I am writing this but I do not have access to post it so I will do so when I return to Siavonga.
Our program for this year involved a trip north. We would go first to Mufilira in the Copper Belt of Zambia. From there we would go to Muyombe on the border with Malawi. We had to cancel the second part of the trip. We need to get back there but the funds were not available to make that part of the trip. I will try to get enough funds together when I get back to get Charles and a group there before the end of the year.
So we load up the truck and off we go. Charles insists that we bring a young man along to drive. So he and I are in front and Charles and Judith, Chilimina and Jennifer are in the back.
Off we go…heading north. I had anticipated that the trip would take six to seven hours. Instead it took 14 hours. The road from Ndola to Mufulira is really bad so we detoured from Ndola to Kitwe and then to Mufulira. When we arrived at the church building there was a group waiting to meet us. They had been there most of the day. The church at Kamchanga has elders and deacons. Their attendance averages about 75 or so on Sunday.
Since we were asked to come we requested that the church help out our expenses by providing meals. This they were happy to do. So when we arrive we greet everyone and visit a bit then have a bite and head to the lodging. It is almost 1 in the morning before I turn out the lights to get some sleep for tomorrow’s program.
When we were invited to come we were not told that they had a specific program in mind. So when we arrive we learn that what I had planned was not in keeping with what they wanted to do. So we adjust. It seems that there were at one time 6 congregations in the area. There are now 3. Kamchanga is the largest and the originator of the others. They were asking us to come and help with reviving the two smallest (14 Miles and Topspot).
So on Saturday morning we head out to 14 Miles congregation. It is located (you guessed it) 14 miles out toward Ndola. Several hours are allotted for members to make contact with former members and invite them to a meeting in the afternoon.
After several hours they return. They have visited a number of homes of “backslidden members.” We sit down to have a bite to eat before the afternoon lesson.
Surprisingly at least 6 or 7 come to the meeting. My study is on how we know the will of God through those who have been appointed by Christ (the Apostles) and what they taught and wrote.
I have been working on reading the Tonga translated Bible. But I find that I can also read the Bemba Bible. In fact it seems that Bemba is a bit easier to read than Tonga. It is well received.
In the end there are 8 restorations at the congregation. We will discuss with the leadership how to follow-up with them.
It is about 4pm when we start back to the Kamchanga congregation. There is to be a session there in the evening. After a bit of discussion it is decided that Charles will speak at that session.
Charles is a good speaker and he is, at times, fun to watch because he can really become animated. Afterwards we have something to eat and then head back to our lodging to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday services.
The next morning I learn of a change of plans. There is another congregation in town called Topshop Church of Christ. I will speak there and Charles will speak at Kamchanga. They wanted Chilimina to go to 14 Miles but it is too far to go so he decides not to go.
Topshop is small. It has been larger but has been declining. It seems that the church is experiencing some loss due to young people choosing to go to denominations where there is music and such. We will be talking with the leadership about that before we conclude here in the Copper Belt.
The congregation is small this morning. In fact we brought more people than were present from the congregation. But we encourage those present just the same.
I learn later that there are 15 restorations at the Kamchanga congregation. So from the standpoint to revival we have been able to help some. There will be an evening session at Kamchanga and tomorrow we will head back to Siavonga.
Mufilira is a mining town. It is built around the Mopani Copper Mine. It shows signs of having once been a nicer town. Now it is a bit run down. Charles wants to see the mine so one of the members takes us out to the mine. It is a really spread out affair and I am not certain how much of it we actually see. But it is big. They have been mining copper for over a hundred years now.
The evening session is well received. It is followed by a long meeting with the elders and deacons about their needs and concerns. The make several requests for help with a couple of material needs. Charles and I will discuss this at a later date.
All in all it was a good trip. They want us to come back. We will try to get back.
Early the next morning we pack up and head back to Siavonga. It is nearly midnight when I arrive back in Siavonga. Ahead is a week of well work, congregation visiting and at least one effort at planting a congregation.
More to come…