A few minutes ago I walked by this table and found Bill and another team member named Josh having prayer with some of the hotel employees here at the hotel. What a blessing! Some would say the "mission trip" is over. And while that may be true, the Gospel ministry and Kingdom mission will not be over until we see Jesus face-to-face. Thank you, Bill, for reminding us that God is in the small stuff. And because of this, the small stuff is really big stuff....bigger than we have seen or believed.
"So Lord, help me to live every moment for Your glory, my good, and the good of many...help me to live in the Not I but Christ life this second and repeat it all over again in the second to come. In Jesus name, Amen."
David Livingston's Work Continues
This is my final blog entry as I conclude "Zambia Glory." God has revealed and poured out His magnificent glory, grace upon grace, and thanksgiving now abounds to the glory of God amongst His people in Zambia, Congo D.R.C., America, and around the world as people in 78 countries have read these blog posts. Here is a praise report of what I can remember and know of that God has done....
* Given grace to many pastors to "faint not" because we "have this ministry" and "receive continual mercy."
*At least 200 people have made a profession of faith in Christ.
*Over 200 pastors were encouraged, trained and mobilized to go back home and impact their people for God's glory. That means over 20,000 people will be immediately impacted in the days ahead.
*Two pastors forgave one another and reconciled after a two to 3-year time of harboring bitterness with one another.
*25 churches invited Encounter Zambia to come and do meetings in their church in the days ahead as a result of the pastor's conference.
*Youth workers were encouraged, trained, and stirred to keep impacting a new generation.
*15 people in the community have made appointments with Encounter Zambia for counseling and wanting to know more about Jesus.
*Many, many bibles have been given out to people who had none.
*Hundreds of Gospel tracts have gone out and planted seeds that we pray will take root and grow.
*God provided over $120,000 to bring Encounter U.S.A. to Zambia, provide 250 study bibles to the pastors, bikes for the Encounter Zambia team, bikes for some pastors who needed them, 130 book bags and supplies to school children who had nothing, a new chalkboard for the Encounter Christian school in the village, furniture and a tool box for Peter, a refrigerator for Pastor Maybin, a couch for Pastor Barry, extra monthly support for Leonard, Barry, and Maybin, a suitcase full of medical supplies for the hospitals, over hundred pair of shoes and sets of clothes to children who had none, soccer balls for youth pastors to start new youth ministries around the area, some money given to an existing orphanage, money raised to start a new orphanage at the Encounter farm, a bike given to Charity, supplies given to ERM Zambia, a bike given to a Christian school teacher, supplies given to a Christian medical clinic, and a lot more that I do not even know about.
*Our lodge staff, about 6 men and women, who ran the hotel we stayed at in Luanshya for 12 days, were highly impacted for the Gospel. We were able to pray with them, give them Bibles, Gospel tracts, and we found them one night reading the Bible to one another. These folks were not Christians, but they told us when we left that we had brought them the Light and motivated them to do good!
*The Encounter Zambia team was invested in and their fire stirred. Several told us that before they came, their fire was almost out and they had considered giving up. Now they have been supernaturally stirred to expand their ministries.
*Two churches extremely encouraged, and several people who had strongholds demolished in their lives.
*Soccer clinics will now begin every week near the Encounter Zambia headquarters in order to tell young people about Christ.
*A man who was an assistant manager at a local general store, Nemo, was given a Bible, heard the Gospel, and has committed to coming to a Bible study group with Pastor Barry.
*The district commissioner of the province, his aides, and the federal immigration office was impacted with the Gospel and given Bibles.
*Hotel staff in Livingston were impacted by the Gospel.
*Encounter U.S.A. team members were stirred and re-dedicated their lives for Christian service.
*People in the states were impacted by the blog and were impacted with the Gospel.
*And much, much, more that others know, and most importantly that God knows.
So the mission that David Livingston started in the 1800's by God's grace, continues today. He left his heart in Africa, and while I get on the plane in Lusaka to fly out, a piece of my heart will remain here. For over a year, we have prayed for God to show up and show off on this mission's endeavor. Jesus prayed rightly every time..."Father, glorify Your name." We prayed the same by the grace of God, and God answered.
Zambia glory came down, Zambia glory was revealed, Zambia glory was seen....God showed us that He fulfills His promises where ever we are so that every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be in heaven because their hearts were supernaturally transformed to think like Jesus, feel like Jesus, and to want what He wants. However, there will be adversaries.
Just a few minutes walk from the statue of David Livingston holding a Bible in the picture above, is a plaque commemorating the fact that George Darwin (Son of Charles Darwin) dedicated a bridge at Victoria Falls in 1905. So while David Livingston found the falls 50 some years before as a missionary and explorer spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, George Darwin was right on his heels stirring a religion of doubt, skepticism, and atheism that his father had made famous. Darwinian evolution would take the world by storm in the years to come because it fits so well with the anti-God mindset of the world. This theory would leave in its path a wake of destruction: destroyed morals, loss of hope, stumbling block to the Truth, mass killings, Nazi Germany, and so much more. But the Gospel that David Livingston proclaimed would push back the darkness, shed Light, and supernaturally transform hearts to love God and love others. In other words, Jesus changes lives so that people will want Him. He is the "Desire of the Nations," and He is coming again very soon. So as I prepare for the return of the King of glory, by faith I will continue as a child of the King, a child of the Promise...and because of this I have no need to fear anything or any adversary...the Greatest Person in all the universe with all the power possible, holds me in His hand...I am His and He is mine.
So as I go back home to serve where God has called me to give my life, may I go with this resolve..."Therefore we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not."