Friday, May 1, 2015

Mark's Zambia Trip Log - Pastor and Youth Conference

Today was the 2nd and last day of the pastor's conference. God answered all of our prayers back home and up until the day. The pastor's gave too many testimonies to number or recount. But here are just a few testimonies that were shared with me:

 "My heart has been set on fire, my ministry has been expanded, the level to which I minister has gone up extremely, before you came we were just 'playing church,' we were not preparing our sermons seriously, we have not been focused on the right thing, thank you and it comes from way down in my gut, you have refreshed my heart, I'm believing God to do far more than I've been believing Him for, I got something right with another pastor today where we have been divided for several years..." 

There was so much more and I'm sure things will come to my mind over the days ahead. While we were preaching to them, many wept, they were engaged, they were encouraged, and their hearts set aglow. One pastor said I was getting ready to leave the conference, 

"Before I came, I was going to quit. But I can't quit. The ministry is too great of a I keep on..." 

The men were so proud of their completion certificates, some received bikes, and all received a special goody bag that included a tie, pens, notebooks, and other things. The men shouted when we told them they were going to get a Life Application Study Bible. They couldn't believe that they were going to get the Bibles....these Bibles will be the greatest tools they have ever been given in regards to study and preaching ministry. Many of these men have never received any kind of formal Bible training and these Bibles will help them in an incredible way to gain the knowledge and training that they need. The pastors left full, but many arrived to the conference on empty. The Gospel was explained and exposed in Spirit-filled eye-opening ways, and we walked away in freedom....freedom to serve, freedom to pray, freedom to minister, freedom to endure, freedom to have joy, freedom to trust God...and so much more. "Thank you, Lord, for answering our cries for Your Kingdom to be advanced and your glory to fill the conference. You showed up and showed off...we have been blessed beyond measure, and You have been magnified in all our eyes."

As I'm writing this, we are in the final session of the youth conference. Close to 200 young people and youth workers filled the ERM center! We were only expecting about 50 so this was a real blessing. But the far BIGGER blessing was the 25+ teens that made professions of faith in Christ and the many who came forward wanting to make their lives about Jesus Christ. 

A holy hush came over the room as the invitation after one of the sessions went about 20+ minutes. Both the youth workers and teens learned many valuable life lessons from the Scripture and it has been a "blessing of a day." I was also blessed to hear how a group of pastors got together today to have a "furnace room" for the youth conference!!!! A group of people came to the center at 5am to pray, but the pastors were challenged to pray and ask God for the impossible! And God brought a great harvest for His glory, our good, and the good of many people. We taught the teens today on, "Real Christianity, Dreaming Bigger for Your Life, and Conquering Invisible Giants." The team also taught the youth in groups of 40 the, "Unlocking Your Potential" Curriculum. I also had a great talk with an American missionary today...He's the only missionary we have met since we have been here though there are a few more in the area. He has been serving in Zambia for 23 years, started 22 churches, and has faithfully served the Lord for quite some time. If Zambia is going to be transformed, some of the greatest impact will come through the spiritual leaders and the young people. We've had the gracious opportunity to be a huge part of both for His glory, by His grace, and our overwhelming joy. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness."

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