Today at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola we had 6 first time visitors. It is always a blessing to have new faces in the church and to be able to give them a clear presentation of the Gospel.
With less than a month to go until our furlough it seems that time is moving fast! Our Teen Camp starts on August 20th, the church is organizing a special meal on the grounds for September 2, and we have a memorial service for a member who passed away last year on September 8.
It is tradition in Zambia that one year after the death of a loved one you hold a memorial service to place the headstone on the grave. This gives the family some time to save up to purchase the headstone. It is also a nice reminder of the loved one.
Last week I officiated the heart-breaking funeral for a former member of our church. At one time this young man showed such promise. He was our church song leader and attended our Bible institute, we really felt like he was one of the ones on whom we were having a genuine impact. He seemed to be a potential future leader of the church. He started living a seriously backslidden life of sin. He was on the run from family, creditors and the police. Sadly, he never got the chance to make things right with anyone. After a couple of years he fell extremely ill with AIDS complications and like the prodigal son, all of his “friends” abandoned him. In the end his brother (who is also a member of our church) took him in and nursed him. His funeral was a hard one to preach. He was unable to be a good example, but his end was able to be a terrible warning to others. It was sad to see such potential thrown away. Please pray for his 4 young daughters.
The Lord blessed us immensely in that the road outside our house is now paved and black-topped. That may seem like a small thing, but it is a huge blessing to us. No more back-wrenching pot holes, no more clouds of dust rolling into our house as the trucks drive by, now we just have to watch out for speeders zipping up and down our road. The road also provides a quicker way to the church. What used to be a 20 minute ride – most of it in the wrong direction on overcrowded roads, is now a 7 minute direct route on silky smooth roads. What a blessing! The Lord takes such good care of us!
Last week my van broke a torsion rod. I did not even know what a torsion rod was, and in looking at it I am amazed that it was able to snap in half. But Zambian roads got to it (the week before our road was paved). The Lord allowed a spare to be found at a local junk yard and installed within a few days. I love my van and it is nice to have it for His service. Within a few days of my van being fixed I was busy carrying a coffin from the hospital morgue to the cemetery for the young man mentioned above.
Last week I had the honor of being asked to preach for the 15th anniversary service for the Independent Baptist Church of Kabwe. Kabwe is about 3 hours away from Ndola on the way to the capital. This church was started by missionaries and is currently under the leadership of Pastor Adam Rich.
Independent Baptist Church of Kabwe is a very nice fellowship of believers. They have a nice building in the downtown area and their church is populated with soul-winners. Last Sunday when I preached there were over 60 first time visitors in the auditorium. After I preached, 5 of these visitors were counseled and asked Jesus to become their Savior, this included a Pentecostal lady who was sitting next to Jill. Jill said that during the sermon she was busy following along in her Bible as I shared verse after verse about salvation through grace. Jill and I had a great time in Kabwe, and we enjoyed getting to know Pastor and Mrs. Rich and their three small children.
Yesterday as I drove to the church for our weekly men’s prayer meeting I passed a dead body on the side of the road just 500 meters from our church. There are a series of bars on the other side of the road and I have to think that somehow the two are connected. A crowd had gathered around the body and were looking at it inquisitively. I wonder if he had ever heard the Gospel?
Please pray with us for the following:
1. Physical health for our family – Andy is having an issue. Complete healing for Jill’s foot.
2. Teen camp to be a glory to the Lord and a time of edification for the staff and campers.
3. Spiritual growth of Christians at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola.
4. The Lord to bless our furlough plans. We praise the Lord that He has provided a vehicle for us. There are a lot of things that still have to come together including our furlough video. Please pray for the Lord’s leading and provision.
5. The Lord to continue watching over our children in the US.