As we sat around the camp fire of our first outreach seminar, the Kaonde tribesmen who were attending asked an important question, "Why should we believe you? Every group of missionaries and every church that begins a work here asks us to believe them too. What makes you worth listening to...? The next night, after the Chief of the Mumena chieftaincy greeted his people at the seminar, he took me aside and asked essentially the same question. He said, "I need you to come by the palace this week. I need to know what you teach." How do I answer this question in a way that makes any difference? As I considered the popular ecumenical religious climate of Zambia, I realized that the "lowest common denominator" system of unity has been accepted on a broad scale. Here, that translates to: as long as Jesus is proclaimed as the Son of God, what you teach can vary widely. This results in a relativity of truth that can rob people of the ability to grow spiritually. For these tribesman, they were even questioning whether listening to any further teaching would be a worthwhile endeavor. Good question!
Considering the Biblical principle of restoration, I decided to offer the challenge of "the highest ideal" versus the "lowest common denominator". "Let's search together for the highest ideal so that we can grow together to the glory of God!" "What we teach does matter!" "Truth isn't relative, it is revealed in the Word by the Holy Spirit!" "Listening to us versus anyone else isn't the point; but if we can help you hear the Savior for yourselves, perhaps our presence can be of value to you!
"If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:31-32 KJV
Waiting for their reaction,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, and Bryson
Pictured below: One man from the village of Kayonge who responded with an invitation to come and teach among his people. We hope to start next week.