What’s going on?
I’m still not used to this blogging thing. It seems that I should be doing it more often but…
In Zambia this time of year people are beginning to look toward the coming of the rainy season. With the rainy season comes the planting of their fields. They are beginning to prepare the ground by clearing it etc. They will not plant until the rains soften the soil.
With crops in the field one of the challenges that will face the congregations is attendance on Sunday mornings. Most of the time people must remain in the fields to drive away the animals that will eat or destroy the crop. These would be birds, baboons and, at times, elephants. The people in the district are subsistence farmers. This means that they grow what their family will eat for the coming year. If they lose their crop to animals or the weather then there is no food for the family and they will be forced to go elsewhere to work or else go hungry. If there is water then they can grow vegetables in a garden but the corn or millet provides the staple of their diet, nsima.
World Bible School
We recently reorganized our use of WBS in the district. All of the lessons are now being handling in country instead of sending them to the US to be graded. We are using both English and Tonga lessons. Some want to use the English.
The district has been divided into four sections with a church leader being responsible for distributing the materials and grading in that district. They will also handle the follow up. This gives us a closer use of the teaching material without the extended delay of mailing to and from the US which can take at least 3 months (that’s the shortest time it has been done) to do one lesson.
Now that this system is in place we are seeing results very different from what we have had in the past. At present there are 200 students using the English version and 570 using the Tonga version. To date there have been 21 baptisms. I see this continuing and even expanding to other areas.
At present we are working on translating a little tract on baptism and grace written by brother Jack Abels into Tonga, Bemba, Tumbuka and Chewa (Nyanja). When that is complete it will be added to the material that is already translated. I am hoping that we will shortly begin translating the WBS lesson “The Church” into Tonga. It is a lengthy process to translate it then to get it entered into the computer and then to get it checked and corrected and checked and corrected. Once it is finished then it needs to be laid out for printing. In the past it has taken at least a year to complete the work; sometimes longer.
For those who do not know I want to let you know what has been translated so far. Mostly it has been into Tonga but we have done a bit in Bemba and Tumbuka.
WBS lessons: Introduction, God has Spoken, Knowing Jesus, This is Good News, Born of Water and the Spirit
Tracts: The Churches of Christ: who are these people? (by Joe Barnett)
Biblical Christianity (by Charles Hill)
Baptism and Grace (in the works) (by Jack Abels)
Into Bemba: Just Christians
Baptism and Grace (uncompleted)
Baptism and Grace (uncompleted)
Into Chewa: Baptism and Grace (uncompleted)
Tonga is the language of the Southern Province. Bemba is the language of the Northern Province. Tumbuka is the language in the far Northeastern part along the border with Malawi. Chewa or Nyanja is the language of the Eastern Province.
One thing we will be able to do now that we were unable to do before is to print this material in Zambia. A generous brother in California contributed the funds to purchase a Riso duplicator. Now we can do it there and not face the problem (or the cost) of getting the materials shipped to Zambia. Our first use of the duplicator will be when Jack’s tract on Baptism is translated and ready for printing. We will talk more on this later
Gospel Chariot Followup
When the Gospel Chariot came to the district as I was leaving from my trip earlier this year they succeeded in baptizing 65 before they left. In considering how to follow up and hold on to as many of these new converts as possible it was determined that a church leader and his wife should stay in one of two areas for at least a week at a time and do the follow up. In order to do this it was necessary to rent two rooms for them to stay in while they did the follow up. They will do this in these two areas for 3 months and then move to two other areas to continue the follow up.
Over all I am really pleased with the way things are going. – Charles